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On Being a Small PC Publisher

MCV quotes Cédric Lagarrigue on the topic of smaller publishers competing in today's marketplace, something he knows about, since he's the CEO of French publisher Focus Home Interactive. Focus has opted against boxed retail copies of Cities XL 2011 in the U.K., which Lagarrigue explains. "It was impossible for us to secure a strong place at retail because of difficulties with distributors and the extremely unfavourable conditions of the PC market," he says. "It has become very difficult to sell a good PC title there. If people can’t find a product they want in stores, they will buy online. It is the same in the US, where PC does not have the place at retail that it had before. It was no surprise when NPD announced in September digital sales had exceeded that of boxed product for the first time."

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16. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 19:51 Kxmode
 
Slashman wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 18:29:
ASJD wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 18:17:
What DID happen is a strong WESTERN developed console was made that received strong WESTERN game development. Then naturally developers, publishers, and gamers chose the Western console over PC.

It's because people prefer Xbox 360 over PC, in general.

What happened is that more people own consoles than they do gaming PCs. That's a no-brainer. Console sales will outstrip PC sales every time because each console is primarily for gaming.

There may be more PCs in the world, but how many of them are used to play games on? And furthermore, how many of them are set up for gaming anything more than ultra casual crap or WoW?

Furthermore, the PC market hasn't shrunk. Its just that what was a blockbuster sales figure 8 years ago, is now considered a flop due to AAA development costs and very ho-hum gameplay.

The former means that you can't take risks and have to cater to the lowest common denominator and the latter means that you won't catch the attention of PC gamers with your game(not the ones who want to buy it anyway).

Starcarft 2 sold a gajillion copies. I can grab it form a torrent site right now. Explain away piracy with that.

Microsoft released the SDK that allows parallel development for both Windows and Xbox titles. Microsoft approached publishers with an offer: "We'll cut you a deal on X if you let us buy the shelf space. All we ask in return is that you use that space for Xbox titles. We want our console to thrive. It's good for you, it's good for us." That was back in 1999/2000 when Xbox was just starting up. Before 2001/2002 consoles games and Windows games shared a peaceful coexistence on the same shelf space in the video game aisle with simple platform labels to group them. Why do I say this? Because I remember Best Buy, Walmart, EB Games before, during, and after 2001/2002.
 
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15. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 19:41 Warskull
 
Are the people behind Cities XL 2011 really the best people to talk to regarding being a small publisher? They basically bought a crap game from a company that went out of business and re-released it for the price of a new game, will all the same problems as the previous version. All they did was take out the monthly fee gates for some of the content.

Why not ask someone who isn't trying to shill crap?
 
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14. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 18:29 Slashman
 
ASJD wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 18:17:
What DID happen is a strong WESTERN developed console was made that received strong WESTERN game development. Then naturally developers, publishers, and gamers chose the Western console over PC.

It's because people prefer Xbox 360 over PC, in general.

What happened is that more people own consoles than they do gaming PCs. That's a no-brainer. Console sales will outstrip PC sales every time because each console is primarily for gaming.

There may be more PCs in the world, but how many of them are used to play games on? And furthermore, how many of them are set up for gaming anything more than ultra casual crap or WoW?

Furthermore, the PC market hasn't shrunk. Its just that what was a blockbuster sales figure 8 years ago, is now considered a flop due to AAA development costs and very ho-hum gameplay.

The former means that you can't take risks and have to cater to the lowest common denominator and the latter means that you won't catch the attention of PC gamers with your game(not the ones who want to buy it anyway).

Starcarft 2 sold a gajillion copies. I can grab it form a torrent site right now. Explain away piracy with that.
 
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13. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 18:17 ASJD
 
kxmode wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 13:04:
The Half Elf wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 11:53:
Yeah it MUST be Microsoft. The money is on consoles, be it Microsoft's, Sony's, or Nintendo's console.

When Microsoft got into the console business all that shelf space that used to be for Windows games was bought by Microsoft for Xbox 360 titles. Where do you think PC games went? To the back of the store (e.g. Best Buy), and in some cases completely removed (EB Games). So, yes, I blame Microsoft completely for creating "extremely unfavourable conditions of the PC market"

Microsoft wasn't the publisher for ALL PC games. It was up to PC game publishers to pay for that shelf space, and it was up to PC gamers to buy PC games. Neither happened, so the games went in the back.

What DID happen is a strong WESTERN developed console was made that received strong WESTERN game development. Then naturally developers, publishers, and gamers chose the Western console over PC.

It's because people prefer Xbox 360 over PC, in general.
 
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12. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 17:38 Silicon Avatar
 
So basically shareware games are seeing a resurgence in popularity.

I can live with that.
 
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11. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 17:03 4D-Boxing
 
Jerykk

Thanks for putting an end to that. Well done.
 
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10. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 15:15 Jerykk
 
It's not about PC Salves cannibalizing Console sales, cause if you release the same game on PC's and Consoles at the same time you WILL loose sales due to people who will pirate the PC version.

But then again I NEVER said PC sales cannibalize console sales, you did sir.

Your argument is contradictory. In order for PC piracy to affect console sales, you must assume that people would have otherwise bought the PC versions instead of the console versions if piracy were not an option. If that assumption is correct, then PC sales must logically cannibalize console sales.

However, the truth of the matter is that PC sales do not cannibalize console sales and therefore, PC piracy does not affect console sales. As I mentioned before, the outstanding console sales of multiplatform games like CoD have proven that PC piracy has little to no effect on console sales. If CoD became a console-exclusive, would sales increase significantly? No. If CoD became a PC-exclusive, would PC sales increase significantly? Yes.
 
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9. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 13:38 ASeven
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 12:41:
In another corner you'll have people arguing that the industry loses money year after year and is therefore about to implode 1983 style.

Someone called?
 
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8. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 13:04 Kxmode
 
The Half Elf wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 11:53:
Yeah it MUST be Microsoft. The money is on consoles, be it Microsoft's, Sony's, or Nintendo's console.

When Microsoft got into the console business all that shelf space that used to be for Windows games was bought by Microsoft for Xbox 360 titles. Where do you think PC games went? To the back of the store (e.g. Best Buy), and in some cases completely removed (EB Games). So, yes, I blame Microsoft completely for creating "extremely unfavourable conditions of the PC market"

This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2010, 13:24.
 
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7. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 12:56 The Half Elf
 
Jerykk wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 12:19:
And lets be honest, piracy is 800lbs gorilla in the room for the PC. With as big as a franchise as Halo is, personally I wouldn't release it for the PC for a min. of 12 months after the console version due to sales.

And that would be a really foolish decision. PC sales don't cannibalize console sales. It's the other way around. Look at big, consecutive multiplatform releases like CoD. Rampant piracy of the PC version didn't stop the console versions from selling 10 million units. The idea that PC piracy would somehow impact console sales is ridiculous. The biggest thing that hurts PC sales is multiplatform development.

It's not about PC Salves cannibalizing Console sales, cause if you release the same game on PC's and Consoles at the same time you WILL loose sales due to people who will pirate the PC version.

But then again I NEVER said PC sales cannibalize console sales, you did sir.
 
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6. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 12:41 Beamer
 
And I'm fucking tired of hearing it while the industry posts record profits year after year.

And in this corner Paketep arguing that the industry posts record profits year after year.

In another corner you'll have people arguing that the industry loses money year after year and is therefore about to implode 1983 style.

And in a third corner you'll have people arguing that the industry loses money year after year on paper only because all corporations are evil and lie.
 
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5. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 12:23 Paketep
 
The Half Elf wrote on Nov 22, 2010, 11:53:
And lets be honest, piracy is 800lbs gorilla in the room for the PC. With as big as a franchise as Halo is, personally I wouldn't release it for the PC for a min. of 12 months after the console version due to sales.

No, it's not, and that's ridiculous. And I'm fucking tired of hearing it while the industry posts record profits year after year.

If anything, useless DRM is the 800lbs gorilla. Look, Focus in particular, they used starforce in their products. I bought Virtual Skipper 3, then I bought Trackmania, then it broke my burner, then I never ever again bought from them.

Pirates?. They played from the first day with some virtual CD unit, can't even remember the name. Who's the guilty party here?.

Any publisher that harasses customers trying to stop the unstoppable doesn't deserve my money. And lots of games have shown that there's more than enough market in the PC if you don't release shit and you don't treat your customers like thieves. So spare me the piracy cries, please. Even a boring POS like Crysis sold millions, which was way more than it deserved, despite Cevat Yerli's ramblings.
 
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4. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 12:19 Jerykk
 
And lets be honest, piracy is 800lbs gorilla in the room for the PC. With as big as a franchise as Halo is, personally I wouldn't release it for the PC for a min. of 12 months after the console version due to sales.

And that would be a really foolish decision. PC sales don't cannibalize console sales. It's the other way around. Look at big, consecutive multiplatform releases like CoD. Rampant piracy of the PC version didn't stop the console versions from selling 10 million units. The idea that PC piracy would somehow impact console sales is ridiculous. The biggest thing that hurts PC sales is multiplatform development.
 
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3. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 11:54 Luther
 
I sympathise with high street shops and I'm sad to see them go but as for PC games.... well, they've made their bed and they can sleep in it. I've been happy to buy my media soley online for several years.
You don't get the choice at retail and the last time I picked up an old game cheaply at a game store (KOTR) I couldn't play it because of some daft DRM 'solution' that didn't like some random thing about my win7 installation (but wouldn't tell me what). Digital distribution is a lot easier, has an infinite shelf and gives good exposure to indies.
 
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2. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 11:53 The Half Elf
 
Yeah it MUST be Microsoft. The money is on consoles, be it Microsoft's, Sony's, or Nintendo's console.
Unless you have some sort of huge hit game, (mainly the market for pc gaming is casual like the Sims or MMO like WoW), it wouldn't make business sense to make PC exclusive titles.

But just for giggles, if Microsoft really backed the PC gaming market like it said it would, what other titles would we have? Fable 2? Gears of War 2? Halo franchise?
And lets be honest, piracy is 800lbs gorilla in the room for the PC. With as big as a franchise as Halo is, personally I wouldn't release it for the PC for a min. of 12 months after the console version due to sales.

What I don't understand especially from a business standpoint is, why wouldn't you WANT to go the digital distribution route? Doesn't that save you a ton of money not having to make physical copies of the game/manual/box? Not to mention not having to deal with a publisher?

What they need to do is look at themselves to realize Cities XL was going after the Sim City/MMO/Second Life market, which to me seems extremely niche, and plan accordingly.
 
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1. Re: On Being a Small PC Publisher Nov 22, 2010, 10:56 Kxmode
 
extremely unfavourable conditions of the PC market

We have Microsoft to thank for that. They should have taken the hippocratic oath with respects all their divisions including their PC gaming sector.
 
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