Respect Your Gamer

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Respect Your Gamer

Game developer Johan Andersson has simple advice for other studios: Respect your gamer.

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Don't spend money trying to track down the pirates. Instead, spend the money on making it easier for people who want to pay for your stuff and reward the ones that do buy your games with free updates and free gameplay features. I repeat: Stop chasing the pirates, focus on rewarding the buyers.

I really dislike how some companies, especially in other entertainment industries, are going after pirates and try to sue them for downloading a few files. Yes, it sucks that you have put your heart and soul into a game that people play without paying for. But hunting the gamers is not going to increase your sales or recoup the money; it's just going to alienate your customers in your attempts to scare people into buying your game. And that's a pretty stupid move.

Bold statement. Might work for a smaller company, but how do you expect to sell that to your shareholders? Most which have very little idea how gaming and the gaming community works and will most likely see it as "letting the terrorists win".

Amen, Mr. Andersson, amen. I am one of these people who started out by pirating Europa Universalis III, and I now proudly own it and IV legally. This policy of yours or of developpers like Egosoft is one of the reasons I love your games. That and their great depth and overall quality.

Yes! Demos sell games, especially Grand Strategies. I would never have bought EU3 and CK2 if it weren't for the demos. Most people have never bought Grand Strategies and never will if they have no way of finding out before buying it.

Realitycrash:
-snip- but how do you expect to sell that to your shareholders? Most which have very little idea how gaming and the gaming community works and will most likely see it as "letting the terrorists win".

You could pitch it with an allegorical, and partially exaggerated, hypothetical. Something like:

"So let's say you want to buy a new car. A brand spanking new shiny one that's advertised to be the best thing ever. You're not the most well off, but you have enough money spare that you can afford it, so you search around a bit and find two people offering you the car.

One guy offers the car for a somewhat expensive price, but that's okay right? It's new! But there are a few conditions to using it: You have to get his permission to use the key for the ignition, you can only buy petrol from his company, and you have to let him know every time you drive it and who's in the car with you. But lets say you want a radio. Oh, sorry, that'll be another overly expensive extra. CD player? Extra. Floor mats? Extra. A boot/trunk? Eeeeextra!

The other guy offers you the whole package. The same car, all the bells and whistles, everything. For free. Sounds too good to be true, right? Sure he looks a little sketchy, and he said straight up that it's stolen, but it's free. He and his friends have also assured you that there is next to no chance of getting caught, afterall thousands of others are driving cars he's given them and their still on the road. Perfectly fine, with all the optional extras and the freedom to use the car as they see fit. And if you really like the car you can just treat it as a test drive! Buy the car from the other guy later to support the manufacturer.

Which offer is more tempting?"

Don't nickel & dime the gamers

Gamers are loyal to us at Paradox Development Studio because we constantly update our games and give them loads of stuff for free for the games they have bought, after release, even if they don't buy a single DLC.

That sentiment sort of rings hollow when it's coming from the company that made this happen.

As a fairly active member in the forums for paradox, i will say they have a great community and the developers and community managers and mods are all very active in the community. Developers regularly answer questions and discuss game mechanics in there forums for both current and works in progress.

Paradox is a great company, not all there games are great, but there all interesting. They do have some fantastic gems worth pointing out, Europa universals 4, crusader kings 2, mount and blade warband, and magicka.




yes i am a paradox fan boy.

Eldritch Warlord:

Don't nickel & dime the gamers

Gamers are loyal to us at Paradox Development Studio because we constantly update our games and give them loads of stuff for free for the games they have bought, after release, even if they don't buy a single DLC.

That sentiment sort of rings hollow when it's coming from the company that made this happen.

What's wrong with that picture? They split up their DLC such that you can pay for what you want, and each purchase is meaningful. Don't want that extra soundtrack but want the expansion gameplay? Don't worry, it's not included in the expansion itself. It's not like they're overcharging either, the prices seem to be about the same that you would get for a song from itunes.

You don't need to buy any of there dlc, any important feature is added regardless if you buy it or not, most of it is just adding sprites or extra music.

Xeorm:

Eldritch Warlord:

Don't nickel & dime the gamers

Gamers are loyal to us at Paradox Development Studio because we constantly update our games and give them loads of stuff for free for the games they have bought, after release, even if they don't buy a single DLC.

That sentiment sort of rings hollow when it's coming from the company that made this happen.

What's wrong with that picture? They split up their DLC such that you can pay for what you want, and each purchase is meaningful. Don't want that extra soundtrack but want the expansion gameplay? Don't worry, it's not included in the expansion itself. It's not like they're overcharging either, the prices seem to be about the same that you would get for a song from itunes.

Seconded, I don't really know what is meant to have "happened" here. There's a lot of content available for you to buy seperately if you don't like all that is on offer, or if you do you can buy it all in a bundle at a slightly reduced cost (that is, pretty much what happens with any bundled product). What's the crime here?

Paradox definitely has allot of dlc in its grand strategy games, but given that the vast content and playtime of the base game and the fact that the larger dlcs can be worth dozens of hours of gameplay, I am ok with that.

preaching to the choir but saying and doing are two different things.

...also we do not forgive and we do not forget -.-

just kidding :D

nah really once you lose us for some of the stuff that being tried now...it's gone man...you'd have to cast Half-Life out of solid Latinum to get some of us back...personally there are some companies wares i wouldn't even take off their hands for free now...

"gaming" is actually far bigger than "the now" it's marketing departments like to project into the zeitgeist (like collecting movies) especially if you are given pause to take stock and actually look around...

i got "8 generations" of multiple boxes and at least 2 global regions if not occasionally 3 to choose from and if someone wants near 100 bucks for the entirety of a single game nowadays they better be near grovelling for it tbh because for one thing i could buy three or four consoles or quarter fill a shelf with near mint "classics" for that...

Realitycrash:

Don't spend money trying to track down the pirates. Instead, spend the money on making it easier for people who want to pay for your stuff and reward the ones that do buy your games with free updates and free gameplay features. I repeat: Stop chasing the pirates, focus on rewarding the buyers.

I really dislike how some companies, especially in other entertainment industries, are going after pirates and try to sue them for downloading a few files. Yes, it sucks that you have put your heart and soul into a game that people play without paying for. But hunting the gamers is not going to increase your sales or recoup the money; it's just going to alienate your customers in your attempts to scare people into buying your game. And that's a pretty stupid move.

Bold statement. Might work for a smaller company, but how do you expect to sell that to your shareholders? Most which have very little idea how gaming and the gaming community works and will most likely see it as "letting the terrorists win".

Well....you could try to explain the business end.

Lets say you go to a hardware store, and buy a hammer. When you leave, the clerk comes running out and hits you over the head with a brick because you didnt also buy a saw. Is this exactly like pirating? No. But when someone pirate something, nothing is lost, but something is gained.

Awareness of a game, and potentially a developer. This can turn into profit for the developer who had to make zero effort to provide the pirated game. This in turn can turn into a loyal fan, which is a really nice investment for a company planning to stick around.

The problem is that lawyers have been so busy convincing everyone that a pirated game = 5 000 0000 lost sales that people actually believe it. This is a bit strange to me considering the people really profiting from all these lawsuits are the lawyers. I mean...its not like they arent biased. What would one suppose them to say? No, this is not an issue you should pay me money to spend time on....

Aaaaand I'm ranting. Long story short, alienating customers is a bad ting in ANY business. This shouldnt be hard to understand for ANY investor. Unless you're business is making customers into aliens.

This is why Paradox are awesome, now if only more companies would follow their system.

Sleekit:
preaching to the choir but saying and doing are two different things.

...also we do not forgive and we do not forget -.-

just kidding :D

nah really once you lose us for some of the stuff that being tried now...it's gone man...you'd have to cast Half-Life out of solid Latinum to get some of us back...personally there are some companies wares i wouldn't even take off their hands for free now...

"gaming" is actually far bigger than "the now" it's marketing departments like to project into the zeitgeist (like collecting movies) especially if you are given pause to take stock and actually look around...

i got "8 generations" of multiple boxes and at least 2 global regions if not occasionally 3 to choose from and if someone wants near 100 bucks for the entirety of a single game nowadays they better be near grovelling for it tbh because for one thing i could buy three or four consoles or quarter fill a shelf with near mint "classics" for that...

I didn't understood a thing of what you said.

"As a game developer, you really need to know your gamer - by which I mean, the person that you want playing your game. What does he or she want?"

1. Cheap Beer
2. Cheap Sex
3. Cheeto's

The wants of a gamer really are a simple thing.

MarsProbe:

Xeorm:

Eldritch Warlord:

That sentiment sort of rings hollow when it's coming from the company that made this happen.

What's wrong with that picture? They split up their DLC such that you can pay for what you want, and each purchase is meaningful. Don't want that extra soundtrack but want the expansion gameplay? Don't worry, it's not included in the expansion itself. It's not like they're overcharging either, the prices seem to be about the same that you would get for a song from itunes.

Seconded, I don't really know what is meant to have "happened" here. There's a lot of content available for you to buy seperately if you don't like all that is on offer, or if you do you can buy it all in a bundle at a slightly reduced cost (that is, pretty much what happens with any bundled product). What's the crime here?

Thirded? Most of those dlc came out in chunks months after and apart so it's not like day one they just released a bunch of stuff cut from the game to sell.(I believe that is known as Capcoming)

Not a single one of those DLC has felt like a ripoff to me because:
1. The game was polished and packed with content from day 1. It was easily the most day one ready game I've played in years.
2. They update the game with free content constantly. Most major game changing mechanics in a new expansion given to all players for free.
3. I watched those DLC getting made through dev diaries and know they were made well after the game was finished.
4. If you don't want to pay for their portrait/music DLC but still want new portraits and music? They provide directories to portrait/music mods on their own forums.
5. $1.99 is nothing for a 3-5 song pack or a Portrait pack. TWO DOLLARS is fair payment for a single person spending weeks writing new music/illustrating.
6. Almost every time a modder asks for a certain part of the engine to be able to be modded they provide. Which has given the world the best Game of Thrones game on the market. (and REALLY AWESOME new Elder Scrolls game)

revjor:
Thirded? Most of those dlc came out in chunks months after and apart so it's not like day one they just released a bunch of stuff cut from the game to sell.(I believe that is known as Capcoming)

Not a single one of those DLC has felt like a ripoff to me because:
1. The game was polished and packed with content from day 1. It was easily the most day one ready game I've played in years.
2. They update the game with free content constantly. Most major game changing mechanics in a new expansion given to all players for free.
3. I watched those DLC getting made through dev diaries and know they were made well after the game was finished.
4. If you don't want to pay for their portrait/music DLC but still want new portraits and music? They provide directories to portrait/music mods on their own forums.
5. $1.99 is nothing for a 3-5 song pack or a Portrait pack. TWO DOLLARS is fair payment for a single person spending weeks writing new music/illustrating.
6. Almost every time a modder asks for a certain part of the engine to be able to be modded they provide. Which has given the world the best Game of Thrones game on the market. (and REALLY AWESOME new Elder Scrolls game)

This is good info. Without the context, I gotta say, that link really looked like a company trying to nickel-and-dime their customers to death. That's a LOT of DLC there, and even at only $2 a pop, if you want the complete experience, it really adds up. Good to hear that the big picture is much less damning.

yes paradox release alot of small dlc lately but frankly its little fluffy dlc that improves the sprites, adds a few sons, etc, its a good way to mix and match what you want for instance. something you dont really need at all but can pick up in a stram sale at the end of the year when you have a few cents left over.

i will say ck2 and euIV worked perfectly at release but paradox do have a reputation for releasing broken games, but one thing you cn always count on is them fixing the issues

all up a great article that is in interesting view from a niche but still significant developer and publisher

I've always loved Paradox games. They have got some real ambitious titles and the synergy between Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV resulted in a game that blows Civilization out of the park.

I have recommended Crusader Kings II to about 20 of my friends and 18 of them picked the game up. Now we get to share stories about our various kingdoms and characters and the absurd scenarios they found themselves in.

Abomination:
I've always loved Paradox games. They have got some real ambitious titles and the synergy between Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV resulted in a game that blows Civilization out of the park.

Heretic, we do not speak of such blasphemy on the Escapist. As repentance, play 200 turns on Deity-difficulty.

Realitycrash:

Abomination:
I've always loved Paradox games. They have got some real ambitious titles and the synergy between Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV resulted in a game that blows Civilization out of the park.

Heretic, we do not speak of such blasphemy on the Escapist. As repentance, play 200 turns on Deity-difficulty.

I'm talking about from a geo-political nation/empire simulator. Not the "gaming" that Civilization has turned into.

Someone said that this is preaching to the choir and I second that statement.
Even if it's nice to hear from a developers perspective, people are slowly realizing that these abominable business practices aren't the teams fault.

This is all in laymens terms, so if you could write up a sort of charter and have it spread between companies, it'll lift a few eyebrows and just might change some opinions.

Huzzah!
Huzzah!

Common sense prevails!
Huzzah!

(Back to Crusader Kings II)

This 100% is a PR piece. That isn't a bad thing. Paradox and Mr. Andersson obviously have something positive to say in regards to their company and the wider games industry. PR is a good thing when... well your actually establishing an equal and positive relationship with gamers. This is public relations without the ' ' around it, it isn't a euphemism for "Lies and manipulation". They are establishing a relationship with the public.

The fact that sincere pieces like this can't come from the mouthpieces of the likes of EA or Activision is very telling. I bet EA has a HUGE PR budget and probably a swath of dedicated consulting firms telling them how to 'limit damage'. The fact is that multimillion dollar budgets can never live up to a company actually having good will for their customers. It's EMBARRASSING the most visible companies in gaming can't truthfully say they have a shred of respect, rapport or even a basic dialog with their consumers. These companies have nothing but distane for gamers, we are tolerated at best. But the feeling runs both ways, if EA was in trouble i think many gamers would just laugh at them.

I've often likened Activision and EA to a box factory, applying factory-line logic to a creative process. At least a good box manufacturer would respond to feedback on making better boxes. In fact there are probably box manufactures who take pride in the quality of their boxes and try to give their customer a better, competitive deal. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the box industry as a whole. Activ/EA would make lousy boxes.

I don't see how you can blame EA for all that.

For instance Bioware still interacts with the community ... or at least the Dragon Age team.

The Dragon Age team makes a lot of decision which the community actually loves and honestly defends it's decisions on the forum. More open world, multiple starting races, Qunari protagonist, they at least acknowledge the issues we have with the dialogue wheel and autodialogue ... even though they REALLY don't like that we use the term autodialogue.

The Mass Effect team doesn't acknowledge anything, not the problems people have with sequels, not the problems people had with the storytelling in ME3 (they just straw men that we didn't want Shepard to die, they never touch the real problems), nothing.

Big budget teams have the luxury to be arrogant because so much of their audience doesn't really pay much attention to anything but the advertising any way ... but they don't have to make use of it and I don't really see EA or Activision published games standing out in this respect either, it just completely depends on the devs.

JarinArenos:

This is good info. Without the context, I gotta say, that link really looked like a company trying to nickel-and-dime their customers to death. That's a LOT of DLC there, and even at only $2 a pop, if you want the complete experience, it really adds up. Good to hear that the big picture is much less damning.

I haven't played Crusader Kings 2, but I have played Magicka for many hours and I've never felt like it was lacking anything. You could say they're modular games, like the old times when you could buy more books for your pen and paper D&D collection. You have the core game, then you can also buy this new adventures/colorful robes/whatever they made later. Or don't. They're just something you can add, if you feel like it.

JarinArenos:

revjor:
Thirded? Most of those dlc came out in chunks months after and apart so it's not like day one they just released a bunch of stuff cut from the game to sell.(I believe that is known as Capcoming)

Not a single one of those DLC has felt like a ripoff to me because:
1. The game was polished and packed with content from day 1. It was easily the most day one ready game I've played in years.
2. They update the game with free content constantly. Most major game changing mechanics in a new expansion given to all players for free.
3. I watched those DLC getting made through dev diaries and know they were made well after the game was finished.
4. If you don't want to pay for their portrait/music DLC but still want new portraits and music? They provide directories to portrait/music mods on their own forums.
5. $1.99 is nothing for a 3-5 song pack or a Portrait pack. TWO DOLLARS is fair payment for a single person spending weeks writing new music/illustrating.
6. Almost every time a modder asks for a certain part of the engine to be able to be modded they provide. Which has given the world the best Game of Thrones game on the market. (and REALLY AWESOME new Elder Scrolls game)

This is good info. Without the context, I gotta say, that link really looked like a company trying to nickel-and-dime their customers to death. That's a LOT of DLC there, and even at only $2 a pop, if you want the complete experience, it really adds up. Good to hear that the big picture is much less damning.

The big DLC bundle always goes cheap during a steam sale too.

Even though I love Paradox' grand strategy games as well as believing demo and mod support to be causes deserving of attention, the article left me mildly bothered. Am I missing some crucial context? Why is this studio manager's personal statement - praising his studio's virtues - featured content on the Escapist?

Is it as a consolation prize for having lost the GOTY bracket to Star Craft? :D

I, uh, like the part where he said... everything he said?

image

Seriously, though, I don't have much to add to that comprehensively great article other than my enthusiasm and support for a developer(s) who both creates excellent titles and goes about it with an attitude and MO I respect point for point down the line. Keep it up!

Amen.

Honestly, why should they?

They know you'll buy whatever they are selling. They know they make more money pandering to your baser impulses than they will trying to appeal to your higher sensibilities. They know you need a fix to escape the pain of daily living and will do nearly anything to get it.

Virtual Reality isn't here to enhance reality, its here to replace it.

Please forward that article to Blizzard, Capcom and EA... thank you

Realitycrash:

Bold statement. Might work for a smaller company, but how do you expect to sell that to your shareholders? Most which have very little idea how gaming and the gaming community works and will most likely see it as "letting the terrorists win".

That's one of the many reasons why the concept of the shareholder value needs to go. Even the inventor of the concept starting saying that years ago.

Adapting that old saying attributed to Henry Ford to the gaming industry: "Shareholders don't buy games."

If only Paradox was the developer who had given us X-com: Enemy Unknown, I have some ideas and would like to mods the shit out of that game but alas they made that game hard to mod even though they said they ware "pro" mods.

A very good read and very good advise.

I've said this before on this forum, and I'll say it again, despite the sheer scale of the DLC's that they offer for CK2... I've never felt the need to buy any of them. I've played the game with and without them, and its been a great experience both ways (admittedly nothing raises the tension like 300k+ angry Aztec's burning most of your Kingdom to the ground, but the Mongol Horde suffices).

That said I rabidly consume any DLC they release, when they release it. Often I won't even see the effect in my game, I regularly play long and drawn out MP games with house rules out the wazoo (neatly enforced by a simple to maintain and install 22mb mod I might add) and that aside I usually don't play with the sound turned on making the song packs useless... in game at least. Considering how accessible their stuff is my background playlist has several tracks they've released, usually good stuff too.

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