I have been following the sad saga of Midway Games, a pioneer in the video game world, which coincidentally has offices a few blocks away from me. We all know they have been having some financial troubles, and have had some rather craptastic games lined up for release, but this bit of news sheds a whole new light on the situation.

Midway has set aside about $3 million in bonuses for certain employees. This is a last ditch effort for the top-tier of employees to scrape up as much cash as they can before Midway implodes. Kotaku also reports that Midway is denying paid-time off benefits to lower level employees, as well.

It is blatantly obvious, that this is nothing but an attempt by Midway’s management to personally profit as much from a dying company as they can, while shafting the lower levels of their workforce. These practices are something I would expect to see out of old-school EA, rather than Midway.

I would suggest a boycott of Midway, but nobody is interested in the garbage they have to offer anyways. It’s really a sad sight to see such a respectable company turn into such a pit of corporate greed.

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Why Midway Games Will Fail

February 19, 2009

I live down the street from Midway Games in Chicago, and have blogged about them before. They have been having a bit of financial troubles, and have teamed up with Ubisoft to publish their next game. Now, Midway has a second chance that a lot of companies don’t get.

Unfortunately, they are using this chance to release Wheelman, featuring Vin Diesel…great. This means that someone at the Midway offices said “Hey, we are on the brink of failing as a company, let’s release a GTA clone featuring Vin Diesel to win back the public’s affection and money!”. I could be wrong, and Wheelman could turn out to be a good game, but, to me, it looks like Midway still doesn’t get it.
If they keep releasing mediocre looking games like this, I don’t see a future for Midway.

The Future of Midway Games

November 23, 2008

Midway Games is currently in jeopardy of losing their listing on the NYSE. Midway hasn’t been doing too hot for a while now, and usually, as in the case of Interplay, when a company gets delisted, they go under soon after. I actually live within walking distance of the Midway Games HQ in Chicago, so this news hits somewhat close to home(sweet pun, yeah).

Sadly, Midway’s biggest problem is usually itself. They are seeing some good returns on smaller scale, more casual, games, but still spending huge amounts of money on titles like Stranglehold, which was decent, but nothing special. At best, Midway has been providing mediocre games. The most recent Mortal Kombat games were very entertaining, and very replayable, but at the same time, they were nothing revolutionary. Midway is pouring money into average quality games like Area 51 and Hour of Victory when they should be taking this opportunity to innovate.

Midway is a small publisher when compared to giants like Activision Blizzard, or the internal publishing of Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. They are not even in the same league as EA, who has cut off any competition in the sports game markets. The closest competition Midway really has is THQ, and they are having financial troubles of their own. Midway cannot afford to compete within the AAA scene, and needs to invest its money elsewhere.

There has been mention of Midway attempting to start up a casual games portal, but there are already established players in that market. If Midway wants to viable, they need to do what they have been doing for years, make console games…except, now they are going to have to make them well.

Midway Games can be successful if it stays in the console market and produces GOOD games. If they put half the money into game design and gameplay that they do into graphics and advertising, Midway will stay in the game. Take the katamari series, for instance. It was a relatively low budget game that definitely came out past the PS2’s peak. However, it was incredibly fun, and proved that a game could be successful even when the next generation loomed.

I know Midway can make great games. They have pretty much proven themselves to be pretty solid over the years. My advice to Midway is to quit trying to keep up with the other publishers and just make something that people want to play. Midway Games is responsible for so many games which have been influential in the industry, and I am one person that would like to see them stick around.