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Aspyr problems (aka disturbance in the workforce)


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#41 teflon

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:36 AM

no, making stuff up and talking alarmist nonsense is how id get a job with the Daily Mail, or The Sun, not a well respected, practically industry standard magazine.
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#42 Nate_Trost

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:39 AM

Brad, while I don't dispute that another COD or Civ4 level title could have had potential for success, I think Aspyr learned back before the Intel transition that more titles doesn't necessarily equal more success. I don't know what kind of licensing environment your acquisition folks face these days trying to negotiate for AAA titles. For lower-tier stuff I'm not sure there's any more market than there was a couple years ago. An example would be one of the ports I worked on: Space Colony, a title which I suspect was on the very low end of the spectrum as far as the licensing and port costs, but I still doubt Aspyr managed to break even on it (although I have no idea).

On a future potential bright spot for Aspyr, I wouldn't be at all surprised if EA is more open to farming out the "distribution" rights to Mac versions of their games again. I doubt the sales of their Ciderized titles make sense for their scale of operations, and they are going to be refocusing after a brutal holiday season. I always suspected that releasing those games was more about getting in the catbird seat with Apple in regards to iPod games (and later iPhone) than the P&L on the titles themselves. I imagine Spore has done okay, but I suspect Madden didn't sell many more copies than that year Aspyr released a version.
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#43 Brad Oliver

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:57 AM

View PostNate_Trost, on December 23rd 2008, 09:39 AM, said:

I think Aspyr learned back before the Intel transition that more titles doesn't necessarily equal more success. I don't know what kind of licensing environment your acquisition folks face these days trying to negotiate for AAA titles. For lower-tier stuff I'm not sure there's any more market than there was a couple years ago. An example would be one of the ports I worked on: Space Colony, a title which I suspect was on the very low end of the spectrum as far as the licensing and port costs, but I still doubt Aspyr managed to break even on it (although I have no idea).

I don't know the fate of that one either, but I heard we pursued it because a) it was cheap and b) we were hoping the gameplay was close enough to the Sims to have some trickle-down effect -- this was roughly during the late-Sims 1-lifecycle timeframe, for those who don't remember. There was a period of years there where we did pursue a lot of Mac titles under the assumption that we could grow our business that way, but I believe the result was as you mentioned: we hit a ceiling that no amount of new titles could surpass. Lack of shelf space in places like CompUSA (remember them?!?) was a factor, as I recall, but clearly things have changed somewhat in retail since then too.

Quote

I imagine Spore has done okay, but I suspect Madden didn't sell many more copies than that year Aspyr released a version.

We do get industry sales figures for all Mac games (I think through NPD?), but as the current EA titles are not Aspyr projects I think it would be beyond careless for me to comment on them.
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#44 Tacohead

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 12:02 PM

I haven't purchased an Aspyr product in quite some time because they simply haven't released anything that I'd either be interested in or had a machine capable of running. I was prepared to purchase Neverwinter Nights 2 but then they excluded the 7300 GT and that was that. When I get a new iMac, maybe sometime next year, perhaps I'll get it then.

So far I haven't messed with Boot Camp and it's probably unlikely that I ever will. Although I will never say never. Recently I've been satisfying my gaming habits with older titles (that I never had a chance to play the first time around) and some of the fabulous indie games that have been coming out like World of Goo, Echelon Book 1, and Geneforge.

I could be mistaken but I believe that if Aspyr had made some better choices about which titles to bring to the Mac than they would probably be doing better on the Mac side. Not all of the choices have been bad but there certainly has been some missed opportunities and questionable choices.

I will say that Knights of the Old Republic still remains my favorite role-playing game of all time. Thanks to Brad the universal binary elevated it to that status.  :D Hopefully we will see more titles like that from Aspyr in the future.  :D

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#45 mattw

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 12:57 PM

View PostArtist Formerly Known As Brad Ol, on December 23rd 2008, 06:22 AM, said:

I see a "return to basics" strategy taking shape and that *does* excite me. As I said earlier, our Mac team is more or less intact and our plate appears to have much more on it for next year than this past one.

That sounds like good news. :) As much as wish Aspyr success on other platforms I'd rather not be forced onto them by a lack of titles that run on Mac OS X.

Mac gaming really could do with more developers focused on putting out and maintaining quality titles. The triple A titles should keep the Mac relevant to switches and owners of the latest machines whilst keeping classic titles patched and on sale should satisfy those with older Macs or entry level models with weaker graphics.
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#46 dojoboy

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:06 PM

View PostArtist Formerly Known As Brad Ol, on December 23rd 2008, 01:22 AM, said:

..., but I see a "return to basics" strategy taking shape and that *does* excite me. As I said earlier, our Mac team is more or less intact and our plate appears to have much more on it for next year than this past one.

Hey, give this man his name back!  Please.   :unsure:
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#47 the Battle Cat

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:25 PM

View Postdojoboy, on December 23rd 2008, 11:06 AM, said:

Hey, give this man his name back!  Please.   :unsure:
Who?  You mean ..|.,?
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#48 dojoboy

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

View Postthe Battle Cat, on December 23rd 2008, 02:25 PM, said:

Who?  You mean ..|.,?

OMG!   :bleedingeyes:
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#49 Brad Oliver

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:56 PM

View PostTacohead, on December 23rd 2008, 11:02 AM, said:

I could be mistaken but I believe that if Aspyr had made some better choices about which titles to bring to the Mac than they would probably be doing better on the Mac side. Not all of the choices have been bad but there certainly has been some missed opportunities and questionable choices.

I can probably surmise what you mean by missed opportunities (Civ4: BtS and perhaps the NWN2 expansions), but what would you classify as a questionable choice? I think most of our recent Mac releases have been conservative in that they are fairly well-known, AAA-class titles? futureU may be the exception, but it was also an in-house "original IP" project rather than a port, so it's in a different category.
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#50 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:47 PM

Talking about Bootcamp gaming,

I pretty sure that pretty much every mac user will buy the game for mac if it is out for mac. I for one would rather take the performance hit of mac in order to have the accessibility have having the game in my dock vs having to reboot. I own about 8 windows games that I don't really play at all, simply for the reboot reason. All of them would be played much more if they were in my dock.

I don't think that many sales are being lost to bootcamp. Yes, many mac users bootcamp but does me bootcamping Crysis on the Mac Pro take away from Aspyr's profits?

Oh, and Brad, you guys should port mass effect


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#51 Brad Oliver

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:49 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on December 23rd 2008, 01:47 PM, said:

Oh, and Brad, you guys should port mass effect

Yes, that would be super-awesome. When I played it on the 360, I'd stare at the depth-of-field effects and some of the other things they were doing and wonder just how much pain that would cause when ported to OS X. I still enjoyed it despite that. ;)
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#52 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 03:04 PM

View PostArtist Formerly Known As Brad Ol, on December 23rd 2008, 03:49 PM, said:

Yes, that would be super-awesome. When I played it on the 360, I'd stare at the depth-of-field effects and some of the other things they were doing and wonder just how much pain that would cause when ported to OS X.

to true

However, apple will probably release a mid-range tower with dual 4850's in January, so we'll be set as mac gamers ;)
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#53 Janichsan

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 03:05 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on December 23rd 2008, 10:04 PM, said:

However, apple will probably release a mid-range tower with dual 4850's in January 2012, so we'll be set as mac gamers ;)
Fixed.

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#54 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:26 PM

View PostJanichsan, on December 23rd 2008, 04:05 PM, said:

Fixed.

not entriely, we would still be screwed as the 4850 would be so outdated  :bleedingeyes:
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#55 jackdawsson

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:16 PM

View PostArtist Formerly Known As Brad Ol, on December 23rd 2008, 03:03 PM, said:

but here's another potential factor for flat Mac sales. We've (more or less) stopped doing PowerPC ports. While those are not the majority of our customer base (and haven't been for a while) they still represent a percentage of Mac sales we are not able to tap into. And this ties into another factor: there are a lot of Macs out there that are simply not capable of running modern Mac games at any speed that's enjoyable. This didn't use to be the case before the Intel transition: the low-end cards then were proportionally more capable than the low-end cards now (think Intel GMA).

It's a valid point. I guess things are still pretty much up in the air regarding the impact of Intel-exclusive titles & that a significant number of Mac gamers are still using their G5s.  That's bound to have an effect on sales & it'll continue to do so for at least a couple of years or more before developers get a clearer picture. However, going by that logic, we ought to see Mac sales pick up significantly in the near future as more PPC Macs are replaced with Intel ones.  :)

Quote

We don't release sales figures on the Mac as everyone knows, but Civ4 sales, Guitar Hero sales and CoD4 sales are great for us on the Mac. Is that better? The factors that go into making sales great include crossing the magical number of unit sales that makes a title a profit, in addition to sustained sales. The former varies (sometimes widely so) between Mac titles so it's not so easy to pull out a generic number and use it as a milestone, but certainly the threshold for "greatness" on the Mac is well below 100k units for just about every case I can remember. ;)

Thanks. That's interesting & I can appreciate that there are a number of variables involved behind each title which determine its relative profitability.  Also good to know that "sales are great".  I just hope that such relative success isn't confined to Aspyr.  ;)   But I'm really looking forward to finding out what you guys & other Mac developers announce for us in the coming 12 months or so.  

I've stated elsewhere that after buying 9 Mac titles since June (& another on its way), I'll support Mac gaming where possible for the foreseeable future.  That I'll certainly either use Boot Camp or buy a PC about the time  "Empire: TW" is released (now delayed until March at the earliest), shouldn't affect that in any way... that's as long as decent Mac games are out there to be bought.

#56 ltcommander.data

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:21 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on December 23rd 2008, 03:47 PM, said:

Oh, and Brad, you guys should port mass effect
I'd like that too.

I was wondering if the lack of AAA games known to be in the pipes to Mac is partly because some are being held up waiting for UT3 and Unreal Engine 3 to be ported to Mac? Granted not all games use UE3, but quite a few, like Mass Effect and it's sequels, Bioshock and it's sequels, Rainbow Six Vegas and Vegas 2, Medal of Honor Airborne, etc. I'm hoping that once UT3 is released for Mac, other UE3 titles will quickly follow.

In terms of Aspyr trying to branch out before, I was kind of disappointed that Aspyr didn't bring Supreme Commander to Mac seeing that they were already involved in bringing Supreme Commander over to XBox 360. Although I guess at the time Aspyr had it's hands full getting NWN2, ETQW, and CoD4 out the door, and EA already had C&C3 out.

Given Aspyr's association with Star Wars and Bioware games, and since they seem to do quite well, it'd be interesting to see Aspyr bring Star Wars: The Old Republic to Mac. Doing a MMORPG is no doubt a big commitment in terms of support, but if Aspyr can get a cut of the Mac subscriptions it might be worthwhile as a long-term source of income. And since it's still in development there may even be time to get in a simultaneous or near-simultaneous release of the Mac client.

#57 Kaoro

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:47 PM

View Postltcommander.data, on December 23rd 2008, 06:21 PM, said:

Given Aspyr's association with Star Wars and Bioware games, and since they seem to do quite well, it'd be interesting to see Aspyr bring Star Wars: The Old Republic to Mac. Doing a MMORPG is no doubt a big commitment in terms of support, but if Aspyr can get a cut of the Mac subscriptions it might be worthwhile as a long-term source of income. And since it's still in development there may even be time to get in a simultaneous or near-simultaneous release of the Mac client.
I'd LOVE to see Mass Effect ported.

About the Bioware MMO, I don't think that is possible given Aspyr's size. Aspyr would basically have to create a team just to focus on that MMO, always. Because the MMO devs are constantly creating more patches and content (and internally testing it), Aspyr would always be porting and testing patches & content. They would have to have the patch ready at the same time as the PC one as well, I would assume. Unfortunately the only way I see that MMO having a Mac client is BioWare doing it in-house, or some Cider solution ( :-( ). That is why I love Blizzard. Say what you want about their games, you have to admit they treat us well :).
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#58 Mister Mumbles

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 06:46 PM

View PostTacohead, on December 23rd 2008, 10:02 AM, said:

I will say that Knights of the Old Republic still remains my favorite role-playing game of all time. Thanks to Brad the universal binary elevated it to that status.

Hmmm. I was totally unaware that there was a UB for the game until just now. Then again, I was doing relatively little Mac-gaming during '07. I guess I'll have to hunt down a copy now - I think I saw one at our local Mac store recently. One of the best Star Wars games outside the X-Wing/Tie Fighter franchise. I wasn't too fond of its sequel, though. *shrug*
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#59 Tacohead

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:08 PM

View PostArtist Formerly Known As Brad Ol, on December 23rd 2008, 12:56 PM, said:

I can probably surmise what you mean by missed opportunities (Civ4: BtS and perhaps the NWN2 expansions), but what would you classify as a questionable choice? I think most of our recent Mac releases have been conservative in that they are fairly well-known, AAA-class titles? futureU may be the exception, but it was also an in-house "original IP" project rather than a port, so it's in a different category.

I was thinking of Guitar Hero along with the titles you mentioned. However, you did say Guitar Hero has sold pretty well so never mind about that one. I just figured Guitar Hero was something that was better suited for consoles. I'm a little surprised we haven't seen Knights of the Old Republic 2 or Mass Effect but I guess there's still time for the latter. And by the way you can count my vote for that one too. :D

Keep up the great work!  :D

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#60 Brad Oliver

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 03:19 PM

View PostTacohead, on December 24th 2008, 11:08 AM, said:

I'm a little surprised we haven't seen Knights of the Old Republic 2 or Mass Effect but I guess there's still time for the latter. And by the way you can count my vote for that one too.

Yeah, KOTOR2 was a personal wish of mine, but it was apparently poorly received, sales-wise, IIRC. That's too bad - it would have been a dead-simple port after having done KOTOR. Mass Effect would be a great fit, but I think it would be an expensive port from a development cost standpoint as it would require someone to spend some time getting Unreal Engine 3 finally running on the Mac.
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