A Brief Update

Beta testing is going well, and I anticipate a first release candidate within the next week.

The publication question remains open. I’ve had discussions with ViaTech, and I think it’s very likely the technical issues that have caused installation difficulties with Windows 7/8 will not occur with their new libraries. If I go with ViaTech, Front Office Football Seven will be available within two weeks. I’m leaning toward this option.

12 Responses to “A Brief Update”

  1. Olsson Says:

    If ViaTech has resolved their issues with Win 7/8 and they have done something about their customer service I say go with them. Unfortunately there’s a lot of stories about their awful customer service on FOFC.

    I like Steam, but getting greenlighted could take ages, and while I think the hardcore gamers will buy the game regardless of release time. I believe it would give a boost in sales by coming out while the season is still on.

    Of course I can’t say I’m not biased. I just want to take the new game out for a spin as soon as possible.

  2. Jim Gindin Says:

    Two important factors make me want to avoid Steam:

    1) The Greenlight process is long and uncertain, and there’s no guarantee they’d even consider the product. That whole attitude is “you’re lucky we’re even willing to take a cut of your revenue.” That’s fine – I understand that attitude in that they’ve created a great product and so many of us would like to distribute into a stream that millions use. But it’s not good when the release is time-sensitive. If I were to go Greenlight, I should have started three months ago.

    2) They control the price and sales and such. I don’t think FOF is well-suited to variable pricing. It’s more an evergreen-type product. Fifteen years of sales figures back that up very strongly.

    ViaTech is tricky. I can call up the owner at any time. He’s a great guy, very positive, I have a long, long relationship with them. He listened when I had a hot product and moved a lot of copies quickly. He still listens after my dud of a card game and a couple of years now of weak sales figures. I want very much to stick with ViaTech.

    I’d like to figure out the customer service issue. They are customer-oriented. They have a reasonable standard for response. Yet I still hear that people wait too long. Every time I’ve taken an individual case to them, I find their side of the story verifiable. I think, most of the time, the problem is in spam-traps. There needs to be a better mechanism for communication, but what do you do if a response is spam-blocked on your end? You have no idea it was even sent. It’s logical to blame ViaTech even if they’ve done everything right.

    I think, if they have really fixed the issue with an installation hanging without telling you either to give the install administrative permissions, or to log in with an account that has administrative permissions, then I want to stick with ViaTech.

  3. Olsson Says:

    Luckily I’ve never had problems with the service at ViaTech. I’ve needed them two times and I have had help enough to solve the issue within 24 hours.

    I have no idea how many copies of FOF2007 have sold, but honestly I think the percentage of users that have had problems are quite few. It’s just that these cases seem extreme.

    I think it would be stupid to underestimate your relationship with ViaTech. I would suspect that it would be harder to get steam to listen if you run into unsatisfied customers on FOFC etc. I mean FOF will always be a niche game for Steam.

    As for the price I agree. You got to earn a living as well. If the game goes on steam a lot of people might delay the purchase untill a weekend offer or similar. Also while talking about your income I would expect ViaTech to be a cheaper solution for you as well. That’s worth considering as well.

  4. Alan Jobb Says:

    I love Steam for its ease and convenience, plus the chance to boost your exposure. But your reasons for avoiding seem very sound.

    any reason you couldn’t initially release via via tech and then add steam later and give people both options. This seems to be the model OOTP has used.

  5. Jim Gindin Says:

    Alan, if I do that what happens if Steam insists on a lower price point? Or those sales that everyone talks about. It seems like it works against loyal customers.

    If I release in December with ViaTech, it’s probably best to wait at least a few months before even considering Greenlight.

  6. garion333 Says:

    Aren’t the Steam sales worked out in conjunction with the publishers? I don’t think anyone is forced into putting their game on sale because there are those who don’t (most notably recently released games). And the percentage that any particular game is on sale for is clearly directed by the publisher or dev as Activision only discount Call of Duty games by 25% or so while most other games see 50% or more depending on how recently they were released.

    The bit about game price could be something Steam controls but I have no idea. Other companies have released later on Steam and generally have had a lower price as noted by Jeff Vogel: http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/08/avadon-is-out-on-steam.html

    If you have a good relationship with ViaTech then stick with them. I’ve had good turn around times from them in the past and while they may not be the mega corp Steam is with a 24/7 crack team of responders they still do a good job.

  7. Alan Jobb Says:

    you know I am not sure, since I have never developed\released a game.

    however as a long time consumer of sports sims game (back to stratomatic card games in the early 70s) and purchaser of every FOF game since v1 I dont see that is a major problem.

    for us the consumer. games starting at a high price and then decreasing over time is simply how it works for all games. No one gets mad that xbox games that were 60 at release are half that a year later. Also as an avid player of games like Civ it never bothered me to pay full price and then see the game on sale later. In fact I love it in case I want the game at release and then buy the game on sale for one of my kids later.

    for you the developer you probably make a higher percentage at release, but lower on the later sales. However even if you make 50% less, but sell 3x as many games on steam over the lifetime of the release that seems like a great deal for you. especially now since there is no labor\materials costs for increased sales.

    for me, I will purchase day one no matter where you release because you have earned my loyalty with the quality over more then a decade of playing your games.

    I don’t at all pretend to know what it the best business model for you, but I do think that the more people who discover your game the better it will be for your long term career as one of the last solo game developers.

    now lets get that game released! The high school team I coach lost in the semi-finals last night so I have no more practices or games – I need my FOF fix!

  8. Neel Says:

    Greetings from freezing Seattle.

    I have had good experiences with ViaTech over the years. This is good news and looking forward to the new game.

  9. Ken Wickes Says:

    Put it up asap on ViaTech. You are most comfortable with it, it makes best sense for your business. And everyone who wants it can make it work for them to buy it. Everyone has had to work through minor web related problems in their lives, not to difficult.

  10. swaldorf Says:

    Excited for the new release and best wishes. Greatly prefer Steam to Viatech but ypu know your own business best. Do wonder if perhaps you could find someone with Steam access and co-partner for a steam release. Like if you’d sell enough extra copies to offset breaking off another revenue piece. Anyways glaf a new game is coming and glad you’ve found hapiness.

  11. Ian Jalbert Says:

    I would try to get on Steam if at all possible. Not just for the ease of use, but that you’re exposing your product to a market that’s probably a thousand times bigger than the one that is currently aware of FOF.

    The good news is that both OOTP and Gridiron Solitaire have been greenlit in the past week, maybe this is signalling the next phase for sports sims. I’d personally try my best to be on board with that if at all possible.

  12. mikaela Says:

    I say stick with ViaTech and get it up ASAP. I’ve never had an issue the two times I’ve had to contact them. Plus with your relationship with them and your involvement, I think it’s safe to say that if someone has a problem it will get resolved some how.


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