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Hopefully Obsidian will remain independant


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Just voicing my concerns

 

Obsidian is my favourite developer and I don't want them to go the same way as other good developers who where baught by the big publishers "cough" Bioware "cough"

 

hopefully I didn't sound too paranoid / angsty  :no:

Legionnaire of the Obsidian Order

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Just voicing my concerns

 

Obsidian is my favourite developer and I don't want them to go the same way as other good developers who where baught by the big publishers "cough" Bioware "cough"

 

hopefully I didn't sound too paranoid / angsty  :no:

 

Yeah, you don't have to fear there. That chance is now lower than ever before. They're a private company and I don't see Darren, Feargus and the three Chrises selling it.

 

If it calms you down: They just opened up their own Marketing & PR department.

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I think OE is too "low-profile" for the company murderers... so yeah, thanks for that...

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Yeah, you don't have to fear there. That chance is now lower than ever before. They're a private company and I don't see Darren, Feargus and the three Chrises selling it.

 

If it calms you down: They just opened up their own Marketing & PR department.

 

 

They're gonna need one for Pillars of Eternity and any future self published games :)

Hate the living, love the dead.

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Well if it came down to either shutting down or selling out, I would hope everyone keeps their job even if it means they become entity-owned. 

Same here, there's only so much you can do business wise on your own. In all cases all products produced need to have investments.

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Well if it came down to either shutting down or selling out, I would hope everyone keeps their job even if it means they become entity-owned. 

Seriously. The company I work for may be in this position soon, and while staying independent equals more freedom, if you are not making enough money to stay afloat, you are not making enough money to stay afloat. 

 

People also love to romanticize indie companies and indie devs, when the truth is that very few have the means to stay independent, and fewer want to stay independent. Not even mentioning that not every indie dev is a good guy.

 

This is to say nothing of the fact that Obsidian had to make a fundraiser to even make enough capital to make their own IP.

 

Think about that

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Most of the good companies that EA obtained and cannibalized were not in the position of be obtained or die. Bioware certainly wasn't, nor was Origin. Maxis, Westwood, or Bullfrog. All once great game companies who were either bought out against their will or sold themselves out (and in most of these cases in their prime). Bioware going to EA was one of the most disappointing things to happen in gaming in the last 10 years in my opinion. And I've lost oodles of respect for Ray for doing that as well as after I saw him in some interviews. The man totally has lost his way in regards to games (not sure about Greg as I haven't seen him in interviews, but I suspect he has as well).

 

Obsidian Entertainment is the only current U.S. computer game company I have any faith in and respect their work at this point. Though I do have some hope InXile becomes a second. I once had great respect for Blizzard as well, but they're a sell out story of a different kind and the source of my biggest disappointment in the last 10 years of gaming.

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@Bryy,Manifested ISO Not sure.

 

At the point this would apply Obsidian would have very much downsized and probably mostly be filled with the vets. I doubt they would make the decision let's sell. More likely they would stay open as long as they could, to give their employees time to look for a new job.

 

But let's not assume some horrible scenario. It's not the situation they are currently in.

Edited by C2B
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This is to say nothing of the fact that Obsidian had to make a fundraiser to even make enough capital to make their own IP.

 

 

They probably did have enough.

 

If they laid people off and took a huge financial risk.....

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Most of the good companies that EA obtained and cannibalized were not in the position of be obtained or die. Bioware certainly wasn't, nor was Origin. Maxis, Westwood, or Bullfrog. All once great game companies who were either bought out against their will or sold themselves out (and in most of these cases in their prime). Bioware going to EA was one of the most disappointing things to happen in gaming in the last 10 years in my opinion. And I've lost oodles of respect for Ray for doing that as well as after I saw him in some interviews. The man totally has lost his way in regards to games (not sure about Greg as I haven't seen him in interviews, but I suspect he has as well).

Origin was outright bankrupt with the Garriott making payroll out of his own pocket, and completely unable to get a loan to finish Ultima VII due to the recession of the early 1990s.

 

I also wouldn't even say with any sort of certainty (your word) that BioWare wasn't, nor Maxis, Bullfrog, nor even Westwood. It's impossible to state any of that with any certainty unless you were are privy to the thought process as to why a company was purchased.

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Origin was outright bankrupt with the Garriott making payroll out of his own pocket, and completely unable to get a loan to finish Ultima VII due to the recession of the early 1990s.

 

I also wouldn't even say with any sort of certainty (your word) that BioWare wasn't, nor Maxis, Bullfrog, nor even Westwood. It's impossible to state any of that with any certainty unless you were are privy to the thought process as to why a company was purchased.

 

 

Not impossible at all. In each case I mentioned the information of the details of the acquisition and why was publicly available at the time (possibly still is if you look hard enough). I gave a very brief synopsis.

 

Here's a slightly longer synopsis for the case of Origin: When it was sold to EA it had some financial troubles yes, but due to epic mismanagement and serious overpaying of some of the execs and lead devs. The lavish lifestyle of Garriot in particular being the prime factor as he was taking far too much money from the company coffers for himself. The money was available, Garriot decided he'd rather build himself a castle and keeping throwing lavish parties though. The company was his baby to do with as he wished, and he definitely had the means to keep it afloat. Going to EA allowed him to keep his castle, lavish parties, and other expensive habits though. So yea, you could say Origin was facing death or going to EA, but that's a serious over simplification, and not really how it was. Insofar as obtaining a loan back then, if he wasn't able to get a loan it's because the banks saw his mismanagement when they looked at his company books, not because of some recession or the savings and loans scandal.

 

I don't know if you were around back then, but I was, and when Origin went to EA it was on top of the computer video game world, and EA (ECA at the time) was not near the behemoth it is now. In fact Origin going to ECA was a serious 'wait what!?!' moment in the industry as Origin had been perceived by most to be the more successful company at the time. ECA didn't have the huge hits that Origin had, in fact it had had a string of so-so titles for awhile, but it was managed far better.

 

I do not like what EA has done to the industry, nor most of the games they've published in the last two decades (there are some gems from before) but I will say they are very good at managing their business, when so many others are not.

 

Garriot basically leeched everything he could out of his company and then sold it. Origin could have survived and thrived on it's own if it had been managed even a little better by folks not near as greedy as Garriot. It's notable that even after EA acquired it the Origin folks who stuck around (Garriot being one of them) were paid too much and pissed away money on epic levels (which lead to it being eventually folded). There might not be a bigger squandered success story in the history of computer video games than that of Richard Garriot and Origin.

 

Origin of course isn't the only company that folded or sold out at a time when it was raking in millions, you might be familiar with Interplay? I mentioned my greatest disappointments in gaming in the last 10 years above. In the time before that Interplay's demise was my greatest. Epic mismanagement and greed there as well, but not on the level seen at Origin.

Edited by Valsuelm
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So basically, Garriott should have paid himself less and Origin was still bankrupt?

 

You are describing a company that saw mismanagement and are assuming "well it just needed to be a bit different and it would have been better" as though that's a relatively trivial thing to do. How many people sell their companies while they are growing hand over fist, mitigating any future earnings that they will ever get from that company ever again, only to continue working for that same company? If Garriott was interested in only in leeching the money and getting out with a big payday. Although I guess if he was still overpaid by EA....

 

 

You stated "most of the companies EA obtained and cannibalized were not in the position of be obtained or die" and then gave me a detailed recount of how Richard Garriott basically put the company in a position of "be obtained or die." It really seems like your beef is with Garriott for putting the company in that position, not with Electronic Arts. Even then, things like Britannia Manor were built before 1988, which is still several years before the purchase.

 

 

I don't know if you were around back then, but I was, and when Origin went to EA it was on top of the computer video game world, and EA (ECA at the time) was not near the behemoth it is now. In fact Origin going to ECA was a serious 'wait what!?!' moment in the industry as Origin had been perceived by most to be the more successful company at the time. ECA didn't have the huge hits that Origin had, in fact it had had a string of so-so titles for awhile, but it was managed far better.

I was around, though I was young (I remember the Square, Circle, and Triangle though I never saw anyone refer to them as ECA before... I always called them Electronic Arts and they were listed as Electronic Arts from the software wholesalers my Dad's computer company used and I remember when Origin Systems stopped existing and Ultima VII was now under Electronic Arts). I may be biased because I was a part of the "EA explosion" when they decided to start making console titles, which in 1991 and 1992 had become where they get the majority of their revenues.

 

 

I never considered Origin to be larger than EA though, so I did some poking around and came across this article: http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/electronic-arts-inc-history/

 

It lists EA's revenue in 1991 as $131 million. In 1992 it was $175 million. It mentions during the buyout of Origin that Origin's revenues in 1992 were $121 million. Unfortunately I don't know what the cashflows/profits or anything like that were. So to be honest, they were a much larger studio in terms of revenues than I thought they were.

 

 

The Escapist article also mentions that people like Chris Roberts also commanded a hefty salary as well, and while there may be huge hits it also points out that Garriott was of the mindset to not reuse any code from previous Ultima games going forward. The article also points out that a difference between them and a studio like Lucasarts, was that they decided what they wanted to do and then tried to make it work (including creating custom memory managers like the Voodoo memory system for Ultima VII), while Lucasarts would look at what was possible and would design around that. It doesn't come across as far fetched that the development process for Origin's games end up being higher by a non-trivial amount compared to a lot of other game developers at the time. Coupled with games mired in development hell, like Strike Commander (Over 1 million man hours), a perfect storm of badness happened and Origin had no money.

 

But none of that is EA's fault, and to state that a bankrupt company was not in the position to be purchased is incorrect (regardless of how said company got into that state), while then excusing it as a "well if they had just done things differently" comes across more as moving the goalposts. How many companies would still be around today if they didn't have mismanagement and excessive spending on things that they didn't need, and had just done some things a little bit differently instead?

 

It wouldn't be the first time that a creative person struggled with the actual economics of running a business, nor will it be the last (look at something like Broken Age, for example). Although I do find it interesting how often people will, for example, rail on EA for exploiting its employees while remaining blissfully unaware of how things were at a place like Origin or BioWare when they were still owned entirely by their founders.

 

 

Origin was large, as was Westwood (I assume this is the one you mean for "at its prime?"). How big was Bullfrog really, prior to the EA buyout? At the time the only game I remember hearing of was Syndicate (and only because it had cool boxart), while it was easier to come up with Origin games. Maxis was a studio that basically went 4-5 years with not releasing anything of substance after SimCity 2000 before they were finally bought. Which ones were bought against their will?

 

How much of it is "I really liked these companies" and how much of it is us believing "there's no way they could have been in financial problems" simply because we liked their games, their games were popular, but we had zero clue how things were actually being run behind the scenes?

Edited by alanschu
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All once great game companies who were either bought out against their will or sold themselves out (and in most of these cases in their prime). 

Ah, okay, so it's either there was some horrible conspiracy theory-like hostile takeover or they are horrible for wanting to make money.

 

Cool.

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Well if it came down to either shutting down or selling out, I would hope everyone keeps their job even if it means they become entity-owned. 

Seriously. The company I work for may be in this position soon, and while staying independent equals more freedom, if you are not making enough money to stay afloat, you are not making enough money to stay afloat. 

 

People also love to romanticize indie companies and indie devs, when the truth is that very few have the means to stay independent, and fewer want to stay independent. Not even mentioning that not every indie dev is a good guy.

 

This is to say nothing of the fact that Obsidian had to make a fundraiser to even make enough capital to make their own IP.

 

Think about that

 

Developers don't get a percentage of gross on the games they make. Even if they are successful, the kind of success you need to have that kind of cash lying around to make your own games is pretty substantial. I can't think of any new IPs that were funded exclusively by their developers. They always win publishers bought from the good will they built up from previous success stories. Developers are like contractors and publishers are the clients. There was no client to provide the capital for this contract. Just because they needed to raise money doesn't mean they're in dire straights. They weren't ready to fold when things looked bleak in the past, and right now things are looking very good for them. In fact, now is certainly the most prominent Obsidian has ever been. You used to not be able to mention their name on a message board without seeing flurries of posts on how they ruined IPs and only released buggy games. 

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Most of the good companies that EA obtained and cannibalized were not in the position of be obtained or die. Bioware certainly wasn't, nor was Origin. Maxis, Westwood, or Bullfrog. All once great game companies who were either bought out against their will or sold themselves out (and in most of these cases in their prime). Bioware going to EA was one of the most disappointing things to happen in gaming in the last 10 years in my opinion. And I've lost oodles of respect for Ray for doing that as well as after I saw him in some interviews. The man totally has lost his way in regards to games (not sure about Greg as I haven't seen him in interviews, but I suspect he has as well).

 

Obsidian Entertainment is the only current U.S. computer game company I have any faith in and respect their work at this point. Though I do have some hope InXile becomes a second. I once had great respect for Blizzard as well, but they're a sell out story of a different kind and the source of my biggest disappointment in the last 10 years of gaming.

 

I don't think Bioware really had a choice in the matter due to previous business decisions. They sold out to Elevation Partners to merge with Pandemic to create some sort of super-indie studio, then Elevation were the ones who sold Bioware to EA.

The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

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Most of the good companies that EA obtained and cannibalized were not in the position of be obtained or die. Bioware certainly wasn't, nor was Origin. Maxis, Westwood, or Bullfrog. All once great game companies who were either bought out against their will or sold themselves out (and in most of these cases in their prime). Bioware going to EA was one of the most disappointing things to happen in gaming in the last 10 years in my opinion. And I've lost oodles of respect for Ray for doing that as well as after I saw him in some interviews. The man totally has lost his way in regards to games (not sure about Greg as I haven't seen him in interviews, but I suspect he has as well).

 

Obsidian Entertainment is the only current U.S. computer game company I have any faith in and respect their work at this point. Though I do have some hope InXile becomes a second. I once had great respect for Blizzard as well, but they're a sell out story of a different kind and the source of my biggest disappointment in the last 10 years of gaming.

 

I don't think Bioware really had a choice in the matter due to previous business decisions. They sold out to Elevation Partners to merge with Pandemic to create some sort of super-indie studio, then Elevation were the ones who sold Bioware to EA.

 

Let's not use the "sell out" phrase. It's, quite frankly, stupid.

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yeah, I meant it as "sold themselves", bad word usage.

The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

Devastatorsig.jpg

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I don't think Bioware really had a choice in the matter due to previous business decisions. They sold out to Elevation Partners to merge with Pandemic to create some sort of super-indie studio, then Elevation were the ones who sold Bioware to EA.

That whole situation was so shady.

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