Developer Chat

General WhatIfSports

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Monday, September 19, 2005

9:00 PM - 10:00 PM EST


The LIVE portion of this chat will begin on

Monday, September 19, 2005 at 9:00 PM EST.

This is your chance to ask questions and/or express any concerns over the recent acquisition of WIS by Fox Interactive Media.

Is the current staff of WIS going to remain in tact always, or is it just until Fox Sports is ready to fully take over operations? (scottso14 - Hall of Famer - 10:45 AM)

There is no plan for Fox to take over at any time. In fact, it may be the other way around with WIS playing more of a role with Fox Sports.

The Pit's stayin, right??? (sergei91 - Hall of Famer - 10:45 AM)

Yes.

Will the SIM Engines be revised make them "Fair and Balanced"?...just kidding, welcome FOX! (fd343ny - Hall of Famer - 10:50 AM)

Don't worry, we have nothing to do with Fox News and they have nothing to do with us.

With the purchase of whatif, will that affect the pending release of the new Hockey sim engine? (rmj97 - Hall of Famer - 11:45 AM)

No, there will be no impact on the SL Hockey upgrade.

What's going to happen to user names and the forums .... if anything? damned (damned - Hall of Famer - 11:47 AM)

Nothing.

Will TK be hosting another user appreciation night at Willly's or will the big bad Fox be holding the purse strings? Seriously, will you guys be maintaining your level of customer interaction? Srward (srward - Hall of Famer - 2:59 PM)

Absolutely yes - we'll continue to do the same types of outings and such that we've always done - maybe we'll even be able to get tickets through Fox?!?

Will there be increased censorship of forum content? Fox has been known to have conservative political agenda, but many WIS users have been very open about their liberal political views. Need I also mention Charlie Rosen? (wontaek - Hall of Famer - 3:01 PM)

A.) No and B.) have you seen some of the shows on Fox? Temptation Island ring any bells? How about Family Guy? We have no association with Fox News and vice versa who I think you're referring to.

I realize that in acquistions the current staff and set up of a company is usually kept in place for the short-term. Does Fox Interactive Media have any long-term plans in place and can you talk about them? (fletchkd - Hall of Famer - 3:04 PM)

I honestly don't know yet. We'll be putting together a longer-term plan over the next couple of weeks/months and I should no a lot more at that time. The goal of FIM though is not take over companies, it's to leverage their strengths and grow them using Fox's assets.

What will Bill Simmons think about merging with Fox? Will you have to take his quote off the front page? (udflyerfan - All-Star - 3:06 PM)

I haven't talked to Bill yet - he's too busy rolling in the cash from his new book (at least I hope he is).

could this change facilitate possible new games, like maybe, college baseball..and you could call it Diamond Dynasty ? (branmarr24 - Hall of Famer - 3:08 PM)

Yes, this change could help not only facilitate, but also expedite new games and products. Again, we'll know much more after we become more integrated.

It's clear this step could result in significant growth for WIS. Are there concrete plans to maintain the same ratio of support staff to customer base, to keep up with the extra support tickets, questions, and issues that arise? I've found support here to be very attentive and would hate for the site to suffer in this regard. (vandyman96 - All-Star - 3:11 PM)

Support is something we take a lot of pride in and I don't see that changing. We will grow the support staff accordingly to ensure that you see no level of drop off with our customer service.

What happens to lifelong liberals, registered Democrats et al? (dizalvinsand - Hall of Famer - 3:12 PM)

They become more disenfranchised with the political process every 4 years.

Are you fired up about the sale? Just regular fired up, or Ray Lewis waving a flag and hopping around like a madman fired up? I'm hoping for the latter. (josepirate - Pro - 3:16 PM)

Right now just fired up - there's a great opportunity in front of us that we hope to capitalize on. If we get the support we need from the rest of Fox (and I have no reason to believe we won't), I'll be in full Ray Lewis mode (except for the part about killing people).

Did WIS sell 100% of the company or did you retain a % of the ownership?? What is the incentive of the WIS team to remain at WIS rather than move on to a new venture?? (psap - Hall of Famer - 3:19 PM)

FIM owns 100% of WIS. The incentive is twofold - a. we love what we do and that hasn't changed whether you own it or not and b. WIS isn't fully grown yet - in the same way you wouldn't forget about your children when you send them off to college.

Does this mean some players will receive a sudden boost to their performance (Andy Fox, Chad Fox, Rick Fox, etc.)? If so, you need to make that known ASAP or else my teams stand no chance at winning. Thanks. (tzentmeyer - Site Staff - 3:20 PM)

You didn't hear this from me, but I'm expecting big things from the 1908 Wilbur Murdoch.

When will we start seeing WIS commercials? (tlak1038 - Hall of Famer - 3:21 PM)

None of that has been worked through yet. Keep in mind that Fox is more than NFL and MLB - they also have 3 college sports channels and they own the Speed channel.

Do you anticipate adding more worlds to Hoops Dynasty and GridIron Dynasty? (colonels19 - Hall of Famer - 3:22 PM)

At some point in time yes, it all depends on how long it takes to get WIS more integrated into Fox's existing assets with regards to marketing and promotion.

What is the ultimate goal for Whatifsports, and how does this perchase help you in reaching that goal? (nihilisticgp - Hall of Famer - 3:25 PM)

Good question - as we grow larger and profits grow accordingly, we hope to develop and launch an army of small robots which will be the springboard for global domination. If that doesn't work, we'd settle for being globally synonymous with simulation games and content.

Will the new transition affect current and/or future WIS sim updates/additions? (player27 - Prospect - 3:26 PM)

No - there will be no impact on any scheduled updates or releases.

Will we have to change our screen names? Who esle will get our profile information? (cokeman - Hall of Famer - 5:41 PM)

No, we do not anticipate anyone having to change their usernames. I'm sure their will be cross-promotion between companies, but I'm not sure how that will be handled. I'm assuming that you'll be given the opportunity to opt-out but I'm not positive yet.

So, if I read between the lines, are you saying that the lack of growth meany you were not profitable or this gives you the opportunity to cash in a la early nineties dot.com craze. I applaud you for developing a great web site, however I now fear it changing (coachkettle - All-Star - 5:45 PM)

Actually neither - unlike the dot com craze, WIS was started as a passion (and still is), not for the purposes of cashing in some hype. We're still growing but you can only grow so fast without either major funding behind you to fuel promotion or by being part of a larger organization. There were only a handful of companies we'd have considered selling to and Fox was on that short list. Again, no one is coming in and taking over - we're still calling the shots, we just have a big brother now.

How will this affect me as a user of WIS? (FlDragonS - Hall of Famer - 9:00 PM)

For most users, you will not notice any differences whatsoever in the short-term and the long-term I think you'll probably see more users, more promotions/advertising for Fox Sports and Fox Fantasy games.

has Fox told you about any changes it would like to make to the product offerings at this point? should we expect any changes to the dynasty games offered? is diamond dynasty still gonna happen? (kcsundevil - Hall of Famer - 9:01 PM)

No, Fox will not be involved with the day to day decisions involving our games. Yes, Hardball Dynasty is still planned to be released in January 2006.

Due to the recent acquisition does this mean WIS will be on first name basis with Paris Hilton??? And if so could you arrange a meet and greet with a plump fan??? :) (Plumpy - Hall of Famer - 9:03 PM)

I was already on a first name basis with Paris (although she likes to go by "P.Hilt" which I pronounce filt). If it wasn't for that stupid restraining order, she may know my name too.

Will pricing be effected? (garmansouth - Hall of Famer - 9:06 PM)

We have no plans on changing pricing.

since you are going to anticipate more customers and possibly add more worlds, any chance of a alternate world that allows playoffs at division 1 instead of the bowl system? (plague - Hall of Famer - 9:07 PM)

My guess is no - not unless you see a playoff system adopted in actual DI football.

will there be any incentives for current wis users to stay on even when newbies come? (snooginz - All-Star - 9:09 PM)

I don't really follow this question. I'm not sure why an increase in users would drive people away if your experience is staying the same.

It is known that most of the sports announcers play fantasy sports and sim sports. It may be to early to tell us, but will Sim discussion be a part of Fox Sports talk? (garmansouth - Hall of Famer - 9:13 PM)

That I'm not sure of, but I don't see why not. I also don't see why you couldn't have simulated radio broadcasts on Fox Sports Radio of classic matchups, e.g. '27 Yankees v. '75 Reds or the '04 Sox v. '98 Yankees, etc.

Any chance that this could lead to us eventually getting to play hockey games LIVE? (davidbmiller - Newbie - 9:13 PM)

I can't address that specifically, but with more resources comes the ability for us to do alot more than in a shorter amount of time than we've done in the past.

Will we see an increase in developers and tech suipport people to help improve WIS? (az4lifenotr - Hall of Famer - 9:17 PM)

We will adjust staff to ensure your experience at WIS meets or exceeds your current experience.

Will this allow for a larger budget to improve the development of the whatif line of games? Or is this more of a marketing/promotion type of venture for whatif? (patrickD27 - Hall of Famer - 9:17 PM)

It should provide for both.

Will the company continue to be based in the Cincinnati, Ohio area? (goofypook - Hall of Famer - 9:18 PM)

Yes, all of our operations will remain the same.

do you have to run all your ideas by fox now before implementing them? or they giving you full authority to implement what you wish. (plague - Hall of Famer - 9:19 PM)

We still run WIS and it's direction.

Are you going to keep the logo WIS? or will it become FIMWIS? Really, will you still be able to do the BIG DANCE again this year. (twmiles - All-Star - 9:20 PM)

Logo stays the same and yes we can put out the Big Dance software again.

Does Foxsports own the technology behind the sim engines in all the games used? Or is that patented and licensed to the developer? (az4lifenotr - Hall of Famer - 9:20 PM)

Fox Interactive Media owns all of WIS, sim engines included.

What is the estimated potential for new clients to beef up the leagues that are losing majority of users to promotion and no new influx in D-3 of GD.. (akldog - Pro - 9:26 PM)

The potential is high - with the 3 college sports channels and the BCS rights for the next 6 years (I think), we should be able to attract quite a few college football fans.

When do you expect the new wave of users to come? In other words, when will Fox start advertising? Will it be right away? (jjbeverly - All-Star - 9:30 PM)

No, it will not be right away. We need to put together a plan first. My guess is you won't see anything until 2006.

I can't remember but does Fox televise March Madness? I'm thinking no? (jlovicz - Hall of Famer - 9:31 PM)

No, that's currently carried by CBS.

you said FOX was on a short list. what attracted you to FOX over the competion? (plague - Hall of Famer - 9:33 PM)

Paris Hilton (see above).

Do you wear a shirt while you are on the internet? I like to sit around topless myself. (vandydave - Hall of Famer - 9:40 PM)

Sorry for the delay - I just threw up.

Could this affect the use of names in the GD and HD games. For example instead of Arizona or Duke, you will have to give up those likenesses because of Fox's potential infringement on liscensing agreements? (patrickD27 - Hall of Famer - 9:42 PM)

I'm not a lawyer and even though I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I don't know.

If WIS does not perform up to Fox expectations, and fold, would THE WIS crew buy back the product or start a new project. (akldog - Pro - 9:45 PM)

Wow, that's a very far-reaching (and pessimistic) question. Give us some time to fail and then ask us.

What were other options for further financing of WhatIfSports.com? Other companies? What about an IPO? (az4lifenotr - Hall of Famer - 9:47 PM)

It wasn't as much a cash issue as it was a promotion issue. Even if you raised private capital, that money would be used for promotion and marketing - why not leverage the assets of one of the biggest media companies in the world? Rupert seems to have a pretty solid grasp on TV, print and radio.

Has your mother called to express her pride yet? (silverpaw - Hall of Famer - 9:48 PM)

She doesn't believe anything I say ever since I told her I was dating P.Hilt.

If I post something, is there any way Rupert Murdoch will read it, because I'd really like to send a message to him? Ben (beta333 - All-Star - 9:49 PM)

Probably not, but we're scheduled to play shuffleboard tomorrow morning so I can pass your message along. I hope it's an idea for a new reality show.

I'll keep this one simple: Why Fox? Why not ESPN? (kbjone - Hall of Famer - 9:51 PM)

Both have their pros and cons. Fox came across as much more aggressive and innovative - combine that with Rupert's newfound fascination with the Internet and I think it's a great fit for us.

Do you think any of the Fox executives will actually play any of the simulations? (r0b0t - Hall of Famer - 9:54 PM)

Some already do.

So you are on first name basis' with Rupert Murdoch, did you negociate directly with him? If so I want my 9.95 back because you guys are loaded. I have two sisters, you can have them both, and they both are cheerleaders at schools in this HD. (patrickD27 - Hall of Famer - 9:55 PM)

Maybe - it depends on how hot your sisters are.

Do you think this will serve to legitimatize WIS in the face of many potential customers? Will it make my girlfriend think of me as less of a nerd? (az4lifenotr - Hall of Famer - 10:02 PM)

That's a great question. I think yes, it will - there are only a couple of major players in sports and Fox is one of them. As for your girlfriend, I'm going to guess no - I mean you're having a chat with me right now so that's not helping your cause.

As always, thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts.

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