Notch: EA is methodically destroying gaming

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http://www.develop-online.net/news/40685/Notch-EA-methodically-destroying-gaming

Mojang boss vents anger over recently released 'indie bundle' from the publisher

EA is methodically destroying gaming whilst Indie developers are saving it, Markus 'notch' Persson has claimed.

Speaking out on Twitter, the Mojang boss spoke angrily about EA's recently released 'indie bundle' on Steam, which includes games such as DeathSpank, Shank and Warp.

"EA releases an 'indie bundle'? That's not how that works, EA," he said.

"Stop attempting to ruin everything, you bunch of cynical bastards."

Whilst Persson did not doubt the quality of the games, he said his anger was targeted at EA for relating itself to the indie scene, and that he didn't even feel the title was appropriate for his own studio anymore.

"I don't even call Mojang indie any more," he continued.

"Vlambeer is indie. Polytron is indie. Stephen, Ed, Terry, Derek, Tommy and Chris are indie.

"Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it."

There was also a nice article over at RPS: "Why 'Indie' has become a bad word": http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/03/why-indie-has-become-a-bad-word/

I never liked the term "Indie". It always had really weird faux-edgy implications for me...

So the hope of an indie developer is that their game release gets widespread recognition and hopefully gets a return of enough funds for their next endeavor. Without the feeling of 'selling out' to a publisher, so they can keep the IP and dictate what direction the game goes and all that.

So... how is EA supporting them in this manner a bad thing?

Seriously, explain it to me. What is the problem? Some small groups games are being bundled together, and with that their names go out, and they can get more people interested in their products. Again, how is what EA doing bad?

EA really are getting desperate in their attempts to cash in on things

People really are getting desperate to come up with new ways to put EA in a bad light.

I had the same thought when Shank showed up in one of the Humble Bundles a while back; if it's connected to a publisher, by definition it is not indie. Indie is literally short for "independent of the publishers."

Edit: My thoughts were less negative than Notch's, though. Mainly I was just thinking "how can they call themselves indie with a straight face when they're published by EA, the absolute antithesis of indie?"

While I'm definitely not a an of EA at the moment, I'm a little bit weary of people shifting that hate on some smaller developers who mitigated a bit of their massive financial gambles by signing up with EA as a publisher. I know that I've mentioned before boycotting EA only works if you boycott them in their entirety and some people are trying to boycott EA right now, so it's understandable if you don't buy the bundle. However, placing an investment into the indie games send a far greater message to EA than anything else because it tells them that they can make money off of publishing small developers without seizing control of everything they work on. Just a little food for thought. Well, at least it will be more of a message than harassing the developers at Bioware.

I don't get the association of "indie" with pixel art, platformers and a few skinny guys with thick-framed glasses. Valve, CD Projekt and Paradox are large companies, pushing big projects, but still very progressive.

I just see developers who are independent, have their financial shit in hand and follow their own goals, and the ones who are peddled off to a publisher to be milked for a few years before they die and join the big pile of dead brands.

ThriKreen:
So the hope of an indie developer is that their game release gets widespread recognition and hopefully gets a return of enough funds for their next endeavor. Without the feeling of 'selling out' to a publisher, so they can keep the IP and dictate what direction the game goes and all that.

So... how is EA supporting them in this manner a bad thing?

Having EA as the publisher is the problem I think, the game isnt indie if it has a publisher meaning that the developer "probably" (dont know exactly how it works) sold the IP and the power over the direction of the game. EA isnt supporting anyone, they are just doing what their job as a publisher.

josemlopes:

ThriKreen:
So the hope of an indie developer is that their game release gets widespread recognition and hopefully gets a return of enough funds for their next endeavor. Without the feeling of 'selling out' to a publisher, so they can keep the IP and dictate what direction the game goes and all that.

So... how is EA supporting them in this manner a bad thing?

Having EA as the publisher is the problem I think, the game isnt indie if it has a publisher meaning that the developer "probably" (dont know exactly how it works) sold the IP and the power over the direction of the game. EA isnt supporting anyone, they are just doing what their job as a publisher.

Even if it's strictly a publishing agreement (meaning EA has no creative control; Valve has an arrangement like that with them for console games), it still disqualifies them from being indie; it's not just about creative freedom. It's about being free from the major publishers, period, because they're picky about what they will and will not publish, and they take a cut of the profits.

Notch isn't a professional. He is an artist. He struck gold with minecraft where millions of others strike out. He didn't do it out of well thought out test model. He didn't develop it over long hard exp of trial and error. He had a good idea and then when he was done that was that. His expertise isn't the expertise of a man who has tried it all. He was successful and knows that side of the coin.

His word is opinion, not fact. I do like his idealism and it is nice to see a guy make it to a position of power without breaking in the process. Eventually he will make a bad bet. Put way to many of Mojangs money in developing a flop and he will have a new kind of perspective. I hope that when that happens he will still think "taking the risk was worth it".

But for now it isn't expert advice.

josemlopes:
Having EA as the publisher is the problem I think, the game isnt indie if it has a publisher meaning that the developer "probably" (dont know exactly how it works) sold the IP and the power over the direction of the game. EA isnt supporting anyone, they are just doing what their job as a publisher.

Signing a publishing deal doesn't necessarily mean you also sign over the IP rights of the game, it depends on the contract, and most of the time it's just the publisher doing exactly that, using their distribution services to manufacture the disc, manuals, delivery to the stores, bandwidth, advertising, translations, etc., etc.

And thing is, those games are available on Steam too, so... by that logic, according to Notch, Valve and Steam is just as guilty of "methodically destroying games" as EA is, ruining the indie label of them.

Edit: Heck, the EA indie bundle is on Steam too, not Origin.

"Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it."

Says the guy who wants to charge a monthly fee for his new game while it's still in alpha. The phrases "indie game" and "AAA game" need to disappear. There must only be two types of games: Good games and bad games.

It's kind of funny how some indie guys have gotten this elitist/pretentious attitude towards the gaming industry.


Kind of funny how this video back in 2009 was kind of a joke, and now it feels like it really is the feeling of the indie groups towards the rest of the industry.

Wait. What did they do wrong?

Translation: "EA isn't like cool man. They're all evil and stuff because they're a corporation and stuff. We need to like fight against the man and they are the man. We're opposing serious social injustice and stuff by publishing our games independently. Where's my hacky sack dude?"

There's a difference between independent developers and super heroes. They're not making games to fight social injustice and shit, they're making games so other people can play and enjoy them. And if EA wants to help spread those games and make the indie scene more profitable so even more good indie games can be made, then let them.

Besides, it'll make up for them shutting off rock band and sports game servers so even new purchasers still only get used features,

Owyn_Merrilin:
I had the same thought when Shank showed up in one of the Humble Bundles a while back; if it's connected to a publisher, by definition it is not indie. Indie is literally short for "independent of the publishers."

Exactly. How anything released by EA can be considered indie is absolutely ridiculous. Its a flat faced lie.

Well, according to wikipedia, an indie game is a game created without financial support from a publisher. It does not mean they self publish, only that they complete the game on their own resources before looking for a publisher. They are therefore not dependent on a particular publisher, they are independent.

Whoever fronts the cash is the one who calls the shots. EA fronts the cash for a lot of games, and therefore controls the development of those games. But if someone makes a game on their own and then goes looking for a publisher, EA has much less control. You don't have to beg for a publishing deal when you have a good game, already made, that can be made available via an online store for minimal cost and minimal risk, when there are a dozen other publishers that do the same.

So yes, EA can publish indie games.

Rednog:
It's kind of funny how some indie guys have gotten this elitist/pretentious attitude towards the gaming industry.


Kind of funny how this video back in 2009 was kind of a joke, and now it feels like it really is the feeling of the indie groups towards the rest of the industry.

Pretty much.
Mentlegen...the word "indie" was already deprived of its meaning years and years ago in the music industry. I'm not sure why so many people are getting upset about this now.

Semantics aside, I always viewed indie games as low budget projects. These fit that description.

Also:
EA is worth 5 billion. Zynga is worth 6 billion. Activision Blizzard is worth 14 billion.

EA is the underdog relatively speaking.

So? Notch said something again... yay. Where is the discussion value? This man landed one lucky guess with his creativity tool and now everybody thinks he has THE idea. Why does the Braid guy get flak whenever he says stupid shit or the FEZ guy but not Notch?

Draech:
Notch isn't a professional. He is an artist.

Notch is a developer. Not an artist. Minecraft with any lack of appealing visuals due to the lack of any artist working on it during development is the perfect example for that.

Owyn_Merrilin:
I had the same thought when Shank showed up in one of the Humble Bundles a while back; if it's connected to a publisher, by definition it is not indie. Indie is literally short for "independent of the publishers."

Edit: My thoughts were less negative than Notch's, though. Mainly I was just thinking "how can they call themselves indie with a straight face when they're published by EA, the absolute antithesis of indie?"

There are other examples. Braid and Fez were published by Microsoft, Bastion was published by Warner Bros.

The term "indie" is pretty hard to define at this point, but I think it mostly means a game made without the sponsorship or request of a publisher. A developer can make a game on their own and get in contact with a publisher after it was mostly completed, and it would still be indie. Publishers then are closer to distributors in the movie industry.

TheKasp:
So? Notch said something again... yay. Where is the discussion value? This man landed one lucky guess with his creativity tool and now everybody thinks he has THE idea. Why does the Braid guy get flak whenever he says stupid shit or the FEZ guy but not Notch?

Draech:
Notch isn't a professional. He is an artist.

Notch is a developer. Not an artist. Minecraft with any lack of appealing visuals due to the lack of any artist working on it during development is the perfect example for that.

Notch has a cooler name and is probably more likable.

i can believe the indie stuff but destroying gaming where did he pull that out of

hermes200:

Owyn_Merrilin:
I had the same thought when Shank showed up in one of the Humble Bundles a while back; if it's connected to a publisher, by definition it is not indie. Indie is literally short for "independent of the publishers."

Edit: My thoughts were less negative than Notch's, though. Mainly I was just thinking "how can they call themselves indie with a straight face when they're published by EA, the absolute antithesis of indie?"

There are other examples. Braid and Fez were published by Microsoft, Bastion was published by Warner Bros.

The term "indie" is pretty hard to define at this point, but I think it mostly means a game made without the sponsorship or request of a publisher. A developer can make a game on their own and get in contact with a publisher after it was mostly completed, and it would still be indie. Publishers then are closer to distributors in the movie industry.

If that's what it means now, it's absolutely meaningless; by that logic, everything Bioware made prior to being picked up by EA was indie, and valve is the indie to end all indies, rather than a large developer with an online publishing side business.

To me, Indie = Low quality. Bad graphics masquerading as a "art style".

I used to look at South Park and think about how bad it looked in relation to other cartoons. That's how I see indie games. Example, platformers in the 21st century that have worse graphics than 8 bit Super Mario Bros.

I can understand his anger, since pretty much any anger directed at EA is justifiable. Indie games are made without publisher assistance. It doesn't matter if it's not a triple-A title printed on a disk, if it's put out by a big company, then it's not really an indie game. This just seems like another sales ploy that Notch called them out on. Seriously, which layer of hell does EA's Marketing department run out of?

I've hated the word "indie" it seems to imply superiority or some special title a game deserves when it doesn't (This is why Amnesia will not be getting a sale from me, people who said "You should try Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Which is an indie game!) I'd reco-"

I have no opinion for or against EA at this time.

meh. They're shit games published by a cynical company.

Nonetheless, what I expect happened, was that some of the indie studios that have become entangled in the world of EA legal agreements wanted to have their games in other indie bundles, but of course EA would never let that happen because they would lose their cut. So what does EA do, they create The EA Indie Bundle, which everyone knows is an oxymoron--unless you are a paid EA forum troll, and then it is the most natural thing in the world. And for real independent studios that want to reach people who want to support independent gaming, having EA stick their dick in makes that harder to accomplish.

Indie bundles have made some idie studios good money. I wonder what benefit EA has given the indie studios that are enmeshed in their web.

Owyn_Merrilin:

hermes200:

Owyn_Merrilin:
I had the same thought when Shank showed up in one of the Humble Bundles a while back; if it's connected to a publisher, by definition it is not indie. Indie is literally short for "independent of the publishers."

Edit: My thoughts were less negative than Notch's, though. Mainly I was just thinking "how can they call themselves indie with a straight face when they're published by EA, the absolute antithesis of indie?"

There are other examples. Braid and Fez were published by Microsoft, Bastion was published by Warner Bros.

The term "indie" is pretty hard to define at this point, but I think it mostly means a game made without the sponsorship or request of a publisher. A developer can make a game on their own and get in contact with a publisher after it was mostly completed, and it would still be indie. Publishers then are closer to distributors in the movie industry.

If that's what it means now, it's absolutely meaningless; by that logic, everything Bioware made prior to being picked up by EA was indie, and valve is the indie to end all indies, rather than a large developer with an online publishing side business.

It is basically meaningless, but your examples don't really apply.

Bioware was contacted by LucasArts to make KOTOR (for example), they didn't start development without a contractual obligation to make a game with that specific IP. I don't know the terms in which they started working on Mass Effect 1, but if EA contacted them to make the game before they even worked on the IP, its not really indie.

In a way, Valve is the indie to end all indies, especially if considered by the "self published" definition.

TheKasp:

Draech:
Notch isn't a professional. He is an artist.

Notch is a developer. Not an artist. Minecraft with any lack of appealing visuals due to the lack of any artist working on it during development is the perfect example for that.

Artist method of thinking. Art isn't just pictures and music. He has minecraft. he had an idea. He made it. And then he left it. It is about his vision of what he wanted to make and executing it. Not making a new game to make money.

hermes200:

Owyn_Merrilin:

hermes200:
There are other examples. Braid and Fez were published by Microsoft, Bastion was published by Warner Bros.

The term "indie" is pretty hard to define at this point, but I think it mostly means a game made without the sponsorship or request of a publisher. A developer can make a game on their own and get in contact with a publisher after it was mostly completed, and it would still be indie. Publishers then are closer to distributors in the movie industry.

If that's what it means now, it's absolutely meaningless; by that logic, everything Bioware made prior to being picked up by EA was indie, and valve is the indie to end all indies, rather than a large developer with an online publishing side business.

It is basically meaningless, but your examples don't really apply.

Bioware was contacted by LucasArts to make KOTOR (for example), they didn't start development without a contractual obligation to make a game with that specific IP. I don't know the terms in which they started working on Mass Effect 1, but if EA contacted them to make the game before they even worked on the IP, its not really indie.

In a way, Valve is the indie to end all indies, especially if considered by the "self published" definition.

I was thinking more of Baldur's Gate when I wrote that, but even then, you're probably right; TSR (or was it Wizards by that point?) probably called them instead of the other way around. So let's say Monolith Studios instead; still a large dev, still not owned by a publisher, still not indie.

As for Valve: a big part of it for me is the size of the operation. At this point Valve is less a major dev than a minor publisher/major retailer (depending on how you look at Steam) with some in house dev teams. I wouldn't have ever called them Indie; even the original Half Life was published by Sierra, which was a major publisher at the time. As an aside, I miss Sierra; they had a lot of good stuff, and it was more than Half Life and their adventure games.

So Notch said a stupid thing about how the technicality of being an independent publisher is seemingly more important than creative freedom regardless of whether or not you have a contract with a third party publisher? Boring. I thought we went over how creating a contract with a publisher while not selling the rights to your work and keeping your creative freedom was beneficial during the whole EA-Shank indie bundle debacle.

Rednog:
It's kind of funny how some indie guys have gotten this elitist/pretentious attitude towards the gaming industry.


Kind of funny how this video back in 2009 was kind of a joke, and now it feels like it really is the feeling of the indie groups towards the rest of the industry.

that video is probably the greatest thing I've seen on these forums. EA does something supportive, and it's still somehow destroying everything. Anti-fanboy logic at it's finest.

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