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Bloomberg insight article into studio transition from Star Theory to Intercept Games


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Learned many years ago that corporations and capitalism is cut-throat. 

Being the best has little room for sentiments and good feelings.

Sad truth, but life is not fair. You are either a killer or get killed, getting all weepy about cut throat company moves is basically "cry me a river", want some cheese with that wine?

 

Looking forward to KSP2.  In the mean time, will continue to enjoy KSP with hopefully new release content from Squad for KSP1.

 

 

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1 hour ago, fragtzack said:

Learned many years ago that corporations and capitalism is cut-throat. 

Being the best has little room for sentiments and good feelings.

Sad truth, but life is not fair. You are either a killer or get killed, getting all weepy about cut throat company moves is basically "cry me a river", want some cheese with that wine?

 

Looking forward to KSP2.  In the mean time, will continue to enjoy KSP with hopefully new release content from Squad for KSP1.

 

 

Oof. Kick in the gut right there. I’m not willing to be a killer (treat others as you wish to be treated and all that) and I am likely to be killed because of it.

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8 minutes ago, ShakeNBake said:

Oof. Kick in the gut right there. I’m not willing to be a killer (treat others as you wish to be treated and all that) and I am likely to be killed because of it.

Don’t worry, its not all like that. You’ve got to keep your eyes open and stand up for yourself but the most important thing is taking real pride in your work and keeping your honer. Over time people who can do that always stand out. 

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22 hours ago, James M said:

You can either speak up against the issue or not buy the game at all when game developments go south. Which would you prefer? To have the same problems today as tomorrow? Or to have a chance at development processes being improved across the board  for all development studios? I don't think a petition is a bad idea. A little preemptive as of right now? Sure, maybe. We do have only a small amount of one sided information. BUT, We do have a LONG history of large game publishing corporations like T2 making moves like these for their own personal gain. No? So as to which side I believe is more innocent? More than likely the indie game developers enthusiastic about building their dream game.

Let's say we actually live in fantasy land and a boycott works; the result isn't these practices stopping or us getting KSP2. The result is Take-Two Interactive still being a multi-billion dollar corporation that milks their sports franchises for cash with MTX, KSP IP being thrown in a dustbin for years while they wait out the outrage, and nobody getting what they want.

But we don't live in fantasy land, and iv'e been around long enough to see multiple "Gamer Boycotts". And here's what's going to happen to all of this discussion about "Morals" and "Ethics" come the first new hype trailer.

The moment it releases the vast majority of these people are going to get right back on the hype train and start throwing money at 2K like they're a stripper on a pole, and all of this will be rapidly forgotten. Some people will stick to their guns and not buy KSP2, and they won't impact the sales or developer conditions at all because they're going to be overwhelmed by the people who buy it anyway.

In the end; this means KSP2 will be judged on it's merits as a game despite your personal belief or opinions on the development.

The only way that Indie Developers won't get ran over is either by Unionizing or not making deals with Publishers who have a long history of these moves. I know you won't agree with me, and think my position is cold and distant. But that's the reality.

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4 hours ago, Noname115 said:

Spreading the message. KSP2 will be ok.

This Nate Simpson cannot convince me that it will be ok. It will not. I’m not talking about the game. I’m talking about its reputation.

Edited by HansonKerman
The frickin worst typo ever: it’s instead of its
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56 minutes ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

Let's say we actually live in fantasy land and a boycott works; the result isn't these practices stopping or us getting KSP2. The result is Take-Two Interactive still being a multi-billion dollar corporation that milks their sports franchises for cash with MTX, KSP IP being thrown in a dustbin for years while they wait out the outrage, and nobody getting what they want.

But we don't live in fantasy land, and iv'e been around long enough to see multiple "Gamer Boycotts". And here's what's going to happen to all of this discussion about "Morals" and "Ethics" come the first new hype trailer.

The moment it releases the vast majority of these people are going to get right back on the hype train and start throwing money at 2K like they're a stripper on a pole, and all of this will be rapidly forgotten. Some people will stick to their guns and not buy KSP2, and they won't impact the sales or developer conditions at all because they're going to be overwhelmed by the people who buy it anyway.

In the end; this means KSP2 will be judged on it's merits as a game despite your personal belief or opinions on the development.

The only way that Indie Developers won't get ran over is either by Unionizing or not making deals with Publishers who have a long history of these moves. I know you won't agree with me, and think my position is cold and distant. But that's the reality.

Unfortunately, too true. As I said in the other thread: Intercept is the GLaDOS and we’re Chell: helpless. Take Two is a multi billion dollar corporation. Ever imagined 15 billion candy bars? 30 billion glasses of lemonade? Played Portal/(2)? The “shut up take my $” memes are going to overwhelm the KSP memes megathread over at Forum Games. Go look at my post at “will u boycott ksp2 if tt throws it at a bus”

edit: here’s a post quoted in my post

7 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

I don't think this is true at all. Humans are emotional creatures and feelings pervade everything we do. Are customers satisfied? Do vendors and subs feel screwed over? Do clients trust you? If you have a bad quarter or make a big mistake does your employer or investors have faith that you'll fix things? It's based on numbers, but having the theory of mind to understand how others will react is absolutely fundamental to it. At its heart it's just a big evolving prisoners dilemma. 

Im old-school about the whole thing though. Of course you can take shortcuts and burn people to eek out a few more bucks, but if you're actually trying to build real value over the long term you need to maintain your reputation. Honor your agreements, pay your bills, and treat people honestly and fairly. Thats just across the board. I've had people tell me thats quaint, only to watch them dragged down and ripped apart in legal fights, drummed out of the industry for ticking off the wrong people, or watch as their contacts dry up as the word got out. You can only play the Theranos game so long.

part of my post

51 minutes ago, HansonKerman said:

I love this. The unfortunate truth is that capitalists like Intercept Games are the GLaDOS to our Chell, the Vulcan to the human, the Darth Vader to the misbehaving Imperial officer. In short: psychopaths. They don’t care. They just want the money to roll in. Come now. Mummy wants a fifth mansion. The fourth was horrible. I want Intercept games to listen. They won’t. But if they do understand that terminating a company is not cool, and in a humorous contronym, colder than Freeze-Dry. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps the Lapras will be caught. Perhaps GLaDOS will learn. Perhaps Anakin will remember. But unfortunately, the chance is much higher that it will end like the confrontation on the Death Star- a friend gone. The awakening on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. The blackout from a final Surf.

 

 

Edited by HansonKerman
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2 minutes ago, HansonKerman said:

Unfortunately, too true. As I said in the other thread: Intercept is the GLaDOS and we’re Chell: helpless. Take Two is a multi billion dollar corporation. Ever imagined 15 billion candy bars? 30 billion glasses of lemonade? Played Portal/(2)? The “shut up take my $” memes are going to overwhelm the KSP memes megathread over at Forum Games. Go look at my post at “will u boycott ksp2 if tt throws it at a bus

Already did, and I think we're mostly of the same mind on this.

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7 hours ago, Lithobrake said:

I'm still cautiously optimistic about the game. The fact that about a week before this drama, the massive PCgamer article came out with promising features and the fact that the game is being developed by mostly the same people suggests to me that we'll still have a great game. What Take2 did was disgusting and unfair, we've had updates since the December switchover that have been incredibly promising. I may be playing devil's advocate here, but I think Private Division has to be aware of their audience. 80% of the people who came here suggested they'd boycott if it was bad. I doubt take2 will take that risk.  And if they do, I won't buy it, but this decision happened months ago. I think we'll be mostly ok, fingers crossed.


^ quote quoted in my post

, last part of my post

51 minutes ago, HansonKerman said:

 

Reputation points can go to -900 for all they care. What’s that? Oh yeah, that currency. Doesn’t it affect contracts?

And the worst part is- 

The articles don’t care. There’s one. But the way Intercept will get around that is it will try to make KSP2 great. The bolded sentences are showing my shared opinion. They’re right you know. Private Division probably doesn’t care. If they learn to care - be the Caroline to GLaDOS... KSP2 will have a higher chance of being great. If GLaDOS goes back down, (intercept listens)
KSP2 may be fine. I will hope.

goodbye.

(Klamperture Science holds no responsibility for death of cringe from these game references).

 

Edited by HansonKerman
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11 hours ago, Numberyellow said:

A small indie house managing to attract talent from a large corporation doesn't put the large corporation out of business. It's an inconvenience, rather than a (pardon the pun) game-ender.

What people have a problem with is the way in which Take-Two conducted itself during this affair. "Don't want to sell to us on our terms? We'll just go around you, and TAKE everything we want, and leave you with nothing".

If you don't see a problem with that kind of behavior, i don't think anyone here can help you.

I'm laying out a case without moral judgement and opinions. I couldn't care less about the size of the companies involved. The goals are the same for all companies, regardless of their annual profits.

All companies want to make money, period.

All companies want to save money where they can, period.

All companies want the best employees for what positions they have availible, period.

If a company needs to do something that may be considered morally wrong, but within the laws of the land (or not, in some cases) to meet the three points above, they will do it. Large companies like Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, GE, Intel, AMD, EA, Google, Ford, GM, Daimler, VW, BMW, Foxconn etc, can care less about the reputation hit (and fines) as long as all the goals are met. Smaller companies that do care about their reputation will do the same things, but in a more subtle fashion.

12 hours ago, Master39 said:

Can someone working in the software development market explain to me why "Poaching" would be a bad thing for the person being "poached"?

I can understand why it can be bad for small studios and used as a way to go around acquisitions (but I've seen also the contrary, famous devs selling their studio to a big publisher and then leaving it to found a new one), but I can't see how receiving a better offer from another employer could be bad.

It can bite you in the butt later if you run across an old employer or colleague in a hiring position. You may not like the new company and be stuck there for awhile. If you're a big name in that field, you can get a negative reputation and find it hard to find employment if you somehow end up unemployed within that field.

12 hours ago, Jacke said:

Sure poaching takes place.  It's usually not quite so wholesale and focused.  Which begs the questions: Why?  Was this the only way to resolve things?  Why didn't Take Two Interactive put out a statement when they were no longer constrained in doing so? 

And you're assuming the paradigm is a footrace between near-equal competitors.  Star Theory and Take Two Interactive, near-equal competitors....  Really?

Please see my response above to Numberyellow for the broad strokes. But a more detailed answer is this, I don't know the exact reason why they went this route. All I can do is speculate from business theory and the info I read about different business dealings and failures. The business world is a cold hard place. Some companies can meet the objectives morally. But the larger you get, the harder it is to meet the above objectives without leaving the moral high ground. 

Edited by shdwlrd
thanks Jacke
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57 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

I could care less about the size of the companies involved.

I think you mean "...couldn't care less...."

The Devil is indeed in the details on this topic, so I'm going to correct that.

 

Quote

I don't know the exact reason why [ Take Two Interactive ] went this route. All I can do is speculate from business theory and the info I read about different business dealings and failures. The business world is a cold hard place. Some companies can meet the objectives morally. But the larger you get, the harder it is to meet the above objectives without leaving the moral high ground. 

Well, there's this concept.  In business theory and practice.  Called "Goodwill".  It's hard to quantify.  But it's vital.  Because if a business needs it and doesn't have enough, it suffers.  Including its incomes and dealings.  Individuals accumulate and spend goodwill as well.  And bad actions destroy a lot of goodwill.

Right now. "AAA" game companies and somewhat the tech industry are being run in a more brutal fashion than even most of the rest of the business world.  They're not so common and universal because such tactics erode goodwill.  These actions weigh on the reputation of the people in charge and the companies as a whole.  They don't live in a bubble.  Someday they'll need that goodwill.  Will they have enough?

Right now, a lot of companies in this challenging time are find their stock of goodwill is too low when they need it.  For example a lot of corporations and production companies in Hollywood and elsewhere in the film and television industry have blown their goodwill because for a very simple reason.  For whatever reason, they've put out products with crap stories.  Crap stories when judged objectively.  And kept doing so.   Some made money.  Some made less money.  Some were a loss.  Some are disasters.

Cutting corners and doing the dirty deeds does eventually affect the product quality.  Eventually, that quality hit gets bad enough to hurt sales.

Actions that destroy goodwill eventually hits the bottom line.  It happens in every industry, eventually.

Edited by Jacke
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58 minutes ago, Jacke said:

I think you mean "...couldn't care less...."

The Devil is indeed in the details on this topic, so I'm going to correct that.

 

Well, there's this concept.  In business theory and practice.  Called "Goodwill".  It's hard to quantify.  But it's vital.  Because if a business needs it and doesn't have enough, it suffers.  Including its incomes and dealings.  Individuals accumulate and spend goodwill as well.  And bad actions destroy a lot of goodwill.

Right now. "AAA" game companies and somewhat the tech industry are being run in a more brutal fashion than even most of the rest of the business world.  They're not so common and universal because such tactics erode goodwill.  These actions weigh on the reputation of the people in charge and the companies as a whole.  They don't live in a bubble.  Someday they'll need that goodwill.  Will they have enough?

Right now, a lot of companies in this challenging time are find their stock of goodwill is too low when they need it.  For example a lot of corporations and production companies in Hollywood and elsewhere in the film and television industry have blown their goodwill because for a very simple reason.  For whatever reason, they've put out products with crap stories.  Crap stories when judged objectively.  And kept doing so.   Some made money.  Some made less money.  Some were a loss.  Some are disasters.

Cutting corners and doing the dirty deeds does eventually affect the product quality.  Eventually, that quality hit gets bad enough to hurt sales.

Actions that destroy goodwill eventually hits the bottom line.  It happens in every industry, eventually.

Thanks very much for the catching the grammar faux pas. :) I really should download grammarly. 

You're absolutely correct, more goodwill is needed and should be practiced in the business world. But what you may see as a tactless move, may be the goodwill will gesture.

In this specific case, the goodwill gestures was negotiating for a new contract and the purchase of Star Theory. From what I can see is that TTI/PD tried to come to an amicable agreement with Star Theory. It just didn't work out for reasons we aren't privileged to. So TTI/PD did what they had to to make sure their previous investment wasn't wasted and to reduce the loss of momentum for the development cycle.

Typically when a dev team is replaced during development, the expected outcome isn't there, or the project is canceled.

This was the best case scenario for the completion of KSP2 in the vision that everyone expects.

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39 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

Thanks very much for the catching the grammar faux pas. :) I really should download grammarly.

It's a tough one to catch on grammar unless special cased because they're both grammatically correct, but "couldn't" is the one that is usually intended semantically.

 

Quote

You're absolutely correct, more goodwill is needed and should be practiced in the business world. But what you may see as a tactless move, may be the goodwill will gesture.

I think we'll never know for sure as sufficient details will likely never come out.  It was still negotiations that came to a deadlock.  And TTI/PD still resorted to an EA-grade move.

But TTI/PD was foolish to think no word of this would ever get out.  There was even indications back in February.  They should have prepared a better statement, from the business leaders of PD.  Even in this mess, the cleaner their hands, the more they should have wanted to tell the community before someone else broke the story.

 

Quote

Typically when a dev team is replaced during development, the expected outcome isn't there, or the project is canceled.

This was the best case scenario for the completion of KSP2 in the vision that everyone expects.

Maybe.  It was still an EA-grade move.

And now to even make things a bit better, it's not going to be enough for TTI/PD/Intercept to tell.  They're going to have to *show*--and keep showing--that their hearts are moving to a better place and KSP 2 is going to be what was promised.  And TTI/PD/Intercept need to do this sooner rather than later.  Even Fall 2020 will be too late.  Sales are walking out the door now.  There are people that love KSP that will never buy KSP 2.

And they aren't the only game in town, with either KSP.

Edited by Jacke
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@Jacke You claim that what TTI did was a EA grade move. It isn't. EA was brutal and deceitful in the '90s & 2000s. Check out what EA did with Westwood Studios. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westwood_Studios

That's a BS move.

If you want, you can check out how many studios that EA acquired and closed in their time in business and their history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Arts

Compare that to TTI's history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take-Two_Interactive

I'll let you make your own decision on is TTI is as bad as EA.

 

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11 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

@Jacke You claim that what TTI did was a EA grade move. It isn't. EA was brutal and deceitful in the '90s & 2000s. Check out what EA did with Westwood Studios. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westwood_Studios

That's a BS move.

If you want, you can check out how many studios that EA acquired and closed in their time in business and their history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Arts

Compare that to TTI's history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take-Two_Interactive

I'll let you make your own decision on is TTI is as bad as EA.

 

It's pointless to compare. Either what TTI did was right or it was wrong. There is no "Well this person over there did worse way back in [whenever], so let's all go sing hakuna matata." 

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9 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

I'll let you make your own decision on is TTI is as bad as EA.

Look up Yong Yea's video on this matter.  There is legitimate information there.

At the 11-minute mark, Yong Yea goes on to talking about the similar case of how Slightly Mad Studios almost had the exact same thing done to them by EA (based upon his 2nd source he links).  Here we get the view from the smaller studio.  There, the CEO was cautious and had set things up careful.  EA has insisted on an exclusive contract.  Just before new work under that contract was about to begin, EA cancelled the contract and contacted several team members directly trying to poach them.  It turned out differently because of taking precautions and he successfully scrambled to get more funding and work over the next few months.

What EA did was very blatant, wrong, and in line with what they've done in the past.  What TTI did appears to be similar from what we know.  If it wasn't, why didn't TTI/PD put out the story before the story broke in the media?

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The good news is the development project is still intact and not being run by psychotics, probably.

Unlike the fiasco of Sword of the Stars II where the developer Kerberos hypocritically sold out to Paradox for a bunch of development money (after saying how much they hated publishers) and then failed to deliver a completed game (the broken version they did ship frankly had tedious player punishing gameplay) in what appeared to be self destructive madness. Paradox owned the rights and refused to fund further development due to Kerberos deceiving them and the fan base and left Kerberos high and dry. Everybody lost.

Indy developers are not always on the side of the angels. Goodness only knows what happened at Star Theory but it sounds like an attempt to leverage the nearly complete game in exchange for a nice exit strategy aka golden parachute for the studio owners and someone at Take Two said "screw that its ours & we dont do blackmail" and kicked them in the nuts.

I kinda hope the game succeeds tbh.

I will probably buy it but warn TTI PD and Intercept, its my duty and my interest to review honestly and I expect Scott Manley will do likewise. Like he said in one of his vids a while back, dont "mess" up.

Edited by boolybooly
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11 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

Let's say ... a boycott works; the result isn't these practices stopping or us getting KSP2. The result is Take-Two Interactive still being a multi-billion dollar corporation that milks their sports franchises for cash with MTX, KSP IP being thrown in a dustbin for years while they wait out the outrage, and nobody getting what they want.

Who needs a KSP2?

There was this game Operation Flashpoint that was an unexpected hit from a small devloper, which was partnered with the Publisher codemasters. Things between the two went south, Codemasters had the rights to the name "Operation Flashpoint" they made a sequel, but the franchise is dead... I don't care.

The small developer made a "spiritual successor", named Armed Assault (Aka, Arma), and the Arma franchise continues to this day.

If TTI is unethical, and if there is a boycott that works, all that happens is the name KSP dies out. The market for such a game does not die out. The Simple Rockets devs could fill the void. Former Squad and Star theory (the non-poached ones) employees, prominent modders, could collaborate on a new spiritual successor, taking... I don't know a mod name as the new franchise name: "Beyond Home" or something.

The message it would send is that there is a market for space similation games, but that particular customer base cares more about ethics than sports franchise fans... or whatever.

A boycott only fails to achieve results if the customers collectively make it fail.

 

That said, I'm still open to hearing TTI's side of this, and I'd rather not wait for a "spiritual successor".

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15 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

Let's say we actually live in fantasy land and a boycott works; the result isn't these practices stopping or us getting KSP2. The result is Take-Two Interactive still being a multi-billion dollar corporation that milks their sports franchises for cash with MTX, KSP IP being thrown in a dustbin for years while they wait out the outrage, and nobody getting what they want.

But we don't live in fantasy land, and iv'e been around long enough to see multiple "Gamer Boycotts". And here's what's going to happen to all of this discussion about "Morals" and "Ethics" come the first new hype trailer.

The moment it releases the vast majority of these people are going to get right back on the hype train and start throwing money at 2K like they're a stripper on a pole, and all of this will be rapidly forgotten. Some people will stick to their guns and not buy KSP2, and they won't impact the sales or developer conditions at all because they're going to be overwhelmed by the people who buy it anyway.

In the end; this means KSP2 will be judged on it's merits as a game despite your personal belief or opinions on the development.

The only way that Indie Developers won't get ran over is either by Unionizing or not making deals with Publishers who have a long history of these moves. I know you won't agree with me, and think my position is cold and distant. But that's the reality.

This, boycotts or rater people not buying the product works in the way that more products of the type are not produced. 
Face it an boycott of will never gather enough momentum.
However Disney are not making Star Wars theatrical movies for years.
The steam starting to go out of the game as an service model who is very old as in worked in decades for MMO. But it don't work then you try to do all games that way. 
In short you make bad products its an high chance people will stop buying it.  Not always lots of sports games has been borderland scams for an long time. 

On the other hand game media has an very bad reputation for trying to create drama for clicks. An more plausible theory here is that Star theory was very unprepared for the development, they assumed it to be an magnitude easier than it was. Think average forum member, falcon heavy moon landing program idea :)  so kind of developer hell. They found they needed way more money also time because of the virus, Take-Two pulled the plug. Not saying Take-Two is the good guys but they had reasons. Probably also was cooperate disagreements. 
Now the main issue I see is modablility getting hurt, on the other hand that is that made KSP an classic game so damaging it would hurt sales. 

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