Official feedback for Issue 32

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Sega2006
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Post by Sega2006 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:43 pm

No :cry: I think they proberly just dont want a blood bath caused by people fighting to use it
Watching you sleep since 1990

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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:44 pm

Sega2006 wrote:No :cry: I think they proberly just dont want a blood bath caused by people fighting to use it
or a bloodbath caused by people using it
Mr Flibble says...
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Sega2006
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Post by Sega2006 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:46 pm

yeah, forgot about that, although some of us stevenage lot are bound to do it on purpose
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GetDexter
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Rb

Post by GetDexter » Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:22 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Hardly any feedback for this issue. Does everyone hate it or something?
Feedback? I'll give you feedback...

RICHARD BURTON - WHERE ARE YOU GETTING YOUR FACTS FROM!!??

In your 'Back To The Eighties' feature you make a lot of noise about the state of Amstrad software, and the lack thereof, in the period of December 1986. You say, "The most worrying for Amstrad was the news that sales of CPC software had plummeted in recent months.". But what sales figures would Amstrad have access to? AMSOFTS!!?? If so, then even non-Amstrad fans would know that out of the hundreds of titles Amsoft produced, only around 5 were worth buying so its no surprise that sales had plummeted...

Then you say "In fact, sales were looking so bad that several software houses no longer planned to support the machine." Really? Like who? As a very aware and enthusiastic Amstrad owning teenager at the time, I took an interest in the software market and have no recollection of any of this.

But wait, let's see if the magazines of the time back me up. I have open in front of me the December 1986 issue of Amstrad Action. In the News section there is an article about the 5th 'Official Amstrad Computer Show' at the Novotel, Hammersmith from October. There were stands hosted by Microsoft, Alligata, Design Design, DKTronics, Interceptor, Arnor, Vortex amongst others. So it was not any of those who were grumbling about discontinuing support.

There was another news item about Hewson Consultants latest game 'Firelord', and The Edge games Fairlight II and Palitron, so it can't be either of those two companies either - and this particular news item ends with '...there can be no cause of tears this Christmas. The games market for the Amstrad seems to be at an all time high, and the standard of programs is getting higher and higher'

Also in the news pages, Mastertronic announced it was releasing Project Amoeba, Odin was releasing Heartland, Ariolasoft announced they were releasing Sepulcri and there were 29 games reviewed in the 'Action Test' section, games from companies such as A'n'F, Imagine, Cascade, Virgin, US Gold, Piranha, Gremlin, Mikro Gen, Electric Dreams, Elite...

Right, now I have the January 1987 issue of AMTIX! in front of me (No.15). In the editorial there is one sentence from that issues editor Malcolm Harding saying 'On the games front, software companies appear to have been disappointed with sales overall...', but no hard facts to back that up.
In that issues NEWS section, there is a feature on Mikro-Gen and their continued support for the Amstrad, announcements of new releases from CRL, Domark, Level9/Delta4 and Melbourne House. So it can be assumed that they were all happy to continue producing games for the Amstrad too.

So with all due respect Mr Richard Burton, exactly which companies 'no longer planned to support the machine' ???
As requested by the Tw@t himself - his account was Hijacked and has had a change of password.

Sorry Dexter!

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woody.cool
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Post by woody.cool » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:40 pm

Nice response - I agree though, owning a CPC in my youth (well actually I still have it) I don't recall any problems with software sales or software houses ditching support. Where do these people get this info from?

or is it a case of the playground wars being revisited?

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RB
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Post by RB » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:05 pm

As a very aware and enthusiastic Amstrad owning teenager myself at the time, having owned a CPC from the day of release, I also took an interest in the software market and have complete recollection of this.

What you might want to take into account is this was the big Amstrad news of December 86. By the time January arrived, things may very well been at lot rosier. That's the point of BTT80's - each month you get the news from that month from the magazines of that time. If the following month a sudden surge of sales makes the CPC the best selling computer ever to be released ever ever ever, then that would be noted and mentioned too. You have to take each month at face value.

I would also agree that Amsoft was not a good benchmark for quality but then Amstrad would'nt be daft enough to publicly state that software sales were dropping on their own computer would they?

The hard facts to back up it up, as you stated in reference to the Malcolm Harding/Amtix quote, were sourced for that particular month's Gallup figures - who, as you will know, compile the official monthly software charts for all formats across a wide swath of retail outlets. Gallup figures for that month also reveal that CPC sales were poor. Sales of CPC software were but a tiny proportion of total sales, and yes, obviously there are more C64 and Spectrum owners, but with only one Amstrad title in the Top 50, you would have to be slightly concerned, particularly when Atari and C16 software featured higher in the chart.

Of course there were the multi-format budget releases, which were also available on the CPC, in the chart too, but these were predominantly through C64 and ZX sales.

Anyway, here's a few quotes from a couple of companies of the time;

Peter Stone of Palace Software said, talking about CPC games, "Sales have never been brilliant and lately they've been worse". He goes on to suggest the problem being the machine has produced very few big hits. He continues, "We'll still do Amstrad games, but it's only worth doing if you produce them on tape and disc and sell them through Europe".

Greg Follis at Gargoyle Games said, "The sales on disc are so shaky that, although you get some sales, we prefer not to sell on Amstrad disc in the home market".

What you could argue was that the poor sales were relating more to the UK market than the Europe, where the CPC was a big success, particularly in France, Spain and Germany. Certainly, it looked like the excellent European sales were carrying the less than brilliant UK sales.
Certainly Greg Follis thought so stating that, "sales abroad exceed the sales at home".

I'll concede that whilst there are companies publicly stating that CPC sales were poor, there were others who will continue to produce titles for the machine. The fact remains though, that a company stating poor sales and a pull out from the CPC market is interesting news. No other companies, to my knowledge, considered this during the mid 80's, at least not for Spectrum and C64, and certainly not in public.

You could argue the headlines and news were engineered to make the CPC look less than great. You could also argue that this was also targetting disc software and UK markets rather than the overall market. You could be right on both counts.

That said, there was certainly enough interest in the figures to prompt the headline for the cover of Popular Computing Weekly, early December issue, which boldly declared, "Sales Shocker for Amstrad Software".

I'll repeat though, BTT80's is a reflection of the news of that month - whether you want to believe the news is true or not, is up to you. The fact is though, it was printed in magazines and BTT80's is, essentially, a review of the magazine news of the time, as they reported it.

The Gallup chart showed CPC sales were well down and the press picked up on this. That doesn't mean that Amstrad games were crap or poorly programmed, they just hadn't been selling, which, considering it was December/Christmas, would've also made it newsworthy.

And, just to pick up on the Amstrad Action/Amtix quotes, I would've thought the best place not to advertise the fact that software sales were slumping would be in a Amstrad specific games magazine...

You also mention Mastertronic announced they were releasing Project Amoeba - I don't recall any game of that name being released by them but I'm sure somebody will correct me on that one.

I know you're a die-hard CPC fan GetDexter, I am too, but don't take any perceived slur on the CPC personally. I wasn't picking on the Amstrad or trying to make it look like it was dying on it's arse, as part of some school playground argument.

I'm a big Amstrad fan myself but that was the news for month as it was reported in the press. It just happened to be negative towards CPC software sales.

Richard

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GetDexter
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Post by GetDexter » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:21 pm

Good response RB - considered and intelligent and exactly the sort of thing that keeps the punters buying the magazine! :wink:

You have obviously put in more research than me. Barring the internet, I own most AA's and Amtix's from 1985 onwards but don't have access to other magazines of the time to reference (though I am sure somebody will immediately point out some website offering scans of Personal Computer News or whatever!).
I take your points with good grace, even though I genuinly have no recollection of this at the time. Your quotes from Greg Follis were interesting, considering I own Disk copies of Marsport and Tir Na Nog - explains why they never come up on Ebay!

Anyway, good to get a response and a Merry Christmas to you sir! :D
As requested by the Tw@t himself - his account was Hijacked and has had a change of password.

Sorry Dexter!

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RB
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Post by RB » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:29 pm

You have a good one too GD.

Those disc releases of Marsport/Tir Na Nog sound interesting. I've not seen those before, so maybe those were only avilable in Europe?

Happy Christmas!

Richard

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woody.cool
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Post by woody.cool » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:21 pm

RB wrote:You have a good one too GD.

Those disc releases of Marsport/Tir Na Nog sound interesting. I've not seen those before, so maybe those were only avilable in Europe?

Happy Christmas!

Richard
I believe they're pretty rare - I'm also finding Amstrad disc gamess are getting increasingly harder to aquire.

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MattC
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Post by MattC » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:31 pm

I only got the magazine today (the nearest WH Smith is 6 miles away so I have to go on a little expedition to get it and I'm a naturally extremely lazy person). It was a good issue I thought - I was particularly pleased to see a positive review of the new Sam & Max game. PC Gamer (or was it PC Zone) were rather dismissive of it which dissuaded me from buying it but now I think I probably will. If it's even half the game 'Hit the Road' was I'll be happy.

Also I am chuffed that my reminiscences were deemed worthy of a place in the hallowed 'From the Forum' section and I had a little smile when I saw the Amsoft Fruit Machine screenshot at the top of the letters page. Finally I can cross that entry off my 'Things to Accomplish in 2006' list - all I have left to do now is 'Finish my novel' and 'Become Prime Minister'. I reckon that should be possible - I've still got over a week left.

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