• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Opinion Drama Business Are Business-Politics Influencing PCF's Claims on GP Hurting Outrider Sales?

You Thoughts (2 max)?

  • PCF are right about GP

    Votes: 7 36.8%
  • PCF are wrong about GP

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • Square-Enix and/or Take-Two are making PCF blame GP

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • Another platform holder is using SE and/or T2 and PCF as proxy attack against MS & GP

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • SE are just greedy and don't want to pay PCF their royalties

    Votes: 10 52.6%

  • Total voters
    19
  • Poll closed .
Aug 28, 2019
4,840
9,829
650
www.instagram.com


The controversy. The controversy never ends.

So I just gave the Gameindustry.biz article on the whole Outriders situation a read-through. Yes, it is weird they have not been paid royalties for a game that, according to Square-Enix themselves, was a success (certainly much more than Marvel's Avengers has been), and I hope that PCF can receive what they are owed from their publisher.

However, seeing how the following line:

He suggests that this may be due to costs around distribution platforms, "entities offering Outriders as an addition to their platform,"

Has led many to assume a reference to Microsoft and GamePass, this has started up a whole sea of its own controversy, and I am now personally thinking there may be other forces at play beyond PCF that are influencing this particular rhetoric. After all, PCF have no access to the numbers themselves, so they don't necessarily have a ground of basis to speculate on anything as to WHY they haven't been paid their royalties, especially with their publisher publicly stating the game was a success and could be their next big franchise. So, why suddenly speculate that the service which, in PCF's own words, helped give a boost to the player base, is what caused them to miss sales targets for royalties that Square-Enix publicly alluded to as actually not being missed?

[THE TAKE-TWO CONNECTION]

Like was just mentioned, PCF currently have a project in the works for Take-Two. Recently, Take-Two came forward giving their thoughts on a GamePass-style model, saying they didn't feel it'd be a "good fit" with the type of games they make. Which is fine; it is their games at the end of the day and they are free to choose whatever model is appropriate.

However, actual data from sales performance of their biggest game, GTA 5, shortly after it left GamePass directly counters this publicly given take. In another Gameindustry.biz article, it's noted that in the UK GTA 5 saw a 44% increase in sales, with this increase coinciding with its departure from the GamePass service. Now, yes, this can somewhat be attributed to simply circumstance, but there is a strong correlation that can be drawn here. Also, granted, this is something which has just recently happened, and would not have occurred in time for Take-Two's earlier statement, but it does open the possibility that Take-Two spoke too soon in reference to if their games are a fit for a GamePass-like service.

That, of course, assumes that the top brass at Take-Two actually care about playing honest with new data that might refute their earlier beliefs. If in case they continue to hold onto their beliefs WRT GamePass going forward, and that coincides with a string of, say, content deals or promotional deals that may lean a certain other way in terms of a platform bias, then there is good ground to speculate that some backstage theatrical business politics could be a motivating factor in making these kind of viewpoints (that could have data which disproves them, rather easily accessible) public.

By putting them out publicly, it conditions a training in reaffirming/confirming existing biases against a given thing that segments of the audience may already have, which can lead those individuals to influence others in their circles to feel similar, drawing more public support for a viewpoint that data may not actually support, but for these type of theatrical business political stagings, it's really the narrative that matters, not whether that narrative is actually verifiable. It would also help in sowing seeds of doubt into other developers and publishers in making such business deals to provide their content Day-and-Date on such a subscription service, which is probably the more harmful of the two consequences.

[THE SQUARE-ENIX FACTOR]

That all being said, it's entirely possible that Take-Two aren't the only higher force influencing some of PCF's speculation. It's in fact possible they aren't involved whatsoever, which means there's a possibility that Square-Enix themselves could be responsible. Now, there are a few reasons for Square-Enix here that don't actually operate in the venue of backstage theatrical business politics that could serve as a proxy attack from a rival platform holder (or, also being fair here, some member of the board or crop of shareholders who could have a financial bias leaning to a given other platform), and I figure it's a good idea to go into those given the wilder one is something I just spent the bulk of the Take-Two side speculating on (and would be similar in the case of Square-Enix if that is in fact their reasoning).

The simplest possible reason is that Square-Enix are just a slimy and greedy publisher, and may want PCF to put the idea out there it is due to GamePass inclusion, to cover for the fact Square-Enix had no valid reason to withhold royalty payment. So with another source out there that can take the blame, Square-Enix can appear more virtuous by going "Hey, even if that was the reason, we'll do right by you and pay you the royalties!", which would be positive PR for them rather than just general indifference if they could in fact not try shifting blame for supposed failed sales targets on something other than themselves.

Although that's the explanation I would like to go with, it's not too sensible of one given how that also creates a negative focus on a platform holder in Microsoft, and potentially can put a strain between their business relationship with them. Which, yes, is one that exists even if it's not as strong of one as is with other platform holders. So, it's also possible that maybe GamePass...IS the reason sales goals were supposedly not met, but again that takes us back to earlier statements from Square-Enix themselves of the game supposedly being a sales success, enough of one to become another major franchise. Given the possibility Outriders has a very modest budget, likely no more or even less than a game like Returnal (which for its publisher was a claimed success @ 560,000 copies sold), it very likely should have easily passed sales thresholds to earn PCF their royalties unless Square-Enix had very unrealistic sales targets internally, or purposefully overspent on areas of the game's development and/or marketing which...maybe would not be too unusual for Square-Enix 🤷‍♂️ .

Due to this I'm forced to consider, IF in fact this sudden speculation on PCF's part is from a higher power and that power is in fact Square-Enix, that this could be fueled by backstage theatrical business politics, driven as a proxy on behalf of a certain other platform holder. Considering that Square-Enix has very close ties to said other platform holder, providing them multiple long-term (1-2 year minimum) timed exclusives as well as exclusive content in multiplat content that releases Day-and-Date across platforms, plus co-marketing deals and promotion paid in part by said other platform holder? It's a possibility said other platform holder might've seen the move by Microsoft to negotiate a Square-Enix published property for inclusion into its game subscription service on Day 1, as a threat to future exclusivity deal negotiations with Square-Enix, whether that be more deals similar to Outriders for GamePass, or even making games like the next Final Fantasy Day-and-Date on platforms aside their own.

[WRAPPING IT UP]

Any opportunity to sow public doubt in a competitor product without having to do it oneself, is an opportunity most companies will take up, and being able to leverage powerful partners to front such an effort too luring a prospect to turn away. Now, I AM NOT STATING AS A FACT this is something any certain platform holder is engaging in through the use of publishers such as Take-Two or Square-Enix. I am also not stating as a fact that said publishers are encouraging this as a pass-along towards developers of theirs who may have works on a competitor's product or service that can be played into for forming a narrative dissuading not only customers but also other developers and publishers. That being said, it's not a hard scenario to picture as being reality.

Unfortunately, with how big the gaming industry is now, there is bound to be uglier sides of Washington politics-style shadiness (or the type of shadiness in big companies of traditionally massive industries like music and film) to have worked their way into proceedings, and this is not something beyond possibility for any platform holder. Indeed, all three have exhibited such tendencies in the past. However, this particular possibility is worth a deeper thought given its pertinence to what's occurring at this point in time, and to see if further develops support or rebuke this possibility as being a certain reality of what's fueling things like PCF's recent public statements of speculation.

We will just have to wait and see, but it's a scenario worth keeping on the table. In any case, I'm interested to see what the community thinks about this, so sound off below and let's talk about it.
 
Last edited:

Bladed Thesis

Member
Jun 7, 2019
2,548
6,277
510
When you want to emphasize something by underlining it, that's cool. When every other sentence has an underline, you're putting emphasis on too much.

Otherwise, decent speculation but at the end, its the same as the article previously: who knows. Everybody is guessing the reason and if you're Team Blue it's obvious that Gamepass is to blame and if you're Team Green it's obvious that Gamepass isn't to blame. And if you're Team Both well, it's not important enough to worry.
 

Leyasu

Member
Apr 25, 2014
6,300
3,563
720
Take two don’t have enough games to have a subscription service. Simple. Strauss can spin it any way he wants. Nobody is going to subscribe for one or two games per year.

Square took the money that they thought was correct for having it day one on GP. Square needs to pay up. That is all.

But it is a lesson for devs in the future to make sure that their royalties are not affected by publishers signing GP deals.

Absolutely no need for a conspiracy thread which is going to turn into a shitshow of epic proportions. You knew full well what you was doing when you created this.

Where is the option to vote for “blatant console wars thread”?
 
Last edited:

Dabaus

Banned
Apr 23, 2018
2,060
4,702
475
Unless Microsoft is willing to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars per game, then its going to drastically hurt the developer and or publisher. You cant condition your fan base to not buy games and undercut developers on incentives. Outriders was tailor made to be successful for something like gamepass and it wasnt.
 

Zathalus

Member
Jul 16, 2020
1,059
2,653
445
Outriders was a top selling game on Xbox in addition to being on Gamepass, it sold quite well on Steam as well (somewhere between 1 to 2 million on Steam alone). The game is hardly an example of a game with a massive budget, so I find it very hard to believe this game didn't make quite a bit.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Jan 13, 2018
10,024
21,323
1,010
If it's a simple contract dispute, you just settle that in court and typically not in the press. The only reason to take anything like this to the press is to make someone look bad without having to provide evidence.

Maybe the evidence is there, maybe it's not. All we know for sure is someone wanted to put the story out to make someone look bad.
 

skit_data

Member
Nov 3, 2020
2,817
6,878
455
Outriders was a top selling game on Xbox in addition to being on Gamepass, it sold quite well on Steam as well (somewhere between 1 to 2 million on Steam alone). The game is hardly an example of a game with a massive budget, so I find it very hard to believe this game didn't make quite a bit.
I just realized it has been in development since 2015, thats quite some time for this type of game. Given that its not impossible that the expectations were pretty high from Square Enix side.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Jan 13, 2018
10,024
21,323
1,010
Unless Microsoft is willing to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars per game, then its going to drastically hurt the developer and or publisher. You cant condition your fan base to not buy games and undercut developers on incentives. Outriders was tailor made to be successful for something like gamepass and it wasnt.
1st party is not a factor for the service. AA games and indies definitely don't cost 100s of millions.

The last type of game on the service is big third party games, which Gamepass only gets a small handful of. They probably paid a lot for Yakuza LAD. Third party big budget games will cost a lot and will be on Gamepass a lot less frequently than other types of games, which is how it is now. It's still appealing.
 

Leyasu

Member
Apr 25, 2014
6,300
3,563
720
Unless Microsoft is willing to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars per game, then its going to drastically hurt the developer and or publisher. You cant condition your fan base to not buy games and undercut developers on incentives. Outriders was tailor made to be successful for something like gamepass and it wasnt.
?? Publishers won’t sign if the deal isn’t worth it.

The game wasn’t successful because it is not good. Nobody that I know still plays it. Nothing to do with GP or paying full price
 

Men_in_Boxes

Member
May 31, 2020
6,267
12,310
665
Outriders was a top selling game on Xbox in addition to being on Gamepass, it sold quite well on Steam as well (somewhere between 1 to 2 million on Steam alone). The game is hardly an example of a game with a massive budget, so I find it very hard to believe this game didn't make quite a bit.

People Can Fly currently employs 350+ employees and Outriders has been in development for 6 years.

Its budget was probably pretty damn big.
 
Mar 7, 2017
3,047
6,364
520
[THE TAKE-TWO CONNECTION]

Like was just mentioned, PCF currently have a project in the works for Take-Two. Recently, Take-Two came forward giving their thoughts on a GamePass-style model, saying they didn't feel it'd be a "good fit" with the type of games they make. Which is fine; it is their games at the end of the day and they are free to choose whatever model is appropriate.

However, actual data from sales performance of their biggest game, GTA 5, shortly after it left GamePass directly counters this publicly given take.

I see reading comprehension remains to be the biggest weakness on this forum.

Take-Two never said GP and sub-services weren't a good fit for the type of games they made. They said they weren't a good fit for multi-(read hundreds of)-millions of dollar games released day one. They explicitly excluded legacy games, of which GTA 5 indeed is, and therefore these absurd attempts to try to point out any seeming hypocrisy in their statement only goes to reveal the poor comprehension and/or puerility of the critic.

GTA V is precisely the type of game sub-services are good for. And Take-Two never claimed anything different.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Zones
Aug 28, 2019
4,840
9,829
650
www.instagram.com
Take two don’t have enough games to have a subscription service. Simple. Strauss can spin it any way he wants. Nobody is going to subscribe for one or two games per year.

Square took the money that they thought was correct for having it day one on GP. Square needs to pay up. That is all.

But it is a lesson for devs in the future to make sure that their royalties are not affected by publishers signing GP deals.

Absolutely no need for a conspiracy thread which is going to turn into a shitshow of epic proportions. You knew full well what you was doing when you created this.

Where is the option to vote for “blatant console wars thread”?

Can the same not be said about PCF's own public statements insinuating GP as a factor for not getting their royalties, knowing at least to some degree public discontent (whether genuine or not) against the service, and the sensationalist headlines and reports it'd generate for clicks?

Insist this is a conspiracy thread all you'd like (and TBF, I put the idea out because I've not seen others do it, even though there is no proof that disproves the theory I've put forth, and I did post other theories as possibilities that aren't in relation to what you feel is a fraudulent one), but be fair and insist that certain statements from individuals at certain companies can just as easily be thrown into the "conspiracy" pit given persistent trends and data that works against them, too.

That said, I did not make this thread to fuel console war shenanigans, there's a reason I did not mention other platforms or their holders by name. It's existence is to simply entertain that, yes, as "crazy" as this idea may sound, it COULD be a factor at play, and as long as we speculate on it responsibly, there should be no issue in entertaining its likelihood.

I just realized it has been in development since 2015, thats quite some time for this type of game. Given that its not impossible that the expectations were pretty high from Square Enix side.

Didn't know it was in development that long. Very possible the game's had scrapped content and revamps, which'd of costed a lot of money, and that would all certainly be something Square-Enix are looking to recoup.

Had the game been of a shorter development cycle and absolutely no funding wasted on scrapped content or redesigns, the sales as they are should unquestionably have been enough to get PCF their royalties. In light of what's being shared here, though, very possible they've yet to generate enough revenue (and I'm wondering if SE's terms were in generated revenue vs. copies sold) to earn royalties.

It makes the scenario that PCF are in the wrong for expecting royalties ATM much more a leading one, but not for the reasons they have publicly put out for speculation.

When you want to emphasize something by underlining it, that's cool. When every other sentence has an underline, you're putting emphasis on too much.

Fair enough. Think I might edit the OP later to get rid of some of the underlining.

Otherwise, decent speculation but at the end, its the same as the article previously: who knows. Everybody is guessing the reason and if you're Team Blue it's obvious that Gamepass is to blame and if you're Team Green it's obvious that Gamepass isn't to blame. And if you're Team Both well, it's not important enough to worry.

I do slightly disagree on this part; I'd like to say I'm on "Team All" (as in, all the platform holders), but I'm also interested in business ethics and how they are or aren't being applied by them, and how the media looks into things of that nature and report on it.

Because that tells a lot about people in certain positions and what sort of gains they could be looking for WRT to how they report and message these type of happenings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: skit_data
Aug 28, 2019
4,840
9,829
650
www.instagram.com
Take-Two never said GP and sub-services weren't a good fit for the type of games they made. They said they weren't a good fit for multi-(read hundreds of)-millions of dollar games released day one.

Which are the type of games Take-Two is pretty much known for making. Both GTA 5 and RDR2 fit that mold.

I'll give you the "Day 1" part, but there is an undercurrent in that part of his statement which implies that could be applied to AAA Day-and-Date releases in general, extending to Microsoft's own AAA 1P releases coming day-and-date to the service. So at least in terms of inference, that comment could be interpreted as in reference to GamePass on the whole (for AAA content), Day-and-Date notwithstanding.

Also the "Day 1" condition here is a bit of a non-factor; it's not like Take-Two would decide "Okay, Day 1 sales were excellent. Let's put it in GamePass Day 2!". No, "Day 1" could just as easily be worded justification in this instance for any extensive period of time to withhold the product from such a service, spanning months or even years. Take-Two also has no examples to point to that a AAA Day-and-Date release into a service like GamePass "doesn't make sense" from a financial POV, though it is mostly up to Microsoft to change their mind on such a thought, not ours.

They explicitly excluded legacy games, of which GTA 5 indeed is, and therefore these absurd attempts to try to point out any seeming hypocrisy in their statement only goes to reveal the poor comprehension and/or puerility of the critic.

But the focus of discussion on the viability of these subscription services has shifted from hosting legacy content to hosting new, bigger-name content Day-and-Date. The focus on services like GP WRT impact for performance of legacy content has more or less been concluded, enough evidence proving that by and large, it is a benefit for them.

However many skeptics are focused more on what type of impact (positive, negative, any) it has with their content as third-parties to include it Day-and-Date on the service alongside as a digital and physical purchase, and I think that's something companies like Take-Two know very well when putting out the sort of statements they did.

GTA V is precisely the type of game sub-services are good for. And Take-Two never claimed anything different.

Again, though, the lens through which the conversation of 3P content on gaming services (and the impact that has on the long-term financial health of said titles) is being seen through the focus on NEW AAA, leading games releasing to such a service Day-and-Date. GTA5's performance in this regard has no bearing of impact, or relevance, to that side of the discussion.

Of course Take-Two could not claim otherwise in that game's case, the data prevents them from doing so. However, they have no data to verify their belief on games like a GTA 5 or 6 launching new, Day-and-Date into such a gaming service being bad for such game, either. So what motivates them to take such a stance at all?

And again, even all that being said, it's mainly up to companies like Microsoft to prove such viability with results. One can say they have been doing so on a smaller scale with games like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4 and MS Flight Simulator, but the big tests will come a little later, starting IMO with Halo Infinite. For their sake I hope they can generate the results that will put beliefs doubting their service's viability for 3P AAA Day-and-Date releases to rest.
 
Aug 28, 2019
4,840
9,829
650
www.instagram.com
Shouldn't the gamepass money reduced the need to sell as well on Xbox to still be considered a hit?
You'd think so, if the metric for determining its success was in generated revenue, and if generated revenue also pertained to monies received for inclusion in service deals.

However, I don't think Square-Enix actually factored received GamePass payments towards whatever revenue/profit targets PCF needed to hit for the game, and it seems like Microsoft may've negotiated an upfront payment type of deal with Square-Enix (i.e no payments based on player numbers on GamePass). I would not put it past Square-Enix to do this.

That said, if what people like skit_data skit_data and Men_in_Boxes Men_in_Boxes say is true, that the game has spent an unusually long amount of time in development likely accruing tons of costs wasted in cut content and revamps, various hires etc., then I can in some way see why Square-Enix would want an immediate cash influx from Microsoft for GamePass inclusion of the game that doesn't factor into whatever revenue targets they set for PCF, to make up for some of the lost production costs of the game over the years.

That's not a wholly unreasonable thing for Square-Enix to do TBQH, if in fact there's a lot of sunk costs into the game's development that PCF would rather not want to publicly allude to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Werewolfgrandma

purvispisgah

Member
May 10, 2007
592
258
1,320
To me the question is this:

In the royalties contract between PCF and SE, was the Gamepass revenue explicitly spelled out, or was that revenue the SE could take in but not factor into royalties?

This is a similar question to a lot of motion picture streaming revenue contracts, and I expect more of these stories to crop up.
 
Aug 28, 2019
4,840
9,829
650
www.instagram.com
To me the question is this:

In the royalties contract between PCF and SE, was the Gamepass revenue explicitly spelled out, or was that revenue the SE could take in but not factor into royalties?

This is a similar question to a lot of motion picture streaming revenue contracts, and I expect more of these stories to crop up.
It's seeming like it could've been the latter of those two scenarios. It's a bit similar to how the MLB The Show '21 stuff played out, I don't think any were expecting that in GamePass Day 1. Meanwhile we saw in the leaked RE: Village contract that GamePass was explicitly mentioned and factored into those terms.

Speaking of MLB though, isn't that a game VERY similar to Outriders in terms of release strategy and availability in GamePass on Day 1? Also MP-centric, too? Yet we know that '21 is the BEST-selling MLB game ever and GamePass/Xbox contributed massively to player uptick, as well as sales (digital sales were never included in the charts for MLB on Xbox but it already placed #2 for its debut month there without them included).

It makes PCF's assertions regarding GP hurting their sales all the more dumb-looking when we can look at another game which also released in GP that same month see its best sales ever while being available on all the same platforms. Hence the original premise of the thread that either PCF are being aloof or, maybe, there's some other forces at play that want to orchestrate a narrative.
 

ShadowLag

Member
Jun 4, 2013
544
943
735
USA
This thread reminds me of that guy that was always posting weird 4000 page writeups on BluRay codecs and the chips that could decode them, what was his name again?