Do we know how many copies UA sold so far?


#1

Reviews are bad as we know, but they do not always correlate with commercial success. Highly acclaimed games may be low sellers (see SS2 for example), and vice versa.

So maybe the game sold better than its reception suggests? (I doubt it, but it is possible)


#2

SteamSpy estimates around 8000 owners ( source: http://steamspy.com/dev/OtherSide+Entertainment ).

However the amount of refunds is probably significant, so I’d say maybe around 5000 ?

Edit: I’m not sure if “owners” also include free keys received for KS backers. If that is the case, the amount of sales might be even lower…


#3

What I was thinking about lately: Publishing deal with 505 almost certainly gives 505 the right to all sales until they recoup their investment.

8,000 copies…for simplicity let’s say 10,000 with no refunds at a price of ~ $20 means means ~ $200,000 of sales in total. That’s very likely less than 505 chipped in.

We can also assume Underworld Overlord sales are negligible at this point.

That means OS isn’t making any money right now, Starbreeze will likely default on their commitment for SS3 (see thread in General section), and no other project is going to be completed any time soon.

So unless OS owners spend significant amounts out of their own pockets to pay the bills in the coming months, we’ll hit the end of the road pretty soon. Simple maths.


#4

I admit, it’s been a concern for me for a while, and I do worry for them.
None have sounded particularly concerned that I’ve seen, though.


#5

Market results have always baffled me. Even here in a backed project, the intended goals hardly reflect outcome. We know what results to expect from the kickstart levels; nothing, partial, or all. but of what ? well … nothing at first, much more later, and in the end we expect the highest aspirations. Number of copies souled is irrelevant; it’s all about the loot … where’s my box set?

(LOL … that was more fun than then key strokes)


#6

Even assuming 10K sales at $20 with no refunds, you’re pretty far off. Steam already takes 30%, so at best that’d be $140K.


#7

They weren’t concerned about the release of UA either, despite pretty much everybody ringing alarm bells 6 months prior to the release.


#8

In the end, it doesn’t matter much, because it is safe to assume the publishing deal allows 505 to claim all revenues until they recoup their investment, which likely was several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Whether the actual revenue is $100k, $200k or $300k is irrelevant. OS won’t see a penny.


#9

Maybe, maybe not. The deal could be royalty-based too. In any case I agree they’re far, very very far from the game being profitable.


#10

And, more importantly, far from generating the amount of revenue needed to sustain operations.


#11

Here we are, Starbreeze cancelled the deal.

Not only does OS have zero revenues for the foreseeable future, they also have to pay back what Starbreeze paid them so far.

https://www.starbreeze.com/2019/02/starbreeze-sells-back-system-shock-3-publishing-rights-to-otherside-entertainment/

I’m ready to go on the record: It’s over.


#12

Given how lopsided the deal with Starbreeze obviously was (they could cancel without penalty and even get all their money back), it seems safe to say that the deal with 505 isn’t royalty-based and 505 gets all the revenues until they recoup their investment (probably plus a substantial margin).

So let’s recap. OS…

  • has zero revenues for the foreseeable future
  • has lost its publishing deal for it’s only game in the pipeline
  • has to repay Starbreeze for what they invested so far in SS3
  • has to provide promised fixes/updates for UA
  • has botched its only major release so far
  • has ruined its reputation in the RPG community with UA

Good luck with finding a new investor.


#13

Yeah they’re in serious trouble.

The problem I see is that even if they still (don’t ask me how, maybe unknown investors, maybe savings) have some money left, I doubt they can deliver SS3 to the full original vision. It makes sense that they’d have to downscale / rush to release, just like they did for UA. Therefore the chance of SS3 becoming an abomination just like UA has just increased tenfold.

Not that I really care anymore. I’ll only buy SS3 if it gets great reviews. Unlike UA, I didn’t Kickstart it, so I’ll just wait & see. But unfortunately if Otherside had to shut down due to its financial and development trouble, I won’t tear up.


#14

Yes, of course, the unknown unknowns…they could have other investors we don’t know of or get a bank loan. But these sources of funding, if they exist, can certainly not replace Starbreeze’s $12 million, so a downscaling of ambitions for SS3 as you mention is a real possibility.

It’s also obvious that they were taken by surprise by Starbreeze’s demise. Walter’s statement doesn’t mention any new investors nor any hint were the millions needed to finish SS3 (it’s “more than halfway completed”) might come from.

Note that “halfway completed” also means the amount they have to pay back to Starbreeze is likely in the millions.

For a change, I really don’t blame them for that. Starbreeze shares were at an alltime high last summer and still seemed solid until November. From there it went downhill very quickly.

That didn’t leave OS much time to look for a new investor to replace - so all in all my guess is they have a significant funding gap and unless they find a new investor soon, they will not be able to continue.


#15

We don’t know what the situation is. A guy on the Steam forums has done some digging based on sec filings etc and uncovered the fact that Otherside have bought back the right to SS. We don’t now the terms of that - whether it was preferential, an activated clause, or a fire sale etc

It’s not necessarily a head-ache. Chris has said previously they were ok financially, so we really don’t know (and we shoudn’t confuse day-to-day company baances, with specific financing deals, share-holdings, rights issues etc). It could be god-awful, it could be fine.

In short, we don’t know (unless there are very recent filings I’m not aware of)


#16

First of all, you are of course right, we don’t know how the situation is. All we can is making an educated guess. So, yes, please take everthing I am writing with a truckload of salt. The information I have is very limited.

But from what you wrote, I am wondering if you saw today’s news. We do know the terms of the SS deal. OS has lost the entire funding and has to pay back anything that was already paid out - probably a substantial amount, given that the game is “more than halfway completed” according to Walter.

And Chris said previously that everything is ok? I remember he did and I think he was honest. But in the last two months, everything has changed. A small studio has lost a $12 million deal and has to repay - my guess - north of one third of that amount.

And SEC filings…what I found with a quick search is that as late as October 2018, someone invested $3.5 million in equity and preferred stock:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1756400/000156761918004482/xslFormDX01/primary_doc.xml

So maybe that and other funding we don’t know of keeps the company going until SS3 is released. It’s possible, but my gut feeling is that a small studio can’t survive a failure like UA and the loss of it’s only publishing deal.

Maybe I’m wrong. Everyone is invited to draw their own conclusions.


#17

We have very much enjoyed working with Starbreeze on System Shock 3. They’ve been a great partner. As developers themselves they understand the challenges of game development and that’s been refreshing. However, in light of Starbreeze’s current situation, we decided together that it would be best for us to go our separate ways for now. We wish them the best of luck.

OtherSide is rolling forward with System Shock 3. Warren Spector has built a great team and the game is more than halfway completed. At its core, it already feels like a System Shock game, while at the same time introducing new elements to the franchise. As the original creators of the game, we want to see this game made as much as our fans do.

Look for more information about System Shock 3 soon.


#18
OtherSide is rolling forward with System Shock 3. Warren Spector has built a great team and the game is more than halfway completed. At its core, it already feels like a System Shock game, while at the same time introducing new elements to the franchise. As the original creators of the game, we want to see this game made as much as our fans do.

I’m getting an uncomfortable sense of déjà vu.


#19

Sure, but the same guys that are telling you “everything is fine for SS3” were saying the same for UA. “Don’t worry guys, we’re veterans and based on our experience, this kind of game comes together right at the end”. Rings a bell ?

Also, they’re a company. There’s no way they could admit being in trouble publically. Trust is an important thing. They could be telling you “everything is fine” today, and downsizing or going bankrupt tomorrow. We’ve seen that happen to tons of other companies before. It is not in their best interest to admit they’re in trouble.


#20

Someone on the RPGcodex forum has dug out a report which I missed (buried somewhere on the SB website) that alledgedly says Starbreeze’s advance payments for System Shock 3 were ~ $2.6 million in Nov 2017 and ~ $6.8 million in Nov 2018. (the exchange rate of Swedish currency to US dollars is about 1:10).

https://www.starbreeze.com/sbz-media/2018/12/Appendix-2-Balance-reports.pdf

That checks with the OS statement saying the game is halfway completed (total deal was $12 million).

So OS has to pay back 6.8 million US-Dollars.

I still can’t get over the fact that SB could cancel without any penalty and OS has to pay everything back. Who signed such a idiotic contract???