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#ActualHodgman

Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:36 PM


“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games,"

So now, who gets to make Star Wars games?  Game development studios, and each one of them will pitch in with different pricing, design, and timeline.
 
GOTO 10.


I've worked on licensed Star Wars games -- most of them were already contracted externally, instead of being done by LucasArts themselves. The company that I worked for had done a whole bunch of them.
However, we had such a bad experience being *$^#ed around by them (them spuriously claiming they didn't have to pay us at all for 6 months of work, because they decided they didn't want to make that game any more), that we stopped pitching for their contracts altogether.
What they actually did (or seemed to do from my vantage point), was accept the pitches from several companies, "green light" them all, direct their development for 6 months, and then "cancel" all but one, and pretending they didn't ask for the work to begin with, and not giving paying for it as was agreed... and this was the pre-sell-off LucasArts.

I know of other companies that have gone bankrupt while waiting for lawsuits like this against publishers to be resolved. If they can hold off payment long enough, then the people they owe money to will cease to exist... clever :/


The work-for-hire model for dev studios is very uncertain. After you finish a title, you need to line up another one ASAP, or otherwise you've got to have huge layoffs until you do find more work. One company I worked for was deliberately making pitches that quoting prices below what they knew it would actually cost, knowingly making a loss on the work, because they didn't want to lay off their staff -- they'd rather lose a little bit of money over a long period, rather than be sitting idle paying everyone's salary with no income.
They thought they were just weathering the storm, trying to stay afloat during a tough time in the industry, but you can see that if all the big developers were doing this, then the littler ones who can't afford to make a loss were just screwed!

There's been quite a big shift recently among smaller developers, with many more trying to work on "original IP" instead of licensed titles. The problem with this model is acquiring the funding to support development, which traditionally was provided by a publisher (just like the work-for-hire model). Seeing how Kickstarter has exploded in the past year though, I'm really hopeful that crowd-funding will allow these smaller devs to independently work on "new IP" without betting their survival on the whims of a publisher.

#1Hodgman

Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:33 PM


“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games,"

So now, who gets to make Star Wars games?  Game development studios, and each one of them will pitch in with different pricing, design, and timeline.
 
GOTO 10.


I've worked on licensed Star Wars games -- most of them were already contracted externally, instead of being done by LucasArts themselves. The company that I worked for had done a whole bunch of them.
However, we had such a bad experience being *$^#ed around by them (them spuriously claiming they didn't have to pay us at all for 6 months of work, because they decided they didn't want to make that game any more), that we stopped pitching for their contracts altogether.

I know of other companies that have gone bankrupt while waiting for lawsuits like this against publishers to be resolved...


The work-for-hire model for dev studios is very uncertain. After you finish a title, you need to line up another one ASAP, or otherwise you've got to have huge layoffs until you do find more work. One company I worked for was deliberately making pitches that quoting prices below what they knew it would actually cost, knowingly making a loss on the work, because they didn't want to lay off their staff -- they'd rather lose a little bit of money over a long period, rather than be sitting idle paying everyone's salary with no income.
They thought they were just weathering the storm, trying to stay afloat during a tough time in the industry, but you can see that if all the big developers were doing this, then the littler ones who can't afford to make a loss were just screwed!

There's been quite a big shift recently among smaller developers, with many more trying to work on "original IP" instead of licensed titles. The problem with this model is acquiring the funding to support development, which traditionally was provided by a publisher (just like the work-for-hire model). Seeing how Kickstarter has exploded in the past year though, I'm really hopeful that crowd-funding will allow these smaller devs to independently work on "new IP" without betting their survival on the whims of a publisher.

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