inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

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shmerl
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by shmerl » November 12th, 2018, 8:26 am

Themadcow wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 7:20 am
I didn't say they weren't pushing specific commercial goals, one of which is getting as many people as possible to use their latest platforms. Just to be clear, I don't work FOR Microsoft, and I'm not a games developer.
Ah, thanks for clarifying. I got an impression that you actually worked there. Getting more people to use their platform is not an issue. Let them compete on merit for that. But using lock-in for it is quite a foul practice, same as exclusives really.

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by IHaveHugeNick » November 12th, 2018, 9:29 am

shmerl wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 6:47 am
Themadcow wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 5:49 am
I know Microsoft pretty well and have worked with their Xbox division quite recently
So you'd know first hand their toxic lock-in attitude I suppose. What stops them from helping developers and collaborating on the common graphics API like Vulkan?
The same thing that stops you from chopping your head off and donating it to medical research to help making world a better place. You want to live.

Microsoft have absolutely nothing to gain from joining Vulkan API group when they already dominate the market with their own in house API in DirectX. And Khronos Group isn't some friendly organization of peace loving hippies who set out to make the world a better place and hold hands while signing koombaya. It consists of Microsoft competitors.

I genuinely can't tell if you're a troll, naive or simply a shill. You've spammed this entire thread with your off-topic agenda that have nothing to do with InXile.
Last edited by IHaveHugeNick on November 12th, 2018, 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by shmerl » November 12th, 2018, 9:52 am

IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 9:29 am
The same thing that stops you from chopping your head off and donating it to medical research to help making world a better place. You want to live.
There is a difference between proper competition (on merit) and crooked anti-competitive practices like lock-in. So no point to whitewash the later as "way to live". Defending lock-in is exactly what a shill would do, since everyone understands it's a bad thing. So I find it ironic that you brought that up.
Last edited by shmerl on November 12th, 2018, 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by demeisen » November 12th, 2018, 10:07 am

Well... this is not good news to wake up to.

I've bought most of InXile's games. All but one, I think. Some I've liked a lot, like WL2-DC - great stuff. Some I've been more ambivalent about, but I was always 100% willing to fund even their missteps to help support a small studio of game-makers creating DRM-free games that had dynamics the market considered too niche for the mainstream, like turn based multi-character tactical RPG, and who didn't pander to the and the endless casualization and consolization of PC gaming.

I can't think of a small gaming studio bought by any of the big dogs (MS, Sony, whoever) where it ended well. This surely means a drive towards single-platform lock-in technologies and DRM-ed games. Microsoft Train Simulator is not sold on GOG.

I don't know what InXile's financial situation is: for all I know, they're in dire straits and this was the only way to preserve people's jobs. That's about the only good I can see coming out of this. I'm happy the InXile people get to still have jobs, if that was at risk. However, when little companies get bought by ones like MS or Sony, jobs very easily turn soul-crushing.

I'm really not happy to see two excellent indie game studios gobbled up by the likes of Microsoft to bring us "exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans."

At least, I expect WL3 is far enough along to survive mostly untarnished.

Maybe Owlcat can pick up the RPG ball and run with it.

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by kaiman » November 12th, 2018, 10:19 am

IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 9:29 am
Microsoft have absolutely nothing to gain from joining Vulkan API group when they already dominate the market with their own in house API in DirectX? And Khronos Group isn't some friendly organization of peace love hippies who set out to make the world a better place and holds hands while signing koombaya. It consists of Microsoft competitors.
Plus a bit of competition amongst 3D graphics APIs is certainly not that bad. After all, nothing hinders game developers to bring Vulkan based games to Windows, if they so desire. That Microsoft is using their own API to push their own latest and greatest *cough* OS doesn't surprise me in the least. One can chide them for that (and I'm definitely no friend of them), but it looks like a valid and understandable business decision.

More on topic: if this acquisition helps preserve the jobs of inXile employees in the short term, then it's probably the right thing to do. What it means for people like me that like old school games and play exclusively on Linux is a different matter. I guess I won't be playing another inXile game after Bards Tale VI, but there will be others to fill the gap, I'm certain.

So good luck with your new company overlord. Hope you won't be eaten by a grue!

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by undecaf » November 12th, 2018, 12:58 pm

I'm really not happy to see two excellent indie game studios gobbled up by the likes of Microsoft to bring us "exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans."
Same.

This really isn’t good news. I’ve no faith in this producing anything worthwhile. Seeing is believing, but there’s a good bit of history on these things. Chances are, both Obsidian and InXile are a lost cause now.
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by Tia Lapis » November 12th, 2018, 1:17 pm

So I will have to wait even longer for my Mac version of BT4? Great...

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by waltc » November 12th, 2018, 1:31 pm

I'm very stoked about this...!

Microsoft is not EA, thank God, so I have little fear of them wrecking inXile (Obsidian *really* needs some TLC, imo! The opening of PoE2 was little more than a direct copy of the openings of several really great RPGs released by other companies that I guess Obsidian figured no one would remember?! I don't think I've ever seen something so blatant before...it really stunned me! Obsidian is in dire need of--how you say it?--"heroic measures to resuscitate"...? I had planned to buy PoE2--but after looking at the shipping game introduction I changed my mind.)

InXile--I cannot see needing the same level of aid and comfort! BT IV is brilliant--unique--one of the most *original* games it has been my privilege to play in the last ~35 years, etc. I'm having a great time with the BT1/2/3 Trilogies--the remasters are great and getting better with each new patch--as we eagerly await the addition of BT3. InXile and Krome have scored the top rung of the golden ladder with the Trilogy, imo!

But I would hate to see an emphasis on xbox, even though the x86 PC architecture ate the game console for lunch a couple of years ago and has absorbed it. There is still a huge amount of stuff you can do on a decent PC that wouldn't work well or at all on a console--because of the obvious hardware limits in the consoles (that $300 console price tag is there for a reason...). And, nothing will ruin a quality game development faster than the silly notion of trying to develop simultaneously the same game for PCs, Consoles, and mobile! Ugh--Ugh--Ugh. Mobile development should be strictly segregated and banished to some lower realm--better still, farm it out to another developer altogether. Win32/64 still has some long, strong legs, imo! Microsoft's notion of a "united" API to cover the bases between mobile and high-end PC is short-sighted and won't work well for that very reason, imo. Sacrificing high-end software for the bottom of the barrel el-cheapo mobile game market is just bad business all around. Here's hoping Microsoft will be led to water and will drink!... :mrgreen:

As far as the API support goes, here's my view on that: there's a reason developers overwhelmingly support D3d as opposed to Opengl and Vulcan these days--and that is the fact that Microsoft's tool and development base for game developers on d3d is far and away unsurpassed by anyone--it's been like that for years. Best tools for devs are D3d. Development Tools for OpenGL and Vulcan don't come close. It's not that the APIs are all that much different because they aren't--it's the *tools* that make the difference for game developers. Nobody does that part of it better than Microsoft, imo. Not only that, but as mentioned, all current gaming consoles are x86 AMD these days--and so the need for a cross-platform 3D API is simply not what it used to be. Squeaky API gets the grease, and Microsoft lays on the grease thick for its D3d developer tools. That is the reason D3d is ubiquitous, imo. Can you blame developers? I surely can't.

I thought Microsoft was insane for shelling out $2B for a thoroughly monetized game that had seen its better days before Microsoft bought it--MineCraft. Ugh. Just think of how many AAA-tier game titles Microsoft could have financed @ $50M Ea for the same $2B ( Forty or so!)--instead of just 1, Minecraft...! So now I'm glad to see that Microsoft has maybe figured that out by now.

InXile has done some great stuff! I wish Brain F. had had the foresight to hang on to his old label, Interplay--but the perspective of players and devs can sometimes be much different from that of the company Producers--the financiers who have to attend to the bottom line--while the rest of us are dreaming our priceless dreams. Yep, if wishes were pennies...! Brian is way, way too young to retire, anyway! He is not to be allowed to retire--I mean, what a selfish, curmudgeonly thing to do, eh? "Retire"?--rolling in champagne, beautiful broads, yachts, exotic cars, and stacks upon stacks of dough reaching to the moon and back--to your heart's content, with nothing else to do until Gabriel blows his horn and calls you home!!!!! Who TF would want to do that??? So I am delighted that Brian has decided to stay around for a few more decades--hopefully! I think InXile is going to pump out some really great stuff!

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by Gillsing » November 12th, 2018, 1:38 pm

I'm not going back to Windows, so for me this is not good news. But I'm not much of a gamer, so it's not that bad news either. And I haven't even finished Wasteland 2 yet, while I played through The Bard's Tale (2004) three times, despite some annoying graphics glitches for the Linux version. So chances are that inXile could make some pretty good games when they don't have to listen to what old school fans want.

Or maybe they'll make mediocre games when they don't have old school fans setting them straight? I've never been too sure if they listened too much to those old school fans, or not enough. Maybe Wasteland 2 is more fun to play when you've already played it once or twice, so the arbitrariness can be countered by player knowledge of each situation's parameters? Or maybe I just need to be more casual about the whole thing, and not so serious? Save often and reload!

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by demeisen » November 12th, 2018, 1:40 pm

Tia Lapis wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 1:17 pm
So I will have to wait even longer for my Mac version of BT4? Great...
Obviously I'm only speculating, but I doubt it. I'd bet anything already in flight is going to stay the course. I don't think BT4 Mac will be impacted one way or the other.

However, come back in 5 years, and I don't think we'll see OSX and Linux support for new games, nor will we see DRM-free games sold on GOG from Microsoft-owned studios.

Say what you will about InXile and Obsidian's games: both companies have been more or less good corporate citizens of the game industry. Much more so than many, many other studios, especially bigger ones. I've supported both companies largely because I wanted to reward their overall good behavior. They trusted me to be a customer in good faith, and haven't shoveled DRM down my gullet. That ethos is what I think we're most likely to lose under MS overlordship.

I guess we'll see. If MS is completely hands-off, maybe it could turn out OK. But that is one monster, over-sized "if".

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by shmerl » November 12th, 2018, 1:49 pm

waltc wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 1:31 pm
as mentioned, all current gaming consoles are x86 AMD these days--and so the need for a cross-platform 3D API is simply not what it used to be. Squeaky API gets the grease, and Microsoft lays on the grease thick for its D3d developer tools. That is the reason D3d is ubiquitous, imo. Can you blame developers? I surely can't.
Not sure what you mean. There is not only non x86 hardware (ARM for instance), but more importantly there are non MS operating systems for x86 (Linux is the biggest). DirectX is useless outside of MS without API translation and that always reduces performance. Saying that DX is cross platform is like saying that ActiveX is, and you can always just use IE instead of any other browser.

And yes, you can criticize developers for falling for this lock-in and perpetuating it. Tools are a matter of habit. MS tools aren't a lot better, but what people are hooked on looks better than anything, that's natural.

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by IHaveHugeNick » November 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm

kaiman wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 10:19 am
More on topic: if this acquisition helps preserve the jobs of inXile employees in the short term, then it's probably the right thing to do. What it means for people like me that like old school games and play exclusively on Linux is a different matter. I guess I won't be playing another inXile game after Bards Tale VI, but there will be others to fill the gap, I'm certain.

So good luck with your new company overlord. Hope you won't be eaten by a grue!
Who knows what happens. All of these acquisitions seem to be driven by the new push to create Netflix-like subscription service for games. MS flagship titles, the Forzas, Halos and Gears already make it into GamePass on release date. But they also need mid-grade and indie-grade games of various genres to fill that service and this is probably where InXile comes into play. It's a completely new business model that unlike in previous decades, means these big corporations have an incentive to create indie games instead of just mass producing $50 million shooters.
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by shmerl » November 12th, 2018, 2:26 pm

IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm
It's a completely new business model that unlike in previous decades, means these big corporations have an incentive to create indie games instead of just mass producing $50 million shooters.
It's not enough that DRM currently already erodes ability to back up and preserve games, this "streaming" idea will make it even worse.

And indie game from a big corporation sounds like an oxymoron. Indie means independent :)

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by demeisen » November 12th, 2018, 2:54 pm

shmerl wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:26 pm
It's not enough that DRM currently already erodes ability to back up and preserve games, this "streaming" idea will make it even worse.
Yeah :(.

There is a large push all across the tech industry to move all data to someone else's servers. Even single-player games end up needing launch permission from a remote server. Google kindly stores all your photos, emails, and documents. "Everything as a service".

Microsoft has been one of the major players agitating against the oldschool model where you can buy a game or other software package, and use it locally and indefinitely in a permissionless manner. That's why this bodes so poorly for the "good guys" like InXile and Obsidian who were holding the fort. I expect the games we see in 5 years to be "indie" in some marketing-buzzword sense only, but have adopted the techniques pushed by Microsoft and others.

However that goes... I want to extend my sincere thanks to the InXile (and Obsidian) crews for all the work they put into their games up until now. We've had some really solid indie studio games from both.

*Edit typo*

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by IHaveHugeNick » November 12th, 2018, 4:49 pm

shmerl wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:26 pm
IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm
It's a completely new business model that unlike in previous decades, means these big corporations have an incentive to create indie games instead of just mass producing $50 million shooters.
It's not enough that DRM currently already erodes ability to back up and preserve games, this "streaming" idea will make it even worse.
It cannot be worse than it already is, you know. We're already in the era where "boxed edition" simply gives you a Steam code and you can't play your game without going online to activate it. And even if you could, the game would be completely unplayable and broken without a day one patch.

It is what it is, industry is changing. No one will care about preserving games because these services are actually great value for your money. I believe monthly subscription to GamePass is like 10 bucks? So you get a year access to pretty good library of games for a price of two AAA releases. And that library is only going to grow. Old model of owning your games just cannot compete with that.

And you can be indie and still publish on Microsoft/Sony platforms, how do you think Wasteland 2 made it to consoles?
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by shmerl » November 12th, 2018, 5:42 pm

IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 4:49 pm
No one will care about preserving games because these services are actually great value for your money.
Not for me. I'd like to back up what I buy, and if I can't back it up, I'm not going to pay. It's not the first time, some DRMed service went belly up, and all people's digital libraries wend under with it. I'd say it's clearly a bad way to spend your money.

At the same time, you can observe that actual DRM-free digital stores are growing, so I wouldn't say no one cares. On the contrary. The argument that "renting is better than buying" isn't new, but in case of digital goods it's as unconvincing as it has always been. Some learn the hard way though. So wait for some other major DRM mess for more people to realize all that.

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by kitsura » November 12th, 2018, 6:41 pm

This is the beginning of the end. Isn't this how Int3rplay stopped games development back in the day? They needed money and sold out to a huge company. That company stripped it of its valuable assets and stopped being a games development company.

Besides name a recent acquisition of MS that has gone well in recent memory? Skype? Nokia mobile? I'm waiting...

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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by BurningBright » November 12th, 2018, 7:32 pm

https://kotaku.com/microsoft-s-new-stud ... 1830383030

This seems promising. I admit, though I was happy InXile would have less financial woes and could now focus more on working on games then trying to scrape by on a small budget, the news had still put me in a bit of a depression about the future of good RPGs.

Some of it has started to lift.
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by Grohal » November 13th, 2018, 12:43 am

BurningBright wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 7:32 pm
https://kotaku.com/microsoft-s-new-stud ... 1830383030

This seems promising. I admit, though I was happy InXile would have less financial woes and could now focus more on working on games then trying to scrape by on a small budget, the news had still put me in a bit of a depression about the future of good RPGs.

Some of it has started to lift.
We can't change it anyway, so let us hope this all works out as Mr. Fargo predicted (about InXile being able to get some healthy growth). He is no newbie, so if someone can pull this off into the positive for a little studio like InXile, it is he.
I have to admit my first thought was a short " oh shit" too. ;)
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Re: inXile Entertainment joins Microsoft Studios

Post by Spectralshade » November 13th, 2018, 1:38 am

IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 4:49 pm
shmerl wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:26 pm
IHaveHugeNick wrote:
November 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm
It's a completely new business model that unlike in previous decades, means these big corporations have an incentive to create indie games instead of just mass producing $50 million shooters.
It's not enough that DRM currently already erodes ability to back up and preserve games, this "streaming" idea will make it even worse.
It cannot be worse than it already is, you know. We're already in the era where "boxed edition" simply gives you a Steam code and you can't play your game without going online to activate it. And even if you could, the game would be completely unplayable and broken without a day one patch.

It is what it is, industry is changing. No one will care about preserving games because these services are actually great value for your money. I believe monthly subscription to GamePass is like 10 bucks? So you get a year access to pretty good library of games for a price of two AAA releases. And that library is only going to grow. Old model of owning your games just cannot compete with that.

And you can be indie and still publish on Microsoft/Sony platforms, how do you think Wasteland 2 made it to consoles?
sure it can get worse.

you install your old game, because you want to have some relaxing fun with an old friend. Then you get greeted onscreen with: "cannot connect to server." and your install files are as usefull as a snowball is in hell. Don't think it can happen? Already have. I stopped buying microsoft games many years ago after I got exactly that message after trying to install a game to do some singleplayer playing.

The whole 'service' pitch is bogus because it restricts you from using the product to only being as long as the service-provider bothers to provide it. It's a huge devaluation of the product and is a parallel to enforced life-cycles of products certain companies have been trying to enforce in their products to ensure future sales. It's not about providing good quality for these companies. It's about providing continued sales.

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