Magic & Risk Does Stainless Games Right

Magic & Risk Does Stainless Games Right

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The small UK game developer has had a couple of knockouts on the XBLA platform.

Smaller platforms like Xbox Live Arcade have made great inroads introducing small or independently produced games to a larger audience. PC games used to be the only market where such games could see the light of day, but a small game house from the Isle of Wight in the English Channel has had great success on XBLA. Stainless Games reported today that Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers has been purchased and downloaded 500,000 times since it was released in 2009. That figure only includes the basic game which costs 800 MS points ($9.99); there have been two expansions sold for 400 points each that have also done well. In addition to the Magic tie-in, Stainless Games also found success with last year's Risk: Factions. Matt Edmunds, chief operating officer of Stainless Games, hopes to translate that success to bigger titles on more platforms.

"With our multiplatform technology, we'll be hoping to emulate the success of Duels for other brands on everything from an iPhone to a high-end PC and keep up our track record of at least one no. 1 [game] per year," Edmunds said.

Stainless Games is working on a Magic game for PlayStation Home, but it's not clear if it's a port of Duels or a new title. Continuing the spread of the Magic brand is important for Stainless but also for Wizard of the Coast, who've told me that the XBLA game was a big reason why the paper card game has had a surge in popularity since 2009.

I have to admit that I'm rooting for Stainless Games to do well, as I enjoyed both Duels of the Planeswalkers and Risk quite a bit and the team excels at making strategy or thinking games with a very accessible interface and art-style.

Perhaps it's that scenery on the Isle of Wight.

Source: Gamasutra

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to be fair I LOVE MAGIK the gathering... but i hate that it has become such a big corporation

now on the other hand I LOVE RISK!!!

too bad the blasted thing requires 3 friends to play, i am almost never able to get that many friends on my house at the same time...

I remember when the people at Stainless games used to club eachother over the head with bats, in the name of making those driver cam videos in Carmageddon seem realistic.
MTG DotP was nice too, but it lacks vehicular carnage.

DotP is one of the most broken games I own. And I really wish I could stop playing it for that reason. Every update has broken things, and they still haven't seen fixes to DAY ONE flaws.

Risk: Factions is pretty awesome, but the online seems kinda broken as well. I've only had one game that played remotely smooth. That may not be their fault, though.

Also, DotP is already out for PSN. It's pretty clear if there's a new game coming out, it's not a Duels port.

Gamasutra have released a list of approximate sales numbers across XBLA today as well. It does make me wonder how anyone makes money from the platform, the revenue outside of Castle Crashers and a few others seems very low... $5 million in basic revenue for Magic would get gobbled up pretty quick by licensing & distribution fees, overhead and salaries.

Cheers

Colin

Duels got me into magic. off to the launch party tonight for Besieged.

Also: What scenery on the Isle of Wight?

maantren:
Gamasutra have released a list of approximate sales numbers across XBLA today as well. It does make me wonder how anyone makes money from the platform, the revenue outside of Castle Crashers and a few others seems very low... $5 million in basic revenue for Magic would get gobbled up pretty quick by licensing & distribution fees, overhead and salaries.

Cheers

Colin

Good point, but it's possible that Wizards of the Coast ponied up some of those costs in order to get the game out there, seeing as the project seems to have generated from them. Stainless, in that case, seems like more of a gun for hire rather than living or dying by the revenue from the game.

The problem with dotp is they can't create your own deck. You can mod premade decks, that isn't enough for me.

Greg Tito:

maantren:
Gamasutra have released a list of approximate sales numbers across XBLA today as well. It does make me wonder how anyone makes money from the platform, the revenue outside of Castle Crashers and a few others seems very low... $5 million in basic revenue for Magic would get gobbled up pretty quick by licensing & distribution fees, overhead and salaries.

Cheers

Colin

Good point, but it's possible that Wizards of the Coast ponied up some of those costs in order to get the game out there, seeing as the project seems to have generated from them. Stainless, in that case, seems like more of a gun for hire rather than living or dying by the revenue from the game.

Sure, though that would also compromise Stainless's potential upside - if WOTC used Stainless as work-for-hire, Stainless wouldn't be seeing as much of any profit. Good on Stainless either way (as the piece says, what a great achievement to have two popular games out on the service!) but I still have trouble seeing how anyone other than Microsoft is making money out of XBLA generally...

Cheers

Colin

Zachary Amaranth:
DotP is one of the most broken games I own. And I really wish I could stop playing it for that reason. Every update has broken things, and they still haven't seen fixes to DAY ONE flaws.

Very true. Magic on live was one of the buggiest games I've played on the platform. Not quite enough to make it unplayable, but enough to be extremely annoying. From menu glitches, to turn phase issues and lockups. It's still fun and playable (I've unlocked almost all the cards in the core game, and most from the first expansion), but I just wish they'd spend some more time working on the UI. :(

thisbymaster:
The problem with dotp is they can't create your own deck. You can mod premade decks, that isn't enough for me.

If you could, it would compete with their Magic Online service, and since it would then do everything MO does and in addition look better, it would win. In DotP, you get cards by winning. In MO, you pay for new cards. You can see why Wizards of the Coast doesn't want MO to lose.

maantren:

Sure, though that would also compromise Stainless's potential upside - if WOTC used Stainless as work-for-hire, Stainless wouldn't be seeing as much of any profit. Good on Stainless either way (as the piece says, what a great achievement to have two popular games out on the service!) but I still have trouble seeing how anyone other than Microsoft is making money out of XBLA generally...

Cheers

Colin

Which is probably why they're getting that out there to the press so they can branch out into other platforms. Basically, I see XBLA acting like the short film circuit for the movie business. You can prove that you can make a good game, maybe enough to get a real contract with a big studio, but nobody is turning a profit from it.

I bought the Magic The Gathering games, I didn't like them. The challenges mode created an ultra difficult scenario, and then challenged you to win. But there were often multiple ways to win these challenge scenarios, because the devs weren't clever/hardworking enough to restrict the scenario so there was only one way to win. But when you won these scenarios in a way the devs hadn't counted on, you were still counted as losing.

It was so damn annoying I swore the game and all it's sequels off. If I can figure out a way to win their ultra difficult scenario that even the devs themselves couldn't think of, I should be rewarded.

Kross:

Zachary Amaranth:
DotP is one of the most broken games I own. And I really wish I could stop playing it for that reason. Every update has broken things, and they still haven't seen fixes to DAY ONE flaws.

Very true. Magic on live was one of the buggiest games I've played on the platform. Not quite enough to make it unplayable, but enough to be extremely annoying. From menu glitches, to turn phase issues and lockups. It's still fun and playable (I've unlocked almost all the cards in the core game, and most from the first expansion), but I just wish they'd spend some more time working on the UI. :(

The new expansion isn't even all that worthwhile, IMO. The Vampire deck that was the boss from the last expansion is cool, but the heat/counter deck is kinda lame and the new white deck is nice, but seems really poorly structured for what it does. "Have a deck with many abilities related to equipment, but only 5 or so equipment cards, and a lot of solder benefits but a lot of non-soldier cards."

but Expansion 2 was pretty decent.

 

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