Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

August 16, 2012 -

Stardock Systems has filed a lawsuit against a former employee claiming that her actions damaged the launch of its strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. The company filed the lawsuit last month in Michigan Eastern District Court. Their complaint contends that when former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta resigned, she "deleted, destroyed, and/or stole promotional materials, analytics data, and trade show information" that was vital to the game's launch.

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Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game Development Efforts

April 13, 2011 -

According to Stardock CEO (the company that used to own Impulse before it sold off its digital distribution platform to GameStop) Brad Wardell, Steam is holding up Valve's ability to develop its various game properties in a timely fashion. Wardell made his comments in a recent interview with IndustryGamers. In Wardell's opinion, the resources needed to continually operate and manage a digital distribution platform as massive as Steam has led to a slowdown in Valve's game development capabilities over the years.

"Even though Valve is in Seattle, where you can get developers everywhere, [Steam's] had an effect on their own development schedule," Wardell told IndustryGamers. "There's not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that."

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1C on Steam v. Retail

November 30, 2010 -

Darryl Still, international publishing director for PC publisher 1C, writes an editorial in response to an MCVUK report ("Retailers blow off Steam") where brick and mortar games retailers in the UK said that they might ban games that have support for Steam built into them.

In his editorial for MCV, Still talks about how his company had the foresight to see three years ago that owning the digital rights to the games it publishes was important. At that time 1C decided that it needed to secure the digital rights to all the games it publishes. That decision has been very lucrative for the company.

But the most important take-away from this editorial is that 1C makes more money via digital distribution than it does at traditional retail, and the experience, turn-around time and costs of doing business are much more reasonable.

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Three Moves Ahead Featuring Brad Wardell

September 8, 2010 -

On Episode 81 of Troy Goodfellow's popular strategy podcast, Three Moves Ahead, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell talks in-depth about the disastrous launch of Elemental: War of Magic. The podcast, which runs for about an hour, is dedicated entirely to Elemental's less than stellar launch, what went wrong internally at Stardock and what the future holds for the game.

The good news for those fans that are willing to give Stardock a chance to redeem themselves can expect a lot of changes including a global mana pool to rebalance the game, a more blatant tutorial that spells things out for new players, better general in-game documentation, and lots of game balancing.

You can check out Episode 81 here.


GAMESbrief: Steam Will Destroy PC Games Industry

May 28, 2010 -

A pretty dramatic statement for sure, but GAMESbrief (a games business blog with a decent reputation by most accounts) lays out the case against Steam for what "it might do" in the future if it becomes a monopoly in the PC games digital distribution space. The author prefaces his points by noting that Steam is not currently a monopoly and that it has done a good job of helping to keep the PC games market alive.

The points made in the story "Five reasons why Steam will destroy the PC games industry" are a response to feedback received from the book "How to Publish a Game," when it was suggested that "it made sense for a developer making PC games to work hard to get on all the distribution platforms (not just Steam, but GamersGate, Metaboli, Direct2Drive and so on)."

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Non-Steam Digital Deliverers Uninterested in Selling MW2

November 6, 2009 -

The forced integration of the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Valve’s Steamworks platform has turned off other digital game distribution services.

IGN-owned Direct2Drive has opted not to offer MW2 on its service reports Gamasutra, calling the forced use of Steam a “Trojan Horse.” The company will offer $5 off other Activision games as compensation. From a statement on Direct2Drive’s website:

At Direct2Drive, we believe strongly that when you buy a game from us, you shouldn't be forced to install and run a 3rd party software client to be able to play the game you purchased.

Meanwhile, VoodooExtreme received confirmation from both Stardock and GamersGate that neither of those two services will sell MW2 either. Stardock elaborated to VE on the reasoning for not selling MW2 through their Impulse service:

We share some of the same concerns as Direct2Drive over the bundling of the Steam client with the game. The most obvious issue is the forced inclusion of a competitor's store that blocks us from carrying the game.

Our issues with the game are solely with the Steamworks bundling. We enjoy a great relationship with Activision and would love to sell the title, but not with Steam.

GP: A commenter on the Gamasutra story noted that Direct2Drive offers other games that require a Steam install, such as Zeno Clash. Of course that game will not move nearly the amount of copies MW2 will, so it appears in this case that IGN/Direct2Drive is just being selective in its stand against Steam.

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E. Zachary KnightI go away for one night and Goth writes his Gamergate manifesto in the shoutbox.06/30/2015 - 8:15am
james_fudgeI blame Andrew for this.06/30/2015 - 8:10am
Goth_SkunkAnd at long last, I think I'm finally done.06/30/2015 - 3:08am
Goth_SkunkAnd if those progressive games fail to make any headway in the market, don't blame gamer culture for not being cultured enough to appreciate the product. Own up to the fact that the game either sucks, is not interesting, or both.06/30/2015 - 3:06am
Goth_Skunknor suggest that the games industry and culture is rife with toxicity because of it and needs to change for the good of the medium. There is room in the market for progressive games to co-exist with games like Hatred, not replace them outright.06/30/2015 - 3:04am
Goth_SkunkAnd if the overly violent content of most AAA games or the perceived mistreatment of women in such games bothers one, by all means criticize it, but do not under any circumstances suggest that it such content shouldn't exist or be promoted,06/30/2015 - 3:02am
Goth_SkunkGames, for the most part, let you do this! You can be the man or woman you're not. You can escape reality and immerse yourself in the experience. And that's wonderful! I play as female characters all the time in games I play, when the option is available.06/30/2015 - 2:59am
Goth_SkunkA choice that nature denied transgender people at birth! People don't undergo gender reassignment because they want to be transgender; they undergo gender reassignment because they want to be the gender they identify with!06/30/2015 - 2:52am
Goth_SkunkBut I think it gets silly when people start asking for the ability to play as a transgender protagonist. I mean, why would one do that? One usually has the option to create a character that's either a man or a woman, gay or straight. You have the choice!06/30/2015 - 2:50am
Goth_Skunkfirst two games, a move which was ultimately corrected in the 3rd game. By extension, Dragon Age has always had the option, and good on it!06/30/2015 - 2:45am
Goth_SkunkBut it certainly is good to see developers entertain the allowance of allowing the player to develop their protagonist to be homosexual if they want. The Mass Effect series was criticized rightly for not allowing a male homosexual romance plot in the06/30/2015 - 2:44am
Goth_Skunkand only just by the slimmest of margins. Homosexuality is sadly still a hot button controversy in the USA, which makes developing a noteworthy game with a hardcoded homosexual lead or theme a dangerous risk to take.06/30/2015 - 2:37am
Goth_SkunkThe United States is the largest single customer base for video games in the world, and it only just mandated by rule of its Supreme Court that marriage ought to be just as much an inalienable right for homosexuals as it is for heterosexuals,06/30/2015 - 2:35am
Goth_SkunkFor example, it would be difficult for a developer to produce a AAA quality game where the protagonist is hardcoded to be MtF transgender, and convince enough people to buy it in order to make it worth its production costs.06/30/2015 - 2:31am
Goth_SkunkNo Mecha, not woe unto those who ask for representation. By all means, ask and be represented. I don't have an issue with it, nor would I say anyone in GamerGate does either. But be reasonable about asking too.06/30/2015 - 2:27am
Goth_Skunkthat would've made Benedict Arnold raise a glass in toast.06/30/2015 - 2:25am
MechaCrashGamers are more than straight white men, but woe unto those who actually ask for representation!06/30/2015 - 2:24am
Goth_SkunkBut Games Journalism, who in the past has stood up for gamers and developers, when their hobby was under attack by idealogues and governments for being overly violent, suddenly switched sides in a move06/30/2015 - 2:24am
Goth_SkunkYet the media continues to push that narrative, and they will continue to do so until their medium dies out from obscelesence or when the old guard retires and is replaced by people who were raised by gamers, people who know the score.06/30/2015 - 2:20am
Goth_SkunkGamerGate, by my view, is far more diverse and inclusive that the purveying culture surrounding games journalism right now. The stereotypical gamer is a straight white male, but GamerGate has shown, time and time again, that this is not really the case.06/30/2015 - 2:18am
 

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