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December 2009 SOTG


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#1 FFGSteve

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:24 AM

 Hello everyone,

 
It’s finally time for the December 2009 SOTG. I have a lot I want to go over.
 
First I want to recap/review the last two years of the game, I think it is important to see where we’ve been, to understand where we are at. So here we go:
 
Release 8 came out in February 2008, selling well. Some concerns surfaced about the card pool and the impact it would have on the meta game, including the extremely hard to get starter box topper Blood Runs True. On top of that, shortly after the set’s release it was announced that Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) had bought UFS from Sabertooth Games (STG) and that STG was being shut down.
 
This 11th hour rescue by FFG saved UFS from being shut down along with STG, but was a big shock to the play community. When combined with the issues release 8 caused with the card pool, the bad economy, and a general decline in CCG’s, we saw many players leave the game. In hindsight, it is also clear that many left because they were just ready to move on. The game was at its two year mark, which is longer than most CCG’s survive, and they were ready to go.
 
Release 9 was slightly late but sold very well on release. The Darkstalkers set even sold out, which was the first time that had happened in quite a while. It was clear during the Summer tournament season that the meta game had improvement, but that cards would need to be banned. During that Summer, James Hata was hired to become the new lead designer and agreed to start after Gen Con so he could take his last shot at immortality. James did indeed win Gen Con, but the convention had issues in addition to the card pool, where we banned some key problem cards. There were space issues that forced us to run grinders to qualify for the main event, and while I was able to secure extra space at the last minute to accommodate everyone who attended, dozens of players stayed away because of the issue.
 
Release 10 debuted at Gen Con and will unfortunately go down as one of the worst received sets in the game’s history. This, combined with the recent bans (which was a no-win situation because if we didn’t ban those cards, people still would have left), the lingering meta game issues, and a worsening economy, caused even more players to leave the game.
 
Release 11 was better received but by now our extensive analysis of sales showed the player base had dropped to under 1,000 players and was in critical condition.
 
FFG believed in the game and instead of canceling it, decided to put a massive push behind the game to try and turn it around. Several initiatives were enacted over the year, the first of which was the third anniversary promotion for the 12th release.
 
Release 12 was slightly late and came out in March. This was also the month the UFS invitational took place, another huge and expensive effort to turn things around. Yes, I know that STG had promised to hold an invitational, but FFG did not have to follow through on a promise it did not make, especially for a game that was struggling so badly. Fifty one people attended the event but everyone had a great time, and I consider it a success. It was a good morale boosting event. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the third anniversary promotion, though we had around 200 stores sign up for the event and receive the free displays of product, sales increased only slightly.
 
At this point, we needed to take more action to try and turn things around, analyzing every facet of the business. We decided to begin offering one set every release instead of two. With the economy in such bad shape, we hoped that releasing fewer cards, thereby making it easier to play the game, would bring back old players and attract new ones. We also made the decision to stop printing foil cards in an effort to hold down costs and minimize our losses. You see, when it comes to printing CCG’s it is all about volume – the more cards you print, the cheaper they are. However, by this point in time the volumes were so low that the print costs for each display were astronomical.
 
Also, to address the meta game we banned several cards over the Summer in an attempt to open things up. We also announced a special mini-block format that we hoped would serve two purposes. One, give the players upset with the current meta game another format to play and enjoy. Two, it was a great way for new players to get in the game without having to chase down so many older sets.
 
Eighty six players played in the World Championship at Gen Con, and it was clear that the number of massive bans over the Summer was not enough, and that the meta was still in bad shape. This presented a problem that only drastic action could address, as the number of cards that would need to be banned was unacceptable. We decided that we had to go with the nuclear option that we had hoped to avoid, and we announced early rotation.
 
Pre-orders for the new Tekken set spiked almost overnight. We did ship out more Tekken at release than we had of any set since the Release 9, and it looked liked things were finally turning around. Sadly, it turned out that the rotation announcement, combined with the beefed up pre-release kits, caused the sales to front load and therefore orders were scarce. Even though people really loved the set it has sold only a little stronger than each of the release 12 sets.
 
This means that everything came down to the performance of the new Soulcalibur 4 set. To give it every chance to succeed we made a new fight life kit at an incredible price. We also added sets from release 12 and earlier to our recent Christmas sale, to try and get more people in the game. Sadly, we sold very, very little of ether the kit, or the Christmas sale product. Even worse, the Soulcalibur numbers have declined slightly. As painful as it is for me to say this, it is no longer viable for us to continue to move forward publishing the game. We have had significantly fewer than 1,000 players for over a year now, and the time has finally come to stop.
 
This means we will not be printing anymore UFS and that the OP kits we are shipping out this month are going to be the last. All OP will end with these kits. We literally emptied the store room and sent virtually everything we had left. We were shorted promos during this last print run, and I had hoped to fix the situation with the next printing, but unfortunately no more new cards are coming, and that will no longer happen.
 
Not only have we cancelled UFS, but we also announced today that the Kingdom Hearts CCG is cancelled as well. FFG is now officially out of the CCG business as the category has declined beyond the point where we can make it work for us. Only Magic and a very small handful of CCG’s are still viable in today’s market and nearly all of those others have a cartoon or anime behind them.
 
We will instead focus on our other categories where we are experiencing much greater success, including our LCG category which has beaten our most optimistic expectations. I know many will ask why we do not convert UFS into a LCG? The biggest reason is that it is not feasible to work with the multiple licenses it would require, and frankly with a player base of fewer than 1,000 players for over a year, it is beyond recovery.
 
UFS had an amazing run of nearly four years, which is forever in the harsh world of declining CCG sales. If you add the more than two years during which we worked on the game before launch, I have dedicated more than six years of my life to this game. I simply cannot express to you the deep sadness I feel, which I know many of you share.
 
I want to thank everyone who has worked on or helped this great game over the years, from my Spartans in Memphis (without whom none of this would have been possible), to the folks here at FFG who continued to support the game to try and turn it around beyond all reason, as well as the rules moderators, play testers,  tournament organizers, and the amazing players who did so much over the years. No one could ask for more, or a better group of people.
 
This is my final SOTG. Thank you all for the greatest ride of my life. I look forward to playing the game for years and years to come, as it will always be one of my all time favorite games, but first I need to put it aside for a while as it is just too painful right now.
 
Final round - fight,
 
Steve


#2 Starsoul-klr

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:29 AM

Well, going to cancel my order now. So sad...



#3 Da_ghetto_gamer

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:39 AM

I guess this means were goin 2 hear alot of i told u so's and other bitching.....

Man this really sucks i wish there was some other way

 



#4 Postman197865

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:40 AM

Wow, all I have to say is:

"**** you FFG.  You killed the game.  Thanks for nothing."



#5 Homme Chapeau

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:40 AM

Da_ghetto_gamer said:

I guess this means were goin 2 hear alot of i told u so's and other bitching.....

Man this really sucks i wish there was some other way

 

Da_ghetto_gamer said:

I guess this means were goin 2 hear alot of i told u so's and other bitching.....

Man this really sucks i wish there was some other way 

There isn't - No more product will be released for UFS. It's not just UFS either - ALL CCGs are no longer welcome at FFG.

I'd love to stick around Steve, but none of the other FFG products attracted my eye. This is where we part ze ways.



#6 JDub

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:42 AM

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was quitting the game and now I don't have a chance to sell my cards. Why didn't I just put them on ebay?



#7 Admiral Ren

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:44 AM

Homme Chapeau said:

Da_ghetto_gamer said:

 

I guess this means were goin 2 hear alot of i told u so's and other bitching.....

Man this really sucks i wish there was some other way

 

 

 

Da_ghetto_gamer said:

 

I guess this means were goin 2 hear alot of i told u so's and other bitching.....

Man this really sucks i wish there was some other way 

 

 

There isn't - No more product will be released for UFS. It's not just UFS either - ALL CCGs are no longer welcome at FFG.

I'd love to stick around Steve, but none of the other FFG products attracted my eye. This is where we part ze ways.

Don't know why but i'm quite laughing. oh yeah, i tryed to get the game selling here and i failed. and i'm glad i did so well

so hatman, to the phail phorum, then?



#8 nazoenigma

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:47 AM

Well, I still like the game. I can only assume that it dying makes it cheaper...so I suppose that's good.

 

I'm still gonna play it. And I hope that our playgroup does too. While I wish something could be done, I understand that it's hella expensive to do something like this.

 

But...Yay for cheaper product?



#9 Whizzwang

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:48 AM

so unfortunately it is a case of "cancel the game before we go on vacation for 2 weeks to hide from the fallout"

 

Shame really as i was quite taken with the idea of the Invasion LCG, I'm just not sure i want to if the above statement has even a whiff of truth to it.



#10 Homme Chapeau

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:50 AM

FFGSteve said:

No one could ask for more, or a better group of people.

This part I find hard to believe ;p



#11 nazoenigma

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:50 AM

Wait, me?

 

If I said something bad, I'm sorry.

 

I just got into it, and then it dies. That makes me sad.



#12 Da_ghetto_gamer

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:51 AM

Homme Chapeau said:

FFGSteve said:

No one could ask for more, or a better group of people.

 

This part I find hard to believe ;p

Seriously...and the game was only getting better too....its a real shame....



#13 Sol Badguy

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:00 AM

Wow...Good thing I didn't spend the hundreds I was going to with my Christmas money. Hope the Op has lots of good **** in it and looks like I am actually gonna have to start playing yugioh(only other game I have cards for right now :/)



#14 Theo

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:01 AM

Well once again, i am dissapointed.
Like early rotation i wouldnt have minded if they had just given us some warning.

Now im stuck with more worthless cards i have only just bought. Time to get used to the idea, maybe, maybe do it a bit longer after a set was just released etc.

Very dissapointed, i was looking forward to some new things in UFS and beleive the only reason the SCIV sales were down was because noone in england could buy any.

Sucks to be us eh?

maybe see yall around.

Theo



#15 Da_ghetto_gamer

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:03 AM

Anyone know any companies that want 2 pick up a dying game? lol



#16 Admiral Ren

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:03 AM

Sol Badguy said:

Wow...Good thing I didn't spend the hundreds I was going to with my Christmas money. Hope the Op has lots of good **** in it and looks like I am actually gonna have to start playing yugioh(only other game I have cards for right now :/)

Sol Badguy said:

Wow...Good thing I didn't spend the hundreds I was going to with my Christmas money. Hope the Op has lots of good **** in it and looks like I am actually gonna have to start playing yugioh(only other game I have cards for right now :/)

wait to get cheap stuff and play for the lulz? i prefer having no official event and support than shitty ones. As long has you can get a couple a friend to play with, you should be fine. I wish i could get a couple of players to play some games.



#17 retched

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:10 AM

Da_ghetto_gamer said:

Anyone know any companies that want 2 pick up a dying game? lol

Ask Upper Deck Entertainment. I'm PRETTY sure they're looking for another winner.



#18 mattkohls

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:24 AM

This is extremely sad and very disheartening for someone who has put so much time and effort into this game over the last 4 years.  It's going to take a while to digest this. 

It's nice that Steve has been so forthcoming with the details of the last couple years of UFS, you can tell that he had a passion for this game, but it still doesn't make it any easier for us to accept. 

I don't know what else to say.

 



#19 Solstice

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:32 AM

For me this has been the funnest game ive ever played. All of my players love it and we thought that things were starting to get better. The last few sets were spectacular to say the least and I have loved the new artwork. To me this game isnt dead its just taking a break who knows, perhaps after the economy gets better ffg will start making it again. For now me and my playgroup (which grew again) will start making our own format and continue to enjoy UFS.



#20 retched

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:44 AM

Solstice said:

For me this has been the funnest game ive ever played. All of my players love it and we thought that things were starting to get better. The last few sets were spectacular to say the least and I have loved the new artwork. To me this game isnt dead its just taking a break who knows, perhaps after the economy gets better ffg will start making it again. For now me and my playgroup (which grew again) will start making our own format and continue to enjoy UFS.

I really do think we need to get ALL of the FFG Scouts and Tournament Organizers, even those that are interested in become Tournament Organizers for a local area up and going.

All I know, OP system can be hosted on a few websites I know. We can rebuild UFSCards.com and start using **** (shudder) or Trade Cards Online to keep this going. (Sans promos but still)

If anyone wants to start this, my email is retched@hotmail.com and my IMs are as follows:

retched51784- AIM

retched_97 - Yahoo

retched@hotmail.com - MSN

64477711 - ICQ

retched - Skype

 






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