Hey guys, a few CAC updates:
#1- Geoff wrote today and told me the GAMEHEAD Calling All Cars! segment would air next week, not tonight as planned. He says they got crunched for time so guess who got bumped? Fuckers! :) Still, nice thing is, the segment will now air closer to the relase of the game which WILL PROBABLY BE...
#2- on APRIL 19TH! So about 20 days away. It's as official as things get in this realm. We plan on submitting to format next Friday and if all goes well, the 19th of April will be launch day.
People have expressed confusion as to why these smaller games keep getting pushed. Well I can't speak for any but a few but the thing with downloadable content is that we're still learning how to get our heads around having so few masters to answer to.
What do I mean?
Well, for a disc based product you have SOOOOOOO many people who MUST know the launch date and after a point of no return, that date can not slip.
You got the folks who manufacture the actual disc and manuals and you HAVE to have the gold master to them by a specific date or your game will not make you promised ship date. In downloadable games, those folks- for the most part- don't exist. You send the code off to the Playstation Network and when they are ready- once it's cleared everything- they just put it up. So we're not worrying about getting it to the factory on time anymore.
With disc product, you get paid- as a publisher and developer-by the brick and mortar retailers who buy your game. Best Buy orders 200,000 copies of GOD OF WAR II? They pay us for that. We get paid when a retailer buys the games from us, not when a consumer buys the games from the retailer. And we HAVE to have games out by end of key quarters in order to make sure we can make a certain amount of cash for that quarter which keeps stock holders happy or some such stuff I don't fully comprehend. But if- for example- we look at March 31st as the end of a quarter- and most do- then you best beleive that we need those games sent to the stores by that date or that quarter profit looks bad,bad,bad cause we didn't get paid for, for example, those 200k copies of GOWII from Best Buy. But in downloadable games, there's not really a retailer we need to get cash from. We sell directly to the gamer (yeah! so cool!) and right now, the games cost so little to make and we don't get the kind of sales volume we get- yet!- with download games so there's no big bottom line issue to worry about. So the pressure of hitting end of quarter is not so big with DL games. So that worry is gone.
Advertising is another master that disc based games must kowtow to. Game pubs may lots of cash to buy air time- well in advance- for game commercials as well as print ads in key months of magazines. If the money is spent already but the game is not ready to come out- and you don't have another ad to put in the place of the game that is running late- you've wasted the cash that was earmarked for you game...and often times, you can't get it back because the company has earmarked the rest of the cash for other games that ARE coming out on time. So you gotta be careful about slipping your sked if the company is spending dollars on the ads. But with DL games, there's not much advertising- yet anyway!. At the moment it's only PR and while it sucks to go to the press and say you are slipping, it doesn't cost anyone anything except maybe the fact that in the future, gamers will take a 'yeah, we'll beleive it when we see it' attitude with you and your team.
So the only master we really need to serve in all this- from a release date window- is the consumer. And because of this- and because the games don't cost that much which means adding a few more weeks onto the schedule is not even a blip on the financial radar of a big time publisher- we tend to ask for more time to make the games better. Sure, you can spend TOO long in the game making process, for sure. But the thing is, with games that take 6-10 months, you are often times JUST discovering your game play in like, month 7. So once you know your game, you want all the time you can get to refine and playtest and tune.
So that is what has happened with CALLING ALL CARS!
Miyamoto is well known for saying (paraphrasing): a great game is forgiven for being late, a bad game is a bad game forever.
And so we feel consumers will forget very quickly that a game has slipped the schedule if it's a great game. But a crap game will never be forgiven even if it comes out 10 weeks BEFORE the publisher promised it.
So I hope that clears things up. I feel as we do more games like this, we'll learn to hit the shipping bullseye more often. But this is new to us too. Remember, my last game took 3 years! 10 months is a heck of a switch!
Ok, wife's got cake downstairs. A friend from when she was a little girl is visiting and I wanna go chat a bit and fuck dude....CAKE!!!!
Have a great weekend ya'll; and don't forget GAMEHEAD next weekend!
And I THINK the first episode of BONUS ROUND I did this week airs this weekend on gametrailers.com. Or next weekend. But I think it's up...what, tomorrow?
And the ATTACK OF THE SHOW segment we did will air next friday night! Check it out!