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NextGen
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1 - 04-22-2005, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creole Ned

Awhile back, several of us moderators were invited to submit questions to Vivendi regarding the Tribes: Vengeance situation. As there was no guaranteee that the questions would or could be answered, we were asked to keep this matter strictly confidential - until now.

On April 20th a conference call was held between myself, Keoki and three people from VUG: Greg Agius (Community Manager), Guy Welch (Brand Marketing) and Adam "Menzo" Kahn (Public Relations). They answered all of the questions submitted, which I had pulled together from various threads on this forum.

Below are the questions and the answers given in the phone call.

Q. What, exactly, was in the patch? We have heard it described as adding PunkBuster and fixing map holes. Was there anything else?

A. The patch only contained PunkBuster support and fixed a few map holes. Nothing more was ever planned for the patch.

Q. When did the patch go into QA at VUG? How close was the QA process to being complete?

A. The patch was in QA testing in February. The addition of PunkBuster support required a complete QA cycle for testing, basically equivalent to the testing done on an entirely new game. This testing is described as "very expensive". The QA process was not near completion when the patch was cancelled.

Q. Did the "third party dispute" play a part in the patch being cancelled?

A. It was a factor (see below) but was not characterized as the major one.

Q. What were the factors in cancelling the patch?

A. It essentially comes down to poor sales. T:V debuted weakly and did not pick up any appreciable strength in sales (game sales are often like the movie box office - a title debuts strongly then sales slow over ensuing weeks). The first price drop did boost sales but not sufficiently. Another price cut further reduced margin on the game but did not improve sales significantly. Meanwhile, the patch was bogged down with the PunkBuster dispute, another drain on resources. Marketing became caught up in other projects in January while the dispute dragged on. When an estimate of when the patch might be ready was given, the decision to terminate it was made. It was simply not economically viable, given the low sales and the high cost of a full QA cycle. It was also felt that nothing in the patch would have improved sales, either (even the community was somewhat split on the merits of adding PunkBuster, with some opposed to it).

Q. Is there any chance VUG might reconsider its decision at some point?

A. No.

Q. If someone buys Tribes: Vengeance at a store today, what support can they expect from VUG regarding the game?

A. While there will be no future patches, regular support for the game will continue. This includes running the master servers, the customer support line, match-making (server browser) and the forums.

Q. Would Irrational Games be allowed to release an unofficial/unsupported patch if they wanted to? Could or would VUG release the source code or any other further tools to the game to allow the community to effectively take over its support/development?

A. No. Tribes: Vengeance is built on several licensed technologies and Irrational Games has also invested its own proprietary work into the code. VUG would not be able to legally clear the way for unofficial patching or source code release due to the split ownership of the game's technology and design elements.

Q. The map and modding community has found the tools for the game to be incomplete and buggy. Will anything be released to address these issues, whether from VUG or Irrational?

A. The existing tools are all that will be available. No new tools will be released.

Q. Some people believe the timing of the patch cancellation was designed to thwart people looking to return the game within the 90 day support window. Is there any truth to that?

A. There is no truth to this. According to Adam, there has never been a single discussion about a return policy in the entire time he has been at VUG - about five years. No one involved in making or marketing Tribes considers it (sales of the game) their money - and returns never enter into the decision-making.

Q. Why should I buy a VUG game after what has happened to Tribes: Vengeance less than six months after release? Does VUG have a policy of dropping support on games that do not meet sales expectations?

A. VUG does not have any official policy on dropping support for games based on low sales. On skepticism regarding VUG, this was offered by Adam: Judge every game on its merits; if you as a consumer are uncertain about our (VUG's) products (because of what happened with T:V - which is totally fair) my suggestion is to not buy on day one. Try the demos, read the reviews, educated yourself on our games (before you buy). If you are unhappy with the games, you should return them.

Q. How well did Tribes: Vengeance sell?

A. To date, T:V has sold approximately 47,000 copies in North America. No figures for outside of North America were provided. As a comparision, the original Tribes sold 210,000 and Tribes 2 sold 400,000. In its first week, Tribes: Vengeance sold 7800 copies.

Q. Would improved sales at this point change VUG's position on support?

A. A game does not recover from disappointing sales at this stage in its life, so the question is moot. The price drop in December did provide a "nice boost" to sales, but it was not enough. By February they knew that T:V was "going nowhere" and this led to the decision to cancel the patch.

A few more things not directly related to the questions.

# Contractual issues prevented PunkBuster from being in the game when it shipped (as had been planned)

# Irrational wanted a second single player demo and it was agreed in November that the original single player demo was "sub-optimal". Money for a second demo came out of PR. The original demo was chosen more for factors like small file size than as a good representation of the single player campaign. This is now seen as an error.

# Marketing considered a number of ideas to help boost sales of the game after its disappointing debut. The big one that was implemented, of course, was the price cut.

# Even if the patch had been released, the possibility of follow-up patches was "zero" due to the sales performance of the game.

# On future Tribes games: very difficult to imagine and no one should expect it - but stranger things have happened. It was expressed that the current regime at VUG was very unlikely to greenlight another Tribes game.

On the repercussions of the patch cancellation:

They "hate the message" that because the game only sold 47,000 units people who didn't buy the game are more important than those who did; cancelling the patch was characterized as the "best of bad choices". Community is described as "super important" - Adam mentioned the T1 and T2 giveways and working with the people developing the Starsiege: 2845 mod/game.

Adam emphasized that "We want to create fans of our games, that we're not screwing anyone over".

Regarding Greg's announcement in March that suggested the patch was still in the works - this was true, as far as Greg knew. Of course, Guy announced a few days later that support was being ended. During the call, an aplogy was offered to Greg for this, as it made him look bad on the forum. It was a lack of clear communication on the issue between the individuals involved. They're just people and sometimes mistakes are made.

Adam tried to work on a message to deliver to the community post-patch cancellation but decided it would be better to not say anything, seeing it as essentially a losing situation no matter what was said. There was concern about an ongoing cycle of discussion over the controversy if answers were given. Ultimately they did decide to answer the questions and have the answers delivered via the forum - and here we are.

Everyone involved had high hopes for the game pre-release, as it had garnered consistently good reviews and they felt Irrational had done a good job with the franchise. They had hoped for sales that could at least match and possibly exceed Tribes 2. When this didn't happen, they remained optimistic that sales could be turned around. That, unfortunately, never happened.

So there you have it, answers to the questions that people have been asking over the last month. I've asked that this thread be left open so people can respond. If you do reply, please don't use it as another opportunity to bash the company, threaten class action lawsuits and so on. That's not what the thread is for. Thanks.



http://community.vugames.com/WebX?14...9460@.1dd9982e
 
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Last edited by NextGen; 04-22-2005 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Improved readibility
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2 - 04-22-2005, 09:17 AM
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better to say nothing because its a lose-lose sitatuion? menzo is a f'ing idiot. if someone from VUG had come here and explained things i might cut them some slack...but since they perfer just to stay silent....**** them, i hope they all lose their jobs, to me that clearly states they don't know jack **** about marketing.
 
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Pachacutec
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3 - 04-22-2005, 09:31 AM
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like any development company that can't learn from its mistakes, it doesn't offer any insight into what they thought contributed to the poor sales. just sweep it under the rug, better luck next time.

i expect they'll have more failures like this in the future. i dont know how they expected this to exceed t2s sales when the game shipped with 1/2 of t2s features. (despite the UEs of course)

this is a clear and definitive notice, no more official Tribes games.
it's been real guys!
 
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BinderAJ
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4 - 04-22-2005, 09:33 AM
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I appreciate they answered questions and were, at the very end, able to face consequences.

Much luck to Guy Welch and Adam Kahn so they dont get fired in the near future, as the actions involved in Tribes:Vengeance might have unforeseen effects on all VUG games.

Regards
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NAT Mav
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5 - 04-22-2005, 09:38 AM
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We told you guys to change the box art.

 
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Ruthven
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6 - 04-22-2005, 09:38 AM
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Their first mistake was replacing the Weasal with that incompetent asswhipe Menzo.
 
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Minstrel
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7 - 04-22-2005, 09:38 AM
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What Haggis said. +

Kinetic Poet was supposed to be the savior for our game. Well **** him too. If you ****ers would have simply listened when we said, you can't take the targetting laser or the repair kit out. You can't change the ****ing fundamentals of the god damn game and expect to retain the people who made the original game what it is. No ****ing scripting. How ****ing gay is that ****. **** YOU VUG. **** you Irrational and **** you Michael Johnston for effectively putting the final nail in the coffin. Retards.
 
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Amadeus
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8 - 04-22-2005, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menzo
Adam emphasized that "We want to create fans of our games, that we're not screwing anyone over".
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!
 
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9 - 04-22-2005, 09:40 AM
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guy is an okay guy, but **** adam

anyway, i still think some of this story is BS...why did irrational say they were still working on the patch and that it included more than map fixes

remember when IrriAnt posted a map that was made with a more recent version of the map editor?

why would there be legal issues with havok and unreal with releasing a 'non-offical' patch
 
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Krytoss
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10 - 04-22-2005, 09:42 AM
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Adam needs to grow some ****ing balls.
 
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Pachacutec
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11 - 04-22-2005, 09:43 AM
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they're proprietary engines, the modifications of which have to be overseen, for branding issues, for appropriate implementations, all sorts of reasons.
 
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GreasyBoy
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12 - 04-22-2005, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Adam: Judge every game on its merits; if you as a consumer are uncertain about our (VUG's) products (because of what happened with T:V - which is totally fair) my suggestion is to not buy on day one. Try the demos, read the reviews, educated yourself on our games (before you buy). If you are unhappy with the games, you should return them.
Interesting. Don't buy on day one? Can you imagine the maker of any other type of product making such a statement?
 
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donnykrun
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13 - 04-22-2005, 09:50 AM
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I see nothing earth shaking about VU's response I guess everyone here at TW already knew the answers.
 
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GreenDookie
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14 - 04-22-2005, 09:54 AM
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welp

vab everything left to prove
 
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Nefilim
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15 - 04-22-2005, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
In its first week, Tribes: Vengeance sold 7800 copies.
Holy ****, that is ****ING SAD.

/me shakes head
 
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Cheater
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16 - 04-22-2005, 10:11 AM
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The game failed in Marketing. Personallities were involved and certain "players" at VUG got their way. I don't want to jump on a bandwagon here but the game failed when Marweas cleaned out his office leaving less enlightened marketers in charge with people in other offices pulling the strings. The final box is a great example and the magazine ad is the other. The people pulling the strings had little to no interest in listening to input from the community.
 
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IvoryKebab
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17 - 04-22-2005, 10:17 AM
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1st page
 
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Zio
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18 - 04-22-2005, 10:22 AM
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There it is gentlemen, there will NEVER be another Tribes game from Sierra/Vivendi.

I hope you're all proud of yourselves.
 
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Sanity
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19 - 04-22-2005, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
It was expressed that the current regime at VUG was very unlikely to greenlight another Tribes game.
Even though it's been said/known for months now that Tribes is finished, that statement just makes me sad.
 
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axle-
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20 - 04-22-2005, 10:23 AM
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;/
 
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