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chronos

On Publisher Reputations

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Yesterday on this board I participated in a thread which mysteriously vanished. In it I said some things I consider important, so I was quite disappointed at seeing it disappear. It''s obvious to those who participated why the thread was removed. I hope we can discuss the issue of publisher reputations while keeping things hypothetical for the purposes of this thread. I''d hate to see this one disappear as well. In the missing thread it was implied that it''s none of a developer''s business to know of other developers'' experiences with a given publisher. I hope we can agree this is not the case. I think it is very important for a developer who is seriously considering a relationship with a given publisher to know of others'' experiences with that publisher. What then is the best way to find truthful, reliable information on a publisher''s track record? For an innocent startup developer I feel this is very important information. They are too easy prey for disreputable publishers. How do we make sure that a publisher''s relationship with a developer be fair and honest? How do we learn of a publisher''s reputation while avoiding lies? How should the developer community handle a disreputable publisher? Discuss...

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Some threads have obviously vanished, but there''s nothing mysterious about it to me. Some people on this board just can''t stop bashing on certain publishers with no first-hand knowledge or facts whatsoever. So far just about every thread on this board about publishers has degenerated into libelous tirades against Crystal Interactive for no good reason, and people just won''t let up. Nobody is listening to the CEO of the company when he tries to defend himself, either. It''s a shame.

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quote:
Original post by Diragor

Some threads have obviously vanished, but there's nothing mysterious about it to me. Some people on this board just can't stop bashing on certain publishers with no first-hand knowledge or facts whatsoever. So far just about every thread on this board about publishers has degenerated into libelous tirades against Crystal Interactive for no good reason, and people just won't let up. Nobody is listening to the CEO of the company when he tries to defend himself, either. It's a shame.


Diragor, I was hoping no one would mention company names. If you read carefully along my post you'll notice the mysterious bit was meant as ironic. Lets keep the discussion away from Crystal Interactive. Haven't we had enough of it already? Please stick to the general topic. Avoid mentioning specific publishers.

To the moderator: Should it prove necessary I hope you can remove individual messages instead of the entire thread.

Edited by - chronos on July 16, 2000 1:45:26 AM

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Having carefully followed the discussions about publishers on the board, I came to the conclusion that 3rd person information is in no case reliable and that one needs to make own experiences.
This is true in my opinion because:
1. Those developers who have success with a publisher won''t talk much about it, because they are not interested in a public spread of confidential data (like sale volume, etc.).
2. Those developers who had no success are more than willing to complain.
--> If you take 3rd person information for granted the conclusion you need to make is that you fight vs. the rest of the world.

So for my part I give the publishers a chance and if I found one that I like I stick with him.
It is important to ask questions though, that''s why I think the posts about said publisher were not that useless. The problem was that they were all very aggressive and already intended to lower the reputation of said publisher.
This is very strange. I had posted a message ("Something strange") that was aggressive too, but I only intended to ask some questions. Why these kind of messages always sound so aggressive is really strange. It must have something to do with the general mood in these public forums.

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I think what would be even more constructive would be for people to post when they have POSITIVE experience with a publisher. Not only is this more helpfull information for those looking for a publisher (We want to know which publishers we should approach, not the ones we shouldnt. having a list of no-go publishers dosent actually HELP me), but the publisher is hardly like to complain, and furthermore, such a system is verifiable as we can all see (in stores or on the web) if someone is being truthfull when they say their game x is currently published by publisher y and they are happy with them.

As a side note, I think the reason why some published developers are not keen to shout about their publishers and recommend them, is that the good publishers tend to deal with the more professional-minded developers. Nobody wants to be responsible for sending a whole army of newbies who have never even coded pong to their publisher saying ''x recommended you to me...''


http://www.positech.co.uk

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Even a well known (co)publisher can be bad, like EA.
I didn''t expect that until I read this.
Look here for more information at the gamecenter about that:

System Shock 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Looking Glass Studios
Developer: Looking Glass Studios / Irrational Games

Why It Deserved Better: Without a doubt, System Shock 2 is one of the best games we''ve ever played. The entire game drips with atmosphere amd tension, and at times the experience is truly terrifying. In fact, System Shock 2 easily holds its own against the current benchmark of first-person games, Half-Life.

And yet, System Shock 2 has not enjoyed even a small percentage of Half-Life''s success. Why? Because EA dropped the ball when it came to marketing System Shock 2. Despite the fact that EA handled all of the game''s PR and marketing and was the game''s copublisher, its logo did not appear anywhere on the box. That pretty much sums up EA''s support of the title.

And when System Shock 2 earned Editors'' Choice awards from nearly every major publication and then went on to win numerous annual awards, including our 1999 Game of the Year award, nary a peep was heard from the folks at EA. The game was not repackaged and reissued with better retail support--or any retail support at all. (Even now, it can be difficult to locate a copy for sale online.) And though some boxes of the game sported a sticker proclaiming the game''s accolades, those instances were few and far between.

So what do you think about this? Strange isn''t it.

http://www.gamecenter.com/Features/Exclusives/Deserved/ss01.html

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Sorry, that I mention the name EA. But everybody knows that EA is the number 1 worldwide publisher/distributor of computergames.
They are the biggest on earth. And I am sure nobody expects this.

And for your information, Looking glass studio's was recently in big financial troubles and doesn't exist anymore.
There wasn't a investor who could saved them. I find that very sad.

Edited by - richy on July 16, 2000 7:14:25 AM

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Dear Chronos,

Yes, I was also sad to see the thread disappear as I thought we were talking about something constructive in the end. Possibly you haven''t read my reply because of this, but I basically stated that we have a confidentiality clause in our contracts which prevent both publisher and developer from disclosing any information regarding the contents of their deal. Also we can take any of our developers to court if they decide to make any internal problems public. Alas we can''t always rely on people to do the smart thing, or even comprehend the clause first time round... There''s nothing we can do against a developer drinking one too many and telling his friends about the deal. If one of his friends turns out to abuse this information we''re quite upset of course...

In that sense it''s none of your business since only the court can order a developer to disclose information like that. I do however understand that it''s in a developer''s interest to know whether he/she''s making the right choice. All I can say is pick and choose and be smart when it comes to signing contracts. But even that is no guarantee for success. If a publisher grants you an audit it''s on you ($5.000 fee) and they have 3 to 4 months to bring in a financial heavy weight to add up the numbers correctly for the audit. So you''ll loose. Always... But that''s business I guess. I can only TELL you we''re honest and that we''re trying our best to do what we promised. You don''t have to take my word for it though. If you don''t trust us then simply don''t do business with us.

Take care,

Alex

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The following is my opinion why Looking Glass is no more. You can flame me, but I won''t change my opinion about that anyway.

The only game I liked of Looking Glass was Ultima Underworld (was from them, wasn''t it?). Why haven''t I seen the rest?
Easy.
There were two civil flight simulators.
There were two System Shock. Well they got many awards. Dunno. I never liked it. I would rather buy three times Half-Life than System Shock.
There was a infantry game. Some mix of Mechwarrior and Shooter. Not good if you ask me and it sold VERY bad.
There were the two Dark Projects. I never even looked at the demo, simply because I don''t want to hide and sneak. I want to FIGHT!
Was that all? All I remember.
So what I wanted to say was that they had very innovative design. Yes. But it looks like the public never liked these design ideas or they would now be rich and would have not vanished.
What do we learn? You make games for the public and not for yourself or to make art. Follow the market or die alone.

Just my 2 cents.

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I think you''re right Jester. It''s sad though that a company daring to be innovative is punished with bad sales and in the end bankruptcy. Look at a title like Homeworld. It only sold 33.000 units in the first year. Very bad, even though it was proclaimed as the game of the year by the press!

With large companies (publicly listed on stock exchanges) you always have to struggle for funding since all investors care about is profit. Big profits. So even if game A makes X profit, but game B makes X + 1 profit it''s likely that game A''s sequel gets axed in favour of the project which has a more profitable future. Very sad since it encourages developers to revisit proven concepts over and over again until the genre goes stale. I''m just mentioning RTS, FPS and RPG for the argument''s sake.

I''m sorry my friends but revolutionary concepts were never popular. The world is round? Ludicrous! Burn the man at the stake! Just n example of the power of public opinion...

Take care,

Alex

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