Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Drool » October 1st, 2014, 9:11 pm

I'm more annoyed by them keeping everyone, including inXile, completely in the dark. And I'm not so happy about the no tracking numbers. The company I buy vapor cartridges from gives tracking numbers, even when you opt for free shipping. Pretty much everyone gives tracking numbers these days.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 9:29 pm

The moral of the story here is that physical distribution is too expensive and too much of a hassle for it's own good. The main advantage of an independent developer these days is that they can easily self-publish their games digitally without having to give over a sum of money to a publisher/distributor to have physical copies.

What is the point of finally getting away from publishers financially, only to jump back in bed with them to distribute boxed copies? I cannot say I am surprised but I hope InXile looks long and hard at how many physical copies of WL2 actually get sold.

Fully digital is the only way.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 9:30 pm

Crosmando wrote:What is the point of finally getting away from publishers financially, only to jump back in bed with them to distribute boxed copies?
Wanting a boxed copy. :twisted:

If a game is worthwhile, then I should be able to get the complete version of it; and not just an installer and a PDF.
The same is true of books; especially really good novels.
(You can't smell an E-book. :D )

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 9:38 pm

You realize right that one of the reason devs like Black Isle and Troika don't exist anymore is because they were dependent on publishers to both finance and manufacture and ship their games, right? If digital distribution existed years earlier then it's likely those companies might still be around.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Zombra » October 1st, 2014, 9:59 pm

Yeah. Physical trinkets are nice, but ultimately packaging is just packaging.

The experience of reading a book is definitely different from the experience of listening to an audiobook or reading text on a glowing screen, but the experience of playing a video game that came in a box is exactly the same as playing the same game from a download. The only difference is that you got to touch a box beforehand.

That said, as long as there are people who get a boner from touching cardboard, game companies might as well keep selling boxes to them. It has nothing to do with games any more, but if they can turn a buck and their customers are happy, everybody wins.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by QweSteR » October 1st, 2014, 10:03 pm

when the next patch?

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 10:20 pm

Crosmando wrote:You realize right that one of the reason devs like Black Isle and Troika don't exist anymore is because they were dependent on publishers to both finance and manufacture and ship their games, right? If digital distribution existed years earlier then it's likely those companies might still be around.
Black Isle was the in-house RPG devision of Interplay ~they were the publisher... Not so different from Bethesda no?

Troika doesn't exist because Troika had all developers and no one capable of running a company; they made great concepts that turned into really cool [but usually flawed] games ~all of which I really enjoyed... But they didn't know how to run a business.

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 11:30 pm

No, my point is mostly that every game Black Isle and Troika made turned a profit, in the case of Black Isle they were dragged under by Interplay's losses. In the case of Troika I'm pretty sure Tim Cain said in an interview they were always profitable, it's just that the profits weren't going to them and that they couldn't get any publishers to finance cRPGs.

If something like Kickstarter/Steam existed when Troika was going downhill, they could have easily survived because they did have a paying audience, it's just that they needed to go through the publisher middle-man to sell to that audience. And the publisher was taking most (if not all) of the profits.

Fast forward to today, InXile no longer needs to go through a publisher, they can sell directly to their audience via digital distribution. It just seems like "1 step forward, 2 steps back" to get this freedom and then go back to publishers for physical copies.

I mean I assume Deep Silver is getting a substantial amount of profits from WL2's physical copies, and that's money InXile could be having for themselves.

As Zombra said above, a physical book is a different case. A book can be digital or physical, a video game is always digital one way or the other, whether you install it off a DVD or download the installer off the net. So ultimately it just comes down to a fetish for a bit of cardboard.

That being said, it makes sense to buy physical copies of old games where the manual is needed for basic info about the game, so it's handier than alt+tabbing to a PDF, but all modern games essentially contain this info in the game itself via tooltips.

EDIT: The lead guy/CEO of Larian pretty much said after Divinity: OS was released that they will never do physical releases again just because of all the time/effort/money it took to make it happen.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 11:40 pm

Crosmando wrote:I mean I assume Deep Silver is getting a substantial amount of profits from WL2's physical copies, and that's money InXile could be having for themselves.
InXile paid Deep Silver to do it because they don't want to. This is little different from paying an auto mechanic or a roofer to do a job that you don't want to ~or cannot do yourself... That is not an inherently evil thing. Anyone with the confidence for it is free to buy the [specialized] tools and do their own jobs if they want to; some do, many don't. That doesn't make the professional a malignant entity. Digital distribution is great, but it doesn't offer physical goods. Image

* And you can't get this on Steam: Image

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 11:47 pm

But just look at all the hassle it's caused, it pushed back the release data and caused all sorts of issues with patches (ie what version they had to put on the disc), and at the end of the day for what? To have a Steam key in a cardboard box.

And the game is likely to be continually patched for months, even making the DRM-free physical copies obsolete if you don't have the internet.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 11:49 pm

Crosmando wrote:But just look at all the hassle it's caused, it pushed back the release data and caused all sorts of issues with patches (ie what version they had to put on the disc), and at the end of the day for what? To have a Steam key in a cardboard box.

And the game is likely to be continually patched for months, even making the DRM-free physical copies obsolete if you don't have the internet.
That's Deep Silver's fault, not distributors in general. The rest is irrelevant; those that care nothing for a boxed set will have bought the digital version.

** Not everyone is able to buy the digital version.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Zombra » October 1st, 2014, 11:50 pm

I don't think anyone is saying that box makers are malignant ... but there is a major legal and administrative hassle involved in making the boxes for a product that has next to zero need for them. inXile might be able to invent the Wasteland 2 Sundae and have Baskin-Robbins sell it, and some fans would certainly enjoy it, but why should they? It would have nothing to do with their actual product.

Clearly this whole thing with Deep Silver has been a huge pain in the ass for them, including a substantial amount of ill-will from their customers for something they have little to no control over, and I doubt they're buying vacation condos with the proceeds. If I were them, next time around I would say to hell with that.

Again, I'm not saying trinkets are bad ... hell, my Desert Rangers key ring is one of the coolest physical objects I'll buy this year :) ... but ... to expect them to always be associated with digital products moving forward may be wishful thinking.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 11:51 pm

Zombra wrote:I don't think anyone is saying that box makers are malignant ... but there is a major legal and administrative hassle involved in making the boxes for a product that has absolutely zero need for them.
The need is the demand for a boxed set; no demand, no boxed set... [ultimately]
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 11:52 pm

Gizmo wrote: * And you can't get this on Steam: Image
Yeah and I wonder how much money all that took to manufacture and ship? After the publisher/retailer takes their cut how much actually goes back to the developer?

I'd like to know how much of WL2's budget was spent on those physical trinkets and the like, money which could have been directly used on the game.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 1st, 2014, 11:53 pm

Crosmando wrote:
Gizmo wrote: Yeah and I wonder how much money all that took to manufacture and ship? After the publisher/retailer takes their cut how much actually goes back to the developer?

I'd like to know how much of WL2's budget was spent on those physical trinkets and the like, money which could have been directly used on the game.
So what? Image
The ones that bought them all were fine with that. (Including the studio who didn't have their arm twisted to commission that statue.)

**Why should any studio be obligated by their customers to spend every dime on the game instead of spending what they choose to spend, and where they choose to spend it? (It's their work generating the money.)

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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 1st, 2014, 11:57 pm

Gizmo wrote:
Zombra wrote:I don't think anyone is saying that box makers are malignant ... but there is a major legal and administrative hassle involved in making the boxes for a product that has absolutely zero need for them.
The need is the demand for a boxed set; no demand, no boxed set... [ultimately]
It's not that simple. Digital distribution does not cost anything to the developer (beyond the cut Steam/GOG take from individual sales), they do not need to pay anything to give a Steam or GOG code to a backer. There's inherently none or very little cost in distributing digital goods because you're just copying a file. But when it's physical you're paying for the manufacture of the boxes, manuals discs and any extras, as well as shipping this stuff all over the world.

The dev gets more profit directly through digital sales, especially for a niche game like WL2.

It seems to me to be an obsolete thing, like sending letters instead of emails.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 2nd, 2014, 12:00 am

Gizmo wrote: **Why should any studio be obligated by their customers to spend every dime on the game instead of spending what they choose to spend, and where they choose to spend it? (It's their work generating the money.)
They aren't obligated, but it's just a waste. And Brian Fargo continually said over and over that every cent they got was going into WL2 production.

And the people that would of purchased the physical stuff will still buy the digital tiers.

EDIT: Not that I'm against physical stuff being sold full-stop, like that Wasteland art print their selling separately on their site, I don't mind that, but tying it in with the game and offering physical stuff on Kickstarter I don't think is a good idea (did you not notice that the first thing the devs asked about Torment KS was to increase the price of physical goods?)
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Gizmo » October 2nd, 2014, 12:01 am

Crosmando wrote:It's not that simple. Digital distribution does not cost anything to the developer (beyond the cut Steam/GOG take from individual sales), they do not need to pay anything to give a Steam or GOG code to a backer.
Are you saying that publishers charge the developer for the box they are paid to create and distribute?

I know the anatomy of a $60 dollar game; and as I've said... The digital version doesn't provide physical goods ~publishers do. Image

What to you is the difference between Steam's relative cut and a physical publisher's relative cut... besides that the physical publisher then has to make good on distributing the boxes?
Crosmando wrote:They aren't obligated, but it's just a waste. And Brian Fargo continually said over and over that every cent they got was going into WL2 production.
And it did. [That's snarkier than it's supposed to be, but it's true even if you don't value all aspects of the game.]

Brian Fargo also had said that he'd foot the remainder of the Kickstarter out of pocket up to $100,000 IIRC.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Drool » October 2nd, 2014, 12:07 am

I'm a big fan of digital distribution, and I wouldn't have any interested in a chinsy jewel case. But something like this? I can't wait for my metal CE box, bound manual, cloth map, and all the good stuff.

Like I've said before, I think that's the future more than pure digital. It's the mid-price and cheap boxes that'll vanish (save your $5 jewel case in a Walmart bin 5-10 years after release), leaving just digital and high-price special editions.

And then, really special ones for series, like that swanky Elder Scrolls box that Bethesda released a year or so ago.

edit:
What to you is the difference between Steams relative cut and a physical publisher's relative cut ... besides that the physical publisher then has to make good on distributing the boxes?
That's a very good point, too. It's not like digital distribution is free.
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Re: Update 57: Deep Breath…OK, Now Work Continues On

Post by Crosmando » October 2nd, 2014, 12:21 am

Gizmo wrote:Are you saying that publishers charge the developer for the box they are paid to create and distribute?
The copies sold during the Kickstarter/pre-order period? Absolutely, those are already sold so of course the devs would need to pay for them. The ones Deep Silver are selling in retailers (the smaller box) you can guarantee they are making a large amount of profit off.

The games they sell over Kickstarter or Steam/GOG have one cut taken and the rest is pure profit (not including taxes), they don't need to pay any distribution costs.
I know the anatomy of a $60 dollar game; and as I've said... The digital version doesn't provide physical goods ~publishers do. Image
Most physical goods can be distributed digitally (manuals, maps, artbooks), and
What to you is the difference between Steams relative cut and a physical publisher's relative cut... besides that the physical publisher then has to make good on distributing the boxes?
For one, it costs more. Steam/GOG take 30% total (that's the widely quoted figure though it's not confirmed) but when you take into consideration shipping and manufacturing costs and the cut from retailers (EB/Gamestop etc) it would be more than 30% total. Kickstarter/Amazon take about 20% I believe too (but Steam/GOG allow devs to give away keys to KS backers so it works out about the same).

Anyway, I'm not saying that physical stuff shouldn't be done at all, just that it should be separate, ie the Kickstarter/pre-order copies should be purely digital. If they make an agreement with Deep Silver or whoever to sell a physical copy on release date, sure, but that's all on Deep Silver.
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