Epic Games’ Big Year?
So, this week Epic revealed their figures for 2019, and it has proved most illuminating due to this being the first time that we have seen any indication of the success that they have had with their controversial decision to buy exclusive games for their storefront. They used a lot of bullish language, and threw around some huge numbers, and then the shill game media reported it all as an unimpeachable success for the Epic store, and particularly the policy of buying exclusives. Several news posts have directly addressed the people who are unhappy with Epic’s business tactics, by telling them that they are stupid to hold out on the Epic Store, and that they have already lost. Was 2019 really such a unanimous success for Epic though?
The Epic Store has been used by 108 million customers since 2018. Over the course of 2019 $680 million dollars was spent there, though obviously a huge chunk of this money was generated by Fortnite. The amount of money that customers actually spent on third party software was the not unimpressive sum of $251 million dollars. Epic takes a 12% cut of all third party game sales, meaning that they made $30 million dollars from third party sales on their platform over the course of the previous year. $30 million dollars would have been a nice little earner for Epic, were it not for money hatting of exclusives, and thousands of dollars worth of free game giveaways that they had to bankroll just to entice PC gamers over to their platform. Some of the Epic exclusives were smaller Indy titles, which probably did not cost all that much money to lock down. On the other hand there were also a decent number of AA and AAA titles, which could not have come cheap. Metro: Exodus, Borderlands 3, The Division 2, and Control would have all been fairly expensive to lock down, or at least one assumes that is the case. Would $30 million dollars be enough to pay for all of that, plus also pay for the give away of 73 free games? Probably not.
So was the previous year a huge success for Epic’s platform? Potentially yes, but only as a stepping stone on the way to more sustainable footing over the course of the next year or two. There is very little chance that 2019 third party sales brought in more money for Epic than it cost them to get people to use their platform, so once the Fortnite money begins to dwindle it will be hard to justify spending millions of dollars to obtain exclusives just to entice gamers to the platform. If people begin turning to the Epic Store without the need for coercion then the money that Epic has spent over 2019 will have been well worth it, but if that never happens then this will have been pretty much a sunk cost, so the tenuous success of Epic’s 2019 is really contingent of subsequent successes or failures. As such, this really is not the ‘Steamtards BTFO’ kind of scenario that fake journalists are portraying it as.
NISA Addresses Censorship Scandal
This week NISA have had to issue a statement addressing and refuting claims that they have been altering and censoring Falcom’s games in order to make them politically correct. This was after two NISA editors went on a Twitch Q&A to discuss their approach to localising Trails of Cold Steel III, only to then brag about censoring the game to make it less ‘sexist’.
The two editors, Eric Mort and Moët Takahashi, have apparently been living inside of a bubble, else they have all the survival instincts of a lemming. Some of their wonderful pearls of wisdom include:
It’s hard but that is part of localization. Because whether or not it’s a joke […], we have to make sure that all the text makes sense not just in the language, but in the culture that we’re translating to.
Sometimes it’ll be jokes, Japanese jokes, that have different values than we do. So things we tried to kinda work around, things that might be a liiiiiitle sexist for example, in Japanese humor. And with those things we like to try to make it more culturally appropriate for our players.
And that doesn’t mean it has to be made less funny either. Not at all, we can work in something even better, sometimes!
People do not want something that these retards consider to be better than the original content. People want jokes to be translated accurately according to the vision of the game devs. It is true that sometimes jokes need to be reworked if Western audiences will not possess the cultural context to make sense of it, but these two arrogant shits have taken that rationale and twisted it to include reworking jokes where a tiny fraction of the audience may lack the cultural context to not be irrationally offended by harmless jokes. The two went on to talk about how they simply replaced some of the dialogue with memes, just to make sure the stream transcended from disaster to full-blown catastrophe. It is like they went to air with a checklist of things to say in order to piss off gamers.
Now at long last NISA has issued a statement on this issue:
NIS America does not engage in censorship or overzealous editing. We stand by our dedication to the authenticity of our localization efforts to properly contextualize a title within a localized framework for an English-speaking audience.
As of writing, nobody seems particularly inclined to believe them. NISA has a particularly bad reputation when it comes to localising another company’s games, from introducing game breaking bugs during the PS2 era, to having to completely retranslate Ys VIII more recently. Future Legend of Heroes games are certainly beginning to look suspect.
Studio With LotR License Still to Read the Books
Monolith did a completely awful job working on the Lord of the Rings license with such cringe as sexy humanoid Shelob, but it would seem that the license’s transferral to the stewardship of Daedalic Entertainment has not seen it fare much better. Daedalic are working on Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and yet again it is very clear that nobody at the studio thought to actually read the book before working on the property. As such we can all look forward to Daedalic Entertainment’s take on giant sized Gollum:
Tolkien didn’t give a size reference for Gollum to begin with, So in the first illustrations, he’s gigantic! He’s like a monster emerging from the swamp.
It is certainly not as though the simple act of reading the books would be enough to reveal the story’s characters openly speculating that Gollum’s race must have been fairly closely related to halflings because of his small stature. Nope, that never happened. Instead it was Tolkien’s express wish that Daedalic should be able to identify with whatever kind of Gollum they like. Gollum at every size! Do not dare to height shame their big and beautiful Gollum!