I don’t think anyone’s posted about Curt Schilling getting fisted by the invisible hand, and since I don’t give a shit about baseball (especially Red Sox baseball) or video games, I’m the wrong guy to post about it, but Canadian reader Bob seems to know a bit about our quaint customs here and put together a couple of links for me. First, let’s establish Curt’s douchebag bonafides:
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
After pitching for the Sox, Curt decided to start a video game company in a classically hypocritical conservative fashion:
Schilling had relocated 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Providence, R.I., in order to take advantage of a $75-million publicly backed loan from Rhode Island. The company received $50 million of that loan.
After taking all that money, his company shit the bed and laid everyone off, in classically incompetent conservative fashsion. I would also say he did that in a classically Red Sox near the end of the season fashion, if I knew anything about baseball, which I don’t.
And I still say he faked the bloody sock.
Good for me, but not for thee.
But goddammit he will pull himself up by his bootstraps. He doesn’t need any of those welfare programs.
The funny thing is that they released a game that sold better than expectations, but went bankrupt trying to produce another game that isn’t even released yet.
I’d be laughing my ass off at the bloody-sock faker, if only he didn’t fuck over the State of RI and all those employees.
Couldn’t happen to a creepier creep. Of course he probably walked away with a hefty sum anyway, as the Regressives usually do.
Red Sox fan here.
Fuck Curt Schilling.
This was my favorite tidbit from the Curt fiasco:
To stay afloat, it asked Rhode Island for more money, applying for $8.4 million in film-tax credits, which it could then sell to other companies seeking to lower their tax bills.
@Joel: This. And what is it with Red Sox pitchers being creepy? I met Roger Clemens when he played for the BoSox and he was a complete ass. And he was a complete ass to his kid fans. That is inexcusable. May his balls shrink to the size of peas and fall off, bless his heart.
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
Keep in mind that Schilling came quite close to running for the US Senate seat vacated by Kennedy’s death… The one won by Scott Brown. And given the climate of 2010, he might have even won it.
Governor Chaffee was originally going to just let it fail, but this morning there was some hint that RI might help out, after all.
Mustn’t let a Rich Man take a loss on bad decisions!
The gamer geeks who lost their jobs deserve sympathy. But for them, I would do nothing than soak in a nose-to-toes bubble bath of schadenfreude at the predicament of one Curt Schilling, serial deliverer of leg humps to folks like the Mittster, Scott Brown, and McCain.
Did enjoy the bloody sock game, though.
@TaMara (BHF): Clemens is also a statutory rapist, to bood. Schilling is also a creep, although not as bad as that.
Pedro Martinez, though, great.
I second that!
@TaMara (BHF): Bill Lee was the bomb. A friend of mine on the college newspaper was a neighbor of his in Belmont, MA, so he came down one evening and talked with the whole staff for a couple of hours. Just a great guy, and funny as hell.
So: not all Red Sox pitchers are creepy. Just the creepy ones.
@Tom Levenson: :-)
Do you know I can still name every player of the very first game I attended?* Happy 100th to Fenway park!
*Which I will decline to do here, since it will only prove how frickin’ old I am.
Hope they have a GM moment, boot Schilling, save the jobs.
Gin & Tonic
This has been a huge local story here for a week now, since they missed a May 1 payment to the state, then delivered a NSF check last Friday. I posted a comment about it back then, but it got no traction.
The loan guarantee was approved by a Republican governor, natch, who is now no longer gov. He is/was quite wealthy – I wonder how much of his own money he invested in this business? I’ll bet zero. Thu current gov, ex-Repub Linc Chaffee, was against this at the time, and is now left holding a big bag of shit while trying (not very successfully) to avoid saying “I told you so.’
It used to be said the most dangerous place on earth was between a TV camera with the red light on and Curt Schilling. Guess who’s not talking now? He lives about two miles down the street from me – I think I’ll go TP his house.
Gin & Tonic
Not to excuse that scumbag, but today’s reports are that he’s all in, to the tune of some $30M, and they had to lay everybody off because he has nothing left to give. So if he goes broke too, at least there’s that.
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
@Gin & Tonic:
Has he sold any of his own organs yet? No? Then he’s still a lucky ducky moocher.
It’d be interesting to see what a forensic accountant finds when it looks at the company. I wonder how much of the money was just wasted or siphoned off by Schilling and cronies a la Bain.
I renounce Curt Schilling’s citizenship!
@TaMara (BHF): And what is it with Red Sox pitchers being creepy?
I can’t speak to that, but having spent the nineties in the video game biz, I can ask “What is it with dumbasses thinking they can run businesses but who have no goddam idea how to founding video game companies?”
I’m supposed to be looking for someone to take care of me when I’m down-and-out? I had no idea.
I apparently am not aware of all liberal internet traditions.
My team is the NL, but as a decent American, I couldn’t help but enjoy the Sox’s epic collapse last season. Couldn’t have happened to a more annoying team.
@Gin & Tonic: I’m sure he still has a house, cars, and other personal belongings. Schilling doesn’t have to worry about losing those, but his (former) employees probably do.
This company wouldn’t be the first to fail while chasing MMO riches and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Note to investors: MMO projects fail regularly.
@TaMara (BHF): Clemens has always been his own category of asshole.
Is the invisible hand of the market more like Bucky dent or Aaron Boone?
In this case the Invisible Hand was using Bill Buckner’s glove.
Wow, $50 to 75 million in loan guarantees to a video game company that hadn’t released a game yet? That sounds pretty freaking insane. Wouldn’t their MMORPG (which won’t be released for at least a year) have to sell at WoW levels for them to make back that kind of money? How likely was that going to happen?
I don’t know a lot about the economics of video games, so correct me if I’m wrong.
@Console: Is that what happened? I’d heard the game sold well, but it would have needed to sell 3mm copies just to cover the expense of making it. Didn’t know there was another title involved.
Villago Delenda Est
Not likely, but we can hope.
Reminds me of the analysts who told the Masters of the Universe that there was no there there in the housing bubble, but they were ignored because, well, hookers and blow, bitches.
OT, but I just got phone-polled by Public Policy Polling.
They tested Obama/Biden against Romney/Nugent, Romney/Kid Rock and Romney/Rick Snyder.
They also asked if I think Michigan’s trees are the right height. This was from a legit polling firm.
They also asked about Stabenow and Levin.
There was a question about same sex marriage.
And they wanted to know if I approved of Kid Rock more than Eminem.
Our politics is officially insane.
This is mostly a case of overblown expectations. 38 brought in a lot of great talent from the industry (and paid a hefty price for it) and thus set their sites pretty high on their first game, Kingdoms of Amalur, but it didn’t sell enough to cover both its own development and the simultaneous development of an MMO, which are notorious for their development costs.
i laughed at him on his facebook page
Video Game Econ 101: MMOs fail. When they fail, their developer often fails as a business as well.
That list isn’t quite representative, as it only includes games that were ultimately published. There are also many, many projects that are abandoned before that point.
It’s worth noting the unreleased game is an MMO, which in the video game industry is a financial black hole. It doesn’t really surprise me that they found themselves in a bind even with Amalur selling pretty well.
@Gin & Tonic: Noted. I stand corrected. But I stand by creepy creep.
Villago Delenda Est
The correct answer here is “Mick Jagger”.
The public officials who green lighted this project acted like a bunch of 7 year old kids at a birthday party interacting with a wino dressed in a comic book super-hero costume.
Villago Delenda Est
An MMO? That’s a bit ambitions for an outfit that’s published one game, n’est ce pas?
Oh, let me guess. Schilling thinks he’s got the “WoW Killer”.
Rob in CT
Curt Shilling was a major league baseball player. MLB is a cartel, and its players are unionized. That unionization results in generous and – this is key – guaranteed contracts. This situation made him a very, very rich man.
Who then went and got government backed loans for a business that ultimately failed spectacularly.
I don’t know anything about his early years, so maybe there was some actual bootstrappin’ that happened at some point. And he really was a very good pitcher (who I hated, as a Yankee fan should). But damn, how about that self-awareness of his, huh?
@RossInDetroit: No questions about George Tierney Jr. of Greenville SC?
Off topic, it drives me crazy that no one can spell Linc Chafee’s name. Or Kay Bailey Hutchison’s.
On topic, Schilling is a deluxe asshole.
Tim in SF
@elm: Except for WoW, MMOs fail. RIFT, Eve, LOTRO, SWTOR; All of these were supposed to the the “WoW Killer”. All of them died trying.
Curt Schilling’s business plan was to make a WoW killer. That landscape is littered with more twitching corpses than a zombie movie.
Curt Schilling’s business plan sucked ass and so does Curt Schilling. He appeared a few times as a guest host on a WoW-related podcast to which I regularly listen. That guy is an annoying conservative douchebag. I’ve never seen him in person, but you can hear in his voice just how white he is.
All of this couldn’t have happened to a more deserving choad.
No, they didn’t ask about George Tierney Jr. of Greenville SC. But they should have because I have some opinions on George Tierney Jr. of Greenville SC.
Now now, let’s look the bright side – no not the failure of a conservative asshole – that this is potentially a learning moment for Mr. Schilling. By all accounts, the first game they released was actually a strong product that exceeded sales expectations, and his business venture failed anyway. Perhaps this first-hand experience of the free market now always rewarding the correct people for producing a superior good will result in a paradigm shift.
@Mark S.: $50-$75M is 2nd tier game money now. Diablo III opening day was $1B in sales – probably close to $200M in development costs, with more post-sale to keep Battlenet running, updates, and so on. Avengers likely cost about the same as Diablo III, and will likely gross similarly. But there seems to be more room in the market for blockbuster games vs movies, so money flows a bit more freely with games. Even that little $1 iPhone game often pulls a $1M+ budget now.
A free market government parasite. Will wonders ever cease?
@Rob in CT: Exactly. See also Dykstra, L. and (somewhat differently) Canseco, J. And many other examples of athletic youths who were coddled into superhuman self-belief that let them down later when they found out that it was only their ego that was superhuman and it was no longer in anyone else’s interest to pump it up. Schilling is just unusual because he shot his mouth off about politics he didn’t understand, and nearly ran for office. On to the Greeter job in Vegas, Curt, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of tips.
Villago Delenda Est
Everyone in the damn game industry sees Blizz lolling about in a basin the size of the Black Sea filled with benjamins, and they imagine that they’re going to get some of that sweet, sweet candy.
WoW is an anomaly, not the norm. No one seems to grok that. Furthermore, they’re not willing to do what Blizz did to make WoW a success: be accessible, be polished, work pretty much from launch. They’d rather follow the SOE route which is to put out initially a barely beta game (see Star Wars Galaxies at launch) and then expansions unfinished and hope the revenue from sales raises the capital to finish it off (see Everquest). Before they do it again, on the next expansion.
@RossInDetroit: That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. In a laughing-through-the-tears kind of way.
Villago Delenda Est
@Tim in SF:
More twitching corpses than in all of Icecrown, actually. To include Icecrown Citadel.
Where the heck are all the Solyandra wailers? That was $550 M federal in loan guarantees, aimed at a developing industry that this country desperately needs. This was a tenth of that from one state, aimed at a well-established industry that is already full of major players.
Here’s the bottom line: WoW cost something over $60M to originally launch (Vivendi was involved with Blizzard back then). I cannot imagine it is cheaper to do a high-end MMORPG now. How was Schill ever going to do that with the revenue stream of one average-selling game and a fistful of loans? That is why he couldn’t get any private funding.
Schilling “loaned” the company 4-5 million dollars of his personal money as it started up. He paid himself back out of the taxpayer backed loans he got from Rhode Island.
Okay, I’ll bite:
What the fuck is “MMO?” I figured out that WoW is World of Warcraft, but don’t grok MMO.
And my son plays all these games, which I get stuck buying, and I still don’t know what that one is.
Oblivious, thy name is “Ed.”
the real shame is that kingdoms of amular is pretty fun game (at least the demo was good enough to make me want to purchase it, when i have the cash. ME3 & skyrim were higher priorities).
@Tim in SF:
I live about a mile from Blizzard, so I have a lot of friends there. They understand the market really well – and when I asked how DIII would launch relative to WoW, they said it would be huge – 5x to 10x as large. My friend who is one of the Battlenet leads implied that they’d have the same Battlenet problems as when WoW launched (and they have) simply due to the much greater appeal.
MMOs have a very limited, but intense appeal. MMOs aren’t casual enough to earn a large market – you have to play frequently and intensely for the game to pay off and Blizzard figured they had cornered rough half of that market in WoW – putting in a huge investment in game balance and building trust among players that the world would continue to develop. They felt that so long as they don’t coast on development, there would be almost no way for anyone else to come in and dethrone them. Blizzard has spent billions on WoW, and nobody else is going to spend billions on a new venture. Their real worry is the iPhone/iPad. If someone develops a MMO game that works from console to PC to handheld, that could reach into their market with a much lower budget. They point to Minecraft as an example. It has a larger player base than WoW despite being a much shittier, lower budget game. Somewhere between those points is a game that could unthrone WoW – but it won’t be easy. Blizzards really long development cycle worries the guys there – the iPhone wasn’t even invented when they started DIII development.
Villago Delenda Est
MMO is shorthand for MMORPG, That is, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.
@Ed Drone: MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online game. Games like Everquest, WoW, EVE Online, Asheron’s Call, etc…
You and 100,000 of your closest friends bash rats together and show off your shiny Supar-Swords of +100 OrcSlaying.
@Tim in SF:
That’s not entirely fair. MMOs can certainly fail quite spectacularly, but they also don’t need WoW numbers to be profitable. LOTRO, for instance, is doing quite swimmingly on a F2P model.
Also, Eve was released a year before WoW, and I don’t think anyone at any point in its life would try to describe it as anything like WoW.
As a Phillies fan, I’ve had a sympathetic view towards Schilling for a while. Most Philadelphians hate him because of how much of a blowhard he was during his time here (1992 – 2000), forgetting how bad the team was for most of that time period, with the lone exception being 1993. Schilling deserved to play for a better team and did not let anyone forget about that until he got traded. Every time he came back, people booed him very loudly. I was never one of them. But now? Fuck this hypocrite. Same with Mets Legend Lenny Dykstra.
@Tim in SF:
Minor nitpick: EVE was released in 2003, before WoW, and I don’t think there is that much crossover between their respective customer bases. WAR, AoC, Rift, TOR, and (to a somewhat lesser extent) LOTRO were all basically WoW clones designed to directly compete with Blizzard’s capture of the MMORPG market.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: So it’s the work of the Invisible Mitt? (Yeah I know–if only, if only…)
@Argive: A lifetime of no self-awareness.
And he ain’t going to get any now. Somehow, this is the fault of bucks buying T-bones with food stamps.
Shit, I had no idea it cost that much money to make a video game.
The MMO model appeals to people who are ignorant of the video game industry because they have been able to charge a monthly access fee (typically $10-15/month) to each player. In theory, that means that they have the potential to rake in large sustained revenue.
In practice, the number of MMO subscribers who are willing to change games or also subscribe to a new one is pretty small. Most people who desire MMO play are already on WoW and they’re paying for that already. To succeed in the market space, you either need subscribers who do want an MMO but don’t like the existing products, subscribers who you can entice away from their existing game(s), or subscribers who will pay for your game in addition to their existing games.
Many more recent MMOs have dropped subscription fees and run on microtransactions instead. They incorporate a real-money store for cosmetic items, access to areas, or improved weapons and armor.
Villago Delenda Est
One of the problems with the MMO industry, and I mentioned this before, is that in order to raise the obscene amounts of capital needed to get one of these lead zeppelins off the ground, they have to appeal to vile OvenMitt Rmoney types in suits for the cash they need, and to do this, they need to promise the moon and stars and WoW like numbers, which have utterly mesmerized aforementioned vile Ferengi asswipes in suits.
No one here I suppose has ever heard of Kingdom of Loathing, which is basically a ultra-snarky parody of mainstream MMOs. It’s a shoestring budget type game, it has a very small but very geeky player base, and the developers are happy just to make a living doing something they love to do. They’ll never break out of their niche, and they have no desire to. They’re not Ferengi assholes looking to make a huge killing, unlike say Kurt Schilling.
A lot of MMOs do not lose money, but they do not have the spectacular returns of WoW. Therefore, they are by the standards of the vile Ferengi shit, “failures”. Just employing a bunch of developers and making a modest return is simply not enough for the investors, who want to be swimming in hookers and blow within the first 10 days of release.
@SatanicPanic: well, there’s still the Yankees, but yeah…
so, apart from the graphics and scale, how do MMOs (thanks for definition) differ from (way-back machine) MUDs. They were called that, weren’t they?
@Rob in CT:
Keep in mind that for the Far Wrong and the glibertarians, there is absolutely no inconsistency in lobbying for or taking handouts from the gummint. If the gummint is stupid enough to offer them the cash, why not take it? And use it however you damn well want & dare the gummint to sue you over it?
As far as those moral imbeciles are concerned, those who take the money are just taking advantage of a legal opportunity & are therefore blameless; all blame accrues to the eevil gummint who steals from the people (in the form of taxes) & then hands it over to creeps like themselves.
I had a libertarian friend who was injured in the UK & lavished praise upon the (free!) treatment provided by the NHS–& then immediately went back to trashing “soshulized medicine”. It never made sense to me until I realized that as far as the glibs are concerned, they’ll take whatever society is willing to give them, no matter if they consider the offer misguided, because after all they’re just as entitled as anyone else to the largesse.
Jay in Oregon
Does he have a car?
I’ve been reliably informed by Very Serious People that if you possess any or all of these things, you’re not really suffering and so shut up already.
OT, but … Hey, Space Travel!
Headline at TPM today:
SpaceX Docking Congratulated By Commercial Spaceflight Federation
In other related news, the Federation announced new improvements to transporter technology; the crew of Babylon 5 used their BFRG (Big Fuckin’ Rail Gun) to halt an invasion force of Vogons; Commander Shepard and young recruit Ender Wiggins teamed up to save the quadrant from an attack of the Zerg; and the USS Entreprise successfully rescued all the passengers of the Starship Titanic after it accidentally collided with the asteroid 2 Pallas.
Also, MIT invented new technology that replaces painful needles with an injection device that goes “Shwp”.
(It’s so late in the thread, I might re-post this in the next one.)
Villago Delenda Est
The supreme irony here is that WoW itself is highly derivative of the games that came before it, such as Asheron’s Call, Everquest, and of course the granddaddy of them all, Ultima Online. What Blizz did was take concepts from those game and further develop and polish them, put together an integrated game world, and then release it on the public.
One of the things WoW did was expand the MMO market far beyond where it was. This created an MBA nightmare; market share for other games was now smaller, even though they might have actually gained players (and revenue) as the result of WoW’s success. But the fact that their slice of the pie was smaller in comparison to Blizz drove many of them (particularly the utter schmucks of SOE) batshit insane. They trashed the titles they had to be “more like WoW” and missed, again, the need for polish and accessibility that were key to WoW’s spectular success.
It’s just massive MBA fail all over the place.
@Mark S.: Yeah, everything is demand driven contrary to what the GOP would tell you. When a game can land $1B in sales, players will expect at least $200M in development to warrant that kind of interest, so that becomes the budget for the next title. So long as title sales climb, so will the budgets.
The problem that game development has is that it lacks the parallelism of movies. You can make a top movie in 2-3 years from concept to opening because movies tend to be paralleizable in places – you can have some of the effects work happening while filming, stuff like that. Games not so much – they really bottleneck on both the programming and the art design, so they take much longer to do. Plus with films the state of the distribution market is pretty well known. 3D is the only real advance of late. But for games, you have a sense of what kind of GPU power, internet speeds, etc. that players will have, but you don’t really know until very late in the process. It’s easy to design a game that underutilizes hardware or demands too much of it. And either will kill your title.
Jay in Oregon
Or better yet, they claim they’re taking “their” tax money back. Like he ever paid $75 million in taxes…
Not much conceptual difference.
The Other Chuck
@scav: Graphics, scale, and play style. You don’t play MUDs with a mouse.
I’m told EverQuest included a few outright homages to DikuMUD in a few places. Never played EQ, so I wouldn’t know for sure.
@Villago Delenda Est: Dang, you know a lot about this. You’ve been holding out on us.
@Villago Delenda Est: KoL is awesome. I gave it up b/c it was too addictive. But yeah, they do it because they love it, not for the mountains of cash.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Agreed. The difference is that the MMORPGs subsequent to WoW were not nearly as polished as the game they were trying to compete with.
And it should be noted that this is really fucking hard to do. Aside from the fact that MMOs have a long development time that prevents them from being completely “up-to-date” conceptually compared to their existing competitors, WoW has been in continuous development for eight years after its initial release and they have devoted significant resources (probably upwards of five to six times the pre-release costs) toward post-release development. The result is an exceptionally polished game.
There are people who believe that the game was better six or seven years ago, but I see that as little more than the grips of an irrational nostalgia.
@KG: Don’t get me wrong, I hate the Yankees too, but they at least have a history of success. It takes a special kind of jerk to act like the one World Series your team won in 100 years make your team the best ever.
Villago Delenda Est
I’ve been watching this crazy industry ever since I became addicted to classic Star Wars: Galaxies nine years ago. Currently I’m playing WoW, but there are parts of it I utterly loathe, in particular the oppressive stratification of the level system, which basically cuts off experienced players from new players, and undermines the glorious community that SWG had without a stratified level system. In some ways WoW is a massive dick waving competition, and it shows badly as adolescent and in their 20’s and 30’s adolescents bring down what could be a great social experiment in actual market mechanisms and people learning how to get along and cooperate.
The Other Chuck
The next release of WoW has kung-fu pandas as a player class. Kung fu pandas.
I’m also told it has waterskiing and a lake full of sharks.
I believe that we should add “Nerds” as a tag to this thread…and I say that as one nerd to all of you sweet, sweet nerds. god bless each and every one of you. I have learned more in this brief thread than i would have thought when i opened the thread based upon a giant douchenozzle. tip of the ball cap to each of you.
I don’t understand 87.5 percent of what’s been said in this thread, but I’m still entertained. (I get all the baseball stuff, FYI.)
The Other Chuck:
That’s lame. I’m so glad I play hardcore games like Skyrim, where you have to kill butterflies with your bare hands and eat them. The butterflies that is, not your hands.
You know, now that I type it out like that, it doesn’t read quite so macho.
@Console: It may have sold better than expected, but it sold less than 10% of what it would have needed to to pay for itself.
@Tim in SF: EVE didn’t ‘kill’ WOW, but it was a huge financial success because it appealed to a different segment of the market, one looking for something more freeform. In WOW, the content is produced by Blizzard and delivered to the players to participate in. With EVE, the players are simply given a world and systems to play with, and left to their own devices, to compete with and ally with one another as they please.
Steve in DC
@Villago Delenda Est
Video games have been growing for a while now. Blizzard was already a hit and well known from OTHER titles though. Starcraft is the national sport of Korea. Warcraft was already a series that could be counted on to crush other strategy games, the Diablo series had always been huge.
Video games are actually one of the nastiest businesses when it comes to what a lot of us hate about capitalism.
It’s monopolistic to an insane degree. Every genre has one or a few major titles that crush everything else. It’s go big or go broke. WoW is just one example but look at Call of Duty in the FPS, Street Fighter (well capcom in general) in the fighting game scene, or Final Fantasy in the JRPG scene. Just like WoW none of these games are actually the best in terms of quality, innovation, or anything like that. But they’ve become a house name as have the studios that produce them and they ruthlessly crush anybody that tries to compete against them.
They abuse workers to no end. Very few game companies are “good guys”, most hire and fire people left and right and do not pay them well. This isn’t due to the studios themselves, but the publishers. EA is hated for a reason. They gobble up a title that does well and then run it into the ground. They fire many of the key staff to keep costs down and reuse assets. Furthermore if you aren’t working on a project right then, you’re let go! Then you have to reapply and fight for a spot on another team. It’s really an industry where you’re either the suit at the top raking in the cash or you’re a butt monkey and not working a good portion of the year.
The amount of cash required now is nuts. They need an AAA+ top selling title and those cost more than movies to produce. This ties into publishers like EA and the issue above but it’s spiralling out of hand quickly to the point that major companies like Capcom are starting to question just how much graphics and music we really need, oh well.
As for this comment….
This isn’t true. There are two major GPU vendors, AMD and nvidia. Both of which have road maps that accurately tell where they are going. Game makers, console makers, and computer makers all have access to these roadmaps and pre-production samples but are locked by NDAs. The problem is that some times something goes VERY wrong in the process. Some great examples were the AMD (then ATI) 2900xt or the nvidia 480gtx. Due to odd reasons (the 480gtx sucked power like none other and had massive heat problems I had three of them in TRI SLI and the computer doubled as a space heater) the GPU firms fuck up. So performance isn’t nearly as good as what they told people it would be.
Intel and AMD are much more transparent on the CPU side of things, and internet speeds are pretty damn well known.
When there is an “oh shit the game runs like dog crap” most of the time it’s because the GPU vendors dropped the ball and then lied their assess off about it. Often they can make up for it with drivers down the line, but these full throttle screw ups are rare. They also often don’t matter. I’ve never had a problem where I couldn’t max out a game and get good frame rates, you can always brute force your way through things but tossing more GPUs at the problem. The real issue is power consumption, PC gaming isn’t green at all.
Most game companies have studios all over the place and farm out to work to their various locations. They also buy an off the shelf engine (Unreal 3 was the most popular last time) to help compress time.
A few studios don’t really follow that, and then you have shit like Duke Nukem Forever, that was a fiasco.
Hey, Pedro Martinez is a nice guy.
@JGabriel: I used to make these comments like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.
Allow me to add that my daughter and I are on fire cause on June 19 (eta not June 2), Lego Batman 2 comes out where you get to play as the whole Justice League. So, i have some nerd bona fides. and kiddie nerdness at that!
Villago Delenda Est
One of the Star Wars: Galaxies starting areas had butterflies. Butterflies that would pwn your butt in about 5 seconds flat. It humbled a lot of players who were coming off of fully leveled toons in other games.
Similarly, in the SWG beta, when Endor was first opened up for play, people went in and started attacking those cute little Ewoks. Who would proceed to utterly pwn the players. The Ewoks looked harmless, but they were anything but.
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
Rob in CT
That Kingdom of Loathing game sounds kinda cool. I haven’t played RPGs in a while… I used to play a text-only MUD on telnet ~15 years ago, which was fun.
Ra the Sun God is here.
Ra the Rabbit the Sun God
Your slash =scratches= Ra.
Ra dodges your thrust!
Ra casts Fire Breath!
Ra’s Fire Breath //Annihilates// you!!!
You are dead!!!
[Ra was a rabbit, IIRC, to provide him with inherent perpetual haste. No dispelling that]
@Rob in CT: wow….your nerd crown is on the way.
I told one of my 26 yr old co-workers that I played Pong when it came out and he said “pong?”
@Villago Delenda Est:
proud mass hole
Anti-business, Mass-hole socialists:
Now where are all the big mouths who at the time were ripping Gov Patrick because he was smart enough to pass on this deal?
OT: I’m waiting at the DMV, and there’s a guy outside with a table plastered with signs like “Honor Our Veterans – Impeach Obama”, “Save NASA”, and that we need to get rid of Obama and reinstate Glass-Steagel, and another thing about hydroelectric power. It’s pretty bizarre. No one is stopping. I’m reminded of the Far Side cartoon “How nature says ‘Do Not Touch.'”
sox fan here. since 1955. curt shilling: asshole, even when he was with the team. but a hell of a pitcher nonetheless. think the bloody sock was phony? ok, anti-sox-bots. who do you know that says the sox are the greatest team ever? yankees history of success? sure. but the biggest payroll in baseball year after year. also had the KC athletics (remember them?) as their farm team for decades back mid century.
also, too, 2 WS wins in 100 years.
end of mini-rant of long time sox fan.
Here, have a coin.
How Nature says, “Do not touch.”
ETA: Doh! Late, as usual.
@chrome agnomen: I don’t hear Red Sox fans say they’re the “greatest team ever.” The level of attitude, however, far outstrips the record of historical accomplishment. It should’ve taken much longer than it has to become Evil Empire Jr.
wanna kill some time
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Redshift: Sounds like LaRouchies. They’re fucking nuts.
@chrome agnomen: You are right, they did get two. I forgot about the second.
You mean 2 in 90 years. The 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918 World Series were less than 100 years ago.
@Redshift: Deffo a LaRouchie
@shortstop: This is what I was trying to say. They did have a really good team for a while though before the beer, fried chicken and golfing on days off.
@HG Hay: Ah, of course. I used to see them a lot, since he lives in VA, but I haven’t seen much of them for quite a few years.
Schilling’s company appears to have really screwed it’s employees. Word going around now is that:
1) The employees health insurance was set to run out at midnight last night, something they discovered before they were all fired. The discovery was apparently made when one employee’s pregnant wife went to see her doctor and her doctor knew the insurance was running out before anyone at the company had said a word to any of the employees.
2) In order to encourage their employees who had previously taken up residence in MA to move with them to RI, 38 Studios offered to pay off their employees homes in MA so they would be in a position to buy new homes in RI. However, instead of actually paying off the houses, 38 Studios just took over paying the mortgage, and then at some point stopped paying taxes on the homes, and then later stopped paying the mortgage. So, on top of being unemployed and without health insurance, some of the employees are now stuck with 2 mortgages, ruined credit, and a significant figure in back-taxes owed to MA.
@thefncrow: Do you have a link? I find it hard to believe that employees would just trust the company to pay off their mortgages without documentation.
@shortstop: There’s no hard proof of that yet, it’s just word going around coming from some former 38 Studios employees. I’m really hoping it’s untrue, but considering how screwed up this whole situation has been, I’m not ready to declare it unbelievable.
EDIT: To clarify, it sounds like the studio decided that instead of paying off the mortgage, they’d just take over payments while they attempted to sell the houses in MA, because clearly the studio was in it for the long haul and would eventually find someone to buy those houses off them.
@thefncrow: That is truly reprehensible. In reality it won’t be two mortgages, it will be two foreclosures and a bankruptcy. I’m thinking that Schilling isn’t going to lose enough himself to balance out the karma he’s due to earn for screwing these families. And the payback won’t happen soon enough. Efn bastard.
Felger and Mazz (drive time sports radio in Boston) just took Schilling to the wood shed, calling out all of his wingnut bullshit including the quote about conservatives and liberals above, and asking where the money all went. He’s stonewalling Chafee now, and he’s not going to bloody sock his way out of this one. Couldn’t happen to a nicer blowhard.
Yeah; I don’t think anyone ever thought Rift was going to be a WoW killer, and I’d say the jury’s still out on SWTOR.
City of Heroes has been doing reasonably well for a long time because they’re not competing directly with WoW. They have a very specific niche, and a devoted fan base. I haven’t been on much since they went F2P, but I’ve always liked that their subscriber base seems to skew slightly older, and that they’re not at all PvP centric.
I’m going to be interested to see what happens with the Elder Scrolls MMO. I could actually see that being a potential WoW killer, if it’s at all good.
@Villago Delenda Est:
I played KoL for a while. Probably still have an account. It’s a great game, but I really didn’t like the “X number of turns per day” model.
There’s something about having my tiny Breton battlemage in full plate trying to catch a butterfly that I just love. I suspect there are a lot of charred butterflies around Whiterun.
You’ve heard about the 1.6 patch, right?
Yeah, sure, it takes 5 times longer to kill someone than it would if you got off the horse and stabbed them a couple of times (or once, with a Daedric sword and One-handed over 50). You can’t cast spells. And shooting a bow from a moving horse works about as well as it would in real life. But:
Since I live here in RI, a little background…
The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation is supposed to specialize in start-up money for business ventures. My limited exposure to their application process when working for a RI CPA firm is that they worked like a small business loan for a bank – if you can get match funding somewhere else, they would match. We did a couple prospectus for small manufacturing ideas, and ironically the people attempting to secure the funding had to pony up their own match (both had some personal wealth).
So here comes Schilling — he’ll move 400 (his numbers) jobs to the state if RI pays for it. Then governor Don Carcieri (R) says yes with absolutely NO discussion of whether or not this is a feasible business or a good idea since the whole budget of the agency is $125 million, and the EDC gives them money in an amount unheard of until then.
Critics (to be fair, including Linc Chafee – he’s been all over this deal and is essentially forcing Schilling to eat crow in the press) claimed this was a corrupt-as-hell deal, and in typical RI political fashion, the only question was which reason? Because Schilling was a well known republican looking to get into politics? Or so that Carcieri, whose approval numbers were cratering, could go out on an up note in the press (he was term limited as governor by that point) and artificially inflate his job creation numbers?
So the fallout is that as of today 38 Studios is essentially totally out of business after laying off their whole staff, the head of the EDC quit (which isn’t a bad thing – for all of his posturing they have done NOTHING since he’s been in charge and ironically they shouldn’t worry so much about match funding for small business startups) and people are dragging Schilling and Carcieri’s names through the press around here. Chafee is basically saying ‘I told you so’ to anyone who will listen, but that’s not uncommon for a guy whose approval rating is in the 30s. And a bunch of people just got laid off in a state where unemployment is already in double digits. Happy Memorial Day, be happy you don’t live here.
Villago Delenda Est
If these things are true, then Schilling needs to be broken financially by it.
*steals your sweetroll*
This just doesn’t smell right. Either the employees should have gotten a “mortgage paid off” notice, if their houses were really paid for by the company, or their houses should have been formally sold to the company, if it was going to keep paying on them and sell them. I can’t see a legit scenario in which the company pays on the (employee’s) existing mortgage and anyone thinks the company bought the house or paid for it.
@Darkrose: The jury is very much in on TOR: it’s a flop. EA made it look not-too-bad on their quarterly report by arranging a free weekend to inflate the numbers so as to not spook the shareholders, but if you look at the numbers of people actually paying for the privilege, it’s barely enough to keep the servers afloat, much less pay for its absurdly expensive development costs.
Sure, Schill’s all in, but, before he’s off the hook, someone should check to see if his wife and kids are all in, too.
@negative 1: Thanks for that info. And Chafee’s approval rating is in the 30s? What’s up with that?
@Peter: I wonder how much the bad press over Mass Effect 3 played into that – i.e. how many people decided never to play the game at all that would have?
@Dave: I doubt it. TOR was clearly in trouble long before Mass Effect 3’s release. If anything, I suspect that the ME3 furor is fueled in part by spillover from people angry about TOR.
The game’s been out for six months. It may not be doing as well as projected, but “a flop”? That’s like saying the Dodgers are definitely going to win the World Series because they’re 30-14 at the end of May.
That said, I’m going to cancel my subscription. I may pick it up again later, but I’m still deep into Skyrim.
@Darkrose: An MMO needs a healthy, active, and numerous player base to attract more players and grow its revenue stream. TOR doesn’t have that, and in fact subscriber numbers have been dropping as people wrap up their personal storylines and feel no motivation to keep playing.
Never thought I’d read about 38 Studios here; the swindle is already legendary in the industry
@Steve in DC:
This is overstating things genre by genre; none of these games have actually eliminated their competition
But yes the major studios behind them have used their relative commercial success to purchase many competitors and overall the games industry works for a group of unregulated and “unnatural” monopolies that treat their employees like shit and fire entire studios even when games are successful
West of the Cascades
Schilling sounds like a classic Romney-esque “job creator” and a quintessential douchebag. Any way Elizabeth Warren’s campaign can make hay out of this?
When I was in high school the baseball players were, by far, the dumbest athletes in the school. Much stupider than the football players. Never trust a baseball player trying to make his way in business.
Another Halocene Human
I’ve been watching this whole fucked up mess from afar, but seriously, when does buying jobs ever work out for a government?
Just hire some people into civil service. (Teachers are a good start.) It’s cheaper, you get a direct and clear return on your investment (before you even get into economic multiplier effects), and there’s no need to run for cover in 18-36mos when the venture blows up or the tax credits expire and the factory shuts down.
Another Halocene Human
@Peter A: A sad thing for baseball, maybe
/resigned to fact that my fave spectator sports glory days are well behind it
Another Halocene Human
Creating an environment that incubates businesses and attracts desireable businesses organically IS harder than just buying them.
Lazy, impatient, and not-knowing-the-value-of-a-dollar is exactly what we can expect when we elect people who inherited wealth. This is why all pols pretend to have earned it all themselves, as most people know in their guts that inheritance babies have lousy decision-making skills.
@Another Halocene Human: I find myself quoting Douglas Adams for the umpteenth time today:
Same quote I used two other times today, but with more meat (rather than just the shorter shorter of the shorter) =)
Mr Stagger Lee
@pete: Mark Chimura of the Green Bay Packers was a good example of conservative hubris, criticizing, Bill Clinton for extra-marital affairs while having sex with his children’s baby sitter.
I’m raising my eyebrow here. Mainly at the “barely enough to keep the servers afloat” part. Prior to release, EA stated that they could be profitable at around 500,000 subscribers, and they’re still well above that threshold. It’ll probably be slow going in recouping the initial investment, but for a game that cost somewhere in the ballpark of $200 million to make, that was always going to be the case.
Villago Delenda Est
Here’s the problem. Lucas was not happy with the late Star Wars Galaxies because while it too was profitable, it wasn’t doing as well as Lucas imagined something with the Star Wars brand should.
Lucas is probably pissed about TOR.
What REALLY pisses him off his his greatest IP in the entire universe has gotten its ass kicked, twice, by this upstart Blizzard Warcraft universe. On of the crosses that anyone trying to put out a Star Wars game has to bear is backseat driving by Lucas and his minions. Blizz doesn’t have that problem…their games are based on their IPs, not someone else’s. That is a tremendous advantage.
That is because EA uses voodoo accounting. They expense R&D and only include content creation in the development cost. But MMOs are all R&D, because there are no good universal engines (SWTOR used Hero Engine and that piece of garbage forced them to go through three server rearchitectures).
If they were to include R&D costs, that game would never be profitable. Particularly since if they were to do another MMO, they would drop all this R&D and start from scratch.
@shortstop: That he won was weird. It was a three person race but the democrat hated labor and Chafee said at the time that he didn’t. The repub was WAY right. So Chafee ran on a platform of raising taxes (oversimplifying, but it’s essentially true) to preserve services. So some people hate him for that. Then, he actually did the opposite and cut state pensions so badly that the plan became a model for right wing governors everywhere. His original supporters hate him for that. What’s left at this point is about 35%.
@Sentient Puddle: EA says a lot of things.