I fondly remember those metal boxes full of games and movies that could be seen on some large surfaces. An insane well of second-rate products that, at best, were used to get some kid to be quiet at a reduced price.
From all that could have a place in those giant bars, from an unknown game of PS2 even a razor, it was easy to hit your face with images like the ones you have on these lines or the many that you will find below.
Phoenix Games and balance games
Video game covers darn ugly that gave a good account of the quality of the game that you would find inside. A product that, already at that moment, you looked at in amazement wondering who in their right mind would buy that.
Today you go a little further and think how the hell someone can dare to ride a business around that. Develop or distribute games for a balance cube in the electronics area of any supermarket.
The result of this apparently disastrous idea is found in Phoenix Games, a company that came to have English, Dutch and Thai headquarters, based on developing and signing agreements with third parties to market games such as those listed here.
In a collection of official excerpts from the old page of the company we can read pearls as their development times were reduced from the usual 18 months to just 3 or 5 months. A strategy that, with more or less fixed costs, allowed them to increase profits with a reduced price strategy.
“The entire collection of inexpensive premium products in these fast-paced formats will sell successfully through the fast-moving product stores where the public typically shop for convenience.
Promoting them in 24-hour stores (and supermarkets) means having a great exposure that will result in great levels of sales. Although they will be sold in low price ranges (6.99, 7.99, 8.99 and 12.99 pounds) they will not skimp on quality. The sale prices are incredibly competitive considering the quality of the content.
All this, together with the striking appearance of its box, represents an exceptional value. “
More than 200 games in 10 years
Beyond the humor of the message, what is really surprising is the blind investment that they had to undertake in the beginning so that all this was really profitable and, even more, that it was to keep the company alive for so long.
The documents speak of boxes and manuals translated into English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish to maximize their distribution. The objective? Reach sales of between 4 and 5 million units in the first 12 months.
With an eye to PC, PSX, PS2, Nintendo DS and Wii, in its nearly 10 years of life, Phoenix Games came to launch more than 200 games. 99 of them only for PS2. In fact, it was a company big enough to consider distribution rights for classics with partners like Atari or Atlus.
But no matter how much the monkey dresses in silk, cute stays, and the haughty promotional messages had little or nothing to do with the quality that their productions treasured. From fairies with a strongly masculine voice to poor quality records that warped from the heat, Phoenix he carved his reputation for himself.
However, despite the surreal of everything that surrounds the brand and its games, the short runs of the company and the tackyness of its proposal, the truth is that the games of Phoenix have become a collector’s item that today is sold up to above 100 dollars on portals like eBay.