Archive for December, 2010
Aspyr Media was founded in 1996 with the basic premise of bringing great gaming to the Mac. At first it was the sales and distribution of other people’s Mac games but then the idea to port great PC games to the Mac came abou,t and the public got to play Tomb Raider II on the Mac. The release of Tomb Raider II was the foundation of what has been Aspyr’s business since – bringing great PC brands to the Mac natively.
Below is the latest installment in our Aspyr Interviews segment, featuring our own Ted Staloch, Executive Vice President. His role oversees all Sales, Marketing and Content Acquisition - so finding and licensing Mac games, selling the Mac games and marketing the Mac games. We get lots of questions about upcoming content, what we think of various industry topics, how we feel about the content we sell, so we thought we’d shoot some questions up the chain and share them with you guys.
What games do you love these days.
I’m playing a ton of iPhone games right now, with Chillingo’s Cut the Rope leading my portable distraction time. Civilization V is simply awesome on the Mac! Anything Mario or Lego on the Wii is on my weekend list with my 2 boys. Like millions of other people, I play COD:Black Ops. I also really enjoy my sons baseball and Flag football games on weekends.
A guy walks into your office with a MacBook under his arm, sits down, and tells you to explain Aspyr to him in six words. What do you say?
Biggest Brands, Highest Quality, Dedicated People!!!!
Digital distribution: Blessing? Curse? A bit of both, maybe?
Blessing without a doubt, but you have to reset your company around embracing it. Meaning, Aspyr has had a 3 year transition period from 100% boxed game sales to today about 75% boxed. By the end of 2011, Aspyr will be closer to 25% boxed and 75% digital. But, for the first time ever almost 4 million Mac computers are being sold every quarter and soon everyone will be able to download the game through one of their favorite sites. (Mac App, GameAgent, Steam, etc)
I still buy some boxed games and think there is great opportunity for a retailer like Target or Best Buy to create a Mac “Top 10” game section and be a category leader. As Apple continues to shrink game shelf space and move online, this is the time for a more traditional retailer to step up and create a Mac destination with iPhones, iPads, Mac games, etc.
So for us, we are thrilled that the Apple platform is growing, the distribution is growing and our potential to reach 100% of our audience is a reality.
Some people think that video gaming isolates family members from each other while some think it brings them together. What’s your take?
I don’t think games should do either with families. If you are relying on games to bring your family closer, it seems like you’ve already missed the boat. Some people tend to over think the role of what games, movies, music, the internet, etc, should do to families. My belief is you have a set amount of distraction time everyday and that if you try and tie it to education, family time or work, you just re-defined it as not being fun or a place to be distracted. It’s OK to play RollerCoaster Tycoon, Call of Duty, Lego Star Wars, etc, for 20minutes on a Sat morning.
Now a different conversation can be had about how to incorporate gaming design and play into today’s workplace and education, but that wasn’t the question
Who are some of the people at Aspyr that you’d want to tell the OS X gaming world about?
We are a small and hardworking team, so this is a tough question. Let me start with 2 people. Lori Durham is our VP of Operations and she can manage anything. Seriously, she can Produce a work-for-hire development project, while certifying a XBOX 360 game, while managing a couple Mac games being launched world-wide, while helping the company look at new Health Insurance Policies, while interviewing new staff for next years projects, while, while, while….the best juggler we have at Aspyr.
Next is Andy Brazell, our fearless Director of Services at Aspyr, including our QA. Everything at Aspyr starts and ends in our QA depart. Andy has assembled a team that is best in class on Mac gaming (as well as other platforms) and absolutely will not allow us to cut corners. Several times throughout the years sales guys or business development guys like me have requested to push something to a patch or update after we release and Andy will simply just say “NO…our customers deserve better”. When I defined Aspyr in six words above as “highest quality”, it’s due to people like Andy at our company.
One more shout out is to Ken Cobb, who is one or our Senior Engineers. I appreciate brilliant engineers as much as anyone and Ken is certainly one of our Rock Stars here. But, what really separates him into the Rock Star category is his lack of ego. Different than confidence. He has a calm and reliable confidence on every project and everyday of the week. But that fact that he does such amazing work and remains so level headed is somewhat unique in game development. He really sets the stage for all of us to love and appreciate what we do for a living, while remaining humble. Dedicated people (above), certainly defines Ken Cobb.
Aspyr has brought out tons and tons of games, but also some of the biggest and most popular games ever made (like The Sims and Civilization). Where do you go from here? And don’t just give us the stock “bigger and brighter” answer on this one!
Clearly we want more of the same, which is big-big brands with gameplay beyond reason. But with the adoption of Apps vs Games, size is less of a driver and game companies can have tremendous success with bite size game-play. Aspyr will introduce more of this type of gameplay in the future, while supporting the biggest and the best. Angry Birds is today’s example, but within the next 18 months, there will be an App that sells 25 million downloads, maybe even 100 million downloads. These huge download events may or may not be with established brands current in the games industry. So, that size opportunity, on an OS or iOS that Aspyr holds expertise, is an area that we are very excited about and that we are perfectly positioned for future success.
To be specific, are you doing Black Ops for the Mac?
We would love to and are working on making that answer “yes”, but are open to suggestions on how to get full attention and sign off from a publisher experiencing the largest product launch of all time!
- Day 1 (12/13) – Seeing as how this one is today, we’ll just give it to you–you can now grab Call of Duty 2 (Mac) and Call of Duty Deluxe (Mac) at the 20% discount!
- Day 2 (12/14) – Strategy was important during World War II Men of War (PC) and Men of War: Red Tide (PC)
- Day 3 (12/15) – This modern game set a new standard for the genre when it was released Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Mac) and Call of Duty Boxed Bundle (Mac)
- Day 4 (12/16) – Thank the Russians for these two thrilling PC games Cryostasis (PC) and NecroVision (PC)
- Day 5 (12/17) – These games could keep you busy for thousands of years Civilization IV (Mac), Civilization IV: Gold Edition (Mac), Civilization IV: Warlords (Mac), Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (Mac), Civilization IV: Colonization (Mac), Civilization IV: Complete Bundle (Mac), and Civilization IV: “Expansions” Bundle (Mac)
- Day 6 (12/18) – Can you tell what year it is? 1701 AD (PC), 1701 AD: The Sunken Dragon (PC), and XIII Century: Gold Edition (PC)
- Day 7 (12/19) – It will take all your wits to survive these galactic battles Star Wars: Empire at War (Mac)
- Day 8 (12/20) – Light or Dark? Your decisions will have noticeable consequences Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Mac)
- Day 9 (12/21) – Will you follow the rules of the academy or be shunned as an outcast?
- Day 10 (12/22) – The grid has been updated in these PC puzzlers
- Day 11 (12/23) – There’s too much power to control
- Day 12 (12/24) – Don’t forget to manage your own affairs while managing theirs
On the sales side, Valve’s support of the Mac platform via Steam right now is reliant on publishers participating in Steam Play which is Valve’s program of releasing every game “Hybrid” despite who did the development work. Right now there is no compensation for the publisher if their game is downloaded but not purchased. For the publisher this is tough to swallow and I think this is a hindrance to Valve seeing the same market dominance on the Mac as it has on the PC. I believe if Steam even offered a Mac version of an existing PC game for just $5 there would be less of a barrier for Mac publishers to sell content on Steam, the consumers would still get a great gaming experience across two platforms, and a big catalog of great content could find it’s way to Steam.This blurb is only a small part of what turned out to be a really great interview. Talking points include transparency between Mac game developers/publishers and the Mac gaming community, DRM, the upcoming Mac App Store, and the potential threat of emulation software. It’s a great read that will give anyone that’s interested a fantastic insight into the inner-workings of Mac game development and publishing. Big thanks to the team at IMG for asking us to participate!
- Monopoly Classic
- Monopoly: Here and Now Edition
- The Game of Life
- Cake Mania
- Drop Point: Alaska
- Board Game Trio 2
- Board Game Trio 3
As practically all of you probably know, a new game launch inevitably sees its share of technical issues. Civilization V Mac has been no different (unfortunately), but the good news is that our tech support staff has been working super hard to make sure you guys get to play the game you paid for! They’ve compiled a list of some of the top-reported issues and have asked us to post them to our Blog. Have you had any issues with the game? Check out the FAQ below to see if your support issue is mentioned!
I’m having trouble playing Civilization V since updating to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Can you help?
Aspyr is aware that there have been some performance issues that have popped up since the release of MacOS 10.8 and is working hard to find a solution. Please open a support ticket with Aspyr so they can get your system information/saved games/crashlogs. The info you provide will help the team work with their partners to find a solution. Additional info can be found here.
Why can’t I play the game in OS 10.5?
Of course, we would like to have the game play in as many configurations as possible, but there are some new Open GL extensions that are essential to Civilization 5 that cannot be used in 10.5. Upgrading to 10.6 from 10.5 is fairly inexpensive and as long as you meet the hardware requirements, you will be playing in no time.
You can purchase an OS upgrade from Apple here: http://store.apple.com/us/search?find=10.6&mco=MTA4MzI5ODk
When playing on a laptop, I can’t get the game to display on my external monitor. What the dilly?
You will need to tell the game what monitor you want to play on. When playing on a laptop, the system automatically chooses the laptop monitor as the primary display. To change to the other monitor, hold down the Apple/Command key while launching the game to bring up the initial configuration screen. On this screen, you will see an option to choose multiple monitors. Choose the external monitor, and you are on your way.
I get the error “Steam needs to be running” when I launch the game.
This usually happens if the user already has Steam installed, and they need to update. You can also try reinstalling Steam if the update doesn’t work.
I get grey bars on the screen when I try to play the game. Make them go away!
This happens when trying to play the game at a super high resolution on really large monitors. This usually doesn’t happen on resolutions lower than 2560×1440. Lower the resolution and the problem will go away.
My problem isn’t listed here!
Don’t forget to check out our Civilization V Mac knowledge base at our support site! Also, if you have ANY problems, please contact us by phone (512-708-8100) or email (email@example.com). We’ll get you up and running and on your way to world domination!