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Developer forced to abandon game over piracy

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 31 Jan 2007 10:26 User comments (18)

Developer forced to abandon game over piracy Sports Interactive has been forced to abandon its Eastside Hockey Manager because of what the company describes as "mounting piracy". Managing director Miles Jacobson explained the situation in a forum post right after the company released the final patch for the game. Despite getting excellent reviews, the game's sales simply did not pick up, even in its strongest location, Scandinavia.
"The sales in Scandinavia, that had pretty much kept the game going, dropped heavily, from our analysis of the situation, mainly due to the game getting hacked before release, and pirated," Jacobson explained. The company had opted for digital distribution instead of offering a boxed version for the title.

"We had more licenses than any other hockey game in history, it was the best Hockey management game in the history of gaming. So, despite Hockey being a bit less popular post the hiatus of the sport in the US in 2004, we still couldn't fail, right? Wrong. The orders came in a drizzle, rather than a flood," said Jacobson.

"We scratched our heads trying to work out what had gone wrong. And then someone pointed out that the game was being pirated, and was available as a torrent from lots of different pirating sites. Then we sat there and watched as the claimed amount of downloads on those sites went up and up, as sales stayed static." he added.

Whatever your stance is on file sharing, you have to understand the frustration you would have if you were in this situation; watching a game you paid to develop get excessively pirated and not sold. "Basically, the game did not bring in enough money to cover the development costs, let alone the license fees on top of that," Jacobson explained.

"So we've had to make the decision to stop development on the game for now - it doesn't mean that it'll never come back, but for the foreseeable future, there will not be another version of Eastside Hockey Manager." he added. He said anyone working on the game has now been relocated to other projects within the company.

Jacobson also has some words for people who've downloaded the game illegally: "And to those of you who pirated it, this is what happens when you steal. There are no excuses you can give that are valid for stealing - you have lead to the demise of a game that you enjoyed playing."

While you can easily understand the anger from the company over this problem, you still have to wonder whether anyone who downloaded the game illegally would have ever considered buying it at all.


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18 user comments

131.1.2007 10:45

Eastside What??????

231.1.2007 10:59

can I see some facts here.....I so love it when they blame poor sales on poorly made games to "piracy" or used games.

331.1.2007 11:49

oooooh a hockey game? Blame some unheard of games un-successfulness on pirates. How would it get hacked before release? sounds like someone on the inside leaked it. And digital distribution is just asking for trouble.

431.1.2007 12:26

Lots of games have been hacked and get downloaded, even very successful ones and they still manage to sell and make money. My bet is on a cr@p game being the root of this problem.

531.1.2007 17:26

sounds more like bull&#!+... a quick search on P2P nets showed 10 sources for this game, hardly a popular or successful game...

631.1.2007 17:52

boo hoo, stop being a baby. todays end users have spoken, they will no longer put up with being taken advantage of. if you make something you better figure out how to make money off it from in game adverts cause the days of paying for games, movies, aplications, and music is over.

731.1.2007 19:14

Sounds like a stupid game anyway....I wouldnt buy it im more of a EA or 2K hockey fan so they can blame it on them for their bullshit game

831.1.2007 19:26

I think a game where you collect dog turds would be more interesting then a game about managing a hockey team.

91.2.2007 0:12

I'd pay for a dog turd collection management? Is that a sleep aid?

101.2.2007 12:29

oh my God really ppl actually pay for a game on how to manage a Hockey team. wait ppl actually pirate this!!!??

112.2.2007 12:45

I never heard of that game ever where do these fools come up with these lame excuses to try and get more government officials in on the P2P downloading. They are full poopie doo.

123.2.2007 7:55

Originally posted by vashwolf:
I think a game where you collect dog turds would be more interesting then a game about managing a hockey team.
If you come across a dog turd collecting game let everyone know......

probably be a lot better than most games coming out right now.

134.2.2007 9:10

how about a game called 'The Blame Game'... long overdue title in my opinion.

144.2.2007 22:21

Based on the comments here, it seems that those who enjoy sharing files are satisfied blaming the dev when they go under -- but never, under any circumstances, is P2P to blame for anything, right? When your sales drop precipitously and then remain flat even as your IP is being downloaded from several torrent sites around the world, it is not out of the realm of possibility to suggest that piracy had something to do with it. There are other factors to consider, too. Perhaps there was an especially strong competitor in that genre that just executed better than that dev did. Perhaps the game really sucked, and that is the real reason for the poor sales. But on this forum at least, it appears that P2P is never to blame for anything. IMHO, P2P apologists are just as happy living in denial as the industry suits who are quick to blame P2P for all their ills, even their self-induced ones. How about a novel idea? Why not examine each situation individually in an effort to learn the truth, as opposed to just reacting in the same knee-jerk fashion to all complaints about piracy? Believe it or not, good games cost a lot of money to make. So just advocating unabashed file sharing without considering its impact is a short-sighted policy. (If you like quality titles and want to see more of them in the future, anyway.)

154.2.2007 22:28

i thought we did analysis it on a case to case... in this case, its a hockey team managing game that is so lame that it only had negligable active seeds with a few leechers on torrent sites. Get with it dood, this is the techie age, content is a dime a dozen. good content will get bought, crap content is going to appear as being destroyed by pirating, since obviously everyone pirates everything anyways, especially by early adopters that drive sales thru forum posts, word of mouth, and sourcing. its a new age of distribution for digital content. p2p and hacking and open source are HUGE. at this forum we get that, other forums don't.

165.2.2007 16:33

Very well said POEE! Denial is rampant on both sides of the coin here. When companies see the bottom line turning RED (losses) and staying there, are they going to remain in business? What happens when pirating seriously damages the very businesses/people who release the items that people want to pirate? They go out of business is what happens, and then where do you get that next new whatever torrent. Business, even large Corporationy ones, cannot maintain losses and remain viable in the marketplace. I'm not knocking the P2P world, I d'load music myself...but we ARE damaging the very thing we want the most when we do this, and don't fool yourselves believing that we don't...that's just being blind to reality. It's like saying "Global Warming is a Myth" these days, not true and so is the argument that P2P doesn't do any damage to the Movie/Music/S'ware industries. Eventually, especially if P2P continues to grow at the rate it is lately, this WILL drive major entertainment industries into bankruptcy, and that's not idle conjecture. You simply can't syphon off that much money from the industry without major repercussions at some point. And PLEASE...don't believe or propogate the argument that P2P is NOT costing the Movie/Music/S'ware industries money, and TONS of it. That's just a vain attempt to justify what we're really doing by saying it's not hurting is and I think we all know it. Like the comment made earlier here "the days of paying for games, movies, aplications, and music is over."..if that is true, just who is going to be left to MAKE that stuff for you then?

175.2.2007 17:25

as with any disruptive technology, p2p is destroying some companies because they are unable to identify and adapt to the new online distribution model. Sports Interactive should have implemented better security on its ONLINE ONLY downloadable game. Games like half-life and other online games (BF2..) and world of warcraft are far from losing out to P2P. And even tho the hockey game may not be multiplayer there are many tactics sports interactive could have taken to better secure the profitability of the company, like selling the game to Sports Universities perhaps... its called HUSTLING, companies that dont hustle and rely on old school thought, are dead before they get out. The music industry? You think that you can sum up the problems with the music industry and p2p in one paragraph? how dare you sir. lol. Watever happens to the music industry they deserve. Great bands will not quit making great songs because a bunch of suits just lost a billion dollars to some hackers in chechoslovakia. Money isnt destroyed, its only moved, as will be with the music industry.

1831.7.2010 6:55

It all sounds like nonsense and well said Nbj - I agree!

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