From: Cologne, Germany
I've never bought a CDV product, but always had the impression that they were similiar to Matrix in that they publish smaller house's games.
CDV, a German publisher, started out as publishing house in 1989, so they initially published print titles (like "lexicon of world history" etc), maybe with one or another digital title (rather applications, like tax software or similar IIRC). They then published the very first Doom title in 1993 for the German market, and slowly turned into a game publisher.
Most notably, they used to either task small (unknown) developers with the development of games or stumbled over their projects and contracted them to be their exclusive publisher.
So the initial idea was to have low labour costs or to acquire licenses for few bucks, and publish them in the EMEA zone, i guess, pretty much like the company Topware (Earth 2140) - working with Polish devs, which had a similar concept.
Some of the CDV games were pretty successfull:
Sudden Strike (Cyprus) - 1.7 million copies sold
Cossacks Series (Ukraine) - 6.5 million copies
American Conquest (Ukraine)
They also had a PC games development division (folded now, afaik) which did the programming on Games like Lula, Lula 3D, Wet - The Sexy Empire etc.), a rather useless/low quality collection of games.
Some of the CDV games, even until now, remind me of strange parts of the (Vivendi)Sierra-Dynamix portfilio, where Dynamix had titles like "Bass fishing" and "Deer Hunter", which in fact resulted in Vivendi's decision to fold Dynamix, as they didn't have any useful major title in their pipes after they had released "Tribes 3".
CDV also seems to either distribute or even program Nintendo DS Games now.
All of their games' price tags used to range between low budget and full price games of other companies, means they were notably cheaper than the games of the competition, maybe except for some of the Blitzkrieg series and Men of War (they distribute the version for the German market).
Back in the day, say a major title cost 49 German Marks, a game like Sudden Strike cost 29 - 35 Marks only. Quality-wise, Panzers was the first game that incorporated up-to-date fx/sfx technology and visuals into a CDV game, but i can hardly spot other games. In Europe, CDV rather had a reputation of being a distributor of cheap games, which can be fun, but which don't contain any eye-candy or ground-breaking (new) features.
Although most of their games were pretty stable, Panzers Phase One used to annoy customers as it was flawed and as it carried the StarForce copy-protection - their forums were full of people complaing about bugs in the game, bad pathfinding, and about StarForce, where either SF or the bugs wouldn't even let some users start the game on their systems (reasons: faulty CD-rom query and way too aggressive copy-protection), therefor Panzers Two wasn't a success.
CDV had a deficit of around 22 million Euros in 2008, due to delay of developments that were projected to be released in 2008. After the 2 founders had sold their shares in 2005, CDV had their first deficit around 2005/06 already, because a number of developments had been canceled.
After starting their consolidation in 2007, they announced to focus on distribution exclusively around 2008, and one of ATARI's heads, Christian Gloe, joined them around hmm the same year i think, so this decision may have been made by Gloe already, as ATARI does pretty much the same (on a higher level, tho).
Does this mean CDV will be selling Matrix products? Or that Matrix will be selling CDV products? Or both? And in either case, what would the difference be?
CDV has access to 2500 retail sellers in Germany (this includes chains) and an additional number in Europe. Since Fireglow (Sudden Strike) still maintains the SS series, I could only imagine that either the Panzers engine or the Blitzkrieg engine is supposed to be used by Matrix, in what I would call a secondary or "tertiary exploitation".
This would mean that Matrix could reuse one of these engines (or other older engines formerly tied to CDV), as the original Devs are working on new titles.
Or Matrix tries to get some more exposure to German/European customers, via a German publisher's distribution channels, that's something I proposed like 2 years ago already, though. Maybe Erik heard me, finally .
Their online shop lists quite some sore/old titles in their "new" category, like Handball, Jack Keane adventure for 20 Euros, and the strategy game Crusaders (2008????) for 40 Euros (52.8 US $ ).
They feature Serious Sam HD, Men of War, Cryostasis and Necrovision on their Homepage, well only Men of War (German version) has potential for (national) serious sales, imho, well maybe the die-hard Serious Sam fans will hit their title, too.
Being a pure distributor now, it seems like CDV desperately tries to broaden the product portfolio, though, they really need more titles asap, imho.
I rather think Matrix tries to use their sales channels, though, since they just turned into a "full service" distributor/agency for game developers. So in theory, if CDV manages to come up with enough content (games), they will stick to compete with bigger publishers.
To get back to E's first quote above, see CDV as a Matrix style company, just 10 times bigger - but with proper retail sales channels. They also have subsidiaries in the UK and in the US.
CDV used to have ~150 employees, but they had to fire around 50 in 2003, and another 30 until 2008.
Although some of their staff were really dedicated (like the Project Manager who took care of Panzers, poor bub - he had to deal with the shytty PR/support of the company that provided the SF copy protection, resulting in him linking to the forum of Codemasters - so ppl could get a patch for their Panzers StarForce, just because he could not encourage the SF-company to create a customized patch for Panzers .... embarrassing ), their support has a rather bad rep. During their early years, support was almost non-existant, and ppl knew that if they'd run into troubles, there was no proper support. So if a game wouldn't run on their machines, they used to trash the CDs or wait for a patch to be released on a game mag's CD, as retailers used to refuse to take back games/cases with a broken seal (against the law, but they still try/do that here).
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/5/2009 7:54:05 AM >
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