Notch Dumps on EA "Indie Bundle"

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Notch Dumps on EA "Indie Bundle"

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Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson says Electronic Arts is "methodically destroying" gaming.

Markus Persson, better known as Notch, isn't indie. He was indie when he made Minecraft, but then Minecraft made a bazillion dollars and he decided that things like having a payroll and charging for games meant the "indie" moniker was no longer appropriate. And if it's not appropriate for Mojang, is there any possible way it could be appropriate for, say, Electronic Arts?

You probably see where this is going but just in case you missed it, EA released its "Indie Bundle" on Steam yesterday, a collection including Shank and Shank 2, Gatling Gears, Warp, Deathspank and Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue. All were developed by indie studios, but the idea of EA laying any claim to "indie" cred didn't sit well with Persson.

"EA releases an 'indie bundle'? That's not how that works, EA. Stop attempting to ruin everything, you bunch of cynical bastards," he wrote on Twitter. "Fwiw, I don't even call Mojang inde any more. Vlambeer is indie. Polytron is indie. Stephen, Ed, Terry, Derek, Tommy and Chris are indie."

"Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it," he added.

I think that's a bit harsh. Yes, indies are doing wonderful things, but I don't see how major publishers like EA are doing anything more than bringing gaming to the masses. And while there's a small but deeply-rooted part of me that thinks that's precisely the problem, my more rational side has to admit that it's not. You can play Madden and Medal of Honor until you're blue in the face, and I'll play Amnesia and Legend of Grimrock until I'm in the same state. Can't we all just get along?

Shortly after his initial outburst, Persson clarified that he has no problem with the games, just with EA's attempt to muscle in on the indie scene. "I got into trouble on the interwebs again!" he wrote. "The games in the bundle are good, I'm not questioning them. I'm questioning EA."

Permalink

Andy, you really can't see what's wrong with EA? REEEEEAAAAALLLYY?
I bet you think Newt Gingrich is just a guy with an unfortunately sized head who likes being married so much he did it three times.

Well... EA releasing an indie bundle is nothing short of comedy. Although the sad thing is that if this is successfull they just might do it again, and if so others will follow suit... which will kinda remove the whole meaning behind the term "indie"...

Sooo... maybe we should prepare ourselves by comming up with a new one? Like... I dunno, evolution games? underdog games? Poor-developer-with-awesome-idea games? No? Bah...

Oh q fucking q. It's so dumb to say something like that about a company. They're out to make money. If this "indie" bundle sells and makes money, and it's because they called it indie, they don't care. They'd call it dogshit bundle if it would sell. Notch needs to calm his nipples. No need to get twisted over this.

Publishers like EA are in fact, destroying the industry. Wildly inflated game budgets and overworked staff will eventually lead us to the point where we need to make a choice about where we want this industry. Do we want it creative, or do we want it formulaic?

Mark my words, if the next generation of game systems is not digital only, we will see an early 80's style collapse of the wider industry.

"Indie" is just a word now, completely divorced from its original meaning. It now simply means "small-scope, possibly artsy game."

Now, whether the games in this bundle are truly indie or not comes down to what sort of deal EA has with them. If EA is only distributing, that's one thing. If they have creative control (or even a creative vote) on any part of them... or if they now own the IP behind the games...

Shoulder Devil: EA is just using this to cash in on the indie craze. They're tricking independent development groups into selling their soul for the convenience of being another cog in the EA machine, and gamers are falling for it because of the down-homey feel that small games like this have.

Shoulder Angel: EA is providing a service to small development groups, and is also using that service as market research -- while they help the "little guy" get his goods to market, they're also getting some pretty risk-free data on what people are looking for at the moment in gaming. It's a win-win.

With the only problem being that EA are "bringing games to the masses" by draining developers of smaller games until they're no good to them anymore, and then ditching their lifeless husk like some form of money vampire.

They did it with Bullfrog, they did it with C&C, and they're doing it with Bioware.

Andy Chalk:

"Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it," he added.

I think that's a bit harsh. Yes, indies are doing wonderful things, but I don't see how major publishers like EA are doing anything more than bringing gaming to the masses. And while there's a small but deeply-rooted part of me that thinks that's precisely the problem, my more rational side has to admit that it's not. You can play Madden and Medal of Honor until you're blue in the face, and I'll play Amnesia and Legend of Grimrock until I'm in the same state. Can't we all just get along?

Hm. I thought you were better at not missing the point than that.

Yes, you can still play the games. You can still play COMBAT on the Atari as well. That doesn't change the fact that games like ET and the Pac-Man port weren't symptoms of trends that ended up temporarily crashing the industry.

EA is doing and considering a lot of practices that, if they become popular, seem likely to change the mainstream game market for the worse. They have made it seem possible, even likely, that another crash may be on the horizon. That's why a lot of people describe EA as killing or destroying gaming.

What I'm really afraid of is that even after a crash, it will still be standard practice to do the things that EA is doing or thinking about doing. Yeah, you can still go back and play many of the good old games if you can find them, but there may not be many new ones if this is the future we're heading towards.

That's part of why we like indie studios and devs, and why we worry about what EA is doing.

Notch was right. Unwise to word it so strongly on the internet without explaining his opinion, but right.

Wait wait wait. I'm confused. EA releases a bundle of games by indie developers which EA decided after seeing their products to throw some money at it for marketing, and it isn't an indie bundle.

By the authors own words it is a group of indie titles.

I love Minecraft, but really Notch, this is a bit ridiculous.

Mr.Pandah:
Oh q fucking q. [snip] They're out to make money. [snip] No need to get twisted over this.

He was upset because they are just out to make money and their success in business tends to direct the actions of other businesses and you create an atmosphere that people don't enjoy.

Look at politics for an example, any one person being a shithead is not a problem, but it is acceptance of them for just "doing what is acceptable" that leaves others to see the viability in it.

The idea that its just business and that capitalism is some cold humanity devoid objective monster is bonkers. I'm shocked that folks are able to even accept that without seeing the extreme danger it puts their future in and the incredible discomfort it adds to their everyday life.

If you live in the states and feel that you have it "pretty good" you'd probably have it much better if these business as usual mentalities died in a fire.

Edit: I feel silly getting all srs with a panda extremist >_>. Ya'll are an endangered species.

Notch you cant really say to much about indie games considering you have made 1 game, which you yourself have said is no longer "indie". I mean I know its a popular game but still its only one game.
These games were made by independent groups but published by EA.

EA released its "Indie Bundle" on Steam

I lost it I couldn't stop laughing
anyway I hope that EA listens to the most successful homebrew dev in the west.

zombie711:
Notch you cant really say to much about indie games considering you have made 1 game, which you yourself have said is no longer "indie". I mean I know its a popular game but still its only one game.
These games were made by independent groups but published by EA.

Independently dependent.

My mind is blown.

The EA indie bundle was pretty silly news on its own, but this reaction made the whole affair twice as silly and the comments in this thread are of course comedy gold. Guys...'indie' is a goddamn label. That is it! It doesn't matter one damn bit if it calls itself 'superawsomegamecategory' or 'indie' to me these days, because what matters ultimately is how good the game itself is. It doesn't matter if a company like EA claims to make an 'indie' bundle, it'll just make me chuckle to myself at the sillyness of such a statement and then move on. But Notch and the likes feel like they must flail their arms and scream on the interwebz that this is 'systematically destroying' things. OH TEH DRAMAZ! :D

Honestly, mention 'EA' or 'Bioware' on these forums just once and the most productive thing you can do afterwards is make a trollface. Because mentioning either of those two things mean that the chances of having a sane discussion pretty much evaporate into the ether.

Poor Notch. All he wanted was to poke fun at EA like everyone else. He didn't ask for this.
"Twitter quotes are NOT NEWS. You're better than that, and you make me feel dirty."
"twitter is great for finding out about news. It's not a news source."
"Twitter is "public statements" now? I thought it was just random opinions and bad puns."
And in response to this:
"So when someone says something "controversial" on Twitter, we should ignore it and pretend it didn't happen?"
Notch said:
"Or ask to clarify, since a tweet is (by nature) very condensed and simplified information."

I'm inclined to agree with Notch. On both counts. I don't really like EA (not that I'd say they're methodically destroying gaming or anything. More like they're blundering around in the dark, knocking over vases and walking into other people), but I don't like to see how news sites are immediately jumping on Notch for this. At least Andy was fair in the article, including the clarifications and such. I saw a few things that didn't include that.

Andy Chalk:

I think that's a bit harsh. Yes, indies are doing wonderful things, but I don't see how major publishers like EA are doing anything more than bringing gaming to the masses. And while there's a small but deeply-rooted part of me that thinks that's precisely the problem, my more rational side has to admit that it's not. You can play Madden and Medal of Honor until you're blue in the face, and I'll play Amnesia and Legend of Grimrock until I'm in the same state. Can't we all just get along?

Permalink

Oh look, Andy thinks it's a bit harsh!
So surprising in the light of his posting mastery related to Mass Effect 3 articles. :)

Seriously, it's not harsh enough. Between sheep customers and "trustworthy" journalists, EA really has no mirror. No honest critic, except occasional Forbes blog.

And it is freaking sad we will have to read Forbes for gaming news, isn't it, Escapist?

THE NOTCH IS GOOD.
THE EA IS EVIL.

'I think that's a bit harsh. Yes, indies are doing wonderful things, but I don't see how major publishers like EA are doing anything more than bringing gaming to the masses.'

I'd have thought he was questioning the kind of prices they charge and all the nickel-and-diming.

zombie711:
Notch you cant really say to much about indie games considering you have made 1 game, which you yourself have said is no longer "indie". I mean I know its a popular game but still its only one game.
These games were made by independent groups but published by EA.

Yes, and backing from a major publisher tends to counter the 'indie' label. The assertion that he also can't comment on it because he's only made one game is pretty odd.

As he said, he's not criticising the games, just EA's marketing methods.

Something which was also said by Notch:

"Twitter quotes are NOT NEWS. You're better than that, and you make me feel dirty."

Here is some more food for thought, related as well:

Kern said that the pressure that publishers put on studios are death to the industry, resulting in either "an indie game or... a massive AAA, IP-backed sequel with derivative gameplay." He thinks that there's no middle ground, and it disturbs him how many studios fire staff right after a game launches.

http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/05/03/red-5-studios-ceo-denounces-consoles-and-publishers/

So, does this modus operandi remind you of any company?

zombie711:
Notch you cant really say to much about indie games considering you have made 1 game, which you yourself have said is no longer "indie". I mean I know its a popular game but still its only one game.
These games were made by independent groups but published by EA.

So, how many indie games have YOU made, earning the right to have the right to tell us that he is wrong?

Remind me again why I should care what this egomaniacal one hit wonder has to say? I find it absurd that "indie" devs seem to think just because they made one game we care what they think.

OT: The "Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it" bit is just stupid, because despite what Notch says most people would still consider Minecraft "indie" so that's like me saying "posters named major_chaos are saving the Escapist. other posters are methodically destroying it" I also find the whole reaction to this EA indie bundle to be proof of my theory that people on the internet will hate everything EA does simply because EA is doing it.

Ahh, lovely, another case of double standards.

Indie Bundle from Valve? Perfectly good!
Indie Bundle from EA? ABSOLUTELY EVIL!!

While EA IS the ultimate 'nickle-&-dime-em-fest', if you put a bunch of games together for sale developed by independent developers, it's, like it or not, an indie bundle. It makes no difference whether it's EA, Jim's garage, humblebundle or Gay-Bob publishing / fronting it.

As far as each entities reasons or morals for doing it and whether the 'E' in EA stands for Evil, that's another debate.

Off-Topic: I do hope & root for all these indies that don't even have 3 hits under there belt yet (and there are many) can continue the good work, it takes a little longer in the games business (compared to say the music industry) to find out who's the one-hit wonder so to speak.

One of the biggest reasons I like the Humble Bundles is because I can choose my own distribution of funds; usually I try to divide it between devs and EFF (or just devs, if EFF isn't a choice for that particular bundle). I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this EA bundle isn't going to support any charity at all, and buyers have no say in distribution. More than likely, EA will get most of the money, and the developers will get a small chunk.

Regardless of whether it's really "indie" or not, EA is missing the point on a grander scale. This was never about getting a bunch of games cheap, it was about supporting the little guy, doing a bit of good, and having the option of DRM-free. Personally, I have purchased every Humble Bundle, activated them all on Steam, and have not even touched the ones that aren't available in Steam... but it's about principle. The fact that we have an OPTION of getting them on OS X and Linux, the fact that we have an OPTION of getting them without DRM... This is the stuff that made the original Humble Indie Bundle so endearing when it first showed up. Focus on consumers rights and the chance to do a good deed. EA is simply incapable of understanding that.

Also, twenty bucks? That's too high if they really wanna compete with "Choose your own price". A large part of the success of the Humble Bundles comes from people who really can't afford games being able to buy games. Yeah, the current Humble Debut's average of $8.89 USD for four games and a movie isn't a lot, but when such a large portion of the buyers might otherwise pass on these games entirely, or pirate them, it's still the better option for the people involved. At an unwavering $20, EA is likely going to be losing more profits to lost sales than they would have to lower per-sale profits. So this not only isn't best for consumers, developers, or charities, but it isn't even really the best for EA, the publisher.

EA has attempted to jump on a bandwagon, but the jump was poorly aimed and landed short. EA is now running behind the pack, struggling to catch up with something they don't even understand. 2/10 for lack of effort, 1/10 for even knowing what they were doing.

P.S. Thanks

Buretsu:
Ahh, lovely, another case of double standards.

Indie Bundle from Valve? Perfectly good!
Indie Bundle from EA? ABSOLUTELY EVIL!!

when has valve released an indie bundle? unless you mean steam bundles, but that is not the same thing.

valve is the shop, and the devs of those games decided to join all those games together and valve accepted their bundle sale and put it on the shop.

EA OWNS those games, does whatever it wants with it, it owns the studios and funded those games, and then it calls them indie games because theyre smaller and had less money spent on them, in a certain attempt to gain rep points with the smart crowd by showing that it has some quality in it, wich is sth people associate with the INDIE tag. it is a marketing trap and ploy, and its not big of a deal. notch was just commenting on it, and suddenly we make news out of it. this is why i hate fans and gamers.

"Indie" stands, or used to stand, for "independent". Much like "alternative" and "organic", it used to mean that the product was created without an enormous monolithic company behind it, and implied that the standards to which it was created had more to do with the desires of the people who consumed it than the work of a PR & Marketing department.

It may be a little hyperbolic, but I think Notch is basically correct. Oh, I don't think EA or even EA and Activision are doing it alone; they have lots of help from Microsoft and Sony and even Nintendo, among others. But I do fear that their tactics are leading us to a world where blockbuster AAA-games will become relics of the past because they aren't supportable any more.

Wierdguy:
Well... EA releasing an indie bundle is nothing short of comedy. Although the sad thing is that if this is successfull they just might do it again, and if so others will follow suit... which will kinda remove the whole meaning behind the term "indie"...

Sooo... maybe we should prepare ourselves by comming up with a new one? Like... I dunno, evolution games? underdog games? Poor-developer-with-awesome-idea games? No? Bah...

The thing is, although I find the words 'EA Indie bundle' as repugnant too, this is actually a good thing. All that's happening is that 6 indie games made by genuine indie studios are getting publicity and people will buy them and play them who normally wouldn't even have heard of them. Even if you feel the development studios themselves don't have the right to call themselves indie since someone is publishing their games, well they were still designed with indie spirit, of indie size and indie ingenuity the difference is is someones actually working to sell their games for them who presumably they agreed to let do this.

It can't destroy the indie gaming industry because in the end, if any indie company feels like EA is enroaching on them too much they can just say 'I don't want you to publish my games'

I know it feels like we had a cool little party going on and suddenly the bullies turned up and sat down at the picnic and tried to pretend he was cool and could have these fun little social events too but if you look at it with cold hard logic this isn't a bad thing, we've still got our picnic and we're not even sharing our picnic, the bully brought along his own food and whether he stays or goes away we can still have our cake and eat it and ignore him, (or even better, don't ignore him and buy 6 fun little games)

I mean we can't grouch about big publishers not having flexible pricing strategies and advertising little creative games if we're going to complain when they start, even if they use our name to do it

Notch is totally right, how horrible that EA is trying to sell an "indie" bundle as EA is the least "indie" publisher out there!

Damn you EA! Damn you!

I agree with everything Notch said about EA. They really are destroying the industry.

The Great JT:
THE NOTCH IS GOOD.
THE EA IS EVIL.

THE EA SHOOTS SEEDS.

I gotta agree with Notch on this. Although im not so much angered by EA releasing this "indie" bundle so much as I am amused. While maybe amused isn't the right word.

image would be a better word.

Soon they'll be calling games artisan.

Twitter used for news, really? That's sad, I even see news writers trying to coin the term twitterverse like they did with blogosphere.

Nobody's forcing anyone to buy EA's products, or to pay for their "nickel and dime" DLC, or use Origin, or anything else. EA makes a product and offers that product under certain conditions; consumers then choose whether or not they want to lay out their money for it. And millions upon millions of people say "Yes, please."

If anyone in that equation is "destroying" the industry - which, for the record, is absolute nonsense - it's not EA, it's the purchasing public. It's you.

EA doesn't have a gun to anybody's head, and it's the height of ridiculousness to suggest otherwise.

As for Notch's comments, they're beyond disingenuous. "EA is methodically destroying gaming" is not a statement that needs clarification.

Hang on a minute.

Wasn't this exactly what Extra Credits said EA should do? Make an Indie arm to take care of "innovative" and "new" games while EA proper makes AAA games?

And in that case what would you rather have?

That EA dies or EA may begin to make interesting games?

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