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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 05, 2004 9:26 pm

Spider wrote:
Josan wrote:I blame Fargo first but largely and mostly *potty mouth*.
I actually though you had added Caen to the word censor. Maybe we should?
;)
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Post by Briosafreak » Wed May 05, 2004 10:02 pm

You know that Iplay gets less than that per unit, that`s the deal with Vivendi, less per unit but payed advanced, and that the game slipped deadlines more than once, with several staff members from Iplay beeing diverted to a sequel that will never show up. I don`t think it`s even slightly profitable, and neither Iplay, since in the fillings they only talk of BGDA2 as having a positive impact on their accounts.

By the way it`s the same game that they won`t get a penny more until Atari, Iplay and Vivendi can get a deal on the breach of contract with fees that weren`t paid to Atari regarding the license.

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Post by Puuk » Wed May 05, 2004 10:53 pm

Eldar wrote:
Puuk wrote:EA shoots for the 10's of millions when it comes to consols. :shock:
...And it's your job to make that a reality. Although I have to admit it seems strange that you're working on an RTS rather than a CRPG right now.
Necessity and survival make odd bedfellows.
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Post by Puuk » Wed May 05, 2004 11:02 pm

Zorrelak69 wrote:
Puuk wrote:
Zorrelak69 wrote: It was released on April 2nd in Europe-- so it's been out for a month now. Tracking certain European charts, I can see that the game has been selling better in Europe over the first four weeks than the intial US sales, and in fact many gamers have posted more positive reviews in Europe than the negative backlash the game has received here in the States.

My source for US Jan sales was NPD data, so I assume the 13,000 number to be very accurate. Since then, it's probably sold another 15,000-25,000 over the next three months.

To answer the question as to why they shipped so many units-- they needed the money fast, so they gave Vivendi a pretty big shipment. They knew that those 300,000 units would not be sold at the full price. Once they drop the price, the number of units sold should get a jump.

By any means, I am not saying this is a great selling game. But to say it is the worst selling game ever is false as well. In fact, it is just selling decently.
This isn't a dig at IPLY or anyone involved, but a generic comment from me: a consol game that only sells 50,000 - 60,000 units is not considered a decent seller, not by a long shot. In order for a consol game to sell "decently," it usually needs to sell 500,000+ units. BGDA2 is approaching that number (might have passed it by now), and that is going from a decent seller to a good seller. If FOBOS at this point has only sold between 50,000 and 60,000 units world-wide (I don't know the actual numbers, just going off what's here for the sake of arguement), then it is a flop. Sorry, that's the truth in business. There are over 50 million PS2's out in the customer base, that is why so many developers and publishers want in on the consol market. Even a 2% sell-through out of those 50 million is a 1 million seller - a hit and a profit (for some). EA shoots for the 10's of millions when it comes to consols. :shock:
When trying to determine how many units a game needs to sell for it to be successful, I believe you should rely on how large the development costs of the game are. This makes the number of units sold relative. I doubt FOBOS development costs even come close to the development costs required for an EA game! Therefore, the expectations for this game would not be as extravagant as the expectations for an EA game.

After royalties, distribution, packaging, etc. a video game publisher only earns roughly $31 per game sold (assuming that the game sells for $50). If 100,000 units of this game are sold at the full price, then the company takes in $3.1 million. This is not a lot nowadays considering the development costs for an average game are $10 million. However, for a game like FOBOS, where the company already has access to the engine and pays their employees peanuts, development costs were likely a fraction of this amount.

However, considering you now work at EA-- I can understand why anything under 1 million units sold is not considered a hit title. However, for a company as small as Interplay, BGDA2 was a huge hit considering about 500,000 units have been sold at the full price. Even if the game does not sell over 1 million copies, it would be profitable.
I used to work for Black Isle, I know the numbers and the cost of games. 10 million is the average cost for high profile, licensed games. Smaller developers, like IPLY, average between 3 and 5 million to develop a consol title. Also, companies would kill to get $31 return for each unit sold. The actual return is more like half that number after everyone else is paid off, sometimes even less. I know the expectaions for BGDA2 were at least 500,000+ units, so I imagine the FOBOS expectaion was about the same. No one sets a consol title expectaions less than 250,000 - why bother at that point.
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Cost Guess...

Post by Feargus Urquhart » Wed May 12, 2004 5:26 am

FOBOS probably cost between two and three times what it cost to make BGDA2.
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Post by Eldar » Wed May 12, 2004 5:40 am

heh heh. Well, Mr. Urquhart, it's quite nice of you to grace our boards.

I guess our question would be, how much does it cost to make Knights of the Old Republic 2? ;)

Let me ask a serious question, though. Honestly, wouldn't it be a shame if nobody ever took the opportunity to make another Fallout game?

I'm not a business savvy fellow. I'm just a guy who loves games. The ins and outs of the business are beyond me and I'll be the first one to admit it. I don't know if Fallout was ever a huge money maker or if the prospect of another Fallout would ever appeal to the folks who run the numbers. In fact, I respect the fact that folks are in any business to make money.

Even with all that, however, wouldn't it be a shame if we never had the opportunity for another Fallout?

I'm not suggesting there's anything you can do about it. I'm not suggesting that there was ever much you could have done about it. I'm just sitting here, the avid gamer I am, shaking my head at the prospect that the series is very likely to end.

On the other hand, I know my questions are probably a bit of the prying sort, so I'll just let them lie there.

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Post by Gorth » Wed May 12, 2004 7:18 am

Let me guess: Feargus didn't really think that the time and money invested in Fo:BoS was well spent either.

Or is that too much artistic license in the interpretation ?

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Re: Cost Guess...

Post by Phosphor » Wed May 12, 2004 1:20 pm

Feargus Urquhart wrote:FOBOS probably cost between two and three times what it cost to make BGDA2.
Yikes. Is that a rational budget for a title like FOBOS - was it seriously expected to make back that money and then a profit on top of that? I know console games sell fairly well, but I've always thought that the Fallout name was more a "cult" title than a popular favourite.
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Post by Kharn » Wed May 12, 2004 2:56 pm

Zorrelak69 wrote:After royalties, distribution, packaging, etc. a video game publisher only earns roughly $31 per game sold (assuming that the game sells for $50).
It's been said before, but that's not true. At least in Europe, A gaming store *might* pay 31 EUR for a 50 EUR game, but that's purely the PPD for the store, and excludes any other costs, like shipping.

Costs between the developer and the store are astronomical, tho', especially if the developer is not the publisher, as is the case with Interplay.
Zorrelak69 wrote:If 100,000 units of this game are sold at the full price, then the company takes in $3.1 million. This is not a lot nowadays considering the development costs for an average game are $10 million. However, for a game like FOBOS, where the company already has access to the engine and pays their employees peanuts, development costs were likely a fraction of this amount.
There's still an error in there. If the projected sales were 50,000 units, those sales would never have made a return on the costs. This means that Interplay was relying on a publishing deal rather than actual sales numbers to get a profit out of BoS...

Well, no real surprise there...
Fearg wrote:FOBOS probably cost between two and three times what it cost to make BGDA2.
Really? Why? Used engine, pretty low-cost staff, from what I hear...

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Budgets...

Post by Feargus Urquhart » Fri May 14, 2004 9:10 pm

To answer the question about whether the budget for FOBOS was rational or not. I think the problem was that no one ever really made a real budget for FOBOS. The may have made one in the beginning, but they never really stuck to it. That is not to say that budgets should always be followed exactly, but one of Interplay's problems was projects that did not ship on time and had runaway budgets.

In Black Isle, we did slip certain projects, sometimes significantly. However, this was often caused by resources not being available - which means the budget at the end of the product was still similar to the budget at the beginning of the product. Similar means within 20% of the original budget - not 300% to 400%.
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Re: Budgets...

Post by Phosphor » Fri May 14, 2004 9:17 pm

Feargus Urquhart wrote:To answer the question about whether the budget for FOBOS was rational or not. I think the problem was that no one ever really made a real budget for FOBOS. The may have made one in the beginning, but they never really stuck to it. That is not to say that budgets should always be followed exactly, but one of Interplay's problems was projects that did not ship on time and had runaway budgets.
So they just went ahead with little financial planning and made the game? That certainly would create a run-away expense sheet! Kind of like grocery shopping without a list - you always spend more than you should have.
Also, without a disciplined adherence to the budget, spending habits would be a bit out of control I'd imagine. If no-one follows a budget, no-one else is going to feel compelled to do so.
In Black Isle, we did slip certain projects, sometimes significantly. However, this was often caused by resources not being available - which means the budget at the end of the product was still similar to the budget at the beginning of the product. Similar means within 20% of the original budget - not 300% to 400%.
I would think that with a project as lengthy and large as a game development, some over-run would be expected from the initial estimate.
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Post by Skynet » Fri May 14, 2004 10:10 pm

Puuk wrote:Necessity and survival make odd bedfellows.
Hm, that rings a bell.

The Tempest?
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Post by Phosphor » Fri May 14, 2004 10:15 pm

Skynet wrote:
Puuk wrote:Necessity and survival make odd bedfellows.
Hm, that rings a bell.

The Tempest?
"misery acquaints a man with
strange bed-fellows"


That the quote you're thinking of?
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Post by Briosafreak » Fri May 14, 2004 10:24 pm

I think the problem was that no one ever really made a real budget for FOBOS.
The project had so many turns and changes that it isn`t dificult to see that was bound to happen. From what i heard that`s true, so not only there were no budget planing on an efective way, as the milestones were pretty flexible to what was the praxis even in Interplay, causing a sense of chaos surrounding the project, that even with the split to two games was never really worked through until beta stages were reached.

I remember that at one point Dave Maldonado was working on a 386, that really shows how BIS lacked support and funding by the time Fergus left.

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Post by Joseph » Fri May 14, 2004 10:25 pm

Oh gods, a Billy Bard fest.

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