Fun Stuff

I’m starting to put together my detailed analysis of Baseball Mogul 2008 vs. Out of the Park Baseball 2007. I was reading through the forum and found this gem of a thread. Around page 4 things get a bit ugly as Marc, Clay, and even Shaun Sullivan start swinging at each other. I’ve always thought Baseball Mogul’s advertising was a bit misleading regarding what it can do when compared to competing products. Yes, Lahman’s databse is built into BM, but it can be imported into OOTPB and PureSim. This statement is laugh out loud misleading and posted on BM’s web site:

“Baseball Mogul 2008 is the only game that lets you play in any season from 1901 to 2007, complete with hand-edited rosters and ratings for thousands of major and minor league players.”

I guess the hundreds, maybe even thousands of historical simmers that play OOTPB 2007 are probably scratching their heads at the above quote. But I am sure there is some technical reason why Clay Dreslough feels he can advertise BM this way. It’s just sad to see BM, once the market leader in game play, grow stale on the vine and try these tactics since the 2008 version actually looks pretty good.

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7 thoughts on “Fun Stuff”

  1. Hey Chris. I’m sorry you feel our web page is “laugh out loud misleading”. Yours is the first complaint I’ve seen (other than from Marc Duffy and the Sega legal staff).

    We take pride in being honorable in our business dealings and marketing. If I ever lied to our customers, my wife would never let me hear the end of it (not just because she is the most honest person I have ever met, but also because she handles most of the customer service e-mail and processes all of the refund requests).

    I made that statement because it was 100% correct. When a lawyer from Sega told me that Marc told him it was misleading, I went through it word for word to make sure that it wasn’t.

    Baseball Mogul is the only game that includes rosters from 1901 to the current season. Saying that OOTP includes historical seasons is like saying that Microsoft Excel does your taxes. Excel is a tool that can help you do your taxes, especially with the help of a knowledgeable 3rd party like a tax accountant. But it certainly doesn’t include the data and algorithms needed to do them for you.

    We are the only company that pays Sean Lahman for the rights to include his database with our game. This is money that would otherwise go into my daugher’s college fund. Our beta test, open to thousands of beta testers, included the ability to play any season at the touch of a button. This means we were able to thoroughly test our import tools and the data itself. For example, we found some errors in the current Lahman Database and we fixed them before we shipped the game.

    By contrast, OOTP 2006 didn’t even work with the Lahman DB. You had to wait for a patch or a 3rd party database if you wanted real players in your game.

    Additionally, I spend many late nights editing and testing the rosters for the current season. Even if you manage to construct the proper league configuration in OOTP and then correctly import the Lahman data, you still don’t have 2007 rosters. The Lahman database doesn’t include any 2007 data. So at the absolute best, you just have rosters from the 2006 season.

    So, it rubs me the wrong way to hear that it’s misleading to mention the cost and effort that we’ve gone to so that Baseball Mogul can simulate any season from 1901 to 2007 — out of the box — and that it’s the only game that can do so.

    I’ve been writing baseball games as a hobby since the 1970s, and my professional experience includes the Tony La Russa series, Microsoft Baseball, and consulting work for EA. So I realize that a major reason people buy a baseball game is so they can play with real players. OOTP has some great tools for creating a complex fictional universe. But the fact that we take the time to include and test historical seasons is the reason we are still the best-selling PC baseball game — despite the fact that Sega has a lot more money to spend than we do.

    Sorry if this rant turns you off to Mogul. We need fans like you to continue to make the game better. But if you think it’s misleading for whatever reason, there’s not much I can do.

    Clay

  2. Wow, as I wrote before, there would be some technical explanation. Just didn’t think it would be quite this long of one. Ok, so OOTPB can only do 1901-2006. I will conceded the point. However, I never said I wasn’t impressed with BM 2008. In fact the opposite is true. What I am not impressed with is how BM is being advertised, nor how its developer is conducting himself in public forums of late.

  3. I wouldn’t really call it a “technical explanation”. In that thread you linked to, Battists (one of the OOTP developers) agreed that it was “absolutely harder” to do historical sims in OOTP because they didn’t provide “built-in Lahman support”.

    Maybe next year our web page should just say “this game sucks but I hope you buy it anyway”. I’ll let reviews and word-of-mouth do all the talking. I’m only half kidding. It’s not fun being personally attacked for plugging our features on our own site.

    Also, let me know where you think I’m being a jerk in public forums. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of following the rule: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

    BTW, I didn’t come up with the exact wording on our box or our web site. Enlight and their PR firm did most of that. But when I got a legal threat to remove the part about “exclusive license”, I made the decision to not back down.

  4. Why not try this? “BM 2008 is the only baseball product with the renown Lahman database built into the game!” That is a more accurate statement. I believe Direct TV has an “exclusive” license with NFL Sunday Ticket. I can’t go to the Dish Network and enter a code to get NFL Sunday Ticket. That’s “exclusive”. If you can’t seen the difference, let’s just agree to disagree. I just call them as I see them. Stories about lawyers, people in dark suits, and whatever else aside, I’m relaying my perception of your advertisements.

    Wow, “Mad as Hell” Duffy is now replaced by “Mad as Hell” Dreslough. I’ll just need a “Mad as Hell” Sullivan to show up to complete the trilogy!

  5. This is what the web site currently says:

    “Sports Mogul Inc. is the exclusive licensee of the Sean Lahman Baseball Database, including complete stats and data for over 18,000 players going back to the 19th century.”

    That seems to be what you are suggesting.

    Because you drew my attention to it, I’m going to change “lets you play in any season” to “includes every season”. Mogul is without a doubt the only game that includes all those seasons, and that’s the point I’m trying to get across.

  6. There are two issues here that need clearing up.

    The first is that our lawyers were involved for something entirely different (and far more serious) and not for the matter that it’s claimed both here and on the mogul forums.

    On the subject of misleading PR, the only communication was from me (no mention of lawyers) and was pretty friendly.

    I wanted to clear both my name and the SEGA legal team. We take legal action only as a last resort and in this instance it had nothing to do with misleading statements on a website. When I read stuff like “But when I got a legal threat to remove the part about “exclusive license”, I made the decision to not back down.” I know this to be fales.

    Anyway, here is that misleading PR email I sent to Clay

    16/03/2006 15:05
    Hi Clay

    Hope you are well.

    I’ve just seen some of the PR material that is being sent out with regards to your new game. In particular the reference we talked about some time ago that “Baseball Mogul 2007 is the only game that lets you play in any season from 1901 to 2006, complete with hand-edited rosters and ratings for thousands of major and minor league players.”

    As you are aware, this is not the case and is incredibly mis-leading since OOTP also allows you to play 1901 – 2006.

    Can you please get this removed from your website and PR materials.

  7. After reading the comments, and the link that Chris posted in his article … I feel rather dirty.

    Thankfully I have a staff lawyer (my wife), but to be honest, things are never good when you start talking about sending in the lawyers.

    I hope Chris has the time to do the OOTPB/BM article because OOTPB is the only PC baseball I have played. I am looking forward to seeing what Chris says the new version of BM has to offer. I guess that is something positive.

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