Thought on forums going Read Only...

Discussion in 'Polls' started by zechs, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Yes, I use other social media outlets more frequently.

    1 vote(s)
  2. No, this is hub for a community that was meant for us to reach others of the like and UL direct.

    46 vote(s)
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  1. chikawowwow

    chikawowwow Here To Help

    The cruel reality is that shutting down the forums isn't going to affect sales for SOD2. Perhaps 100 people tops will boycott the game but everyone else is too invested in the SOD franchise to not buy the next game. UL and Microsoft know this.
    It may affect sales for their next game after SOD2 because there is no quick & reliable technical support for SOD2 but most of those people who would face such issues may have no idea there was a forum at all.
  2. DicheBach

    DicheBach Got Your Back

    Referring to the bolded part: That would be one very promising explanation IMHO. The other possible explanation is that there is some sort of semi-cryptic fiduciary benefit from killing their BBS community and thus attempting to invoke a mass exodus to discord and/or other social media.

    It looks like the total sales volume of SoD at this point is in the 1.5 to 2 million units ballpark.

    Honestly, not that great considering the incredible quality of the game (and the obvious love that went into creating it) as well as its extraordinary innovative nature.

    If we take into account things like HumbleBundles and sales and the like and assume a median unit sale price of say . . .? what? $10?

    Total revenue to-date in the $10 to $15 million?

    The credits list for the YOSE addition is surprisingly long; still a lot of those folks might be mostly external to the main development work and folks who only contributed a few hours of work to the project overall? The top dogs might or might not have become "millionaires" from this endeavour, but I doubt that any of their staff went unpaid, so . . . not an enormous financial success, but a "success" it would seem. Certainly sufficient to go forward with the sequel product.

    Now me personally, at this stage, the prospect of paying $6000 per annum for a community web-site (even $3000) is untenable. I'd just use Steam myself, and set up a free Discord as well and keep tabs on both. But for a AAA developer, and most importantly a successful one with a avid fanbase who have created a delightful and friendly user community to kill their already existing community . . . I can think of no other word to describe such a decision besides foolish (which is the same thing as saying stupid).

    No offense but this is a naive perspective in many respects.

    In the first place, people "boycotting" SoD2 is the least concern. I've seen no one who has expressed dismay at the decision to kill this board express an intent to "boycott" anything, myself included.

    The power of bulletin boards is difficult to quantify in simple terms, but the fact it is: internet bulletin boards have arguably risen to the social status that they influence the national elections of the most powerful nations on Earth. Facebook, and similar social media services which use alternate designs, i.e., "not" bulletin board designs are not so famous in this respect.

    Discord and similar chat room designs are great for the purposes they are suited for. They are not great for "community building" in the same way as bulletin boards.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    LiNanMian1984, Cejao, rebel36 and 2 others like this.
  3. OldDogF14

    OldDogF14 Here To Help

    Couple of things. Always bear in mind that SoD began life as an XBLA offering, and hit the two million mark pretty quick; Steam sales came later, and YOSE even later than that. But the initial sales were so good that Microsoft signed a multi-game contract with UL. The days of UL scratching out a living and having to sell the IP to MS are long gone . . . well, as long as they continue to produce, that is.

    Might just be me, but every way I look at it, I keep coming back to UL uncritically buying into a sales pitch and some glossy bullet-point predictions, because someone's MBA course said they should.
  4. DicheBach

    DicheBach Got Your Back

    Ah right! So Steam is the gravy sales! :)

    Well I'm glad to know that! The folks who made this masterpiece deserve every success!

    But the person(s) who decided to kill this board should realize, no matter what a masterpiece the game is, this was a very bad decision. Perhaps they will realize that eventually, but the launch of a new game is hardly the best time to wound your community.

    For me personally, I honestly could care less. I just got here, I barely know you guys, I've only owned the game for a couple weeks, and binged played on it sufficiently that I got it out of my system: no longer on my local machine and probably won't be reinstalled for many months if ever. I'll keep an eye out for SoD2 and if the price doesn't look too gougey and the hype (on forums!) sounds good, I'll probably buy it well before it slips into the bargain bin status which is what prompted me to purchase SoD on Steam recently.

    But I could tell on immediate arrival here that this is a high-quality online community, and that there is a core following who have been on-and-off active here (and in some cases, perennially active) for a long time. That is just about the best marketing any firm could hope for. EXPANDING the community by promoting use of Discord, etc., oh sure! Great idea! But sacrificing the heart of your user community for the sake of promoting use of Discord!? Ridiculous decision.

    I like to see good game developers succeed and prosper, and of necessity that means I also like to see good gamer communities flourish. Those are my only motives for expressing myself on this topic.
  5. YojimBeau

    YojimBeau Famous

    So, while my initial reaction to the news of the forum closure was something like…



    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and trying to resolve this announcement for myself. Once the emotional turmoil passed, which took much longer than I care to admit, I put all of my intellect, experience (personal and professional), and instinct into analyzing the situation to try my best to wrap my head around the decision, including the who/what/where/how/why of it. Granted, this is all speculation (‘cause nobody at the Lab is opening up and sharing the whole story with us), but it’s the only logical explanation my little brain can fathom and it makes me feel “better” (closure, I think they call it).

    Background (as I understand it):

    Jeff and a couple/few of his team from back in the days had an idea that was SoD(,the world/universe of) and they left to start up UL (with Jeff at the helm, obviously). Jeff went to MS, pitched the SoD (mmo) concept to them as an indy/pub project. MS said, “Sure, here is a check and a contract. We own your idea (the IP), give us a proof of concept (original State of Decay) to release and we’ll see how it works out. Do good, we’ll do more.” Jeff fired up the dev machine and they cranked out SoD. As Sanya has stated many times, one on the desk and one on the board, so the Breakdown DLC went into production as soon as SoD was shipped to XBLA for distribution. As many of us know, at that time, UL had not received any revenue from SoD, and so BD was done on a shoestring budget. Meanwhile, SoD on XBLA and Steam blew up, at which point MS started to notice. BD was released and work began on Lifeline. Around this point, I believe, is when MS directed ULs to begin working on a re-release that would be YOSE, a remaster for the XBone (oh, yeah and Steam can have it too).

    Now that money was starting to come in, and in an attempt to diversify and get an egg or two outside of the MS basket, Moonrise development was started. 2014 into 2015, things were buzzing at ULs. Patches, DLC, remaster work, and a new title being developed…good times. Comes Spring of 2015, YOSE released in April, followed closely by Moonrise in May (EA, granted, but a release). Remember Sanya’s words, one on the desk, one on the board. So, it is my belief that this is when the beast (MS) stepped in and said, “Yeah, that worked. It’s time for another one. This time, we’re in this together. We’re going to work *with you* on this and make it a real MS production.” (yikes!). So, circa Spring-Summer of 2015, work on SoD2 was underway. Early on in development, MS involvement would have been light, phones calls, a few visits here and there. June of 2016, when it was announced that Sod2 was in development, MS became more involved. This is where the screws started to tighten and we saw this on the forum. “That which cannot be named” was tossed around quite a lot and, looking back, that may have had far more weight than I realized at the time. Initially, we had news posted on, in fact, go to that page and go back to 2016…look at all of those posts. Prior to and after the announcement, there were tons of posts. Now, look at 2017…three posts. The first post of 2017 paints a clear picture of what was to come, “we’ve been working out (in partnership with our publisher) what we can say and when”. It then goes on to regurgitate a snippet from MS’ “official Instagram” for SoD2. After that, nothing…nothing…nothing. The only news we’ve seen on the forum is that which is linked from outside sources. And that, my friends, is the point I’ve arrived at.

    Since the announcement of SoD2, nothing has been published on as original content. The only news we’ve been given has come from outside Undead Labs. So, what’s that mean and how is it relevant to the forum closure? I’m glad you asked…

    Undead Labs can’t talk about SoD2, directly or indirectly (except where expressly granted permission to do so, that is, if MS has already popped the cork), lest they be in violation of the contract with MS. Now, what about all this social media that they pushing us towards? About that, note that Facebook, Instagram, Discord, Twitter, YouTube and every other “social media outlet" is owned and operated by a third party (that is, not one of the two parties that signed the contract between dev/pub back in the pre-original SoD days). Okay, you may ask, why close the forum? Here’s my theory, some Legalasswipe at MS looked over the contract and then poked around and saw the forum. It was decided that this forum, which exists primarily to promote/discuss the State of Decay IP and is also owned by ULs, is competitive with MS’ business and, while it doesn’t have to be closed, it cannot be permitted to compete with MS (a.k.a the Publisher), lest aforementioned contract violation is committed. In business contracts, this is called a non-compete or anti-competitive clause and is so common, I’m ashamed it didn’t occur to me earlier. So, I can see Jeff at the conference room table with all of the key team sitting around. Jeff queries, “Can we run a forum where nobody can talk about SoD2?”, and a long awkward silence ensues. “Would we want to?”, says a small voice. And so, in my mind, this is how it happened. I may be right, I may be close, I may be a total idiot…or…I may shoot fireballs from my eyes and lightning bolts out of my arse.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  6. Undead Nicole

    Undead Nicole Community Manager Staff Member

    Why would you do this? I don't understand your reasoning Bob. Please rethink this path.
    LiNanMian1984, Vers and Cejao like this.
  7. Shady Allie

    Shady Allie Got Your Back

    It is very hard to process the forum lock.
  8. OldDogF14

    OldDogF14 Here To Help

    I would pay very good money to see someone shoot lightning bolts out of their arse . . .
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  9. Bob Crees

    Bob Crees Banned

    But there is a SoD2 section on Discord? And I understand that Discord is not owned by MS?
    LiNanMian1984 and Cejao like this.
  10. Cejao

    Cejao Famous

    Who's the monkey who voted Yes?
    Reveal Yourself!
    LiNanMian1984, Dunadain and Bob Crees like this.
  11. LiNanMian1984

    LiNanMian1984 Here To Help

    With where I am. China. And most of the "media outlets" being either blocked or banned.

    Feel as if I am going have a whole part of my life cut out and not given anything for the pain.

    I can't see how that solely going with other media will be better. But can agree with going with them for larger audiences.

    Spoke to my students played State of Decay 2 double trailer and almost every one of them said.

    "I want that game"
    DicheBach, Cejao and Bob Crees like this.
  12. Bob Crees

    Bob Crees Banned

    I think @YojimBeau 'hit the nail' on the head, when he talked about Discord not being 'Foreign' language friendly. At the end of the day MS can sit back and let UL take all the 'flak' for poor customer service etc.
    DicheBach, LiNanMian1984 and Cejao like this.
  13. LiNanMian1984

    LiNanMian1984 Here To Help

    Read through this twice. Seems logical. But from a MS point of view the last time that they decided to go the route of not doing anything in China... 2004 accouncement by then CEO Bill Gates. To offering an apology in 2009 and stepping down.

    Chinese used We Chat. Or Weibo are also options for the Undead Labs Team to think about too. Don't just cut off this market by not thinking of the possibilities.

    Those media sources. Are blocked, banned and not allowed in China. VPN's will be made illegal from January 2018... (oh wait) so really no access to What Jeff and the team have to say, except via a copy n paste and badly translated job to be posted by a person on weibo or wechat any way.
    DicheBach, Cejao and Bob Crees like this.
  14. Bob Crees

    Bob Crees Banned

    But is it the Chinese Government blocking MS?
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  15. Bob Crees

    Bob Crees Banned

    Nicole you know my sense of humour - me being from the UK. At some point someone is going to report one of my posts which will see me banned. I cannot change what makes me smile and if others do not like it, then their lose.
    DicheBach and LiNanMian1984 like this.
  16. LiNanMian1984

    LiNanMian1984 Here To Help

    That entire debacle was cause Chinese customers refused to pay for multiple copies of MS software. Government went to defend the people.

    Long story short 15,000,000-150,000,000 pc's run a bootleg version of any MS product on any given time of day. Most of which are in government buildings.

    MS got upset that they were treated with such disregard. Wanted to pull out of China completely.

    The financial losses were spectacular. But how could one say what could or should have been but wasn't.

    2009 MS came back to Beijing. I was hired to be a corporate English teacher for their MS Beijing head office. A job I held for a short but wonderful 4 months.

    Went on the be the teacher for Borgward factory and SGS Zhejiang province branch.

    A lot since then has changed. Xboxes being illegal, hundreds of millions of MS products bootlegged, then a Change this side of the ocean. Pirated products dying out in a genocide of sorts.

    Pirated dvds normally readily aviailable... gone poof!
    Game stores that had thousands of games had to go hide those games, then those games slowly just stopped coming out. Game prices started to rise from the people that could opperate xbox or pc game stores.

    Prices continued to climb. and readily available games in China.

    But community actions all blocked now.

    There seems to be a sales war about to happen. Whispers of a Chinese company wanting to open it's own version. All this happening right now.

    Facebook - blocked and illegal.
    Youtube - blocked and illegal.
    Google - don't even need to go there.
    Whatsapp - recent addition. Don't even need to go there.

    And now community... yeah...

    So me spending 3 -4 months struggling to get an account here cause my ip was glitchy when connecting to the forum first time.

    It really sucks for everyone and everything.

    But what my next step forward is. That is the question.

    Win 10 laptop
    State of Decay 2 and praying i get a stable connectiong to be able to play online.

    Or back to bootlegging it and grumbling and being upset.
    Righteous Ham, Cejao and Bob Crees like this.
  17. Bob Crees

    Bob Crees Banned

    Damn it seems you are really having a bad time trying to connect to the rest of the world.
  18. Cejao

    Cejao Famous

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  19. Biker Steve

    Biker Steve Got Your Back

    While the poll is probably a good idea for the devs to see what we think of the move to Discord (perfectly named, btw), this really does amount to a push-poll. :)

    Maybe set up a new poll, asking how many people will be moving to Discord, along with multiple options for yes and no, IE:

    Yes - It looks like a good way to keep in touch with people
    Yes - (But) I'm unhappy with the move and will miss the forums
    No - I have too many social media accounts already
    No - It's a terrible idea. It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, so I will be moving to a 3rd party fan forum

    1. lack of concord or harmony between persons or things:
    2.disagreement; difference of opinion.
    3.strife; dispute; war.
    4.Music. an inharmonious combination of musical tones sounded together.
    5.any confused or harsh noise; dissonance.

    verb (used without object) disagree; be at variance.
  20. zechs

    zechs Here To Help

    Seems good to me.
    LiNanMian1984, Cejao and Bob Crees like this.
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