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Thread: What stopped the flow of big-name games?

  1. #1
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    Default What stopped the flow of big-name games?

    I touched on this somewhat in my TuxGames thread, but I've thought about it a bit and refined my thoughts here.

    If you look at TuxGames, they've got some big-name Windows games available there- none of them are terribly recent, and some of the bigger titles are from the early 2000's.

    What stopped the flow of these titles onto the Linux platform, and how can we get that started again?

    (I'm greatly enjoying the small indie titles that are available, and am quickly approaching the point where I have more games than I have time to play them.)

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    I'm sure Svartalf will chip in here, but until then you should probably read up on Loki Software, and especially their financial troubles...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dashcloud View Post
    I touched on this somewhat in my TuxGames thread, but I've thought about it a bit and refined my thoughts here.

    If you look at TuxGames, they've got some big-name Windows games available there- none of them are terribly recent, and some of the bigger titles are from the early 2000's.

    What stopped the flow of these titles onto the Linux platform, and how can we get that started again?

    (I'm greatly enjoying the small indie titles that are available, and am quickly approaching the point where I have more games than I have time to play them.)
    Lack of profitable market, (at least compared to what they are used to). If COD :MW2 for example was ported how many sales would it produce compared to the 1 BILLION dollars in sales it has pulled on the consoles and windows? It all comes down to profit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whizse View Post
    ... and especially their financial troubles...
    That was like some sort of epic tragedy. You can actually imagine everyone going "Yeah, this is so awesome. We are doing some great stuff", and at the end "WTF just happened?".
    Last edited by Melcar; 01-15-2010 at 08:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Lack of profitable market, (at least compared to what they are used to). If COD :MW2 for example was ported how many sales would it produce compared to the 1 BILLION dollars in sales it has pulled on the consoles and windows? It all comes down to profit.
    You'd think there would be more profit to be made now than back in the "glory days" of Linux gaming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pvtcupcakes View Post
    You'd think there would be more profit to be made now than back in the "glory days" of Linux gaming.
    When your talking about a AAA title game, just acquiring the rights to a port can far exceed any small publishers financial ability. Their aren't many small independent studios anymore that put out AAA titles that would be willing to license out anymore for a price that would be within reach of the smaller publishers. All those guys were gobbled up by the likes of Atari, EA, Zenimax, etc.
    Last edited by deanjo; 01-16-2010 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pvtcupcakes View Post
    You'd think there would be more profit to be made now than back in the "glory days" of Linux gaming.
    In some ways, yes. In others no. As deanjo indicated, many of the studios and publishers want entirely ludicrous sums of money up-front before you even ever get the chance to publish.

    The reason why so many of the ports are as expensive as the rollout price for the Windows versions (esp. at the time the Windows version's gracing the bargain bins or the closeout resellers' shelves...) is that the studio asked for something like $20k up-front, if not more (If you want UT3, I strongly suspect Epic would allow someone to bankroll/finish Ryan's work for something along the lines of $100-250k...got it in your pockets? ). For four thousand units sold, that expense is $5 per copy sold. If you end up selling two thousand, then the expense per unit is $10. Just for the 20k rights access deal.

    That just gets your foot in the door. Once you do that, you've got to somehow port the game (and pay someone to do it if you're not doing it yourself...) which typically translates into $5-10k's worth of effort on average- there's another chunk, say about $2.50 per copy that needs to come out for a profit.

    The packaging typically ends up being about another $1-2.50 per copy. We'll bet fancy like the big-boys on this one instead of on the cheap.

    Then the studio/publisher wants their cut of the proceeds, which is based upon varying things and is owed typically the moment you press the production run. For something like 4k units, it typically ends up being something similar to the access rights amount.

    So, at this point, you're out $25-30 per copy (selling all four thousand of them...) and you're just breaking even.

    People often balk at the price that's being asked for ($40-55) thinking that the small-time publisher is gouging and keep looking over at that bargain-bin price and pointing to it, not realizing that the studio or publisher of that Windows title doesn't really see a dime of that copy's sales price because the retailer's closing it out. Selling it below costs, etc.

    With the hypothetical title we've discussed up to this point, at $40, there's 15 dollars per copy that goes to profits to make it worth the business' time to do the work, have money to get other deals, etc. LGP has been getting deals that work with 1.5-2k units being the point for making decent profits at the prices they're selling them at. Some of it has worked out, some of it hasn't obviously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whizse View Post
    I'm sure Svartalf will chip in here, but until then you should probably read up on Loki Software, and especially their financial troubles...
    What is interesting is the figures they quote in that article are somewhat at odds from what I was told from former Loki employees, including the former Lead Programmer for LGP.

    According to what I was told by those sources, the channel sold approximately 400 or so at full retail price. The remainder were discounted or sold via liquidators, causing Loki to lose quite a bit more than the quarter mil stated in that article. It cost them nearly that much in tins, disks, etc. They also ended up owing iD the same figure in royalties for the publication rights to the Linux version. If you want to know the precise reason iD doesn't do offical Linux versions of their titles right at the moment, you can look at that debacle.

    What most people haven't usually stated about it is that if people had've waited a couple of weeks for the official Linux version instead of buying the Windows SKU and "patching" it to work with Linux with the downloadable, conveniently provided by iD, then they would have at least sold break-even amounts of the title and while it would have left iD less than happy, they would have moved forward with more, knowing the story was still somewhat embryonic. But the community didn't do that- they wanted their damn game THEN, not realizing they were cutting their own throats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melcar View Post
    That was like some sort of epic tragedy. You can actually imagine everyone going "Yeah, this is so awesome. We are doing some great stuff", and at the end "WTF just happened?".
    That about sums up the deal with respects to what the community was seeing. Some of the other parties closer to Loki (their ISV crowd...which I was one thereof) had caught wiffs of a bit more going wrong behind the scenes with the scuttlebutt in IRC with the developers there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    you've got to somehow port the game (and pay someone to do it if you're not doing it yourself...) which typically translates into $5-10k's worth of effort on average
    thats it? I was expecting a hell of alot more than that. Where do i wire the money?

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