Editor's Note: Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

Who cares whether EA or Activision is on top when all we are to them are walking piles of money?

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I can't believe I've switched my preference in this fight to EA, the monotone, soulless entity, from Activision, who I thought were an imaginative, interesting group. But considering that Activision is ran by an offensive, erratic man, who is alienating the industy around and under him, I think I'll be ok here. The grass is greener, for a start.
Also, theres THQ. I think I'll join them.

Alright. Valve.

See, all companies may only be interested in the bottom line, but that's not to say some won't approach it by trying to delight their customers, while others will attempt to do the absolute minimum as allowed by law.

Why don't we all just switch to 2k? Their games are just as good, and they're not as evil ;)

I'm really confused about both the tone and the onward state that this editorial seems to put forward. Perhaps someone can help me:

So the EA/Activision pissing match isn't news: So...is there nothing else to be newsworthy about?
Seto Kotick delivering another hilarious "I'm so misunderstood" monologue fuels all the hate, but it's getting people involved. So... do we keep reporting what he's doing or not?

So we shouldn't put up with half-baked games? We're a tiny minority of people who actually "like" games. Everyone else buys games that they're told to by the adverts, which are carried by...

So let's not buy games that are half-made and... cripple an industry already in it's death-throes and force them to make even more "safe" games.

Whether you like Halo, Halflife, Starcraft or loathe them, there's huge numbers of people that look in the window of Game/Gamestop for what game to play next, regardless of any problems, morals, ethics, designs or anything else rather than what their friend says is cool.

And it's been like that for a long time.

But surely they can listen to the critics? Nope...because all critics are "Haters". And all non-critics are "Fanboys".

We're stuck in a position where to crush our enemies, we have to be prepared to destroy ourselves.
If we want Diablo 3 to be made, we have to put up with it being made according to the latest "revolution" in games. If we don't like that, then we get labelled haters, and risk a game we liked being consigned to the bin.

So...
Continue as we are - and fuel our stereotype?
or Change what we are - and lose that which we fought for?
or Give power to these companies to fight those fights we can't?
or Fight for ourselves - and lose the very thing we're fighting for - wanting to play games.

What choice do we have, when both our choices will be ignored by the masses on either side?

tjs09:
Why don't we all just switch to 2k? Their games are just as good, and they're not as evil ;)

2K? You're kidding, right?

Quality of games aside, they're just as evil. Perhaps you've forgotten the Bioshock DRM snafu, the Bioshock 2 DRM bullshit, that DLC with its own DRM for at least one of their games, some ridiculous porting from console to PC (read: Borderlands), and the fact that they consider arbitrary discrimination against people which they can get away with to be just fine (read: 60% markup on Steam for Aussies)? I could probably go on, but I can't actually find links and sources to back up all of the shit I've either experienced or heard about them.

2K are douches.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Ignore them. Choose Indie, or press for games that have interesting - dare I say it - gimmicks. Originality is the spice of existance, and while we are playing Quantum theory of gears of war, then original games, such as Cryostasis, are sidelined.
Send letters to smaller developers, let them know you personally support them, and advise them of what you liked about their most recent game(s). if you can, provide money to the developer, not much, but just enough so they know you have an interest in what they do. Eventually, you may have a developer interested in what games YOU want made.
But like you said, our options are slim to none.

The Cheezy One:

Send letters to smaller developers, let them know you personally support them, and advise them of what you liked about their most recent game(s). if you can, provide money to the developer, not much, but just enough so they know you have an interest in what they do. Eventually, you may have a developer interested in what games YOU want made.
But like you said, our options are slim to none.

Shouldn't that cause be championed by a hero though? Like, say, a games magazine that hosts one of the most revered game-critics of the web?

Instead of the latest episode of "Koticks do the funniest things", perhaps some updates on indie games like Frozen Synapse - or the return of Alt-Esc?

People buy new games at full price?

Okay, I do it on occasion. Mostly from Bethesda or Bioware. Everything else I pick up when the price starts to drop. I don't really do a lot of multiplayer, so games like Modern Warfare 2 don't really interest me. I borrowed it from my roommate for a few hours, and gave it back, saying I was done with it, because I was.

Ultimately, preaching to the converted does zero. The problem is, the vast, vast majority of people who play video games don't give a damn. They don't give a damn if Kotick can't do PR. They don't give a damn if video games are threatened by an effective ban in America. They don't give a damn that FIFA 11 is pretty much the same game as FIFA 10 as far as I can see.

Rack:
Alright. Valve.

See, all companies may only be interested in the bottom line, but that's not to say some won't approach it by trying to delight their customers, while others will attempt to do the absolute minimum as allowed by law.

These companies (most particularly the board members and shareholders) really do only care about the bottom line (that's just capitalism for you) and it ends up being up to the devs to try and fit our "delight" into their parameters.
That's why I'm actually surprised when we get a couple of games in a year that are actually worth $60. It's the same reason the music industry is almost dead and most of the movies out there suck.
Most of the games out there are quickly thrown together shovelware they hope they can fool the consumer into buying at full price. And I guess they can or else a lot more publishers would be going out of business.
So yes, Kotick is a shmuck, but it seems that there are few consumers out there willing to prove him wrong. SO I guess I should just be happy that I don't really like Activision games and their absurdly priced DLC.

Fenixius:

tjs09:
Why don't we all just switch to 2k? Their games are just as good, and they're not as evil ;)

2K? You're kidding, right?

Quality of games aside, they're just as evil. Perhaps you've forgotten the Bioshock DRM snafu, the Bioshock 2 DRM bullshit, that DLC with its own DRM for at least one of their games, some ridiculous porting from console to PC (read: Borderlands), and the fact that they consider arbitrary discrimination against people which they can get away with to be just fine (read: 60% markup on Steam for Aussies)? I could probably go on, but I can't actually find links and sources to back up all of the shit I've either experienced or heard about them.

2K are douches.

Sarcasm doesnt come across well on the Internet...
If I had to choose a gaming company that was least evil, I'd probably go with Valve.

GonzoGamer:

Rack:
Alright. Valve.

See, all companies may only be interested in the bottom line, but that's not to say some won't approach it by trying to delight their customers, while others will attempt to do the absolute minimum as allowed by law.

These companies (most particularly the board members and shareholders) really do only care about the bottom line (that's just capitalism for you) and it ends up being up to the devs to try and fit our "delight" into their parameters.
That's why I'm actually surprised when we get a couple of games in a year that are actually worth $60. It's the same reason the music industry is almost dead and most of the movies out there suck.
Most of the games out there are quickly thrown together shovelware they hope they can fool the consumer into buying at full price. And I guess they can or else a lot more publishers would be going out of business.
So yes, Kotick is a shmuck, but it seems that there are few consumers out there willing to prove him wrong. SO I guess I should just be happy that I don't really like Activision games and their absurdly priced DLC.

Fortunately this isn't really true, yes there are plenty enough people who seem to put up with almost anything that making customers happy matters very little to a lot of companies. But a delighted customer is one of the best marketing tools out there, and that affects the bottom line and you can be damn sure board members care about that. The developers at Valve have very little say in keeping Episode 3 in development for 5 years until it's good enough, or releasing dozens of free updates to Team Fortress 2 but the money men have worked out it's good business so they'll keep doing it. On a less severe example EA noticed it's very bad business to have customers that actually hate you so they're toning down on the evil. Activision seem to be getting away scott free and as long as they do they'll keep sacrificing puppies.

Whoooo...

Get 'em Russ, way to put us on the spot :)

Rack:

GonzoGamer:

Rack:
Alright. Valve.

See, all companies may only be interested in the bottom line, but that's not to say some won't approach it by trying to delight their customers, while others will attempt to do the absolute minimum as allowed by law.

These companies (most particularly the board members and shareholders) really do only care about the bottom line (that's just capitalism for you) and it ends up being up to the devs to try and fit our "delight" into their parameters.
That's why I'm actually surprised when we get a couple of games in a year that are actually worth $60. It's the same reason the music industry is almost dead and most of the movies out there suck.
Most of the games out there are quickly thrown together shovelware they hope they can fool the consumer into buying at full price. And I guess they can or else a lot more publishers would be going out of business.
So yes, Kotick is a shmuck, but it seems that there are few consumers out there willing to prove him wrong. SO I guess I should just be happy that I don't really like Activision games and their absurdly priced DLC.

Fortunately this isn't really true, yes there are plenty enough people who seem to put up with almost anything that making customers happy matters very little to a lot of companies. But a delighted customer is one of the best marketing tools out there, and that affects the bottom line and you can be damn sure board members care about that. The developers at Valve have very little say in keeping Episode 3 in development for 5 years until it's good enough, or releasing dozens of free updates to Team Fortress 2 but the money men have worked out it's good business so they'll keep doing it. On a less severe example EA noticed it's very bad business to have customers that actually hate you so they're toning down on the evil. Activision seem to be getting away scott free and as long as they do they'll keep sacrificing puppies.

Gamers are willing to put up with a lot. How else would we have fanboys for things like gamestop which has tried to rip us off for years.
The trick I think is to get that loyal fanbase like Valve has. Then you can get away with anything because you have that excellent marketing tool you mentioned: word-of-mouth.
It's hard for me to tell what sparks that fanboyism because some of it seems completely unwarranted. I usually buy according to my tastes but if a publisher is taking advantage of my appreciation of their game by absurdly overpricing their dlc, I'll just as easily not buy it. I love gta and the additions bogt made to gta4 but I thought $20 for those additions was ridiculous so I didn't buy it until I saw the whole disc for a reasonable price.

It's too bad that the games industry will change not because it'll realize the evil of its ways, but because costs are rising so much that no matter whether you play it safe and release generic games or throw caution to the wind and dare to create something new and imaginative, either way you'll fail to turn up a profit ninety percent of the time. And curiously only companies like EA and Activision will survive that, not because they only think about the bottom line or because they apply a template or because they know how to market their games, but simply because they're so large they'll resist the time of famine for the longest.

Still pretty awesome, Pitts. What about the games we play, are we those?

I wish I could sign up for the petition, but I'm not a US citizen.

Ah, the editor's choice issue. Where I'm guaranteed not only quality articles, but some of the most interesting and imaginative ones in recent memory. It's great because it means I can pick up on articles I missed out on!

Rack:
Alright. Valve.

See, all companies may only be interested in the bottom line, but that's not to say some won't approach it by trying to delight their customers, while others will attempt to do the absolute minimum as allowed by law.

I hate to say this, but Valve is far from innocent and certainly doesn't always "delight" their customers.

Take the issue of used game sales, for example. In that regard, Valve is arguably equally as bad, if not worse, than major publishers. Since all of their games are integrated with Steamworks, you have to tie the game to your Steam account in order to be able to play it. Once that is done, the tie is permanent and you can never remove it. In practical terms, that means that you cannot sell your legitimately purchased copy to someone else in a legal manner. The only way to do so is to sell your Steam account along with it...but wouldn't you know it? That is, conveniently, forbidden by Steam's Terms of Service.

There are other things I could point out, like how Steam uses a form of region locking to enforce price discrimination, how the TF2 updates wouldn't be nearly as generous had they not served to promote Steam, how Steam basically serves as a form of DRM etc. But really, that's not important, beacuse I love Valve as a game developer. I recognise that Steam has it's benefits (like being the perfect platform for indie developers) and I wish Valve all the best. The only point I was trying to make is that their track record isn't exactly pristine either and that even they will not always act to the customer's delight (and in the case of used game sales, bypass the law and enact a de facto ban).

EDIT: Plus, as much as I like them (or precisely beacuse I like them), I still don't want them to maintain their current monopoly over digital distribution. Afterall, we have seen countless customer-based companies turn into soulless entities precisely beacuse they enjoyed a monopoly or were market leaders.

Nice to see you fired up. I agree that there are some problems with the industry, thanks for the challenge to do something rather then just complain about it! Get off the couch, turn off the console, write a letter to a congressional representative, then get back to the gaming. :)

I'm actually planning on stealing more games. Not digital piracy, mind you. Just good ol' fashioned larceny!

Just kidding ^_^ In all seriousness though, they are a LOT of problems in the videogame industry that have been tolerated for too long. The technology behind these games has evolved to unprecedented levels of sophistication. So why haven't the people (both creators and consumers) of gaming not changed?

It's time to fix things.

tjs09:
Sarcasm doesnt come across well on the Internet...
If I had to choose a gaming company that was least evil, I'd probably go with Valve.

Oh good, I'm glad I misinterpreted : )

Tom Phoenix:
[...] like how Steam uses a form of region locking to enforce price discrimination [...]

As far as I'm aware, while this is a big problem on Steam for anyone outside the US, who seem to get the best prices, Valve merely enable it to continue or encourage good relationships with other publishers who might get touchy about Valve being a publisher in their own right. I'm certainly not condoning it, but that particular issue is the fault of both Valve and any publisher which willingly chooses to use such a greedy tool.

Fenixius:

tjs09:
Sarcasm doesnt come across well on the Internet...
If I had to choose a gaming company that was least evil, I'd probably go with Valve.

Oh good, I'm glad I misinterpreted : )

Tom Phoenix:
[...] like how Steam uses a form of region locking to enforce price discrimination [...]

As far as I'm aware, while this is a big problem on Steam for anyone outside the US, who seem to get the best prices, Valve merely enable it to continue or encourage good relationships with other publishers who might get touchy about Valve being a publisher in their own right. I'm certainly not condoning it, but that particular issue is the fault of both Valve and any publisher which willingly chooses to use such a greedy tool.

This post made me wish my computer was strong enough to play Steam games...

Great Editor's Note Mr. Pitts.

And more awesome to put in Fight Club quotes.

 

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