Cover Corporation CEO Motoaki “YAGOO” Tanigo and HoloEarth developer Yuki Ooka sat down for an interview with Tekken Series Producer Katsuhiro Harada, discussing the development of the upcoming HoloEarth as well as its budget size.
The interview, originally on 4Gamer, sees Tanigo say that HoloEarth would be approached with patience, saying he expects the MMO to cost about as much as some triple-A games:
Harada: …If we limit ourselves to the development of “rich” titles for consoles and PCs, i.e., high-end games such as AAA titles, the minimum development cost would be 5 billion yen, and in fact, 10 or 15 billion yen. In fact, it is now a world where it costs 10 or 15 billion yen (approx 74-111 million USD).
Tanigo: I think we are creating a service, not a game, so I think the cost is more for the ongoing operation than the initial development. But, yes, if we consider the total cost of ……, I think “Holo-Earth” will be on the same scale as you have mentioned.
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This is a fairly conservative estimate, since Tanigo isn’t exactly revealing the actual financial estimates for the HoloEarth budget, but it would put it at the more AAA end of game development.
As for how the game intends to make money, Tanigo says it’s less about the game itself being a revenue generator, rather instead being what they call the Vtuber Business Model.
“The business model of VTubers is not based on throwing money at people. It’s just a plus-alpha element, and the main focus is on membership, merchandising, and revenue from live events”, Tanigo says.
Here is Tanigo describing the Vtuber Business Model:
4Gamer:. When you talk about merchandising, can we assume that it is similar to the character business?
Tanigo: Yes. It’s difficult to say whether it can be categorized as a character business in general. Of course, there are goods such as acrylic stands, but even if they are licensed products, they do not necessarily contain illustrations of the characters. I think it is more a sense of wanting to wear goods related to the IP.
Harada: In our case, “THE [email protected]” is just like that. The game is the starting point of the IP, but if you look at the scale of revenue, the merchandising and live performances are larger. I see, this is the kind of business where people make an identity out of what they like. Is that what you are trying to do in the Metaverse?
Tanigo: Yes, that’s right. For example, the pictograms that are currently provided as a function of membership, or the live goods that can be purchased at live events, can be replaced with chat stamps or avatar outfits in the Metaverse as well. We can also hold events and live shows online, so the business will be the same as it is today.
According to Tanigo, a huge part of the appeal of HoloEarth would be better access to the overseas markets, since fans would no longer have to fly to venues to attend events.
“In the case of our company, we have many overseas fans, and it is difficult to create an experience where fans from all over the world can gather at the same time and in the same space. But with Metaverse, it is possible. I feel that is a big advantage”, he says.
He also noted separately that although the budget for developing HoloEarth might be high, he expects the service to take around 5 years to take off, just like the Vtuber trend did earlier on.
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