Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:22 pm

Bad business normally takes a long time to ruin a company. What's going on here is showing clear signs of an incompetent management which doesn't manage to put its resources to good use. If a company does not want to retain the employees that earn them their money there will come a time when nobody with a brain wants to work there. And with second grade workforce the downward spiral will begin.

@Cherno: Nice piece of corporate astroturfing!
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Rachael » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:45 pm

It makes me sad knowing what fate awaits Bioware.

Maybe we'll get lucky and someday Vivendi will buy out all of EA's stock and do the same parasitic thing to them that they have been doing to formerly independent game studios for the past couple decades.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby jpalomo » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:17 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:Bad business normally takes a long time to ruin a company. What's going on here is showing clear signs of an incompetent management which doesn't manage to put its resources to good use.


This is very true. EA seemed to overestimate the potential popularity of the Dead Space franchise and poured tons of resources into it. Horror games in general are pretty niche, but to expect one to sell multiple millions of copies is just crazy.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Wiw » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:50 am

I find their lack of faith in narrative disturbing. No wonder our stupidity levels are on the rise!
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Agent » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:22 pm

It's disappointing but hardly surprising. EA and companies like it could care less about long term viability as long as they're bringing in loads of dosh right now. Let's be honest; EA's constant cannibalizing of its subsidiaries would have sank it by now if not for the fact that it had easy money printers like FIFA and more recently Star Wars.

But in all honesty, the whole industry is starting to show signs of terminal cancer. The big publishers of the industry are pouring all their resources into figuring out how best to leech money out of people (see the patent Activision just won) and devoting precisely zero resources into creating new IPs, new technologies, etc. There's no innovation. It's all about monetizing every customer as much as possible, and it isn't sustainable. It's a bubble that will eventually burst, and when it does, it will be bad.

And frankly, that bubble can't burst soon enough.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Graf Zahl » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:16 pm

Agent wrote: it will be bad.


Depends on your point of view. It'll be bad for the ones who have driven the entire industry into the ground. But in the bigger picture it will hopefully help those who are actually trying to make good stuff.

And frankly, that bubble can't burst soon enough.


Agreed.
Here's another take: Until Summer I worked in the gaming industry, albeit in a small company. But it was very obvious that the entire market is no longer viable from the view of an employee. Over the years increasingly less focus was put on creating something with long-term viability. The focus has shifted towards projects that make lots of money fast, but will run dry very quickly (and with that most of the jobs associated with those projects.) So when I saw an opportunity I quit and now work on business software. While not as cool as working on games, I know that these people think long term, they do not have to hunt the latest trends to stay on top of the game and equally important, cheating their customers is not on the agenda (while in gaming it seems to have become the main driver to make money.)
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Dancso » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:52 pm

Sucks for employees because it almost boils down to choosing between long term financial security or keeping your soul.
I remain hopeful that the small time companies / indies will remain mostly uncorrupted by recent practices.
Can't say that I think the likes of EA will fall hard or particularly soon. They've been slowly sneaking in new trends, which in turn become the norm. Unfortunately it's working. Because of the "app store mentality", the likes of horse armor do not raise an eyebrow to a big portion of customers, and preorders wouldn't be rampant across the industry if it was such a hard sell. Let's also not forget about selling the same product year after year with small differences, the whole thing's been spiraling down for so long. They have dragged their names through the mud and yet they show no sign of slowing down.

But hey, if the bad sales of the new iphone are anything to go by, maybe there is some awareness brewing after all.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Graf Zahl » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:18 pm

Dancso wrote:Sucks for employees because it almost boils down to choosing between long term financial security or keeping your soul.


Who says that the two are mutually exclusive?
Let's be blunt: Game development has become a shark pit. The people working there are either reckless risk takers or hardened businesspeople - both groups I'd steer clear of if possible.
I'd rather take the 'boring' software for a boss who's easy-going and with a good sense of humor. In the end the programming itself is not that different but the work environment is far, far more important than being able to work on a project you personally care for.



Can't say that I think the likes of EA will fall hard or particularly soon. They've been slowly sneaking in new trends, which in turn become the norm. Unfortunately it's working. Because of the "app store mentality",



Here's the problem with that attitude: Surely it works - but it also hides one nasty but important caveat: It will drive out customers. Not enough to make their business crumble but enough that their target audience becomes ever smaller.
Another problem is that the worse these companies' tactics become, the less likely people want to work for them. The rest of the economy also needs programmers - and they need them for software that's far more important so they are willing to pay good salaries.
So now we have a dilemma: The idealists will refuse to work for companies driven by corporate greed and the skilled programmers will look for jobs which appear to be more secure. No need to worry oneself to death over the next big money making scheme and whether it will work or not or whether your job may still exist once it has run dry.
I have seen 3 companies I worked for tank because they failed to stay on top of this insane game. And then I decided that I won't do it for a fourth time.


the likes of horse armor do not raise an eyebrow to a big portion of customers, and preorders wouldn't be rampant across the industry if it was such a hard sell. Let's also not forget about selling the same product year after year with small differences, the whole thing's been spiraling down for so long. They have dragged their names through the mud and yet they show no sign of slowing down.
Last edited by Graf Zahl on Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Quadruplesword » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:16 pm

One would think that after a certain point, one of the top brass would look at the number of studios they've bought up and shut down, realize said studios were doing just fine until EA came along, and think maybe there's something wrong with their management. I just don't get it - how can you ax off so many studios and not think you're doing something wrong when those studios were doing well for themselves before you snapped them up?

Frankly, the folks at BioWare right now have every reason to be sweating buckets. If EA's "me too" Destiny-like Anthem ends up being a bust, BioWare is going to be next on the chopping block. It was kind of shocking how quickly the quality of BioWare's games fell and how quickly their company culture changed after they were fully acquired by EA. Devs slowly but surely stopped posting on their official forums, being replaced by talking heads from EA, until their forums closed down completely a few years ago. Then of course there was the Mass Effect 3 pre-order debacle, then the ending debacle, and now most recently the ME:Andromeda my-face-is-tired debacle. From what I've heard, CD Projekt is apparently fighting off a hostile takeover from EA. Dear god I hope they don't end up under EA's thumb. That would be awful.

Wonder how long it will be before EA's reputation becomes so toxic that no developer would go anywhere near them. They suck the life out of every developer they get their hands on.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:01 am

Dansco wrote:But hey, if the bad sales of the new iphone are anything to go by, maybe there is some awareness brewing after all.


I think these are a clear indicator that iPhone sales are mostly driven by fashion-minded people who NEED to have the latest and greatest in order to avoid being considered 'behind'. Those people will wait for the iPhone X.
On the other hand, there will come a time when incremental improvements will no longer solve this dilemma because there's too little differentiation. I wonder what will happen to Apple's sales then.

Quadruplesword wrote:Frankly, the folks at BioWare right now have every reason to be sweating buckets. If EA's "me too" Destiny-like Anthem ends up being a bust, BioWare is going to be next on the chopping block. It was kind of shocking how quickly the quality of BioWare's games fell and how quickly their company culture changed after they were fully acquired by EA. Devs slowly but surely stopped posting on their official forums, being replaced by talking heads from EA, until their forums closed down completely a few years ago. Then of course there was the Mass Effect 3 pre-order debacle, then the ending debacle, and now most recently the ME:Andromeda my-face-is-tired debacle.



One has to wonder if it's just the boneheaded management that's responsible for these debacles or if the good developers have already quit.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Wiw » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:22 am

I foresee a second video game crash incoming.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:25 am

I foresee an entire entertainment industry crash.

Just look at Hollywood: This year's box office numbers show a clear trend that people slowly are getting tired of franchise-mania, and what do they do? Look for the international market that hasn't reached the saturation point yet. Or blame review sites for bad movie performance. So the crash will be somewhat harder when it comes.

It's exactly the same pattern as in the games industry. Making this stuff has become so expensive that any kind of risk taking is bad for the bottom line so they play it safe, be that by making sequel after sequel or cutting spendings to 'unprofitable' outfits.

But in the end they are just lobotomizing their business founddation.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Chris » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:53 am

Quadruplesword wrote:From what I've heard, CD Projekt is apparently fighting off a hostile takeover from EA. Dear god I hope they don't end up under EA's thumb. That would be awful.

Apparently CD Projekt RED has it's own management problems that could lead to it collapsing in on itself, without needing the help of EA. Don't take the quality of a studio's game(s) as representative of a studio's condition. I'm reminded of when Microsoft bought Rareware from Nintendo, and a lot of people blame that buyout and Microsoft's control for the lack of quality titles from Rare. When in fact, a good number of the core Rare developers started leaving before the buyout. It was only a matter of time before the quality of their games started suffering, buyout or no.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby DoomRater » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:45 am

sans wrote:all i know is... with what comes next, i can't afford not to care anymore.
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Re: Visceral Games, one of EA's oldest studios, shut down

Postby Quadruplesword » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:42 pm

Chris wrote:
Quadruplesword wrote:From what I've heard, CD Projekt is apparently fighting off a hostile takeover from EA. Dear god I hope they don't end up under EA's thumb. That would be awful.

Apparently CD Projekt RED has it's own management problems that could lead to it collapsing in on itself, without needing the help of EA. Don't take the quality of a studio's game(s) as representative of a studio's condition. I'm reminded of when Microsoft bought Rareware from Nintendo, and a lot of people blame that buyout and Microsoft's control for the lack of quality titles from Rare. When in fact, a good number of the core Rare developers started leaving before the buyout. It was only a matter of time before the quality of their games started suffering, buyout or no.

I know about that. That's why I've got my fingers crossed they'll sort it out. They're one of the few big players left that actually cares about the quality of their products, poor management not withstanding, so I'd hate to see them collapse under the weight of their own success. Mind you, I'm not white knighting for them or anything - employee abuse is absolutely something they should be called out for. I'm just saying I hope they sort themselves out so we can continue to get great stuff from them.
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