William Usher: "Game Journalists Are Anti-Consumer, Not Bethesda"

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Houseman:

altnameJag:

Unless consumers are getting something in return, yeah.

Okay. That, to me, sounds ridiculous.

Some companies go through effort of making demo disks to fit between the covers of magazines (remember those days? Good times), or are willing to pay the bandwidth costs to have the internet at large download a demo, and if they take that away, for any reason, they're anti-consumer?

Demos prove too financially costly, so they axe the practice? Anti-consumer?
Time-crunched, so no demo this time around? Anti-consumer?
Just sick and tired of the hassle, and would rather spend the time making a better game? Anti-consumer?

Never said there wasn't good reason to use anti-consumer practices from a corporation's point of view. On the contrary, that's why they do them.

Doesn't mean it isn't anti-consumer.

Of, so we aren't debating then? You're dead set against making a case for anything?

You're making a claim. I'm arguing against this claim. Is this not a debate?

No, you've asked me questions ad nauseum about my position. You've yet to actually assert anything, let alone back up that assertion with an argument.

Hey, accurate information about games at launch is a privilege, remember? Going by your logic, EA or WB pulling that shit's not anti-consumer either.

1) You didn't answer my questions. Where are you getting "vetted shills" from? Is Bethesda doing this?
2) No, review copies are themselves privileges. What follows is free speech, which is a constitutional right.

Review copies are privileges that impact our ability as consumers to make informed decisions. Bethesda is taking that away. EA and WB and Ubisoft and anybody else that notices that some gamers are more than willing to accept anti-consumer practices are going to naturally follow suit. All because gamers are willing to get hit with sticks as long as people they don't like get hit with bigger sticks.

altnameJag:
Review copies are privileges that impact our ability as consumers to make informed decisions. Bethesda is taking that away. EA and WB and Ubisoft and anybody else that notices that some gamers are more than willing to accept anti-consumer practices are going to naturally follow suit. All because gamers are willing to get hit with sticks as long as people they don't like get hit with bigger sticks.

Review copies are key to making an informed decision?

...
No, they are not. How many games have inflated review scores? How many websites have be pressured into adjusting scores in order to keep getting ad-rev?
Review boot-camps, special review copies, lack of server traffic, and gifts have all been part of early reviews.

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

proxyhostlawl:

altnameJag:
Review copies are privileges that impact our ability as consumers to make informed decisions. Bethesda is taking that away. EA and WB and Ubisoft and anybody else that notices that some gamers are more than willing to accept anti-consumer practices are going to naturally follow suit. All because gamers are willing to get hit with sticks as long as people they don't like get hit with bigger sticks.

Review copies are key to making an informed decision?

...
No, they are not. How many games have inflated review scores? How many websites have be pressured into adjusting scores in order to keep getting ad-rev?
Review boot-camps, special review copies, lack of server traffic, and gifts have all been part of early reviews.

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

How is an industry that rates success on day one sales, pushes preorders, and is making it hard or impossible for a customer to be informed on day one telling customers to wait? It may be the lesson to take from this, but its not the one publishers are pushing. They WANT the customers to rush out and buy as soon as possible, whether their informed or not and in many cases they clearly prefer not.

proxyhostlawl:

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

It is very anti-consumer to try and pressure the consumer into pre-ordering by offering pre-order exclusive incentives and then do everything you can to prevent the consumer from getting hands-on information about the state of the game until after said incentives are off the table. Even if reviews ain't a good way to make a decision (and whatever or not they are is subjective), withholding them from the consumers is still denying the consumer something that could help them make up their mind, which is egregiously bad in conjunction with the current focus on pre-orders as outlined above.

That the gaming press (and youtube celebrities) are known to be subjected to various marketing attempts to make them inflate the score is also anti-consumer. These two things are not an either-or situation, both are bad, anti-consumer policies and as consumers we should speak out against both.

proxyhostlawl:

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

A game company is never going to say "don't buy our game at launch".

Get the fuck out of here.

How the fuck is preventing media from evaluating a product prior to its release ANTI-CONSUMER?

What argument is there to even make? There shouldn't be a question about this. It doesn't matter how much you don't like the media.

Sleepy Sol:
Get the fuck out of here.

How the fuck is preventing media from evaluating a product prior to its release ANTI-CONSUMER?

What argument is there to even make? There shouldn't be a question about this. It doesn't matter how much you don't like the media.

Nah. I like it here.

What do consumers lose from it? A source of information that could potentially help them make an informed decision. What do they gain from it? Jack.

Well there is. Consumers lose something and gain nothing from this. You may not think it's personally a big deal because it doesn't personally affect you, but it does affect plenty of other people. There's also the fact that publishers make the most money on a game via pre-orders and the first week and that they're trying to pressure people into impulse purchases. I find it rather telling that, for some reason, Bethesda doesn't want reviews up before the game goes out. So I have to ask why? What do they not want players to see until they've already seen the game?

altnameJag:

-snip-

I don't pre-order and I never buy on launch. Been burned one too many times. So I tend to wait a bit. To let patches, hot-fixes, and more in depth reviews to come out. My wallet loves me now.

Gethsemani:

proxyhostlawl:

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

It is very anti-consumer to try and pressure the consumer into pre-ordering by offering pre-order exclusive incentives and then do everything you can to prevent the consumer from getting hands-on information about the state of the game until after said incentives are off the table. Even if reviews ain't a good way to make a decision (and whatever or not they are is subjective), withholding them from the consumers is still denying the consumer something that could help them make up their mind, which is egregiously bad in conjunction with the current focus on pre-orders as outlined above.

That the gaming press (and youtube celebrities) are known to be subjected to various marketing attempts to make them inflate the score is also anti-consumer. These two things are not an either-or situation, both are bad, anti-consumer policies and as consumers we should speak out against both.

You know how you stop pre-order BS? Don't pre-order. If it is tied to big part of the game, don't buy the game. Period. By doing this it does help remove some of the BS. People just need to learn to be wait.

altnameJag:

proxyhostlawl:

Learn to wait and practice due diligence. This is not anti-consumer. This is telling to consumer to wait for a more honest review.

A game company is never going to say "don't buy our game at launch".

In this case I think they are, or at least my read on it.

proxyhostlawl:

You know how you stop pre-order BS? Don't pre-order. If it is tied to big part of the game, don't buy the game. Period. By doing this it does help remove some of the BS. People just need to learn to be wait.

You know, it is not that I disagree with this advice, because it is sound. Rather, it is the implied assumption that it is fine for publishers to be as shitty as they want, because it is up to the consumer not to fall for the bullshit. It is in the same ballpark as telling people that there'd be less conmen around if people would just be less gullible, which is true but also takes culpability away from the people doing the dirty things that fool other people.

I mean, we also know that there'd be less teen pregnancies and less STDs going around if people would just use a condom. Diligence and restraint are good traits, but it is not necessarily traits we should expect teenagers (a main target demographic for game publishers) to have in any abundance.

Gethsemani:

proxyhostlawl:

You know how you stop pre-order BS? Don't pre-order. If it is tied to big part of the game, don't buy the game. Period. By doing this it does help remove some of the BS. People just need to learn to be wait.

You know, it is not that I disagree with this advice, because it is sound. Rather, it is the implied assumption that it is fine for publishers to be as shitty as they want, because it is up to the consumer not to fall for the bullshit. It is in the same ballpark as telling people that there'd be less conmen around if people would just be less gullible, which is true but also takes culpability away from the people doing the dirty things that fool other people.

I mean, we also know that there'd be less teen pregnancies and less STDs going around if people would just use a condom. Diligence and restraint are good traits, but it is not necessarily traits we should expect teenagers (a main target demographic for game publishers) to have in any abundance.

We can ask and work for better people. I rather do that than waste time bitching about game publishers. They only get away with shit because people still pay them. Looking at you EA, Blizzard/Activision, Ubisoft, Valve(lack of QC on Steam is going to kill that platform), Capcom, and da rest.

erttheking:
snip

Apologies, meant to say pro-consumer in my statement. Full agreement.

Less available sources for people to form an opinion of their own on a consumer product is not a good thing.

Well the guy just ignored the topic but took the opportunity to make his soap box speech again with click bait and everything you can expect from this type of crap. He's not wrong about the stuff he said, but he just talked about something completely different then the topic.

Luckily people who have the decency to stay on point have covered the topic at length (TotalBiscuit), and funnily enough he talks about the very people who will use this as an opportunity to point fingers at those darn reviewers doing it all wrong...
It should be clear from start to finish that corporations do this stuff for them, not you, not the reviewers or reviews, or even a flying spaghetti monster, it is for them and them alone. Because they damn well know you will pre-order shit(as they spend very good marketing bucks to bait you with that crap) and no decent review will come out in time to tell you when things went wrong, i.e. this will get you fucked and them rich.

proxyhostlawl:

We can ask and work for better people. I rather do that than waste time bitching about game publishers. They only get away with shit because people still pay them. Looking at you EA, Blizzard/Activision, Ubisoft, Valve(lack of QC on Steam is going to kill that platform), Capcom, and da rest.

The only problem I find is that it hurts a lot of good people to be overly skeptical. I kickstarted Bloodstained, and numerous tabletop board games, and tabletop rpgs which isn't hugely uncomparable to pre-orders. Like I recently got my copy of the kickstarted game Karmaka and I fucking love it, the few games I've played.

I think people should implement more caveat emptor, but it's hard to level all the fault there also given there are mechanical reasons video games are more scummy with this than they can be with boardgames and tabletop rpgs.

Plus games like Pathogenesis ... a game developed partly by doctors to help explain in a fun way how diseases work, how they infect you, how they make you sick, and how they can be beaten by your immune system, or utterly overwhelm it, and other working mechanics of the various parts of your body.

So preorders can do a lot of good when the stars align.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

proxyhostlawl:

We can ask and work for better people. I rather do that than waste time bitching about game publishers. They only get away with shit because people still pay them. Looking at you EA, Blizzard/Activision, Ubisoft, Valve(lack of QC on Steam is going to kill that platform), Capcom, and da rest.

The only problem I find is that it hurts a lot of good people to be overly skeptical. I kickstarted Bloodstained, and numerous tabletop board games, and tabletop rpgs which isn't hugely uncomparable to pre-orders. Like I recently got my copy of the kickstarted game Karmaka and I fucking love it, the few games I've played.

I think people should implement more caveat emptor, but it's hard to level all the fault there also given there are mechanical reasons video games are more scummy with this than they can be with boardgames and tabletop rpgs.

Plus games like Pathogenesis ... a game developed partly by doctors to help explain in a fun way how diseases work, how they infect you, how they make you sick, and how they can be beaten by your immune system, or utterly overwhelm it, and other working mechanics of the various parts of your body.

So preorders can do a lot of good when the stars align.

To my knowledge Kick-starting is helping someone make a product while pre-ordering is saying, "I want this product." Pre-orders can be cancelled but that money gotten from pre-orders shouldn't be part of the development budget. Which is the huge difference from Kick-Starter.

I can understand why pre-orders became a thing. And more than likely I am going to pre-order the nSwitch (if only to re-sale it. made about 200 buck profit off the Wii-U.). In that case its to grantee I get it. But for games, not hardware, digital distribution renders stocking a moot point.

And I have a friend who Kick-Starts boardgames and loves it. Must be boardgames. Video games have a mixed Kick-Starter track record (Broken Age, Mighty Number 9 come to mind0.

proxyhostlawl:

To my knowledge Kick-starting is helping someone make a product while pre-ordering is saying, "I want this product." Pre-orders can be cancelled but that money gotten from pre-orders shouldn't be part of the development budget. Which is the huge difference from Kick-Starter.

I can understand why pre-orders became a thing. And more than likely I am going to pre-order the nSwitch (if only to re-sale it. made about 200 buck profit off the Wii-U.). In that case its to grantee I get it. But for games, not hardware, digital distribution renders stocking a moot point.

And I have a friend who Kick-Starts boardgames and loves it. Must be boardgames. Video games have a mixed Kick-Starter track record (Broken Age, Mighty Number 9 come to mind0.

Well, it's not only that ... but some kickstarters like Dawnfall already have an impressiveamount of 'final vision' behind it. Sometimes it's merely about covering the necessities of creating an image in the masses. It's like; "Help us pay for advertisement and we'll make the game cheaper for you."

Which is why a lot of board gamers like your friend and myself love supporting the middling game companies out there that have done great works, but struggling to hit their stride as a known name. Namely because it's not only cheaper, but it helps grow what is the "Second Golden Age of Boardgaming." So with a product like Dawnfall, effectively everything is sort of ... 'there' at that moment ... but given that boardgaming has a huge cost involved in production (the teams might be smaller than video games, but consider postage, molds, licence deals with publishing houses, etc).

Effectively the game is complete, for the most part, besides its physicality. But given the ongoing costs of production, basically the kickstarter is a way of not only drumming up interest through pre-sale marketing, but getting consumers to do it mostly for you by actually playing the product ... bringing it to the LGS to show to other gamers, so on and so forth.

Consider the warchest bundle in Dawnfall and you can see obvious cost benefits to, say, Warhammer ... but at the same time it's next to impossible to find any other news about it. Think of it as participatory marketing with pre-orders (given such a complex game is supposedly coming mid next year, to your doorstep) ...

There's also the few stories of boardgame failures on kickstarter, but nowhere near as dodgy as videogame companies like TW and Batman.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

proxyhostlawl:

To my knowledge Kick-starting is helping someone make a product while pre-ordering is saying, "I want this product." Pre-orders can be cancelled but that money gotten from pre-orders shouldn't be part of the development budget. Which is the huge difference from Kick-Starter.

I can understand why pre-orders became a thing. And more than likely I am going to pre-order the nSwitch (if only to re-sale it. made about 200 buck profit off the Wii-U.). In that case its to grantee I get it. But for games, not hardware, digital distribution renders stocking a moot point.

And I have a friend who Kick-Starts boardgames and loves it. Must be boardgames. Video games have a mixed Kick-Starter track record (Broken Age, Mighty Number 9 come to mind0.

Well, it's not only that ... but some kickstarters like Dawnfall already have an impressiveamount of 'final vision' behind it. Sometimes it's merely about covering the necessities of creating an image in the masses. It's like; "Help us pay for advertisement and we'll make the game cheaper for you."

Which is why a lot of board gamers like your friend and myself love supporting the middling game companies out there that have done great works, but struggling to hit their stride as a known name. Namely because it's not only cheaper, but it helps grow what is the "Second Golden Age of Boardgaming." So with a product like Dawnfall, effectively everything is sort of ... 'there' at that moment ... but given that boardgaming has a huge cost involved in production (the teams might be smaller than video games, but consider postage, molds, licence deals with publishing houses, etc).

Effectively the game is complete, for the most part, besides its physicality. But given the ongoing costs of production, basically the kickstarter is a way of not only drumming up interest through pre-sale marketing, but getting consumers to do it mostly for you by actually playing the product ... bringing it to the LGS to show to other gamers, so on and so forth.

Consider the warchest bundle in Dawnfall and you can see obvious cost benefits to, say, Warhammer ... but at the same time it's next to impossible to find any other news about it. Think of it as participatory marketing with pre-orders (given such a complex game is supposedly coming mid next year, to your doorstep) ...

There's also the few stories of boardgame failures on kickstarter, but nowhere near as dodgy as videogame companies like TW and Batman.

In order to be successful, a boardgame kickstarter pretty much has to have most of the design and prototyping done by the time it starts fundraising. A video game kickstarter can show a tech demo to raise interest but boardgame kickstarted has to demo a working game. This means that the bulk of the development was already done.

The major cost of a boardgame is the cost of producing the physical components. However, those are well understood now. There companies in around the world that specialize in doing limited print runs of boardgames. Similarly there are companies who will handle the shipping for you. A boardgame designer who has done his/her research will know quite well what their backer levels should be and what stretch goals are feasible.

Given all this, a veteran boardgame enthusiast can quickly see if a new kickstarter raises red flags.

Nielas:

In order to be successful, a boardgame kickstarter pretty much has to have most of the design and prototyping done by the time it starts fundraising. A video game kickstarter can show a tech demo to raise interest but boardgame kickstarted has to demo a working game. This means that the bulk of the development was already done.

The major cost of a boardgame is the cost of producing the physical components. However, those are well understood now. There companies in around the world that specialize in doing limited print runs of boardgames. Similarly there are companies who will handle the shipping for you. A boardgame designer who has done his/her research will know quite well what their backer levels should be and what stretch goals are feasible.

Given all this, a veteran boardgame enthusiast can quickly see if a new kickstarter raises red flags.

I don't know... I think they at least need a strong vision if not completed idea. You do get the occasional Apocrypha incident where many rules or most mechanics are kind of up in the air. Same guys and in the same vein as in the Pathfinder ACG. So I'm not terribly worried whether they'll complete it or not, but it is an example of feature creep when the size of the team and the scope of whst you're creating leads you astray from a reasonable deadline.

But yeah, you probably have a point with the 'red flaggedness' of board games in compsrison to VGs.

Nothing to see here. Just another irrelevant GGer pushing corporatist bullshit. GG has always bent over backwards to find fault with everyone BUT the publishers responsible for the lions share of anti consumer practices. So seeing this hack defend this shitty decision doesn't surprise me in the least.

Netscape:
William Usher, a games journalist who is fairly popular among the GamerGate community,

There's still a GamerGate community in late 2016?

renegade7:

Netscape:
William Usher, a games journalist who is fairly popular among the GamerGate community,

There's still a GamerGate community in late 2016?

Almost as if it's an actual movement to uncover and stop corruption in journalism as opposed to a "harassment campaign" against one girl.

Well, unless that corruption's source is a AAA publisher. Then it doesn't matter so much, even if it's directly bad for consumers.

Houseman:

renegade7:

Netscape:
William Usher, a games journalist who is fairly popular among the GamerGate community,

There's still a GamerGate community in late 2016?

Almost as if it's an actual movement to uncover and stop corruption in journalism as opposed to a "harassment campaign" against one girl.

You've actually nailed it in this post Houseman. It isn't "a "harassment campaign" against one girl."

It's a regressive cultural backlash against the idea of 'gaming' becoming a universal and diverse medium; the harassment that a large number of (mainly female) people have received from GG is just a sad part of the less-than-well reasoned lashing out that has occurred. Pretty sure that the cover of 'ethical journalism' was given up a couple of years ago, honestly. Members started acknowledging the 'SJW' angle that everyone else saw from the beginning.

Avnger:

It's a regressive cultural backlash against the idea of 'gaming' becoming a universal and diverse medium.

What makes you think this?

Avnger:

It's a regressive cultural backlash against the idea of 'gaming' becoming a universal and diverse medium; the harassment that a large number of (mainly female) people have received from GG is just a sad part of the less-than-well reasoned lashing out that has occurred. Pretty sure that the cover of 'ethical journalism' was given up a couple of years ago, honestly. Members started acknowledging the 'SJW' angle that everyone else saw from the beginning.

Not even close.

The ongoing protest against the "GamerGate" ethical scandal involving the gaming press and the subsequent smear campaign is culturally laissez-faire in character when it comes to the games industry, as opposed to the explicitly didactic demands of the media clique on the industry. Thus it is implicitly far more supportive of a genuinely "universal and diverse" medium, rather than one that would involve sectarian gatekeeping. The medium should be wide open for everyone, but the distortions caused by collusion to overpromote shoddy work because of personal and ideological connections of the dominant cartel need to be rectified by frank acknowledgment first.

Mate, if Indies getting coverage because they know a guy or because they makes stuff that appeals to subsets of media folks offends you, stay away from Indie everything. That's how it works in literally every medium.

There just isn't enough time in the day to give coverage to everybody. Literally not enough time in the day. As far as "overpromting shoddy work" goes, you're castigating people for having the wrong opinion about video games, and your chief example of "overpromoting" is for a game with all of one review, (giving it a 4/10 last I checked Metacritic anyway) a handful of blurbs, and which costs all of zero dollars.

If it weren't for Gamergate, Depression Quest would be an indie game I kinda-sorta remember hearing about, sometimes maybe.

The Indie market is open to everyone. Patreon proves that. Steam Greenlight proves that in spades. If you want to get noticed, however, you need a stellar product, media connections, an actual advertising budget, and/or hope you randomly catch the eye of the right people. Which is how indies work. Books, movies, music, and yes, video games.

altnameJag:
Mate, if Indies getting coverage because they know a guy or because they makes stuff that appeals to subsets of media folks offends you, stay away from Indie everything. That's how it works in literally every medium.

The problem is that it's not a "subset" of media folk, but the ruling junta that brooks no opposition. And funnily enough, the new Steam storefront is continually pushing games tagged with "Indie", "Female Protagonist" etc. to me. Because apparently I've been playing so many of them, to the tragic exclusion of all the CoDs.

And yes, the notice is the key. Which is why I'd prefer a press that deigned to look for good games, rather than shilling for their "darlings".

StatusNil:

altnameJag:
Mate, if Indies getting coverage because they know a guy or because they makes stuff that appeals to subsets of media folks offends you, stay away from Indie everything. That's how it works in literally every medium.

The problem is that it's not a "subset" of media folk, but the ruling junta that brooks no opposition. And funnily enough, the new Steam storefront is continually pushing games tagged with "Indie", "Female Protagonist" etc. to me. Because apparently I've been playing so many of them, to the tragic exclusion of all the CoDs.

And yes, the notice is the key. Which is why I'd prefer a press that deigned to look for good games, rather than shilling for their "darlings".

Yes, the ruling junta that brooks no opposition, except for possibly literally everywhere else on the Internet and more than a few other sites that post news about video games.

It's a subset. A subset you're more than free to outright ignore. Hell, even I do that.

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