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Eternity PoE II: Deadfire Sales Analysis Thread

Discussion in 'Obsidian Entertainment' started by Roguey, May 13, 2018.

  1. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Mediocrity reigns supreme in this industry it seems.

    Interplay succeeded because they were really the first of their kind. As a result, they exist nowadays as a lesson of what not to do in a lot of ways. But still I view them as more of a test subject to a new environment.

    I never understood their obsession with consoles. Where were the mega bucks? At the time, almost every single major studio was owned by one of the big controllers. And Interplay wasn't a studio, it was an umbrella corp, like Nike. Interplay's failure in a lot of ways was to understand that the guys who had control over the console industry are still the guys who make the consoles and reap a TON of rewards.
     
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  2. Trash Player Learned

    Trash Player
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    The system has potential but the current encounter design does not do it any justice.
    People here are more likely to defend games made in 90s than in any other time period.
     
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  3. Keith Brown Literate

    Keith Brown
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    You seem to have missed the news about Steams change in privacy settings and how it affects steamspy. It's completely inaccurate as of a month or so ago and now means nothing.
     
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  4. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    (1) As Vince will tell you, I'm a terrible businessman, willfully so; like with a Golden Age Spaniard, it's a mix of weird pride and rank incompetence.

    (2) I'm also a mediocre judge of human nature, but notwithstanding this flaw, I'll note that many of the RPG companies we're talking about are run by folks who came up in an era where RPG sequels outperformed the preceding game. In the 80s and 90s, that was the typical model, I suppose in large part because the market grew faster than the quantity of quality games. If you thought PoE was Baldur's Gate, you might think PoE2 was going to be BG2. And right now, top-tier RPGs (like The Witcher, Elder Scrolls, and Mass Effect) also seem to have escalating sales. I think Vince is probably right, but when you're dealing with folks whose formative experience was an era with expanding sequel sales, and whose aspiration is to be like the games in this era that still have expanding sales, it's easy for an armchair psychologist to guess at the cause of this blindness.

    (3) For better or worse, Obsidian was clearly trying build a ~Forgotten Realms that would become an RPG staple -- in other words, to capture the branding of D&D. And I suspect inXile was hoping to have its ~Fallout. In some ways, this commits you to rehashing the setting. Of course, it turns out that rather than building upon a foundation, they may have been merely exhausting the soil. But, again, it's hard to slight them too much.

    (4) PoE's development involved, I gather from Darth Roxor, an enormous investment in conceiving Deep Lore. This may be a squandered investment, but never underestimate the sunk cost fallacy. Starting a new setting from scratch is expensive if you want to make it deeply lored.

    (5) The same is true for doing a new ruleset.

    (6) Moreover, there's a nontrivial risk that if you do some adjacent form of fantasy, you'll just be using the setting designers' second-best ideas. IMO that's why fantasy authors first books are so often their best. Vince has wisely decided to go to a different setting to avoid that risk (and his next setting, Inquisition ~Spain, would be another totally different setting). But as Vince has noted, his path entails a different risk: non-fantasy RPGs are a much harder sell. If instead of PoE2 they had made a scifi Pillars of Creation, who's to say it wouldn't have done even worse?

    (7) The assertion that Obsidian never made a good game is insane. Obsidian rightly has three games in the Codex's top 20. For myself, MOTB is in the top five.

    [EDIT: Fixed some typos.]
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  5. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
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    Come on, that article is citing clear corporate BSing.

    Agreed.
     
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  6. Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss Magister Patron

    Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Sure, but the point is that I was shocked by the indifference some players expressed from all the criticism and bugs.
     
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  7. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    Completion rates for DOS are even lower so it's no argument considering how well DOS2 sold.
     
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  8. KyivAfter12am Savant

    KyivAfter12am
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    Anyone who thinks that the first week sales are defined by the game's mechanics is kidding himself. Most people buy games based on emotional response. Does the game evoke nostalgia? Did they see pretty pictures of the game recently? Did the game manage to generate memes? Any controversy? Did any major streamers like it?

    Incredible as it is, full VO might not have been a bad idea, as it made the game look better on streams. Big streamers like Cohh carnage hyped VO up, because it means that they don't have to read the characters' lines aloud the whole time.
     
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  9. IHaveHugeNick Arcane

    IHaveHugeNick
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    That's a pointless comparison. Act 1 of DOS is huge, Act 1 in PoE is like 5 hours of content.
     
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  10. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    While it's true that few people finish games, PoE's case is special. 43% for Act 1 is way too low. That takes what, 2-3 hours? That's saying 57% of players couldn't endure the game for more than 3 hours!

    For comparison, look at Skyrim, the biggest hype RPG of all - 49% reached Leve 25! That's A LOT more hours into the game.
    Same thing for Fallout 4 - 46% reached Level 25.
    In Dark Souls III 43% is killing Dancer of the Boreal Valley.
    In X-COM at 43% you've built a Power Armor, which is mid/late game stuff.
    In Obsidian's own South Park: Stick of Truth 47% finished the entire game! Yeah, it's statistically more likely for you to finish Stick of Truth than to finish ACT 1 of PoE.

    Those are very shitty stats. You have to be crazy to look at that and think you'll be a slam dunk by just adding voice acting and a few tweaks. IE games are niche, PoE2's sales shows the market's true size.
     
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  11. Deadman Prophet Patron

    Deadman
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    If it is pointless, why did you bring up completion rates then?
    Also, how come you have almost 2 million parrots?
     
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  12. Kit Walker Totally Not Captain Shrek

    Kit Walker
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    I am quite sure there is a scope for a new fantasy setting in the market. Dragon age was the last attempt and despite what people think on the codex, before the second game it did make a lot of people very happy. If Bioware had stayed focused and made a self-consistent/contained setting with a story spanning 3 games which provided a complete single arc, DA would have only grown in stature. Instead, they jumped on "create our own universe" bandwagon and failed at it. The setting was simply not mature enough for set-piece stories, even if they tied into each other somehow. Bioware assumed that they did not have to explain the mystery that they had successfully set up at the DA:O game with DA2 and that was their mistake. They quickly realised this for DA3 but then it was already too late.

    With PoE, the world is actually blander, and they blew their load with the first story. There is no real mystery now and that kills pacing. Moreover, it is FR-lite with Gods interjecting into mortals lives a la time of troubles. It's a badly done time of troubles, that is all. BGs built on an already popular foundation of D&D and that gave them an edge for those who did not know what was on. Moreover, BGs were not made for adults and that is the most crucial point here. Most gamers today are probably adults. They have grown up with games and sadly, that had made them nostalgic for the better games of their childhood. I can't blame them for wanting more of the same but you can not simply dial up the edge of the story that made BGs good, introduce a lot of modern issues in it and hope it will be good/tasty.

    Expense well spent if it is productive.

    Here's a funny thing. The ruleset is the least important part of a BG clone. For any such game to succeed, needs a good story, prettiness and romanceable companion and clever banter. Most people on earth are not Grognards enough to care about how optimized their characters are. Only on the codex can one get into such a conceit, surrounded by Grognards. All Obsidian needed to produce was a ruleset that a) works b) is balanced c) has pretty lights, and it would be in business. But. Sawyer, whether he admits it or not is a grognard himself. He genuinely wants to create a new better D&D. And that effort is hardly necessary to sell PoE.

    Whenever Obsidian makes a good game it has one ingredient that shines. And that is not the ruleset.
     
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  13. Stokowski Arcane

    Stokowski
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    Perhaps they couldn't endure having fantasy dysentry?
     
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  14. Dexter Arcane

    Dexter
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    They literally closed the studio down and let the majority of employees go, then they put the Mass Effect franchise on ice. There's no bigger "failure" than that, you're hallucinating about it being a "financial success": https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2017/08/04/so-long-bioware-montreal-we-hardly-knew-you/

    This is an extremely dumb analysis though.

    Both Tyranny and Torment: Numenera were new games/IPs and they were huge failures/disappointments that sold even less than even PoEII (although it's about on track to barely beat them) and for Torment despite being a more successful KickStarter to start with: https://www.pcgamesn.com/tyranny/tyranny-sales-paradox-obsidian https://www.pcgamesn.com/torment-tides-of-numenera/torment-tides-of-numenera-sales

    On the other hand you bring up D:OS2 which apparently sold considerably more than the first game despite being a sequel, so that's already where your "theory" falls apart. A new game/IP doesn't guarantee Sales and a sequel to an existing game/established IP even in about the same market doesn't have to sell less. And let's not even talk about The Witcher franchise and its exponential growth from Sub-NWN2 production values by an unknown Potato company to AAA mega-blockbuster that other branches of the entertainment industry have taken interest in (NWN2 was released a year before The Witcher and Obsidian had the same opportunity to build a franchise and iterate upon it, and even worked on similar larger projects for publishers like New Vegas, South Park or Alpha Protocol and had the opportunity for an Exclusive AAA title with Stormlands and even the Alien franchise, why didn't they capitalize on any of said opportunities and instead ended up here?): http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/the-witcher-franchise-sales-revealed.120906/

    Banner Saga 2 on the other hand was a huge failure of Marketing, nobody even knew there was a Sequel or that it got released. There were lots of articles and reviews for the first games, but I didn't even notice that a second part came out and ended up buying it much later. There's also a point to be made about games with hundreds of hours of content that people will likely not get into until they're done with the Prequel.

    Oftentimes the end result and what people are saying about it and whether they're recommending it to people counts, so even if Torment started off with more enthusiasm, they didn't pull through, it was a huge disappointment and the Sales didn't materialize. At the risk of repeating myself, but the worst thing you can do is design unmemorable/uninteresting bland characters with a dull story in a generic setting that nobody (or very few people) will remember, look forward to revisiting or feel any deeper connection to/look back fondly on and without any kind of theme or hook pulling people back. It's the game design equivalent of serving gruel. There's games where despite them being mediocre, the design of the main character alone will push million of sales, generate various ... ehm fan comics and innumerable discussion threads years later so the game doesn't vanish from consciousness and culture and can still generate Sales: https://wccftech.com/nier-automata-strong-sales/ Neither Pillars of Eternity, nor Torment: Numanuma are such games, they're forgettable with nothing specifically standing out if one wants to be gracious.

    Why ruin a perfectly good post by adding far-fetched supposition with nothing to back it up?
     
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  15. Urthor Arbiter Patron

    Urthor
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    The reason they closed the studio down is because the PR from Andromeda was so disgustingly awful they actually didn't want to continue it. Andromeda was destroying the EA brand, hard.

    Actual game definitely made sales and Andromeda 2 would have made money, you're not wrong. But it was the wider Electronic Arts ruined Mass Effect story that had to die, because it fucked EA in general.

    And they actually didn't "shut it down," there are still EA devs working out of that property, they just don't do independent projects there anymore and have instead reassigned it to doing other work. Also very few people were outright fired, large portions of devs shuffled to other projects
     
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  16. TT1 Cipher Patron

    TT1
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I still think that PoE2 will sell constantly for years and years (as PoE1). But thinking about the game so far and possibilities for having "small sales":

    - people are playing other things like DOS2 or KCD
    - bugs, so they are waiting for patches
    - pirate setting is not that interesting for fantasy players
    - naval combat is boring
    - big site reviews are "game is great but more of the same"
    - bland companions
    - after Nunenera and Tyranny maybe we have some fatigue

    But, I am pretty sure Obsidian is profiting and they knew about it all. I dont think they got it by surprise.

    About VO: maybe the costs were payed by publisher aiming consoles?

    About %: maybe its good to compare with Tyranny, the most recent obsidian game. 50% completed act 1, and its a small act, like PoE1.
     
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  17. markec Twitterbot Patron

    markec
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Project: Eternity Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    If the game was a financial success we would have seen atleast few DLC. If you actually read the article and not link it only for its title you would realize that the "success" is that the 1st quarter of that year when the game was released had higher income of all EA products then the last years 1st quarter. Which means nothing seeing how previous year at that time EA didnt have any big releases.
     
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  18. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    This was said many times before: stuff like Grimrock, Tyranny, Numanuma, W2, PoE, Expeditions, Underrail, etc... these are not million sellers, their core audience is in the range of 50-250k on Steam.

    Sometimes you get old-school RPGs who surpass that, like Grimrock 1 or Darkest Dungeon, but they reach a broader audience by offering something that looks new and/or riding a massive hype wave.

    PoE1 was the spiritual sequel to Baldur's Gate, made by the New Vegas guys, at the high of the Kickstarter frenzy. PoE 2 is PoE 1 with ships. It's cool, but it's not gonna draw people from the broader audience.
     
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  19. ilitarist Learned Illiterate Village Idiot

    ilitarist
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    With EA being as big ship as it is they have a very different definition of success. They have a lot of "risky" projects and they're ready to see some of them fall. They have reliable money producer series like FIFA and Need for Speed - they know those games won't get any awards but when you buy some game for your kid you buy one of those. Those games cost a lot to produce and they don't become breakaway hits. They certainly see BioWare games as blockbusters that can potentially fund many other endeavors, profitable or not. Any smaller company - including Paradox - would have cherish Andromeda and produce content for it. But EA has bigger projects to work on. They might want reliable income from MEA DLCs but they already have "reliable income" covered, as in a stable river of money that will allow them to survive a hypothetical flop of every project for a few years.

    MEA lack of DLC is not a sign of a flop, it rather shows that they have enough money to be able to put BioWare to work on something bigger for a few years. Pretty sure that the mountain of cocaine they've bought with DAI sales is still not finished.
     
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  20. gruntar Learned

    gruntar
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    You can reach level 25 in both Skyrim and Fallout 4 in about 10 hours of casual play but its comparing apples to oranges anyway, because Bethesda games are designed as a time wasters. South Park is a special case, you can make any game looks bad by compering some random chivo to it's completion rate. I would guess most PoE 1 players didn't drop the game immediately after completing Act 1, they did it somewhere in Act 2, witch happened to be the longest. You could complete 80% of BG2 content without reaching chapter 3 out of 7. All in all, there is nothing out of ordinary in PoE 1 achievement stats, in fact it's completion rate seems pretty solid when compared to actually similar games like Wastland 2 and DOS.
     
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  21. Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss Magister Patron

    Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    That's what you need to admire about Bioware and their publisher. They are ruthless pragmatic. They quickly identified that RTwP was a nuisance to most players, so they adopted RT in DA2 and never looked back. Some fans bitched about it and they added a ridiculous "strategic" camera mode in DA:I that nobody uses. The problem of Obsidian is that they are too afraid to take risks with things that matter (combat, etc), but take too many risks with stuff that is unecessary (walls of turgid prose, romances, etc.). They can't get over the RTwP thing because they believe in an ex-bioware fan base out there. That prevents them for reaping more profits and players.
     
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  22. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

    Sensuki
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    Codex 2014 Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Hmm

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss Magister Patron

    Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Steam is a power house because it is allowing pseudo-gamers to buy stuff they don't have time to play in an impulsive manner. The numbers are inflated and there are too many variables to consider. There is a lot of randomness to it.
     
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  24. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Did you even read the post? 43% finishing the first act means that the majority of players dropped out before finishing act one,not during act 2! If you take 43 from 100 you get 57,and this is bigger than 43 aka majority. Also his comparison is pretty accurate.
     
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  25. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    You having 26 friends on steam is disturbing,i will give you that ;) .
     
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