Henrik Roos on Simbin Financial Troubles & Future

A few days ago, an article in the Swedish newspaper Expressen stated that Simbin is in serious financial trouble as board member & investor Peter Wallenberg pulled out of the company following licensing issues and unsuccessful business ventures such as the expansion to the Xbox 360 gaming platform.

The article mentions developments costs between 50 to 100 million Swedish kronor (5-10 million Euros) that have been funded by investors such as Wallenberg and suggested major debt at Simbin following Wallenberg’s departure.

Now, Simbin CEO Henrik Roos has responded to the matter in an interview with Realtid.se, offering some perspective on the Expressen article. Roos clarifies that even though Simbin suffered from the economic crisis as have most companies, the company’s financial situation is not as bad as reported earlier.

Despite dropping sales from 66.5 million kronor (6,5 million Euros) in 2008 to 24 million (2,4 million Euros) in 2009, the company has gone through reorganisation and has secured more than four million Euros of new capital for future business.

Regarding the future, Roos confirms that Simbin will be releasing an all-new title in the fall of 2011, featuring a brand-new graphics engine. Since no releases are planned beforehand, we can be sure that this is new the GTR title that Simbin announced back in March.

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • Turkey :D

    Stick to the PC, what SimBin does best. I think the reason GTR, GTR2 and Evo have done so well is by word of mouth advertising.. Pc gamers like myself tend to hang out at forums and chat about cool things, like our favorite racing sims. Then, we minimize our browser and go play them. :)
    Best of luck SimBin. I can’t wait for GTR2’s successor!

  • AeroMechanical

    It always struck me that SimBin, after the Blimey Split, was rather set up around milking their rights to the ISI engine for all it was worth.  That isn’t entirely fair, of course, because they did release some fairly decent products (on the PC anyways), but their entire studio was pretty well tied up in that aging engine until they could produce one of their own.  And that, technically and financially, is an entirely different ballgame.
     
    I would be really interested to know the details of the Blimey split.  Perhaps the original SimBin Development Team saw this scenario coming and weren’t happy about it and that’s where the rift began.  There were investors demanding what amounted to a mod year in a retail package, and they weren’t satisfied with that and saw it for the ultimate dead end it was.

  • dadada1

    Sad to hear but looking forward to the new release. Why not until fall 2011 though?

  • Ricoo

    GTR3 will have to be really good…

  • Firestarter

    Making racing games on the consoles with realistic physics = bad reviews on the mainstream computer game mags/sites = bad sales. 

  • scca1981

    While its sad to hear of their troubles they can only blame themselves.  Race Pro was abandoned in an unfinished state and Race On was a weak offering on a very aging platform.

  • Pinball

    Making racing games on the consoles with realistic physics, but with lots of bugs = disappointed game owners = bad word of mouth = bad sales. 

  • Ben_UK

    What I don’t understand is that SimBin has the assets from the aborted 2005 GTR XBOX game and also still has the assets from RACE Pro, yet much of this hasn’t been released for the PC…

    Perhaps its licence issues, I don’t know, but it seems odd to have this content sitting around when it could be moved to the PC platform???

    SimBin’s business model did seem to be to milk the ISI engine for all its worth. Its a shame they never fixed bugs that have been there since day 1, but SimBin always came across as being content providers, nothing more.

    I hope GTR3 is a success, I really do, but I also hope they realise that they need to provide sufficient support, and improve their godawful community relations, does no one answer emails at SimBin, or use forums?

  • Howie47

    This doesn’t sound good for FIGT. I don’t think “need for speed, shift” can deliver. If Simbin is making a new sim engine; that will take years to develop.   So, OK moders. Make a FIGT mod for rFactor2.   Please. Thankyou. Do It.  The door is open. There is a vacuum. Fill it. OK!

  • albim75

    SIMBINis devoliping its own engine since 2007 and they don’t have so much funds as EA

  • John DiFool

    Realistic physics often means a more controllable car than unrealistic physics.  I don’t buy that dichotomy at all.

  • Free2game

    I don’t get why so many developers thought that releasing games on the 360 was just a license to print money or something and will risk their company to get games out on it.

  • Arnold-Carter Kingpong Wong

    It is. The problem is that, when you release games for XBox 360, it needs another development license, that means more money. Besides, Xbox 360 has much more limitations(hardware problem) which may reduce the quality and gameplay of the game.

  • ibyte

    I’m not a business wiz or anything. But in danish we have a saying that translates into something like “Shoemaker, stick with making shoes”. In other words, stick with what your good at. Simbin are good at making racing sims on ISI engine. Want to make money, stick with that.
    There are to many other companies that are good at making arcade racing games and even games that console owners regards as racing sims (Dirt series, Gran Turismo, NFS series and the list keeps growing).
    Make GTR3 and ALMS sim on the rFactor 2 ISI engine, and Simbin would have money in the bank.

  • albim75

    I take a view on the situation of Simbin
    in the 2009 budget must take into account:
    1-economic crisis
    2-RACE PRO (which did not sell much) and RACE ON (released for PC)
    3-development costs for the engine LIZARD

    having said that I can imagine that those of 2010 confirm the downward trend has not seen since the release of games actually post purchase (realtime racing raceroom the game) while the costs of developing the new engine,IOPENER technology and licenses acquired have an important impact in 2010.
    Simbin being held at:

    Henrik Roos 41.8%
    Klaus Wohlfarth 31.7%
    Johan Roos 11.3%
    Peter Wallenberg Jr. 8.0%
    Jamal Laraque 3.6%
    Marcus Bodin 2.4%
    Magnus Ling 1.3%

    and updating the data of 2010 we will see the Wallenberg’s withdraw and Klaus Wohlfarth owning 39.7% (the second largest-selling shareholder).

    Now a qualitative consideration about Simbin ……. they have been criticized in recent times to use the old and redundant GMOTOR 2 but if we take into account the size of the company …….. they did well.
    concentrate efforts (economic) on the new engine and it debuts on GTR 3 is the best move to make because:
    1-develop a next-generation engine then you have the option to sell its product on 3 platforms
    2-GTR is the strongest brand that can relaunch the company’s image
    3-you walk away from the reality of rFactor without transpositions of illegal tracks and cars made by SIMBIN on other games, and incentives to work on the modder on GTR 3, which will bring many new features to the series.

    a consideration of Wallenberg (a male with hands-on everywhere as indeed Mr. Henrik Roos )……. if the British could define a single term would call “censoredhead”.
    certainly the person in question is one that does not like to lose money (even with a crisis gripping all) out of spite he make public confidence, or erroneous information that affect heavily on stakeholders (suppliers, banks, customers) of SIMBIN?
    this is lack of seriousness!
    SIMBIN GTR 3 is their biggest project on the link and I think (hope) they’ll be back stronger than before

    p.s.
    the idea of a community united in RACEROOM ONLINE is right and it will be very useful in the future.

  • Big Ron

    SimBin is one of the coolest gaming companies, but they really have chosen the wrong way. The concole game development was a good idea, but you need to have a lot luck and money to get what you expect. And when it gets wrong, you are done.

    Also, they decided to produce too much addons, but too less really new content.

    But I really wish good luck and hopefully their new product is a big seller.

  • Nick Bakker

    We have a similar saying in Dutch: “Schoenmaker, blijft bij je leest” the English version is “Let the cobbler stick to his last.”

    Anyway, Simbin is a company specifically known for it’s hardcore simulators. Moving slightly towards a more arcade gameplay territory is dangerous as the competitors (Gran Turismo, Forza, etc) have much bigger budgets and fame.

    They should also move quick to deploy their Lizard engine in their games. Without deploying it, it will cost them loads of money every single day.

  • starfox550

    I agree with the two above, I hear nothing but good words for the Race Pro Physics, (so much so I bought a copy) sadly it was the rest of the game that was a let down, the strenght of console games these days seems to be the multiplayer aspect, simbin/atari failed here. it was fixed (slightly) with some other bugs, but by then it was too late, bad rep was already far spread.

  • Robert Ivanjko

    I`m waiting for GTR3!

  • Michael

    Nonsense. simbin’s woes have nothing to do with any “economic crisis” they are completely understandable and explained by the crap games they’ve churned out (starting with Race Pro and beyond if not before)

    I can’t think of another game company that I’ve come across that does everything so completely wrong as Simbin did. I think anyone throwing money at them now to bail them out must be completely fruity loops.

    Indeed, it seems fairly clear by looking at SMS and Simbin that all the business / technical savvy walked out the door long before Wallenberg exited with his money.

  • Michael

    We have a similar saying here it’s “Will Simbin make a good game? No, that’s a load of cobblers!”

  • Michael

    I imagine they figured (wrongly) that the process would be basically

    1- recompile PC version of Race 07 gets you 360 version of Race 07
    2- add a quick bolted on career mode
    3- Profit

    And then they actually tried it…

  • Charles Stanley

    I totally agree with John.

    I play rfactor with a Logitech Dual Action and while I may not be the most competitive with that controller I still find it to be a pretty graceful experience for general racing. I think my biggest hindrance is not having footpedals for clutching and heel/toeing. But I feel like I am mostly there anyway.

    You simply have more to work with when your physics are right regardless of the control scheme.

  • Charles Stanley

    Simbin should release a GTR3 with the full Isle of Man, Nordschliefe, Le Mans, Targa Florio and problem solved.

    Should I be the marketing director for them or what?

  • Vmk

    Simbin is a very talented company, im ‘ huge of their work, whatever staff (the GTR 2 or GTR evo/RACE PRO) and I think they made bad decisions on the last years.. GTR 2 was a incredible and innovative game back in 2006, but they decided to keep releasing games on the 2005 GMOTOR 2 engine, and when they finally release a new game engine (lizard, wich by the way is great) they only release for consoles, where hardcore sim racers are hard to find.

    I mean, they didn’t had to release GTR3 back in 2008.. but they could release Race 07 or evo already on the new graphics engine.. I’m sure it would make things better today…

  • Vmk

    Race Pro is not a crap game

    all the graphics problems are purley related to the xbox360 limited and outdated graphics and procsessing power.. another evidence that releasing the new engine on the console was a big mistake.

    Race Pro is artistically a good looking game, nice cockpits, shadows, colors, reflections.. the problem remains the excessive jaggies and some low textures, due to xbox 360 limitations.

  • Vmk

    And it good great physics, the best on any console racer.

  • AngryPostmanSthlm

    u sad nerd, have you even tried a game of theirs?
    Why dont you give them a call and you sure get a place in their team as the humble
    full of insight-guy you are :)

    ^^same goes to Charles Stanley..what a star…zzzzz

  • ceo….

    i am the ceo, i am the ceo, and the only ceo …..what would you do if the ceo told u that on a daily basis? management by chaos and fear doesn´t exist in the business world of today with exeption of simbin HQ in vara with 2000 inhabitants and a ceo implementing megalomania in the company.

  • Joe

    Vmk, are you kidding?

    The poor graphical performance in Race Pro has absolutely nothing to do with the limited hardware resources on the 360 console.

    Sure, Race Pro would run better on a decent spec PC, but let’s be honest. Somehow, you believe that Race Pro is an attractive and good looking game. What part of it is good looking?

    Compare the graphics to Codemaster’s GRID and F1 2010 Ego Engine running on the same ‘limited’ XBOX 360’s GPU. The XBOX’s outdated GPU is the same GPU that other racing games are running on, and those console games make Simbin games look terrible. Bland textures, poor shadows.

    Even if you could manage to get away with blaming the XBOX’s limited hardware, then you would still need to explain the poor graphics textures on expensive high end gaming PC rigs.

    There is not one single PC exclusive racing sim that looks anywhere near the graphical beauty of Dirt or F1 2010. The only way you could say that Race Pro looks good, graphically, is if you have spent the last few years ONLY playing GTR2, rFactor, and other PC exclusive racing sims. If that’s all you’re used to, then of course Race Pro will look good.

    Anyway, in my opinion, Simbin fails to understand the console market. It does not matter how good and realistic the gameplay is if the graphics look ancient. That’s a huge problem. If the game does not even look like a modern ‘Next Gen’ console game, and there is not even any effort put into making the menus look attractive, then, unfortunately, the vast majority of “Next Gen” console gamers will ignore the title regardless of how good the gameplay is. They need to feel as if the title belongs on the platform instead of looking outdated and having a serious lack of atmosphere.

    What’s the biggest title series on the Playstation? Gran Turismo. It’s not a proper sim like GTR2 or Race Pro. However, it proves that a sim-like game can be many times more popular on a console than straight arcade racers. Race Pro, or Race Pro 2, or GTR3 will never be as popular as Gran Turismo even if Simbin make these games ‘perfect’, but one thing for sure is that you would see a lot more sales of future Simbin games on consoles (and PC as well) if, for example, GTR3 comes out with graphics and advanced dynamic weather like Dirt3 or F1 2010.

  • ceo….

    bull……simbin is a joke with a current management that has no experience what so ever with exception of a couple of guys that left the company prior its failure….

  • Mark

    I am making a pretty educated guess who posted this, of which I will not name :)

    But I can sadly confirm this is indeed how it was, and for the better part probably how it still is.

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