Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
19 December 2006
Who won when Ritual lost? Valve.
Scott Miller made an interesting point in Podcast #6: Why would anyone in the business of making first-person shooters want to partner with Valve and sell their game over Steam? Valve gets access to all your sales data, access to your player stats, and knows your business plans months ahead of anyone else.

So I think it's worth pointing out the big winner in the failure of Ritual's SiN Episodes: Valve and its own episodic shooter, Half-Life 2. They know more now about what works and what doesn't, and you can bet they'll be using it.

Not only does Valve now know how many sales Ritual got for the price they asked, but they probably also have access to the raw numbers behind this page of public statistics collected by Ritual's game after the 1.4 patch. (For more on the stats, read the 22 June 2006 entry on the SiN Episodes blog.) They know which maps were played most in online matches Arena Mode. It's at least possible that they even have access to information about how players actually play the game, if the data used to tune difficulty is also being sent back:
[W]e have a number of so-called Advisors tracking a ton of parameters, including obvious things like your health and your accuracy, but also seemingly outlandish stuff, like how much you jump during combat.
Ritual paid for the Source engine, paid for the Steam distribution, developed their game, failed, and now they probably won't be able to make real use of everything they learned. Valve, on the other hand, has all their money, no risk, and a pile of opposition research.

No wonder Scott Miller was wary of Valve and Steam.

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--Matt Matthews at 16:08
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

There is no online multiplayer component for sin: episodes.

By Blogger Zachary, at 20 December, 2006 00:19  

I assumed "Arena Mode" was multiplayer. It's against bots, I take it?

By Blogger jvm, at 20 December, 2006 00:33  

Endless swarms of AI that varies in skill as to how well you do.

By Blogger Zachary, at 20 December, 2006 00:58  

While Valve does have access to the playthrough data, it wouldn't do them much good.

Because we were limited in the amount of space available for uploading stats, we ended up associating each stat with the hashvalue of what it means.

So rather than having "Headshots: 50" in the stat upload, it's [Hash of "Headshots"][int 50].

That said, I'm actually happy with how "SiN Ep" sold...but that's me.

By Blogger Michael Russell, at 20 December, 2006 23:28  

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