To develop a MMO is a significant task and it is considered the game genre the most difficult and most expensive to develop”
Thomas Bidaux is the CEO of ICO Partners, a UK-based online game development consultancy, and an expert witness scheduled to appear in the Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Interplay Entertainment Corporation court case.
Thomas Bidaux has started in the Online Gaming industry after joining GOA.com (a subsidiary of France Telecom) as an events and operations manager. In 2004 he was hired by NCsoft as Director of Product Development to help build their European presence, in this role he supervised the development of 8 MMOGs, and 6 other online games.
Mr. Bidaux left NCsoft in 2008 to form ICO partners, where he has been involved in an audit of at least 3 MMOGs in development and consulted for at least 5 MMOG publishers (as of November 2011) 
Bidaux was also a contributor to "Playing the game: Insider views on games development".
Bethesda v Interplay Court CaseEdit
Bidaux was engaged by as a consultant to provide expert testimony in the Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Interplay Entertainment Corporation court case. He was to testify on what resources in personnel and funding are required to develop a Massively Multiplayer Online game.
His report included the following
- The budget to create an MMOG can vary depending on the ambition for the title. For a game to meet high quality standards and be considered "AAA", the development would be in the region of $US80 million over a 4 year development cycle. Even if one were not developing an MMOG of high quality standards such as AAA, there is probably no way to make a game from scratch in the US or Europe for less than $US 20 million. That would roughly mean a development team of 40 people working for 3 years. Current trends show games that have a development team of 80+ people working on a game for 4 years or more. 
Mr. Bidaux's pre-trial report suggested he was to be to be one half of Bethesda's argument that Interplay did not meet the requirements of the Trademark License Agreement to continue to use the Fallout trademark on Project V13.
This would have offered the court a contrast with Interplay's current position in regards to both funding and employee count - At the end of June 2009, Interplay had $16,000 cash on hand; while at the end of December Interplay reported 5 staff members working in development. The intended result of this contrast was to prove that Interplay had not started full scale development by April 4 2009.
In compensation for his work in the case, and potential testimony, Mr. Bidaux was to be paid between £900 and £1200 per day.
He was also present (in his role as expert witness) during the bench trial portion on December 12, 2011, but did not speak on the record during this event. The case was settled before he could be called as a witness.
Interplay filed a motion in limine to block Mr. Bidaux's testimony on two major grounds.
- They felt Mr. Bidaux had no useful information to give to the court as he had no knowledge of what actions interplay had taken in developing Project V13/Fallout Online. Bethesda's position was that Mr. Bideaux was indeed not being called to comment directly on Interplay at all, but was there to provide to the court information in general on MMOG development.
- Interplay and Bethesda were unable to come to an agreement on how, where and when to depose Mr. Bidaux. Court documents indicate Mr. Bidaux was in the Washington DC area between 26-28 October 2011, but Interplay did not want to fly their lawyers to DC for a deposition they believed would take about 3 hours and requested a telephone deposition instead. Bethesda denied this request and insisted that it must be face to face.
The motion in limine was partially granted. Mr. Bidaux would be able to take the stand, but would only be able to testify in general terms on MMOG development, he could not comment specifically on Interplay's development.
- La 4ème Prophétie
- Dark Age of Camelot
- Guild Wars
- City of Heroes