Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

August 16, 2012 -

Stardock Systems has filed a lawsuit against a former employee claiming that her actions damaged the launch of its strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. The company filed the lawsuit last month in Michigan Eastern District Court. Their complaint contends that when former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta resigned, she "deleted, destroyed, and/or stole promotional materials, analytics data, and trade show information" that was vital to the game's launch.

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Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game Development Efforts

April 13, 2011 -

According to Stardock CEO (the company that used to own Impulse before it sold off its digital distribution platform to GameStop) Brad Wardell, Steam is holding up Valve's ability to develop its various game properties in a timely fashion. Wardell made his comments in a recent interview with IndustryGamers. In Wardell's opinion, the resources needed to continually operate and manage a digital distribution platform as massive as Steam has led to a slowdown in Valve's game development capabilities over the years.

"Even though Valve is in Seattle, where you can get developers everywhere, [Steam's] had an effect on their own development schedule," Wardell told IndustryGamers. "There's not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that."

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1C on Steam v. Retail

November 30, 2010 -

Darryl Still, international publishing director for PC publisher 1C, writes an editorial in response to an MCVUK report ("Retailers blow off Steam") where brick and mortar games retailers in the UK said that they might ban games that have support for Steam built into them.

In his editorial for MCV, Still talks about how his company had the foresight to see three years ago that owning the digital rights to the games it publishes was important. At that time 1C decided that it needed to secure the digital rights to all the games it publishes. That decision has been very lucrative for the company.

But the most important take-away from this editorial is that 1C makes more money via digital distribution than it does at traditional retail, and the experience, turn-around time and costs of doing business are much more reasonable.

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Three Moves Ahead Featuring Brad Wardell

September 8, 2010 -

On Episode 81 of Troy Goodfellow's popular strategy podcast, Three Moves Ahead, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell talks in-depth about the disastrous launch of Elemental: War of Magic. The podcast, which runs for about an hour, is dedicated entirely to Elemental's less than stellar launch, what went wrong internally at Stardock and what the future holds for the game.

The good news for those fans that are willing to give Stardock a chance to redeem themselves can expect a lot of changes including a global mana pool to rebalance the game, a more blatant tutorial that spells things out for new players, better general in-game documentation, and lots of game balancing.

You can check out Episode 81 here.


GAMESbrief: Steam Will Destroy PC Games Industry

May 28, 2010 -

A pretty dramatic statement for sure, but GAMESbrief (a games business blog with a decent reputation by most accounts) lays out the case against Steam for what "it might do" in the future if it becomes a monopoly in the PC games digital distribution space. The author prefaces his points by noting that Steam is not currently a monopoly and that it has done a good job of helping to keep the PC games market alive.

The points made in the story "Five reasons why Steam will destroy the PC games industry" are a response to feedback received from the book "How to Publish a Game," when it was suggested that "it made sense for a developer making PC games to work hard to get on all the distribution platforms (not just Steam, but GamersGate, Metaboli, Direct2Drive and so on)."

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Non-Steam Digital Deliverers Uninterested in Selling MW2

November 6, 2009 -

The forced integration of the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Valve’s Steamworks platform has turned off other digital game distribution services.

IGN-owned Direct2Drive has opted not to offer MW2 on its service reports Gamasutra, calling the forced use of Steam a “Trojan Horse.” The company will offer $5 off other Activision games as compensation. From a statement on Direct2Drive’s website:

At Direct2Drive, we believe strongly that when you buy a game from us, you shouldn't be forced to install and run a 3rd party software client to be able to play the game you purchased.

Meanwhile, VoodooExtreme received confirmation from both Stardock and GamersGate that neither of those two services will sell MW2 either. Stardock elaborated to VE on the reasoning for not selling MW2 through their Impulse service:

We share some of the same concerns as Direct2Drive over the bundling of the Steam client with the game. The most obvious issue is the forced inclusion of a competitor's store that blocks us from carrying the game.

Our issues with the game are solely with the Steamworks bundling. We enjoy a great relationship with Activision and would love to sell the title, but not with Steam.

GP: A commenter on the Gamasutra story noted that Direct2Drive offers other games that require a Steam install, such as Zeno Clash. Of course that game will not move nearly the amount of copies MW2 will, so it appears in this case that IGN/Direct2Drive is just being selective in its stand against Steam.

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Poll: Is it censorship when a private retailer decides not to sell a particular video game?:

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E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Andrew EisenManhunt 2 and Hatred though? Eh, there's an argument to be made for the higher rating.05/28/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenRerating San Andreas was a mistake though. That seemed to be the result of kowtowing to public pressure.05/28/2015 - 3:42pm
 

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