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  • How much longer?

    Long time reader, first time poster here.

    First, let me say how pleased I am with the Pinball FX franchise as a whole and how much Zen Studios rock for giving us a affordable and high quality method of playing Pinball on the 360.

    Also, offering existing customers all the old tables as free upgrades is still one of the most customer friendly things i have ever seen in a game franchise.

    Furthermore, from what i have seen on this Forum, Solitude as a Zen Rep actually answers to most user request in a timely manner which shows that Zen is interested in staying in touch with their customers.

    However, with every day of waiting for new content i got more and more impatient and today this impatience made me sign up and post this lengthy semi-rant.

    The Patch has been released this Monday and from what i understand this was one of the requirements to prepare Pinball FX2 for the Mars and Paranormal tables so i am really starting to wonder about what is still taking so long to get these tables out on the marketplace.

    After all these tables are converted from Zen Pinball and not entirely designed from scratch. Both tables have been announced for months now but the estimated release months have already been pushed from february & march to march & april.

    The last piece of DLC released for this game was Marvel Pinball and that alone dates back to 12/8/2010 which is more than 3 months ago.

    3 Months without any new content is a long time, even for bigger franchises.

    Now i do understand that Pinball FX2 is not facing the same type of competition as some big FPS title but arcade games as a whole and especially pinball games in particular are more like a small niche compared to retail action or sport titles.

    Now, i am a die hard pinball fan and will get tables no matter when they are coming out but i have more than just a few casual people on my friendlist who simply moved to other games because they burned out on the "old" tables.

    It makes me wonder if Zen Studios is actually aware of the fact that they are loosing customers with every day without content or a proper announcement?

    Wouldn't it be a good idea to give us at least a proper release day (week?) so we know when we can expect some new stuff? Also, i am pretty sure that a release date would be picked up by gaming websites on their release list which would increase the marketing effect on Pinball FX and maybe attract more people (back) to the franchise.

    It surprises me that retails games can advertise their 1600 MPS map-packs like months ahead with a fixed date and therefore keep the audience hooked to their product while smaller studios have to rely on estimated dates.

    In short...

    ANY NEWS ON THE RELEASE DATE, PRETTY PLEASE?
    Last edited by Shady; 03-18-2011, 02:09 PM.

  • #2
    How do you know they'll lose customers? They already bought FX2 and if they return when new tables are out they don't lose anything.

    I'd like them to take their time cause I have bought enough games over the last few years that have needed patching from day one. Zen isn't perfect but they are making good games/tables with very few bugs in them as far as I'm concerned (at least gameplay).
    I hate all the rushing these days and I know I would have bought a new table every month if they released it but I'd rather wait for quality.

    I do think they could benefit from giving out a little more info now and then though. Maybe make some kind of show-off thread of what's being done/tested etc. Maybe it would help maybe not.

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    • #3
      Keep playing pinball dude. it's the only thing you can do before the tables come out. Trying mixing it up playing between Marvel, FX2, and FX1, each in order.

      In my opinion, i think its kinda hypocritical that you say Zen is losing fans everyday. What makes Zen so great is that they keep in touch with the community, but mysteriously keeps quiet about new content, because they want to surprise us with full blown quality over quantity. Their fans are eager to see what comes next, and keeps everyone begging for more. What studio wouldn't want to do that?

      Hail to you Zen, for your consistant great effort!

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      • #4
        Keep in mind, especially with smaller studios like Zen, once they send an update or DLC to Microsoft for certification, it's largely out of their hands at that point. They probably aren't giving us a release date because they don't know when Microsoft will put it live, or even if it's passed certification yet. Be patient, I'm sure Zen is doing everything they can to get us more quality tables.

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        • #5
          We just did an interview with Zen Studios and they have DLC announcements coming real soon.
          Check out This Xbox Life Podcast at www.thisxboxlife.com

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          • #6
            Welcome Shady !


            Sorry for being a little "straight-forward" and I know you also said very positive things in your post, but I find it funny that someone who describes himself as a "long-time reader", i.e. who still hadn't done anything to support Zen and who probably has no idea about how it began because he surely never played PFX1, suddenly comes and says something like : "Hey guys, you are working too slowly ! 3 months without a new table ? Be careful, you are losing customers !"

            May I remind you that, last time, we got 8 new tables within 6 weeks ? I think we can let them take their time now...

            People who have been supporting Zen ever since PFX1 perfectly know that, at the time, you could wait much longer than 3 months before getting an update : between the release of Street Fighter and Earth Defense, we had to wait for no less than 10 months.

            With those delays, as well as the fact that the tables were far from being perfect, it would've been easy to do nothing but criticize them. Fortunately, some people decided to just feel happy for having a good pinball game on their console, and to be be critical (but reasonably) about the game itself rather than how much time it takes for a new table to be released. They kept believing in Zen and supporting them during all this time and without them PFX2 would very likely never have existed. And so it's just a matter of how to behave : being consumers doesn't mean we can't understand the human side of the problem and act accordingly.

            So please understand, considering this is a little team that started from scratch, they did an amazing work in managing to create high-quality tables like Earth defense, Excalibur and PFX2 core tables.

            I am very impatient too, but impatience is nothing more than a tantrum from good little consumers, whereas taking time to make quality work is a noble thing. In our society, everything has to come quickly... well, I say that slowness can be a virtue.

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            • #7
              Just to throw this out there, All console companies have an approval process for content and DLC, something they won't and/or can't talk about. Saying that Zen is taking a lot of time to release DLC is putting it on their shoulders when, more likely, in reality, it prolly belongs firmly in Microsoft's lap. Tons of things factor into delays including Microsoft's deciding when THEY want it released.

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              • #8
                I'd guess maybe 2-3 weeks till Mars comes out. A lot of the slowdown has been caused by some factors beyond our control, but there should be a steady stream of tables (about one per month) starting with the next table.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Solitude View Post
                  I'd guess maybe 2-3 weeks till Mars comes out. A lot of the slowdown has been caused by some factors beyond our control, but there should be a steady stream of tables (about one per month) starting with the next table.
                  That's great news. Glad to hear that you guys are making great progress towards your goal to bring us a table a month. I can't wait Keep up the great work.

                  Are Mars and Paranormal coming out at roughly the same time? Or will Mars be released first followed by Paranormal the month after then followed by brand spanking new content in the following months?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shady View Post
                    After all [Mars and Paranormal] are converted from Zen Pinball and not entirely designed from scratch.
                    True, but apparently there are differences between the Zen and PBFX2 engines. It may be that both tables need extra work to get them to work well (or better) with PBFX2's engine (physics tweaks) and environment (artwork). Maybe the tables need a lot of work to make them compatible with the increased feature-set of PinballFX2? Or to make them compatible with future versions of the platform...

                    There could be other holdups (XBLA certification, marketing, QA, MS promotional schedules, etc.)

                    Zen are saying that there will be announcement for one of the tables next week or so:

                    http://195.56.170.66/forum/showthread.php?t=2998

                    They're also saying they have 8 dedicated teams working on pinball titles, that there will be more original IP tables, more Marvel tables, and new licensed tables. (Star Wars, anyone?) They're looking at releasing a table a month once they get up to speed. That's pretty amazing, given how long it takes to make a (good) table.


                    It makes me wonder if Zen Studios is actually aware of the fact that they are loosing customers with every day without content or a proper announcement?
                    But are they? As you say, you will buy a new pinball table.

                    Let's say Zen announces Thor and Captain America tables tomorrow. Or Halo or (ick) COD or Star Wars tables. These tables would still capture the attention of casuals and fans alike, no? It's not like there's a shelf life for media hogging and exposure. Press releases would still go out, YouTube vids would be downloaded, Kotaku would still be read.

                    Also, Zen have said that Pinball FX2 is responsible for the most MSP activity on XBLA. Clearly, there's an active market there...

                    It surprises me that retails games can advertise their 1600 MPS map-packs like months ahead with a fixed date and therefore keep the audience hooked to their product while smaller studios have to rely on estimated dates.
                    That's not really a fair comparison. Firstly, many of these 1600 MSP map packs are either partially or fully completed prior to the game going gold. (In the case of Halo Reach, it could be fairly argued that some of the DLC should have been in the shipped game, instead of the rather bogus use of Forgeworld remakes.) Some map packs are contracted out to third parties. And, as resource intensive as map packs are to create, they don't require the same level of precision or involvement as a pinball table. (If you find a weapon imbalance on a COD level, the developer can patch it, maybe, if they care to. And If the developer hasn't been sacked. But a scoring exploit or a geometry mishap on a pinball table can ruin the table. And QA and certification and title updates do not come cheap...)

                    Secondly, Zen does not charge 1600 MSP for a table, or anything close to it.

                    Yes, of course it's frustrating to have to wait. We all want new tables, now. And we all want information from Zen. But (good) software development is hard, and is fraught with issues that can harm a schedule.

                    Having said that I do think it's slightly cheesy that Zen announced the Marvel poll had been won, but didn't tell us the result. ;-)
                    Last edited by Womble; 03-19-2011, 05:01 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would think that now would be the perfect time for "somebody" to do guides for the remaining tables. In two to three weeks time we will be getting a new table and after that once a month. It will then be very hard to find the time or incentive to go back to the older tables to write a guide.
                      XBox One Gamertag - PinStratsDan

                      Pinball FX3 Tips & Strategy Guide YouTube Channel - PinStratsDan

                      Discord server - PinStratsDan

                      Twitter - PinStratsDan

                      Facebook - PinStratsDan

                      Cloda's somewhat vain and sort of self-indulgent thread

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                      • #12
                        Solitude, you need to feed the monster

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Solitude View Post
                          I'd guess maybe 2-3 weeks till Mars comes out. A lot of the slowdown has been caused by some factors beyond our control, but there should be a steady stream of tables (about one per month) starting with the next table.
                          i pretty sure you have been saying that everytime i see news about when the next table is due.

                          usually every two to three weeks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Solitude View Post
                            I'd guess maybe 2-3 weeks till Mars comes out. A lot of the slowdown has been caused by some factors beyond our control, but there should be a steady stream of tables (about one per month) starting with the next table.
                            (/Sarcasm on) Well, I took vacation next week based on Mars coming out. Let's get to it. (/Sarcasm off)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Solitude = Broken Record Same **** different day.
                              Last edited by Solitude; 03-26-2011, 01:11 AM. Reason: forum etiquette

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