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Default Iron Lore Closes!

February 29th, 2008, 00:49
I think the only real hope for the production of semi-mainstream graphics quality games from independent shops is some type of open source movement with a VERY active community similar to what we see in Linux now.

True, there are a lot of open-source projects out there, but it doesn't seem like there is a real coordinated effort. If there was some central organization that was developing a 'kernal' for games that could deal with all the technical issues of different hardware, it would make independent games for feasible, technically speaking. Same with the graphics side. The tools out there are amazing, but time consuming.

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February 29th, 2008, 06:07
I read this via Gametab last night. Really sad stuff.

The piracy effect is a very real one too. It's killing the industry and reducing it to bare bones. The dev dollars just aren't there for the PC. Even if you really, really want them to be.

When you are seeing 5:1 sales performance on Bioshock (console vs PC) and 10:1 on COD4 (console vs PC) you are seeing piracy in action - in full flight.

And the money has turned away from the PC platform as a consequence. I'm not saying Iron Lore was the be all and end all. I think their game theme in TQ hurt them a fair bit. A richer Diablo style world IP would have helped them I think.

But, even so, if Iron Lore had been a startup in 1994, I am convinced they would have been a success story.

Now? They are just another specimen in the Exhibit "A" pile of Pc devs gone the way of the dodo. Sad. Very sad.

There but for the grace of God, etc..

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February 29th, 2008, 06:53
The cost of gaming pcs along with the constant advance in graphics are the real threat to pc gaming and is the reason why pc game sales haven't really grown. With consoles you have a far cheaper cost and 6 years before needing to get a new one so it is far less expensive to play console games then pc games.

If game developers would just go to a console style way of developing games (picking a year and don't develop for systems newer then that for 6 years) and kept the games to the lower end of that then people would start buying the games.

PS. The customer base in pc gaming has been mostly the same in numbers for a long time but the customer base in console gaming has been increasing constantly for a long time. Saying that piracy is making it so that games sell 5 to 10 times as much on consoles is false since the customer base in console gaming is many times more then in pc gaming because of the need to upgrade your computer every 2 to 3 years to play the games.

PPS. Don't even mention the amount of people that play online games since almost any computer can play an online game and most of those computers couldn't play something like Titan Quest.
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February 29th, 2008, 10:14
I think you are operating on some assumptions there. What evidence do you have to prove the PC base is static while the console base has grown many fold? You may be right - but I think it's a guess. nVidia and AMD sell a reasonable number of cards every year, do they not? They go somewhere. There are 10M players on World of Warcraft — most of those systems would run TQ.

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February 29th, 2008, 11:06
I think this:

Originally Posted by Steel_Wind View Post
I read this via Gametab last night. Really sad stuff.

The piracy effect is a very real one too. It's killing the industry and reducing it to bare bones. The dev dollars just aren't there for the PC. Even if you really, really want them to be.

When you are seeing 5:1 sales performance on Bioshock (console vs PC) and 10:1 on COD4 (console vs PC) you are seeing piracy in action - in full flight.
is less of a problem then this:

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
The cost of gaming pcs along with the constant advance in graphics are the real threat to pc gaming and is the reason why pc game sales haven't really grown. With consoles you have a far cheaper cost and 6 years before needing to get a new one so it is far less expensive to play console games then pc games.
While piracy is a problem on the PC, I do sincerely believe it is not the main problem. Devs seem quite happy to blame it, but it is always easier to blame others then oneself I guess.
I can honestly say that back in the days when we (me and my friends) all got our first PCs, non of us ever bought any games. Instead we all just made copies of each other's games. I don't think I know anyone (personally) that ever bought DOOM 1 or 2, or Wolfenstein or Duke Nukem, so it is truly not a new problem.

I think the fact that consoles are becoming a true contender with PC gaming is the bigger issue. First of all there is the fact that they are easier to use and don't need to be upgraded a lot (but that has always been that way as well) but second of all (and this I think is the bigger thing) they are now capable of truly contending with the PC and we are seeing a genre overlap that wasn't there as much a few years ago. While consoles used to be the home of platformers, JRPGs, sports games and the likes now a lot of the PC only genres are on there as well.
FPS has moved over to consoles a while ago, and a few years ago it would have seemed unlikely games like TES and Mass Effect would have been on the console and now I believe RTS games are moving over as well. And with the internet acces the consoles have you can even download patches and mods nowadays.

I think that the truth is that a lot of people aren't willing to upgrade their PCs every year if they can play the same (or similar) games on their consoles anyway. And these more-then-a-year-later console ports aren't helping either, like the HALOs and Gears of War and Jade empire. they just look dated on the PC and most people would have gotten them for the console already anyway.

It's only really the hardcore gamers that the PC offers more for, like mods, but I think for a lot of people consoles are the better choice at the moment. And that is what developers see in the sales figures, and that's why the PC games only get one shelf in video game shops nowadays.

There is no easy solution to this in my opinion, and I'm not quite sure there should be. If the games I like to play have shifted platform, maybe I should just shift with them rather then complain that I can't play Mass Effect right away on my PC.

One solution I can see though is lower specs for PC games and allow more Pc users to play games on their PC that way. Games like WoW went for a cartoony look rather then ultra-realism and are very playable on low-end systems.

So yes, I'm considering not upgrading my PC anymore and going console instead. I'm a housewife on a budget and we are all avid gamers here which costs a fortune. Not having to upgrade my PC and grabbing games from the second hand user shelfs rather then buying them new will save me money and at least I don't have to play games at the lowest graphics quality anymore.
And if that means missing out on games like Titan Quest, well, for every Titan Quest there is a Mass Effect I suppose.
And if I'm (a reasonably hardcore gamer) am thinking about it that way, I can only imagine that for the average gamer the choice is even easier…
Last edited by Gorath; February 29th, 2008 at 12:55.
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February 29th, 2008, 11:21
I haven't really played Titan Quest but most games are made for high end systems unless you go with small developers which have a very low budget for advertising. (which is what hurts them) World of Warcraft and most other MMOs are made for lower end systems which is part of the reason why they are so popular.

Nvidia and AMD sell huge amounts of cards but the largest part are low cost which can't handle most modern games. The high end and mid range cards (which can handle modern games) are sold too those people that upgrade every 1-3 years. (which is the PC gaming customer base)

For most of the time I have used computers I have never needed to have a high end machine to play games and until about 4 or 5 years ago I always had a fairly low end computer. The only games I couldn't run were games (also I had problems with Ultima 9 when it came out) made for Glide because of being proprietary and otherwise I was able to play all the games I got. Games started to come out that wouldn't run on my computer but luckily at the time I was helping my dad out with his computer business and was able to buy myself a Radeon 9600. About a couple of years ago I did a total upgrade to my system because of games running extremly slow. From the games I have played lately even my current computer won't run new games very well soon.

PS. Even "The Witcher" is too high end for most computers and if it wasn't for having a fairly high end computer I would either have to have the game on the lowest settings or not play it at all.
Last edited by guenthar; February 29th, 2008 at 11:32.
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February 29th, 2008, 11:51
The cost of gaming pcs along with the constant advance in graphics are the real threat to pc gaming and is the reason why pc game sales haven't really grown
The console games also has to constantly advance in graphics without new hardware, so the devs has to put a lot of time in improving the performance with code… in PC the devs don't bother since they can tell the users to buy a new graphics card instead! The main problem is that they focus on Grahpics instead of gameplay,,, except for the Wii,,, which console is in a big lead and selling like butter??? yeah it is the Wii, when will DEVS get it? Great gameplay lasts forever! Great graphics last at most one year! Stupid DEVS Nintendo realised it when will RPG devs do??

The piracy effect is a very real one too. It's killing the industry and reducing it to bare bones.
SAdly this is a huge problem, Just look at Eschalon book one! The guy got more hits to his site from piracy sites, than he got legitimate hits! And this if from a small independent developer who said THAT people buying book 1 will directly effect development on book 2,,, people are so cheap!! At least it is good to see some posts in the forum saying like, I pirated it but changed my mind and bought it! The bigger companies will most likely not get many of these though! I seriosly think PC games will be all streamed from the net in the future to stop this piracy and for a cheaper price! The sales should increase a lot this way. Sorry to all the collectors who want a DVD/CD/blue-ray whatever version!
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February 29th, 2008, 12:43
I'm not sure how viable streaming games from the net would be, bandwidth and servers would have to eat into margins, and I don't think anyone would be keen on having to deal with lag in their single player games either. Are there any other working models out there? Anyone know if Steam has worked for Valve?
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February 29th, 2008, 13:09
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
The cost of gaming pcs along with the constant advance in graphics are the real threat to pc gaming and is the reason why pc game sales haven't really grown. With consoles you have a far cheaper cost and 6 years before needing to get a new one so it is far less expensive to play console games then pc games.
We´ve had a long thread about this topic a few weeks ago, and I think the consensus was that the cost difference for the platforms is neglectable for a hardcore gamer. People tend to forget that you need a HD TV to make full use of your XBox360 or PS3. I think there is no country, maybe with the exception of Japan, in which the market penetration of such TVs is more than a few percent. This means you have to factor in the cost to get such a device.
Intelligent PC upgrades on the other hand are cheaper than ever. Ca. 200$ per year on average should be enough to ensure a good gaming experience.
Games are cheaper for PC due to the absence of the manufacturer´s tax. Old games are much cheaper. That´s a delta of 10-20 bucks per game.
An overall price difference of 500 bucks for one platform or the other over a period of 5 years is not relevant.
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February 29th, 2008, 15:59
It's not the cost, it's the sheer availability of poor PCs being touted as doing all you need.

If you go into a mainstream shop and buy a X360, you can guarantee that every X360 will be able to play games labelled as being for the X360.

If you go into a mainstream shop and buy a PC, chances are virtually every one on sale won't be able to play modern AAA games listed as being for the PC. Worse still, the majority of PCs sold are now laptops or mini-Cs with little or no upgradability.

If Microsoft mandated that you could only run Vista Premium on PCs that got a score of 3000+ on 3dmark06 the situation would be completely different.

As an aside, why can't we add comments to the THQ producers venting article?
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February 29th, 2008, 16:19
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
It's not the cost, it's the sheer availability of poor PCs being touted as doing all you need.

If you go into a mainstream shop and buy a X360, you can guarantee that every X360 will be able to play games labelled as being for the X360.

If you go into a mainstream shop and buy a PC, chances are virtually every one on sale won't be able to play modern AAA games listed as being for the PC. Worse still, the majority of PCs sold are now laptops or mini-Cs with little or no upgradability.

If Microsoft mandated that you could only run Vista Premium on PCs that got a score of 3000+ on 3dmark06 the situation would be completely different.
I only wanted to point out that the cost argument is not convincing. The rest is another complex topic.

As an aside, why can't we add comments to the THQ producers venting article?
Looks like a bug.
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February 29th, 2008, 19:06
I don't think IL's and Troika's problems were identical. Troika was constantly bighting the hand that fed them to the public. They kept disparaging problems as their publisher's fault. Bio did this to a lesser extent with NWN and Atari but Troika brought it to a new level. At least IL didn't complain about THQ publically.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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February 29th, 2008, 20:25
I don't think that the hardware-diversity is a small problem - and it is one that console develkopers don't have.

Iron Lore would've sold much more - as I regard it from the article - on consoles than on PCs.

The signal the article/rant of the Iron Lore developer gives out to the world is rather this: Even with a successful game, you can't survive on the PC - because of so many problems.

And other studios will most probably listen.

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February 29th, 2008, 20:38
I'm in the camp that thinks the problem is way more the hardware on PC's than piracy. But it's not the cost, and it's not the need to upgrade every year. I've been able to play games on the same system for several years now with a couple hundred dollars spend on more memory and upgrading my vid card.

As I pointed out in another thread, I think the real problems are complexity and confidence. The hardware vendors, of both PC's and the various components such as vid cards and memory chips, make it way too hard for the average, non-techie consumer to understand what they hell they need to run current games. On top of that, there's so many variations and so many aspects to consider, there's no guarantee that even if you buy some high end PC or hardware that it will all work together, let alone run several different games. So, Joe Average is faced with confusion and unreliability which leads to frustration on the PC side versus "plug and play" on the console side. Hmmm… wonder which he/she's going to go with… um… DUH! In fact, as Gorath pointed out, they're paying more than they would if they were savvy PC gamers, but they obviously think it's worth it to avoid the hassle and time sink of dealing with all the quirks of the PC hardware universe. We have to keep in mind that a big majority of the market are not as savvy with PC hardware, OS's and Apps as we are on this board.

So what I'm hoping this new hardware gaming consortium does is twofold: establish some standards to reduce the variability of rig configuration issues and keep it simple for the consumer. Do something like a 1-4 rating for both hardware and games (i.e. 1=low-end system, 2=mid-range system, 3=high-end system, 4=cutting edge) so that when a customer buys a computer with a vid card that are both rated a 3, he can be reasonably confident that he can play any game on it that is rated 3 or below and is taking a risk with any game rated a 4.
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February 29th, 2008, 21:04
While piracy is a problem on the PC, I do sincerely believe it is not the main problem.
The problem - the ONLY problem that matters in this discussion, is that a developer cannot secure funding from a publisher to fund development of a new PC title. Without that funding - the studio dies.

That's THE problem. It isn't something else. THAT is the problem. It's about development money and why publishers are not funding PC titles.

Tell me, when's the last time you went to go pitch a PC title to a publisher? When you attempted to secure funding for that title, what did the publisher tell you as to why they considered PC games to be too big a risk and an unattractive investment based on risk return vs the risk of funding dev of a console title?

Were those publishers who refused to fund your title wringing their hands about driver issues and bemoaning the uncertain installed base that was capable of playing your proposed PC game? Or were they just shaking their heads and saying that a console title was far more likely to make money because piracy on consoles is a mere fraction of what it is on the PC?

In all honesty- this is a debate in whch you don't get a vote. You don't get to express a credible opinion on why a publisher won't fund a new PC game unless you've pitched one and been turned down. The publishers - and the developers who deal with them - are the only people who know why the development dollars aren't there for PC games.

And I am telling you - it's piracy. It's not "sort of piracy". It's not "maybe piracy plays a small role" and it's not piracy + 12 other factors and a little bit of lemon zest.

It's piracy. That's it. They won't fund a new PC title because their risk is WAY too high vs investing in a console title because of piracy. That's it and that's all.

It does not mean the rest of the problems you mention are not issues in PC gaming. It means the issues you point to are not the issues that have caused publishers to halt funding game development on the PC platform.

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Last edited by Steel_Wind; February 29th, 2008 at 21:18.
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February 29th, 2008, 21:05
You don't need to have an HD TV to play console games and I bet a majority of people buying consoles don't have an HD TV. I run gaming events at my college and we use standard definition projectors and not one person complains about it. Another thing is that most people don't look at the long term cost and see that it is cheaper to buy a console even though it might cost the same or more in the long term because of game costs. Console games also go into the bargain bin and there is also the easy availability of used games which are cheaper.

PS. The hardcore gamers are the ones buying those games but it is a small group compared to the entire costomer base for the gaming industry.

PPS. There are other problems then the cost like what chamr said and those problems add to it.

PPPS. In case people think I am talking about the death of PC gaming I am not but I am talking about what keeps new people from getting into PC gaming and what stops PC gamers from being PC gamers. I think the PC gaming industry will survive but is always going to be small unless the above problems get fixed.

EDIT: If piracy was the main issue instead of just an excuse then there would be far more the 1 or 2 million pirated copies being downloaded of games. If everyone had equal access to the PC gaming industry as they do with consoles then there would have to be more like 10 million or higher.

If you look at a list of top sales for pc gaming you would see that the top selling games are ones that didn't have the top of the line graphics when they came out. The few exceptions have had console ports and those numbers may include the console sales. The Sims, Lineage 2, The Sims 2, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft are the top 5 and none of those games had ultra advanced graphics when they came out.
Last edited by guenthar; February 29th, 2008 at 21:30.
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February 29th, 2008, 23:03
I'm not sure how viable streaming games from the net would be, bandwidth and servers would have to eat into margins, and I don't think anyone would be keen on having to deal with lag in their single player games either. Are there any other working models out there? Anyone know if Steam has worked for Valve?
Steam isn't an option everything on steam is pirated. There is already several websistes that offers streaming games for a fix cost each month, and it works quite well. Streaming done right ( content is on your harddrive, the server is close to your home ) will not give you lag, it can even send all the logic you need ahead, it will be streaming done right, none will accept single player lag. The future is already here too, I have played a game, where the server just sends me an image = Any TV / PC / handheld / cellphone / you name it can play the same game, with the same graphics quality with this system. It is the future, believe it or not you have to embrace it. This is the only? way to prevent the piracy, and I will guarantee the sales will more than double for almost any game if it can't be pirated.
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February 29th, 2008, 23:28
If the content is on your hard drive how does that prevent the pirates doing what they do?
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February 29th, 2008, 23:31
reply to the Michael from Iron Lore rant(reply didn't work):
Michael, if you by any means manage to read my comment mind that:
I'm with you, keep up your good work.
Titan Quest looks a great hack'n'slash, while I don't play that sort of game and didn't played the game at all I'm confident it is indeed, thanks at the comments through the italian forums where people talks, play, exchang infos and so on sounds like the game is a top one.

However I would have preferred a good cRPG or an action FPS instead of a story driven hack'n'slash with char growing, but the setting it's at least original.

I know it's nothing compared to the loss but hey…I'm just a man writing not the world, so take a cup of coffee(or two) and say "fuck all" and go on with happynes.
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February 29th, 2008, 23:33
Originally Posted by Steel_Wind View Post
And I am telling you - it's piracy. It's not "sort of piracy". It's not "maybe piracy plays a small role" and it's not piracy + 12 other factors and a little bit of lemon zest.

It's piracy. That's it. They won't fund a new PC title because their risk is WAY too high vs investing in a console title because of piracy. That's it and that's all.

It does not mean the rest of the problems you mention are not issues in PC gaming. It means the issues you point to are not the issues that have caused publishers to halt funding game development on the PC platform.
I believe you, but there are a couple of things I don´t quite understand when I follow threads like this one and the two new ones at Qt3. Please don´t feel attacked, I only tried to keep the block of questions compact.
If piracy is so much of a problem, or better has been so much of a problem for years, why are no real efforts made to combat piracy?
Publishers apparently have their numbers and know that today´s anti-piracy measures have little impact. Several developers mentioned in these threads that they are well aware that the current CP technology is rubbish and a hassle for paying customers.
Where is the more advanced technology? Why does it seem as if most publishers are limiting their anti-piracy strategy to "implement CP X in default config and pray"? (With the obvious result that it takes the cracker longer to install the game than to modify the generic crack.) Where are the positive counter-measures to fight the false positive issues (bad word of mouth by paying customers, etc.) ? Torrent downloads are tracked, but why go 99% of them unpunished? Zuxxez sued 20.000 people, why don´t other publishers do the same? Why aren´t the links to free file hosters like RapidShare routinely shot down, just to make the job harder for pirates? (Destruction is easier than construction. A single person working full time to disrupt pirate infrastructure can cause a lot of trouble.)
Where is the standard procedure for "online activation + deactivation patch in 2 years"? (To get positive press and calm down most critics.)
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