Mega media conglomerates Vivendi SA are considering selling Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publishers Activision Blizzard, according to Bloomberg. A private discussion on the matter is due to take place on June 22, with Vivendi apparently considering selling all or part of their 61% stake in the company.
Frozen Synapse developer Paul Taylor, from Mode 7, wrote a "mini-postmortem" at Games Brief on how business and design considerations influenced the game's development and marketing. He explains why Mode 7 gambled on a higher price point (for an indie game) and discusses how Frozen Synapse is at once limited by being pay-once, but how it would likely fail as a free-to-play game.
He writes, "Pay-once is the most maligned business model out there right now: I would suggest that even the most hardcore entrenched old-school developers have been won round by the raw data that free-to-play games have generated, so pay-once is in decline."
However, he also points out that a game like Frozen Synapse does not lend itself to F2P, and that Synapse's target audience of hardcore gamers is "averse" to F2P models. He also admits that designing for "pay once" let Mode 7 design a game that was "not based around restricting the player's access to content."
Earlier this month Chris Park revealed that his company could be bankrupt by November. His company is Arcen Games, the developer of popular space strategy game AI War. Despite that game's excellence, it wasn't a surprise to find he was struggling: most indie games developers do.
Prompted by the tale of trouble on his site, I sent him an email asking for more information. What are the costs involved in independent game development? What are the profits of a game like AI War? Chris was willing to talk numbers - something no developer ever does - and he kindly replied with a breakdown of the profits and costs of AI War and his latest game Tidalis. I'm reprinting his email in full below with permission.