Business of Gaming - Closures and Going Digital

Business of Gaming - Closures and Going Digital

Two studios close, THQ circles the wagons and major moves towards a digital future

Written by Dog of Thunder on 10 July 12 at 19:41 , updated on 10 July 12 at 19:41

I promise I will stop going on vacation. The last time I went on vacation, 38 Studios was officially shut down. While that story has been well-discussed with other studios, primarily Epic and Irrational Games stepping in to offer jobs, there was another closing last week that went under the radar.

Prototype developer, Radical Entertainment, was shuttered by Activision following poor sales of the sequel to the surprise 2009 hit. With two full months of global sales, http://www.trueachievements.com/PROTOTYPE2-xbox-360.htm failed to move even a million copies across all platforms. The Xbox 360 version is the best selling, perhaps owing to the large install base, with just over 500,000 copies sold worldwide. As of this writing, no employees from Radical Entertainment have been re-assigned to other studios under Activision.

Another studio, also suffering from relatively under-performing sales numbers has been closed down. http://www.trueachievements.com/Max-Payne-3-xbox-360.htm and http://www.trueachievements.com/Bully-Scholarship-Editi....htm developer Rockstar Vancouver will be shut down by Rockstar. Thankfully, the entire 35 person team has been offered positions with Rockstar Toronto, which is being expanded with a brand new office and 50 more positions. This consolidation follows the poor sales of Max Payne 3, which only sold 1.5 million copies worldwide across all platforms.

To put the Max Payne 3 numbers in perspective, keep in mind not only that development for the title spanned two developers and six years, but also Rockstar is a "quality over quantity" publisher. http://www.trueachievements.com/LA-Noire-xbox-360.htm, Rockstar's 2011 title, has moved nearly 5 million copies across all platforms. Red Dead Redemption has moved 11.4 million copies worldwide across all platforms. Stacked against just the previous two Rockstar titles, Max Payne 3 is a disappointment.

Sadly, you can't mention "poor sales" or "restructuring" without talking about THQ. It's like saying "Bloody Mary" three times, except instead of the wrathful ghost of Mary Queen of Scots appearing before you, it's a troubled gaming company holding out a tin cup. On July 5th, THQ issued a "reverse stock split" in order to remain listed on the NASDAQ (in layman's terms, that means to remain traded on the stock exchange as a de-listing means it can not sell stock). In short, the 68.5 million shares of THQ available for trade was reduced to roughly 6.9 million with no change in actual pricing. This move was done to keep the company listed by maintaining a price of $1 per share for 10 consecutive days beginning on July 25th. If THQ fails to meet the standard laid out by NASDAQ, it will be de-listed and in all reality, fold as a company.

Finally, history is about to be made here on the front page of TrueAchievements, as we are going to talk about Sony. Last week, Sony spent $380 million to acquire game streaming service, Gaikai. While this move will have no immediate impact on the current generation of consoles, it is a big bold step for the digital future. Just prior to Sony's acquisition of Gaikai, we were hearing comments from EA about a "100% digital future".

Further proof that the digital future is right around the corner? A recent ruling from the European Union's Court of Justice allows the resale of digital games. Specifically, the case was Oracle vs. UsedSoft and the actual issue being contended was UsedSoft's business practice of buying Oracle licenses and reselling them for a profit. The Court of Justice ruled that this transfer of ownership from the original owner is a business arrangement between two parties which has no bearing on the original license agreement. Furthermore, restricting sales of digital products was deemed as "beyond what is necessary to safeguard the subject-matter of the intellectual property".

For more information, the full Court of Justice release can be viewed here.

We've talked about games going digital before, but with Sony purchasing a streaming service, EA going public with their goal to be "discless" and the European Union ruling on digital license rights, the digital future is not going to be the digital future for much longer. Soon, we'll be talking about the digital present.
AuthorMessage
MonkyPorter1983
90,183 TrueAchievement Points129 posts
Last post: 23 Mar at 18:56
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:48
I will miss the warm fuzzy feeling I get from knowing something I own is sitting there on the shelf.
Phorty Ounce
94,582
Phorty Ounce - BioShock Infinite was a good game. Let's hope DLC will explain the story more.
TrueAchievement Ratio: 1.8072Achievement Completion Percentage: 87.76% (Includes owned DLC) - 7 more achievements required to reach 88%195 posts
Last post: 10 Sep at 20:29
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:48
the people who want digital retail games can bite my shiny digital ass.
Accusations Fly
157,202 TrueAchievement Points62 completed games(Includes owned DLC)326 posts
Last post: 06 Feb 13 at 23:45
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:49, Edited on 10 July 12 at 19:50 by Accusations Fly
Does this mean prices will go down? I don't have a huge problem with new games being $60, but a drop would be nice if everything were digital.
Delith
191,245
Delith - What I got, you got to give it to your momma. Or not. Because it's not that important, really.
Donated to TrueAchievements.com282 comments958 posts
Last post: 09 Dec at 14:38
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:50
Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
Trash it, change it, mail - upgrade it,
Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it,
Snap it, work it, quick - erase it,
Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,
View it, code it, jam - unlock it,
Surf it, scroll it, pause it, click it,
Cross it, crack it, switch - update it,
Name it, rate it, tune it, print it,
Scan it, send it, fax - rename it,
Touch it, bring it, Pay it, watch it,
Turn it, leave it, start - format it.

Technologic - Daft Punk
Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
MonkyPorter1983
90,183 TrueAchievement Points129 posts
Last post: 23 Mar at 18:56
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:50
Accusations Fly said:Could this mean prices could go down?HAHAHAHAHA! You are hilarious buddy, you'd make a killing doing stand-up!
Calex dEUS
403,833
Calex dEUS
403,833 TrueAchievement PointsAchievement Completion Percentage: 85.48% (Includes owned DLC) - 76 more achievements required to reach 86%560 posts
Last post: 18 Dec at 23:12
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:55
Prototype 2 was very disappointing when help up against the original game, a very shallow and repetitive experience. Max Payne 3 numbers were a surprise to me.
Jakeythedude
412,769
Jakeythedude
Achievement Completion Percentage: 93.32% (Includes owned DLC) - 85 more achievements required to reach 94%TrueAchievement Site Rank: 1,409 out of 286,6103,143 posts
Last post: 18 Dec at 13:40
Posted on 10 July 12 at 19:59
This digital future is such shit if the prices stay as they are. It's just unreasonable.
BatttleJuice
81,158
BatttleJuice
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Last post: 29 Mar 13 at 19:11
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:01
Please Please Please make Bully 2!!
Joshnorm
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Joshnorm - Good for MS to give Halo ODST and a month of XBL free to those early adopters of the game.
382,348 TrueAchievement Points256 completed games(Includes owned DLC)319 posts
Last post: 15 Oct at 20:26
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:01
But here we still run into an issue. The internet is no where near ready for this move for the US. We are far behind the Asian countries its laughable.

Also, as pointed out before a lot of companies have hidden download caps. So while EA, Sony, etc have high hopes they are short sighted. If you are on Comcast you are capped at 250 GB. Which is a lot for most people, but lets say the average house has 2 computers and streams movies, normal browsing, etc you can easily hit that cap if you are throwing out 2/3 games a month to download then play online. That and the fact that I wouldnt want to wait to play my games. If you download you have to que it then come back later. Also, you have to assume that either you have a TB of HD space or that the company host the games on their servers (which means when they go for maintenance you can't play at all...or lets hope they don't close them....*cough* EA *cough*)
Frostbite blitZ - Battlefield 4 and Starwars Battlefront please!
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Last post: 30 Mar at 18:13
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:01
The world is fucked
L1E
156,529
L1E
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Last post: 19 Dec 13 at 05:43
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:06, Edited on 10 July 12 at 20:10 by L1E
Has anybody heard of OUYA? It's a cheap new console that is solely free-to-play and digital that may come out next year. Seems like they'll be the first console to fully take advantage of those ideas; it really seems pretty cool. I'm still hesitant about it though. When I buy something, I want to be able to physically have it, which why I'm not too keen on microtransactions and digital retail.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-...
deluxnugs
265,302
deluxnugs - Awesome. looks like we will have our unspent Kredits (from WARFACE) returned in the form of a xbox store credits to our account..
159 completed games(Includes owned DLC)Achievement Completion Percentage: 99.44% (Includes owned DLC) - 4 more achievements required to reach 99.5%448 posts
Last post: 16 Dec at 21:25
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:07
from what ive read about the new unreal engine it should cost quite a bit less to make games moving forward and im sure other engine makers will be adding very similar features.if everything goes ill miss it but also love it.the savings on the planet would be huge.most media discs end up in the dump or the side of a road some where.then you consider the savings on fuel,packaging,storage,etc etc.its all good in my eyes especially if i can sell it on
im cooler than you...
General Arcane
Achievement Completion Percentage: 74.73% (Includes owned DLC) - 15 more achievements required to reach 75%TrueAchievements Pro user761 posts
Last post: 12 Aug at 14:56
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:10
Was really worried when I saw a Rockstar closure. So glad when I saw that they're being consolidated with Toronto. Still bad news for the Radical Entertainment employees. It has not been a wonderful year for gaming sales so far this year.
Feel free to PM me about the GTA IV walkthrough, or any problems you're having with the game.
wbs 101
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wbs 101 - First in the world to complete Naughty Bear & reach Rank X also first to complete NB Panic in Paradise & get Level 100
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Last post: Yesterday at 18:50
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:11
Great this is what I have been talking about for a long time and people keep telling me I am full of shit. If everything goes digital there is no Gamefly no Redbox and no Gamestop. If everything goes digital you will never actually be able to own a video game ever again you are just purchasing a license to use the game basically renting it from the company. I don't sell any of my used games because I am a collector but that is just it I like collecting games on my shelf not digital licenses downloaded to a hard drive. Fuck this they can shove their digital future right up their asses especially EA who will be first in line to abuse digital distribution to rip people off.
theman72HG
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theman72HG - Kudos to all you for those awesome milestones I"ve been missing True Achievements and everybody time to start catching up on everything lol
145,739 TrueAchievement PointsTrueAchievement Site Rank: 26,030 out of 286,610605 posts
Last post: 19 Dec at 03:29
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:18
Goodbye to the Ones that don't have Internet !! but it is coming sooner then expected , and I would still prefer physical copy
http://forums.wpcentral.com/index.php?referrerid=165734
troyoy
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troyoy - They should put The Elder Scrolls Anthology on the one with 5000 GS :)
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Last post: 19 Dec at 05:45
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:19
Frostbite blitZ said:The world is fucked Or at least the gaming world. And they can get fucked if that is the direction they are going. We will need larger hard drives which will benefit micro$oft. And they will save billions just selling downloads that can not be resold or loaned out. And the saving to us will be fucking zero. So I say fuckem. You do it and I am done buying new games. This will also fuck gamestop and even piracy. I like gamestop but piracy can get fucked as it cost us all more in the long run.
I have 10 xboxes. Before you ask for help just keep in mind I have been used way too much already. R
Austin9993
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Austin9993 - PS Plus destroys Games for Gold.
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Last post: 05 Aug at 08:09
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:21
Frostbite blitZ said:The world is fuckedSeconded.
...But why is the rum gone???
Sparechange49 - No, tell ME what YOU are up to.
33,132 TrueAchievement Points85 posts
Last post: 22 May 13 at 16:06
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:26
Remember, people, that you don't really "own" your physical games, either. Yes, you own the disc and the box, but the content certainly isn't yours. Even when you buy the disc, you're still just essentially buying a license for the content. This is why they can (and do) shut down multiplayer servers for old games - because the content is theirs and they can do what they want with it. If they don't want to support it anymore, then tough luck for you. In the future, who knows what else they could do to prevent you from playing your physical games.

If Steam and XBLA have taught us anything, it's that digital libraries are not "the future," they are here now. I'm a bit resistant, too, but we'll all just have to get used to it.
FLYN NE WEATHER - i wish someone can finish South Park for me.. Game is so grindy that it takes away from the game..
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Last post: 08 Dec at 04:03
Posted on 10 July 12 at 20:34
I like my hard copies....Would proably stop gaming if I couldnt physically own my game.