Shocking news, Spartan Games are going out of business. As an outsider they always seemed to be doing so well, what with the Halo game and all. But reading the announcement here, it's obvious they over extended themselves. I quote what I think is the relevant section:
However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.So that's three of their lines going down plus the 15mm Halo game. And I was only looking at the Halo stuff the other week thinking about what might be useful to buy for my own gaming needs.
I wish all the staff the very best in this difficult time for them.
I have been curious about this as the buzz over Halo Ground battles died out fairly quickly. I have the basic set, but I have not seen anyone playing it at any of the regional shops.ReplyDelete
SitzKreig, a fellow blogger who is linked in my blog list, and I have talked in the past about game popularity in regard to Heavy Gear and Spartan, with him noting that neither company gets a lot of play in the local game shops. I would posit that if your game doesn't go big at the local game scene then one is marketing to a smaller audience, and therefore need to cut one's cloth accordingly.Delete
I suspect Spartan Games have fallen into the same trap that Leading Edge Games fell into back in the day. Expanding their lines to generate revenue to cover costs from producing games that didn't sell well enough.
While I doubt don't that market forces and Neil's health issues are partly to blame for Spartan's woes, I'd also posit that Spartan's own pump and dump business strategy certainly didn't help either. When I was considering getting into Halo Fleet Battles, I was warned by dakka grognards about their consistent 6-12 month focus then forget but reboot in 2 years game support and that's what happened subsequently with Halo. They previewed a half dozen new ships PRIOR to release beyond the starter set and IIRC we only got two of them within 6 months (and they were significantly flawed castings at that) when they announced the NEXT Halo game they'd be focusing on. The rest of the critical first two quarters of support were repackages of the same ships in the starter in a dozen different combinations. That combined with an incredibly slow pace at addressing the issues with the rules (with an annoucement that they'd be replacing the rules within a year with a pay to get 2nd edition) dampened the remaining enthusiasm. They did admittedly try to right the ship after I gave up roughly a year after release but it was too little too late.Delete
I'll probably put up a blog article with my own thoughts on the matter as I'd turn this comment into a wall of text otherwise since there were issues with how they first approached a video game license.
I look forward to reading your post. Cheers for posting, and I just realized I spelt your handle wrong. Doh!Delete
Leading Edge Games were not helped by a last-minute production delay on the Aliens boardgame caused by the licencing approval process, but nobody forced them to bet the company on that cashflow coming in at the expected time. I think after that it was all downhill for them.Delete
I've seen some very impressive displays at shows from Spartan, but there are lots of companies that can put on impressive displays.
I think the appropriate adage is: all fur-coat and no knickers. ;-)Delete
Such a bummer, and with an active KS for Dystopian Wars in the process of production too.ReplyDelete
I agree, it seems a case of a good thing spread too thin. Thanks for a great ride Spartan
It is sad to see them go. Hopefully, Hawk Wargames have a better grasp on their finances. I only say this because both companies produce similar games and I've reviewed both in the past for commercial wargame magazines. Another niche market that sees publishers divesting themselves of titles due to not selling enough issues.Delete
I don't get the same scatter brained feeling from Dave at Hawk Wargames that so many folks got from Neil at Spartan. Hawk seems to have a more business oriented head on their shoulders and have only focused on producing two game lines and three total sets of rules during the same time Spartan worked on more than double that.Delete
As for the Dystopian Wars KS, it sounds like only some of the backers got their products since they announced shipping started in June. Spartan posted that they'd try to make good but from the general commentary the choice may be out of their hands due to UK bankruptcy/closure practices. The only saving grace is that Spartan had the decency (assuming the timing was their choice and not forced upon them) to close before the current Firestorm kickstarter ended and funds were transferred with no hope of anything being delivered to anyone.
Buying the HALO license and then producing a fleet game that no-one cared about was a fundamentally flawed business decision. Everyone wanted to play with Spartans and Elites, so they gave us a spaceship game, when their existing player base already had one from them.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine that someone at Spartan liked spaceship games.Delete
It's interesting that spaceship games, which are a classic SF trope, are dominated by franchise setting: I'm thinking Star Trek and Star Wars. I've recently just received my Jovian Wars KS pledge, which I got into because the setting is effectively Gundam, but I'm not sure how much the game will get played in comparison to ST & SW.
As an example of settings that were great, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5 also spring to mind, and where are they nowadays?