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Old 01-29-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
randir14
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Ex-Midway Exec Compares THQ's Demise as "Exactly the Same"


Games Industry has an article where a former Midway executive named Lee Jacobson says the reasons for THQ's downfall are exactly the same as what happened to Midway.

Quote:
The demise of THQ looked awfully familiar to one former Midway Games executive. Speaking at the GameON: Finance conference in Toronto today, former Midway VP of business development and licensing Lee Jacobson said what he saw during the final days of the Saints Row publisher was "the exact same thing" the Mortal Kombat maker went through in the nine-month stretch leading up to its bankruptcy and sale to Warner Bros.

One difference between the two situations was that Warner Bros. acquired essentially all of Midway, while THQ was split up and sold to a handful of companies at auction. Jacobson said when gaming publishers hit the rocks, the latter outcome is much more likely.

"Unfortunately, what happens more than not is that companies will try to package themselves as an entire entity," Jacobson said. "But because this business has been around for a long time now, right or wrong, survival of the fittest really applies. Companies that come in and look at assets say, 'We don't want your producers or your product managers or your facilities. We've got all that. But we really like that IP. And that IP. And that IP.'"
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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More to the point:
Quote:
As for what traditional console publishers can do to avoid sharing the fate of Midway and THQ, Jacobson suggested being quicker to greenlight games, and quicker to kill projects that aren't shaping up as hoped. Publishers tend to be overly cautious about either, as the people making those decisions are worried about jeopardizing their jobs.

"The two hardest things to do in a publishing company are to get a game greenlit, and to get a game killed," Jacobson said. "Because everybody has capitalized development expenses. Once you went on the hook and stuck your neck out, most publishers aren't going to expense that because they have to take the hit in the quarter they stop the project... I can't tell you how many times we kept SpyHunter 3 going when we never should have kept SpyHunter 3 going because we had $12 million capitalized on budget."
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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Maybe this guy will learn from his mistakes at Virgin, Midway and Atari.

THQ also over spent on licenses.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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Jacobson suggested being quicker to greenlight games, and quicker to kill projects that aren't shaping up as hoped.
So he basically wants a turnover rate of your average fast food restaurant. I'm sure it's good for the publisher....
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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So he basically wants a turnover rate of your average fast food restaurant. I'm sure it's good for the publisher....
He's absolutely right. After you've wasted $8m - $10m on a developer that continually fails milestones or misses the quality bar it hurts to drop the product but it's necessary before that $10m becomes $15m or $20m.

I've seen companies invest $30m in a title only to realize they'd have to continue funding that title to the tune of another $30m to release something of unknown quality. If only they'd done that analysis $15 or $20m ago they could have funded an entirely new title with what they lost.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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So he basically wants a turnover rate of your average fast food restaurant. I'm sure it's good for the publisher....
More like 'don't throw good money after bad.'
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:24 PM   #7
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Bad investments happen, that's a fact. This is a creative industry tho, where you can't just discard talent on a whim. (you're welcome artists)
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
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The big difference between successful publishers and failed ones is their ability to cultivate good development houses that make great games and then to green-light titles from those companies even when their game ideas do not agree with marketing data. There needs to be someone smart in that position that understands what makes games fun, because fun games become successful IPs.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:23 PM   #9
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I wonder what would happen if we formed a new development team and locked them in an office cut off from the world and the internet and told them not to come out until they were able to finish a game that was simply good and not solely for maximized profit.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:26 PM   #10
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It would be a 5 hour game that plays itself (linear) for you and the sheeple would love it. Right Uncharted 3?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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I wonder what would happen if we formed a new development team and locked them in an office cut off from the world and the internet and told them not to come out until they were able to finish a game that was simply good and not solely for maximized profit.
Developers are like everything else, some of them are amazing most of them not-so-much.

The developers of Bulletstorm are always going off on twitter about how their next game will still be good even though it is going to be a mini-game and we shouldn't judge it because of the length.

If you can't make a long game, make something unique like Minecraft that can be played forever.

If you don't have good ideas, nothing else matters.

Homefront, Darksiders, Saint's Row, Metro 2033... these are all poor-to-average quality ideas and your company is never going to be a success if you are trying to build on the back of piss-poor ideas.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:34 PM   #12
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Saint's Row is better than GTA series. That is if you prefer srs shit framerates and animation over wacky over the top bullshit.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suicidal ShiZuru View Post
I wonder what would happen if we formed a new development team and locked them in an office cut off from the world and the internet and told them not to come out until they were able to finish a game that was simply good and not solely for maximized profit.
IOW, the Nintendo method.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:17 AM   #14
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The developers of Bulletstorm are always going off on twitter about how their next game will still be good even though it is going to be a mini-game and we shouldn't judge it because of the length.
You mean Gears of War: Judgement?

Quote:
Homefront, Darksiders, Saint's Row, Metro 2033... these are all poor-to-average quality ideas and your company is never going to be a success if you are trying to build on the back of piss-poor ideas.
I didn't play Homefront or Metro 2033, but Darksiders and Saint's Row were pretty darn good.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Evil Avatar View Post
Developers are like everything else, some of them are amazing most of them not-so-much.

The developers of Bulletstorm are always going off on twitter about how their next game will still be good even though it is going to be a mini-game and we shouldn't judge it because of the length.

If you can't make a long game, make something unique like Minecraft that can be played forever.

If you don't have good ideas, nothing else matters.

Homefront, Darksiders, Saint's Row, Metro 2033... these are all poor-to-average quality ideas and your company is never going to be a success if you are trying to build on the back of piss-poor ideas.
Totally agree but because few developers have genuinley good ideas they
simply copy everyone else. Still i suppose its hard to get funds unless
you walk in there and say its CoD in space..... hence modern gaming is
stagnant from new experiences as were getting lots of games that
their only real gaming feature is a new linear story (usually copied also)..

Darksiders 2 was like playng spot the game they've copied for every element.
Still its expensive as to sell the same games reskinned you need to go
bigger and flashier and thats more expensive. Unique ideas are rare
and tbh there are few developers good enough, yet to be fair their
hands are tied by the execs.

Personally i think these companies should have a single exec and not a team.
So all the accountability is on them - then more correct decisions would be
made imo.
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