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CING files for Bankruptcy
News reported by 
Member
March 08, 2010, 06:11:39
 
GoNintendo story here.

In case you didn't know, they are the developer of Another Code/Trace Memory, Hotel Dusk, and Little King's Story. One of my favorite up and coming developers and this is a super sad story.

I guess it's not a huge surprise considering none of their very awesome games actually sell very much, at all.

Anyone else think this is a developer Nintendo should just up and buy?

Now, everyone go out and buy Hotel Dusk and Little King's Story for penance. DO IT!

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Posted: 03/08/10, 06:11:39  - Edited by 
 on: 03/08/10, 06:13:33    
 
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Another good example of why a company needs to keep costs down when developing games these days. Sad to see them go. Hotel Dusk was amazing. And Little King's Story was great fun too, but as I always bring up it made my eyes hurt because of the blur effect they used so I couldn't play it past the first hour... Boo.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 17:46:48
@Oldmanwinter
You know, I don't really know too much about Steam, but if it was the panacea that you portray it as, why are PC devs flocking en masse to console town? (Not that publishers and developers haven't made unsound decisions before...)

How often do PC-specific developers shut down? How many are there left, really?


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 17:54:34  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/10, 17:56:06
That's the thing, though. Games can have very valid reasons to release on the Wii, even if they don't take advantage of its features. It's not like devs had to make excuses for going PS2-exclusive last gen.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 18:02:54
anandxxx said:
@Oldmanwinter
You know, I don't really know too much about Steam, but if it was the panacea that you portray it as, why are PC devs flocking en masse to console town? (Not that publishers and developers haven't made unsound decisions before...)

How often do PC-specific developers shut down? How many are there left, really?


Major publishers flocked en masse to consoles last generation and for good reason. If you had a choice between releasing Modern Warfare 2 strictly on PC or on PC/PS3/360 you are obviously going to opt for the latter. Most publishers release everything cross platform, PC included. I still get Bioshock, Arkham Asylum, MW2, BC2, etc, etc on PC. I however wasn't talking about huge releases like that, they are going to do well regardless. I was talking about more niche, lower budget games (comparatively speaking) like LKS. In that demographic developers are "flocking en masse" to PC because Steam and the core way it functions is far, far more beneficial to the game developer, reduces overhead and makes your odds of success with your oddball idea much, much higher. Go read the link in my last post, the numbers don't lie.

So yes, nearly all blockbuster releases are going to move to consoles (while a vast majority still end up on PC), however the niche/indie whatever you want to call it market is absolutely thriving on PC. Steam has more games of that nature than Live Arcade, PSN and Wii Ware combined and then some.

Long story short full retail games like LKS on consoles are a dying breed. You will see them phased out this generation and in the future will be relegated to digital services like Steam, PSN, etc... and honestly who can blame them.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 18:14:11
I don't think Steam has any exclusively downloadable game of LKS's nature, though. LKS isn't Osmos or Laser Racer or whatever. It's not exactly the same market, and it's not a game that was made by one or two guys in their basement.

You're probably right about games of its ilk being phased out next gen, but on the whole "would thrive on Steam" thing you're jumping the gun.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 18:23:10
Oldmanwinter said:
anandxxx said:
@Oldmanwinter
You know, I don't really know too much about Steam, but if it was the panacea that you portray it as, why are PC devs flocking en masse to console town? (Not that publishers and developers haven't made unsound decisions before...)

How often do PC-specific developers shut down? How many are there left, really?


Major publishers flocked en masse to consoles last generation and for good reason. If you had a choice between releasing Modern Warfare 2 strictly on PC or on PC/PS3/360 you are obviously going to opt for the latter. Most publishers release everything cross platform, PC included. I still get Bioshock, Arkham Asylum, MW2, BC2, etc, etc on PC. I however wasn't talking about huge releases like that, they are going to do well regardless. I was talking about more niche, lower budget games (comparatively speaking) like LKS. In that demographic developers are "flocking en masse" to PC because Steam and the core way it functions is far, far more beneficial to the game developer, reduces overhead and makes your odds of success with your oddball idea much, much higher. Go read the link in my last post, the numbers don't lie.

So yes, nearly all blockbuster releases are going to move to consoles (while a vast majority still end up on PC), however the niche/indie whatever you want to call it market is absolutely thriving on PC. Steam has more games of that nature than Live Arcade, PSN and Wii Ware combined and then some.

Long story short full retail games like LKS on consoles are a dying breed. You will see them phased out this generation and in the future will be relegated to digital services like Steam, PSN, etc... and honestly who can blame them.

This post kind of reminds me of what people said about 2D in the animation industry. When 3D hit, it was "Oh, 2D is dead and will be regulated to TV/DVD releases from now on." While that was true for a bit, it is now experiencing a Renaissance and making a tremendous resurgence, especially with young, upcoming animators. So maybe LKS type games will go PSN/Steam for a few years, but I wouldn't count them out just yet.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 18:55:23
@Pandareus Yeah I hope the people talking about Little King's Story realize it is a long and fully developed game by a (semi)-major developer who presumably spent significant time and resources on it. I finished it in about 30 hours and still didn't get into a lot of the side quests and such. It's certainly worth $50 on a disk (based on content) if any game is. So maybe it could sell a bit more at $30 on Steam, but would that really be a reasonable business model for a full-fledged, packed game?

I guess the question becomes, can a game like this survive (let alone thrive) anywhere in the modern industry? Or does it almost have to be a super low budget, streamlined experience at a budget price?


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 19:08:49
@Oldmanwinter
I agree that most of those types of games are going to go downloadable, somehow, but WiiWare, specifically, doesn't really support full-fledged games, so if a dev wants to appeal to that audience, there aren't many other options. Will that audience reward their efforts? A trickier question.

Anyway, if small games can thrive on Steam with flexible pricing schemes, why wouldn't that be scalable to larger games?

(Also, the PC always had more niche games and indie games. That's where indie games are born. The rise of XBLA and PSN has actually diverted some of the flow towards consoles.)


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 19:21:05
Didn't they also claim like 90% of people playing it on PC were playing bootlegs or whatever? I think PC is always going to have to fight the fact that it is the easiest to get bootleg copies up and running on. I mean, in people's minds, which is all that matters.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 20:36:16
Simbabbad said:
Indeed, and they have means to know, since all games connect to their servers, and they can know which ones have been paid or not. And that doesn't even count copies played offline.

Those guys owe their current fortune to the Wii, Steam being anecdotal icing on the Wii cake.

I don't understand this. If they can tell who paid and who didn't, why not just send out a virus to all those people who haven't paid so it destroys their computers?


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 21:15:10
^ That's probably very illegal, whether they paid or not.

Not to mention all of the negative publicity it would bring upon 2D Boy. And it is two guys who work out of a coffee shop, so I ca't imagine they have much of a legal team behind them...


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 22:18:33  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/10, 22:19:47
Uh, I also think it's not technically possible. That 90% figure, they got it from the number of people posting their scores on their leaderboards and comparing those numbers with their sales. They didn't get the 90% from tracking individuals or whatever.

2D Boy is not watching you. Probably.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 22:46:41  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/10, 22:54:40
I'd say DS allowed them to survive so far, as I think Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk sold better than Little King's Story. Mind you, Nintendo eventually branded Hotel Dusk as a Touch Generation series title, which spurred on some sales.

But yeah, I'm not really convinced they would have much success on Steam, or elsewhere on the PC.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 23:18:00
I'd also like to add that you generally don't buy companies that are going bankrupt, because it makes a bit more sense to buy companies that are doing WELL, so they make you money.

Unless they have a product/patent that you want. Real bad.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 23:21:30
Zero said:
^ That's probably very illegal, whether they paid or not.

Not to mention all of the negative publicity it would bring upon 2D Boy. And it is two guys who work out of a coffee shop, so I ca't imagine they have much of a legal team behind them...

The game did cost $120,000 to make. It may have been two guys but it was still a pretty big project, even if relatively small.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/10, 23:32:52
@-JKR- I dunno, tons of bankrupt companies get bought out by bigger companies all of the time. Often the bankruptcy comes from mismanagement of resources, even if there is a lot of talent involved. And sometimes it is just a company that in "good times" does ok, but in a rough economy gets pressed a bit too much and can't find the money to keep up with the bills.

Now look at Cing. There is clearly a lot of talent. Little King's Story and Hotel Dusk are two very highly praised games on their respective consoles. IF Nintendo (or someone else) were to buy them, they would (presumably) knock some heads around in management, maybe fire some up-toppers, and get things back on track. THEN Nintendo (or someone else) would probably set them up with IPs that can sell, and market them a bit more.

And the fact that Nintendo has already published many of their games is a good sign that Nintendo likes what they do.

Whatever the case, they are a company with quality developers and perhaps they only need a bit of Nintendo magic...


Posted by 
 on: 03/10/10, 00:19:24
anandxxx said:
@Oldmanwinter
I agree that most of those types of games are going to go downloadable, somehow, but WiiWare, specifically, doesn't really support full-fledged games, so if a dev wants to appeal to that audience, there aren't many other options. Will that audience reward their efforts? A trickier question.

Anyway, if small games can thrive on Steam with flexible pricing schemes, why wouldn't that be scalable to larger games?

(Also, the PC always had more niche games and indie games. That's where indie games are born. The rise of XBLA and PSN has actually diverted some of the flow towards consoles.)

I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. It IS scalable to larger games, that was the point of that link, go read it if you haven't. I'm not talking strictly PC gaming here either, XBLA, Wiiware and PSN are going to start taking a larger and larger chunk of that market and while Steam did create the blue print we are seeing more and more content go digital to those services as well. So in short I agree with your last sentence. We have already seen it with games like Shadow Complex.

My point was just that if LKS had been available for say $30-$40 and launched simultaneously on PSN, XBLA and Steam they would have made boatloads more money than they did. Releasing this type of game on one console is a blueprint for disaster. It wouldn't have mattered what console it came out on, it was doomed from the word go.


Posted by 
 on: 03/10/10, 01:20:33
It's really not that simple, though. Porting games costs money, money that these developers and publishers just don't have. It's very doubtful Cing could have afforded a Steam, Live and PSN release, and XSeed their publisher for NA I know for a fact doesn't have that kind of dough, they can't afford to market their stuff at all, they're so small they can't even get the Canadian Amazon site to carry their games.

These small developers and publishers who make niche games can only remain in business and thrive by knowing where their niche audience is and catering to them specifically, and treating them very well. Atlus is a prime example.


Posted by 
 on: 03/10/10, 01:27:56
Pandareus said:
It's really not that simple, though. Porting games costs money, money that these developers and publishers just don't have. It's very doubtful Cing could have afforded a Steam, Live and PSN release, and XSeed their publisher for NA I know for a fact doesn't have that kind of dough, they can't afford to market their stuff at all, they're so small they can't even get the Canadian Amazon site to carry their games.

These small developers and publishers who make niche games can only remain in business and thrive by knowing where their niche audience is and catering to them specifically, and treating them very well. Atlus is a prime example.

I admittedly don't know jack shit about programming, however I have a very had time believing that porting something from the PC (Steam) to the 360 (XBLA) would be difficult at all. It's literally done all the time by way smaller shops than this. PSN and WiiWare may take some work, again I don't know. That said Frozenbyte, a completely independent game developer in Finland figured out how to do it with Trine, and that game had some absolutely ridiculous production values for a budget game so I'm sure it's possible. If Trine retailed via traditional outlets with no advertising I'm sure it would have bombed as well. Same goes for Braid, World of Goo and Shadow Complex. They are successful because of how they marketed and sold their game.

I don't even know why I'm debating this at this point, the fact the developer is essentially bankrupt is more than enough proof that they made some massive logistical errors. That being said I totally agree with your last paragraph, if anything going digital just helps that even more.


Posted by 
 on: 03/10/10, 02:38:51
Simbabbad said:
Why is it that the Steam version of World of Goo was basically useless, then?

In the case of Little King's Story, it's a full $50 game. It doesn't have less value than any other game of that range, so I'm not sure it can be compared to something like Trine. It'd be like saying releasing Dead Space in retail format was a mistake.

The problem lies less with the game than the way with which the industry shaped this gen as a whole. The industry decided to make a fuss about Braid, World of Goo and Shadow Complex, and they decided to ignore Little King's Story.

It's absolutely nothing like saying releasing Dead Space in retail format was a mistake. Dead Space and pretty much all games like Dead Space (massive production values, cross platform, multimillion dollar advertising budgets... none of which LKS had) are going to make money.

Releasing a niche game at full price with no advertising exclusive to one console is moronic. That is my point. Hell, in today's economy releasing anything that isn't established on one console is a mistake unless you advertise the shit out of it and make sure it's AAA. LKS, had it not been a Wii exclusive and not been strictly a retail game might have made it. I'm not saying it's for sure, I'm saying it would have had one hell of a lot better shot than the way they went about it. That's it.


Posted by 
 on: 03/10/10, 02:53:29  - Edited by 
 on: 03/10/10, 02:53:54
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