Activision CEO: We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Reputation

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Start making GOOD GAMES! simple as that really.

Antari:
Yep thats right Eric your now incharge of putting out a 20 story building fire with a glass of water. Congrats!

Yeah, and watch out, the whole building is made out of a mix of sponges, wood, oil, and sodium.

Wait, sorry...delayed reaction here...

This guy managed to save Sony's marketing campaign? That's actually pretty impressive. I guess if anyone can save Activision, it is this guy.

Keava:

John Funk:

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

Oh i know, but it's still unknown when exactly. I remember Blizzard was quite keen on Soon(TM) even prior to merge with Activision.

I don't really see how the subscription based model for Russia/S.America would prevent cross-region gameplay tho. If you remember from a brief beta glitch, you had the message saying "Out of play time", so it is an option implemented core in game. I suppose they would be perfectly compatible.

If i recall correctly the reasoning was 1. Lag 2. Building tighter community. While 1st reason can be acceptable, it is still not the kind of protection die hard fans apparently want. Then again, i should be happy, i wont get my ass beaten by Koreans right away. Second is just silly along with other changes, can't build community by splitting it.

And those are just 2 issues out of many that people have with new b.net. I still think they should go back to sc1/wc3 sort of handling it, till they can provide full service.

It's possible, but remember that part of the terms of the subscription models is that they can only play with their own group - Russian people who get that model only play on Russian servers, not the larger European ones. The architecture is set up in a way to fragment it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just more complicated to fix than they have the resources to do right now - you know, with finishing the game and all.

John Funk:

Keava:

John Funk:

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

Oh i know, but it's still unknown when exactly. I remember Blizzard was quite keen on Soon(TM) even prior to merge with Activision.

I don't really see how the subscription based model for Russia/S.America would prevent cross-region gameplay tho. If you remember from a brief beta glitch, you had the message saying "Out of play time", so it is an option implemented core in game. I suppose they would be perfectly compatible.

If i recall correctly the reasoning was 1. Lag 2. Building tighter community. While 1st reason can be acceptable, it is still not the kind of protection die hard fans apparently want. Then again, i should be happy, i wont get my ass beaten by Koreans right away. Second is just silly along with other changes, can't build community by splitting it.

And those are just 2 issues out of many that people have with new b.net. I still think they should go back to sc1/wc3 sort of handling it, till they can provide full service.

It's possible, but remember that part of the terms of the subscription models is that they can only play with their own group - Russian people who get that model only play on Russian servers, not the larger European ones. The architecture is set up in a way to fragment it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just more complicated to fix than they have the resources to do right now - you know, with finishing the game and all.

Surely it's gone gold by now?

Fire Kotick. The good with will do for Activision's image can't be measured.

John Funk:

It's possible, but remember that part of the terms of the subscription models is that they can only play with their own group - Russian people who get that model only play on Russian servers, not the larger European ones. The architecture is set up in a way to fragment it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just more complicated to fix than they have the resources to do right now - you know, with finishing the game and all.

I am pretty certain the game is finished for a while now considering release in few days and there was even leaked video of of some Korean guy opening the collectioners edition box. How legit it was i have no idea, but it was there.
Games with online gameplay as one of biggest assets rarely are really finished. Its always constant work on balance tweaks and changing those little numbers like build time from 35 seconds to 37 seconds back and forth every month.

I think the whole idea just ruins the competitive community, and i dare not to even mention poor Aussies stuck in Eastern region. It also makes ladder ranking wonky, since being #1 in region may as well mean you are not even in platinum league in other. Well okay, maybe you will be in plat, but no guarantee of being among top10.

I'm also quite sure that from technical point of view it shouldn't be that much hassle, payment options are usually just handled by the login servers when you register to battle.net, or any other service on that matter. Later the game just needs to check every so often if it ran out or not. Game server itself shouldn't have to be involved in that calculation at all. Of course, no one knows how Blizzard actually coded it, but i doubt it would take them half a year to make it possible.
It's more business decision than technical one.

Beat the shit out of Kotick and post pictures in the Internet.
Also, dedicated servers and back to state-of-art games like CoD4, instead of moneymoneymoneysuckass CoD6.

AC10:

John Funk:

Keava:

John Funk:

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

Oh i know, but it's still unknown when exactly. I remember Blizzard was quite keen on Soon(TM) even prior to merge with Activision.

I don't really see how the subscription based model for Russia/S.America would prevent cross-region gameplay tho. If you remember from a brief beta glitch, you had the message saying "Out of play time", so it is an option implemented core in game. I suppose they would be perfectly compatible.

If i recall correctly the reasoning was 1. Lag 2. Building tighter community. While 1st reason can be acceptable, it is still not the kind of protection die hard fans apparently want. Then again, i should be happy, i wont get my ass beaten by Koreans right away. Second is just silly along with other changes, can't build community by splitting it.

And those are just 2 issues out of many that people have with new b.net. I still think they should go back to sc1/wc3 sort of handling it, till they can provide full service.

It's possible, but remember that part of the terms of the subscription models is that they can only play with their own group - Russian people who get that model only play on Russian servers, not the larger European ones. The architecture is set up in a way to fragment it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just more complicated to fix than they have the resources to do right now - you know, with finishing the game and all.

Surely it's gone gold by now?

Keava:

John Funk:

It's possible, but remember that part of the terms of the subscription models is that they can only play with their own group - Russian people who get that model only play on Russian servers, not the larger European ones. The architecture is set up in a way to fragment it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just more complicated to fix than they have the resources to do right now - you know, with finishing the game and all.

I am pretty certain the game is finished for a while now considering release in few days and there was even leaked video of of some Korean guy opening the collectioners edition box. How legit it was i have no idea, but it was there.
Games with online gameplay as one of biggest assets rarely are really finished. Its always constant work on balance tweaks and changing those little numbers like build time from 35 seconds to 37 seconds back and forth every month.

I think the whole idea just ruins the competitive community, and i dare not to even mention poor Aussies stuck in Eastern region. It also makes ladder ranking wonky, since being #1 in region may as well mean you are not even in platinum league in other. Well okay, maybe you will be in plat, but no guarantee of being among top10.

I'm also quite sure that from technical point of view it shouldn't be that much hassle, payment options are usually just handled by the login servers when you register to battle.net, or any other service on that matter. Later the game just needs to check every so often if it ran out or not. Game server itself shouldn't have to be involved in that calculation at all. Of course, no one knows how Blizzard actually coded it, but i doubt it would take them half a year to make it possible.
It's more business decision than technical one.

Er, considering I just downloaded a patch on the beta last night? Since SC2 is primarily an online game, I have no doubt that they'll be working on it up until the moment it goes live. (And, as you said, afterward).

I don't doubt it's probably a fairly easy fix once they do it - along with chat channels - but they're almost certainly focused on launch right now, and trying to cross their fingers and hope nothing explodes.

The Great JT:
Here's an idea: stop pandering to hardcores. Sure, there's nothing wrong with a game made for a certain demographic or taste in game, but there's so much pandering to that demographic that you're gonna end up alienating new gamers.

Right, because game companies certainly pander to hardcore gamers more than casuals...seriously? Where have you been? Have you been living under a rock since the release of the Nintendo Wii? If anything game companies have been alienating hardcore gamers with pathetic shovelware and motion controls.

OT: Impossible task, Kotick is an asshole. /thread

Roboto:
He can start with "FREE GAMES FOR EVERYONE!" Like Oprah "You get a game... you get a game.."

Look under your chair!

WTF I got pong when theguy to my right gets a full 360 slim sytem?
The girl to my left just got a full PS3 slim pack...

It is all about the delivery of the games and the customer service until he can prove his words with actions they are hollow.

I am thinking that we really need to ellect an Ophra for video games. Maybe a first lady from the USA or a member of The Royal family? I am open to suggestions, then I will send an email.

Initate a Coup d'état against Kotick, then we'll listen to you.

For how to deal with Kotick once you have him beat, look at the opening cinematic of COD4.

GamesB2:
He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

I like your style.

I get confused when people speak of the "hardcore gaming audience". What exactly qualifies someone as a "hardcore gamer": a collection of varied games and knowledge of gaming, or asshole elitists; typically the kind talking about how *insert BioWare game here* is the best game ever and how *insert console game here* is the worst piece of trash that has ever existed, EVER?

Because, the way I see it. If you fit into the first category, you dont have a problem selling the games. Guitar Hero and Call of Duty are the only things you need to plaster on the box, and it sells. Your problem is with quality control: you rush your games, and dont bother to listen to the community. And when you DO listen to the community, you listen to the prattling 12 year olds on the forum, that dont represent the core gaming audience.

If your applying for the second position, then stop. The type of "hardcore" gamer you're thinking of is a snooty crowd; that will claim to hate your game even if they play it constantly, or never at all. Trying to appeal to the "hardcore" gamer requires you to put thought and effort into your game, characters, and mechanics, to a degree where you alienate most others who would normally play the game. TF2 and Halo 3 will appeal to a different crowd of people. Stick to what you're good at. You're in the business to make money. You're making money. Work on quality control, and maybe THEN I'll start buying Guitar Hero again.

I was confused for a moment, and I might still be, because I thought you meant he wanted to restore the image that Activision is a hardcore gaming company, that he thought people associated Activision to casual gaming...but such is not the case. So he wants to portray the corporate infrastructure in a positive light? Could be done, I suppose. Just...would need some work.

awe shucks, Activision doesn't need to fix their hardcore reputation. They need to fire Bobby Kotick ... with a gun.

John Funk:

Er, considering I just downloaded a patch on the beta last night? Since SC2 is primarily an online game, I have no doubt that they'll be working on it up until the moment it goes live. (And, as you said, afterward).

I don't doubt it's probably a fairly easy fix once they do it - along with chat channels - but they're almost certainly focused on launch right now, and trying to cross their fingers and hope nothing explodes.

/spanks for big quotes

Well you seen what the patch did too. Just minor math changes, these are things that will change constantly, every 2-3 months, probably more often at the start. And of course probably along with a map every now and then (unless they will decide to make maps as paid DLC... which is possible seeing the current overall trends sadly). It was also patch fixing the fact they put in internal testing changes into beta release.

I remember some time ago there was discussion on when the game is released in context of day-0 DLCs. Pretty much the game has to be send to production 1-2 months before release at least due to all the bureaucracy involved. Them keeping beta up and going (after a month break) is mostly beta test on Battle.Net itself more than actual game. I wouldn't be surprised if we get a balance patch on release day.

Yo can't forget also the fact that team working on Battle.Nets functionality is not really the same as team working on core of the game. Coders for game are separate from networking coders, all that game itself needed was connection to the service, and its B.Nets coding that handles all the features, so there is no real reason why both features cant be worked on same time without pulling resources from each other.

Keava:

John Funk:

Er, considering I just downloaded a patch on the beta last night? Since SC2 is primarily an online game, I have no doubt that they'll be working on it up until the moment it goes live. (And, as you said, afterward).

I don't doubt it's probably a fairly easy fix once they do it - along with chat channels - but they're almost certainly focused on launch right now, and trying to cross their fingers and hope nothing explodes.

/spanks for big quotes

Well you seen what the patch did too. Just minor math changes, these are things that will change constantly, every 2-3 months, probably more often at the start. And of course probably along with a map every now and then (unless they will decide to make maps as paid DLC... which is possible seeing the current overall trends sadly). It was also patch fixing the fact they put in internal testing changes into beta release.

I remember some time ago there was discussion on when the game is released in context of day-0 DLCs. Pretty much the game has to be send to production 1-2 months before release at least due to all the bureaucracy involved. Them keeping beta up and going (after a month break) is mostly beta test on Battle.Net itself more than actual game. I wouldn't be surprised if we get a balance patch on release day.

Yo can't forget also the fact that team working on Battle.Nets functionality is not really the same as team working on core of the game. Coders for game are separate from networking coders, all that game itself needed was connection to the service, and its B.Nets coding that handles all the features, so there is no real reason why both features cant be worked on same time without pulling resources from each other.

I'm well aware that the B.net team and the SC2 team aren't the same.

But even so, they're probably still making improvements and making sure that BNet actually WORKS once it gets a few million people flooding it wanting to play the game. That takes priority over adding features at this point.

Well they could start by listening to the informed gamer community and not the legions of drones who have never heard of any of these people who comprise most gamers sadly. That would be a big start. He could also teach Bobby Kotick that gamers are people and not ATMs for when he needs more money as such can refuse to give him and the company he is the CEO of money. Stop making shitty DLC(I know this is not mandatory but needs to stop). Stop removing proven successful ways of gaming ie Lan and dedicated servers.

John Funk:

I'm well aware that the B.net team and the SC2 team aren't the same.

But even so, they're probably still making improvements and making sure that BNet actually WORKS once it gets a few million people flooding it wanting to play the game. That takes priority over adding features at this point.

Hoping for it, 2 days ago i couldn't even log to beta due to some server errors, keeping me out for pretty much half of day. But it still doesn't convince me to the fact that they couldn't just as well wait with B.Net 2.0 till it's fully ready, rather than forcing its release for SC2. Would make the actual 'hardcore' community happier.
Mainly the LAN feature. I think i've read somewhere along the moaning posts of TeamLiquid that Blizzards new policy prevents you from hosting your local SC2 tournaments without asking for Blizzard permission. That's not really pro-'hardcore' base idea.

Keava:

John Funk:

I'm well aware that the B.net team and the SC2 team aren't the same.

But even so, they're probably still making improvements and making sure that BNet actually WORKS once it gets a few million people flooding it wanting to play the game. That takes priority over adding features at this point.

Hoping for it, 2 days ago i couldn't even log to beta due to some server errors, keeping me out for pretty much half of day. But it still doesn't convince me to the fact that they couldn't just as well wait with B.Net 2.0 till it's fully ready, rather than forcing its release for SC2. Would make the actual 'hardcore' community happier.
Mainly the LAN feature. I think i've read somewhere along the moaning posts of TeamLiquid that Blizzards new policy prevents you from hosting your local SC2 tournaments without asking for Blizzard permission. That's not really pro-'hardcore' base idea.

Eh, SC2 and BNet2.0 are so intrinsically linked that to separate the two would be a herculean effort right now, and really not worth it. Bnet 2.0 is very flawed right now, but it's perfectly *functional* for ~90%+ of the playerbase (the ones who just want to get on and play).

LAN is 95% not going to happen no matter what they do with the new Bnet. It's frustrating, but harping on it probably won't change anything other than just irritating the people who don't care about it.

John Funk:

Eh, SC2 and BNet2.0 are so intrinsically linked that to separate the two would be a herculean effort right now, and really not worth it. Bnet 2.0 is very flawed right now, but it's perfectly *functional* for ~90%+ of the playerbase (the ones who just want to get on and play).

LAN is 95% not going to happen no matter what they do with the new Bnet. It's frustrating, but harping on it probably won't change anything other than just irritating the people who don't care about it.

I realize that, even tho LAN was the way i first experienced SC in '98, and LAN parties were still the best way for local tournaments. Tho the main point was, if they start talking about 'hardcore' fans, they could show some good will towards those nasty freaks^^

Y'know, what Kotick says is only part of the problem. Yes, his statements cause him to come across as a fun-despising, money-hungry jerk who wants to wring all fun out of anyone involved in games from any angle. But there's also things like the Infinity Ward debacle, and before that, throwing several of the more interesting and original-looking properties Activision was working on under the bus and then suing Tim Schafer for having the gall not to allow his bus-flattened labor to remain properly dead.

Funny thing. I'm not really prepared to forgive policies that seem to actively persecute the creative people behind actually making good games just because you make me chuckle once or twice. Yes, Activision has an image problem that makes its decisions appear in the worst possible light. But that image problem isn't going away until it actually starts making some unequivocally gamer-positive decisions.

Thoughts of kotick regarding this as dangerous thought and making him "disappear" spring to mind...

Step one: GAG BOBBY!!!!!

So here's a free tip, Eric: Teach Bobby Kotick that gamers don't hear the same meaning behind "exploit" as investors do. Or rather, how about you just teach him to think about who's listening before he says things? That might help a little bit.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Frequen-Z:
"We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Asshole Reputation"

Fixed that. Acitivsion's problem isn't it's target audience, it's the way it presents itself as a company. Kotick isn't a well liked public figure. In fact, quite the opposite, and match that with the Infinity Ward bullshit and the DLC pricing for MW2 and presto, you've got your universally hated company.

When he said he needs to fix their "Hardcore Reputation", he was referring to the company's "reputation among hardcore gamers". AKA: People like you and me and who read about the latest news in the industry and thus have a loathing for Activision because of how it runs its business. He even more-or-less states that the casual market is likely less of a problem to appeal to, and he's right. Most gamers are not you or I, and they wouldn't know why we hate Activision if they were to over-hear us talking about it.

So he was right in the first place. They need to fix their hardcore (gamer) reputation.

Yureina:
I'm wondering how long it will take before this guy's efforts at PR get royally sabotaged by another one of Kotick's "brilliant ideas" that he reveals to the public.

Taking all bets!

I have 12-3 hours BEFORE the first commercial goes live.

is it just me or is it that everyone in the game industry is either stupid or slow?

Uber Waddles:
I get confused when people speak of the "hardcore gaming audience". What exactly qualifies someone as a "hardcore gamer": a collection of varied games and knowledge of gaming, or asshole elitists; typically the kind talking about how *insert BioWare game here* is the best game ever and how *insert console game here* is the worst piece of trash that has ever existed, EVER?

Because, the way I see it. If you fit into the first category, you dont have a problem selling the games. Guitar Hero and Call of Duty are the only things you need to plaster on the box, and it sells. Your problem is with quality control: you rush your games, and dont bother to listen to the community. And when you DO listen to the community, you listen to the prattling 12 year olds on the forum, that dont represent the core gaming audience.

If your applying for the second position, then stop. The type of "hardcore" gamer you're thinking of is a snooty crowd; that will claim to hate your game even if they play it constantly, or never at all. Trying to appeal to the "hardcore" gamer requires you to put thought and effort into your game, characters, and mechanics, to a degree where you alienate most others who would normally play the game. TF2 and Halo 3 will appeal to a different crowd of people. Stick to what you're good at. You're in the business to make money. You're making money. Work on quality control, and maybe THEN I'll start buying Guitar Hero again.

I couldn't agree more.

It seems like a "hardcore gamer" is someone who is all butt-hurt because more people are involved in their hobby. Because people enjoying the same stuff as you is one of the most absolutely terrible things that can happen to you. God forbid other people like the same things as you.

Quality control is a big problem too.
$60 for a less than mediocre, five hour campaign in MW2, how dare you!?

GamesB2:
He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

Make sure it is a pure silver bullet, from the silver of a cross that has been melted down from a holy church. It has then been dipped in the fountain of holy water, touched by the tears of 100 virgins, kissed by the holiest figure from every country, and etched (not sure that's spelt right at all) into the shape of a steak and fired from a cross bow.

Got to take every measure we can. Of corse if that don't work there is always fire.

John Funk:

Keava:
Good step in favor of the supposed 'hardcore' community would be fixing Battle.Net 2.0 for SC2. Give back LAN, give chats, give more map making freedom, get rid of region lock, fix custom games browsing and password protection.

Then again, they probably just will stick those politics to shooters *cries*

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

"Group chats" or whatever the hell they called it where you probably need to have someone else on your friends list already isn't really "chat chat" though, and it still remains open as to when that feature is supposed to come or if it'll cost something...

Also, yeah it makes total sense to remove a key feature from their games that was a prominent free and beloved one in almost all of their previous titles (e.g. StarCraft, WarCraft 2/3, Diablo 1/2). It's literally OOOOOZING sense xD

It makes sense if you are the publisher and want to "tap different clientele" with different pricing models, advertisements and features, but it shouldn't ever make "sense" to anyone as a player/gamer...

As far as Activision goes, I can't wait for all the people "Thanking" and "Wooing" for Activision cause of a few funny gimmicks while they are the same old bastards overall...

On the other hand, in his previous endeavor he just had to make a multi-million dollar company seem "more human", his job right now could probably be kind of described as hanging balloons up in hell and painting the walls in different colors to make it look more nice. Not gonna help much when there's a pile of wailing souls burning and rotting in the corner xD

As for me it's simple, if it has Activision/Blizzard anywhere on the cover, I ain't buying it...

Dexter111:

John Funk:

Keava:
Good step in favor of the supposed 'hardcore' community would be fixing Battle.Net 2.0 for SC2. Give back LAN, give chats, give more map making freedom, get rid of region lock, fix custom games browsing and password protection.

Then again, they probably just will stick those politics to shooters *cries*

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

"Group chats" or whatever the hell they called it where you probably need to have someone else on your friends list already isn't really "chat chat" though, and it still remains open as to when that feature is supposed to come or if it'll cost something...

Also, yeah it makes total sense to remove a key feature from their games that was a prominent free and beloved one in almost all of their previous titles (e.g. StarCraft, WarCraft 2/3, Diablo 1/2). It's literally OOOOOZING sense xD

It makes sense if you are the publisher and want to "tap different clientele" with different pricing models, advertisements and features, but it shouldn't ever make "sense" to anyone as a player/gamer...

As far as Activision goes, I can't wait for all the people "Thanking" and "Wooing" for Activision cause of a few funny gimmicks while they are the same old bastards overall...

On the other hand, in his previous endeavor he just had to make a multi-million dollar company seem "more human", his job right now could probably be kind of described as hanging balloons up in hell and painting the walls in different colors to make it look more nice. Not gonna help much when there's a pile of wailing souls burning and rotting in the corner xD

As for me it's simple, if it has Activision/Blizzard anywhere on the cover, I ain't buying it...

They mentioned private channels too, last I checked.

And it makes *technical* sense, I meant - there is a reasonable technical hurdle to overcome, and their resources are better allocated on making sure the damn thing works at launch. That's the only sort of sense.

John Funk:
They mentioned private channels too, last I checked.

And it makes *technical* sense, I meant - there is a reasonable technical hurdle to overcome, and their resources are better allocated on making sure the damn thing works at launch. That's the only sort of sense.

It makes no technical sense whatsoever, it only makes business-sense :P

The only thing they'd have to do to make it "technically viable" is add a new GUI-element at the top-right with a drop-down menu saying "Europe, Asia, North/South America, Russia" etc., that's one-man-work of an hour or two (and there aren't any cross-realm issues really, cause people have been playing all over the world during Beta)

Upon which the only thing that changes in the Netcode is that your client just connects to another Realm/points to another Master-server instead of the one you were previously on.

Antari:
Yep thats right Eric your now incharge of putting out a 20 story building fire with a glass of water. Congrats!

My thoughts exactly. The only way for Activision to look good again in the eyes of many gamers would be if they killed Booby Kotick and but his head on a pike outside the office.

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