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Businesses The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Acclaim Entertainment Files for Bankruptcy 118

Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center writes "According to this story in Long Island Business News, Acclaim Entertainment has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of New York bankruptcy court, meaning it will liquidate its assets and shut down. The story states in part, 'Computer game maker Acclaim Entertainment (Nasdaq: AKLM) has filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would result in the liquidation of the company's assets. The company filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Central Islip that estimated its debts at more than $100 million and its assets at $10 million to $50 million. The filing said it had more than 200 creditors.' Game Over."
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Acclaim Entertainment Files for Bankruptcy

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  • by accelleron ( 790268 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:22PM (#10133717)
    There was a point when Acclaim titles were respected. Turok was one of them, until they screwed it up with the XBOX version. South Park's FPS was a fun little game while it lasted, as well as countless other good games I can credit these guys with.

    as far as I can see, though, they have failed to innovate:

    South Park's N64 FPS, years ago, had run-shoot-run-button-shoot-run type gameplay. Since then, games have become increasingly more innovative, better-looking, and sleeker/more intuitive. Acclaim, though, hung on to their old business model, lost enough market share to go to the ranks of ValuSoft, and even then failed to realize their mistake and improve on it. Now, the former captain has sunk with his ship.

    The Queen Is Dead. Long Live The Queen.
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MistaE ( 776169 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:57PM (#10133940) Homepage
    I think you're right. The only companies that are 'well off' in the current video game world are the big boys such as EA and SquareEnix. The smaller companies are either getting assimilated by the big companies or are being forced to close up shop because they can't afford risks.

    On the other hand this seems to foreshadow a time when developers will HAVE to make a decent game or else they will be dead in the water. If you succeed, you are rewarded with some money to back up your crew in the form of a buyout by a big one. Unfortunately, this other means that, like you said, most folks are just going to be trying to make rehash sequels/prequels of current games out there simply because there is too much risk involved in innovative titles any more. I hope that doesn't happen for good in the long run.
  • by tarth ( 445054 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:29PM (#10134127)
    Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

    Be funny?
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by liminality ( 695708 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:38PM (#10134209)
    i hear what you are saying about business consolidation, but do you really feel that the video game industry is experiencing a nadir of quality right now? what strikes me about the names "sierra", "acclaim" is that they produced a lot of garbage the market wasnt buying, adn that their demise is not an indicator of things gone astray but things going right. the games i've been playing the last year or two have been the best ever, and the sheer number of quality titles is greater than ive ever known in the past. the quality of the art is great, gameplay is solid, new technology gives us better physics and cleaner graphics. i do agree that gameplay in the mainstream can be quite derivative, and that there are many examples in well-established genres that really beg the question "what more is there to do?" but that said, i wouldnt declare the FPS genre stiltified when i play something like Doom3 or grand theft auto, or the RPG genre lame when i see stuff like Jade and baten Kaitos coming down the pipe. and beside those most obvious of blockbuster games, there is also a plentitude of great, quirky games like never before: donkey konga, that crazy mat game that people use as an aerobics workout, the innovation of open-ended titles like Grand Theft Auto, Morrowind, or some MMORPGs, and some nintendo novelties like Viewtiful Joe, Paper Mario 2, or Pikmin 2. there are many many more (have you tried Gish?) but those came to mind first for the sake of arguement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:41PM (#10134226)
    Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

    A better question would be: Is there anything Tycho and Game don't do to each other while naked?
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:49PM (#10134291)
    Here's my idea of what needs to happen:
    -Companies need to stop making crappy FPS's and Crappy RTS's.
    -They need to focus on gameplay instead of graphics
    -Start including good music, and something we rarely see: Story!!!

    Wow. Is that really your idea of what needs to happen? That's so fresh. I've never heard any of those vague, undefined points delivered with such a lack of apparent irony before this.
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AltaMannen ( 568693 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @09:03PM (#10134392)
    "Is it just me or are game publishers dying off? Sierra, Interplay and now Acclaim are all gone"

    Add 3DO to that list and see the pattern. Abandon quality and people stop buying the games!

    "I know that, other than Doom 3 and Thief 3, it's been a long time since I bought a new release (no, I don't pirate)."

    If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not? I rarely ever play PC games anymore because I don't like FPS games, but that doesn't mean that I think all PC games are bad, I just don't know about them.

    I think as long as games sell more or roughly the same amount of dollars as the year before everything is great. And as much as the press calls for innovation and complexity I rather like a lot of current and older games and wouldn't mind playing similar games again. Added complexity is mostly just annoying.

    So no, I don't think the game industry is in trouble. Getting rid of a publisher that produced almost only really bad titles can not be a bad thing for game industry!
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @11:40PM (#10135295)
    I'd agree with that in principle if Acclaim wasn't such a large publisher of games (they've got quite a list of titles)...

    Sure, there are independent developers making crap and dying off all the time, but that's been true of every industry. When the big companies start dying off and/or not being able to find a game that isn't terrible, something larger is amiss. I think we're seeing what is going to happen inevitably to the entire marketplace if the big companies don't stop making MOTS and focusing on graphics and framerates to the nth degree.

    I haven't bought a new release in quite some time for any console or my PC/Macs. The games I have bought are used titles of games like Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics (and Silent Storm 2 for the PC.) The whizzbang movie-tie-in or whatnot hasn't even been on my rent list since I tried to play Blade on the consoles. Bleh.

    Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (or not, it's been a long day)... is that we're seeing a hyper expansive version of the days before the crash of 84. (mainly it's expansive is because games and console entertainment in general are much more a part of society than in 1984.)

    Tons of games are going into the bargain bin (shovelware galore) before you even get a chance to read up on the title, companies are dropping like flies, the "next big thing" is not giving people cause to do their traditional "want it now!" drool-fest. I am thinking if the PS3 and XBox Next aren't leaps and bounds over their current offerings, it's going to collapse under its own weight. The big companies are launching tons of "also-rans" of the last big hit, seeing if any of them will stick... and I just don't think even EA has the financial cushion to keep doing this forever. That's just a guess, of course.

    (and I miss TBS games...hehehh) :-) Guess that's why I keep my eyes on the independent wargame publishers... :) They're turn-based and proud. :-)
  • Re:Game publishers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RsG ( 809189 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:27AM (#10136161)
    >If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not?

    Well, first off, I said new releases. I bought Warcraft 3, Serious Sam, Freelancer, GTA3 and a few other titles in recent memory; however I fished them out of the bargain bin or waited for the price to drop. My point was that I'm spending less than I used to, and this in spite of the fact that I have more money; to me, new games are all to often the same as the games I already have, and thus aren't worth $60 CDN to me.

    My point about the game industry was that it was headed for trouble (and this argument is not original to me). In theory, if Moore's law is beginning to have less influence, then the _first_ publishers to die off would be the shovelware producers (like, for example, Acclaim). The lack of good original new titles is a symptom of stagnation, which is in line with the theory.

    I'm not saying we're there yet, I'm saying that this is where we're headed. And I'm not saying I don't play games anymore, I'm saying that I buy from the bargain bins, play demos/shareware, am indifferent to hyped up new releases, and am re-playing my game collection. And I doubt I'm the only one.
  • Not All Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mattb90 ( 666532 ) * <> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @07:38PM (#10144629) Homepage Journal
    Is everybody forgetting the good times from Acclaim? The original Turok on N64, Burnout 1 and 2, and for you guys in the US and Canada, Worms 3D. They even had W3D's Xbox (Live-enabled) release up their sleeve for this month, just like Juiced (which has even had a couple of reviews - good scores - here in the UK). There was even Worms Forts on the horizon which looks promising - and I guess Team 17 are currently rushing around for a US/Canada publisher right now.

    So, sure, they made crap like BMX XXX, but we have to remember the good times - and that's not forgetting they were Sega of Europe's distributor for quite a few months until they found their feet post-Dreamcast.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"