Midway: "Fewer, Bigger, Better" Games in 2008

By Chris Faylor, Dec 28, 2007 11:17am PST Midway CEO David Zucker has a plan, one that he hopes will guide the video game publisher and developer to its first annual profit since 1999. The key lies with producing "fewer, bigger, better" games, he told the Chicago Tribune.

Other initiatives include an emphasis on license-driven titles based on movies and more active involvement from newly-elected Midway chairwoman Shari Redstone, daughter of majority shareholder and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone.

The latter half of 2007 was filled with strife for Midway. In August, it announced that it lost $14.3 million in Q2. Several of its titles--including the PlayStation 3 editions of Stranglehold, Unreal Tournament 3, and BlackSite: Area 51--were delayed due to technical difficulties. Its major PC release, the Epic-developed Unreal Tournament 3, sold less than 35,000 copies in its first two weeks of availability at retail.

Furthermore, just before BlackSite: Area 51 arrived on PlayStation 3, creative director Harvey Smith publicly admitted that the game's development was "so fucked up." Days later, Smith was no longer with the company.

All of those technical problems should be in the past, David Zucker told investors earlier this year.

Thus far, Midway's releases for 2008 include The Wheelman, a prequel to the upcoming film of the same name starring Vin Disel, two unannounced open-world games, NBA Ballers: Chosen One, and new entries in the Mortal Kombat and Blitz franchises.

The company also holds the rights to produce a sequel to Midway Chicago and Tiger Hill Entertainment's Stranglehold (PC, PS3, X360)--itself a prequel to the John Woo-directed film Hard Boiled--though the company has yet to make any formal plans.

However, Zucker did note that Stranglehold has sold over 1 million copies, close to Midway's expectations of selling more than 1.5 million units.

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  • August 02, 2007: Despite pushing The Wheelman's release out of the current fiscal year, Zucker said the company would meet its previous fiscal year 2007 guidance of a 36% increase in sales to $225 million. The increased visibility of high profile titles like John Woo's Stranglehold (PC, PS3, X360) and Epic's Unreal Tournament 3 (PC, PS3) will make up for the loss of the Diesel-powered game, Zucker said.

    <Lex Luthor> WROOOOOOOOOONG!!!

    They lost $33 million in Q3 2007 ( http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/071101/20071101006422.html?.v=1 ), and we'll see how much they lost for Q4 2007 in a little while. I don't know if license-driven is the way to go if they want to be a respected developer; maybe they're trying to cash in so they can pad some of the losses and start getting a profit. BlackSite and UT3 were development failures, and it doesn't sound like Midway is ready to learn from any of those mistakes that they made with those two titles.


  • Sumner Redstone, the man responsible for the current music and movie industry meltdown due to his outdated & alarmist blatherings regarding copyright and distribution (this was the guy who testified in front of congress that VCR's would be the death knell of the movie industry plus did the same song and dance about CD's/DVD's a few years later) yet he is treated like royalty. Personally I hope he keels forward into his pile of money clutching his chest ASAP. Disgusting old bastard.

    I have little faith his daughter will do anything to move the industry forward in any meaningful way.