For this article RuneSuite interviewed Pim de Witte founder of RuneScape's once largest private server soulsplit the private server averaged 2,000 concurrent players across its three games achieved 1.5 million dollars in annual net revenue and had three million unique accounts registered.
First lets take a look at where it all began, SoulSplit 1 went live to the public in January of 2009 it was actually Pim de Witte's third attempt at a runescape private server his first being world extortion I'm not even going to pretend that I can pronounce that name, second being said our PS at the time people could go to Soul split calm and play the game but now that domain just redirects to his latest company medal TV
The server finally came to an end on June 30th of 2015 and this was due to a steadily declining player base after the release of old school runescape in 2013 he stated in a post on his forum that he had to let more than 30 people go from the Soul split company because of this decline
Pim de Witte was asked what sparked the creation of SoulSplit and he responded with "honestly I think it mostly stemmed from the desire to build something people actually played was kind of addicted to building things and then having people used them.
Pim de Witte got into tech by coding his first private server that's how he learned how to program and learned to program from YouTube videosbut there's also forum boards set up dedicated to helping people set up runescape private servers.
People often contact Pim de Witte asking him for advice on them starting a private server, people who are successful in private servers let's say they make a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year then they also have the potential to make a hundred and twenty thousand dollars year outside of private servers which is much more sustainable, building games are a great way to learn though and it taught Pim a ton about coding but Pim wouldn't recommend running private servers as a career and here's why
if you have the technical ability to make a private server then you also have the technical ability to make something much bigger of your own quote it might be harder but it's more sustainable Pim said that he's quite sad about how many people have been stuck in private servers wasting their youth when they could have been building something much bigger he saidthat each and every runescape private server developer that was somewhatsuccessful inside of that area has been successful outside of private servers as well he then wanted to say that
There's this common misconception that a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year is a lot of money he said it's a lot when it's sustainable but if you're not building a resume and not working on anything long-term you are actually only putting yourself behind on your life in exchange for that one hundred and twenty thousand dollars he said when people are 20 to 30 years old that have that kind of time on their hands they could be building the next Google or the next Facebook I think that message is really important to anyone who is thinking about starting a private server or is currently running one.
After SoulSplit Pim went on to do some cool projects with Doctors Without Borders having roles such as the tech lead and product manager he did that for two years in seven months and then he started his own company known as Medal TV which is a game clipping and sharing platform that has over 2.5 million gamers on it he's raised a ton of investment money from investors and he's hired employees the whole nine yards he's been very successful at that.
Pim de Witte Said it was a rough transition from RSPS at first because he was so used to being a big deal in private servers Pim said that when he finally ventured out into the real world and made him realize how much the world had actually passed him by he had learned so many bad practices in private servers that he had to unlearn and that kind of put him behind in learning real engineering he also said he had to learn to collaborate with people to get things done he said for him the biggest thing was that he joined Doctors Without Borders and that eventually led to a project at Google .
Pim de Witte also admitted to learning alot from runescape private servers and that RSPS knowledge is transferable to the real world he said that eventually after building several projects with existing teams and organizations he went on to start MedalTV and was lucky to partner with some great investors that led him into building the company in theme that he has now the next thing I wanted to know is if he has post-secondary and what he thinks about people pursuing
Pim de Witte never went to college in fact he barely finished high school, he decided to finish high school when he actually first came to the United States he then went on to say that he contemplated going back to college for a while after SoulSplit shut down but when the Ebola outbreak happened and he was asked to do that project with Doctors Without Borders the choice was kind of made for him he then.