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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ZippyDSMleeEh still rather subjective… the haters would be better off going after teen and beauty rags and magazines than fiction, fiction follows reality and going after fiction tends to turn into a bullying fest’s… plus its fiction its unrealistic to start with….02/27/2015 - 1:10am
MechaTama31That's a pretty difficult anatomy to break.02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31"the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy" <-- I'm sorry, but we are talking here about the woman who can roll up into a little ball and live to tell the tale, yes? ;)02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
Andrew EisenAs far as examples that could be culled from female game characters though, that one's pretty mild.02/26/2015 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenNot as much the heels or the suit in and of themselves but certainly the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy to show off her lady bits.02/26/2015 - 9:10pm
E. Zachary KnightWell, Samus's heels are certainly impracticable, but I wouldn't really call her Zero suit objectified. I don't really feel that the new Lara Croft is objectified either, but that is my subjective opinion.02/26/2015 - 9:08pm
Andrew EisenTomb Raider: No but we haven't seen much of anything yet. Samus: Yes.02/26/2015 - 9:07pm
ZippyDSMleeWould you call the new tomb raider objectified? WOuld Samus Aran from the new Smash bros be objectified?02/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpI'm hoping they put the rest of the comic book ghostbusters in there. Ortiz and Rookie(From GB the game)02/26/2015 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpghostbusters board game is doing great. getting close too a 3rd extra playable Character. Ron Alexander.02/26/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenSmurfette is not subjective. If there's more than one female character, it's not Smurfette. Anyway, as with everything on the list, Smurfette is, in and of itself, not necessarily a bad thing.02/26/2015 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI think there's 5 women (out of 15, I think) but other than one being a bit more "hippy" than the others, they pretty much all have the same body type. Especially when compaired to the huge variety of male body types.02/26/2015 - 8:31pm
Wonderkarpso I dont see Smurfette as a bad thing. Unless like all your female characters are Smurfette. remember the Smurfs also had Sassette02/26/2015 - 8:29pm
E. Zachary KnightOne good example of the larger issues is one Anita used in the presentation, Blizzard's Overwatch game. There are a dozen men in the game with a dozen body types. But there are only 4 women with 2 body types, but 3 of them have the same one.02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
Wonderkarpthe smurfette thing is subjective to how many female characters you have. Take Sonic for example. You have Amy, who is obvious smurfette, but there's several other female characters now without that. Including the original animated seriescomics with Sally02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
E. Zachary KnightAE. Very true. I think that is where I was going, but it didn't come out right. Jack Harkness is sexy but not objectified. Whereas, a women would have to be objectified in order to be "sexy" in most games.02/26/2015 - 8:26pm
E. Zachary KnightAnd as Andrew pointed out, there is a big difference between a sexualized man, and an idealized man. But for some reason, there is no distinction between women in games. For the most part.02/26/2015 - 8:25pm
Andrew EisenI think one of the issues we run into repeatedly with these conversations is the confusion over "sexy" and "sexually objectified."02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightYet, for some reason, in orde rto have a sexualized women, she must be wearing lingerie or a bikini. Can't women be sexual and still dress for the job at hand?02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightThe problem I have with complaints of "sexualized men" is that men don't have to wear speedos to be sexualized. Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood/Doctor Who, was one sexy man, but he spent 99% of his time in a WW2 soldier's trenchcoat.02/26/2015 - 8:23pm
 

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