Finances - Report for 2022
We decided to start publicly sharing the overall project finances starting now, with the results of last year.
The 2022 data is a baseline to compare ourselves against - it was the first complete calendar year of Meta Plays activity.
This was still a time where we took major risks and explored unviable spaces like Age of Empires 4 and SpellForce 3, where we were unable to create revenue from the content itself.
The majority of income (60%) has been event contributions - of which naturally 100% went directly into the prize pool, offsetting the expenses.
Naturally, double expenses compared to income is not a sustainable situation long term, and we will be looking for that gap to be closed over 2023. This is all expected however, considering that we are still developing the website, as well as that new games were not expected to carry their own weight as much as Age of Mythology and Halo Wars 2.
Finances - Projection for 2023
The first half of 2023 has already passed, so we have fairly good data to project how 2023 will go if we make no changes.
The below charts are the worst case scenario that could happen at the end of the year - we are taking many steps to avoid the stagnant outcomes we project here.
With development still being active, turning a profit is not expected, but we will need to close the gap between expenses and income further.
Subscription revenue has increased, and optimistically we can project to reach over $1000 for 2023.
- Thank you very much for the support, this is great progress!
- We project a 70% increase year over year.
Tipping revenue has increased, with an optimistic projection of $400 for 2023.
- Thanks to your help, we can offer our staff fair payment for their hard work.
- We project a 40% increase year over year.
YouTube revenue has drastically increased, considering that we were not yet monetized in the first half of 2022.
- We appreciate your viewership, and would encourage more of you to subscribe, as this is the highest quality version of our content (1440p, high bitrate, edited without breaks).
- We project a massive 200% increase year over year.
Twitch revenue has also drastically increased. This stems largely from a larger focus on our core games, Age of Mythology and Halo Wars 2, higher viewership, and most importantly, your support!
- We project a massive 175% increase year over year.
We have also committed more to sponsorships in 2023 so far. After our short break, we will be continuing down this path, and would like to ask for your support and patience in this area, as it's one of our major revenue streams that makes the project possible.
- We project a 65% increase year over year.
Halo Wars 2 prize pool contributions from the community have also increased.
- Thank you all for your support on this front! This increases the earnings of players, and makes them train harder.
- We project an increase of up to 70% year over year.
The bad news:
Unfortunately, this is where the good news end. We have been facing greater costs due to the nature of scaling up the project, such as via more video editing and art required, as well as inflation-induced cost increases. These were not really avoidable, but thanks to our 2 game focus from this point forward, we can expect a slightly more optimistic result than in the charts.
Reducing Age of Mythology budget:
The greatest negative thus far though is the drop in prize contributions for Age of Mythology.
- We project a drop of more than 50% year over year.
We were expecting to continue the great momentum with Age of Mythology, and so have increased our budget for our leagues this year, but doing so has completely stopped community contributions since our Wisdom of Thoth League was announced. We are not going to be able to maintain doubling our prize pools compared to before, especially if it means that the community contributions stop - it makes no sense for us to do so, considering that the net result for players is the same. We must rely on the community to push our events to the next level.
The exact adjustment is to be announced, however we need to make the decision to reduce our Age of Mythology budget until Retold is released. On Retold, we will start out strong to create some great initial competition, but will still be looking towards the community to aid our longevity.
Reducing Staffing Budget:
Staffing cost has increased this year due to greater revenue in general, as well as due to equipment needs.
- We project an increase of 33% year over year.
Looking at our percentile stagnation when looking at totals (which result in a decline in absolute values), we will need to make an adjustment on this front so as to increase the project's viability. As the current season ends, our current casters will be offered a content partner or moderator position. Future event coverage will be held with optional, invited guest casters, which will be a networking-based slot, as we currently cannot afford paying for this. As we grow and turn profitable, in the long term, we will revisit this stance.
Eliminating development costs in 2024:
While we are committed to developing the proposed Tier ladder system, as you can see from our charts, development is one of the major cost components of the project. As this work is completed, feature-wise we aim to go into maintenance mode, at least until we turn profitable. We will also consider having a development-related subscription goal. More on this later.
Subscription System Updates
Our website subscription system is one of our most important revenue streams, seeing as no third party takes a cut (Twitch takes 50%, YouTube takes 30%). This makes our website subscribers our most valued supporters. We want to make sure that you are satisfied with the benefits and that you see them as worthwhile, so we have made some adjustments:
All tiers now feature voting rights regarding our events.
- We will offer several options to subscribers for voting, such as about rule sets, formats and event art themes.
- Tier 4 and above gets double power.
- Tier 3 and above now gain ad-hoc game key giveaways.
We have updated our goals:
We added monthly showmatches for each game.
- This will unlock once we reach $200/month.
We added a mystery goal at the end ($500/month).
- We have some ideas, and will offer subscribers a chance to vote.
- Once the mystery goal is unlocked, we will start a second tier of goals.
We removed the PayPal fee coverage goal.
- This was a boring goal. We will stop covering prize pool contribution fees to help the project's finances.
- We added monthly showmatches for each game.
See the full current list here:
With us moving away from dedicated casters, we also have decided that this is a good time to review how we function when it comes to management.
Going forward, we will have the following roles at Meta Plays:
- Owner of Meta Plays.
- Handles finances, such as planning, pay-outs or sponsor interaction.
- Handles development management and decision making.
- Responsible for coverage of key events.
- Creates announcement articles.
- Creates tournament and showmatch listings.
- Responds to comments across social media.
- Manages content partner program.
- Recruits and assigns moderators to chat and score reporting management.
- Collects community feedback.
- Manages unban requests and internal decision making around them.
- Syncs with Media Manager about upcoming events and key news.
- Resolves disputes.
- Handles all matters related to the game they are dedicated to.
- Must be a well-connected member of the community.
- Manages tournaments and is in charge of rule enforcement and dispute handling.
- Directly invites players and content creators to participate in individual events.
- Directly engages with the community, turning chats into conversations.
- Encourages the community to share feedback, guides and more.
- Video editor for YouTube purposes.
- Responsible for social media, sharing events and updates.
- Working on website features, streaming tools, or art assets.
- Volunteer position.
- Keeps chat/comment sections clean, handling time-outs and bans together with the other mods and Project Manager.
- Enters scores in tournaments and showmatches.
- Approves or rejects reports in the Tier Ladder.