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lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:26 am
quote : #1
profile : pm
Posts: 5898
Type: NTSC-U/C
Hello Everyone,

Due to recent events, I have lost my contract position at the company I was working for. The economy is messed up right now, but more importantly the financial sectors, are in chaos. The company I was doing design work for, was in the Financial business, and are making cost cuts. In addition to the state of the economy they did not have a very good year. I was a contractor with the company, and thus had to be let go. It had nothing to do with performance, but a numbers game. They had to cut costs and contractors were most of the first to go.

So, because of this I do not have the immediate income to continue funding the OC game servers which currently cost:

$5.92 per day
$41.54 per week
$180.00 per month
$2160.00 per year


These servers currently provide the following services:

Dreamcast - Quake 3 Arena (10 game servers)
Playstation 2 - Star Wars Battlefront (1 game server)
Playstation 2 - Star Wars Battlefront II (1 game server)
GameCube - Phantasy Star Online Ep 1&2 (1 world server)
Dreamcast - Maximum Pool (1 matchmaking list)


There is even room on these machines for growth to add even more services.

This may or may not change, depending on how quickly I can acquire another job assignment. However at the moment I need to lockdown my finances, and these servers leeching off of my bank account with each passing month is just not viable when I have no income coming in.

We need to decide what to do about these game servers. I really do mean "WE" when I say this. This is a community decision, and I am presenting this problem as something for all of us to discuss.

First lets get a few things clear. Since 2003 I have designed, built, administrated, and driven this website with zero revenue coming from the site itself. No advertisements. No donations. There were times when I talked of donations, but just couldn't go through with it as at the time I did not really support the idea of fronting financial costs onto the userbase. I don't like this idea at all.

Now is the point however, where I have no choice but to start considering a donation system. This would be needed to retain 1 or both of the servers.

Here are some facts:

  • Donations may come in semi-steadily at first, but they are going to taper off.

  • People are very frugel with their money. Only a fraction of the users here are employed, and not in highschool / college. When it all comes down to it, and you have 10 dollars in your pocket, you are more likely to spend that on another video game than to donate it.

  • Users are going to have a hard time justifying donating to a game server if they are not actively playing that game.

  • We don't technically need these game servers. They are a luxury, and merely serve to provide an extremly easy way to get online. It just means that instead of going online and hopping into a dedicated server, for all these games you would have to handle the game hosting all on your own for each scheduled game session.


The Windows Server costs 105.00/month and the Linux server costs 75.00/month

To meet a goal of running both the Linux server and the Windows server we would need 30 users to donate:

$1.38 per week
$6.00 per month
$72.00 per year

To meet a goal of running just the Linux server we would need 30 users to donate:

$0.58
$2.50 per month
$30.00 per year

Right now we have roughly 70 registered users here who log into the website on a daily basis across all 3 sites. I personally do not think donations will be able to cover all of the costs. But maybe you guys can prove me wrong. I have presented all of the number breakdowns above.

Please reply to this thread with your input and what you think we should do. If a donations situation is not feasible, I will be forced to terminate these servers until a time where my finances are able to support their operation.

My personal opinion is that we go with only the Linux server, and try to shoe-horn as many Windows only services, onto the Linux box as best as possible using Windows emulators like Wine. This seems like a more realistic goal considering the circumstances.

--

Ben Pekarek
Director / Founder
www.onlineconsoles.com
  _________________
I'm already numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit list...
K_I_R_E_E_K
unknown
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:06 am
quote : #2
profile : pm
Posts: 229
Type: PAL
hmmm, that sucks dude. Sad
first it would be good to see how many ppl would donate, if many do not contribute then a temporary shutdown would be the most economic solution.

6.00 per month.......not sure if many would accept, i will be honest, in my case i won't help, not because i don't want but because i don't use the servers, others may think the oposite.

i really enjoy your dedication and work that you put on these servers, i'm proud that ppl waste theyre own money just for others to have fun, but as everything else, words like these won't create a solution.
is there anyway you can gain an extra income? (as you said, advertisements)
 
lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:17 am
quote : #3
profile : pm
Posts: 5898
Type: NTSC-U/C
K_I_R_E_E_K wrote:
i will be honest, in my case i won't help, not because i don't want but because i don't use the servers, others may think the oposite.

Thanks for being honest. This is what how I want people to reply. A lot of other site administrators get disillusioned with the idea of donations, as if it is "free income" that will just be given to them if they throw up a donation box. The situation is hardly the case, and in so many situations site admins have to quite literally beg users to donate. I know the reality of the situation. People need to have spare money to throw at something like this. Users who are on the fringe of their finances at all times are not going to donate.

K_I_R_E_E_K wrote:
is there anyway you can gain an extra income? (as you said, advertisements)

I refuse to put up ads, or compromise this website in anyway. This website is "my life". I am a web designer, and seeing garbage ads, javascript, and iframes slowing down the site breaking the content display, would be a horrible nightmare.

I HATE advertising.

So that is not an option, and one that I would never ever ever force on community members.

I have seen lot of websites breakdown over time. The admins running the site slowly integrate more and more ads, and as their personal life shifts towards fending for themselves (i.e. getting out of school, job, family, etc etc), they setup a donation box, and then the entire website crumbles because the owner tries to turn the site into a revenue stream. Their site ceases to be about the community, or its content, and everything shifts towards getting ad clicks and luring users into some sort of subscription service or donations.

I will never let that happen to OnlineConsoles.
  _________________
I'm already numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit list...
bomb78
rank 8
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:30 am
quote : #4
profile : pm
Posts: 79
Hi, well bad news for you, hope you'll find something else shortly.
The phantasy star server for Dreamcast is not affected by your problem ?
To be honest this is the only game that i'm likely to play on line even though i didn't apply till now.
However i can contribute for donation to keep the server running, depending if the choice is for one linux server + one windows serer or only the linux server ?
Also your message doesn't tell what is the difference in terms of hosting games if we have one or 2 servers ?
 
lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:05 am
quote : #5
profile : pm
Posts: 5898
Type: NTSC-U/C
bomb78 wrote:
The phantasy star server for Dreamcast is not affected by your problem ?

We do not host a central Dreamcast PSO server. PSO at the Dreamcast site is handled very differently than at the GC site in terms of playing the game online.

bomb78 wrote:
Also your message doesn't tell what is the difference in terms of hosting games if we have one or 2 servers ?

Right now, most of the services require windows, simply because there is no linux software alternative for many of the applications.

Currently the 10 Quake 3 Servers run on Linux, all of the other servers run on the Windows machine.
  _________________
I'm already numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit list...
segadreamcaster
rank 37
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:52 pm
quote : #6
profile : pm
Posts: 811
Type: NTSC-U/C
Yeah, sorry to hear about that lord...hope you get everything sorted with your financial situation, and please don't spend too much time worrying about the server problem.

As for that, I have to echo what others have said, personally I very rarely use the servers so if they were to close it would have a very limited impact on me. However it is nice to know that these servers are available and very reliable...a little like having an insurance policy I guess.

Personally, I think I would be willing to offer a donation of say $20-30 as a one off to keep things going for the time being, but would not be willing to go any further than that..it would be a one time donation just to help keeps things ticking over until things could be resolved.

Like most of the other members here, I greatly appreciate what you do for this community including the servers and hope this problem can be resolved

Cheers
  _________________
Game Names:

PSO = Ryo or SEGADCER
Q3A, Starlancer
Max Pool = Segadcer
4x4 Evo = Segadreamcaster

Visit the NEW Saturn netlink league www.saturnleague.com
noonotthat
rank 9
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:04 pm
quote : #7
profile : pm
Posts: 119
Type: NTSC-U/C
I think you could maby cut down some of the quake servers to save some money, I know that they all are never in use at the same time, just an idea to save some money
  _________________
I need to get back into quake 3 so get at me!
TheMytho
rank 28
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:05 pm
quote : #8
profile : pm
Posts: 587
Type: NTSC-U/C
As some of you many know, I have been a member of this community since 2003. My interest in gaming tapered off every now and then, but I eventually came to my senses and participated again. In the face of today's focus on advertisements, game forums that devolve into juvenile schoolyard behavior and a lack of commitment on subject matter, OnlineConsoles is like an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. When I first became a member on that fateful early May morning and wound up playing a match of Ooga Booga against old-school member Slayn, I was enraptured by OC. Never before had I felt so at ease with an online community. Thanks to lordnikon's generosity, we have a haven for discussing and playing games that had been otherwise deserted.

Now is the time to contribute to the community. I had been anticipating that this situation would occur, that community members would be called upon to help fund an aspect of the site. If you still continue to take advantage of the game servers, I believe that out of compassion and respect, contribute what you can. We are especially fortunate to be able to play Phantasy Star Online in a legit, carefree environment.

I am willing to contribute, but keep in mind that I fit in the following categories:

  • I am currently attending high school and college bound.
  • I only work part time
  • I hold a subscription to Final Fantasy XI


Will the above deter me from contributing a few dollars here and there? No, not at all. If you start making priorities and budget wisely, it's very doable. Refrain from eating fast food, buying a pack of soda or cut back on trips to the movies. You'll be able to pocket $2-$3 to contribute. Money will begin to add up quickly. I implore those that make use of the game servers to begin to consider this course of action.
 
Metal Hedgehog
rank 11
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:30 pm
quote : #9
profile : pm
Posts: 159
I would agree with the cutting down on some quake 3 servers. Atleast 5? I'm a senior and work part time. I would willingly offer some money. Around 20 or so? But if i can only pay with pay-pal. I'm sorry I don't have.=/Any other way I will be able to to donate?
 
lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:54 pm
quote : #10
profile : pm
Posts: 5898
Type: NTSC-U/C
TheMytho, and all other users, your kind words here are greatly appreciated.

To noonotthat & Metal Hedgehog, there are only 2 physical server machines. The 10 Quake 3 servers all run on a single computer. Its either keep all of the Q3 servers, or terminate them all. There is no middle option.

I think at this point we have to consider just keeping the Linux machine. Based on the comments so far, I don't think we can raise the $1260.00 needed to keep the Windows machine.

Remember that the 30 user donation number, was a guesstimate of the average number of people that would contribute from month to month. If we have more than that donating, it drops the per user donation requirements greatly. For instance, if you take the 900.00 yearly cost of running the linux server, and spread that out across 50 users. It would come out to $18.00 for the entire year, per user that would need to be donated.

"For just 5 cents a day, you too can help a 5 year old gir... eh uh... 5 year old website run game servers"

(seriously though, if you do the math, of $18.00 divided by 365 days, it comes out to .049 per day)

As for the final donation method, which Metal Hedgehog asked about, it would indeed be PayPal based for the donation method.
  _________________
I'm already numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit list...
RadioSpade
rank 8
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:46 pm
quote : #11
profile : pm
Posts: 95
Type: NTSC-U/C
Not to shun the other areas of OC, but seeing as I only use the OC servers for quake, that is where my priority lies.

That being said, if you only need a few bucks a month (as for linux), I'll gladly donate that to keeping the servers up. I, too, despise advertising, and am able to budget that little bit for such a cause.

(I vote for using the donation system, Linux only)
  _________________
Quake: RadioSpade
PSO:
-OC: RadioSpade lvl 003
-Schthack: Asar Zo'am lvl 001
monkeeman3
unknown
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:51 pm
quote : #12
profile : pm
Posts: 17
Lord,

I have wondered this myself...you have answered my questions...just not the way I would liked it to turn out.

First...

1. Why do you not make it like PS2 or X-Box does? Us DC users can play online but have a monthly account? I think most people should be extremely understanding of that. You will lose a few, but if anyone really understands what this means, then this would turn out to be be a bad thing and great loss to the DC world.

2. Do you have a Paypal account?

3. This will prove how much those of us who can contribute really will as far as dedication. Quite frankly, I believe us DC users are the majority...right?

4. This means that people who anti-up should be given rights to play PSO being that people like me know enough about the DC and never typically have questions to just randomly post to get the 50 needed to play PSO. This one you could erradicate from my post, but this is true. It's like me having questions about the Monkees within that community - I equate the DC community in the same fashion.


Second:

More importantly, sorry about your job. Your website community is crucial in the DC world - much more than it is in the Sony or Nintendo worlds.

Good luck.
  _________________
Regards,
Monkeeman3
Radkin
unknown
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:32 pm
quote : #13
profile : pm
Posts: 100
I haven't the clue of what to say in a situation such as this, everything I could possibly say/ want to state has already been posted. This is a very sucky situation! Crying or Very sad

I am 100% against advertising, I HATE it myself. I am for the donation system. Being I am only young ans still in highschool, I do not know if I could contribute, but it would still be the next good idea to helping OnlineConsoles.

i hope you can find another solution to your dilemma, and I am sorry for the job loss. I wish you the best of luck, and like evrybody here at OC, I appreciate all you have done.

Hopfully we can get some lended luck!
  _________________
...
JTxBallAx
rank 10
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:36 pm
quote : #14
profile : pm
Posts: 147
Type: NTSC-U/C
sorry to hear about your job nikon.
I hope you find another one soon.

i dont have a Pay Pal account...
and i would really love to donate.
so whats your idea for the people that wanna donate and dont have a paypal account?
  _________________
Game names:
Quake: *RoX* Clan OG
PSO: JTKallDay
Xbox live: JTKallDay
lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:39 pm
quote : #15
profile : pm
Posts: 5898
Type: NTSC-U/C
monkeeman3 wrote:
1. Why do you not make it like PS2 or X-Box does? Us DC users can play online but have a monthly account? I think most people should be extremely understanding of that. You will lose a few, but if anyone really understands what this means, then this would turn out to be be a bad thing and great loss to the DC world.

The structural model we are trying to avoid, is a "closed system". I want online gaming for these consoles to be wide open. Expansive. So each user has the power to take their game online, and play against other users.

Note: The PS2 is an open network. Only 3 or 4 online RPG's require monthly Fee's in North America (japan is actually quite different though with most games being subscription based).

monkeeman3 wrote:
2. Do you have a Paypal account?

I have a personal paypal account, but I am not sure whether to direct the money there, or send it to a brand new paypal account. I need to sort this out still.

monkeeman3 wrote:
4. This means that people who anti-up should be given rights to play PSO being that people like me know enough about the DC and never typically have questions to just randomly post to get the 50 needed to play PSO. This one you could erradicate from my post, but this is true. It's like me having questions about the Monkees within that community - I equate the DC community in the same fashion.

I cannot give people special treatment if they donate money. Then it starts to emulate a subscription system like IGN.com. Plus it would undermine the whole point of those PSO access requirements. They are there for a very specific reason. So that when people are ready, know how this community runs, and are chilled out enought to enter, they can be granted access. If people get to pay to get in, then everything we have worked so hard to build will get trashed, as people leak information without knowing, and spreading duped items and hacks. Essentially, someone could gain access without any screening whatsoever, if I allowed people to get in based on a donation amount.

monkeeman3 wrote:
...Your website community is crucial in the DC world - much more than it is in the Sony or Nintendo worlds..

Yes and no. Yes it is true that the Dreamcast site has made the most impact thus far on that community. However I feel the GameCube and Playstation 2 areas have the potential to make similar strides for those systems. The GameCube area is the only network focused website in existance for the GameCube console. Also, the PS2 site has more online game information there on PS2's global online library than anywhere on the Internet.

The GC and PS2 area's will start to attract diehard fans as time progresses. The interesting thing is, this doesn't quite happen until the consoles have faded from the public eye. The GC site has been picking up lately with activity, because some diehards have started to show up.
  _________________
I'm already numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit list...
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