Stardock CEO details "nightmare" Demigod launch

Around 100,000 sales hampered by poor online design, piracy and early release

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has candidly discussed the bungled launch of Demigod, which suffered a series of disasters due to poor design, piracy and early retail release.

The game was sold early in some stores before the game's servers were online, leaving users without connected play, while a hacked version of the game was also uploaded to torrent sites. On top of that, once the servers did go live, online play suffered from technical problems that Wardell admits were the result of a bad design decision by Stardock.

With broken online play, reviews for the game were critical, with the title scoring an average of 77 per cent on Metacritic. Wardell expects that ahead of the release of the game in Europe, the title will have only sold around 100,000 units.

"The difficult launch definitely hurt the game. Thereís no way around it," he wrote on his blog. "Besides upsetting a lot of people anxious for a good multiplayer game, you also have the fact that those early negative reviews are going to linger."

"Thatís the breaks. One could argue we released a game that wasnít done (we thought it was done) and thatís what you get," he added.

Demigod was released early by GameStop due to a "miscommunication between their corporate HQ and their brick and mortar outlets," said Wardell. "This wouldnít normally have been that big of a deal except this happened to be over Easter weekend and the release servers for the game werenít yet up."

A hacked version of the game appeared around the same time, resulting in 100,000 people trying to play the game. Stardock migrated legitimate users to another server, but for 48 hours the game was unplayable.

The biggest problem for the game, according to Wardell, was a netcode problem due to the game using peer-to-peer connections, and as a result ďit was a nightmare to get games going online.Ē

"Weíve learned that you canít treat networking as just another thing to plug in like you would a sound library or even a 3D engine. Itís a whole different animal," he said.

The company hopes to have the majority of problems fixed within the next couple of days, and is offering a 50 per cent off deal for users to pass to friends.

"A lot of Demigodís long-term success depends, in my opinion, on whether weíre able to 'perfect' Demigodís online experience before a viable alternative shows up," added Wardell. "Right now, Demigod has the luxury of being one of the few modern RTS games that is so well suited to playing online."

Related stories

Star Control II developers crowdfund legal fight for IP control

Paul Reiche III, Fredrick Ford estimate $2m in legal costs in escalating disagreement with Stardock

By Rebekah Valentine

Stardock responds to Star Control designers' settlement offer claims

Developer's VP shares original proposal, clarifies company's position on Star Control IP rights

By James Batchelor

Latest comments

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.