1. Specifically with the recent Fallout games, they’re almost certainly hurt by shipping with a bunch of bugs and then tidying them up later, just because almost all the reviews are written up at or before release and I assume the scores aren’t updated later to reflect patches. The difference probably isn’t enough to actually affect sales, but I bet their missing percentage point would have been achieved had all the reviews occurred a month or two later.

    Terribly said that the result is laid off workers.

  2. Yeah that is crazy dumb. I feel like it’s symptomatic of current Western management culture more broadly though – managing to metrics because how do you know what you’re managing if there isn’t an arbitrary and gameable metric?, constant shifting of goalposts, and the ceaseless hum of semantically void buzzspeech (“we have a Culture Of Excellence here at widgets, inc”). Pretty much all the stuff that’s a lot easier than actual management.

  3. I wonder if it’s just that the producers don’t understand that numeric review scores are fairly arbitrary, or if it’s that they don’t care if they’re arbitrary and just want the good PR of a high rating.

  4. Seems a bit of a stretch to connect layoffs with the loss of a bonus. Depending on a bonus to stay operational is the kind of crapshoot that a meat and potatoes sequel producer like Obsidian should know better than to get into. And one can understand Bethesda’s side of this too – Obsidian have had a track record of ridiculously buggy games on launch since KOTOR II, which was a complete debacle. All we heard from Obsidian was a bunch of blame-shifting back then, but a pattern has definitely emerged since then and the excuses have run out.

  5. This really just makes no sense to me. I can see Bethesda being worried about Obsidian releasing a buggy game (Alpha Protocol being almost surrealist in how error-prone and unpolished it remains), but why not tie that to, say, sales? Or profits? Or post-release patch support? Tying a bonus to a fairly arbitrary rating system that scores on release for a game that’s intended to be supported, patched, and expanded (New Vegas had some amazing DLC) is…odd. It feels like a one-size-fits all metric being applied “because that’s how its done,” rather than because it would be a good fit.

    Just to ruminate:
    New Vegas released at the end of October 2010, shipped a bit over 5 million units and brought in $300 million by early November. Patches and DLC were still coming out more than a year later (December 2011) and a collected GOTY edition with all DLC included came out in early 2012. I haven’t found a revenue figure for income for the span of December 2010 through today — I’d be curious how much that was.

    Fallout 3 also had launch sales of “about $300 million” and shipped about 5 million units. That’s also non-inclusive of DLC, post-patch purchases, and GOTY editions.

    There may be more $$$ information out there, and I’d love to see it, but it’s not clear that New Vegas sold badly or anything; far from it. That being said, I’d love to see a more detailed financial breakdown because its not at all clear that lack of bonus –> layoffs (as the article admits).

  6. The way I understand it is Obsidian is chronically short of cash. They depend on whatever their current game’s publisher pays them to tide them over until the next deal. This is why Chris Avellone is possibly going to Kickstarter to fund Wasteland 2, for example.

    Do most development shops run so dangerously close to bust all the time? If they do, the games industry is fundamentally broken, financially.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Spacechimp thinks you might also like...

Skip to toolbar

What Is Gamefilter?

Gamefilter is a community weblog based in spirit and intent on the great work of Matt Haughey and his staff at Metafilter. It's all about sharing links to interesting stuff on the web, but with a narrower focus on gaming-related links -- good stuff that other people might not have already seen -- and talking about them.

Anyone can join for the low low price of zero dollars, and once you're a member, you have the senses-shattering power to post new stuff right from the front end of the site, and talk about that stuff in the comment threads. You don't need an account to read GFi, but as well as giving you The Power To Post, membership also lets you

  • Thank and Favorite all the goodness
  • Build a profile page with all your stuff in one convenient place
  • Send private messages and friend/follow your favorite GFites and their unstoppable Gfiltering style
  • Feel the warm glow of satisfaction in helping grow the community
  • Do all sorts of other neat things, both now and coming in the future!

Gamefilter is part of the growing MefightClub Network of sites, including our forum home, MefightClub itself, FullGlassEmptyClip, our group blog, and Ludic Research Labs, who are a bunch of bastards.

Your genial host is stavrosthewonderchicken, the miraculous poultry who built and administers the MFC Network sites, and a bunch of other web stuff as well. He has a minor addiction to building websites. He loves you all.