User information for damocles

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September 27, 2003
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4 Comments. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
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Sep 28, 2003, 19:23
Re: VALVE Sep 28, 2003, 19:23
Sep 28, 2003, 19:23
My point proven...

People always blame the developers, never the publishers.

Re: No subject
Sep 28, 2003, 15:49
Re: No subject Sep 28, 2003, 15:49
Sep 28, 2003, 15:49
That's true for most games, especially console titles where purchasing is often done by parents on behalf of their kids. For something like Half Life 2, the ideal release date is early-mid november. This way, they can give review code to all the major magazines and have the game reviewed for the november issue, just before the game is on the shelves. If they can get massive coverage in all the top magazines a week or two before release interest will be at the maximum and sales will rocket. Also, all the major sales outlets will have just been paid to set up HL2 displays in their stores until mid january, maximising post xmas sales. Also, with november, all the serious gamers purchase on day of release then start spreading the word. By christmas, every gamer with friends wants HL2 and has just got a load of money for christmas - cha-ching!

Remember that word of mouth sales will continue on after xmas and will be the main sales promotion for the few months after xmas - lots of people got HL2 for xmas and so are now telling their friends how great it is and are promoting the game for free. Adults are usually skint after xmas, but kids are wealthy and want to spend their xmas earnings.

Look at any site that has a list of game release dates, the hotspots are mid october to mid november. December is a very dry month for actual releases - only games that are forced to slip back are released during december in a desperate bid to get some of that xmas booty.

No subject
Sep 28, 2003, 11:16
No subject Sep 28, 2003, 11:16
Sep 28, 2003, 11:16
Very interesting take on all this democles - and it would make sense. Is this something you came up with on your own because of the way it "usually happens", or do you have some inside information?

I wish I did have some insider info, but no, this is just my best guess given the way the industry works.

Sadly, the games industry is going the way of Hollywood where the men in suits and ties so tight they cut off the circulation to their brain have all the power. Developers make the games, do all the real work, and then get punished like you wouldn't beleive if they fall behind. A lot of games get canned simply because they are a few months behind schedule. A lot of potentially fantastic games have gone this way. People in suits see only the dates and the current expenses, they lack the foresight to see the massive amounts they could be raking in if they let these games continue to completion.

In regards to the HL2 delay - I think vivendi had their own agenda all along. Even when Valve said September 30th at E3 Vivendi knew they were gonna aim for a holiday release which is why they gave november release dates to all the major distributors (and hence why all shops have dates around that time). Vivendi knew they had Valve by the balls and are quite happy to deprive their audience of the game for another 2 months just so they can get "record opening weekend sales". The publishers all want immediate revenue from their games, they aren't willing to look at it long term, even though a lot of games sell more in 3 years than they did in the first 3 months. HL1 was a prime example of this, but publishers couldn't give a toss. They know it's the developers that get the flak, not the publishers.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if after HL2 ships Valve announce they are cutting all ties with Vivendi. Much as Lionhead did with EA. The publishers have got to learn you can't scerew with the big developers and expect to get away with it. Lionhead's new publisher contract (if I remember rightly) gives Lionhead the rights to decide the release dates and what territories the games get distributed in. Hopefully more developers can wrangle deals like that and sort the industry out properly.

Re: Film vs. Games
Sep 27, 2003, 18:42
Re: Film vs. Games Sep 27, 2003, 18:42
Sep 27, 2003, 18:42
I'll say it one more time... actually finish the game, then announce the release date.

I don't think it was Valve's fault. I imagine it's Vivendi that want the game released closer to xmas. And the problem would have been that with Valve's status, they will have signed up Vivendi a while ago, long before they had an idea of when HL2 would be finished, with a design to release it when it's ready (ergo, no release date in the contract). Vivendi, obviously wanting to nab what will likely be one of the greatest games of all time, agreed to this (not normal practice for publishers to agree to titles without at least a rough release date and a maximum release date).

So come completion time, Valve assume they are going to release when it's done and set themselves Sep 30th for that day. They most likely had the game completed about 4 months ago and are undergoing final testing and polishing until the day it goes gold. When Vivendi found out that Valve wanted Sep 30th, they will have decided that they could wait another 6-8 weeks and get a release during the holiday period - a much loved time for publishers (see a previous reply of mine to this thread). Valve will have entered into negotiations with Vivendi to set the release at Sep 30th. Vivendi will tell them where to stick it.

Now here's the shitter - Valve are in too deep to find another publisher. If they cut away from Vivendi now over something small such as the release date, Vivendi could sue them for millions in lost earnings. You see, without a contractual release date there is no breach of contract and Vivendi basically have Valve by the short and curlies. I have no doubt that Valve will have argued the deal right until last week, where they realised that even if Vivendi turned round and said yes to Sep 30th, it was too late to go gold and get it on shelves by then. So now Valve are royally butt-f***ed and have no choice but to leave the release date to Vivendi - which is why their statement about the delay was very vague about the new release date.

The problem with the games industry is that developers have no power at all about release dates etc. Publishers have all the power and the developers are their bitches. And the real shit on the cake is that Valve will cop all the flak for this. Everyone blames the developers for the publishers bullshit.

This comment was edited on Sep 27, 18:43.
4 Comments. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
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