A Crying Shame!

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

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A Crying Shame!

Post by lsc9x » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:31 pm

First off, I would like to preface this by saying that I have nothing but respect for Proxy Studios, Slitherine, and Matrix games. They run their own businesses, make their own decisions, and as an outsider looking in, it's really impossible for me to comment on their businesses.

Second, I would like to THANK those 3 companies for working hard to bring us Pandora: First Contact. I am having a blast playing it!

I know that the 4x market is a "niche market", and that fans of all types of strategy games can argue the pros and cons of each title on any number of levels: Complexity, depth, AI, UI, art, sounds, music, etc. Getting people to agree on any one title is always a task, and people can and do disagree all the time. So, if we can just put aside all that for a second, let's remember that the reason a lot of us play strategy games is to have FUN. I have played some very complex games like Europa Universalis IV and Distant Worlds, and while they are solid strategy games, for me, the former was too complicated for me to get into, and the latter had a steep learning curve and all my games ended up in stalemate.

I also come from OLD OLD school 4x gaming. Games from the early 1990s like "Storm Across Euopre" and "Empire II: Deluxe" were some of my favorites, and I have been waiting for a very long time for a game that was as fun, addictive, and re-playable as those titles, and have been sorely disappointed again and again. In fact, I had almost given up that anyone would go back to the basics, expand on what made those titles great, and update it for the modern PC gamer.

Pandora: First Class, in my opinion does exactly that. It may not be the most complex or complicated game, but neither is Chess or Go and those two games have been around for 1200 and 7000 years respectively, and there is a reason for that. They are simple to learn, but very difficult to master. PFC may not be as difficult right now as some would like, but that can always be improved upon, and it sounds like Proxy wants to keep developing the game. I just hope they keep some of the easier levels as well because I am not a "guru" like some of the other players on here, I just want a reasonable challenge and to have FUN! Remember FUN?

Anyway I just spent the last 2 hours (before going to work) looking over every game review site that came up on the first two pages of Google, and only PC Gamer had ANYTHING about PFC on their site. On most of the sites it's like PFC doesn't even exist! So, why is that a crying shame? Because I think that there are a lot of "less hardcore" strategy fans that were, like me, looking for a new title that really has that "fun factor" to it, and nobody outside of the 4X market, and Matrix games fans are even going to hear about this title with that kind of coverage. It's a crying shame because Galactic Civ 3 and M.O.R.E. are both on the way, and PFC may just be pushed into the background when those titles come out because GalCiv already has a fan base and because M.O.R.E. is going to be a game for MOO2 fans, being the spiritual successor to that game. PFC is a title that people don't know about, and I was LUCKY I found it 3 days ago, because it was on Matrix's website, and the only reason I knew about Matrix was because of Distant Worlds.

There is another complete discussion about Steam already on here, so I won't get into the pros and cons of that, but I would just say this:

Your game can't be a hit if nobody knows about it. PFC has what it takes to be a HIT, and I am 100% confident that Proxy can just make it BETTER with time.

Thank you!

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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by guille1434 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:17 am

A very good post, indeed... It seems like 4x games are made only for a minority of PC games players... Thsy surely deserve more press coverage.
By the way... What is the "M.O.R.E." game you mention as the succecsor to Master of Orion?

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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by HitmanN » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:24 am

lsc9x wrote: Your game can't be a hit if nobody knows about it.
Seconded, or thirded or whatever.

I'm, as usual, advocating Steam, but there are many other ways to get exposure as well.

With all respect, I get this feeling that Slitherine/Proxy doesn't even care about getting the game out there. I see no visible effort. No aggressive social media marketing, not using popular distribution channels, little to no articles or interviews of the game or the studio (you gotta let them know you exist!) ...

Come on! What is this?! I've never seen a company act so ignorant and indifferent to their product and sales.

Again, with all respect.

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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by Teodosio » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:53 am

lsc9x wrote:I know that the 4x market is a "niche market"
guille1434 wrote:A very good post, indeed... It seems like 4x games are made only for a minority of PC games players...
That's not true, Civ 5 is still the fourth most played game on Steam.
lsc9x wrote:Your game can't be a hit if nobody knows about it. PFC has what it takes to be a HIT, and I am 100% confident that Proxy can just make it BETTER with time.
Agree 100% on this one!

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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by Vivas » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:16 am

Maybe you could try and sell it on Desura?

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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by robc04_1 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:11 pm

If it's any consolation, my Pandora review pageviews has almost surpassed my Eador: Masters of a Broken World review, which has been published for 7 months. It has already passed my last review (Dominions 4). I'm not sure that this necessarily means anything, but people do seem to be interested in the game. Granted, my site is small potatoes so in the larger scheme of things it is probably irrelevant.

I'm pretty sure Matrix / Slitherine is aware of all the places they could sell it, but based on their data they decide it is more beneficial not to do so. We can all armchair run a company and think it's the wrong approach, but really we don't know. I do side with the sell it on Steam crowd, but really I have no clue as to how that would affect their profits. In 6 months the game would be selling for $20, with sales pushing it down to $10. Would they get enough volume to make up the price difference, who knows.

I am curious how agreements with these digital distributors work. Can they price the game at whatever they want? If it were a physical product, a place like Steam would be paying a set price for x number of units, so it wouldn't benefit them to sell a game for $5 because they probably would have paid more than that per unit. I think they can sell a game at whatever price they want and then take a certain percentage. I can see why companies would be scared to give up that control. Take a game like Pride of Nations. Most people seem to think it was a dud and its price dropped pretty fast. I think that was out of Ageod's control and I don't think they were pleased about it.
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Re: A Crying Shame!

Post by willgamer » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:04 pm

Wow, the OP really nailed it. It's almost enough for this not socially integrated guy to join Facebook! :roll:

Pandora is perhaps the most bug free release I've ever purchased. The UI is modern and efficient. The AI is above average and will definitely kick butt.

I'm actually hoping for an opportunity to pay (and payback) the devs for their efforts; DLC would be welcomed here. :D

Perhaps there's not as much forum activity because people are actually playing the game, which is what I'm going to do as soon as I hit Submit. :mrgreen:

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