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Monday, May 26, 2008

Imagine Sports announces the end of Diamond Mind Baseball

Well, many people thought it was coming, since IS bought out DMB and never actually advertised or promoted DMB.  They are moving to an all on-line model.  They say they will still release season disks for DMB V9 for the foreseeable future, but only as long as it makes sense.

This isn’t really baseball news, but a lot of Primates are DMB players/owners/lovers, so it’s relevant.

I understand that many DMB owners will want nothing to do with the new incarnations of DMB, as they hate IS for killing it, and don’t want to give them another cent.  That’s a fair viewpoint.  That said, there are certainly some positives with moving to an on-line game:

For example, we have just completed a new version of “Diamond Mind Live” - a server-based version of Netplay that now includes league play … with the ability to set your own league schedules. Not only does this avoid the connectivity, IP addressing and firewall issues that can afflict Netplay, DML will enable you to play your Diamond Mind leagues in an orderly yet flexible manner without going through the hassle of having team owners sending line-ups and settings to the commissioner who runs the games for centralized leagues, or emailing results to commissioners and waiting for the latest stats in distributed leagues - that is all automated. Gone will be the fear of cheating, so if a team gets hot during a homestand, you’ll know it’s legitimate. Also, your opponents will no longer be able to look over your manager profile for an unfair advantage. And, backups are maintained on Imagine Sports servers, so if your hard drive crashes or is wiped out by a virus or you just bought a new system, we’ve got you covered. You’ll always be playing with the most up-to-date ratings and data because we’ll be maintaining it for you.

That said, it will come down to the ability to customize a league’s format and the cost of playing in leagues (I’ve long said that one cool thing about playing DMB is that I just buy one season disk each year, but play three leagues with it).  And the afore-mentioned attitude towards IS.

(more commentary and quoting, including an offer for free play, if you click the Comments link)

I do think it’s worth pointing out that IS is trying to do do right by DMB owners (or, depending on how you see things, trying to take advantage of their brain power):

We are now testing this DML League product, and we invite the PC game community to be a part of that testing and provide us with feedback that will enable us to craft the game to meet your needs and desires. We will also be forming a customer advisory group of DMB-PC customers to help provide us with further input and feedback as we build out the online game. We have already gotten some great ideas from you, and we look forward to more. If you would like to volunteer, email Pat at Info@diamond-mind.com to sign up.

In the meantime, we would like to offer you a free 12-month subscription to Imagine Sports, which includes unlimited live game play. This offer is available only to our current registered DMB PC customers who are not yet subscribers of the Imagine Sports online games and will expire on June 30. Email Support@imaginesports.com to sign up.  (Emphasis added)

I will try out the new on-line game, and am open to moving to it.  Like I said, there are some definite positives with a game that is managed on-line.  I understand the people that feel they’ve been sold out and don’t want to even give it a chance, though.

 

Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: May 26, 2008 at 07:07 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, fantasy baseball, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. CraigK Posted: May 26, 2008 at 07:20 AM (#2794466)
I'd've played it, but $50/$70 is waaaaaay out of my price range.
   2. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: May 26, 2008 at 07:39 AM (#2794471)
The pricing model (which is no longer relevant) has been $70 for the game, and $30 for each season disk. I think when you first buy the game, you can get a discount on getting the current season disk with it. I forget what buying upgrades to the game costs (hmm, I started playing with V5 or V6 twelve years ago, and we're now on V9, so upgrades have been at the rate of every three or four seasons).

Yeah, shelling out $70-100 is a big layout at first. It's always been worth it to me, but I understand that for college students and the like, that's a ton of money. And it's basically $30/year, plus the cost of upgrades. Like I said, it's been totally worth it to me, because I get a ton of enjoyment out of it. But I can see how it'd be a barrier for some people to get into it.

I have no idea how they'll price the new offering (it's possible they've talked about it, but I haven't looked into that sort of thing yet).
   3. pv nasby Posted: May 26, 2008 at 08:25 AM (#2794472)
Yes!
   4. ColonelTom Posted: May 26, 2008 at 12:23 PM (#2794484)
Wait till you see the price of the online game - $9.95/month PER TEAM. So for someone like me, who is in 3 DMB leagues, you're looking at going from $60/year (previous season disk plus projection disk) to $360/year. Not gonna happen, my friend. I'll try the online game - it looks intriguing - but I can't justify that sort of cost in my annual budget, and I'm sure a lot of others feel the same way.

That said, I understand where they're coming from. I suspect that a lot of current DMB league players don't buy the software themselves, so instead of selling 20-30 disks, they sell one and the rest of the league copies the disk off the single purchaser. That could have been dealt with a number of ways, though, short of going to this expensive online model.

The DMB folks (as opposed to IS, with whom I have no experience) are an unbelievably great bunch of people. Tom Tippett and Pat Morgan have always been tremendous, and both have helped out greatly when my leagues have had software issues in the past (including saving the playoffs in one league after a particularly nasty corruption of the league file). I'm hopeful that they will figure out a way to make this work for all the loyal DMB customers over the long term.
   5. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: May 26, 2008 at 01:05 PM (#2794487)
At least they offer a free year of IS access to registered owners. I might have to check that out.
   6. AROM Posted: May 26, 2008 at 02:10 PM (#2794505)
$9.95/month PER TEAM


Way too rich for me. That would be $1800 per year if I got managers for all 30 of my teams.

At this point I wouldn't even advertise for owners to do GM work/lineup setting, because I don't play the games at a regular enough schedule or update my league site enough.
   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 26, 2008 at 02:18 PM (#2794506)
Hey, they are still selling season disks, just no new versions of the game. I can live for quite a while on the current version.
   8. ColonelTom Posted: May 26, 2008 at 02:18 PM (#2794507)
I'm 99% sure the free year of IS access is for single-game play only, not seasons or leagues.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 26, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#2794525)
Anyone up for swapping season disks to fill out collections? I've got a handful before 1960, but all the ones from there up until around 2004. A few need the $5 updates, but I'd prefer to never send Dayne Meyers another dime of my money.

I've never played the online version from all the past enticements Meyers has given, and I'm sure not going to start now.

I will be a happy man when his business fails... rat bastage.
   10. UCCF Posted: May 26, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#2794548)
Yeah, shelling out $70-100 is a big layout at first. It's always been worth it to me, but I understand that for college students and the like, that's a ton of money. And it's basically $30/year, plus the cost of upgrades. Like I said, it's been totally worth it to me, because I get a ton of enjoyment out of it. But I can see how it'd be a barrier for some people to get into it.

I think that's where OOTP always had the advantage. It was $30 for the game, and that was it. Our league's been going almost 20 seasons now, and aside from $10 for a software upgrade about 2 years ago, that $30 was my only outlay. For 20 seasons of a DMB league, I'd have spent about $650 with the new disks each year.

I know they're very different products. But if all you want is a good simulated baseball experience and the fun of an online league, either one will give it to you.
   11. Poster Nutbag Posted: May 26, 2008 at 04:46 PM (#2794566)
I've always been more for OOTP as well, however, the Hardball Dynasty game over at What If Sports has taken the cake, for me. Over the last year I have become increasingly "obsessed" with my teams there. The single best multi-player baseball game around, hands down. Again, different products (not real players) like the previous poster said, but as far as online, multi-player, baseball-simulated experience, it can't be beat. Plus, it plays year round, simming 3 games a day.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: May 26, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2794569)
I couldn't play an online controlled by a company that makes up it's own rules game. In our diamond mind we set up a generous revenue sharing, we have a formula for free agent signing, with blind bids. We have the ability to trade draft picks (with rules stating you must maintain one first round pick every other year) We have the ability to sign players to long term contracts in their pre-arbitration years (I'm not sold on the formula we use personally but we at least have the option) I can't imagine an automated system being anywhere near as fair. (example the Yankees have about 120mil payroll, while my Devil Rays have 86mil, lowest payroll is the florida marlins with 52mil this is based upon market size, revenue sharing and previous seasons record, plus you are allowed to trade extra money)

I just couldn't see any generic system providing this level of detail, and we have a rules committee to make changes yearly depending on what is perceived as unfair etc.
   13. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: May 26, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2794573)
Cardsfanboy, I bet you can still get all of that, maintaining it yourself. You tell DML that you have a straight draft, and just enter the rosters in it each year, but still do your own draft, free agency, etc. yourself.

It's similar to how Primer's fantasy football league works. Yahoo doesn't support our keeper system, trading draft picks, etc. So Szym manages that all himself, and just enters the rosters in at the beginning of each system, and we rely on them for the in-season stat-keeping and stuff.
   14. Mister High Standards Posted: May 26, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2794599)
link doesn't seem to work.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2794615)

Hey, they are still selling season disks, just no new versions of the game. I can live for quite a while on the current version.


My thoughts too. I'm cool with v.9. Just hope they still sell the past seasons. And even then I guess I could go ebay.
   16. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 26, 2008 at 08:15 PM (#2794668)
Just hope they still sell the past seasons.

They say they are for now... of course, everything dbDayne has said previously about the PC game has been proven as a lie with his recent announcement so take his latest appeasement for what it's worth.

I'd like to see a homebrewed 2008 season disk get some traction so loyal gamers have an option other than funding the further development of the online game. I homebrewed the 1918 season disk that's out there for download and did the huge study on the effects of player range and arm ratings, so I have a pretty good idea of what goes into a high-quality homebrew season disk and would be glad to be part of such an effort.
   17. this space for rent Posted: May 26, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2794683)
I'd like to see a homebrewed 2008 season disk get some traction so loyal gamers have an option other than funding the further development of the online game.

Homebrewing league files with the basic stats should be relatively easy; there are already a few folks out there who can import stats from a standard format into a DMB database (Tango's ZiPS projections, e.g.), and if not, we can figure out something. Figuring out which defensive metric(s) to use to derive fielding ratings would be harder than actually deriving the ratings, I reckon.

I'm not sure how much effort it would take to incorporate real-life transactions & lineups, but it seems doable.

Oh, and for those not following along, there's a threat on the DMB forum where Dayne has promised to answer some of the questions and criticisms arising from the latest announcement here. No answers yet, but reportedly coming soon; we'll see if the answers are actually substantive. . .
   18. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 26, 2008 at 08:54 PM (#2794686)
It's a shame that it doesn't seem that they will even issue another patch for those items that fall short of a comprehensive new version.

Still, while I'm comfortable playing the existing version in my historical league, I might be willing to give a looksee to the online version, particularly if we can find a way for our league to run on-line as it has by PC (as Harold points out).

OTOH, it might be time to give OOTP a looksee too.
   19. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 26, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#2794695)
Figuring out which defensive metric(s) to use to derive fielding ratings would be harder than actually deriving the ratings, I reckon.

Anything that has Derek Jeter among the bottom of MLB shortstops would be reliable enough to get my vote!

I think I used some adaptation of BP's fielding runs and assists per opposing baserunner to get my range and arm ratings for 1918, and I think they tended to follow the CW reasonably well. My EX range ratings went to:

P: Mays (BOA), Ruth (BOA), Grimes (BRO), Tyler (CHN), Douglas (CHN), Benz (CHA), Bressler (CIN), Coumbe (CLE), Doak (SLN)
C: Perkins (PHA), Schmidt (PIT)
1B: Merkle (CHN), Sisler (SLA)
2B: Doolan (BRO), Gedeon (SLA)
3B: Baird (SLN), Foster (WAS)
SS: Fletcher (NYN), Peckinpaugh (NYA)
LF: Meusel (PHN)
CF: Myers (BRO), Paskert (CHN), Speaker (CLE)
RF: Hooper (BOA), Flack (CHN), Demmitt (SLA)

(I hope I got them all!)

I'm not sure how much effort it would take to incorporate real-life transactions & lineups, but it seems doable.

I wrote a script that exported lineups from Excel into the season disk using a Windows scripting tool (AutoIt) recommended by DMB forum member Diesel. You had to "play" every game in order to get the lineups it, but it automated the process of entering and saving every lineup slot for every game. Works pretty fast too.

I think transaction entry could be done the same way. Start compiling the transactions from MLB.com into Excel than adapt my script to export those into the Transactions Entry form once the season database contains all the players for the season.

These are both relatively crude tools though. I don't know anything about the internal structure of the lineup/transaction databases. Others may have tools that can write directly to them. Everything I do has to go through some DMB user interface.

Oh, and for those not following along, there's a threat on the DMB forum where Dayne has promised to answer some of the questions and criticisms

A threat or a thread? Actually, I think it reads just as well either way regardless of whether or not the original line was a mento or not.
   20. this space for rent Posted: May 27, 2008 at 02:15 AM (#2794973)
A threat or a thread?


Threa_d_; neither threats nor bribes seem likely to revive DMB for the PC at this point, it seems.

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