AC

Marco’s latest deal

The initial motivation behind this blog was to create some kind of index of information, so I could quickly look up things without all the spam in between. If there is one story you want to collect the current statements and later compare it to the results, it is now: Kunos was sold out, and the world is going to end. Or similar.

What happened?

Out of nothing the italian site version of Eurogamer  stated that Kunos Simulazioni is sold to Digital Bros. Some time later Marco commited this article and gave a short statement:

Ok, let’s clarify this before it becomes the bigger flame of the year.

By today, Kunos Simulazioni is part of Digital Bros Family, and me and Stefano by today are shareholders of Digital Bros. That’s it. We are still the founders of Kunos, we are still IN, also keeping our respective positions and responsabilities, with just few exceptions: the budget we’ll manage by now doesn’t come anymore from our personal profits, but from Digital Bros, our bigger AC fan. Keeping the same policy, strategies, DNA, development team, goals. So, if this news would not been made public, you couldn’t realize that something is changed, because – by a gamer/simracer point of view – nothing is going to change.

The reason why this news comes like a bombshell is because Digital Bros is a listed company, therefore this kind of operation must a) kept confidential until the negotiation is over, b) go public when is done. That’s it.

For whom are afraid that today a piece of their simracing world has gone, let me remind them that Digital Bros has published – under its label 505Games – the console version of Assetto Corsa, and it doesn’t seem to me that AC on PS4/XB1 is an arcade game: definetely it isn’t. Therefore, before to scream in any direction that “Kunos has been bought, The World is Over”, please sit down, breath and think. Because the only news you should be interested is that by today, we have more resources, time and power to do our job, even better than before.

So: think easier, live better, stay strong. The Future is Bright.

The perception

We didn’t see this coming at all, at this stage there was a highly interesting situation: The fact, but no topical classification. Eurogamer just stated some facts, nobody was told what to think about it.

I’d like to note the different types of statements especially from the first minutes on Racedepartment, as they tend to have a “well rounded” and “neutrally moderated” forum. Even a few days later we have basically 4 different opinions:

ripac2

In this group you have anything between this efficient summary and the longer statement that that is either “can’t be good” or “they lost the passion” – in short they mourn about the upcoming end or at least see bad things happening. As far as I can read the reason is either that they see key players leaving – or the new owner will reduce the quality of current and future projects.

ac2

ac2tracks

Where there are topics to talk about, expressing the own wishes isn’t far. This group sees a change and well, you name it. AC2, rain, night, more tracks, “proper whatever” and so on. At least it isn’t as negative.

remainoptimistic

You need to search a while for this conclusion. I’d stress the “remain” part – some people just express that they don’t expect much change after all.

joke

This statement deserves his own category. I will leave it here for the laugh.

The projection

Who might be right in the end? Most probably everybody will find his point proven in a few months. My guess is that “not much will change” is the best prophecy, although it will look very different:

Kunos will announce AC2 somewhere until summer 2017, but it is not a change – this was planned and decided in the past. Additionally they might announce strategies and core features that of course won’t satisfy everybody (I wouldn’t on rain and iRacing features) while still going on with updates for AC which causes the usual fight for features. So both the Ac2-guys are right, and the “bad owner decides bad things for $$$” are right. There will be actual changes, but it’s unlikely that we as community notice them, nor will anything happen within 2017 (please note that we are still in the “my guess” section and don’t start rumors out of the context).

The reason might be simple: A company buys another company because of either strategic reasons, or because of $$$ return. It sounds bad, but actually it is pretty usual, even for private people. Do you have any savings? Maybe some investement fund? This is roughly the same, except that you didn’t directly evalute where your money is invested. Digital Bros for sure did and Kunos needed to deliver a good business plan for the future.

In no way somebody puts 4 million on the counter and in return there is “well we’re currently creating DLCs and don’t know how to go on once the returns diminish”. Kunos had a solid plan for at least 5 or 8 years into the future which rules out they were talking about Assetto Corsa only. But it was Kunos’ plan and decision how this future looks.

Another point why people might overract now: How much influence does the shareholder have? How much of this will affect the community? There are bad examples for sure, but in most cases they act sensibly and just sets some goals (like acceptable profit range) and won’t be seen unless bad things are happening. Additionally you might have a level of invest/risk where the shareholders have to be involved. Everything else is handled and decided by the guy they hire for that job: An executive chief (CEO, or Amministratore delegato in this case). In most of the legal entities in the western world this guy has the liablity and therefore the power. He’s also going to jail if things are messed up too much. Hell in some countries he can sell the company without asking or telling the shareholders (ok but is in trouble then).

We wouldn’t know anything about Kunos’ properties unless Marco or Stefano occasionally introduce themselves as “Co-founders”. We didn’t even know who is the CEO by law, and we still don’t know. The structures will remain but the shareholder is somebody else. So now Marco and Stefano are restricted in risking their company, but what is the difference here? Kunos had owners before that wouldn’t risk their invested money.

Yes there are examples like EA where the strategy is different, but c’mon. You should have at least noticed that Stefano acts more like a Rockstar or Pirate than somebody who signed a deal where some guy would tell him what to do. And it would be pretty crazy to invest 4 millions in a very succesful company and then mess around with it.

In a last sentence I’m really suprised how well Marco’s words on Facebook could calm down things. Despite my non-sensational view on this topic, the words of a Kunos member/founder currently have zero credibility. In which scenario wouldn’t they be “everything is ok, don’t worry”?

—–

Feels like a big thing, but it isn’t. But it reveals big things that aren’t necessarily related. To be honest I didn’t count on Kunos remaining that team we know for much longer than the ending lifecycle of Assetto Corsa, but that was obviously wrong. The DLCs and updates will go on, new announcements will be done. Don’t freak out about the next patchnotes and possible correlations with this story.

Congratulations Kunos – you found a way to stay with your baby, and don’t need to think about the money your talents could make in the boring industry.

 

For the notes:

Forum spamthread
Forum dedicated thread

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