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Beyond Good, Evil, Sales, As UbiSoft Ponders Popularity

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the i-wish-i-was-special dept.

The Almighty Buck 73

Thanks to GameSpot for reprinting news of UbiSoft's improved financials, but disappointing specifics, as the company noted in particular: "In a very competitive year-end market, sales of new brands such as Beyond Good and Evil and XIII, products which had been heavily marketed, were lower than the early-December forecasts... this had an impact of 10 million euros ($12.5 million)." Coincidentally, GameSpy has an editorial discussing the allegedly disappointing sales of UbiSoft titles, and notes: "Many of my peers felt that BG&E's style was too eccentric and didn't convey what type of game it was." Although Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has "sold 2 million units worldwide", UbiSoft's welcome announcement of a Prince Of Persia sequel with reference to "improved marketing positioning" implies some dissatisfaction with the initial sales, and GameSpy argue "the [U.S.] advertisements for both [BG&E and PoP] were horrendous", but overall, this didn't stop UbiSoft becoming "the second largest publisher in France, the third largest in Germany, and the sixth largest in the UK" over the holiday period.

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73 comments

beyond good and evil is incredible (4, Interesting)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178043)

it ranks up there with windwaker, and metroid prime as THE games of the last year. (so, yea, perhaps prime is a bit old now, but it was years ahead of its time) these are the games that make consoles worth having, and its a shame they flop in comparison to the crap sequels that are getting so mass produced these days.

Re:beyond good and evil is incredible (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178369)

I agree with you 100% - in fact, although I find time to play games for at least an hour a day and I own all three major consoles and a fast enough PC, the games you mentioned are EXACTLY the ones I enjoyed the most last year. They are actually the only three I liked enough to stick with and actually finish. I am certainly looking forward to the next PoP.

marketing sucks my ass (2, Insightful)

BortQ (468164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178070)

Big budget marketing is something that really pisses me off. Especially for games that would probably get plenty of press anyways (like, say, Ubisoft games).

Spending lots of money on advertising increases the purchase price of games and distracts the people making the game from putting all their efforts into making sure the game is excellent (as opposed to the ads).

Good games rise to the top (in respect and sales) because they are good, not because they had a great marketing effort. The worst part comes when a shitty (or average) game blames its sales on bad marketing.

Good games sell well. End of story.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (4, Insightful)

j450n (678096) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178114)

The people making the game, in almost all cases, have pretty much nothing at all to do with advertising. Advertising comes from the realm of the publisher, not the developer.

Can't argue with you that big budget advertising raises the cost, but they do it because it does sell games. Ideally, games would sell entirely on their merit, but fifty boxes on a shelf versus two behind the counter probably makes more of a difference than anything. It's just like any other form of entertainment: the vast majority of people like what is marketed best, not necessarily what constitutes "good art". It's easy to forget that online communities like /. are from representative of the general public.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181888)

Advertising comes from the realm of the publisher, not the developer.

UbiSoft are developers, producers, and publishers.
However marketing and advertising isn't done by the same folls who do the art or the coding of course.

Ideally, games would sell entirely on their merit

Advertising is mostly deceptive hype, but it is a necessity because you won't buy something you don't know exists.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (2, Insightful)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178736)

if that were true, beyond good and evil wouldn't have been pulled off the shelves almost immediatly, considering that it won game of the year on several sites, and consitantly ranks as one of the years top 10 on any platform. the simple fact of the matter is that by the time gamers realised what a gem they were missing, the low inital production run had sold out, but not fast enough for the publisher to decide to produce more. where i live you can't find a copy of it in stores anywhere, despite being about as criticaly acclaimed as windwaker. you wanna tell me thats cuz the game is no good? I hardly think so... play the intro, and you will understand how truly engrosing and original the game is.

oh, and i butchered the spelling this time, screw it, it's almost 5 am and i can't sleep.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (4, Insightful)

erasmus_ (119185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179180)

Did you happen to read the article? Because I read your post, and I can tell that you didn't. The Gamespy editorial talks about exactly the opposite, that good games sometimes don't sell well, for a variety of factors such as marketing. I don't understand why you are calling shitty or average two of the best games of last year, as judged by many editors and lists. I can't personally vouch for Prince of Persia, as I haven't gotten around to picking that one up yet, but Beyond Good & Evil is definitely great - I'm making my way through it now.

And "increases purchase price of games"? That is so ... trollish. Games have been at $50 for as long as I can remember, and Ubisoft actualy dropped the price for BG&E to $20 after poor sales. I ended up getting it for $15 with a coupon from Best Buy. For those of you considering getting it, $20 is a very good value for this game.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180373)

And "increases purchase price of games"? That is so ... trollish. Games have been at $50 for as long as I can remember, and Ubisoft actualy dropped the price for BG&E to $20 after poor sales. I ended up getting it for $15 with a coupon from Best Buy. For those of you considering getting it, $20 is a very good value for this game.

It's not just trolling, it's bad microeconomics. Fixed costs, like development and advertising, have no effect on the price that a rational firm sets on products. Since the cost of each new disk is near zero, companies set whatever price maximizes price*units--or at least they try to.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (2, Insightful)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181483)

Games have been at $50 for as long as I can remember, and Ubisoft actualy dropped the price for BG&E to $20 after poor sales.

The fact that BG&E dropped it's price from $50 to $20 and still didn't sell is interesting, that means the high $50 cost wasn't what was keeping consumers away. There was just a lack of interest.

Shitty thing is, in entertainment occasionally a great product will be put out that flops inexplicably. Like why did the movie Blade Runner or the album Pet Sounds flop? Who knows, things are risky.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182040)

I can't personally vouch for Prince of Persia, as I haven't gotten around to picking that one up yet

I have, based on the demo I played last summer, and on the word of a current and former Ubisoft employees swearing that it was awsome.

It has good points. The movements are good and fluid, the acrobatics can be performed in a very satisfying and spectacular way. But its been sitting idle on my couch unfinished for a few weeks because I hate the interface.
  • Everytime you finish a fight with a group of enemies, the camera goes in close to the prince as he sheathes his blades in a "I look so cool" way. I can't stand this! If I wanted my blades sheated, I would do it myself! And I had just spent about a minute getting the camera where I wanted it, thank you ever so much for making me fiddle with it again. Not to mention all the times you have to take your blades out again right-away because you have some sand to collect! It is a HUGE waste of time.
  • It is near impossible to align the camera at a right angle to ledges you have to jump off, forcing you to run at a weird angle, wich is fine for the ultra-l33t ubergamers who have nothing better to do than to master their akward-angle jumping skillz, but I would like it if it would *let* me run at it straight.
  • When there is a save point, you have to be very carefull no to get to close to it, because if you do the prince turns to it and runs into it, forcing you to suffer through the entire "no I don't want to save, yes I'm sure I don't want to save, let me play allready, man this is taking forever, get on with it!" sequence, wich is needlessly long. It looked cool the first time I saw the whole thing, its really annoyingly time-consuming evertime after that.
  • etc.


However the voice acting is good, the graphics are nice, the level are interresting, even though its somtimes hard to see where you are meant to go on account of the camera flat-out refusing to get where you would need it to be to see that.
I don't really like the cut-scene animations, the characters move in a way that isn't all that natural, though the in-game animations are top-notch.

So, if you are better able to tolerate the interface issues, you,ll love it. I personally regret buying it though.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (1)

Moonshadow (84117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182221)

I picked up PoP:SoT for the Xbox, and it is perfect for it. I really can't imagine playing it on a PC, but it just felt perfect on the console.

  • The sheathing thing - it's there to let you know the fight is over and that you can relax a bit. At the later points in the game, there are some battles that are just insane, and the visual break is a good way to bring an end to each of them. Unsheathing the sword is trivial, IMO.
  • I don't know what platform you played the game on, but I had absolutely zero control problems with the camera on the Xbox. The right thumbstick swings it around - it's quite intuitive and easy to use.
  • The automatic entry of the save pillars is annoying, I'll grant you that. However, the visions can be helpful if you get stuck in the area ahead. They're designed to provide you with hints primarily, and look cool secondarily. I do wish, however, that they let you choose to activate the pillar with a button press or similar, rather than forcing you to go through the sequence if you touched it.

The cutscene animations are a little wonky - they're quite obviously hand-animated, rather than motion-captured. I guess Square has just spoiled us when it comes to cutscene quality. :)

Personally, I loved the game. It really doesn't have any replay value, but the time I spent playing through it the first time was absolutely magical.

I think that PoP hasn't sold too many units because it's a fairly short game - I went through it in about 8 hours all told, which was just about right for me, really. I like to come home from work in the evenings and play for an hour or so, and PoP really facilitated that well. I've heard that it has done amazingly well with rentals, which would tend to make sense considering its length.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (2, Insightful)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180998)

Good games rise to the top (in respect and sales) because they are good, not because they had a great marketing effort.

Enter the Matrix.

Re:marketing sucks my ass (1)

DS-1107 (680578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181946)

Games sell if they are good even without PR - TRUE.

the question you might want to ask yourself is this, will they sell enough to cover for the cost of production, and even more so when other games pour lots of cash into good/bad PR?

I'm sure companies and users all love sleeper hits; even if I do doubt that when it comes to some of the game developers needing cash before they can get that new contract for their next big thing (so many only have 1-2 projects going), while having a 30 woman/man team to feed. Alas I can't think of any game hitting it really big without good PR; PR being a sequel, banners, freecopies to the press etc.

...but just like that article said, I've seen some good games each year selling less then they should, games like freespace 2 or now BG'nE.

Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8178072)

I'd like to know why BG&E was marked down to $10 so soon after it was released. It wasn't even out 2 months before they chopped the price.

Less than 10 hours of gameplay (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8178117)

I thought PoP was awesome, but I know alot of people who didn't buy it because they thought it was too short. Console games are expensive and I guess people want more gametime for their dollar.

(personally I'd rather have great short games than ones I get sick of playing halfway though...)

Re:Less than 10 hours of gameplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8179174)

I didn't buy it because of that exact reason. I rented it instead. It is one of the best games I ever played. A friend and I beat it in one 12 hour sitting. We laughed through our tears at the end! Remarkable! Although, my rental does not count as a sale. On the other hand, I bought BG&E.

Re:Less than 10 hours of gameplay (2, Interesting)

Masem (1171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179211)

It may be short, but I think it has reasonable replay value (in that you can pump up the difficulty and not have to worry about how to solve the jumping puzzles). Plus, I've read that you can unlock both the original 2D PoP and the PoP sequel within the game by getting to certain special areas.

I rather have a short, immersive extremely well done game (PoP:SoT, Elite Force (the first one) or Max Payne 2), then to have a game that can give lots of gameplay time but with poor mechanics/plot/whatever that make it a grueling experience (Super Mario Sunshine for example).

Re:Less than 10 hours of gameplay (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179409)

I rather have a short, immersive extremely well done game (PoP:SoT, Elite Force (the first one) or Max Payne 2), then to have a game that can give lots of gameplay time but with poor mechanics/plot/whatever that make it a grueling experience (Super Mario Sunshine for example).

If I had to choose between the two, I'd wait until the first was $20.

Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice, because there are plenty of longer games without the problems you mention. Unfortunately, I did buy Super Mario Sunshine at slightly more than half price and probably have spent less time on it than it would take to play through PoP. I bought the first Max Payne for $20, played through it in one sitting (something I wouldn't have done if i hadn't known the length of the game), and never touched it again, but was perfectly happy with that (though I would've liked something more from the game).

Re:Less than 10 hours of gameplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8180087)

kids these days...

In my days, platform games were all we had and we liked it! If your bloody thumb slipped off the D-pad, your 8 bit sprite would die an unforgiving death and reset the game back to level 1 .. and we liked it!

If you think Super Mario Sunshine was gruelng, then go back to boot camp son!

Re:Less than 10 hours of gameplay (1)

_Sexy_Pants_ (703751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179379)

Yeah it was short, and doesn't have too much replay value, but it was one of the best games I've ever played through. I wouldn't have lenghtened it at all, just added things

If you want to sell games to Americans... (2, Funny)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178175)

don't pick Iran as the setting.

Re:If you want to sell games to Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8179843)

It's set in India.

"Oops."

Re:If you want to sell games to Americans... (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181033)

Well then maybe they should have called it Prince of India then?

Ancient Persia pretty much equals Modern Iran.

"Beyond Good and Evil" (3, Funny)

nickos (91443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178200)

What's next, Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a first person shooter?

Re:"Beyond Good and Evil" (1)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182257)

Sweet sounds like a great game. I hope they make the poisonflies look really creepy looking and you have to use a flamethrower to kill them.

Plus tightrope walking as someone shoots rockets at you, I'd prally fall too.

Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (3, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178342)

Ubisoft didn't release BG&E or PoP for XBox or Gamecube in Europe in time for Christmas. PoP is still not out for Xbox over here yet, despite them both having been out for all systems for some time in the US. Allegedly Sony did some deal with them to delay the games.

Now, granted, the PS2 has a much larger install base than the XBox and Gamecube in Europe, with about 20 million units compared to almost 4 million units each for Xbox and Gamecube. However, that's nearly 30% of their potential audience they're cutting out there, and as both the Xbox and Cube have smaller catalogues, there's less internal competition.

Dunno how much Sony paid them to hold those games back, but I'm not convinced it was worth it...

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

Tjebbe (36955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178355)

I agree, both games have not been released for the gamecube over here, and seeing them on the ps2 shelves is pretty annoying, especially when there are sighs that they don't seem to sell well. I have been planning to get them both ever since i read the first reviews (which now seems ages ago). A well, thanks to the publishers politics...

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

scabb (670114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178510)

Yeah, I found that kind of annoying. Especially when PoP had fairly widespread advertising, with that stupid TV advert.

And now, due to poor sales they're both being released with a 25 (22.50 on Amazon anyway). PoP is out Feb 20th, and BG&E is out March 20th I believe.

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

scabb (670114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178518)

>:

"with a 25 pound price tag"

I guess Slashdot doesn't like the pound tag, and it also messed with my grammar.

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182193)

Dunno how much Sony paid them to hold those games back, but I'm not convinced it was worth it...

I'm certain Sony had noting at all to do with it.

First of all, from talking with a ubisoft programmer, I know they have a hard-on for the Xbox.
Secondly, from working in the industry, I can tell you that there can be a million reasons that a multi-platform game release can go "not smoothly".

What is most likelly, is that they had to make choices at the QA stage: There were bugs that needed fixing, and they were on a time table (games that are relesased on xMas must be finished, I mean finished, by octobber at the ver latest if they are to be printing in any large numbers of copies). Since Ubisoft has a finite numbers of programmers, they had to make a choice as for wich console would get finished first, they choose the one that has the largest number of potential customers. A release in europe is more complicated than in america because there are more languages to be localised. And no, Nintendo and Sony and Microsoft will not let you butch the languages that are not english. Every menu entry has to be done right in every language, etc.

I'm sure Ubi tried to get all 3 console versions released all before the big holiday shopping frenzy, but sometimes the real world gets in the way of the best laid plans.

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184150)

You make a good point about the regionalisation - although given that the regionalisation for the PS2 version was done in lots of time for Christmas does make it odd that it's still not out for Xbox and PS2.

Re:Ubi shooting themselves in the foot in Europe (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184496)

given that the regionalisation for the PS2 version was done in lots of time for Christmas does make it odd that it's still not out for Xbox and PS2.

Maybe they botched their approval by Nint or Microsoft, then you have to go through the whole final testing and submission process all over again. Though Ubi is a big place full of professional people who should know better than that.

In short, I have absolutly no real clue as to why exactly it isn't out, but I feel that conspiracy theories involving Sony are less likely than the wide range of technical details that can result in delays like that. Though it is strange that both the cube and the box suffer from the same delay. Perhaps they are holding one back while waiting for the third to be ready so they don't look like they are playing faverourite.

Wow... (1)

ShadowRune (706130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178483)

What really sucks about all this is that two GREAT games (BGE and POP) are getting horrendus sales, EVEN after BGE has a price drop, while something like Fugative Hunter is probablly going to get in top ten game sales. And WTF does gamespy mean when they say the ads sucked? I thought POP's TV spot was one of the better game ads this year! Hell of alot better than listening to Flock of Seagulls for some overrated crap game.

Re:Wow... (1)

dhamsaic (410174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178912)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was indeed a great game, and the ads for it were enough to get my interest up (though IGN's review and a friend's recommendation are what pushed me into actually buying).

I think you're way off base, however, calling Grand Theft Auto: Vice City "some overrated crap game". Vice City, and GTA3 before it, are vast titles that are enjoyable on a number of levels across a huge demographic.

The GTA:VC ad is successful because it conveys very accurately what the game is about. The game is open ended, non-linear, difficult and will require quite some time to complete fully. It's very easy to feel like you've gotten your money's worth with a game such as this, because most people will still be playing it months after they bought it. There's simply so much to do.

After having played it, I can say that I would have spent $100 on Prince of Persia and still felt like I got my money's worth... but it's simply not as deep a game as the recent GTA offerings and its storyline is very linear.

To each their own, of course, but I think calling GTA:VC "some overrated crap game" is both immature and incorrect.

Re:Wow... (2, Interesting)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179291)

From Gamespot's review of BG&E:
Nonlethal stealth is quickly becoming one of those "love it or hate it" gameplay elements, and while the stealth in BG&E is handled well, there's enough of it to turn off people who don't care for it.

Running around dark corridors isn't the only thing you'll do in Beyond Good & Evil. The game's 10- to 15-hour quest [...]


Personally, it takes a lot to make me go out and buy a game that's only 10-15 hours in length. Additionally, I'm in the latter crowd on stealth gameplay. While PoP's ads were decent, BG&E had some of the worst video game ads I've ever seen (ok, FF:TA was worse, by far, only showing that ads won't deter me from a game I really want).

Prince of Persia is also noted as being a short game, but I've still considered picking it up.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179537)

As I wrote in a journal recently, there are two competeing gameplay styles emerging; the '10 or so solid hours of story' versus the '50+ hours of wandering around levelling up.'

BG&E was an amazing game; there wasn't a single sloppy, slow, or pointless part of the game that I can think of, off hand. They did some AMAZING cinematic tricks during the gameplay (the opening battle, and daring rooftop escape both leap to mind immediately) and pulled of that hardest trick; at no point in the game did you get dropped out of the world. No breaking the fourth wall, no cute little in-jokes, no nods to the fact that it was a video game, and it all flowed well.

Couple that with an amazing story, that pulled no punches, and you've got one hell of a game.

PoP, on the other hand, while good, wasn't great. The music, animation, voice acting, and concept were great, but the fighting system needed work, the level design needed tweaking (or just the Prince, after a few moments of looking around, saying something like "hmm, maybe if I try that pole...." The visions-of-the-future idea was good, but didn't quite cut it. Using the rewind feature to mask the 'must die to find the One True Path' was still frustrating. All in all, though, worth playing.

Mod parent up. (2, Insightful)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179561)

And WTF does gamespy mean when they say the ads sucked? I thought POP's TV spot was one of the better game ads this year!

A-freaking-men. The POP ad was absolutely awesome, particularly the 1-minute spot. I'd see it on Adult Swim, and wake up my wife because I was wanting her to see it. I'm hoping that UbiSoft releases an OST for the game, as I'd be really interested in getting it.

Now, if it had Tony Hawk in it... (1)

Mirkon (618432) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178569)

I guess this just shows what happens when you decide to release original (with the exception of PoP, although that's negotiable) titles.

It's a sad state of affairs, really.

Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (2, Interesting)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178851)

What a worthless company.

In Beyond Good & Evil (pc version) there is a game ending bug. Affects a whole lot of people. Message boards everywhere have people desperately seeking an answer as to what is wrong (search on Google for the second triangle key bug) and guess what Ubisoft says about it.. NOTHING!

So all of these people, including myself, are completely screwed. Ubisoft hasn't released a fix for it and hasnt said a word. The only reason I have even been able to get past that point is because I stumbled across an unofficial hack that some guy wrote to specifically get past the part in the game that is broken.

So sure, there is a fix, but what about all of those people who aren't as good at the internet and can't find it? Or the little kids who got the game as a present and don't have internet access? It wasn't an official fix, it wasn't found on the BG&E site, there were no notes on the tech support pages. It was only through searching on Google and bouncing myself around on different message boards did I eventually find the fix. Heck, FAQs on gamefaqs even mention the bug and say that if you find it your best bet is to find someone with a save game past that point.

Releasing a game broken and then refusing to fix it is a huge mistake on their part. As soon as a bug like this is found they should release an official fix for it the next day, not drag their feet and maybe address it in a few months.

Splinter Cell (PC) had the same sort of problem, in many cases a player would shoot his weapon and the sound would go completely nuts. Loud static would make it unplayable. Gamers would have to quit out of the game completely and go back in to make the sound go back to normal.

So what did Ubisoft do to address the problem? Jack. They did nothing. People were trying to find an answer but they provided nothing.

So sure, they can release killer games but if they keep releasing them broken and refuse to support the people who spent their money, why should anyone bother?

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8179014)

I found a fix for the Splinter Cell problem. Start the DirectX Diagnostic Tool by going to Start->Run and type dxdiag and hit ENTER.

In the Sound tab, you need to lower the Hardware Sound Acceleration Level down from Full Acceleration. Take it down one notch, exit DX Diag and try the game again. If that doesn't fix it, lower the level another notch. Continue until the problem goes away.

This worked for me and some others I know. The problem isn't with Splinter Cell alone, but other games have needed this same fix.

Sure it's an ugly fix, but it works.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179505)

What is this bug of which you speak? I played right through the Xbox version of the game with no problem.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

AndyBusch (160585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179641)

They said in their post "pc version", thus meaning the bug is in the pc version of the game, not the XBox one.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179713)

Ah, I must have missed that part. Still, I'd be curious to know what this game-killing bug is, and why it doesn't affect the other versions (if it's a game logic bug or something, rather than a crash-to-desktop type bug.)

Then again, I never saw the bug that plagued the Xbox version of KOTOR...

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180593)

When you are in the slaughterhouse and need to beat the 3 robots to get the second triangle key.

For a whole slew of people the key just does not appear. Then when you try to leave the room the game just exits.

No key, no progressing in the game. Hence game over. No point in playing if you cant do anything but walk around in one room for the rest of eternity.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180686)

Ouch.

Reminds me of Quest for Glory 4, back in the floppy days; I didn't realize for YEARS that the reason I couldn't get past a certain point was that there was a game script bug that prevented a story event from firing.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179861)

UbiSoft are the same bunch of worthless publishers that released Pool of Radiance 2 with the infamous "erase your hard drive if you uninstall it" bug, along with a host of other less publicized crapfests. I've only bought one UbiSoft game (Warlords Battlecry II) since their pathetic "quality assurance" department thoughtfully erased my C: drive for me, and I see no reason to ever give any more money to that company, no matter how good anyone claims the games they make now are.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179973)

UbiSoft are the same bunch of worthless publishers that released Pool of Radiance 2 with the infamous "erase your hard drive if you uninstall it" bug, along with a host of other less publicized crapfests.

That's the same bug that was in Half-Life's original release, and, amazingly enough, it didn't effect me in either game. Then again, I bought PoR almost a year after it was released (and multiple patches were available, including a patch for that bug), and still haven't uninstalled Half-Life.

Re:Worthless tech support team makes me mad. (-1)

toiletsalmon (309546) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180079)

That's why I bought both BG&E and Splinter Cell for the XBox. PC Gaming with all the driver updates and patching is for the birds. Sorry to hear about your problem though.

Heaven forbid anyone be /creative/ these days... (3, Insightful)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8178933)

"Many of my peers felt that BG&E's style was too eccentric and didn't convey what type of game it was."

Is it such a crime that a game not fit neaty into one genre? Aren't people getting sick of the same old "shooting game" or "jumping game"?

Re:Heaven forbid anyone be /creative/ these days.. (2, Insightful)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180598)

I think there's a few interesting things going on here.

You can't expect people to lay money down and not know what they're getting. This may be symptomatic of a marketing system that doesn't know how to sell new types of games. If you're selling the next first person shooter, then all you have to do is say "it's just like that last game you liked, only better!" And in fact that's the only message video game marketing is any good at pushing.

Secondly, as video games get more popular, there's a whole crap load of people who haven't played the shooting and platform games you've gotten sick of. New consumers are born everyday, which means there's money to be made selling the same thing you sold yesterday, only NEWER(!!!) and SHINIER(!!!).

Finally, while it is possible for an innovative game to become famous mostly by word of mouth (The Sims would probably be a good example of that), it has to be a REALLY innovative or great game. Beyond Good and Evil and Prince of Persia are undoubtedly excellent games, but neither is a revolutionary game--PoP is a sequel to what was once a famous franchise, and BGaE sounds like just another Zelda-type of game. There's a LOT of games out there, so something has to be totally mind blowingly awesome to stand out without proper marketing.

Re:Heaven forbid anyone be /creative/ these days.. (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182317)

Beyond Good and Evil and Prince of Persia are undoubtedly excellent games, but neither is a revolutionary game--PoP is a sequel to what was once a famous franchise, and BGaE sounds like just another Zelda-type of game.

While I don't really disagree with your statement, I have a bit of a problem with your reasoning. Super Mario 64 was revolutionary, and Mario was an old franchise. PoP is to the older incarnations as Mario 64 is to the original.

BG&E is...fairly similar to Zelda, in the sense that it's a 3rd person action/adventure, but it's different in a lot of ways. Some interesting things that come to mind include the use of a companion's special abilities, stealth sections that really started to remind me of Splinter Cell, and maybe even the use of a camera as one of your most vital items. I love that camera. It adds a weird, 'everyday life' element to the game, I think.

Anyway, no, I don't think they're revolutionary, either. But that's not at all because they have similarities to other games in name and general play style (the artistic style of BG&E is very fresh, by the way). These games are evolutions, at least, just not enough to be 'revolutionary.'

Re:Heaven forbid anyone be /creative/ these days.. (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180980)

Is it such a crime that a game not fit neaty into one genre?

Actually it's not particularly innovative gameplay wise, as it fits perfectly into the classic Zelda mould. Unfortunatly Ubi seemed to forget to tell anyone this, with the result that no-one really knew what it was.

Mind you, the release date was more than half the problem. Original titles at christmas are a very big risk, as the bulk of christmas titles seem to be bought by doddering relatives.

Re:Heaven forbid anyone be /creative/ these days.. (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195094)

Actually it's not particularly innovative gameplay wise, as it fits perfectly into the classic Zelda mould. Unfortunatly Ubi seemed to forget to tell anyone this, with the result that no-one really knew what it was.

That was my problem with it. I picked it up at the store and looked over the box. I couldn't tell what style of gameplay it was. RPG? Action/Adventure? Mindless FPS? Tetris? Well, probably not tetris, but you get the idea. I could tell what the *story* was like, but nothing about the *gameplay*. It doesn't help that you can only download the free demo on IE...

The Problem of Investors (4, Informative)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179223)

I bought both the day they came out, and I couldn't have been happier. When I used to work at EB, the Wednesday before the week of Thanksgiving was absolute hell because you'd literally have over 50 games coming out. The Tuesday night before that Wednesday you always had to have the staff clear off every new release shelf to prepare. Most of this 50 new releases just got filed in with the old ones because we didn't have room. And we were a well-staffed and district flagship EB. I can't imagine what would happen to those 50 new releases per system at a out of the way Best Buy or Wal-Mart.

Moreover, when the mom comes in to buy the kid a Christmas game, or even the wife for the gameplaying husband, all she knows is that she's looking for that game that's like GTA that's been on TV, or the new Mario game (even for the PS2). When I bought them at Toys R' Us during their Buy 2 Get 1 Free, the guy behind the counter knew Prince of Persia was good but couldn't find it, and it took him a good 3 or 4 minutes to track down Beyond Good & Evil.

What Ubisoft was trying to do, at least with PoP, was create another Splinter Cell. The difference though is that last Christmas, when Splinter Cell was released for Xbox, you really didn't have much in the way of strong titles. Maybe MechAssault, and that's pushing it. In Christmas of 2003, the "new" Splinter Cell (PoP) had stuff like KOTOR and Rainbow Six (ironically, another Ubisoft title) and that was only on the Xbox. The other platforms were probably even stronger (Mario Kart, SOCOM II). The problem is that investors create such an expectation for Christmas that if Ubisoft didn't get closer to EA's numbers during Christmas, what good is the Ubisoft stock? Consider this an insder retail proverb : A dollar in profit during Christmas is worth two during third quarter.

It's a shame, because it's investors that are indirectly responsible for half-shipped games and marketing mistakes like this. If you haven't already noticed, there are these mini-huge release days (like the one before Thanksgiving) on the Wednesday at the end of every financial quarter (next one is at the end of March I think). The releases will all clump and crowd on that one day. Another proverb: a dollar made at the end of the quarter for a half-finished game is worth two dollars made for a complete game released in the middle of a quarter.

Re:The Problem of Investors (2, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181404)

Just a nitpick, it wasn't Rainbow Six that was released last year, it was Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, as I recall (which sold absurdly well).

The reason Ubisoft did badly (and compared to what it could have done, it did very badly) is because it released all of its phenominal games all at once, at the same time as everyone else released all of their phenominal games (as you mention).

They let out Prince of Persia, Beyond Good and Evil, Rainbow Six 3, and a selection of other titles all at once, at the same time, and didn't market them well enough (despite what the article blurb says). Most people I talk to at EB have never heard of Beyond Good and Evil, or haven't tried it at all. I knew it was going to be good, bought it the first day, and loved it. I was surprised at the time that it was only $49.99 (CDN), but now it's down to $29.99, and it's still not selling. If it had been released this summer, or stretched out to a dry period, it would have been a phenominal hit.

I tallied it up one day when I was bored. Going through EB's new release list from the start of October to the end of January, there were over a thousand dollars worth of games I wanted for the Gamecube alone. Now that I have a PS2 as well, and am thinking about getting a cheap XBox, I'm sure I could spend my entire paycheque every month and still not catch up to the new releases. The industry needs to understand that we just don't have that kind of money, and we're going to pick the hot titles of the time. Go up against Final Fantasy X-2, the GTA double pack, and Prince of Persia, and you literally don't stand a chance.

When the game industry learns this, we'll all be better off, them especially.

--Dan

Re:The Problem of Investors (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181429)

Now I feel stupid.

I'm still in 2003 mode. 'Last Year' was Rainbow Six, but I thought you were referring to 2002. My bad.

--Dan

Re:The Problem of Investors (1)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8183419)

I tallied it up one day when I was bored. Going through EB's new release list from the start of October to the end of January, there were over a thousand dollars worth of games I wanted for the Gamecube alone.

Yeah, I'm with you on that Dan. I had to pick and choose at Christmas (I only have so many relatives), and it meant that games I otherwise would have bought (say, for example Metal Arms, or Crimson Skies; even Jak II keeled to Ratchet II - heck, I still need to get Mario Kart!). I was playing Project Gotham Racing 2 (one of the titles that made the cut) online with one of my favorite customers from when I worked at EB. Not only was he a great guy, but he spent a ton on games. We were talking about this quantity issue, and he said that in a period of three weeks he'd spent over $1500 on games.

I haven't seen him online since then, and I suspect this is largely because he's still playing those games to this day.

Beyond Good & Evil (1)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179287)

I was so suprised when I walked into EB the day it came out in Canada to find the price had already been reduced. This game beats Zelda Wind Waker on a bunch of fronts, but not all. I actually liked BG&E better.

Ubi Fubared XIII Mod / Map Development (2, Informative)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179523)

Laugh if you will, but the Ubisoft developers can blame themselves for truncating the growth of XIII on the PC. Mod and map development has become a critical aspect of a growing FPS title and with the Unreal engine as it's core - XIII should have been an easy sell for that. Built in map editor, OO scripting language, and the only cel shaded toy on the block.

So what did Ubisoft do?

Well, they released the US version of XIII with a flaw that disabled the use of custom maps thanks to the CD checking software. Yup. It came with an editor, you just couldn't really play with them.

Mods? They stripped out the source of the scripts required to get a full compile. Epic told me that it might be possible to get a compile if you had UT2003 handy, which has similar core classes, but you probably wouldn't get very far.

Community? For some reason, Ubi added a Map/Mod community to their XIII forums. It's a joke. Developers don't go there, heck moderators rarely go there.

Not to mention that they reworked the basic gametype framework so that even once you get past any of the above, it's still annoying to get custom material running in the game.

Result? XIII is probably a better buy as a console title than PC. At least that way you can easily sell it to EB when you're done. Because when you finish the game, that's it. You have a coaster.

Re:Ubi Fubared XIII Mod / Map Development (1)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180617)

HA!

Another problem with their games.

Your post goes hand in hand with mine below talking about very serious flaws in BG&E and Splinter Cell.

Good work Ubisoft!!!

For those who have not gotten PoP or Splinter Cell (2, Informative)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179793)

I bought a PoP/SC (Ps2, not sure about other platforms) two-pack for $49 at Target this past Saturday.

I've been slow picking up PoP (it has been on my list because of my love for the old games back when I was in middle school), but the two-pack is what sold me.

And, dammit, it shouldn't have needed to be packaged with SC (not that my wallet is complaining)! This game is easily the best I've played in years. I've already spent six or seven hours playing the game, and it is a massive step forward for gamers who have been following the Legacy of Kain series or who love good platformers or who thought Enter the Matrix could have been so much more than it was (if only Ubisoft and this development team had worked on that game as opposed to Atari and Shiny..). I cannot sing PoP's praises more! BUY THIS GAME.

As for Splinter Cell: I'll play it at some point. :)

Re:For those who have not gotten PoP or Splinter C (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182096)

Can't buy it. Have a GeForce4 MX. I have $50 disposable cash at the moment and no ready way to get more.

Bastards.

BG&E, Prince & Splinter Cell for $70!?! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8180709)

This has to be one of the best deals on games right now. If you don't already have Prince of Persia, you've got to get the 2 for 1 deal now! And BG&E for $20 is a steal!

The deal's at ubisoft's store and I'm sure you can find it elsewhere too.

Ubisoft's Store [ubi.com]

Ubisoft is dumb (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180812)

I don't think marketing or even release date issues effected my choice to not buy Ubisoft games as much as the fact that *every single game* I have that they published was buggy, unentertaining garbage.

Re:Ubisoft is dumb (1)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202334)

You must have not bought a Ubisoft game recently. They've gone from crap company to company that routinely produces amazing games. Hopefully in a year or so their reputation will catch up with their new level of quality and people will start looking for the brand instead of avoiding it.

Re:Ubisoft is dumb (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202823)

Umm, nope, not in maybe two years. Maybe they moved to their core competancy: "Rainbow Six" since the only 'new releases' on their site are flight sims, realistic commando games or Uru, none of which I'm terribly interested in.

If they have gotten better, good for them. After multiple games that did not work out of the box, I'll stay away until they produce something I *am* interested in, *and* has proven itself in front of trusted friends and/or reviewers.

Never buying Ubi again (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8181730)

After putting out the rushed, buggy, piece of shit Shadowbane, ruining all the good concepts in it, renegging on their promise to support role play and run rp events, and having the worst customer service I've ever seen, I am never giving them a damn penny of my money again.

Bad Timing, Bad Marketting.. (1)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8182493)

What most hurt the sales of their games is that they were released at same time at the peak of game releases.

According to Gamefaqs for PS2:
XIII 11/18/03
PoP 11/06/03
BGaE 11/11/03

The did a lot of marketting, but they didn't explain the gameplay of the games, they tried to market them by graphics/story. They did nothing to try and differentiate themselves from the other releases. This put them in a position of competing with themselves and the million other xmas games.

Xmas is overrated. There is way to much competition, plus its plagued with buggiest games. I never buy a game that is released after Thanksgiving, because its sure to be a rushed product. They could of better spaced their games over a longer timeframe.

I've only played PoP and BGaE and they were both great games but really short as well. Maybe they were hoping people would finish PoP in the 5 days before BGaE, so they'd buy it too.. but thats reason not to buy it for people who want more playtime for their buck.

Regarding BG&E (1)

Clomer (644284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184843)

For Beyond Good and Evil, it is really sad that it hasn't performed very well. I have the GameCube version, and despite it being shorter than many games, I feel that it is the best game of 2003. Yes, it is better than Zelda: Wind Waker and Mario Kart: Double Dash. (I have both)

I think the root cause for poor sales is two-fold: 1> They should not have released around Christmas. 2> It needed better marketing. Not more marketing, mind you, but better. I saw plenty of ads for it, but none of them really explained what type of game it really is. It is a story-driven adventure/action game.

Beyond Good and Evil is an excellent game. I highly recommend it to everyone. It's more than just a game, it is essentially an interactive movie. For most games, the story is nothing more than an excuse for the action. For BG&E, the story is the focus, which allows you, the player, to be a part of it. It would actually make a pretty good stand-alone movie. But this doesn't detract from the gameplay, as the game itself plays really well. I've seen games that have an intriquing story, but the gameplay is lacking (Eternal Darkness comes to mind). This is not a problem in BG&E.

As a side note, I'll be very disappointed if they don't produce a sequel. For those of you that have finished the game, you know that there is a nice little teaser scene after the credits that directly open it for a sequel. But even without that scene, there are so many unanswered questions at the end that a sequel is badly needed. I liken it unto the original Star Wars (the 1977 movie). It was fairly clear that that movie was the middle part of a much larger story. I see the same type of situation here. There's lots of material that could be covered both before and after the game we now have. I'm not going to go into any details because I don't want to give spoilers, but if you finish this game you'll see what I mean.

So, anyone out there reading this, do yourself a favor and get BG&E. At $20, it's a steal.

Heavily Marketed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8201699)

"...sales of new brands such as Beyond Good and Evil and XIII, products which had been heavily marketed..."

While I did see TV ads for XIII all over the place, I never saw an ad, outside of the occasional magazine, for BG&E. Which is strange, because BG&E would be, for many, a far better game.

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