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Interview Feargus Urquhart and Fredrik Wester on the Pillars of Eternity distribution deal

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Spectacle Arcane

    Spectacle
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    Why not just take the announcement at face value for once:
    • Obsidian wants the partnership because they think that with Paradox marketing and distribution help they can sell significantly more copies of the game, more than enough to make up for the percentage paid to Paradox.
    • Paradox wants the partnership because they think the game will sell enough that their percentage will cover their marketing and distribution costs, and then some.
    • Extra QA resources helps everyone since the game will be better and sell more. This is important for an Obsidian game, since even a single bug will make the gaming press call it "the buggiest game since SimAnt".

    There, perfectly plausible motivations for all parties involved that do not involve anyone running out of money, lying to backers, dumbing down or any other kind of shady business.
     
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  2. Bilgefar Savant

    Bilgefar
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    It's a flawed analogy, because Obsidian is getting more from the deal than just the cost of the marketing and QA (the rent money). Since Obsidian has much less expertise in marketing and QA, Paradox's marketing and QA is valued higher than Obsidian's (ie you get better marketing and QA for the same amount of money, or the same amount/quality of marketing and QA for less money).

    So sure, maybe it's possible that Obsidian looked at their budget and saw that they would be $4800 in the red from paying their own rent, so they made a deal to not have to pay their rent. Or maybe, they had the $4800, but realized that Paradox was paying the same amount for rent for a much nicer place. So they made a mutually beneficial agreement where they would stay in Paradox's place for free and invest that $4800, giving Paradox a slice of the extra profit. (this analogy isn't perfect either, because the situation isn't really like paying rent at all, but it's better than yours).
     
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  3. bledcarrot Educated

    bledcarrot
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    PR companies love words like "almost" and "mostly" for a good reason.

    "If we don't think Pillars of Eternity is up to standard, we're going to tell these guys. And we're opinionated people, we're going to come back with tons of opinions. We have a QA team of eighteen people who're going to play the game for weeks and weeks and give their feedback."

    I'm 'almost' willing to bet my life that Wester wasn't just talking about localisation.
     
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  4. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    This would require disengaging from the world almost entirely.
     
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  5. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Well I did say do their part, not take draw a line in the sand on everything single thing. Still, not irrelevant imo.
     
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  6. dukeofwhales Arbiter

    dukeofwhales
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    The thing with this argument, is that when you think about it, based on the statements given by both parties, suejak has to be correct. Since:

    • QA and fulfilment is work that must be done anyway, by either Obsidian or a 3rd party.
    • If Obsidian were working alone, these costs would have had to have come out of the Kickstarter, or out of Early Access/additional stretch goals/whatever
    • But Paradox isn't being paid by Obsidian to do QA and fulfilment, because if they were they wouldn't receive a profit share, and wouldn't be in the red if the game doesn't succeed, so they're obviously investing their time and talent (and possibly fronting the costs of physical rewards, who knows)
    • And "all KS money is still going to development of the game" (according to Obsidian), but now there are lower costs (with no QA/fulfillment)
    • Paradox's involvement has effectively increased the budget for the game even though they haven't handed over a chunk of cash.

    So from there the only things to debate are:
    • Did Obsidian run out of money, or did they decide they wanted extra staff to add better content (you could argue this is the same thing, but it's a budgeting/management vs quality thing I think)
    • Do Paradox have any influence on game content. Obsidian says they don't.
     
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  7. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    Too much meaningless whining and over-analyzing ITT.

    Obsidian is a game development studio.
    Obsidian makes games.
    They deal with publishers who handle everything else.
    Publishers take the lion's share and control rights.

    Obsidian is still a game development studio.
    Obsidian makes another game.
    Obsidian wants to keep the lion's share and the rights on this game.
    Therefore, Obsidian doesn't deal with a publisher this time.
    Obsidian still needs everything else handled.
    Obsidian hires a third party to get everything else handled, at their own terms.

    Take your spergin' to a place where it is valid.
     
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  8. suejak Arbiter Patron Village Idiot

    suejak
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    Why would Paradox marketing and distribution sell more copies?

    Obsidian "ran out of money" by any normal Codex definition, and they lied to backers by taking on a publisher and insisting "they are not funding the project in any way." Does any of this matter? Honestly, I don't think so, but Codex is too dumb and blind to get upset at their favourite developer.

    The analogy was intended to help Infinitron, Roguey, and other nubs understand the concept of cost-reduction = budget-expansion. It wasn't intended to perfectly summarize the particular nature of this issue.

    In any case, your example still involves investment and a debt to Paradox with the expectation of repayment later. They're like shareholders/investors now, and is anybody saying that shareholders/investors don't have opinions on product development?
     
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  9. Spectacle Arcane

    Spectacle
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    Because Obsidian has zero experience with marketing, while Paradox has plenty.
    FFS do you even know what marketing is?
     
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  10. Korron Arbiter Patron

    Korron
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Nah it's cool guys. The paradox deal is all about obsidian estimating they'll make more $$$ that way, not about design changes. If obsidian screws up it'll be because Feargus wants to make $$$ (e.g.world of tanks clone), and incorporates his Muzyka-ess change of heart into the design of PE. $10 for that healing potion y'all..... Seriously though give me an old-school box or I'll shit on your doorstep Obsidian.
     
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  11. Hormalakh Magister

    Hormalakh
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    from the things i read, this is more a push from Brandon Adler than Urquhart - i think both parties are sort-of right. brandon was shitting his pants thinking that customer service and other things cost obsidian way too much money to implement (costs of overhead) whereas there are other companies who already do this.

    i would argue that ultimately they didn't think it was cost-effective to do it themselves with the costs involved. they partnered with paradox to help them with this. building the structure that paradox has, takes too much time and money and doing this for just one game (as opposed to making many games from their own IP) doesn't sound fiscally responsible.

    the one issue i do have with all the whining is that using the word "publisher" just has this weird ass stigma associated with it as if a single word explains both a companies mission as well as their values. stop it with the "publishers are ALL EVIL because they are publishers." certain publishers are evil, yes. blah blah blah. but there are some developers who are just as shitty, IMO in their evilness.
     
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  12. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    Fact.

    Fact.

    Fact.

    But what you're missing is that Obsidian isn't contractually obligated to listen to that opinion.

    It's like being a minority share-holder, using your analogy. And we don't know if these shares are transferable. But Paradox doesn't have the leverage of cash trickling in to force OE to do anything, based on Adler's statements. Rather it appears that Paradox are betting on PoE being successful. It's closer to a hedge, really, with the sunk cost of marketing and distribution (if you want to be pedantic about it, and it's pretty clear you do). Obsidian absolutely wants to defer costs and operate efficiently (which doesn't include publishing company-like personnel levels working in PR, marketing, distribution logistics, etc).

    I'm just not sure what your point is suejak, are you trying to educate people that deferred/mitigated cost is equivalent to investment? Ok, that's true. Are you trying to say that Paradox is going to have an undue influence on development, more so than well-reasoned and articulate backer (or even non-backer) feedback? Certainly they will have a direct line to Obsidian's ears, but it doesn't appear there's any legal mechanism to make OE listen to them. The studio is retaining creative control, and Paradox has no cash leverage- Paradox is betting on PoE's success, and they obviously think it'll be successful.


    source: my eyes
     
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  13. suejak Arbiter Patron Village Idiot

    suejak
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    Yes, Obsidian has said that Paradox has no legal control over content. If you're satisfied with that claim, I can't convince you otherwise.

    My goal was to point out double-standards and PR BS. People's sudden allergy to "they ran out of money" claims and buying Josh Sawyer's line about Paradox "not funding the game" were my only problems. This is a stellar example of a risky business move made publicly palatable by solid obfuscatory PR.
     
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  14. BobtheTree Savant

    BobtheTree
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    This partnership is unacceptable. I want my backer envelope personally licked and sealed by MCA, Cain and Sawyer.
     
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  15. IDtenT Contact me for a good time Patron

    IDtenT
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Preferably at the same time.
     
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  16. Hormalakh Magister

    Hormalakh
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  17. Destroid Arcane

    Destroid
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  18. Monty Arcane

    Monty
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    They do:

    http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/65...rtnership-faq-for-backers/page-8#entry1431638

    So the 'localisation and compatibility testing' was going to be outsourced anyway, but now Obsidian don't have to pay for it upfront and Paradox gets a share of revenues instead.
     
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  19. Destroid Arcane

    Destroid
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    Ah, sounds like they only have one permanent QA lead and contract testers on a per project basis.
     
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  20. bledcarrot Educated

    bledcarrot
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  21. Hormalakh Magister

    Hormalakh
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  22. Grell4 Novice

    Grell4
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    Disappointing news, I despise what Paradox has become:

    Steam only, Nickle and diming DLC which offer no depth only gimmicky breadth unlike their old expansions which would actually improve the core game. Paradox devs are the biggest trolls on their forum and the place is pretty much a cesspit. Stockholm syndrome fanboys spamming the 'shutup and take my money' meme. Constant unembrassed posts like "yeah the dlc sucks I am not going to play it I just want to give PI my money'. Somehow PI has managed to con the imbeciles into thinking they are a hipster indie dev yet the still pull out EA like money grubbing maneavours.... how much would CK2 cost now with all the DLC? $200? and France and Germany still are completely untouched by any of these.

    Moreover PI has absolute rubbish QA, every post release patch and DLC of EU4 has made the game considerably worse and is riddled with obvious and glaring bugs. And since when have PI been some great marketing gurus?? Never, that ugly red indian ad popup for CoP makes we want to punch the screen.
     
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  23. suejak Arbiter Patron Village Idiot

    suejak
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    Ugh, dumb post. Sons of Abraham was 100% a depth-focused expansion (DLC); the Paradox forums are full of fucking historians, a stark contrast to this place (a true cesspool); the entire CK2 package is currently on sale for something like $30-50; Catholicism was given extra depth exactly one expansion ago, including (usually French or German) antipopes AND antikings, not to mention the Old Gods expansion that introduced Karlings and Pagans into France in one of the most overpowered starts in the game (Nantes); and while the bugs are inexcusable, virtually every complex game in history has had bugs (look at Obsidian, Troika, and Black Isle games), as the only guaranteed ways of squashing them are lots and lots of QA testing or keeping a narrow and "cinematic" critical path.
     
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  24. Grell4 Novice

    Grell4
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    SoA is ridiculously shallow for a so-called depth expansion, the Paradox forums are also full of fucking apologist fanboys, the entire CK2 package is NOT on sale anywhere for $30-50 .. care to link this? Oh yeah you cant you pulled it out of your arse. Catholicsm has always been dull and shallow if not buggy, SoA didnt do much to raise it out of tedium.

    I guess there are apologist fanboys with cognative dissonance here too. Your point is some other games have had bugs too so Paradox gets a free pass?

    "QA testing and a narrow and 'cinematic' critical path"...

    "'cinematic' critical path" ... and you have the gall to call my post dumb

     
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  25. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    Insert clever insult here
    Their forums are not full of fucking historians. Historians seldom fuck.

    But seriously, they are a big company nowadays, and their forums show the full spectrum, from knowledgeable and smart people, to retarded fanboys, and everything between.

    I hate their current DLC policy, though it didn't affect HoI3 too badly. I hate that they are now Steam exclusive, and don't give me that "you just need Steam to install the game, you can then move the game elsewhere and uninstall Steam"-crap.

    But but, apparently PoE will still come through GoG or some other non-Steam service, at least for backers, so I'm content with that. If they go do Steam exclusive in the future, fuck it, not going to get any more of my money.
     
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