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Delays Hurt Video Game Business

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the whooshing-noise-as-deadlines-fly-by dept.

Businesses 352

George Bailey writes "Wired.com has an article (No Room for Slacking in Game Biz) dicussing the damage game developers cause themselves via delays in releasing games to market. To quote from the article: 'As the games become more complex and sophisticated, less of them seem to meet release dates that companies initially tout. A few years ago, the fallout was usually just disappointment among fans. But as the video-game industry matures and surpasses Hollywood in size, more is at stake -- like marketing campaigns delayed and intricate positioning against competitors disrupted. What's more, missing a promised release date can bleed buzz, precious in an industry where many young buyers have to take the time to squirrel away $50 for a typical purchase.'"

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A DEAN HAIKU (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275404)

Dirty Hippy Thinks:
"I'll vote for Dean today. Meh.
Build Linux instead"

Re:A DEAN HAIKU (-1, Offtopic)

Charvak (97898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275422)

goatse rulez
bush is good for dick

Re:A DEAN HAIKU (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275473)

LOL, though your alltime best is still:

Michael unzips
Taco winks suggestively
Cum stain spreads on pants

Brought ot you by Slashdot Troll Supporters Anonymous

MOD PARENT,GRANDPARENT UP,ALL OTHER POSTS DOWN (-1, Troll)

SirJaxalot (715418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275572)

MOD STORY DOWN!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275412)

FP

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275421)

FR2FP

hmm... (4, Insightful)

fjordboy (169716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275415)

I take it a step further - ignore the game release dates altogether and buy them after they've been out for a month - the previously priced 50$ video game is now $10.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275519)

I take it a step further - ignore the game release dates altogether and buy them after they've been out for a month - the previously priced 50$ video game is now $10.

Unless it's a Blizzard game.

Re:hmm... (0, Flamebait)

saden1 (581102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275613)

I wonder how much DNF will cost after it has been out for a month.

Re:hmm... (0, Flamebait)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275622)

Or one of the Sims games/expansions. I have been waiting since its release for it to drop below $30. Nope, just when it hits 30 they come out with the delux edition and back up to $50 it goes. Everything else I wait till it drops. I think the last time I payed full price for a pc game was for Diablo 2 (a week after it came out.) With everything else its better to wait. I payed full price for Devil May Cry 2 as well and that's why I don't pay the full price when thee game comes out.

Re:hmm... (5, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275601)

Exactly. This is such a 'woe is me' article. Damn companies are now begging. Sickening. Fucking marketing people are out of control.

Message to marketroids: Complex software takes time. It's fucking ready when it's fucking ready - deal with it.

or take it another step further! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275628)

download from suprnova for free!... two weeks before they are released in the stores =P

Re:hmm... (2, Insightful)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275673)

Don't we all wish this was true? Halo has been out for what? 3 years? It's price just now dropped...

Duke Nukem' Forever! (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275419)

You mean people aren't holding their breath waiting for DNF to get released? The YEARS of delays have damaged the possibility of sales? Gasp! Say it isn't so!

-Charles

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275448)

What are you talking about? That game was released years ago.

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (5, Funny)

n0nsensical (633430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275504)

I'm beginning to think Duke Nukem Forever was just one big joke from the start. There is no game development company 3D Realms. It's 2 guys with a website seeing how long they can fool the world into thinking they're actually working on a game, and how many vaporware awards they can win.

parent modded as Insightful?!?! (1)

PhiberOptix (182584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275653)

lol! now that was funny!

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275509)

You mean people aren't holding their breath waiting for DNF to get released? The YEARS of delays have damaged the possibility of sales? Gasp! Say it isn't so!

One problem is, missing the strike while the iron is hot. Duke Nukem was hot, now it's cool, now it's cold, and finally it's a dead fish on your doorstep and you wonder where it came from, now that you've moved on.

There was some game, back in the day, I waited for eagerly on the Amiga. It looked like the be-all, end-all RPG and I wanted it so bad I'd scream in frustration each time I heard it was futher delayed (for quality control, etc.) Well, eventually I gave up. I don't know if it ever came out. I was onto something else.. NetHack, IIRC

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (1)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275636)

The the first duke nukem wasn't supposed to be for the amiga orginally, was it...

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275539)

DNF? What's that?*






( * Yes, that was cynicism. )

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (5, Interesting)

Alan (347) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275576)

Probably not :)

People are waiting for Half Life 2 and Doom 3 to be released however. A good example of the 'late release == sucky game' can be seen in Daikatana. When it was released it was a very advanced game..... for two years ago (or whenever their original ship date was). Sadly they released it in the present, not the past, and therefor it sucked donkey balls.

Hopefully Doom3 and HL2 get put out RSN and aren't subjected to the same fate.

A Message from Dr. Obvious (4, Funny)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275629)

Dr. Obvious says: games that are in shops make more money than games that aren't.

Re:Duke Nukem' Forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275669)

I think the forever stands for in development forever. What else could the forever mean? Kind of a bad name for a game anyhow.

Derek Smart (4, Funny)

xeeno (313431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275420)

Need I say more?

Re:Derek Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275458)

Derek Smalls?

Where's Duke Nukem Forever, anyway?

Not just games (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275425)

Look, delays hurt *all* kinds of businesses. This is why most companies who know what they are doing do not comment on future products, and some (like Apple) go to great lengths to keep folks from knowing about projects in the works. Other companies who are less capable try and build enthusiasm by pre-announcing products to say, "Hey, look how cool we are".

Re:Not just games (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275435)

Delays. What are they all about? Are they good, or are they whack?

Re:Not just games (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275467)

XBox rules!! Du lamer..

Re:Not just games (5, Insightful)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275595)

Look, delays hurt *all* kinds of businesses. This is why most companies who know what they are doing do not comment on future products, and some (like Apple) go to great lengths to keep folks from knowing about projects in the works. Other companies who are less capable try and build enthusiasm by pre-announcing products to say, "Hey, look how cool we are".

While what you say is true, it doesn't take into account other realistic scenarios. This isn't so much about fan disappointment from overzealous announcements, as about dealing with sensitive timing when it comes to outside collaborations with non-gaming companies(movie, toys, mags, etc). Tons of money is tied up into these collaborative schedules and unfortunately, game development (or software dev in general) isn't as condusive to predictive scheduling as other areas.

Saying "No comment" or "It'll ship when it's done" is a lame-sounding option when partner companies have money tied up in your success too.

Re:Not just games (-1, Offtopic)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275672)

Delays don't only hurt business, take for example brother and sister Peri and Mupela, their lives depend upon aid reaching their village in Sudan before they die. The cause of their impending death is immaterial, they are of no use to the gaming community, their lives cannot be saved by the latest shoot-em-up extravaganza, but yours could. Don't spend $50 on the latest piece of uber violence from the house of mammon; give that money to the Red Cross or another organization that can save a life for the price of a game.

Thank you for your help.
Tarquin.

The real problem (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275427)

The real problem is companies that delay games... and the finished product is still buggy or just plain sucks. Some game companies have earned the right to delay a game to ensure quality, and game buyers/players expect that. If Blizzard says they need more time, then we're willing to give it to them.

Just a temporary trend. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275428)

When these development teams are moved to India and their sizes are increased, delays in release will be the exception, not the status quo.

Re:Just a temporary trend. (1)

RandBlade (749321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275651)

When these development teams are moved to India and their sizes are increased, delays in release will be the exception, not the status quo.

Why was this marked as Flamebait? Its a very good argument, if games companies are going to be increasing their levels of staff due to the availability of cheap staff overseas, instead of relying on the least investment possible, then quite probably there will be more punctuality. While its expensive to hire the staff to get a good project done on time now, when outsourced that becomes a lot less of a problem and the costs discussed in this article can make it much more advantageous to hire the necessary staff which is not occuring now.

While I definitely wouldn't call them cheap, I don't recall seeing that many Japanese developers which are so seriously afflicted by these persistent failures to deliver good quality software on time.

Fallout (5, Funny)

centauri (217890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275429)

fallout was usually just disappointment among fans

No way, the first Fallout was great! The second one was way too buggy, though, and I'm not just talking about the ants and the radscorpions.

Re:Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275558)

Fallout 2 ripped on Scientology, though, which more than made up for any instability the game had.

Plus you could be a pornstar. How could you not like that game?

Re:Fallout (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275621)

Oooh, yeah, gotta love serious games that actually use sex appeal as a meaningful statistic!

Hubba hubba.

Come on... (4, Funny)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275434)

This story has got Dukenukem Forever written all over it. One can learn all the things listed in the article just by reviewing its developemental history. Throw in an analysis of Daikatana ad you've mastered the issue.

Re:Come on... (1)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275461)

Actually, this article has all sorts of other games written all over it, but you can't read it because you didn't work for the author when he was EA Management.

=Brian

Thorough analysis, as requested! (1)

rylin (688457) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275507)

Duke & Daikatana review / analysis - An A+ writeup, by rylin.
----
Foreword: I started writing this analysis a couple of years ago, when the /. comment engine was in its infancy. Later on, I had to rewrite it (since I had to reload the damn page just to use the new engine!).

This is about all I can tell you right now, but stay tuned for the full scoop - it'll be published When It's Done(tm)!

What they should do... (2, Interesting)

rebewt (588158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275438)

They should just skip using the calendar all together and set a release date of "when it is done". It would save so much pain and agony.

Re:What they should do... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275469)

that seems to be ID software's strategy - and I'm in pain and agony waiting for Doom3! Please, give me an alpha 0.9a prerelease, anything man.

Re:What they should do... (1)

rebewt (588158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275523)

Agreed, it is their strategy. But would you feel better if they gave you a release date - one that they probably won't hit? Or even worse - they hit the date - but the game sucks because they focused on getting the game shipped by the relase date.

Re:What they should do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275480)

They could follow the Microsoft style of releasing software: Release half finished product, then patch twice a week until dropping support for it it after 8 years.

Re:What they should do... (5, Insightful)

katre (44238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275497)

They should just skip using the calendar all together and set a release date of "when it is done". It would save so much pain and agony.

Never heard of a little thing called marketing, have we? It takes time to build an ad campaign. It takes time to get ads in magazines, on billboards, in front of people. It takes time to get distributors to carry the game. Companies can't afford to develop a game, finish it, and then spend a few months convincing people they want to buy it. They need to have fans hungering for it as soon as its released: that's how you get huge sales numbers.

Re:What they should do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275552)

that's fine, they can still do "marketing".. just don't slap a release date on there... or promise one in interviews.. or give one to game stores.. or any of that crap.. I see plenty of ads up that don't have a release date on them, but it still builds hype. you can have everything else you want, just leave out that freaking release date.

Re:What they should do... (1)

rebewt (588158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275575)

"It takes time to build an ad campaign."

Yep, it does, but rather than setting a date - why not advertise the product as coming soon? In my mind that would allow the advertiser to promote the product without tying it to a specific make or break date.

Re:What they should do... (5, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275665)

Blizzard is a fine counter-example to this. They suffer from far more delays than most companies, but none of it ever gets bad buzz--because the release date just changes from 'kinda sorta soon' to 'approaching soon-ness' and they never need to explicitly say so. This allows them to carry out their 'release it when it's done' strategy and never get anybody upset.

And it's impossible to say they fail to generate hype. WoW beta got 400,000 signups. And, come on, the start date for the beta hasn't even been decided on yet!

Re:What they should do... (3, Funny)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275529)

That's what Bungie is doing with Halo 2.

Of course I bitch to high heaven that I won't buy it when it eventually comes out because they keep delaying it, but we all know I'd sell a kidney to get a copy...

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275439)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Join the fun!!! [slashdot.org]

Price? (5, Insightful)

shepd (155729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275440)

>What's more, missing a promised release date can bleed buzz, precious in an industry where many young buyers have to take the time to squirrel away $50 for a typical purchase.

Sounds to me like it wouldn't be a problem if the price weren't something they'd have to "take the time to squirrel away".

Re:Price? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275501)

Yeah, sure would be nice if we were all rich bastards, wouldn't it...

Seriously, though. I'm all for the demo models of games. Give me a level or so, and if it's good, there's a good chance I'll buy the game. Don't expect me to shell out $50 for something, sight unseen, and then be happy about it when it sucks.

What about old gamers? (5, Insightful)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275452)

What's more, missing a promised release date can bleed buzz, precious in an industry where many young buyers have to take the time to squirrel away $50 for a typical purchase.'"

I really wonder if this will be true 20 years from now when gamers like me who grew up playing games and have pay checks to buy what we want become a larger portion of the people who buy video games then teens. Of course, teens have much more time to play video games then people with jobs do, so perhaps this will never be true. I do hate playing MMORPGs -- not because I don't enjoy them, but because I can't compete with a 15 year old who can play the game 8 hours a day!

Re:What about old gamers? (1, Funny)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275494)

Or you'll realize that there are *gasp* more importatnt things to do with that $50 like putting gas in the car so you can go to work and earn more gas money...to be used getting to work...HEY something's just not right here!

Re:What about old gamers? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275580)

I really wonder if this will be true 20 years from now when gamers like me who grew up playing games and have pay checks to buy what we want become a larger portion of the people who buy video games then teens.

You won't. Take my word for it. You'll spend the money on rent, toys (like bikes, telescopes, computers), tickets, golf, golf, big screen TV, sports car and dozens of other things. And despite the fact that you're reading this, you might even hook up with a woman and that'll be the end of your disposable income.

Re:What about old gamers? (1)

luugi (150586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275583)

I've had more time to play since I started working. when I finish work.... I finish work. No need to think about projects or studying.

Having a wife and kids that's what's going to make me move away from games.

Re:What about old gamers? (5, Funny)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275684)

I can't compete with a 15 year old who can play the game 8 hours a day!

Buddy, your problem is that you've somehow come to believe that 8 hours a day is a lot.

Why sleep when you have so much item-hunting to do?

fair enough (1)

jeff munkyfaces (643988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275453)

but i would much rather have a good quality, balanced, finished game that is a little old than something cobbled together and banged out that's full of bugs and glitches. Having said that, FABLE! FABLE! PLEASE!

I disagree. (5, Interesting)

monstroyer (748389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275462)

I think it helps the game industry. By creating so much undelivered hype and anticipation the frustrated gamer will lose patience and buy another game. The only undelivered games people tend to care about are ones that have a previous track record. Doom for example is anticipated because of the first Doom. By not delivering Doom on time, the young gamer will try something else and give 'new blood' a chance.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275484)

If I could decide if that was humor or if it was flamebait, then you could've had one of my mod points. Oh well...

Can we get a "misguided" option?

Outsource! (-1, Offtopic)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275463)

I for one, welcome our Super Manjeet Brothers overlords.

Big business. No problem. Move along. (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275474)

The games companies aren't ickle teenagers in their bedrooms any more... I've just had 'Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance 2' (fantastic game, btw) which has a splash screen saying that over 100,000 man-hours were spent on the game...

You have a release plan, you have a risk assessment, you have risk management. It's not a one-day's-brainstorming which ends up with 'ok, next Christmas then...'.

The larger games companies are starting to seriously challenge the film industry for revenue, sometimes you get the film of the game (Tombraider) but most of the time you get the game of the film (everything else) - that should indicate where the power distribution lies; but it is dynamic, and a lot of effort will be put into maximising return on the large investment. Just like films. Big expenditure brings big risks and big rewards. Just like films...

Simon.

100,000 man hours? (2, Funny)

MonkeyCookie (657433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275530)

So 100,000 people could complete a game like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 in an hour! :)

Wow!

Re:100,000 man hours? (5, Funny)

miu (626917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275660)

Sure thing, and this can be applied to things other than software development. I hear the South Koreans have a new system where 9 women can bring a baby to term in a month.

North Korea is reputedly working on a way to have 100 men dig a hole 100 feet deep in 1 minute.

Re:Big business. No problem. Move along. (2, Informative)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275587)

saying that over 100,000 man-hours were spent on the game...

It would take less time to build a small shopping center.

Good point (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275477)

The poster alluded to this, but not enough. Announcing the product before it ships is very important for the people who are deciding between buying a product now and waiting for a better product in the near future. The announcement of the game is saying "Hey, look how cool this is going to be. It beats all other games on the market now, so save up your money and use it for this instead of the instant gratification that won't last as long"

The speculation and occasional leaks of information are vital towards feeding the anticipation of the game, and in many cases even surpass the actual quality of the game once it is released.

If a company decided to not advertise a game until its release, I guarantee it will not meet with the same success that an eagerly anticipated game will see.

My response to this (5, Interesting)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275481)

I sent a response to the Author and the Editors of wired.com. Hopefully it'll show up in the rants tomorrow, but...

------
"The process starts when a producer conceives of a project and then goes through an internal sales process that can include being wildly optimistic about budgets and schedules, [Gifford] Calenda said."

This is an interesting view, and yes, it certainly happens from time to time. However, as a former producer myself, I often find that I will present a reasonably budget, schedule, and feature list, only to see upper management tell me that the feature list is perfect, the budget is far too high, and the game needs to be done in half the time.

Producers usually don't want their games to fail. There's very rarely an incentive on the producer's side to cut the development time, unless the producer is bad at making schedules (not uncommon) or the game is tied to a particular release date. However, most games being released are not tied to a release date such as a movie or sporting event.

Upper management, or the publisher, if you're an independent developer, is significantly more likely to have a reason to cut the time and budget. Usually it's a) so the game doesn't cost as much; and b) so it gets out sooner, therefore generating sales revenue in a particular fiscal year. You can see why there will be pressure from management to either present a schedule that is unrealistic, or to cut a realistic schedule away from reality. Naturally, additional budget money is hard to get, and features could never be dropped, and those are really the only other ways of cutting the development time.

I will grant you that, to a point, reducing development time and slashing budgets is a perfectly acceptable way to behave. It would be poor management that simply accepted a producer's word at every turn, because then the producers might take advantage of the unwary eye of management. However, management needs to listen to the producers if they tell them that a particular project is 'unlikely' or 'impossible'. If the people in charge of making decisions tell the project team to go ahead with the hobbled schedule and budget, then the project will likely slip.

The worst part is when the development team has to take shortcuts to get the project out on time which result in more QA time at the end of the project. The ironic part is when the projects slips to meet the original schedule, but you had to do it the hard way, with lots of bug fixing and messy code.

I hope this is a trend that goes away sometime soon in game development. The three worst habits in the Game Industry are poor scheduling, mandatory overtime, and laying off the project team or studio when the game is finished, and usually those three go hand-in-hand. It's a shame when the producers are solely blamed for the process, when it is terribly unlikely that they are the primary cause.
------

=Brian

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275486)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they wouldn't delay the games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Join the fun!!! [slashdot.org]

Re:XBox rules!! (0)

Jediman1138 (680354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275525)

so much for your first post...smartass..

I don't know... (4, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275487)

Delaying game releases seem to work well for Blizzard. Of course their games are always backwards in terms of technology but their story and gameplay are excellent. Maybe we should worry less about sophistication and technology and more about the non-visual aspects of the story? Then again, their FMVs are excellent, same with SquareSoft's. An interesting story with nice FMVs as reward for completing each stage seem to be the common theme here.

HL2 (4, Insightful)

Bozyo25 (242110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275493)

Had Half-Life 2 been released about 6 months ago when it was planned for, I know lots of people who had intended to buy it... and these are even people who never buy anything, since downloading games is so easy.
HL2's graphics would have been so very advanced had it not been delayed repeatedly, but by now it won't really have much advantage over other games' graphics by the time it comes out this summer. I expect it'll still be a great game, with pretty exceptional graphics, but a lot more people were excited by it before.

IMO (2, Insightful)

Arcanix (140337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275495)

I think it has a lot to do with the whole franchise aspect, they don't want to ruin a namebrand permanently by rushing it out with horrible flaws. If it's a one-shot game then a bunch of people will buy it and be pissed but as long as there's no follow up it won't hurt the company too bad.

It's All In What You Promise (5, Interesting)

danaan (728990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275500)

While it's true that delays in shipping a title can hurt sales and alienate potential customers, I think what it really comes down to is a company keeping its promises, and the way it communicates with those customers. NeverwinterNights is the perfect example. Not only did they fail to deliver on time or as promised, they waited until the very last moment to give any explanation to customers, and even those explanations didn't make sense. They had to have known they weren't going to be able to produce way in advance.

You simply can't treat customers that way. Disney (despite it's current troubles) has made a mint on underpromising and over-delivering, and game companies need to start to take notice that they don't operate under a seperate rule system from the rest of their entertainment competition.

The culture of game development has a great deal wrong with it, and missing deadlines is really only the tip of the iceberg.

ever tried patching/updating a CD Rom ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275503)


exactly

easy to hit apt-get or grab a patch from fileplanet on a pc , but not so easy on a console game

i prefer to wait and get a quality product instead of a buggy botched job thanks, you greedy MBA bastards probably don't understand that yet

Marketing is the real problem. (5, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275511)

You know, if marketing would just STFU until there was a good solid date for a game, and not one that they pulled out of thin air, there wouldn't be nearly the number of problems there are.

Sure, there are engineering slips, but the majority of those are because marketing (or worse, engineering management) gave the CEO a date he WANTED to hear, not the date he NEEDED to hear.

Engineering slips because the date was unrealistic, marketing points the finger, and never gets the blame.

This article brings up a disturbing point (-1, Flamebait)

SoIosoft (711513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275522)

When our youth are storing away $50 to purchase video games, something is wrong here. As a parent, I am genuinely disturbed by the violence of the games that are being produced today and that our youth are so addicted to these games. No child wants to do homework when there's video games to play. It's troubling that our youth are willing to store away money for video games which promote questionable ideas instead of spending the money for more appropriate uses.

I'd like to know how parents here can accept their children storing away money from weeks of allowance to purchase a video game, especially a game that has promotes so many things that we feel out children ought to not be exposed to in the glorified way video games promote them.

Why was the parent modded down? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275574)

It brings up a good point, and even if you don't agree with it, it isn't flamebait. Post a reply instead of modding it down!

Re:Why was the parent modded down? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275598)

It brings up a good point

Not especially. No one has ever been able to show that kids become good or bad citizens based on the media they're exposed to... and it hasn't been for lack of trying. The post began with an incorrect (or at least, unproven) premise and went downhill from there.

The proper moderation for the grandparent was probably -1, Troll.

Re:Why was the parent modded down? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275624)

It is moving AWAY from the topic and raising a controvertial and contentious issue.

What the fuck do you think "Flamebait" means???

Re:This article brings up a disturbing point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275685)

I don't think children are focused on the violence as much as they are focused on playing. Perhaps in your generation you played 'Cowboys and Indians'? This is the new 'cowboys and indians' for these kids. The violence may shock you, but I don't believe it's what these kids see, they just see a game.

I'm not sure kids ever liked homework, I think they've just exchanged one distraction for another - perhaps to their detriment, but there are also worse things than playing games...

Slashgaming, on the frontlines (4, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275527)

"Delays Hurt Video Game Business"

NEWS FLASH!!!
EXCESSIVE DELAYS HURT ANY INDUSTRY!!!
Please move along, nothing to news here.

Story and gameplay vs visuals (3, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275534)

Companies should develop a solid storyline and some good gameplay characteristics before announcing a game. Id rather have a fun game that doesnt require the latest and greatest than one that has all full motion video but no real substance. Hell i still play Quake 1/2 and Duke3d. Those games have stories and they are fun to play!

Games with bugs... (4, Interesting)

n()_cHIEFz (203036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275547)

Another thing that really irks me after spending $50 of my hard earned cash is the fact that a lot of these games seem to have really bad bugs when they are released. The most recent example was Tiger Woods 2003 for the mac (yea, I know, I should be playing on pc, but it happens there too). I bought the game and it wouldn't play with my ATI video card (unplayable with crappy graphics settings). I had to wait for the first bug fix for a playable game. UT2003 for PC is another example of a PC game I had alot of problems with. You would think with all the xtra time that companies are taking to release the games, they would try and release something halfway stable. And, no on my PC I'm not running really out-there hardware.

Re:Games with bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275631)

after spending $50

Well, look on the bright side. At least you didn't have to plunk down or fork over $50.

They can't win (2, Interesting)

RandBlade (749321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275549)

If games are released on time, but buggy, then they get flamed and attacked. If they delay to perfect the bugs, then they get flamed and attacked. Either way there is a problem, and I know which way I'd prefer they go. I have no problem waiting for a good release over getting a buggy one and waiting for the patches to dribble out.

Having said that though, there are very few games I've waited for which have come out on time lately. So the companies should definitely learn. I for one have stopped paying attention to the calendar, if its not believable then its not worth having.

Abolish the release dates until closer to when you have a more finalised estimate available. Or be more conservative with the estimate, rather than hopeful. As a rule of thumb I add a quarter to the calendar when dates are announced, it would be a good idea if they insist on announcing dates early if they did this themselves. Failing to meet an over-optimistic release date, even if for good reasons which it typically is, makes the company look foolish and less reliable.

Not just the initial release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275555)

Its not just the initial release being delayed that hurts business. its the manner in which it is released. For example Deus Ex2 was released in the US last december and there was a couple of months delay before it was released in the UK or AUS. This provides even more incentive for people to pirate the game. A more extreme example is Halflife 2 were the code was leaked. So rather than minizing the damage it was made worse by delaying the official release even further.

UT2004 (0, Offtopic)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275556)

UT2004 for the most part looks like it will hit the projected release date of mid-March, 2004.

The sleeper FPS of 2004 I say.

So where's your Halo 2, Half-Life 2, or Doom 3 now? (Of the three, to my knowledge, Doom 3 is the only one expected to be out prior to the summer)

I disagree... (2, Insightful)

signalgod (233854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275564)

I don't think the game delays hurt sales. When Duke comes out, I'll buy it, no doubt. If it's a big name game, it will still sell.

On the other hand, the thing that pisses me off about the game release delays is the the developers are 'debugging'. I think that's bull.

How many games don't release a service pack/update/bugfix within a couple of months of the game release anyway?

Re:I disagree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275626)

> How many games don't release a service
> pack/update/bugfix within a couple of months of
> the game release anyway?

How many console games are there? That's your answer.

Re:I disagree... (2, Interesting)

signalgod (233854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275679)

Good point, but maybe that's the problem...

Game developers are trying to release their games simultaneously on multiple game systems. I'm no developer, but could this not slow development of one game?

If you're writing a game, don't you have to port the game for the PC, the Xbox, the PS2 and the Dreamcast? If the release for the Xbox before the PS2, does Sony get pissed off?

I'm just wondering if it's a development thing, or a political thing...

Broken (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275566)

The video game industry is broken. Inventing all new technology for every .1 release of a game makes it nearly impossible to make money unless a publisher has $$$$$$$$ to throw four dozen programmers at a project, which is itself nearly unmanageable.

The industry would make more money if it stopped inventing and started producing.

Again with the stereotyping (4, Insightful)

faust2097 (137829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275570)

an industry where many young buyers have to take the time to squirrel away $50 for a typical purchase.

Haven't we already seen tons of consumer data that shows that almost all money spent on games is by people over the age of 25? And aren't both Half-Life 2 and Duke Nukem Forever going to be rated M?

Re:Again with the stereotyping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275662)

Newsflash: that M rating hasn't stopped teenyboppers from getting a hold of titles like GTA and Manhunt.

Entire article summary in second-last paragraph (2, Funny)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275578)

Still, everyone involved agrees on one thing -- slips in release dates ultimately matter less than shipping an awesome game.

dur, really? thanks for this insightful article

OT,but someone has to make the [NO CARRIER] joke (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8275599)

Game delays? What about other companies? I am still waiting for US Robotics to update my modem driv&}=20 ]} } } }&..}=3Dr}'}"}[NO CARRIER]

Delays can be a "good thing" (3, Insightful)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275615)

I would rather see an anticipated title come to market 12 months late and be solid than have it be released on time and suck because of bugs and underimplemented features. Lets face it, the cost overruns of a game coming out late can easily be recovered if:
  1. The game itself is good
  2. Users aren't turned off right away becuase of bugs and other annoyances that are the hallmark of rushed titles

For example: Let's look at a case where the title released "on time" but sucked ass. The definitive example of this was Ultima 9. This was supposed to be Richard Garriot's 'swan song' for the Ultima series. The final chapter in a very successful and much loved 20 year old franchise. Immense pressure from the EA suits forced Garriot (against his pleas) to make sure U9 "shipped by Christmas". It met the delivery date expectation: at the expense of the consumer's expectations. The game was virtually unplayable. Bugs ranging from annoyances to full blown "quest killers" were rampant. Add that to the fact that you'd need a fully "state of the art" (+$2500) system to even load the thing. U9 entered the marked at $60 dollars. I never even saw it hit the $9.95 rack. It just disappeared.

Now for a company that consistantly delivers late, we need look no farther than Blizzard. Starcraft, Diablo (1 & 2), Warcraft 3 were all "vapor" for many moons. They also rank as the most successful titles in PC gaming history, with longevity and replay value that is unsurpassed. WC3 is nearly three years old, and it still sells for $40+. Diablo 2 debuted in 2000, and was on the top 10 seller list no later than 6 months ago.

As a consumer, I'm not going to spend my $50 on crap or a mediocre product. If I'm curious about a game, I'll wait till it hit's the $10 rack anyway (about 4-6 months after the release date - gotta love the irony). But if it's a hot title from a company with a record for Quality out of the box, not after "patch1.4", I'll drop the $50.

the id software model (2, Insightful)

dookie (136297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275616)

Love them or hate them, but id software probably has the best solution to the problem. They have always set their release dates as "when it's done" and it has always been for the best. I'm not referring to the (nearly) total lack of storyline but the fact that you don't go out, buy the game, and go home and download a fix for it. As far as I know, sales for id games don't suffer from delays. Perhaps the bigger problem is lack of quality products: you aren't nearly so ticked off when a game is delayed but it turns out to be fantastic.

And this wasn't a problem before? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275620)

Unofficial poll: How many times have you read a review that said that the graphics / sounds / animations etc. looked "dated" or worse yet, "outdated"? Many a game in the past have flopped because they didn't get out before the "next-gen" titles.

Yes, the games are getting bigger, and so are the stakes. But there was a helluva lot more at stake than just "some disgruntled fans" in the past too. Fans were never the issue, they will stand by their game. It is, and always was the mass market that is at stake.

Kjella

The real problem... (2, Funny)

morganjharvey (638479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275623)

precious in an industry where many young buyers have to take the time to squirrel away $50 for a typical purchase.

See, this wouldn't be a problem if they were just taking the money out of their mother's purses like they're supposed to.

In a couple of years.. (2, Insightful)

FunctionalMethod (751923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8275678)

this won't matter. Right now a big part of PC Sales are people like us ( geeks more or less) that check up on gaming websites , subscribe to gaming forums etc. Soon the game industry will be as big as the movie industry ( not in terms of money , in terms of popularity around the globe) , and the largest portion of sales will be normal people buying/renting a game they see on a shelf. It won't matter if it has been delayed 3 years, because they weren't waiting for it. Just like Kill Bill. This movie has been delayed for 2 years or so , for Uma Therman to have her baby. I am sure there were some movie fanatics that were all " OMG DELAYED bS" etc , but for 95% of the audience it didn't matter. The movie is out , it's good , so you watch it. It's just a matter of time before this is the case in games.
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