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Sony And Suzuki Need To Come Clean On Shenmue Budget And Funding

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Last night, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki posted an update to the Shenmue III Kickstarter. The note amounted to an apology for deception regarding the game’s budget and outside investors, including Sony, who invited Suzuki to announce the project during its E3 press conference. It doesn’t go nearly far enough, and fans should be demanding more.

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yewles1904d ago

....holy crap, Shenmuegaf called it.

majiebeast904d ago (Edited 904d ago )

The continuation of the smear campaign by American gaming media?

yewles1904d ago

That, and this being the very next step by these saboteurs after the KS statement. It's like a deliberate troll, timed to react to certain people directly...

pinkyxyz902d ago

Sorry dude but here in america we don't have gaming media, only gaming opportunists. making up controversies one topic at a time...

breakpad902d ago

probably Sony will aid its publishing (on PS consoles at least)

pwnsause_returns904d ago

They already sabotaged the kickstarter......the pace is slow....

die_fiend903d ago

Pretty sad that after everyone begging for this game for 14 years that people are b!tching about how funds are raised.

I'm just happy it's being made, if Sony want to contribute to the development then good!

Death902d ago

Shenmue was a commercial failure with only 400,000 people buying the last game. How many people do you think should support the kickstarter? Over 40k have already contributed which is 10% of the gmes audience. I think Shenmue is a great series, but the reality is not many people actually bought the games.

Spotie902d ago

@Death: Are you insinuating that the only people who want the game are the 400,00 who bought the second game? Not the million plus who bought the first game? Not the untold numbers who played secondhand copies over the years? Not the unknown number of people who have never gotten a chance to play the old games, but are interested in playing the franchise?

Only the percentage of the world's population that bought the second game brand new should be counted, right?

I seriously can't understand all these shitty attempts at downplaying this game. It's pathetic.

Death902d ago

@Spotie,

The original Shenmue sold 1 million copies. The sequel only sold 400,000 copies. This is why we haven't seen Shenmue 3. The demand that you are referring to isn't backed up by sales data. I'm impressed that kickstarter has seen 40k contributors, but that's pretty much inline for a game that sold 400k.

Why would you assume millions of people are interested in the final game of a series that appealed to less than half a million gamers last time around? What you are claiming sounds very nice, but it isn't backed up by much more than hype.

I'm not knocking Shenmue in any way. I'm one of the few that actually bought the first game on Dreamcast and the sequel on Xbox. I wish more people would have put their money where their mouth is. Maybe then we wouldn't have had to wait so long for a follow up.

Spotie901d ago

Sales data from a decade ago doesn't hold much meaning now. There are millions of new gamers, and the industry in general is many times larger than it was then.

I'm not assuming any number of people will be interested. I'm assuming there's the potential for many MORE people to be interested. That makes FAR more sense than your assumption that the only people who could possibly be interested are the same people who were interested the first time around.

Just as an example of how things have changed, the last console version came out in March 2003, so we'll use that as a starting point. In the 12 years since then: the world's population has grown by a billion people; a six year-old is now 18, old enough to join the military here in the US; I went from playing three genres(jrpg, fighting game, racing) to eleven(fps, tps, platformer, puzzle, MMO, sports, strategy, music, plus the aforementioned); the gaming industry has grown from $23 billion in revenue globally to nearly that much in the US alone.

But you're seriously trying to say we shouldn't at least anticipate interest to be larger than in the past?

Don't wish for stuff. Here we have a chance to make this game you supposedly desire happen; are you doing your part? I don't see a single comment where you, as a supposed fan, admit you've given a penny to make this game happen. So while you talk about others putting their money where their mouths are- and exactly HOW would you have expected them to do that, prior to this kickstarter?- the only way your money and mouth could be in the same place is... well, I'm already at two bubbles, I probably shouldn't finish that.

rainslacker901d ago (Edited 901d ago )

@Death

You're trying to extrapolate potential sales from a KS. Fair enough, given that that was the reason it went to KS in the first place.

But think on this a minute. In less than 12 hours, the KS had over 40,000 backers. That's roughly 7% of the entire viewership of Sony's press conference itself. Obviously PC fans make up many of them, but lets say it's half. Extrapolating data would mean that the there currently 3.5% of the current PS4 fan base would want to play Shenmue 3. 3.5% of 22 million is 770,000 people. That's a pretty respectable number of a title such as this, which apparently has a fairly modest budget. In two years, lets say the PS4 doubles it's install base...suddenly that's 1.4 million units that could possibly sell. That doesn't even include PC.

Hence, interest has been gauged.

Now, 40,000 may only seem like 10% of the last games sales at face value, but when you put it into perspective, the remaining 90% of people who played the original may not be people that donate through KS, have means to use KS(requires a CC), or it simply isn't available to fund in the region in which they live, or simply may be people who never cared for the game to begin with, or may buy it when it finally gets released, which is the most likely scenario.

On top of that, if you look at it from a pre-order perspective, what percentage of pre-order sales generally account for final game sales? It's usually much much less than 10% outside of some very rare circumstances. Given that, it's it possible that the interest in the game is much higher than the KS numbers would let on?

Given that this game is probably the most talked about from E3 since conference Monday, it's it very possible that the interest in this game is only going to continue to grow?

Anyhow, the lower sales of the second one was likely due to the very limited release of the 2nd one, particularly on the DC, and the fact that most DC owners did not migrate over to MS to spite Sony, as the PS at the time had games more games that would have appealed to DC fans to begin with. The OG Xbox wasn't exactly the shining pinnacle of Japanese style games in their prime when it released. Quite the opposite actually.

@pwn

that's not uncommon after the initial rush. Yesterday there was a twitch stream which detailed more about the funding and what not, and the KS jumped 100K in less than an hour. Probably in the last few days of the KS it will see a huge surge. I doubt it would surge up to the 11 million stretch, but 5-6 million is certainly forseeable.

I do think the negative press surrounding it is slowing things down though, although it's making some people double down on their donation.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 901d ago
showtimefolks901d ago (Edited 901d ago )

This is what I think will happen, the funding from kickstarter will go towards making shenmue 1 and 2 hd remaster

Shenmue 3 will be fund by Sony as a Ps4 exclusive. There is no way that Kickstarter can raise 10 to 15 million for this game. People who have donated will still get a digital copy

I expect to hear more at Playstation event, e3 was more of a gauging thing to see the interst

And people stop hating sony,Suzuki or kickstarter. Atleast now there is a chance shenmue 3 can happen

rainslacker901d ago

It better not go towards the remasters. That's not what people are donating to. If that happened, I actually would not be defending the KS.

Sega will probably re-release the games in a remaster, or emulated port or something given the current interest in the game. It probably wouldn't cost them much, and marketing would be pretty easy. But that's all on Sega to fund.

I may say it was OK if all the profits from the remaster went to funding Shenmue 3, but given the time frames involved, I doubt that would be possible.

Thatguy-310904d ago

what i don't get is that when the game was announced it was scheduled for ps4/pc and people were ok with it because they went in and funded the kickstarter. Many expected Sony to help with the cost seeing how there was a ps4 port so putting two and two together one knew that the game wasn't solely going to be made from just the kickstarter. I'm baffled to see how people don't get this and are accusing them of lying to the fans. The fans knew and expected this and just want a sequel to their beloved game. Sony and Suzuki already have stated how things will work over and over and people still don't grasp it!!!! Hopefully all this whining and b**ching won't effect the production on the game.

MasterCornholio903d ago

I agree.

Its not like the information isn't there. There are plenty of interviews with Yu, Shu and Boyes that explain the relationship that Sony has with the developers of this game.

What amazes me is that even with all that information the press is demanding confidential information. Which is going too far in my opinion.

Its like if they asked Sony to release the details of their costs to the public. That information is confidential and Sony has the right to keep it away from the public. Just like Yu does when it comes to the private investors.

N4g_null902d ago

Hey you get what you invest in. Sony, ms, and nintendo have all been hit with smear campaigns in an effort to make ad dollars. That same monster is still hungry. Instead of researching they google everything. No new info is added just a bunch of echo chambers.

rainslacker901d ago

Do they even bother to google? Cuz that's where I found the information these journalist are asking for without much effort.

OB1Biker904d ago

Disgusted with gaming journalists.

hellothere1977902d ago

For the last time, these people aren't "journalist". Internet game bloggers have devolved into nothing more than the crap you see writing at the "national inquirer".

Rimeskeem904d ago

I feel like the media is trying to destroy this game before it is even out.

Death902d ago

There is misinformation on all sides. People that never bought the game want it to be the sales blockbuster it never was and people that can't have it want it to fail.

MasterCornholio903d ago (Edited 903d ago )

This is getting really stupid......

Some parts of the agreement is confidential like all agreements that these firms have with each other. Yu already told us everything that he can. He can't disclose the details of the agreement just like how CD can't tell us when we will get TR on the PS4 due to their agreement with Microsoft.

It really seems like some members of the media just want to destroy Shenmue 3.

@Rime

It seems like there's a hate campaign against this game for some reason.

ThichQuangDuck903d ago

The transparency that people seek is more on Sony side since we knew they were funding to a degree since it was at their press conference

MasterCornholio903d ago (Edited 903d ago )

Funny how your demanding that Sony release every bit of information on the deals made with the game when you know extremely well that some parts of it are confidential and Sony has a right to keep it away from the public.

Heck hours after the press conference he had interviews with Yu, Shu and Boyes explaining the relationship between Sony and the developers. At least they gave us the information hours after the kickstarter announcement instead of months after it.

Death902d ago

If Sony is funding it, it shouldn't have been a kickstarter. I think more people are upset on how kickstarter was abused if that is the case.

Dark_king902d ago

@Death Sony will pay to publish it on PS4 the kickstarter is to fund development .The info is out there nobody cares to look though.

_-EDMIX-_902d ago

@Death-Sony is funding, not the development. The development through kickstarter, Sony is not getting any money from that as stated by Sony and Yu.

Sony doesn't own the IP.

Sony doesn't own the publishing rights. They would have no reason to fund development of a game they legally do not own, all they can do is partner with Yu and support the marketing, distribution expenses etc.

Sony SHOULD not have to do anything as again....its not their IP, Yu wanted the Kickstarter.

It was stated at Sony's event it was very much "THEIR PROJECT" NOT SONY's. Sony is partner's with Yu, they are not part of the development, they don't own the game's IP etc.

Soooo is Sony funding? Yes....but they are funding something that isn't the development as stated by Yu and Sony as they've stated its again..Yu's project, they are not getting money from Kickstarter etc.

Instead of thinking Sony for even showing Shenmue 3 at E3 to get the kickstarter massive press, instead folks are asking why Sony didn't fully, 100% from the ground up fund it?

An IP that isn't theirs...

A game they own no publishing rights to..

of a development studio they do not own...

...why the hell are you guys not asking Sega this? LOL! I'm sorry but many folks are grasping at straws trying to find ways to spin this as a bad thing, but when a damn game is unmade for 14 years, MS, Nintendo, Sega etc all didn't even come close to caring about its existence....yet your mad that Sony is paying for marketing and distribution??? Um..no, be mad that Sega didn't care enough to fund it themselves, its Sega's game, not Sony's. Sega to my understanding didn't sell the IP to Sony nor Yu.

Stop asking for companies to just do duties that are out of their hands, again...its not Sony's game, they have no rights over it and Yu is the one who wanted it kickstarterd....sooooooo why get mad at Sony?

I mean...have many not got enough facts to get what Sony is actually doing? Beg for Sony to fully fund a game that isn't theirs? Get mad when they support a developer by marketing his kickstarter to the world?

Again...why is it that I haven't seen anyone questioning Sega? The damn company that holds the publishing rights and IP to this series?

Death902d ago

Sony is investing if they are the publisher. Publishers are the ones that fund a games development. If Sony isn't funding development, then why are they the publisher? Sega is a publisher and can do this without Sony's help. If needed, this kickstart can self publish as an indie much like Oddworld does. No matter how you look at it, the only thing Sony can offer is money and if that is indeed what Sony is doing then they need something in return for their investment.

The question people have is why is Sony involved in a game that is being funded by kickstarter? It seems unethical to ask the community to fund development of a game that Sony will prosper from. The fact that it is console exclusive already benefits them.

rainslacker901d ago (Edited 901d ago )

@Death

Publishers are not always the ones that fund the games a developer makes. The publisher is responsible for distribution, and in most cases marketing, of a game.

The PRODUCER is responsible for funding a game. That funding can come from any number of sources. That producer often works for a publisher, but that is not absolute. The producer can often get money from the publisher, which is pretty common, but again not absolute. In the case of S3, KS is just another funding source. If KS backers were private investors, which every single game has even at big publishers, then no one would have said boo.

Anyhow, in other cases, publishers simply license a game to publish within a region, which is common with smaller games from Atlus, NISA, Atlus, Xseed, etc. A single game can have multiple publisher across different regions.

Think of it this way. MS isn't funding ROTTR, but they are publishing it on their console. They are paying for marketing costs and distributing the game. On PC, SE is publishing the game....so who's providing the financing? One of them? Both? What about when it comes to PS4? If Sony publishes that, does that mean they funded the game? Absolutely not.

I don't know if with S3 if Suzuki is the producer, or if that falls into that other production group that is partnered with the game(name escapes me). Given the nature of the set up, it would seem that Suzuki is the producer, since he seems to be making most of the financial decisions on how to fund the game.

I've personally worked on two mobile games, and one AAA game which had a producer that was not part of a publishing house, but we still had publishers to handle the distribution and marketing of the game. The publishers gave support with refining the game, testing the game, and helping with compliance, while these games were in development, but beyond that, we never saw a dime from them until after the game released, where they just took a big percentage of the revenue for themselves(not quite for the AAA game). There are advantages to such a set up, like complete freedom to make a game the way you want, and then not having to sink huge money into marketing and publishers tend to have more clout with getting things sold in the media than even big independent AAA developers.

For the case of S3, Sony appears to be developing the PS4 port of the game, but the actual game itself will be developed for the PC, and Sony will simply adapt the code for it's console. This is not unlike how a localization would work...except that it's a change in platform, and not just a translation.

Death901d ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

I'm not sure you know the role of a producer. These are kind of general, but should help a little. If Sony is porting, they are working as an external developer and publisher. If they didn't invest, the game wouldn't be exclusive. Any way you look at it, this shouldn't be a kickstart.

The TR example isn't applicable since the game is not a kickstarter. Microsoft invested in the game to secure a limited timed exclusive. With Shenmue and Street Fighter, Sony is paying to keep games off of other platforms. This is a practice which many Sony fans referred to as money hatting and labeled anti-gamer.

rainslacker901d ago (Edited 901d ago )

I don't need wikipedia to tell me what a producer and a publisher does in game development. It's what I do for a living, and I deal with both publishers and producers in my work on a daily basis. Multiple ones in fact, and have done so for almost 6 years now on numerous projects, and I've seen almost every conceivable way that a game can be funded and produced...including KS that were eventually given over to publishers, and even when those KS projects had publisher or investment support before and beyond the KS.

But lets look at those wikipedia articles individually. It won't take long.

The publisher one says

"They often finance the development"

Note the word "often" in that sentence. While this is true of most major publishers, this is actually not as often as it used to be as little as five years ago.

Now, how about the producer one

"Producers basically manage the relationship with the artist. They find the talent, work out product deals, get contracts signed," [rest snipped]

That contracts signed part is the money changing hands. Sorry, producers are responsible for securing money to make a project happen. It's not all they do, as referenced by the wikipedia article, but before they start development, their primary job is to secure funding.

Managing the relationship with the artist means that they are the middle men between the money men and the development team. They manage the project, thus manage the money, which they are responsible for finding. In the case of AAA game development, the producer is often part of the publication house, but it isn't absolutely necessary, as you can see in the vast majority of indie games that are more like the mid-tier titles of yesteryear.

In some cases, although rare, the producer is the money man(primary investor). When this happens, unless that person is really hands on, the project is more likely to be managed by the co-producer. The co-producer is sometimes even the original producer, but they were unable to secure funding on their own.

Think about Steven Spielberg producing a movie. What exactly is he doing when he does that? Well...he's putting the money into the hands of the creative talent...the film makers. He'll oversee the project(likely delegating it to the co-producer) and the reason he gets his name as producer is because his work and name secured the funding for the project.

Since Sony isn't claiming to be taking on a Producers role, or even a production role(there has been no "presented by SCE" statements yet), the chance that they are funding the actual development of the game is slim. If they were providing funding, it would be great PR for them to be more supportive of the project, and show people that they are willing to take a huge risk. But they opted to go this route due to Suzuki's desire to, and the fact they probably knew it was a huge risk, and had trouble justifying it to the money men...which is exactly what has been said about why things are the way they are.

rainslacker901d ago (Edited 901d ago )

I actually wonder if you read the Wikipedia articles, because they actually do back up what I say. You were making a statement of a publishers role as a black and white kind of deal, while the wikipedia articles actually refute your own argument, and support mine.

As far as TR, I wasn't trying to compare the two in terms of how they were funded, but rather, what the role of the publishers were in each one, and if that role included development costs. Since MS isn't publishing all versions of TR, it's obvious that they aren't funding all versions of TR. It's much the same way with S3. Given that TR was developed for over a year before MS stepped in, I can't imagine the original investors would be too happy if MS just threw their money into the pot, because it means a much lower return on investment...and it's actually illegal to do so without permission from the investors after the contracts are signed.

However, MS coming in to publish the Xbox version with a ton of marketing, and covering the cost of distribution, mitigates a ton of risk to the initial investors, so now they agree to the terms. It's why deals like this happen, because it covers a huge expense which ultimately very risky to the investor, because there is no guarantee that a game will sell even with a huge marketing budget.

Death901d ago

I'm not sure how a producer making $50-$100k a year is going to fund a multi-million dollar project. I can see how a producer acts as a liaison between developers and publishers though. As you know being a developer, if you can't self fund development, the publisher will fund it for a larger percentage from sales.

Sony isn't publishing Shenmue for free. They will receive a percentage from each game sold. This wouldn't normally be an issue, but Sega is a developer and publisher. Why would they allow Sony to publish the game unless they were given financial incentive to do so? It simply makes no sense if you go by what we have been told. Nothing about this deal feels like it is eligible for kickstart unless Sega no longer owns the IP.

ThichQuangDuck900d ago

@ Death

You get it.

@Master Cornholio

I am not demanding anything. I am not funding Shenmue 3. I am saying this "controversey" Could have been avoided by being clear.

rainslacker900d ago

A producer doesn't often provide all the money themselves, particularly on multi-million dollar projects. Most AAA games don't have a single investor either. The producer is responsible for securing financing, which means getting it from investors. Every publisher uses investors to finance games, particularly the big ones. They'll usually fund some of it themselves. It's possible for the producer to fund an entire project out of pocket, but it's extremely risky, which is why investment groups are typically used to help match investors to the project, and those investment firms will do the work of securing funding. Either way, the producer is responsible for deciding how to get funding....which is what I'm saying above.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 900d ago
Imalwaysright902d ago

@ MasterCornholio

Nothing should be held back from backers. This isn't Sony's project and the people that funded this project have every right to know ALL the details about the project they're funding including those written is small print. Otherwise trust will be lost and people won't back the project anymore.

vikingland1902d ago

@Imalwaysright

I see from the disagrees you're getting that people think backers/funders don't have the right to know how their money is spent. Well I happen to agree with you.

_-EDMIX-_902d ago

". This isn't Sony's project and the people that funded this project have every right to know"

That was stated at E3 during the press event, in fact the exact thing stated by Bowes was "This isn't our project".....

After the press event, it was stated all the information many people keep asking for, if you just watched some footage after Sony's E3 event, many would know.

Its Yu's Project. NOT Sony's.

Sony is partnering.

They are not getting money from Kickstarter.

I'm sorry but if your a backer, all you need to know is what do I get when or if I pay. Thats it.

I payed not caring about half of this junk based on I'm getting what I want. I'm backing Shenmue 3's development, I got a PC and PS4 copy when it releases...thats it.

Sony has marketing, publishing, distribution deals etc that they are not going to just all fully disclose as they are still a company, I know of zero company that fully just discloses EVERYTHING.

All you need to know, is that funding the development means Sony is funding the marking, publishing, advertising etc. Sony has zero ode to just fund a damn game they don't own the rights to.

Its once again...NOT Sony's game, they are merely partnering with Yu.

What "trust" was lost? Did I miss something? Did Sony state its their project? Was it stated that Sony bought the IP? That Sony bought the publishing rights?

From the minute it was announced at E3....it was stated that its Yu's project and NOT Sony's very, very clearly.

Yu wants a kickstarter, its his project, his team, your money backs his team's development, none of that money goes to Sony as again....its his project.

---

Sony is partnering with Yu's team, they promised to back his game through funding marking cost if it was successfully kickstartered.

....thats it. Fans not backing the game's development, means Sony's not backing its marketing. I mean....are we looking to kill Keiji for Deep Silver publishing Mighty 9? We looking to murder Igarashi because Bloodstained is being published under Deep Silver? I mean folks your giving to help the game get developed, you have ZERO right over the damn IP, nothing is being scammed by any of the developers, you as a backer, gamer etc are still getting a game that was promised when it started.

Never mind who is publishing, never mind who is marketing etc. At the end of they day, they asked for 1 thing, money to fund, you got something for that money being funded (if you paid more anyway) ie a game. Unless its a different game, unless they go ahead and never ship on the system you paid for etc unless any of that happens, i see no reason to really care about such things.

Are you not getting the game you asked for? You buying a game or the damn rights to the team?

hellothere1977902d ago

You are pretty ignorant if you think a "backer" has RIGHTS to anything other than what is stated on the kickstarter page. LMAO, hell, even shareholders of public companies aren't entitled to much, and they are technically "owners" of the company they invest in.

Here's a thought, why don't to become an "owner" of Microsoft by buying a few shares of equity and then to the CEO and tell him you have a "right" to every detail of Microsoft business because you are an "owner".

Go get a clue and figure out what you REALLY do when you throw money to a kickstarter. It's amazing people are dumb enough to toss money at something and not understand what it really is.

FYI, kickstarter is simply a slightly higher tier "donation basket". You are only entitled to any promises the developer made on the original pitch. Also, you have a right to take back your funds BEFORE the full funding deadline. After which, the developer can simply give you a poorly made 200mb NES quality game if they wanted.

You whiners need to read and not be stupid. Reading helps.

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