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  • #31
    Originally posted by spykes View Post
    Is it possible, for a company like LGP, to make a deal with Blizzard in order to develop native Linux client of their games ?
    It is. Unfortunately, you have to show enough sales volume in that space to get into that position- something we've yet to really manage because of general attitudes in amongst the game buying population in the Linux community.

    Maybe, they would have to discuss with Vivendi Universal who should hold the rights for Blizzard's games.
    Heh... That's a non-starter on several levels- the lack of demonstrable sales volume is enough alone on that front.

    As their publisher doesn't want to support Linux because of the market size, they may be OK if another company proposes to do it instead. Because it's not only a development effort, but also a support one.
    Actually no... The concern is one of THEM making money. If they can't see them making money or them losing it over something (even if it's that perceived, funny-money deal they do in the record business over "lost sales" (Remember that the bulk of the games industry is now owned or published by the selfsame people that screwed up the music and now the movie businesses...)) then they're not at all interested.

    This is one of the reasons why they ask for a royalty up-front. Everyone keeps making the mistake of presuming that "more sales" equates to "more money". To them, support issues, development issues, possible piracy (a 5:1 to a 20:1 ratio on Linux game titles currently available does NOT help there...) end up negating sales unless you're talking 10k units sold. To them, we're this big bottomless money pit.

    Blizzard's games like Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2 are really strong IPs for PC gamers. Having those games running natively on Linux, would certainly help our favorite platform to gain popularity among gamers.
    It would help us, but unfortunately with things the way they are, it's unlikely that you're going to see that happening without someone having to pay for it up-front like I describe and that's for the current foreseeable future.

    Want it to change? That's going to take showing them that we're not a money pit, either by having a demonstrable sales number (10k units sold is something that they start taking notice with...) or a definitive userbase size that indicates that we're nearly half of the worldwide potential sales base for their product at which point they'll take a risk on us.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Kano View Post
      I guess only hardcore Linux users really buy those games. Gamers usually have got another partition to play current games and for the rest they can use Linux. Of course it does not feel so good to reboot every time Somebody might feel a bit stupid to pay full price for an old Linux game when the Win version is already low-budget. It would be different when the Linux port would be out at least at the same time or a very short delay, but not over 1 year later.
      Heh... The main reason this is would be the aforementioned thinking you state.

      There's not enough sales volume to rate getting a shot at most of these at the same time.

      The Mac community proved itself because you couldn't do the dual boot game and had to either buy another whole computer running Windows or buy the MacOS titles at full price. Guess which one they did?

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      • #33
        I would have expected a different model here. Getting paid for just porting, not publishing. That is, the publisher of the game takes care of providing the Linux version, be it on the same DVD, like "Windows/Mac/Linux (there many titles out there that come in "Windows/Mac" discs) or on their website.

        The way it works right now, I can't imagine it succeeding anytime soon :P

        Question: *Are* you actually making money out of this right now? :P

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
          (a 5:1 to a 20:1 ratio on Linux game titles currently available does NOT help there...)
          I dare to object there. If I look around on gloomy sites for illegal material what shows up? Cracked Linux binaries ( or just binaries if they use a with-held system ) or cracked Windows binaries? Pretty much only cracked Windows binaries. Chances are you've got some figures in your hand there but from my experience so far the piracy momentum swings greatly into the Windows zone ( with consoles maybe even more as this is easier to to crack ).

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
            It is. Unfortunately, you have to show enough sales volume in that space to get into that position- something we've yet to really manage because of general attitudes in amongst the game buying population in the Linux community.
            I don't understand this statement. If you are the only actor who is taking the financial risk (you are paying a license, you are doing the dev and maybe the support), they have nothing to loose.
            Why do they ask for enough sales volume ? Even if it's low, it's 100% bonus for them.
            Making conversions of "outdated" windows games, won't change the linux gamer's behaviors. According to me, if you want a significant boost in sales volume despite the piracy, you first have to choose a license that really matter for people (Blizzard's games are multi-million sellers). And you also have to deal a partnership with the rights holders and the original game studio, in order to start the dev at an early stage, before the windows version comes out. So the Linux version can be released not to much time after the original version of the game (and maybe at the same time).
            It's maybe an utopic dream, but I can't see any future change in the Linux gaming era, without a real support from a significant actor.
            Actually gamers are waiting for their games, and publishers are waiting for the gamers to show significant sales volume.
            If everybody is waiting for the other to move, nothing will happen.
            Last edited by spykes; 12-31-2008, 03:21 PM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Dragonlord View Post
              I dare to object there. If I look around on gloomy sites for illegal material what shows up? Cracked Linux binaries ( or just binaries if they use a with-held system ) or cracked Windows binaries? Pretty much only cracked Windows binaries. Chances are you've got some figures in your hand there but from my experience so far the piracy momentum swings greatly into the Windows zone ( with consoles maybe even more as this is easier to to crack ).
              It's actually both. The volume is the same for both, it's just that there's less purchasing in the case of the Linux binaries.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by spykes View Post
                I don't understand this statement. If you are the only actor who is taking the financial risk (you are paying a license, you are doing the dev and maybe the support), they have nothing to loose.
                Reputation for their Windows version could suffer for a bad port on the Linux side, amongst other things. Moreover, if one could "rip off" the Linux version easily and people won't buy, you'll end up with "lost sales"- since most of the players are from the media industries, they don't like loss of control or "lost sales".

                Why do they ask for enough sales volume ? Even if it's low, it's 100% bonus for them.
                Think record company exec...you'll make more sense of this if you think of this in terms of being akin to a cover song done by another performer.

                It's maybe an utopic dream, but I can't see any future change in the Linux gaming era, without a real support from a significant actor.
                Actually gamers are waiting for their games, and publishers are waiting for the gamers to show significant sales volume.
                If everybody is waiting for the other to move, nothing will happen.
                Heh... You're waiting for them to move. The actors that have the content WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR POSITION. Who can, then?

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                  I would have expected a different model here. Getting paid for just porting, not publishing. That is, the publisher of the game takes care of providing the Linux version, be it on the same DVD, like "Windows/Mac/Linux (there many titles out there that come in "Windows/Mac" discs) or on their website.
                  The only ones who're getting paid for porting is Ryan Gordon and Timothee Bestet (Though it sounds like TTimo may not be doing Linux versions on contract for iD these days...)- which is the reason you see those titles readily available from those studios. Everyone else has to scrape and scrounge because it's more akin to the music business (If you've never observed that thing from a distance or up real close, you're in for a shock as to how twisted things can end up being... ).

                  The way it works right now, I can't imagine it succeeding anytime soon :P
                  It seems to work just fine for the console, PC, and Mac markets- we're the only bunch that is more than willing to boot into Windows or run stuff via WINE instead of buying what we DO have so we can grow things.

                  Question: *Are* you actually making money out of this right now? :P
                  LGP seems to be able to at least break even on operating costs. Things could be better (i.e. more sales to help get closer to that ideal you all keep talking to...) but I suppose things are well enough.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                    It seems to work just fine for the console, PC, and Mac markets- we're the only bunch that is more than willing to boot into Windows or run stuff via WINE instead of buying what we DO have so we can grow things..
                    Not really, before the intel macs came around many Mac owners bought complete systems just for gaming. When the intels came around, the main reason for installing bootcamp was gaming as well. Too the same extent windows owners often buy consoles for gaming because of the game selection and the fact that they don't have to worry about if their console will be able to run the next greatest game. Saying that linux users are the only ones satisified with swiching solutions for gaming is far from the truth.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                      Reputation for their Windows version could suffer for a bad port on the Linux side
                      Companies like LGP have to convince them, that it won't be the case.
                      LGP has done a good job in porting games so far, so you should have the right arguments.

                      ...Moreover, if one could "rip off" the Linux version easily and people won't buy, you'll end up with "lost sales"- since most of the players are from the media industries, they don't like loss of control or "lost sales".
                      It's hard for me, to understand how the Linux gamers community can be too small to be considered as a market, and significant enough in "lost sales" at the same time.
                      They can't use the same argument to defend two opposite positions... Even in the worst scenario, if 90% of the Linux copies are pirated, it's always more sales that not releasing the game under Linux at all.
                      By not releasing the game under Linux, they perform the only true "lost in sales" themselves.
                      I agree that it may not be enough if they make the port themselves. But if a company like LGP, proposes to bear the extra financial cost, they have truly no valid argument to refuse.
                      It's a business model that works well for console makers and game publishers, it should also works for us.
                      I suppose that it will end up like with DRMs... One day they will start to understand that Linux is another opportunity to make money (even if it's small at the beginning).

                      Think record company exec...you'll make more sense of this if you think of this in terms of being akin to a cover song done by another performer.
                      I think you are right, it's mainly a political issue... They are afraid "to loose" the control in the sale of their IP, but they shouldn't.

                      Heh... You're waiting for them to move. The actors that have the content WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR POSITION. Who can, then?
                      But what can I do if they don't release the game I would like to play ?
                      I won't buy and install windows just to play games.
                      And wine is not a reliable enough solution to make me spend my money for a windows version. Moreover, I don't like the idea of buying windows version in order to play under Linux, it doesn't help us.
                      So we are in a deadlock.

                      EDIT : Anyway, I wish you an Happy new year 2009 from France !! (we are just January the 1st here ).
                      Last edited by spykes; 12-31-2008, 07:18 PM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                        Think record company exec...you'll make more sense of this if you think of this in terms of being akin to a cover song done by another performer.
                        I imagine LGP would be quite happy if it worked the way that cover songs do in America (compulsory license with a royalty of a few cents per song per copy).

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Ex-Cyber View Post
                          I imagine LGP would be quite happy if it worked the way that cover songs do in America (compulsory license with a royalty of a few cents per song per copy).
                          Heh... Perhaps the wrong analogy, but it's close to that thinking. I honestly WISH that we could get that sort of deal. It'd make things a HELL of a lot easier on all parties involved, from LGP, to the gamers out there.

                          In all honesty, though, I am working on trying to make the story more what you guys talk to than the way it is. It's not easy and it doesn't help with what we've got going on right now. However, NDA's HAVE been signed on a deal for an older title (and it's follow-ons) for no royalties paid, published by the publisher themselves, downloadable for a reasonable amount. If it works out nicely enough, we might see vastly more of the same sort of deal out of the publisher- and we honestly do want this.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by spykes View Post
                            Companies like LGP have to convince them, that it won't be the case.
                            LGP has done a good job in porting games so far, so you should have the right arguments.
                            And it's why we might see some nice stuff, maybe next year, as a result of some Michael Simms is working on right now.


                            It's hard for me, to understand how the Linux gamers community can be too small to be considered as a market, and significant enough in "lost sales" at the same time.
                            That's because you're more of a tech sort...think "suit" from Secret of My Success and you'd be closer to understanding it.

                            They can't use the same argument to defend two opposite positions...
                            Ever read Dilbert? Middle managers do that sort of crap all the time. Same with record company execs. It's the sort of circular reasoning they apply to sue their own customers over "lost sales".

                            Even in the worst scenario, if 90% of the Linux copies are pirated, it's always more sales that not releasing the game under Linux at all.
                            Heh... If they don't make it for Linux, and the Linux crowd BUYS the Windows titles...why bother? You're going to get those sales out of those rubes anyhow and you don't have to expend 10-15% more and get it to market that much faster... (We know better, but that's THEIR thinking all the same. I'm dead serious about that one...).

                            By not releasing the game under Linux, they perform the only true "lost in sales" themselves.
                            They're not losing sales unless we ALL quit buying the Windows stuff.

                            I agree that it may not be enough if they make the port themselves. But if a company like LGP, proposes to bear the extra financial cost, they have truly no valid argument to refuse.
                            Unless it nets them serious money (remember- anything less than 10K units does not equate to serious money to many of these studios and publishers, when they expect to sell 250-750k units of a given title...) they're not interested. They want their money without risk.

                            This means you pay that royalty up front and when you cut a publication of X number of units.

                            It's a business model that works well for console makers and game publishers, it should also works for us.
                            You're under the impression that they work the way you describe. They don't. Unless the publisher is the one making both PC and console versions, a royalty IS paid there- to the publisher and then to the console company. Even in cases of the same publisher, unless the studio is a captive one, they're going to be paying that selfsame royalty.

                            I suppose that it will end up like with DRMs... One day they will start to understand that Linux is another opportunity to make money (even if it's small at the beginning).
                            Yeah... Once we hit 30-50% of the market share and Windows sales are flagging. We might be at that threshold- we might be another 5 years out from it.

                            I think you are right, it's mainly a political issue... They are afraid "to loose" the control in the sale of their IP, but they shouldn't.
                            Give that man a cigar!

                            But what can I do if they don't release the game I would like to play ?
                            I won't buy and install windows just to play games.
                            You're like me there- I just have no desire to do Windows just to play games (and that and tax software are the only reasons I'd do XP or WINE at this point...). If you can get enough thinking that way such that they see a dip in sales and can get them to twig onto the fact that there IS an underserved market here, you'd be getting somewhere.

                            And wine is not a reliable enough solution to make me spend my money for a windows version. Moreover, I don't like the idea of buying windows version in order to play under Linux, it doesn't help us.
                            No, it doesn't. I wish more people saw that.

                            So we are in a deadlock.
                            It's why I feel so down about some of this at least part of the time.

                            EDIT : Anyway, I wish you an Happy new year 2009 from France !! (we are just January the 1st here ).
                            Many thanks! We're several hours off right now where I am. May the New Year bring us wonderous things for Linux and us all!

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                            • #44
                              [Off topic]

                              Since you had a chance to look at the code of quite a few games, can you comment on the accusation of today's gamers that the code of most games is badly written and/or not really optimized resulting in too high system requirements? No specifics of course about individual games There are many people out there (including me) who suspect that if today's games were actually making proper use of the hardware, system requirements would be quite lower.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                                [Off topic]

                                Since you had a chance to look at the code of quite a few games, can you comment on the accusation of today's gamers that the code of most games is badly written and/or not really optimized resulting in too high system requirements? No specifics of course about individual games There are many people out there (including me) who suspect that if today's games were actually making proper use of the hardware, system requirements would be quite lower.
                                Heh...I'll bite, but only as much as I feel comfortable with answering here.

                                Short answer: Yeah...while not wholly true, there's something to the accusations.

                                Longer answer: Development is often focused on "time to market" more than anything else. This translates into shortening the time that a developer has to take to make some feature happen- however that is done. As a result, many times shortcuts are taken that either sacrifice speed, memory, stability, or two or three of the aforementioned.

                                If efforts were focused on not worrying so much about time to market on things, you would be more likely to see lower requirements and better, more stable titles out there.

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