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More 3000AD vs DreamCatcher

Here's 3000AD's Cease and Desist letter to DreamCatcher (thanks space captain) in Adobe Acrobat-format, outlining the disagreement between the developer and publisher of Universal Combat over DreamCatcher's decision to distribute the game at a value price point (story and story).

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52 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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52. Re: No subject Feb 2, 2004, 20:23 Dwarf_Snowninja
 
"You obviously have no clue as to what may be in the contract and your above comment makes absolutely no sense at all."

Very true, but then why do you say this?

"Even if all this is not true, they have changed the MSRP without consulting 3000ad and are in breach of contract. Period end of subject."

You just contradicted yourself, telling someone else that they haven't the slightest idea what's in the contract then saying DC is in breach of contract. I highly doubt DC would back out of a contract at this point unless they had an escape vavle, usually some nice ambiguous phrase thrown into a contract to allow one (or more) of the contractees to have some wiggle room. Work in the legel field for awhile, you'll see what I mean, and I highly doubt it's any different in Canada.

 
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51. Re: No subject Feb 2, 2004, 08:34 Tigger
 
which, btw, is rubbish and doesn't resolve. You uneducated ass

Who is calling who uneducated?

Educated people don't need to result to name calling to prove a point. Where I'm from, we call that 'immature'.



--
Tigger
"It's not the years, it's the mileage" ~Indiana Jones
 
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Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
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50. Re: No subject Feb 2, 2004, 07:08 Gum
 
"Yes, that is what Smart seems to be saying, and that is wrong, as we've already been over several times in this thread. If DC could make more money by selling the game at a higher price, why wouldn't they? Derek's argument imples that DC is literally paying thousands of dollars to hurt his firm, which doesn't make any sense (Derek seems unable to understand this). YET AGAIN, development costs have NOTHING to do with optimal pricing once the game is done."

You obviously have no clue as to what may be in the contract and your above comment makes absolutely no sense at all.

DC has little to lose in this deal. They have put almost no $$$$ into producing the title, none if anything into advertisement and are looking to unload their end of the deal at the expense of Derek's profits.

Even if all this is not true, they have changed the MSRP without consulting 3000ad and are in breach of contract. Period end of subject.

This comment was edited on Feb 2, 07:09.
 
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49. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 23:41 Chance
 
You may very well be right, but true or not, dsmart is saying that DC is out to do him dirty. You are assuming that DC is acting rationally and attempting to maximize their profit (and thus his). If they are privately held as he states (no stockholders to be acountable to) and they don't mind foregoing what might be only a modest (for them) amount of money they may have decided to do the irrational. Who knows? I don't.

Even if they are acting rationally they may have decided to get out of this contract (for whatever reason) with minimum risk in the shortest time by acting to recover their costs as expeditiously as possible via selling out the initial production run and later dumping the game by citing limited sales / profits. I've seen stranger things in business (I used to consult). Now I teach. Economics among other things.

 
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48. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 21:44 Chris
 
As I understand what dsmart is saying, Dream Catcher have no significant funds invested in the title. Therefore, given low production costs, they can sell it for a low price without losing anything, and in all probability recover their minimal investment. No losses for them. Where as 3000 AD has put in quite a bit and will not recover significant amounts of their investment at the $19.99 price given the probable sales.

Yes, that is what Smart seems to be saying, and that is wrong, as we've already been over several times in this thread. If DC could make more money by selling the game at a higher price, why wouldn't they? Derek's argument imples that DC is literally paying thousands of dollars to hurt his firm, which doesn't make any sense (Derek seems unable to understand this). YET AGAIN, development costs have NOTHING to do with optimal pricing once the game is done.


 
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47. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 21:35 markv
 
I see that Dr. Smart's new found free time (because he is no longer going to be making a demo, or support UC) is being used wisely!

What's sad is I might actually enjoy one of his games, but I refuse to purchase, nor endorse his product to any of my friends, because of his crazy, irrational and confrontational attitude to anyone that does not view life through his glasses.

Now I await to be called an uneducated wanker who can't read english and is obviously a trolling dolt with no life by Dr. Smart.


 
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46. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 21:11 Chance
 
As I understand what dsmart is saying, Dream Catcher have no significant funds invested in the title. Therefore, given low production costs, they can sell it for a low price without losing anything, and in all probability recover their minimal investment. No losses for them. Where as 3000 AD has put in quite a bit and will not recover significant amounts of their investment at the $19.99 price given the probable sales.


*edit* Should say I have no real opinion on the games probable sales although it does seem to be a "niche" genre which would indicate relatively limited increases in sales regardless of price.

This comment was edited on Feb 1, 21:25.
 
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45. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 20:37 Chris
 
Derek's argument requires that Dreamcatcher is deliberately losing money because they want to hurt him,
Chris, stupidity like what you've shown, surely comes with a merit badge. Where'd you pin yours?

WHERE in the my missive, do you derive the idea that they [publishers no less] are willing to lose money in order to hurt me? Are you fucking mad? No, don't answer that.

Too funny. Try reading what I wrote again, "Dr." Smart.

When you posted that equation (which, btw, is rubbish and doesn't resolve. You uneducated ass), you clearly took the premise out of context.

ROFL. Derek Smart called me uneducated!

 
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44. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 17:53 EvilGoof_Trollboy
 
"I have a caste iron contract and a significant amount of documentation to support my claim and stance"

dream on you fuckwit

 
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43. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 16:55  dsmart 
 
Derek's argument requires that Dreamcatcher is deliberately losing money because they want to hurt him,

Chris, stupidity like what you've shown, surely comes with a merit badge. Where'd you pin yours?

WHERE in the my missive, do you derive the idea that they [publishers no less] are willing to lose money in order to hurt me? Are you fucking mad? No, don't answer that.

When you posted that equation (which, btw, is rubbish and doesn't resolve. You uneducated ass), you clearly took the premise out of context.

Now please, I'm sure you can read English, go BACK and READ what I wrote. And if its still not clear to you WHAT is going on, regarding the reason WHY they can reduce the price and NOT lose money, go have some more crack. It'll clear you head.

Fool

 
Avatar 9141
 
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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42. Triple A? Feb 1, 2004, 14:55 ZzeusS
 
I'd like to know what this 'triple A' title business is about. What's the ranking system? Double A? A? First I've heard of it. How do you rank stuff like that?

 
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41. No subject Feb 1, 2004, 14:52 ZetaMaiL
 
I'll probably be called a "fanboy" for this, but I really don't care...

I bought BCMG last year and enjoyed it. When will you people realize that it's just a game Play it, be objective about it, see if it's the kind of game for you. The battlecruiser games aren't "mainstream" in the way that the player doesn't have their hand held and walked through everything. You have to work with these games and use your imagination. Most people don't have the attention span or just aren't into this type of gameplay. That's great, go play games that you do enjoy and leave Mr. Smart and his games alone.

 
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40. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 14:41 Bronco
 
I have been doing this for 15 years and I'm not new at it. I have a caste iron contract and a significant amount of documentation to support my claim and stance. I'm not going to justify those claims in an open forum. Thats what I have attorneys for. What I can't stand for is every goddman armchair "developer" and their dog, coming up with all manner of ridiculousness, because they simply DON'T know HOW the industry works. If you don't know, STFU and don't give an opinion!!

As long as you keep yappin we'll keep commenting on it. I like your rants, please don't go away!


-TPFKAS2S
http://www.braglio.org
 
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-TPFKAS2S
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39. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 14:23 Chris
 
Derek's rant includes the repeated claim he's not going discuss contractual details followed by a lengthy diatribe on contractual details, and repeated claims that the economics of the situation are irrelevant followed by lots of very, very incorrect economics.

The math of the situation is indeed very simple, Derek.
Since you are very highly educated, surely you can easily see that the solution to the optimization problem

max_p pQ(p) - c(Q(P)) - D

where p is price, Q is quantity, c() is the cost function, and D are development costs, doesn't depend on D. That is, optimal pricing is independent of development costs. You seem to think that firms which produce games that cost little to develop price them low BECAUSE they didn't cost much to devlop. They actually price them low BECAUSE that's the profit-maximizing pricing for a game with low/elastic demand. It's not as if they could make higher profits if they priced high and just don't do so out sheer altruism.

Similarly, a game with high development costs that turns out to be a stinker is best sold at a low price. It may not make much money, and it may even lose subtantial amounts of money, but the losses would be greater still if sold at a high price. Try to understand that "high price" DOES NOT imply "greater profits," nor is it the case that it follows that a game with high development costs ought to be sold at a high price. This is basic economics that everyone in this thread except "Dr." Smart seems to now grasp.

Read what I wrote about putting in $1 and selling it for $1.50 - even though the owner wants it sold at $11, and you'll get the picture.

Derek's argument requires that Dreamcatcher is deliberately losing money because they want to hurt him,
ie, they're paying thousands and thousands of dollars simply to get back at him. That seems highly implausible. The facts are also consistent with the hypothesis that Dreamcatcher believes profits will be higher (or losses lower) at a low price point whereas Derek Smart, as amply demonstrated above, doesn't understand elementary economics or elementary mathematics. The reader is invited to read Derek's message and conclude for themselves which explanation is more compelling.

 
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38. Very Simple Feb 1, 2004, 14:10 Parallax Abstraction
 
DreamCatcher knows that this product will not sell enough units to justify anything they've spent on it, particular at $39.99. While Derek claims that his games have all made good money, he has never bothered to produce any proof of that as far as I know (he doesn't have to, but he shouldn't preach what he's not willing to back up.) I'll frankly be amazed if any of them made money. DreamCatcher knows that the only way they'll be able to move enough of this game to recoup their investment (10%? Yeah right!) is to price point the game lower so that it will hopefully pay for itself. This game will get poor reviews like all the previous ones (odd that Derek screams about quality and how DC is stifling that even though many of his proper games were full of major bugs themselves) and won't sell to anyone but those who live with their collective heads up Derek's rear end. Even a large developer almost always has to live with whatever pricing decisions the publisher makes (if you think Valve is setting HL2's price, you are delerious.) A one-man show like 3000AD having any contractual agreement to help set price is laughable. If he wanted that say, no real publisher would have signed him. The game will not make money at $39.99 and DreamCatcher is now simply trying to make back what they can after backing the wrong horse. You lose again Derek, forgive me is I chuckle a bit at that.


Parallax Abstraction
This comment was edited on Feb 1, 14:14.
 
Parallax Abstraction
Geek Bravado | YouTube
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37. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 14:09 nin
 
That said, I will respond only to Jereco1's post and be gone.

Promises, promises...



http://www.thecure.com
 
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36. No subject Feb 1, 2004, 14:07 MajorGeeks
 
Derek,
You had me at twats


"just the typical nonsensical rubbish posted by a bunch of twats parked behind a monitor and have not fucking clue as to the economics of the game business."
 
http://www.majorgeeks.com
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35. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 13:13 WaltC
 
Get a grip. Your wife buys/plays ADVENTURE games. Where do you see that fit into this? The part where they have an ACTION and ADVENTURE lineup, wasn't obvious, right? Saying that its OK for them to sell this game at $19.99 fits in with that doctrine is laughable and just plain silly.

Derek,

It isn't me who needs to "get a grip"...:) I'm fine, happy, having no problems, and have nothing to complain about. It's you who's complaining, remember?

Your comments here illustrate what I observed about you in my last post (as far as it is possible for me to do so based on your written comments.) You just don't understand that your point of view is not the same point of view as your publisher's. Your point of view, while you certainly think it relevant to you, is not necessarily relevant at all to your publisher, and I shouldn't have to tell you why.

While it may be important to you to distinguish between an "adventure game" and an "FPS" and an "RTS," or whatever other categories you might wish to distinguish in the way of genres, it simply isn't important to a publisher. Where your publisher and you diverge is in this aspect: your publisher is interested in serving its market, and will provide its market with what that market wants in the way of games, be they "adventure games" or "FPS" or "RTS" games, or...anything else that market demands. Their goal is to market the products that their markets wish to buy, as opposed to marketing only their own personal preferences in gaming software. Your goal, course, is to sell your game and only your game, and thus your goals and your publisher's goals are entirely distinct from one another in that regard.

There is one overlapping area of congruency, however, between you and your publisher, and that is a desire to sell your game in a manner which generates the most possible profit for you and for your publisher. If you don't make money then neither does your publisher.

I cannot understand, therefore, on what basis you might possibly conclude that your publisher could screw you without screwing himself. I can assure you, however, that if you think your publisher is so obsessed with some kind of petty revenge against you to the degree that he would screw himself just on your account--well, I would make bets that you are wrong. If your publisher was out to screw you out of petty revenge with no harm done to himself, then what better route could he have taken other than to simply refuse to publish any of your software in the first place? That fact that it is DC, and nobody else, publishing you in the matter of this software is a fact you somehow are able to ignore. I think that it is very likely that you have no idea who your friends really are...Unless, of course, you'd like to try and persuade the world that DreamCatcher held a gun to your head and forced you to sign a publishing contract and that your signature and indeed the game itself was all done by you against your will...? I really, really wouldn't go there...:)

 
Avatar 16008
 
It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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34. Re: is it me... Feb 1, 2004, 12:17 WaltC
 
So this is the way it normally works, and my best estimate as the reason behind the price drop. As for Derek's motivation out of this? If he got paid a big, non-refundable advance payment on royalties, he probably figures he won't make anything else from that game (90% of developpers don't). The "continuing support to make patch" thing is ludicrous. A developper is obligated to provide technical support for a game, normally for the first 12 months after release, and normally at no extra cost. DC could counter-sue him for a lot of thing. He probably just doesn't want to be labeled a bargain bid developper.

Heh...:) Good points all, which agree very much with what I had suspected was the case. You raise a particularly valid point, though, and that is that things are really "worth" what the market will bear, not what we decree them to be worth. It's like trying to get appraisal value on your home when you sell it--you may or may not be able to do so, because ultimately it is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

How does Smart know, for instance, that DC didn't set the MSRP at $19.95 because they were unable to negotiate any higher wholesale price for the game that would have been commensurate with a $39.95 MSRP with retailers such as Best Buy? Smart cannot have known what DC did with the MSRP. and why, unless he asked them. And, if he simply asked them privately I can't think of why they wouldn't have privately told him and explained to him why they set the MSRP as they did. It would appear from all of this, however, that Smart thinks he's so smart that he didn't need to ask them, and that he can divine their motivations telepathically, and that he "knows" that everything his publisher does relates directly and only to him and is done for no other motivation.

So it's only natural to see a letter from Smart in which he can imagine that his publisher has no other considerations to make apart from satisfying him, and that if his publisher does something with which he doesn't agree it is only done to spite him, and for no other reason.

I've known a few people like this in my life, and they are congenitally so self-centered that they trot through life believing that everything which happens on earth happens, either directly or indirectly, because they exist...:) It's so sad to encounter these people, really, because they are missing a fundamental intellectual component necessary for rational thought: the ability to view situations from perspectives other than their own. Smart seems so disabled with ego, to me, that he must believe the center of the solar system is Smart instead Sol....:)

My suggestion to Smart is that he contact his publisher directly regarding his education on the way MSRPs are negotiated with retail software chains around the world (Best Buy's, CompUSA, etc.) My belief is that his publisher would be more than happy to school him in the particulars of which he is obviously unaware. The question is not whether Smart can obtain the practical education he needs in matters such as this, but the real question is, "Is Smart capable of learning?" That's the issue underlying all of this, it seems to me.

Last, your comment that Smart "probably just doesn't want to be labeled a bargain-bin developer," was very amusing...:) What comes to mind to me here is that the best way to avoid that fate is not to write software which is perceived by your intended market as being of "bargain-bin" quality. But, in order to be able to do that, Smart would have to be able to view his software from a perspective other than his own, and as I've said I don't think Smart can handle that process intellectually, and there you have his core problem with many things, it seems to me.

To be honest, though, most "bargain-bin software" is merely older software which the publisher could not sell out at the original MSRP, due to lack of demand for it at that price point, and so to move his unsold stock the publisher will drop the price per copy to whatever level is necessary to move it and sell it out. Much of that software was of high-quality at the time it was initially published and marketed, by standards current at that time, but evidently the software was not of sufficient attractiveness to the market to sell out at the original MSRP. Either that, or the publisher overestimated demand for the original product at its original MSRP and simply published too many copies. Hence, in order to sell more copies until inventories are sold out it is necessary to reduce the MSRP, hence the existence of the "bargain bin" in the first place.

Basically, there is nothing wrong with "bargains." Retailers have known for generations that shoppers specifically look for and seek out bargains wherever they may find them--it's an ancient and completely proven marketing concept. I say "kudos to DC" for attempting to bring the concept of "bargains" to computer gaming software, and I say it's about time. I wish them all the success in the world because the more successful DC is in this approach the more likely it is that other publishers will follow suit, and everybody will benefit; consumers, developers and publishers alike. How so? Because there are two ways to skin the profit cat: MSRP and volume sales, and you can't have high MSRPs and huge volumes of sales at the same time.

I saw some recent figures on the sale of new computers worldwide in 2003: the number was 140 million +. Contrast that with worldwide computer sales in 1994 of roughly ~10% of this number (give or take a percentage point or two), and it's clear the market is there for volume computer game sales. Consider the fact that movies which cost $100,000,000 + each, over a span of sometimes years, to make can be seen by way of legitimate tickets in theaters costing as little as $5-$10 per seat. Yet, movies like Titanic have brought in $1 Billion in revenue to their makers over their short lifetimes (similar in length to the lifetime so far for Half-Life 1.)

Looking at this from the standpoint of computer gaming, how well do you think Titanic, or Lord of the Rings, or the Matrix, might have done if it cost $39.95 per seat to see these movies? And, of course, the first computer game made on a budget even 10% of that required for a blockbuster movie has yet to be made. The money making secret here is *volume* sales at very low prices per seat.

Take book publishing for instance, as another example, and let's consider the aspect of piracy, both commmercial and casual, here as well. The counterfeiting and copying of paperback books is virtually unknown, because by selling a paperback best-seller for $6.95, book publishers eliminate the financial incentive for pirates and counterfeiters, who cannot match it and make any money at the same time. The secret to profitable book publishing like this is, again, volume, not high MSRP.

Looking at MSRP one last time, consider the "hardback" book versus the paperback. Hardback books generally retail at an MSRP of $20-$30+. Hardbacks which do not sell out quickly at the initial MSRPs are rapidly marked down in price (often by 33%-50%) until they sell out. Then, 9-12 months after the release of the initial hardback edition, the book publisher will release the paperback version of the same book for ~$6.95, to grab the volume market.

If you check the "bargain bin" at your local software retailer, you won't see 9-12-month old titles in there selling for < than 10% of their original MSRP. No, what you'll see is 2-5 year-old software in there selling for < 10% of its original MSRP. In other words, what generally happens with software is that by the time it finally is marked down in MSRP to a level commensurate with volume sales, it is too old and too dated to be desirable by the market in quantity, even at such low prices. In short, software publishers have a lot to learn from book publishers, IMO.

Look at M$, for instance, and the fact that M$ can turn billions of dollars in profits, each quarter, and do it consistently over time. They can do this despite the fact that everybody knows that M$ software is the most widely pirated, bootlegged and counterfeited software in the world, by far. How does M$ do it? V-O-L-U-M-E. It's just that simple. While other companies obsess over proprietary solutions, profits-per-unit, and in the process create very small niche markets (like Apple, for instance), M$ serves the only "open" computer hardware market there is--x86, which is the only hardware market in which companies compete on a worldwide basis (which makes the fact that the market for Apple hardware is 50x smaller than the the market for x86 understandable, as you can't buy a Mac from anyone except Apple.) And so, M$ gets the benefits of volume and companies like Apple do not.

In short, x86 computer game publishers are short-changing themselves today, and shooting themselves in the feet, by trying to artificially maintain MSRPs for gaming software that haven't changed in over a decade. Charging $50 a game in 1994 made a heck of a lot more sense than it does today, because today's market is easily 10x the size of the x86 market a decade ago, if not 14x the size. But are software publishers really tapping the volume potential of their present markets with MSRPs dating back 15 years? I think the answers are obvious--for the most part, software publishers are artificially limiting their markets and volumes, as well as guaranteeing high levels of piracy, through their inflexibility concerning MSRPs. In a volume market, the idea that high MSRPs are more profitable than low MSRPs is entirely an illusion, a hangover, if you will, from the early days of computer game publishing relating to the far smaller markets at the time.

Smart's general comments on setting artificial MSRP levels, I believe, crystalize the nexus of the problem as it relates to many in the current software industry--they don't understand how much bigger their markets are today and they limit their profits and distribution by setting MSRPs to self-defeating, or at best self-limiting, levels. Companies like DreamCatcher, it seems to me, are intent on breaking this mold and capitalizing on the volumes in the x86 gaming market that are actually there, but which have been badly underestimated and ignored by mainline software publishers. As the market for x86 computer games continues to grow, I believe this approach will soon put them ahead of the pack, and the good news is that in volumne markets lower MSRPs mean more copies sold, which equates to more money for everybody, including publishers and developers, as well as the consumer at the same time, because his gaming dollar will go a lot further so that he can *buy more games.*

This comment was edited on Feb 1, 12:19.
 
Avatar 16008
 
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33. Re: No subject Feb 1, 2004, 12:07  dsmart 
 
I had actually cut and pasted excerpts from no less than six posts which I wanted to responded to, but changed my mind after reading Jereco1's post. Yes, the other six posts were not troll bair per se, just the typical nonsensical rubbish posted by a bunch of twats parked behind a monitor and have not fucking clue as to the economics of the game business.

That said, I will respond only to Jereco1's post and be gone.

So this is the way it normally works, and my best estimate as the reason behind the price drop. As for Derek's motivation out of this? If he got paid a big, non-refundable advance payment on royalties, he probably figures he won't make anything else from that game (90% of developpers don't)

Most of what you posted prior to this is partially true. For conventional developer/publisher deals.

There is NOTHING conventional about my deal with Dreamcatcher and I'm not at liberty to discuss them in an open forum, now that attorneys are involved.

Fact is, I funded the game's development. And Dreamcatcher's involvement *barely* paid for some of the game's content.

I signed two products with them. BCM Gold and BCG. BCM Gold was priced at $29.99, was released in March 2003 and is still at that price. BCG (now UC) was to be $49.99 when we signed. In September '03 after the market analysis was done, they decided to drop it to $39.99 because it wasn't a mainstream triple-A title. They asked me first. I agreed.

They asked me to refocus and rebrand the game in late Beta, with the intent to ship a Battlecruiser game in a box with a different name. I disagreed. And they have done this before (renamed games).

http://www.justadventure.com/Interviews/Richard_Wah_Kan/Richard_Wah_Kan.shtm

We are currently doing a LOT of research (thats what a large lawfirm buys you) into their business practices and this is just one of them.

Once we negotiated and it was agreed that I would make certain revisions to the game in order to make it 'action' focused, I went off to do the work. That added three months of dev time. Any dev worth his salt knows that publishers do this. A LOT. They forget that even a simple change - especially at a late stage of development - can lead to more bugs, gameplay and gamebalancing issues etc etc. This is why the game was not ready for Christmas. You can read about it in this GameSpot inteview in which I clearly spell out their intent.

Here is the version they censored - without my permission - before sending it out.

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/sim/universalcombat/news_6075640.html

Here is the original version. Notice what they changed

http://www.3000ad.com/press/gamespot092403.html

Even though the game was not ready, they were willing to ship an RC1 candidate. Which, wasn't in fact playable and had a lot of show stopping bugs. This is a version they had SIGNED OFF on. Who would have taken the hit? Me. What did I do? I got the attorneys involved. I prevailed. You can read about it here.

http://www.3000ad.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000263

Here is the current version control for the game. The RC2 build is what they would have shipped RC1 without!. During the Christmas season, I canceled my vacation and continued working - while the attorneys successfully prevented replicated copies of RC1 build from getting into retail. In the end and by the time an agreement was reached, the game was at 1.00.01 status. Thats the GM they said they would ship. They got it on Jan 15th. This is the same period I had told them back in Decemeber, that a better version of RC2 would be ready by.

www.3000ad.com/downloads/uc/ucvcf.html

So, the retail copy is 1.00.01 and I currently have a different 1.00.02 build, which was to be released as a patch once final testing had occured.

During the negotiations and not since the $39.99 price was agreed up, they said NOTHING about lowering the price. And its not like they lowered it to $29.99 or something. We're talking $19.99.

The game, as of November 2003, was in development for two years. I signed with DC in December 2002 - one year into the game's development. Budget games don't take two years and almost $1m (90% of it my money) to develop. Ask ANY publisher or distributor. You [DC] don't sign a budget game, knowing that it was previously a year in development - with another year to go. The game was original due to ship in August 2003, prior to the whole BCG to UC switch farce.

The advanced are 100% recoupable against royalties.

The "continuing support to make patch" thing is ludicrous. A developper is obligated to provide technical support for a game, normally for the first 12 months after release, and normally at no extra cost.

What's ludicrous about it? Doesn't that cost money? And if we have been cheated out of our fair share, where is the money coming from for this work? In fact, I don't think there is any BC gamer out there who would even think of putting my support of my games in question. So, I resent this implication and I would urge you to do a little bit more research before you open your mouth and say things that clearly unfounded and without merit.

When Take Two shipped my game in 1996 - and didn't pay me. I continued to support it. Once I prevailed in *that* action, I released it on the net for free.

DC could counter-sue him for a lot of thing. He probably just doesn't want to be labeled a bargain bid developper.

Yes, they could and if I thought that I was in breach of any part of my contract, I won't go out and hire one of Canada's largest lawfirms to handle this. You don't bring a stick to a gladiator fight. You bring a sword.

http://www.casselsbrock.com/default.asp

The economics of the sales has nothing to do with this. The fact is, we had a deal in place. And I have spent a LOT more money on this game, than they ever could. Saying that at $19.99 we can sell 2x more units than at $39.99 is rubbish. You don't know that you can do that. What do know is simple, simple math. If you had to sell 10 units @$39.99 to recoup advances so that you start getting paid on unit #11 - and then you sell the game at $19.99. How many units would you need to see to recoup, before earning royalties? And even then - given the game's install base - why should you be in the position to sell 3x units @$19.99, when selling it at $39.99 is more profitable and within the scope of recouping not only YOUR dev costs but all the publisher advances?

And why $19.99? Why not $29.99? Why is BCM Gold still selling at that price? Even BCM, stayed at $39.99 and was only dropped to $29.99 shortly before going out of print (I stopped manufacturing units when I signed BCM Gold with DC).

And if they told me about the $49.99 to $39.99 price drop back in September, why wasn't I advised about the $19.99 price drop in January? And why is it coincidental that they pulled this stunt AFTER they had reached an agreement with my attorney that saw me giving them a version (1.00.01) which was CLEARLY not ready for shipping, to ship? In fact, the price change was so dramatic, that when our attorneys collected all the data, 95% of the retailers and etailers still had it ranging from $34.95 to $39.99.

If you sign a deal and you know the mathematics involved, then you know how many units you have to sell at what price, in order to (a) recoup your costs (b) turn a profit.

I have been doing this for 15 years and I'm not new at it. I have a caste iron contract and a significant amount of documentation to support my claim and stance. I'm not going to justify those claims in an open forum. Thats what I have attorneys for. What I can't stand for is every goddman armchair "developer" and their dog, coming up with all manner of ridiculousness, because they simply DON'T know HOW the industry works. If you don't know, STFU and don't give an opinion!!

I have shipped five games. I have only had a problem with ONE publisher (Take Two, 1996), prior to this.

When I signed/shipped BC3K v2.0 with Interplay in 1999, was there any noise? No.

When I shipped BCM with EB (ninety days) in 2001 and then worldwide with other distributors, was there any noise? No.

When I shipped BCM Gold (not mentioned that it took three months to put in the additional material - and - I had to keep working on BCG at the same time) with Dreamcatcher in March 2003, was there any noise? No.

There has been NO tangible marketing for the game. None. Instead, you see big marketing for Painkiller - which, even though it is just another senseless shooter - they still have priced at $39.99 (as they did UC). My game, BCM Gold has sold a lot units and turned a hefty profit. I was under the impression that at the very least, that money (which I am paying for as well), would go into the marketing of BCG/UC.

So, I had one bad incident with a publisher (Take Two), how does that equate to he has a history of this It doesn't.

Lets not forget that if it wasn't for me - and my attorneys - DC would have shipped RC1 build of this game, knowing fully well that it was DRM protected and did not work. They banked on just doing it and me issuing a patch later. I flatly refused.

Given the amount of money I have invested in this game, WHY would I NOT want to have shipped an RC1 build into retail - at Christmas - make a ton of money, then patch it? Simple. Despite what anyone thinks, I have uncompromising ethics and I'm not a suit looking to turn a fast buck. I'm a developer looking to put out my best work and hope that a bunch of people out there like my work enough to pay for it.

Court papers will prove that this game is NOT budgetware, nor could it ever have been targeted for that price. There is NOT precendent for it. Yes, publishers DO have the right to set the price. What they DO NOT have the right to do is act in BAD FAITH and in the interest of frustrating the developer, not paying them or putting them out of business by NOT selling their product at FAIR MARKET PRICE. The whole reasoning behind publishers setting a price is simple. If you put in the contract, $39.99, it ties that publishers hands and they can't do discounts etc. It would also be harder for places like, say gogamer.com to sell a $39.99 game at $34.95. You MUST have a precendent and act in GOOD FAITH.

The analogy is simple. If you spent $5 on an item, then know you have to sell it at $6 to make a profit, but someone you gave it to, puts in $1 (e.g. marketing) and decides to sell it at $1.50, guess who loses? That is EXACTLY what is happening here. And I have NO idea why its not bloody obvious WHY I would be livid that the price of my $39.99 game would be reduced to $19.99. This has NOTHING to do with not wanting to be a budget developer. Remember, UC is a new franchise and I can toss it if **I** want. I own it. The problem is that it is based on an industry recognized franchise which - at the moment - is worth close to $15m (source, trademarks, patent pending, recievables etc etc). Tarnish UC and only an damn idiot who does not know that UC is just a rebranded Battlecruiser game, wouldn't realize that it also tarnishes the Battlecruiser brand.

John Nelson thanks for jumping in while I was away to counterpoint that propostorous economics claim. This is obviously a niche product as I stated by saying I doubted very much they'd cover twice the amount of buyers just because of a price point. i also mentioned the budget of the product being a huge factor that would answer a lot of questions since it's the minus in the formula. going budget would make sense in this case only if it was dirt cheap to produce

Exactly. You don't spend $1m and two years on a budget game. And nobody - not even the media currently reviewing it - would even think of calling it a budget game. Sure, its not a triple-A title, but its a budget game. Heck, if they had sold it at $29.99 (the price of BCM Gold), I would still have been livid.

My wife is a big fan of Dream Catcher games, and I've set up and installed several of them for her over the last year. (She loves the Black Mirror, which she's currently playing.) All of them that I've seen sell for $15-$20, and as such, I'll wager DC is selling a lot of them. There are a couple of "stinker" games I've seen at that price point, to be sure, but as I said before I've paid $50 for some real stinkers, too.

Get a grip. Your wife buys/plays ADVENTURE games. Where do you see that fit into this? The part where they have an ACTION and ADVENTURE lineup, wasn't obvious, right? Saying that its OK for them to sell this game at $19.99 fits in with that doctrine is laughable and just plain silly.

Don't you think the devs of Painkiller or even Jane Jensen (currently working on an Adventure game for DC) are - right about now - riffling through their contracts?

The thing that's so preposterous about this whole "MSRP" thing is that royalties are usually based on a percentage, and the ultimate amount made on a game is usually determined by the total number of copies it sells. For instance, if my royalty is 10%, I'd much rather get 10% of 100,000 copies sold at $19.95, than 10% of 30,000 copies sold at $39.95. In the first instance, my royalties would be $199,500; in the second instance my royaties would be $119,850. (Bear in mind that I have no knowledge of Smart's arrangements with Dream Catcher and this is only a simple example to illustrate the principle, and this only deals with percentage royalties and doesn't include other monies Dream Catcher has advanced or agreed to pay Smart.) Clearly, in terms of revenue for both Dream Catcher and Smart, the number of copies sold is more important than the MSRP. That's what I find so strange about Smart's complaint.

Rubbish. Here go read this and get educated

http://www.3000ad.com/archives/soapbox_030601.shtml

The idea that DC is trying "screw" Derek by charging a price below the profit-maximizing price doesn't make the slightest bit of sense because DC is also trying to make money (or minimize losses) off the game. They only succeed in hurting Derek by hurting themselves to the same extent! If DC is publically traded, that's not only foolish, it's flat-out illegal.

Read what I wrote about putting in $1 and selling it for $1.50 - even though the owner wants it sold at $11, and you'll get the picture.

DC is not publicly traded. Most of their money comes from the owners and private investors.

http://www.goodmansventuregroup.com/news_04-28-2003.htm

http://www.vengrowth.com/content/vc/trackrecord/dreamcatcher.asp

http://www.profitguide.com/profit100/2002/p100_detail.asp?Rank=5

 
Avatar 9141
 
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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