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April 3rd, 2007, 17:35
Longselling: There is also this technical barrier. Fallout was designed for Windows 9x and it's DOS background. Today we're using a NT-based OS like XP or Vista. Yes, there is normally a possibility to make old games run on XP or Vista, but it's always another solution. For LucasArts-Adventures a simple solution is ScummVM, but for Daggerfall you need another programm. When you're good enough, you have heard of VDMSound and can grab it somewhere (because the original project website is down), that's the easy way. Or you're simply not informed enough and so you choose DOSBox as your favorite virtual machine. Good luck, it's not that easy as it seems. For Warcraft II i.e. I didn't find a solution for my graphical issues. The Riddle of Master Lu doesn't work and so on.

Film and music industry can rely on longselling without further work to be done. CD is the same since almost 20 years, the only change in production since then is introduction of copy protection (and its problems for replay). In film market, of course, DVD is not as long available as CD and is changing now to BR / HD, but compared to games it's very easy to shift between these media. And normally there are standard definitions for all formats and players. If something doesn't work, there are two solutions: Medium or player are defect. If the media is defect you can bring it back and get another copy. If the player is defect you can try to repair it (guarentee) or simply by another one for a few bucks. A DVD-Player costs 50 €.

For PC there are standards also, but different combinations of hardware, the problem for a game not running on your PC could be everything. To get over this problems first you have to locate the problem. Copy protection or your dvd drive? Is it your video card? Or only chipset drivers? Maybe even an old BIOS version? When I take a look to NWN2, its various problems and lots of solutions, I could start crying . And these changes that M$ implements to force people to buy a new OS isn't helpful, too. To get these games back to retail market, you need programmers to look over your code or find another solution to make these games run on XP or Vista. And of course, you have to support it, with all its consequences. There are only two examples coming to my mind there this had been done: EAs Command & Conquer - The First Decade (I was quite perplex that EA was doing this ) and Ubisofts Settler 2 (but only in combination with a Collector's edition with it's Remake Settlers - The Next Generation).

That old games can sell as well, I will not deny. Best examples are mobile games, many of them are based on old DOS or C64 games. But that's only small source code. The only solution for todays games I could think off, would be a online plattform with a virtual machine running in the background to guarantee a failure-free game experience. Or something like XBox Arcade, since all Xbox 360s have the same hardware.

Also I agree, that there is a market for middle class games. That's proven, just remember that there are still many adventures and dtp / Anaconda has earned enough money with selling adventures that they now can finance more mainstream games. Or Frogster, a publisher mainly selling mediocre titles, now looking for mass market titles. But I don't think that's the market, Bethsoft has in mind with Fallout. Nearly all studios and publishers are looking for the big success. Developing games with small earnings does not impress your shareholders, that only works for privately financed companies.
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