November 4
2014

A few words and clarifications about the retail release

This blog post begins with the same words I used in my Space Engineers for Xbox One post: let me assure you that the retail release of Space Engineers in US/EU/AU stores has no effect on our development plan, priorities or the game you are playing and following right now.

To put it simply: the retail release is just another distribution channel, just like Steam, GMG, Humble Store, etc. Our mission is to bring Space Engineers to as many people as possible, which is beneficial to everyone: bigger community equals more modders, content, ideas and friends. We took this decision so that we could enable new players to buy the game. There is still a large number of people, especially in Europe, who are not purchasing products online for various reasons (don’t want to use credit cards, etc). We knew from the beginning that this decision contains a big risk, since the actual profit that we will get from selling in retails is much lower than the one from online distribution, but we wanted to give the chance to these players to play our game. Also, if we speak about money, more sales mean larger budgets, more developers and more features. This is a total win-win situation.

We treat this retail release as “experimental” – our game is probably one of the first early access games launched in retail stores. Customers are not used to this and the entire thing can backfire. But someone has to try this approach. On the other side, I believe that the distributors made sure that the information about early access is communicated to customers properly (through a label on the box or an educated retail clerk). We all know that hiding this fact or lying about it wouldn’t be an option – even if someone tries that in the future, the consequences would be brutal.

Regarding the extra content that we added, as you know video game retailers don’t have the same advantages and flexibility as digital stores, so we wanted to support them as much as we could by differentiating the product compared to the online version. The digital extra content (soundtrack, digital art) will also be available for everyone later in the future (there are some technical reasons why we don’t want to include them in the digital version right now). Retail customers don’t get any in-game content that’s not available in the Steam version as well. It’s still exactly the same game. They get some extra physical items and our older games, but the higher package price justifies this.

The talks with retail publishers started almost a year ago (when they noticed Space Engineers in the top seller lists). It took some time to finish the deal and prepare the packages. Retail release has nothing to do with the current “temporary feature freeze” stage.

This is an “experimental” early access retail release, that’s why we treat it as a limited edition –we don’t want to end up with a crazy number of boxes in stores in case this thing doesn’t work.

More info about the retail release: http://www.spaceengineersgame.com/space-engineers-retail-release-announcement.html

Development progress and future plans 

I also want to give you some more info about the development progress and our future plans, since the feature-freeze period has just started and some players might be worrying about it. As I have already informed you in my previous blog-post, Space Engineers has entered into a temporary bug fixing and stabilization period. This doesn’t mean that all bugs will be fixed within the first weeks, neither that there won’t be any bugs in the future. Our team is doing its best to have everything done as soon as possible so we can start focusing again on implementing new features. 


Moreover, the retail release doesn’t mean that the development of Space Engineers has stopped or that it has reached beta. The game is far from finished; there are still major features in development: in-game programming, projector and 3D printing, scenarios, properly textured models, polishing and optimizations… we will give you more info about other planned features later in the future.

Thanks for reading this and don’t forget: we are here to make the best game possible – for YOU!

  1. Very great news. I truly hope this will work and that you will be able to sail non-limited boxes ! You're right when you say many people can't/don't want to buy games via steam !

    1. Did any one else see how bad this game was in its earlier stages. Its actually getting to be an incredible game and I have high exceptions for it to come to consul and hopefully see previews for the games purchase in the future.

  2. Thank you for keeping the steam community informed. The dialog between the players and the developers is amazing!

  3. Does this retail release include the Xbox One version? I want to give you my monies!!!!!!

    1. And my monies too, i really am excited for this game to come on the ONE, i saw NERDCubed play a few on youtube and i thought man i realy hope this comes to console

  4. "But someone has to try this approach."

    why?

    why does anyone need to sell an incomplete product at retail?

    im not understanding how this is good for anyone, but maybe you and the printer who made the boxes and manuals.

    1. The product is hardly incomplete. The product is "early access" – technically, that term would draw me in a lot more than "incomplete". Also, pretty sure that buying the retail copy still entitles you to the free weekly updates just like everyone else. The retail copy is a great idea, since it's essentially catering to the casual video game consumer – the person who grabs a video game off the shelf because it looks cool and they want to try it out. Maybe that's good, maybe that's bad. Only time will tell though. Like Marek said, it could all backfire in the end.

    2. Why?
      Because it is fair to let "others", who do not like steam or do not want risk online payment methods, gain their legal copy of Space Engineers.

      Space Engineers belongs to games, which NEVER will be really finished. There will be always space for more and more content and improvements.

      Do you think, it would be fair released retail version NEVER? And forcing "others" to use pirate sources or other shadow zones?

      In my opinion, releasing retail version was wise and friendly move.

    3. One thing you're forgetting here. The game will still require steam to install, which means, Early access or not, they get access to all future updates for free.

      That, and Marek clearly stated that they will label Early Access on the retail box, which IMO is a great thing to do. They're also getting 2 finished games in the package along with Space Engineers.

    4. He didn't say anything about people who don't like Steam. Most people have no problem with Steam (at least since they saw thereally bad alternatives Origin, UPlay etc.) There are people who just don't want to pay online via credit card. Whenever I pay something over Steam I use paysafe cards (=kind of prepaid cards) because my pc is probably harbouring dozens of trojan horses and other phishing software as I dowload a lot of stuff from untrustworthy sources.

  5. I have to admit I feel a little guilty having been a little negative on the forums. Thank you for this update! 🙂

    1. I regret that there was a lack of information to act upon, having also had a negative reaction. However, I must say that there is nothing to feel guilty over. Healthy skepticism is useful in asking important questions about details that shouldn't be glossed over. The developer response is positive and reassuring, however only time will tell what really happens in the further development of SE. Hopefully there is still much more to follow in the continued development of SE.

  6. Marek Znamená to problém , kterým se čas vám umožní optmize hru , kde můžeme stavět větší a větší Lodě / stanice a mají větší boje s ven Lagg

  7. sweet to read this. I figured you would make a statement about it after reading the forums/hearing the worries about it going around.

    I have 120% confidence in you and your team and ideas! keep going on strong 😉

  8. I will gladly help to insure that this blog post is advertised to the people who need to read it.

  9. I just hope one of the things added will be a large ship cannon block. Biomes would be a great addition too, along with AI enemy's but the easiest would be the cannon block.

  10. I never doubted you for a moment, Mr Rosa. Keep up all the great work, I'm absolutely smitten with your game.

  11. These are just great news and i can't understand why people would get upset about this. I think that it is a great idea to stabilize the game a bit before continuing with adding more features. I hope that this stabilization process will go as planned and that it might boost the game performance, since then it would give the oppertunity for more players to join the great and awesome space engineers community. The game as of right now has a performance issue since i had to upgrade with a whole new computer before i could actually play it. I had a i5 2.5 ghz, 8GB ram and intel HD graphics ( i know intel graphics are bad thats why i upgraded) and it was barely playable. So don't get upset and smile better performance will allow bigger and greaters features to be added in the future. -Thank you for reading and ill see you on Space Engineers 😉

  12. Hey, Marek R. do not worry about “temporary feature freeze” stage and repairing bug.
    It is most welcome stage. Some dev teams continuously forget about this "repairing stage" and such game in development is going into chaos, turning slowly into unplayable crap

    Take your time and repair/polish as much features as you can. Space engineers has already enough content to play with and we have access to steam workshop, full of nice additions.

  13. Please work more with your distributors to ensure 100% transparency (i.e., make sure they clearly indicate on the box that the project is in an alpha state and unfinished). That is my sole objection to this experiment. Aside from that, good luck. I'm enjoying Space Engineers for what it is and am looking forward to the coming bug fixes (and hopefully additional development after the bug fix sprint is over.)

  14. I hope you guys enjoy going bankrupt. This is going to ruin you flat out. When you're going down, though, be sure to release the source code so someone else can clean up your mess.

  15. I'm still sceptical about this "early access" retail box, unless you have text on FRONT cover that states it's obviously early access and as far a I know you do not, it will be misleading to consumers at best.

  16. Pt1

    Mate.

    It doesn't matter if the product is marked clearly or not, and I think you, as what I would call a game expert, know that.

    Most people, if not all, want what they want when they want it, in the form that they want it. They very well may be able to read and understand what early access means, but when you feel the things that you feel when you playing a game with some really good concepts that is "almost there" and then it alpha sh*ts all of you in a hundred ways, day after day, it is frustrating. The difference between a reasonably person and an unreasonable person is that the reasonable person stops himself halfway through a forum rage rant about the game needs to be fixed immediately (or regrets the post immediately) and the unreasonable person quits playing the game on day 4, down votes it on every social media, tells his friends not to buy it, then plays it again months later and leaves even more infuriated.

    Dayz has no less than 4 warning of the game being in a partial state in between the steam market screen to purchase the game and the game being installed, and then the game being played for the first time. The Dayz forum has the same warning. If it were stated again anywhere, I'd probably complain about being tired of seeing the warning.

    But the forums are fill with rage and buyer's remorse anyway, because they are lazy and unreasonable. If you want to hear black and white answers on whether someone "hates" or "loves" a game immediately, in any game chat, bring up Dayz.

    As I see it, you are going to get a larger portion of reasonable people who can reason out that the game is alpha per-release and what that means, are interested in helping the games development, and can reason themselves through what would otherwise be an alpha-rage-quit-uninstall, in a medium like Steam, where you actually have to look for it, and there is a minimum of tech savvy and familiarity with gaming beyond the casual to even use steam

    1. Steam alpha sales free weekends are nearly as bad as retail stores, but the cash for development probably helps more than the buyer's remorse hurts your rep. There is a much higher percentage of unreasonable people that just purchase the game because it's on sale, don't do any reading, research, or youtube video watching, and ignore any alpha warning, and then complain the entire time they are playing the game. If you don't believe this, go actually play Space Engineers in survival mode on a 60 man server during a steam sale.

    2. Retail alpha sales are worse. Like you said, the distrib model is less efficient and you are pioneering the concept, but I am going to say that without a doubt based on what I know about people that buy games at Walmart vs Steam vs Steam sales, is that retail stores (in the US, you stated Europe is slightly different) cater to even more casual gamers then Steam Sales are far more likely to not appreciate what an alpha game.

  17. Pt 2

    3. I cannot statistically prove that the overall success of SE will be helped or hurt by angry alpha customers. It is possible that additional funds during development will make selling more release versions irrelevant. I can logically guarantee you that there will be significantly more angry alpha customers with steam sale/retail early access sales. As many steam sales as SE has had, it's hard to see early access retail sales being significant to the development of a game whose core concepts and game player are nearly finished. Additionally using the "want more euros to play this game" line to justify retail sales everywhere doesn't justify your model either. Why is it that important to get every single alpha sale at all cost? If central and eastern Europe is not fond of steam, why do you need sell the game every in retail stores to get them into the alpha at the cost of alpha buyers remorse everywhere? Why is that important for people to own the game before it's finished? I won't ask my friends to buy this game to play with for a very long time, but you've just stated that Keens reasoning is that it needs to go out and get everyone it can to buy the game NOW. Think about that. I want my friends to play with me, but I don't want to be responsible for them buying a frustratingly unfinished game.

    If you are only putting a a couple of these prototype alpha pre-release games in these select stores, certainly that has to be cost prohibitive (partially mentioned via retail being less profitable) and since you are performing a charity service anyway, why not sell it retail in central and eastern Europe only? Why Australia? Why Walmart in the US? Walmart being the primary hub of casual uninformed game purchases in North America.

    Anyway, pioneer way, it's your game. Maybe mass alphas are the way of the future and the game section at Best Buy 10 years from now will all be selling unfinished product. The most reasonable scenario for me is that a small studio is trying to cash out as much as they can, as early into the process as they can, and are calling it "pioneering".

    That may well be wrong, and I don't say it as an insult. I very much DISLIKE it. But I also like money, and my opinion means sh*t. As you said, time will tell.

    (please don't only approve on post of my 2 part rant, like last time)

  18. On another note, locking all keen forum topics that discuss this same issue is pretty not cool. It's not smart to insulate yourselves from outside opinion, nor to give weight to all outside opinions, but suppressing those opinion when they aren't vitriolic or hateful (more disappointed) is how Putin would run a game company.

  19. So I think I'm done writing multiple paragraphs in comment sections that aren't first written in notepad and then grammar checked after some arbitrary waiting period.

    I read through those posts 3 times and the structure, grammar, and spelling is still embarrassing.

  20. I'm happy to hear the news. I think it can only be good for everyone. It also adds an additional level of legitimacy that'll attract more people. To call this game incomplete is silly. It has more content and value than most games that cost twice as much. How many games can so easily breeze past the 100 hours played mark? Good job guys, your game is a revolution!

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