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Schafer: Lack of “financial reward” keeps Double Fine games off PC

Thursday, 25th November 2010 10:09 GMT By Patrick Garratt

stacking

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer’s said on the company’s site that the developer’s publishers don’t release PC versions of its games because there’s not enough return.

“As a developer we do not have final say in the SKU plan for our games. That is the decision of the person investing the money, i.e. the publisher,” said Schafer.

“We have much of the technology in place to produce PC versions of all these games, but there is still some more work required to make them shippable and that costs money. So far, our publishers have not elected to fund that work. Not because they hate PC gamers, but because they don’t see enough financial reward.

“Double Fine does care about PC gamers, and we always push for a PC version, and will continue to do so in the future. If we ever get super stinking rich here, with enough money to fund PC versions of our games, then we will go back and make them ourselves! Oh man, wouldn’t that be cool?”

Double Fine’s latest downloadable title, Stacking, releases for XBLA and PSN next spring via THQ.

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23 Comments

  1. G1GAHURTZ

    Starcraft 2 got a whole load of financial rewards!

    I’m sure CoD:BO did on PC as well.

    I think it’s more the case that if you know you have a hit game, you’ll put it on every single platform you can.

    If you know that your game isn’t all that good and will probably only sell less than half a million, you won’t bother…

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Gekidami

    ^ I’d say its more the case that brand recognition plays a massive part in the PC gaming market. It helps on any platform but new IP’s have a better chance on consoles, especially ones without any online features.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. SwiftRanger

    THQ aint’t afraid of PC publishing but I think marketing such a small game on PC, which has loads more indies from everywhere because there are no certification/censoring barriers at all, won’t be effective enough as most media tend to focus on XBLA and PSN anyway. It’s about visibility and no matter how you see it, the competition on PC from independent small companies is much more fierce than on consoles.

    Maybe someone should ask Danny Bilson about this.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Crysis

    Wow! A positive THQ comment, that is rare on this blog, but Yeh, they tend to release their console games on pc the same day too.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Badger

    It strikes me as odd as both EA and THQ release other games on the PC and don’t seem to mind doing it. And it’s not like there’s a long track record of failed PC games in the Double Fine library. Four free browser games and Psychonauts, the game that famously sold so few across all platforms originally, but now has a cult following and is commonly seen on the bestsellers list on GOG.com.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    “It helps on any platform but new IP’s have a better chance on consoles, especially ones without any online features.”

    Bullshit. If you don’t know about PC gaming market you should shut your mouth sometimes because new IP’s like

    Witcher
    STALKER
    Mount and blade
    Victoria
    Hearts Of Iron 3
    Wings of Prey
    Machinarium

    does very well. In case of first three games they already sold for million or more and one game sold already 4 million copies and they are just strictly PC games only.

    But if i will name games that are multiplatform and indie like Mount And Blade or Machinarium you will be surprised. Just go to Steam and see for youself.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. mescalineeyes

    hate them as much as you want, but Acti-Blizz has been pretty fucking amazing to us PC gamers.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Crysis

    @Erthazus, i knew you would say something along those lines, fact is that it’s GENERALLY an unreliable source of income for multiplatform developers, not rare for the game to cost more to develop/port than they profit from sales, you can only blame your fellow consumers for the lack of support.
    It’s obvious that not ALL games do terrible on PC, look at the Sims next to it’s cheap console ports.
    The combination of DS, Wii & PC accounted for about 3% of UK sales for CoD: BO, 55% on the 360 & 42% on the PS3…
    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=275719 (don’t have the direct link but this’ll do)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. mac

    Roughly translated as “Our games are shit, but those console kiddies will buy anything ….”

    #9 4 years ago
  10. back_up

    PC gaming is dead who cares about PC

    #10 4 years ago
  11. mac

    @crysis wow – so much shit in one paragraph … how do you know that it is “not rare for the game to cost more to develop/port than they profit from sales” – facts please.

    In addition, “It’s obvious that now ALL games do terrible on PC, look at the Sims next to it’s cheap conole ports.” – yeah Half Life 2, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Dragon Age, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Civ 5, Football Manager, etc, etc all bombed didn’t they – lol.

    Do consoles get the likes of League of Legends free? Again, thought not as Sony and MS are too busy money grabbing to support an innovative business model.

    By the way, do consoles have Amnesia? Thought not – another great indie game doing very well on PC only.

    Piss off and troll elsewhere ….

    #11 4 years ago
  12. mac

    @back_up The reason people think that PC gaming is dying is because the sales figures used to compare sales do not include digital sales at all. So all those purchases on Steam, irect2drive, Impulse, etc do not get counted.

    The last estimate had in the region of 60% of all PC purchases taking place digitally – so next time you see PC sales figures you should double it and add a bit.

    PC gaming is doing very well – I’m sure that 6 million WoW games would agree. Add to this all of the first person shooter players who prefer the superior keyboard and mouse over a gamepad.

    I have a 360 and PC in my study and a PS3 in the living room – I’m fairly agnostic when it comes to gaming platforms – 360 is great for sports and racing games, ps3 is great for blu ray, media server and family games and my PC is used most of the time to play MMOs, FPSs and RPGs …

    PC gaming is far from dead – I’m sure Steam, Valve, Blizzard, etc also agree.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Anders

    @mac Those are all established franchises from established developers though. For a unestablished developer, taking the time and money to port single player experiences like Stacking to PC just doesn’t pay off.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Gekidami

    “The reason people think that PC gaming is dying is because the sales figures used to compare sales do not include digital sales at all. So all those purchases on Steam, irect2drive, Impulse, etc do not get counted.”

    This is actually wrong seeing as when publishers report their financial results they include all sales be it digital or boxed. And off that for nearly all publishers PC tends to be the smallest percentage with only MMO’s raking in the PC cash.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Crysis

    @mac, that ‘w’ in ‘not’ was a typo, it’s obvious by what i say next otherwise it would make no sense at all, amazing how 1 letter changes the whole sentence.
    & it’s common knowledge that pc ports are unreliable for new franchises, or are you telling me that nearly every publisher avoids larger profits by accident from cutting out a pc version? I find that very hard to believe, there must be a reason, oh wait, WE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THE REASON IN THE HEADLINE OF THIS ARTICLE!
    & why are you rushing to defend pc gaming? i wasn’t attacking it, i was just commenting about it, i have 2 computers & a Steam account with a dozen games & about 3 dozen different retail games so it’s obviou that i use my pc for gaming too, but the annoying thing about using a keyboard is that you’re restricted to 8 directions, i know it seems like a minor complaint, but i used a gamepad with only 8 directions & it’s rubbish next to a regular stick, so for sandbox & action games i (personally!) prefer conoles, but for RTS & certain RPGs i prefer pc

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    Bullshit from guys who never play PC games or just not even bother don’t know a picture at all.

    PC gaming in decline is absolutely FALSE statement.

    People basicly throw this claim into a discussion but hardly have any evidence to back up their claim besides “there are no games for PC”, “there is no money in PC gaming because of piracy” or some old NPD sales report. So i figured there must be a way to bring some actual facts to this discussion.

    These facts can be easily obtained, trough the annual finnancial reports by publishers. So i did look up some reports and the results are rather suprising.
    (All $ numbers are MILLIONS)

    Electronics Arts

    Net revenue by platform

    Xbox360 – $868
    PS3 – $771
    Wii – $570
    PC – $687

    As you can see the PC made even more net revenue then the Wii did. It’s within shooting range of the PS3.

    Activision Blizzard

    Net revenue by platform

    Xbox360 – $857
    PS3 – $584
    Wii – $584
    PC – $1.412

    It should be noted that this is the Report of 2009, all other publisher reports are from 2010, the one for activision 2010 isn’t released yet. So it doesn’t include Starcraft 2, but it does include Modern Warfare 2. As you can see WoW is hard at work. The money generated by WoW alone dwarfs any other platform by far.

    Also MW2 had a huge impact on the console net revenue, boosting it considerably. For comparisson here are the 2008 numbers that don’t include MW2:

    Xbox360 – $362
    PS3 – $241
    Wii – $407
    PC – $1.251

    Without a mega release like MW2 the WoW/PC revenue alone surpasses that of ALL consoles combined.

    Take Two Interactive

    Net revenue by platform

    Xbox360 – $171
    PS3 – $155
    Wii – $5
    PC – $10

    That’s Red Dead Redemption hard at work, which didn’t get a PC release.
    The PC once again generated more net revenue then the Wii did.
    Without such a mega seller the platforms are way closer to each other. For comparisson reasons here are the numbers from 2009 where no huge console exclusive title like RDR got released.

    Xbox360 – $30
    PS3 – $11
    Wii – $15
    PC – $13

    As you can see, without a huge console exclusive getting released the PC holds up pretty well. Who knows how the numbers for 2010 would have looked if they actually released RDR for the PC too…

    So here you have it, these are actual facts about the market situation. And they clearly show there is TONS of money to be made on the PC. It’s the task of publishers/developers to tab into that potential and actually make that money.

    Thanks for reading feel free to discuss and feel free to link to this comment the next time some troll like CRYSIS or GEKIDAMI comes along going “there is no money in PC gaming herp derp” or “I’m fucking stupid and i don’t know shit than i’m sayin uneducated opinion”.

    @Crysis,
    “& it’s common knowledge that pc ports are unreliable for new franchises, or are you telling me that nearly every publisher avoids larger profits by accident from cutting out a pc version? ”

    Bullshit from a guy that never plays PC gaming on STEAM.
    I play 90% of multiplatform on PC and never had a problem with ports except of few games that are also have bugs on the console side.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Kalain

    @14 Actually, Chart-Track doesn’t count Digital sales yet. They did say it will around december time. So you’ll probably find that the PC version sold a hell of a lot more in the UK. Also, CHart-Track won’t give Steam numbers since Steam is US Based and not UK, and since a lot of UK PC users buy from steam the numbers will be skewed.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Crysis

    “Bullshit from a guy that never plays PC gaming on STEAM.
    I play 90% of multiplatform on PC and never had a problem with ports except of few games that are also have bugs on the console side.”
    I play on Steam, just then i had a quick Dawn of War 2 game playing The Last Stand, noob team8s sucked >:(
    When i said unreliable, i meant in terms of revenue, not gameplay.
    It’s completely expected that Act-Blizzard would see huge profits from pc, Blizzard are the biggest pc developers afterall, but you proved my initial point from a AAA multiplat game like RDR being skipped on pc, mind explaining why it missed a pc release? (i could gaurantee there will be a release later down the line same as GTA IV had, but there’s a reason they aren’t initially released on pc)
    I support gaming methods of all colours, i’m not mindlessly trolling :P
    But i don’t get offended when something seems insulting about a game/console/corporation, leave that to the poor fanboys.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Old MacDonald

    As usual people are making the silly mistake of assuming consoles are “one platform”, while in reality it’s just as difficult if not even harder (with more red tape et.c.) to convert games from one console to another than it is to convert it to PC (for an example of this, see Gajin Games’ comments regarding bit.trip beat).

    Brutal Legend was a console only game for good reason (the RTS-gameplay would have seemed hopelessly clumsy on the PC without major changes). Those other games? I don’t know. Stacking at least seems well suited to Steam.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Erthazus

    Read my post with financial report and you will be surprised that there are tons money in the PC market so people that think that consoles are made of gold are WRONG. Just wrong!

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Crysis

    @19, which is exactly why some games missed out on a ps3 release (Metro 2033 for example), very rare for a game to miss out on the 360 due to development time.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Crysis

    @20, yes, but not so much from un-establihed Multiplat games, which is the original point of this article you have seemed to miss, i’m fully aware the pc market is still large but the dominated games on pc are generally not multiplat games, not aying all do bad, but new multiplat franchises stand a smaller hope.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. mac

    Inetersting article … http://www.vg247.com/2010/11/25/crytek-pc-easily-a-generation-ahead-of-ps3-360/

    #23 4 years ago

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