This Week In The Business: Bungie Vs. Crunch

Illustration for article titled This Week In The Business: Bungie Vs. Crunch

QUOTE | “The Halo 2 crunch almost killed Bungie as a company. It is the most I’ve ever seen humans work in a year and a half. It was brutal. It almost killed us, and those of us that were left basically vowed, ‘never again.’ Never again can we put ourselves through that.” - Bungie head of engineering Luke Timmins details the studio’s long struggle to purge crunch from its internal culture.

QUOTE | “In the case of the Assassin’s Creed movie, we learned that it’s very important to work even more on the script.” - Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot talks about the company’s learning process as it pushes its franchises into feature films in one part of a wide-ranging interview.

QUOTE | “Five years ago publishers would be frantically hiring mock reviewers to try to get a good estimate of what their Metacritic score would be. Today, they have meetings where they ask the entire team: ‘Does our game stream well?’” - Gun Media boss and Friday the 13th developer Wes Keltner downplays the importance of the hit game’s shaky critical reception.


QUOTE | “The game was successful, it sold well, but it didn’t quite sell as well as it should have. Maybe because it was super crowded, the pricing was aggressive—it was a rough window to launch our game.” - Respawn CEO Vince Zampella speculates about possible reasons for the commercial shortfall of Titanfall 2, which launched a week after another EA-published first-person shooter in Battlefield 1, and the week before Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

QUOTE | “People don’t talk about it that much because a lot of it happens behind the scenes, but I think one of Steam’s magic bullets is the wishlisting system that exists there.” - Hinterland founder and creative director Raphael van Lierop explains how The Long Dark had an almost self-perpetuating cycle of success in Early Access.

QUOTE | “Each word has its own threshold, and once a threshold for any word has been reached, that player will be automatically subject to a ban. These bans will typically start at 24 hours, then escalate to 72 hours, one week, and finally, a permanent ban.” - Psyonix is cracking down on abusive language with an automated system that bans potty-mouthed players for repeated vulgarity</a>.

QUOTE | “I have always viewed VR gear, at least for games, as I have joysticks.” - Early Oculus backer and Battlecruiser 3000AD developer Derek Smart explains why he believes VR will ultimately be a niche novelty item in gaming. Smart was one of several Oculus backers interviewed for the fifth anniversary of the headset’s Kickstarter campaign.


QUOTE | “When we looked at Mafia Wars, we gave it a healthy soft launch and we just didn’t see the KPIs. When we looked at what it was going to take to get it into position to be a number one or number two game against some of the big competition that’s out there, it didn’t feel like the right decision.” - As Zynga saw its long-awaited return to profitability, CEO Frank Gibeau explained why the social publisher killed its franchise reboot after just three months in soft launch.

STAT | $104.6 billion - Total worldwide games and interactive media revenue for 2017, according to projections from research firm Superdata. If accurate, it will be the first time the market has topped $100 billion.


QUOTE | “Many of our store associates and guests have asked for this. We have heard their requests and are making an adjustment to our previous position on this topic.” - A GameStop statement explains why the specialty retailers has decided to open its American stores on the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

STAT | $9.4 million - Total amount pledged to successful video game projects on Kickstarter in the first half of 2017. That’s down from a high of $28 million in the first half of 2013, and pales in comparison to the growth of board gaming on the service, which has seen pledges climb from $29 million to $69.8 million in the same span.

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Foxstar loves Bashcraft

So is this long form speak for “We didn’t have enough whales and folks willing to spend money on it.”?

Given that GameStop doesn’t have holiday pay, this strongly smells like bullshit. I would think that GameStop would know that between online retailers and digital storefronts that bad optics can do quite a bit of damage to a already suffering rep that never really recovered from the aggressive push for preorders and strategy guides years ago and is still feeling the effects of the “Circle of Life”crap that they were pressuring employees with.

I guess even Derek Smart can be right about something.