Author Topic: The commercial decline of the CPC  (Read 2640 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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The commercial decline of the CPC
« on: 03:04, 26 October 14 »
I maintain the NVG archive. ;) I'll send a copy to Kukulcan at CPC-POWER as well.


That's great!


Little NVG story. I first went online in May 1995 using a 14.4k modem I had borrowed for the weekend. I managed to download a CPC emulator from a site given in Amstrad Action (this took forever). I then downloaded Roland In Time from NVG to play on it! From then on I was addicted to nvg, downloading and sometimes uploading not just CPC stuff but Speccy stuff as well.


I can still remember the address. ftp.nvg.unit.no. It seemed so exotic and far away in 1995. I think I hoped it was a server in a bunker underneath a snow covered mountain in Norway. I suspect the truth is far more dull so I'll stick with my 1995 mental image of that far away and exotic server!
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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #1 on: 21:32, 26 October 14 »
Well, I remember that time too. Eventually software companies really had no reason any longer to produce games for the CPC because everybody got copies from the internet.  :(
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #2 on: 00:05, 27 October 14 »
Well, I remember that time too. Eventually software companies really had no reason any longer to produce games for the CPC because everybody got copies from the internet.  :(


By 1995 the CPC market was dead. It had ceased to be. It had shuffled off its mortal coil and joined the choir invisible. It was a dead market.


The games market for the CPC in the UK died the same time as the Spectrum market. By mid 1993 it basically didn't exist. No high street retailers in the UK stocked the games. Some local computer shops still had a small selection. No major software houses supported it any more. The amount of new games being reviewed in AA during 1993 was negligible. August 1993 was the last time the CPC had a games software chart.


To blame the decline of the CPC games market on internet downloads is ludicrous. It was dead and buried years before more than a handful of CPC users had internet access.

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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #3 on: 05:08, 27 October 14 »
Pretty aggressive way of commenting. If people use strong language they are usually feeling guilty.  ;)  Relax, I'm not blaming you for anything. But there is a world outside of the UK and I bought CPC games (new games!) up to 1997.

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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #4 on: 09:54, 27 October 14 »
Pretty aggressive way of commenting. If people use strong language they are usually feeling guilty.  ;)  Relax, I'm not blaming you for anything. But there is a world outside of the UK and I bought CPC games (new games!) up to 1997.
ohhh, what new games were being produced in 97?
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Offline arnoldemu

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #5 on: 11:00, 27 October 14 »
Pretty aggressive way of commenting. If people use strong language they are usually feeling guilty.  ;)  Relax, I'm not blaming you for anything. But there is a world outside of the UK and I bought CPC games (new games!) up to 1997.

From the UK perspective:

It definitely appeared that the commercial games market was over around 1994. I don't know if the magazines played a part in that by saying it was over and making people believe it, but there was definitely a big difference. AA was thin, very few games on the shelf, Amiga/ST had been going strong for a few years and consoles were also very strong too.

So chinny is quite accurate.

From the French/German/Spanish perspective it may have been quite different with more games available.


Of course, the CPC is still alive thanks to all of us, and quality games continue to be released :)
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #6 on: 11:48, 27 October 14 »
Pretty aggressive way of commenting. If people use strong language they are usually feeling guilty.  ;)  Relax, I'm not blaming you for anything. But there is a world outside of the UK and I bought CPC games (new games!) up to 1997.


I'd love to know what new games you were buying in 1997. Were they from commercial software houses or just someone selling a handful of games from their bedroom. I was a regular on csa8 at that time and can't recall ANY talk of new commercial games at all
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #7 on: 12:17, 27 October 14 »
From the UK perspective:

It definitely appeared that the commercial games market was over around 1994. I don't know if the magazines played a part in that by saying it was over and making people believe it, but there was definitely a big difference. AA was thin, very few games on the shelf, Amiga/ST had been going strong for a few years and consoles were also very strong too.



The causes of the collapse of the CPC games market are extremely well documented. It was the same for the Spectrum, C64, ST and Amiga as well.


The CPC's future was decided as far back as 1991. Publishers deciding not to bring out new games for the CPC. Ocean are a good example. No version of Parasol Stars for the Spectrum and Amstrad (C64 had a version under development but was dropped after the master disks were destroyed). No versions of Hook. The publishers had already made their mind up in 1991 that the CPC was on the way out.


Don't believe me? Lets take a look at what happened to the Amiga market.....


In 1993 Future Publishing hosted a conference on the future of the games market. Now the Amiga was pretty healthy in 1993 but not one of the publishers attending envisaged there being a healthy Amiga games market in 1995. "As far as the games market is concerned, the Amiga's short-term future is bleak and there simply is no long-term future" said the report on the conference. That's 1993 and for a far newer machine that at that time was dominating the games sales market share in the UK. (read full article here - AP2 | The Amiga's Death Sentence
AP2 | The Amiga's Death Sentence )


Summer 1992 WH Smiths dumped all their 8 bit stock at massive discounts. John Menzies and Boots followed suit shortly afterwards. In the case of WH Smiths they stocked console games instead. Less sales but far higher profit per unit + no hassle with returns. The point games aren't in the big high street chains, sales will drop massivly. Commercially that was a hammer blow. I was amazed we got the Nigel Mansell game (it was touch and go if this was even going to come out on the Spectrum). I wasn't surprised at all when we didn't get Street Fighter 2, a game that on the Spectrum that got dumped onto budget after less than 6 months due to total market collapse. A guy who worked in a computer shop at the time told me that they could not sell Speccy SF2 budget tapes even when reduced to 50p come late 1993.


Those publishers who still wanted to write games (mainly for the French market which seemed to be about a year behind the UK in terms of decline) couldn't always get the Z80 coders because there was more money to be made writing Gameboy games.


The fact is the market decided. Fans of various machines (of which Amiga owners are the worst) try to deny this. It all boils down to the fact 8 bit games were the least profitable due to low cost per unit, being easy to copy, a level of returns you don't get with carts and a games market in freefall.


AA's circulation was dropping during this period but as the CPC had a serious user base it wasn't impacted as hard. But if you look at a games only machine like the Spectrum, their circulation figures were in freefall. Massive drops.


The reasons for the CPC games market collapse are many, but it is a pattern reflected across all the 8 and 16 bit micros. It simply comes down to hard economics. But the CPC's fate was decided in 1991 when publishers were commissioning their games for 1992.
« Last Edit: 12:34, 27 October 14 by chinnyhill10 »
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #8 on: 12:23, 27 October 14 »


From the French/German/Spanish perspective it may have been quite different with more games available.




I went to the Virgin Megastore on the Champs-Élysées in April 1993. They still had a large amount of CPC games in stock. However the thing was that the majority of games on sales were from UK software houses. So the reluctance of UK software houses to supply new games would have directly impacted the shelves in Paris.


I've also always wondered why Amstrad Cent Pour Cent seemed to decline so quickly. Did the CPC market implode in France in the same way the Spectrum market did in the UK? The magazine goes bi-monthly late 1991 and by 1993 seems to be coming out quarterly!
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Offline EgoTrip

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #9 on: 15:51, 27 October 14 »
To blame the decline of the CPC games market on internet downloads is ludicrous. It was dead and buried years before more than a handful of CPC users had internet access.


 ;D ;D ;D
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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #10 on: 16:07, 27 October 14 »
@Arnoldemu & Chinnyhill: Thanks for your comments. However it was different in all countries. And btw. the last commercial CPC game sold by a commercial company with versions for other system was released 2013 in Germany. So imho it was over 2013  ;)  But let's not have a struggle about details. I learnt something new about the situation in UK back the day. France is another topic again.  :)
« Last Edit: 10:51, 28 October 14 by Gryzor »
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #11 on: 16:44, 27 October 14 »
EgoTrip: Get that dirty smile out of the face or I whip you bare naked butt!  :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh:


@Arnoldemu & Chinnyhill: Thanks for your comments. However it was different in all countries. And btw. the last commercial CPC game sold by a commercial company with versions for other system was released 2013 in Germany. So imho it was over 2013  ;)  But let's not have a struggle about details. I learnt something new about the situation in UK back the day. France is another topic again.  :)
2013, what was that? If we include the occasional retro game release the it's not over yet. I hear no fat lady singing!
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #12 on: 16:55, 27 October 14 »
2013, what was that? If we include the occasional retro game release the it's not over yet. I hear no fat lady singing!


The scene is alive and active but the machine is commercially dead and has been for 20 years. Can't see why people have a problem with me saying this.


You aren't going to set up a software house and make your sole living from selling CPC games. Those that still make and sell 8 bit games are doing it as a hobby and for fun. You couldn't make a living doing it.


If say, the R-Type remake had been done on a commercial basis, how much would have it cost to develop? Could that cost have been recouped in sales. Of course not! And that is why the CPC market is commercially dead.
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #13 on: 17:03, 27 October 14 »
Don't misunderstand me. I agree the main Cpc market died with the last major release by any software house. And that is a fact. What we have now us a great community and those with retail products deserve support and therefore I will tend to buy commercial releases even if a freeware version or download also exists. Sub hunter anyone. But these should not be seen as the rule. As soon as you were required to buy games online or from homebrew stores the commercially the Cpc was dead.

A shame but what we have now if amazing considering the age of the hardware, and the minority market the Cpc had in the first place (france excluded)
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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #14 on: 20:06, 27 October 14 »
2013, what was that? If we include the occasional retro game release the it's not over yet. I hear no fat lady singing!


Well, let's just say a release from a company which makes its business mainly by selling software.  :)
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Offline Nich

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #15 on: 21:57, 27 October 14 »
2013, what was that? If we include the occasional retro game release the it's not over yet. I hear no fat lady singing!
I think he means Cyber-Chicken.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #16 on: 22:05, 27 October 14 »
Oh, I have that here - yes I bought it. But it is not exactly a commercial release.
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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #17 on: 22:58, 27 October 14 »
Well, sorry it is.  :o  (Not from my philosophical side, but...)
- CC was released by a company which makes their money by selling games.
- There is a PC version of CC too.


The company may be small compared to other companies of the year 2014, but not so small comparing to companies of the 80ies. Sure, a bit less than 100 copies have been sold only. But maybe better games got sold in smaller numbers back the day.

The idea for making CC for CPC was exactly that: Having a commercial release for the CPC in the year 20xx.  :)

Ok, now you can say that the exception proves the rule. I'm ok with that.  :)

« Last Edit: 23:03, 27 October 14 by TFM »
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #18 on: 23:18, 27 October 14 »
Well, sorry it is.  :o  (Not from my philosophical side, but...)
- CC was released by a company which makes their money by selling games.
- There is a PC version of CC too.


The company may be small compared to other companies of the year 2014, but not so small comparing to companies of the 80ies. Sure, a bit less than 100 copies have been sold only. But maybe better games got sold in smaller numbers back the day.

The idea for making CC for CPC was exactly that: Having a commercial release for the CPC in the year 20xx.  :)

Ok, now you can say that the exception proves the rule. I'm ok with that.  :)


I think I'm beginning to lose the will to live.  ???
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #19 on: 00:02, 28 October 14 »

I think I'm beginning to lose the will to live.  ???


NOOOOOO That would mean no more Chinnyvids and I love them so!
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #20 on: 18:07, 28 October 14 »
I think CraigsBar summed it up perfectly: there's no market, there's a community.

But, to get back to the original point, it's the first time I've heard that *online* piracy killed the CPC :D

As far as Greece goes, I left my CPC ca '91 I think, because there were just no games to be found. And Greece was, mind you, a triumph for Amstrad, yet people had turned to the ST or the Amiga by then.

Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #21 on: 18:25, 28 October 14 »
Well, some stay, some go. That's like in American football. The Saints don't play well this time and the fans already run away to Green Bay and the Dolphins.

But yes, of course, the internet was the final coffin nail for a lot of systems. Suddenly everybody was able to swap using homepages, email, and all that not any longer existing data services (Compuserve, SilverPlatter f.e.). For the CPC it was for sure not the main problem, but let's put it that way it didn't increase the sales either.  ;)


CPC for me is a commitment. More than marriage of other foolish stuff humans do.  :)   ;)   :laugh:
« Last Edit: 18:51, 28 October 14 by TFM »
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #22 on: 18:45, 28 October 14 »
I only resorted to the internet when I had exhausted all other avenues. I even wrote to Titus to try and buy prehistorik2 and super cauldron directly as I failed to find any shop even willing to order me a copy. And the mail order options in AA were constantly out of stock. Titus btw did not even bother to reply. So perhaps the software houses were also slightly to blame by making the product unavailable.
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Offline TFM

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #23 on: 18:50, 28 October 14 »
That's very true. Remember to have made the same experiences with other games. Back the day I had the German crack of Gunship, and the game was so well done that I invested the 70 DM to buy it (twice as much as for a regular game). What I got was the French version. Other titles - as you told - were simply not to get. Dunno if shops or companies are to blame though.

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Offline Gryzor

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Re: The commercial decline of the CPC
« Reply #24 on: 18:52, 28 October 14 »
but let's put it that way it didn't increase the sales either.  ;)


Sure, the same way the passing of a comet in '93 didn't increase sales either :D