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Loki Files For Chapter 11 Protection 708

Posted by timothy
from the hoping-this-is-a-false-alarm dept.
yamla writes: "Loki is dead!" and points to a Linux Review article which says the gaming company has filed for protection from creditors under bankruptcy laws. Yamla continues: "Read about it here. This is terrible news! I have paid for some of their games and they were always at least as good as the Windows versions. I hope Loki can pull out of bankruptcy and keep going but if not, it will be our loss." There is also a story at LinuxToday (pointed out by reader Beee) which draws from the Linux Review report. Meanwhile, the Loki site appears business-as-usual. Filing for bankruptcy protection is not the same as being "out of business," but it's uncomfortably close.
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Loki Files For Chapter 11 Protection

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  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by NonSequor (230139) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:48AM (#2110258) Journal
    It just occurred to me that they may just be filing Chapter 11 to get people to buy more games from them. Hell, it worked on me, I just bought two games from them.
  • Well, I guess it would be "kind of unusual" to file IPO just after a "Chapter 11", but it might be a good way to try to get funding.

    I believe Loki is really important for the future of Linux, and supporting it means supporting all Linux. It's just that buying game packages might not be the most efficient way to support it. It is also a company, and I would feel quite uneasy making donations to a company. However, buying stock would be a great way to "donate", while still getting at least something back. If not any actual dividend for years if ever, at least a feeling of owning something useful. ;-)

    However, Loki's company FAQ page says:

    Our stock is not publicly traded, and it is unlikely this will change any time soon. While we are interested in hearing from qualified investors, we are sadly unable to entertain any small investments. This is primarily a result of U.S. federal and California state securities regulations, which make it prohibitively difficult to sell unregistered securities to most private investors.

    Perhaps Nokia might want to go for rescue, if they're really serious about the MediaTerminal. If Loki goes down, Nokia loses all the best games for the MT. That solution might create some problems though, if Nokia at some point wants Loki to give MT a priority over the general Linux platform. That would be very harmful to everyone, including MT on longer run. Thus, if Loki would get support from Nokia, they should also make sure that they keep their independency.

  • by !Xabbu (1769) on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:59PM (#2111693) Homepage
    I was going to buy my first Linux based game when Kohan came out. This frusterates me. I'm sure they will be around for this release, but UGH!

    Perhaps its time to change the business model. Maybe they should focus on becoming a service for game manufacturers that ports the games for a fee but doesn't sell them?

    Another thought would be to get away from the damn 1st person shooters. I'm sick of them. Its getting old. Perhaps they could get in with a windows gaming company before a game is released (wishful thinking..) and simultaneously release.

    Another thought would be to release bare bones versions with a CD only and a PDF of the manual for a lower price. Kohan is bloody expensive for me to buy in Canada (so I'm not going to purchase it from Loki). Maybe they should throw a wad of cash that they don't have into marketing with large chains. Up here Business Depot carries Linux of various flavours.. maybe they could get in there.

    What it comes down to is this is/will be a big kick to the crotch of linux gaming. :(

  • by Kiwi (5214) on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:59PM (#2111697) Homepage Journal
    I have a number of Loki games that I have purchased, including Heroes of Might and Magic III (one of the few games I was willing to dual-boot to play) which I was delighted to see ported to Linux, and RailRoad Tycoon II.

    Loki has always done a wonderful job in porting games to Linux. While, of course, the actual games had to be proprietary, they made a number of contributions to the Linux community, including the SDK kit.

    I don't know how to say this politely, so I will sa it bluntly: The average game player is the ultimate addict of the consumer culture. They want someone else to hand them entertainment on a silver platter. I can see why many gamers do not have the willingness nor patience to learn how to use Linux as a desktop operating system.

    Which is a shame, because a lot of those same gamers become the corporate IT department, and end up responding to the word "Linux" with great hostility.

    Anyway, enough of my rant. I hope a miracle happens and Loki is able to pull out of this one. I will make sure to purchase every Loki game I can see at Fry's later on this week.

    - Sam

    • The average game player is the ultimate addict of the consumer culture. They want someone else to hand them entertainment on a silver platter. I can see why many gamers do not have the willingness nor patience to learn how to use Linux as a desktop operating system.

      Ahem.

      You're damn right I want my entertainment on a silver platter! And why the hell not?

      Give me a Shigeru Miyamoto produced console game (like, say, Super Mario 64) over a "hardcore" PC game ANY day of the week (be it a Linux or Windows version - and that's not saying that HOMM or Tycoon aren't fine games; they are.) When I sit down for a good movie, I want to drop my 7 bucks, grab a pack of sweet-tarts, and enjoy. Same thing when I sit down to enjoy a game: I don't want to screw with drivers, installation, complex control schemes - I want to plug the cartridge into the slot (or drop the CD in the tray) and go.

      Games are supposed to be about FUN above ALL else, and I am amazed at how many game developers fail to realize this - instead releasing a game that is "cool" or "edgy" or has nifty 3D graphics.. not really ever stopping to pay too much attention to whether or not someone can sit down with their game and actually enjoy playing it.

      I'm all for games that make me think, but as far as the issue of OS, I could absolutely care less when it comes to my entertainment. I don't give a rats ass what kind of projector the movie theatre uses and I shouldn't have to care about what OS my games are running on for the same reason. Too bad these days I still do, but hopefully we're moving towards an eventual medium and presentation system that is powerful and standardized for presenting game content. For now, consoles are IMO the closest thing (and even there, we have to put up with 2 or 3 platforms that change every 4 years.) Maybe by the time we get to that point we will have learned to focus on the style, content and most of all fun of our games, and not get distracted by the technology.

      paulb

    • I don't know how to say this politely, so I will sa it bluntly: The average game player is the ultimate addict of the consumer culture. They want someone else to hand them entertainment on a silver platter. I can see why many gamers do not have the willingness nor patience to learn how to use Linux as a desktop operating system.

      If you extend "gamers" to include "professional developers, people with a sound understanding of computer science, and consumers with better things to do than focus on an operating system" then I will agree.

      Remember, an OS is a means, not an end. Most Linux fans don't see it that way. That an OS has fans is telling enough.
    • SDK kit.

      Getting pedantic on your butt, that's SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer -- thank another Sam for that). Loki also developed an open-source installer and OpenAL. Check out Loki's development page [lokigames.com] for a complete list.

    • I hope a miracle happens and Loki is able to pull out of this one. I will make sure to purchase every Loki game I can see at Fry's later on this week.

      Why not just go to http://www.lokigames.com [lokigames.com] and order from them directly? They will probably make more from an order from the website than they do going through a retailer. Demos or movies of the games are available if you want to try out a game first.

      If you are a happy customer and want them to say in business, buy something from their website! I did.

  • A reminder for us all to look around in our local HW shop "Are there any Linuxware in this joint" before putting our money there. Recently I discovered that Fry's didn't have Lokiware on their shelves. Result: I'm not gonna put down one more penny in that stinkin mess of a shithole they call a store. And that used to be quite some...
  • Lets Save Loki!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stuce (81089) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @01:09AM (#2112636)

    Listen! Loki is only $400,000 in debt. That's not that much. "Will someone with deep pockets save Loki?" No. But we can! They may have gone chapter 11 but the web site is still taking sales.

    I don't know what their overhead is but let's assume they make $20 on each sale. That means they only need to sell 20,000 games to be back at ground zero. That's a small percentage of the slashdot population! I know many of us are starving college students and trolls but most of us are well-to-do IT people making real money!

    Why stick out necks out to save Loki? I'll tell you why. They have not only made games on linux a reality, but they have made the ability to have games on linux a reality. They made SDL one of the best media layers for any platform. They made OpenAL, the only cross architecture 3D sound library. They pushed the XFree and Mesa developers giving them the need and the user base to make OpenGL on Linux stop being "ok" and start to "kick ass". If it were not for Loki, there would be no Maya for Linux, there would be no glx in XFree86, there would be no SDL. If they go we will lose one of the biggest forces pushing the linux desktop's quality. All of you who remember what 3D, 2D and sound were like on Linux 4 years ago - you KNOW how far we have come, and we owe much of it to Loki.

    I know money is tight (it's always tight), but we have an opportunity to save one of the coolest Linux companies around. Like games? Buy some right now, while we still can. Don't like games? Make a 'donation' to Loki to say thanks for all their hard work. Poor? Get one of the older 'on sale' games. Company just IPO'ed? Get two of each and give them to your friends. There are SO many of us!! Sure, Linux companies are dropping like flys but none fill the niche that will be left empty once Loki is gone.

    • I know many of us are starving college students

      Yup, thats me, but its summer I've got a job - and I've halved my overdraft. I bought a loki game last month (SMAC), and Ive gt RT2. I'm going to order a game now, I'd /like/ CivCTP, but tuxgames said its out of print.

      Remember a $20 game is only arround (a guess) $5 to loki.

      Company just IPO'ed? Get two of each

      lol
      LOL
    • Plot: The heartwarming story small group of colorful, eccentric young programmers [theonion.com] who take on a media sector dominated by a highy successful, overshadowing, looming, darkly controlling business conglomerate. They work hard and produce quality products but slowly go into bankruptcy due to the machinations of the competition and just as the owners are about to close up shop they're saved by a combination of a Deus Ex Machina software innovation, a sentimental old banker who grew up in the video arcades of yesteryear and hordes of loyal followers who come out of the woodwork and give them the best quarter of sales ever recorded. Walt may have liked it but I don't think CapCities/ABC/Disney would touch it.
  • by dzawitz (2120)
    At least on this post, timothy acknowledges that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is NOT liquidation, but he qualifies his statement by saying that Ch11 is "dangerously close" to the business failing. Countless times on replies to slashdot articles I've seen people talk about how a company is "dead", "through", "finished" because they go into Chapter 11. This simply isn't the case at all--Chapter 11 gives them extra time for restructuring to pay off their creditors. Yes, it does mean that they're having trouble paying their creditors, but it does NOT in ANY WAY mean that they're liquidating. People should do their homework.
  • This is not the end of Loki yet. Their president issued a statement [linuxgames.com] that they will be continuing operations and putting out new titles, while trying to pay off their debt. I don't know if they'll pull off or not, but best of luck to them.
  • Too bad, they just released the new Demo of Kohan. And it looks nice! Very nice! For more information go here [kohan.net]. But, I guess they might pull of a chapter 11. But it wont be the same company after that. Maybe many things will have to go ... Many things as in free things ...
  • by proxima (165692)
    I always liked to look at Loki as the poster child for proprietary Linux software development. I told people who doubted that Linux could have paid software to look at Loki, and how it sold ports of popular games. I was very, very close to getting Call to Power for Linux. Unfortunately, I found out that Call to Power II was already out for Windows, and I just had to get the newer version. I wish I would've gotten the older Linux version, I've heard it's stable and many of the playing features are nicer than the Windows version of CTP I. CTP II has crashed on me a few times and I needed a patch and mod pack to make it worth playing. It's a mistake I don't feel like spending another $30 to correct.

    This Kohad game looks very promising though. I probably won't get it right away, but if Loki is around for another 6 months I'd definately consider it for my next game purchase (I never buy FPS, I prefer strategy and RTS, and Kohad looks like a perfect balance between the two).

    I wonder how much per game Loki has to pay in royalties, that has to kill the bottom line.

    Funny, before Linux I never really felt company loyalty. I'm no fanatic, but I like seeing companies that compete with Microsoft with good products prosper (Red Hat, Mandrake, Progeny, Loki, etc). I'm not even that partial to Linux, I just like *nix better, and I would definately consider using a *BSD for my next play computer or test server.

    Oh, and to those that whine about Loki games being released long after the Windows version, look at Tribes 2. It was out 2 weeks or so after the Windows version. Too bad retailers are actually taking a loss to get the foot traffic in their stores to sell the Windows version.

    Perhaps the overall Linux desktop audience needs to grow a bit to include people who feel more comfortable plunking down chunks of money for good software. I myself haven't even bought a distribution yet after two years, but I haven't quite found the perfect distro for me yet after trying a few.

    In short, if you're looking to kill some time, go buy a Loki game and support a company who's given back a fair share both in free software (the SDK looks cool) and excellent software (I've heard little but rave reviews).

  • I was somewhat disturbed to see this today, as I just ordered two games this morning (Railroad Tycoon II and SimCity 3000).

    I dunno, I guess that if you're worried about the company, you may as well buy something before they go under.
  • I'm buying more games. I already have seven of them, which I enjoy very much.

    If they are accepting pre-orders for Kohan, I'm plunking my CC# in and doing it. I'll have to buy their book now, which I wasn't planning on doing. I may even buy another copy of CivCTP, because I lost the CD I bought first.

    I'll do this this despite living in Canada, where I'll end up paying a shitload of taxes across the border.

    Somebody mentioned PayPal, which I was also thinking about when I read the headline. If that happens, I will donate and I'm sure others would, too. Isn't the whole point of the community helping each other out?

    If they immediately die out and I don't receive anything, no big deal. I'm trying anyway. I don't have Windows and I'm not going to start using it just to play games. If I can't get games for Linux, I won't get games at all...
  • by British (51765)
    Not to make a bad joke, but I wonder if there should be a spinoff website called fuckedlinuxcompany.com
    • by sheldon (2322)
      I had the same idea. I even checked and the domain name is still available.

      I just don't think I could keep up with the traffic of news items it would garner. :)
  • One comment that seems to have come up a couple of times is that many linux users use their machines for work (whether it's "recreational work" [e.g. kernel hacking] or otherwise) rather than play, and that they have a playstation/playstation2/N64/etc. console for pure games...

    I wonder if Loki's in a position to concentrate on working with Sony to build a PS2 emulator for Linux...that would instantly make a fair number of top-notch games available for Linux. I know I'd actually buy such a beast if it was available for me...

  • by Cef (28324) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:13PM (#2118011)

    Think about it. Dynamix close their doors. Tribes2 is doing ok for Loki, but now without Dynamix about to pay guaranteed money for patches and upgrades, they don't have the money to stay with their current financial setup.

    I'm guessing this is what some of the companies that Loki have ported games for were obligated to, assuming here that the patches were GAME fixes and not PORTING fixes. I'd expect porting issues to be the responsibility of Loki, and game design changes to be the company that wrote it in the first places problem. I may be wrong, but it seems rather likely to me.

    Plus, there is no maintenance money for Quake3Arena now that ID Software have taken over the support for the Linux port themselves (happened a while back). This probably makes things a little hairy, and now that Dynamix have gone down the tubes, it sounds like they have just been pushed over the edge, and need a little security, hence the Chapter 11 reorganisation.

    Well, I'm off to buy more Linux games from Loki, because while they are still around, I'm still going to support them. And this time I'm buying them direct from Loki. None of these places in the middle that absorb some of the cost themselves. Every little bit helps.

    PS: Those that suggested cutting down on manuals and stuff, and putting PDF manuals on disk, well thats what they did with Tribes2. You get the CD in a plastic DVD-style case (the semi-decent ones), an 8 page (4 x A5 sheets of paper with double sided black and white print, stapled down the center) guide that tells you your Tribes2 Serial Number, the minimum system requirements, a quick "Getting started" install guide, how to register online with the Tribes2 system, tech support info, customer service info, a quick guide to the in-game voice menu keys, and a keyboard layout map of all the keys in the game. Everything else is in the PDF. I've yet to even open that PDF file though. *grin*

  • Linux game market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amon Re (102766) on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:51PM (#2118243)
    The linux game market is simply not big enough to support a company like this and when you put in the fact that they don't get the same release dates as windows versions and the high warez rate of there games...I am surprised they lasted this long.
    • Do you have anything to back that statement up? If its just your own experience, my own experience (as part of the Linux Gamers League [linuxgamers.net] has been that a low of the dual booting gamer folk who would (unforunatety) happily pirate a Windows game *buy* every title from Loki they can, because they know if they don't, Loki wouldn't exist and their favourite platform would die. A ;lot of new Linux users are the former Windows poer users / LAN party types, and want an extremely customizable environment to do their work in and play Tribes 2 and Urban Terror in it. The Windows Warez Weenie community doesn't care much abotu ethics, whereas the Linux community does, and Linuxgamers generally end up being more like your typical young Linux user than your average Windows Pirate gamer type.

      Looking over Soldier of Fortune, Quake 3, Descent 3, Myth II, Quake II, Unreal TYournament, Kingpin, and Tribes 2 (all gakmes wghich run on Linux) on my own shelf, compared to System Shock 22 (which runs under some versions of Windows) I'd happily say that I'm generally buying more Linux games than Windows games too.

      Rather, I'd say the chicken and egg problem with stores carrying Loki games is a big problem for Loki. People won't buy games till they can get them from a store, stores won't stock games until they know people will buy them. A lot of gamers are below 18 and don't have credit cards. Solution:

      1. Buy them from a gaming store that takes money orders (most do)
      2. Arrange with your local LUG for monthly purchases of hear from a Linux company to be sold after meeting. My local Lug, Linux Users or Victoria, has 1200 members and get a stack of goods from Everything Linux sold to us at the end of each meeting (the LUG gets a portion of the proceeds).

      Hpowever, I'm not giving up on Loki yet and you shouldn't either. next meeting there will be a copy of Rune (a bloody awesome Tombraider style viking adventure game) waiting on the Everything Linux stable for me, and me with $AU90 to pay for it.

    • by ddstreet (49825)
      They're not finished yet; they will still be porting games, this is just so they can 'fairly deal with their creditors'.

      Scott Draeker (President of Loki) sent a comment [linuxgames.com] to linuxgames.com [linuxgames.com] which said:

      People should not confuse this with a Chapter 7 liquidation, where you close the doors and sell off the assets. That is not what we have done.

      We filed a Chapter 11 reorganization. This will allows us to deal with our creditors fairly and equitably and at the same time continue to operate the company. We are still shipping products and porting new games and expect to be doing so for a long, long time.

  • Sad to see them go (Score:3, Informative)

    by xwred1 (207269) on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:52PM (#2118245) Homepage
    Loki made great ports.

    Its sad to see them go out for doing such good work, damn this economic crunch!

    I myself own 10 Loki games and I've enjoyed each one.

    They said awhile ago that they had lots of capital secured for a situation like this, and they weren't going away soon

    I just hope they stick around and pull out of this bankruptcy, I'm really looking forward to Deus Ex. I put off playing the Windows version with expectations of the Linux port.

    • Economic Crunch (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EnglishTim (9662)
      I don't think this had much to do with the economic crunch.

      I think it had more to do with the fact that they were trying to sell products to a market that couldn't support them.

      Lemme see. They used to say that the overall cost of a worker in a software company was $100,000 / year. Dunno how many people loki have working there, but let's say 20. Now, on a $40 game, the developer will normally get about $10 (if they're lucky) if it's sold through retail channels.

      So: cost to run Loki/year - $2,000,000
      Number of units you need to sell just to break even: 200,000

      That's a tall order, even for a Windows game. There's only a few titles a year that sell that many.

      Okay, maybe your're getting paid to do the ports, but the advances you're going to get for Linux ports aren't going to be very great.

      It's incredibly difficult to keep your head above water writing Windows games. It must be almost impossible for Linux.
  • Not a big surprise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hooded1 (89250)
    Frankly, most people would rather have stuff free than have to pay for it. This tendency is of course magnified on Slashdot, because of the Linux Community's ideals of free software. Now does it come as a surprise to any people that a company whose only busienss was selling games to a community that would rather pirate them, than have to go all the way out to the store to buy them, would quickly go out of business? It does not to me. As much was I would like to support a company like this, i would not spend the extra money to buy quake3 for linux when I already own the PC version.
    • well, i'd be more than happy to go all the way to the store to buy them. except none of the stores will sell linux game titles. i really think that retail stores' refusal to stock linux games has much more to do with loki's failure than piracy. but i suppose that piracy hurts a lot more when you don't have the sales to make up for it.
    • by antis0c (133550)
      First, you can play Linux Quake 3 without buying another copy of Quake 3. ID provides Linux binaries free to download (or at least used too), all you need is the PC CD/data files.

      Second, you obviously have no idea what "free software" means. Often confused, Free as in Freedom. Not as in cost. Surely because of freedom there is no cost of software most of the time, but this is not always true. The only people in the world that truely use Free Software because it costs free are the 17 year old demograph who have no money in the first place. Perhaps you fit into this category?
      • by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:26AM (#2117707)
        That isn't true at all. There are many individuals, companies, manufacturers, schools, and foriegn governments to whom the low cost nature of free software is a huge incentive.

        I use Linux mostly for idealogical and technical reasons, but it certainly doesn't hurt that it saves me a few bucks I can spend on hardware.

        Given the cost for W2K server + client licenses, the cost makes a huge difference for companies running webserver farms. In many cases not as important as the technical issues, but important none the less.

        TiVo could have probably used WinCE, VxWorks, or QNX on the TiVo. But I am sure the $0/unit software licensing costs of Linux makes a huge difference to their bottom line.

        Schools, especially outside the US, are deploying Linux left and right, because especially on low cost hardware, the cost of windows is a big chunk of system price.

        So, yes, when we speak of free software, we mean freedom, but many people use Linux because that includes the freedom to copy it without paying licensing fees.
    • ...whose only busienss was selling games to a community that would rather pirate them...

      You know, I find that really offensive. There is no pirated software on any of my machines - none at all. I'm sure that's true of many other Linux users, probably most. There is proprietary commercial software on my machines, including Loki games; but it's all paid for.

      Yes, I'm an open source person. Most of my own work is available under BSD license. I maintain three separate open source packages. I use, in my work, many other open source packages. And there are a huge range of packages I don't use because their licenses are not compatible with what I'm doing.

      Open source people are not pirates. Most pirated software, lets face it, is Windows software. How many Windows machines do you know which have no pirate software at all? Closed source people are far more likely, in my experience, to be pirates than open source people.

    • by stevens (84346) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:05PM (#2158201) Homepage
      Frankly, most people would rather have stuff free than have to pay for it.

      Frankly, I don't encounter this attitude in the OSS community near me. We buy linux distributions; we spend our spare time promoting products we like (and also fit our software philosophy); we buy endless numbers of books.

      Most of the linux-oriented people I hang with bought one or two titles from Loki. I personally have two. I am not aware of a huge warez scene for Loki titles. It's just that there are so very few of us compared to Windows gamers. This will change eventually.

      But I'm sick and tired of hearing that Open Source enthusiasts will just not pay for things. Sure, I won't pay for something [microsoft.com] when there's a better alternative [debian.org] available. But that's simply not the case with Loki's stuff. I think they earned every penny with their attention to detail in porting and packaging (not to mention the SDL library).

      • you're wrong. There *is* an easy to find Warez scene for Loki games. Believe me.

        I would say that the # of titles "stolen" are far more than those sold.

  • Small target group? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bdkearns (231532) <bdk@bBALDWINdk.us minus author> on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:53PM (#2118257)
    In all of Loki's games that I've played, people complained because they wanted to switch from the Windows version to the Linux one. They did not understand that Loki had to pay for rights to port the game, and actually do work to port it. Loki's only real target buyers were people who already used Linux as their primary OS. Most of these target people probably:
    1. Were not used to shelling out money for games.
    2. Did not play games as a primary occupation.

    Before a company like Loki can succeed, I think that there needs to be:
    1. A larger Linux userbase.
    2. Simultaneous releases across platforms.
    3. An easier way for Windows users to switch to the Linux version, than trying to return their Windows version of the game and get their money back.
    • <i>Most of these target people probably... did not play games as a primary occupation.</i>
      <p>

      Naturally... Everyone knows that professional video game players only use the Windows platform.
    • by SLi (132609)
      Even then it will probably be quite difficult.

      The moment there starts to be enough demand for commercial quality games for Linux I believe the open source community will start writing those.

      Think it's impossible? These people did write a commercial quality OS, not a small task compared to writing a commercial quality game. Why would it be any less possible to write a commercial quality game then?

  • Loki isn't going anywhere for the time being. Buy more games if you like Loki so much!
  • by antis0c (133550) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:15PM (#2119766)
    I'm glad the article noted that Chapter 11 does not mean you are going out of business. This is often confused. This merely means you are seeking protection from creditors to buy yourself time to re-organize and create a plan to pay back your debt, and become profitable.

    In todays market, it's very hard to find funding for a tech business. We can all thank Dotcoms for that with their VC Funded Businesses based on Phantom products.

    I personally think Loki will be able to pull through this. I just recently downloaded a bundle of Loki demos for Linux, very impressive. They all worked rather well and with little effort, the installer was a shell script with I think binaries encoded, haven't looked but it loaded a GTK based installer that automatically asked which demos I wanted, and downloaded them accordingly. I was very impressed. I hope their upper management has as much talent as their programmers. They'll surely pull through if this is the case. I think what would be a potentially successful model would be to create a Linux gaming "environment". Basically an environment that superceeds your normal distributions environment. Libraries, Programs, what ever required, then build all the games accordingly. This would help with a lot of cross-distribution incompatibilties and help promote gaming in Linux. Unfortunately Linux was not designed for gaming, and Linux does not own a large share of the desktop market (the market that plays the most games), so they face a very large challenge..
    • by xwred1 (207269) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:24AM (#2117700) Homepage
      Speak of the Devil, just caught this on Linuxgames:


      Loki Software President Scott Draeker sent in the following regarding the bankruptcy report:

      People should not confuse this with a Chapter 7 liquidation, where you close the doors and sell off the assets. That is not what we have done.

      We filed a Chapter 11 reorganization. This will allows us to deal with our creditors fairly and equitably and at the same time continue to operate the company. We are still shipping products and porting new games and expect to be doing so for a long, long time.
    • Thank God the parent was modded up as informative. If people were to rely on submitter and editor commentary, they'd think Chapter 11 [slashdot.org] == Out [slashdot.org] of Business [slashdot.org].
  • Filing for bankruptcy protection is not the same as being "out of business," but it's uncomfortably close.
    Yeah, that's what I told myself when Metricom (sp?) filed Chapter 11. Whatever distinction there was between that and OOB is now moot.
  • by standards (461431) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:09PM (#2128722)
    Of course, the pundits will say that there is no profit in the Linux game market, and therefore the Chapter 11.

    But wait! There is almost no profit in the PC game market PERIOD. It's is very difficult to make a profit in this business. Game development is an expensive proposition - especially when it comes to the advanced graphics and gameplay that we all expect today.

    Even high-quality Windoze-centric shops have gone away - just look at Looking Glass studios for one. Gone! And they didn't do ANY linux. And they had great games, and excellent sales. And they were liquidated just last year.

    The fact is that computer games like "Who wants to be a millionaire" sell bigger than all the rest, and they're cheap-as-dirt to create. Why spend $5 million for game development, when for $200,000 you can create a cheesey game that has 10x the number of sales???

    Strangely, these days, the home console market is the only place where sophisticated computer games have a fair chance of being profitable. The sales volumes are significantly greater than those sales for Linux... and Windows.
    • ... and they're cheap-as-dirt to create. Why spend $5 million for game development, when for $200,000 you can create a cheesey game that has 10x the number of sales???

      Hear hear!!!!!! ^^ I wouldn't necessarily say that $200,000 automatically buys a cheesy game, but this would be a step in the right direction.

      Fix the economics first, then the game market will do much better.

      I agree about the console market too. Console games are less expensive to build and more reliable, therefore more profitable.

      The game industry needs to stop this "one more $10 million engine and we'll finally be like Hollywood" business model and start concentrating on gameplay.

      Just my $0.02
  • by Gen-GNU (36980) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:05PM (#2129520)
    Well, I can't say I am really surprised by this...
    I have personally only bought 2 games from loki. I bought quake 3 and railroad tycoon2 (one of the very first they did). In that time, I have probably bought 10 times that number of windows games.

    The catch 22 is that until all games come out for linux, and at the same time as windows, most people will keep dual booting. But until enough people run linux, (and buy games), but don't run windows, game companies won't have incentive to develop for linux, except as an afterthought.

    Since I have a windows partition, I usually get games I see on the shelves that look cool, or ones I have heard about from a friend. When I see a /. story about loki, I go to their site, and usually see a new game they have done, but I already own it for windows.

    I wish Loki the best. And I wish I could say something like &quot From now on, I am going to buy games from loki, if only to support gaming on Linux. &quot But in truth, I know that I will continue to buy the cool new games as soon as they come out, and unfortunately, that usually means I won't be buying from Loki.

    • later releases (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Proud Geek (260376)
      That's so right. Usually by the time Loki releases the game it's in the bargain bin at the local big-box store. Very unfortunate for them, because ordering online for full price and waiting for delivery is much less attractive than picking it up for $15 on the way home and rebooting to play it.
  • by Natalie's Hot Grits (241348) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:38AM (#2141621) Homepage
    What ended it for Loki Games? Well, I happen to know one company I can slap the blame on. nVidia.

    Why nVidia? well, its simple. when the tnt2 debutes, nVidia releases a statement that they are the only 3d video chip maker that is fully supporting Linux with Open Source Drivers. They were to release register specifications, and release a working, open source driver developed by nVidia and helped upon by a bunch of other interesting people. What happened to this ideal? They took it back of course, just as soon as 3dfx died and opensourced all their IP. When nVidia saw the monopoly knocking at their front door, they immediately withdrew their plan (this one year later) and decided to go closed source. you couldnt even use a custom kernel with the nvidia driver because it was entirely closed source binary only.

    Too bad for Loki, who just spent the last 6 months porting Quake3 to Linux, now they just found out that the only video card they can officially support with Xfree4 is the Voodoo3 and Matrox g400 (dog slow in linux).

    Add this to the fact that Quake3 for Linux came out on the SHELVES about a month after the windows version, and then, more expensive (by then, the windows version had been reduced in price by retailers, and the linux version could be downloaded off the internet, there was so little market for the linux version, they had to sell them at full price)

    Imagine that, Quake3 launch more costly to consumers, and later than everyone else, not to mention that the only video card that could run quake3 at the time was a tnt2 and Geforce1 at reasonable speeds, and didn't even have alpha quality Xfree4 or kernel drivers(required to use 3d direct rendering in Linux)

    Of course, nVidia released their closed source with open source wrapper later on that year, by then, it was too late. EVERY gaming migrant from windows switched back to windows specifically because of their video card's support (NVidia).

    If you want a finger to point, point it at nVidia. they should be brought up on charges of anti-trust IMO.

    Fuck you nvidia, I have nothing else to say to you. bitch. You ruined the only gaming potential Linux has ever had. If it wasn't for your delayed closed shitty alpha quality driver, Loki would have made a killing on Linux quake3. insted, only the newbies who bought the voodoo3 could play quake3, and so, only 10% of the potential market actually bought it. You had the only card that could handle quake3, and you lied on your promise to be the "leading 3d video card maker on the Linux platform"

    Have a nice day.

    • You're on drugs?
      Q3A 4 linux was out over a Year ago... and runs well with all cards which have 3d accel support under linux, either through the drivers that come with q3a, or those for XFree 3.3x, or DRI in XFree4, or suplied by hardware company...

      uhh and btw, Q3A was never PORTED by LOKI...
      ID developed Q3A under linux 'cause it's more stable that way; there was an interview in a german mag where one of the developers said 'if it crashes under linux, we can be sure OUR code f***ed up; under Win, almost anything including next office's coffee maker could be the reason'
      Loki just did the selling of the linux version...

      bye
      [L]
  • by darthpenguin (206566) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:11PM (#2142232) Homepage
    Somehow, I think the main reason that Loki didn't do as well as they should have was the way their products were marketed. For example: Tribes 2 for windows can be found at any decent computer store, and at CompUSA and Fry's, it has been on sale almost constantly for $19.99. Tribes 2 for linux, on the other hand, can be found in no retail store that I've been to. The only option I have is to buy it online, for around $50 (plus S&H). Now which version would most people go for? The only reason that I didn't spend $20 on the windows version is because I don't run windows on any of my machines, but most people aren't in that situation. I think if it was possible to get some more games into stores (at more competitive prices!), they could have done much better. The one or two copies of quake III that each store has don't count ($50 apiece).
  • by efuseekay (138418) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:47AM (#2143636)
    Stop /.-ing the site for people who are there to buy them!

    *rant over*
  • by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:21PM (#2145111) Homepage
    If you want to personally port a game to Linux, write me a letter (remove the _nospamplease), and I'll try to hook you up with the game author and source code. The catches are: a. I need a resume and convincing that you're not a flake, and b. you'll probably have to release it in binary form only.

    This is how Linux game ports work- one by one.
  • Paypal Account? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fdiv(1,0) (68151) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:49PM (#2146749)
    The linux community has rallied behind causes we felt were worth supporting in the past, however I cannot remember any instance in which the community has rallied behind a commercial venture before. Anyone interested in setting up a Paypal account for the purpose of helping out Loki? How much are linux games worth to you? Would you be willing to donate a few bucks to help keep Loki afloat? Consider what message this would send to Windows-only game developers...the linux community is not only wanting for games, but willing to support companies that will provide for them.
    Anyone with me?

    • Re:Paypal Account? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pbryan (83482) <email@pbryan.net> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:41AM (#2130906) Homepage
      I think it is important to address the questions you ask in as honest a manner as possible.

      The linux community has rallied behind causes we felt were worth supporting in the past, however cannot remember any instance in which the community has rallied behind a commercial venture before.

      Nor can I, and I think the reason is simple: the Linux community has not and probably will not rally behind commercial organizations. It's generally counter to the open-source, share-information culture inherent in the Linux community.

      Anyone interested in setting up a Paypal account for the purpose of helping out Loki?

      Maybe, but not me, and not a lot of Linux enthusiasts. I prefer to apply my time and financial resources toward a cause that better suits my needs in the end, and gaming is not it.

      Today, my strongest Linux interests are: stronger office suite offerings, stronger video editing offerings and Sorenson codec cloning/grafting/hacking -- whatever to get the damn support working under Linux.

      I believe such endeavours are more beneficial to the Linux community at large, and if I'm wrong, at least such endeavours better fulfill my needs of Linux, which is the whole point.

      Contribute where it matters to you most, worry about your own self interests, others will do the same, and if we share our results, we all win in big ways.

      Maybe games fill that role for more Linux enthusiasts than I think. I have been known to make mistakes ... (pause) ... from time to time.

      Would you be willing to donate a few bucks to help keep Loki afloat?

      I think you may be largely underestimating the problems that Loki faces. Maybe some donations will pull them out of their current financial crisis, but there's no indication that they would come up with a long term strategy that works both for the Linux community and fiscally.

      If a company cannot work at a financial level, the battle is already lost, it's just a matter of time. Nobody wants to sink money into a black hole, even if it feels like a good cause. If you don't think it will make a difference, then what's the point?

      Anyone with me?

      I'm sorry, but I think anyone who follows this proposition on its face is asking to waste money. I think it only wise to "chip into" projects that can demonstrate (or at least illustrate) an endgame that makes sense - namely: a company that can sustain itself and provide value to the Linux community.

      I like Loki. I like its games. I like the quality of its work. I like its contributions to the open source community. It did everything right, and I haven't bought a game. I probably would never have. It's cold. It's hard. It's probably flamebait. It's the truth.
  • Warez-like release? (Score:5, Informative)

    by aralin (107264) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:16PM (#2146963)
    Well, if they would sell warez-like release of their games, just downloadable files and pdf manuals or even without manuals or with just a stripped version, they could charge half the cost since all the money would go to the company and wouldn't be lost in the supply chain. And it would be very good solution for these types who say that the cost is "just too high" so they better download it from warez. I guess this could be good marketing move, no?
  • by MSBob (307239) on Monday August 13, 2001 @11:23PM (#2153695)
    Filing for bankruptcy protection is not the same as being "out of business," but it's uncomfortably close.

    It's not over until the fat lady sings, of course, but I think I hear her sucking air into her lungs and clearing her throat. That fat lady is going to sing soon and when she does she's going to blow some eardrums. There are very few companies that survive the chapter 11 stage. Stop deluding yourselves guys.

  • I wish I could help. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by small_dick (127697) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @12:50AM (#2157071)
    Something is wrong is this world. Loki is a very good company, with very good people.

    A couple years ago Microsoft was buying up PC game companies left and right, where is the IBM promise of "billions of $$ on Linux" pledge now?
    Maybe someone should set up a pledgeboard, something like "I promise to buy $XXX of Loki Games or the SDL book" within two weeks".

    IF the SDL book comes out, I pledge to buy both it and the Tribes 2 for Linux, even though Dynamix is dead.

    It's not just Linux that's dying, it's not just the dot-coms, look at Japan, the lowest stock indexes in 17 years. The world economy is collapsing.

    Goddamn government, while they've dragged out the Microsoft trial for 15 years, they should have been doing the same thing with software that the post office does with their vehicle fleets..splitting up the dollars spent between vendors. The monopoly desktop would not even be an issue now.

    Linux is ready for the desktop. When people use it work, they will start using it at home, and more games will sell. RedHat, IBM and Apple (for example) would get a broader base of enhancement requests and the state of Linux/BSD/Apple would increase rapidly.
    • The world economy is collapsing.
      What do you expect? Capitalism servers the stock market. Once 'reality-based' && 'need-based' manufacturing of *stuff* took the backseat to 'brand managment' and 'intellectual property' pyramid scheme.

      Im not surprised at all.

      Start attending anti-capitalist protests - these morons are gonna strip the planet and leave the rest of us to pick up the pcs.
      • Start attending anti-capitalist protests - these morons are gonna strip the planet and leave the rest of us to pick up the pcs.

        Yup, I'm sure the anti-capitalist morons *are* going to do that.

        Seriously -- do you have a better proposal for efficient resource allocation, or do you just prefer to bitch about whatever system is in place?

        I mean that. If "brand management" isn't profitable in the long run (I'm ignoring IP -- it's a government construct, and so throws a monkey wrench into free-market ideals) then those companies which put too much stock in it will fail -- which is anything but the end of the world. If these companies are profitable, then that means they're producing a product which 3rd parties are willingly agreeing to trade for cash -- so "stuff" (or at least things that those doing the buying find to be of value) is still coming out.
  • by RichiP (18379) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:05AM (#2157638) Homepage
    It's simply these game authors who charge exorbitant rates to allow Loki to port their games. The reason they're charging so much is that they're assuming the games are worth that much because of how much they make on Windoze.

    Linux users should rally behind Loki and petition game software authoring companies to charge a fee that's according to the Linux market. They have nothing to lose and much to gain if the Linux gaming industry grows.

    They never charged that much 5 to 7 years ago when the Windows market wasn't as big as it is today

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