A Brief Guide to not Being Hated for AAA Publishers

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You read the title, you know where this going. On to business.

#1: No DRM.

Yes, I'm serious. No DRM of any kind. It's expensive, it's pointless, it's annoying- and CD Projekt Red seems to be getting along just fine without any. And more importantly, discontent over DRM is not likely to decrease with time. Most especially now that Activision made the mistake of releasing a game that doesn't fucking work on account of it.

#2: Don't use your flagship games as a testing ground for pricing schemes.

So like most people, I read IGN's *totally* unbiased look at why EA is so fervently disliked. And somewhere around the halfway point they quoted one of the higher ranking douches at EA. I'll paraphrase:

Albert McIncome- "We get alot of flak for things like day one DLC, but we need to learn what works!"

Y'know how that reads to the consumer (whose money you're playing fast and loose with)?

Asshole Mcdouche- "We wanna find out how much we can get away with!"

I'm not saying that the above perception accurately reflects reality, but it's how people view this kind of thing. And well...

#3: Don't pretend there's nothing wrong until forced to admit it.

So remember back at the onset of the whole ME3 debacle, when all the irate fans were more or less singing the following tune:

"C'mon guys it's such a great game, there's still time to fix this one problem!" ?

And how after about 2 months of increasingly pathetic excuses... (divisive! speculations! we are listening!) it has metamorphosed to this:

"I don't care if the extended cut update comes with a gold plated bust of Shepard hand delivered to me by Yvonne Strahovski in a bikini, this is the last time fucking dollar you ever get from me. I hope your children get venereal diseases."

Well the primary reason that happened is because they (we) had to engage in a social media fistfight with you for you to even acknowledge our existence.

#4: Don't insult your customers.

"It's everything you love in a game... and your mom's gonna hate it."

"Oh hey speaking of ME3, look at all this homophobic hate mail we managed to dig out of the pile of complaints about the ending!"

"U liek boothbabes? We give u boothbabes. Take picture for money. Make nerd virgin smile."

"Well, if you dig through all the tripe, you occasionally find a customer opinion worth reading."

Etc.

#5: Stop diluting the genres.

"We're broadening-"

No. Stop. Shut the fuck up RIGHT now. Y'know what the above means? It means you're going to mix and match game mechanics until you get something that nobody's going to enjoy, but everyone's going to be curious to try. A 1/3 of an FPS, a 1/3 of an RPG, and a final 1/3 made up of a hodge-podge of poorly implemented minigames IS NOT the cutting edge of gaming. Y'know what I just described? A game that'll leave FPS fans wanting action, RPG fans wanting depth, and casuals grinning their usual idiot smiles (they're happy as long as they have pretty colors and points being awarded for tedium).

Y'know what'd be a great new tagline for an upcoming game?

"We're advancing..."

Advancing what you say? Moral choice systems? Player flight mechanics in open world games? Enemy A.I.? I don't care. As long as we're moving forward as opposed to sideways for a bloody change -.-

#6: Stop shoehorning multiplayer where it doesn't belong.

I know you publishers just love multiplayer absolutely to pieces, but here's a fun fact: THE MAJORITY OF ALL GAMES PLAYED ARE PLAYED IN SINGLE PLAYER.

And politely suggesting to people with always online DRM and horeshit like the "Galactic Readiness System" that they might enjoy multiplayer instead- it makes them mad.

#7: No more DLC until you've learned what to do with it.

So, let's go through a quick checklist of stuff you shouldn't use DLC for:

Charging actual money for alternate skins.
Locking off segments of the story on launch day.
Padding out gameplay.

#8: Stop citing opinions you've bought in your own defense.

"Metacritic/IGN/KOTAKU love us!"

Yeah, we know. They're paid to.

#10 (#9 is in comments): Stop trying to humanize your brand.

Please, in the name of all that is sacred and holy, stop trying to make me feel guilty for not buying your latest tripe by saying something along the lines of:

"We're a company staffed by human beings. And like most human beings, ours have feelings. Which can be hurt. Why, take Steve from the knob polishing department here. He enjoys sunset walks and prefers apricot lip balm. Could you live with yourself knowing you're not supporting Steve with your disposable income?"

Because yes, yes I could. If your company isn't living up to my expectations, I'll put my money elsewhere thank you. And crying foul because you *worked so hard* means fuck all to me, or any other self respecting consumer for that matter. So really:

Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

SecretNegative:
Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

That's like saying if you wanna be liked as a politician all you need to do is be Barack Obama in a non-racist state :P

#9: Listen to your customers.

I think a lot could be solved just by doing this, personally.

Emiscary:

SecretNegative:
Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

That's like saying if you wanna be liked as a politician all you need to do is be Barack Obama in a non-racist state :P

I hate how when I say I don't like barrack Obama people scream,"RACIST". Like if he was the best president ever I would still hate him cause he is black. That is WRONG! If he was a good pres I would like him he is not so I don't.

The_Lost_King:

Emiscary:

SecretNegative:
Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

That's like saying if you wanna be liked as a politician all you need to do is be Barack Obama in a non-racist state :P

I hate how when I say I don't like barrack Obama people scream,"RACIST". Like if he was the best president ever I would still hate him cause he is black. That is WRONG! If he was a good pres I would like him he is not so I don't.

Jesus you Americans are touchy about politics. It's a fuckin' joke, and it wasn't directed at anyone but the guy I quoted.

Obama's detractors don't need a spokesperson to defend their public image against allegations of racism, now relax yourself.

SecretNegative:
Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

image

Enjoy playing 2-3 games a year and playing trilogies with no ending.

Emiscary:

The_Lost_King:

Emiscary:

That's like saying if you wanna be liked as a politician all you need to do is be Barack Obama in a non-racist state :P

I hate how when I say I don't like barrack Obama people scream,"RACIST". Like if he was the best president ever I would still hate him cause he is black. That is WRONG! If he was a good pres I would like him he is not so I don't.

Jesus you Americans are touchy about politics. It's a fuckin' joke, and it wasn't directed at anyone but the guy I quoted.

Obama's detractors don't need a spokesperson to defend their public image against allegations of racism, now relax yourself.

Well it is just that every fucking time I call out Obama someone calls me a racist. It get's old quick -_-.
edit: but sorry for getting a little snappy at you.

The problem with DRM is it's there, wait for this, SO A COMPANY CAN SAY TO IT'S SHAREHOLDERS THAT IT'S DOING SOMETHING!

seriously, that shit is never going away.

EternalFacepalm:
#9: Listen to your customers.

I think a lot could be solved just by doing this, personally.

Bioware does that. They just do it wrong. We didn't like the mako. They remove it instead of actually trying to improve it. We demand a better ending they try to explain the shitty one. You can't explain it except saying that it is pure SHIT!

Emiscary:

#4: Don't insult your customers.

"It's everything you love in a game... and your mom's gonna hate it."

"Oh hey speaking of ME3, look at all this homophobic hate mail we managed to dig out of the pile of complaints about the ending!"

"U liek boothbabes? We give u boothbabes. Take picture for money. Make nerd virgin smile."

"Well, if you dig through all the tripe, you occasionally find a customer opinion worth reading."

Etc.

I liked this until you got to here.

casuals grinning their usual idiot smiles (they're happy as long as they have pretty colors and points being awarded for tedium).

How the hell can you expect them to stop insulting people when you apparently can't? And being a casual gamer doesn't make someone stupid. I bet somewhere out there a scientist is casually gaming.

Difference is, I have no professional incentive to be courteous.

And calling yourself a "casual gamer" is like describing yourself as "bi-curious". Either you like pole or you don't. Make up your fucking mind.

I agree with some of the points, some of the others not so much.

DRM is probably here to stay, and I think if companies just got rid of the really bad examples (Diablo 3, Assassins Creed 2, for example) it wouldn't be anywhere near the issue it is now. No DRM would obviously be best from a gamer's perspective, but just eliminating worst practice should be enough to shift most people from the "hate" column to the "meh, tolerable irritation" column.

On a lot of the other points, mileage varies an awful lot depending on which segment of the target market we're talking about. Multiplayer in particular - since it's pretty obvious you're talking about Mass Effect 3, let's use that as an example: I agree absolutely, the game didn't need multiplayer. But the number of people still playing it months after the game's release shows that it's something that people are enjoying, necessary or not. On the whole I think it was a good thing, they just needed to tweak the EMS system slightly in the single player so that it was a little easier to get over the magic 5000 mark without multiplayer.

Quoting reviews that the publisher has paid for, for example: sure, there's a small portion of the market (mostly hardcore gamers) that knows those reviews aren't independent, but the rest of the market either doesn't know any better or couldn't care less. So developers will keep doing it because the benefit it provides with the gullible majority vastly outweighs the downside with the informed minority.

I see no problem with charging real money for alternate skin DLC, as long as they're being honest about the fact that all you're getting is an alternate skin - people who want it will buy it, people who don't won't.

To make it even briefer

Don't treat your consumers like wallets with legs
Don't treat your consumers like idiots
Don't treat your consumers like criminals

Matthew94:
image

Enjoy playing 2-3 games a year and playing trilogies with no ending.

I prefer Beard Gabe

image

Dryk:
To make it even briefer

Don't treat your consumers like wallets with legs
Don't treat your consumers like idiots
Don't treat your consumers like criminals

Matthew94:
image

Enjoy playing 2-3 games a year and playing trilogies with no ending.

I prefer Beard Gabe

image

agreed, every time i watch some interview or something (or the article talked about in the OP) it makes me feel like they think i'm a retarded peasant that will eat up anything they say to me because i'm such a peon to their massive brains and kindness.

if anything, that shit just pisses me off even more and i want to personally find that person and punch them in the face to maybe knock them down a peg or two to listen up.

EternalFacepalm:
#9: Listen to your customers.

I think a lot could be solved just by doing this, personally.

Since most threads around here show that you can never seem to find a consensus to what the gamers really want, that's probably a bad idea.

Take open world RPGs for example. Some gamers bitch and moan that TES (for example) should not have fast travel in it. Then Dragon's Dogma comes around and has a very limited fast travel system. What happens? Gamers bitch and moan about the lack of fast travel...

Gamers are bi-polar at best. If companies listened to the average gamers, no game would ever be released because of the endless focus groups obtaining different results based on the alignment of the stars that day.

You know what needs to happen. Developers need to stop listening to focus groups, fansites, threads, opinions, etc... and start creating things that excite themselves. If the developers are truly excited by the end product, the surely others will be as well.

s69-5:

EternalFacepalm:
#9: Listen to your customers.

I think a lot could be solved just by doing this, personally.

Since most threads around here show that you can never seem to find a consensus to what the gamers really want, that's probably a bad idea.

Take open world RPGs for example. Some gamers bitch and moan that TES (for example) should not have fast travel in it. Then Dragon's Dogma comes around and has a very limited fast travel system. What happens? Gamers bitch and moan about the lack of fast travel...

Gamers are bi-polar at best. If companies listened to the average gamers, no game would ever be released because of the endless focus groups obtaining different results based on the alignment of the stars that day.

You know what needs to happen. Developers need to stop listening to focus groups, fansites, threads, opinions, etc... and start creating things that excite themselves. If the developers are truly excited by the end product, the surely others will be as well.

I agree with the bolded statment.
I disagree with the idea that they should ignore their customers completely, but only about half way. You're right that gamers bitch and moan about everything and that tastes differ from person to person, so trying to listen to every idea is like trying to have cake and eat it to. However, if too many customers are complaining and it becomes an echo chamber for a singular idea, then they could miss a huge opportunity by ignoring it.
I wish I had a good example to give you, but sadly I can't conjure up one right now.

Emiscary:
No. Stop. Shut the fuck up RIGHT now. Y'know what the above means? It means you're going to mix and match game mechanics until you get something that nobody's going to enjoy, but everyone's going to be curious to try. A 1/3 of an FPS, a 1/3 of an RPG, and a final 1/3 made up of a hodge-podge of poorly implemented minigames IS NOT the cutting edge of gaming. Y'know what I just described? A game that'll leave FPS fans wanting action, RPG fans wanting depth, and casuals grinning their usual idiot smiles (they're happy as long as they have pretty colors and points being awarded for tedium).

I take it you didn't like Deus Ex, then?

SecretNegative:
Or to make it a whole lot simpler:

Be Valve.

Or CD Projekt.

Just be one of them, and you'll do fine.

Emiscary:
Difference is, I have no professional incentive to be courteous.

And calling yourself a "casual gamer" is like describing yourself as "bi-curious". Either you like pole or you don't. Make up your fucking mind.

But they don't call themselves casual gamers or gamers at all. They play what they want and then go on about their day. They are a market segment that game companies should by all means craft releases for, and I'm sure they couldn't care less about your being mad that they're not gaming on your terms

Lol. Valve. The company release one game every few years, refuse to make the games their fans beg and plead decades for and tell nothing at all to the people about when they can expect a game or what game is even coming.

Lesson here is, make a good engine, release one or two highly overrated, nostalgia rich games, sit back for a few years and let modders and indie programmers do all your work for you, buy them out after it's done and find a way to monetize the product's fanbase, then you too can be proclaimed the best thing ever in gaming!

Couldn't be a more overrated group if they tried.

Emiscary:
Difference is, I have no professional incentive to be courteous.

And calling yourself a "casual gamer" is like describing yourself as "bi-curious". Either you like pole or you don't. Make up your fucking mind.

The word curious implies they are interested in finding out if they enjoy something, but have yet to do so. Sorry if, unlike every other human being on Earth, you were born knowing exactly what you liked and didn't like. The rest of us must sadly be human and try things like foods and experiences before we know if we like them.

Your list seems to be missing a large number of things that annoy many people. Let me put up something more complete:
Ahem
A Brief Guide to not Being Hated for AAA Publishers:
1. Stop existing
So long as you exist someone will have an issue with something you do so stop existing to stop being hated.

(You all seem to forget that even the most loved company on this site, Valve, has people who openly hate it on this website too.)

Meh, What's you give the company your money, it's no longer your money. It's not like they're "doing things with your money that you don't like".

I'm sympathetic with the anger directed at Blizzard for not providing adequate services to make their game playable, since that's a failure to deliver what was advertised.

Beyond that however, game publishers/developers owe gamers NOTHING.

DRM is not always angering, and I could care less about CD keys. What does anger me with DRM is when companies either:
1) place content on your machine which you can theoretically access, but need to pay for
2) always-online DRM (Blizzard's and UbiSoft are my two examples of why this is frustrating)

Shoehorning multiplayer is only bad if it is to the detriment to the single player (which also implies that single-player is the focus of that game)

There are very successful games which are multiplayer oriented that shoehorn singleplayer modes as well. I'm of the camp that the publisher should keep their hands out of the development process altogether, so if the developers want a half-assed single-player or half-assed multiplayer, let them. It doesn't really affect me.

Ultimately, if a bad game is produced, it sucks, but I will make my decision not to buy it. I will not buy a game that has overly bad reviews across the board or offends me or simply looks uninteresting to me. I do not feel a need to buy a game simply because "I'm a fan" or "loyalty" or some other reason. I think we can all agree at this point that franchises are being exploited to the point that being a fan of a series is really more like "being a fan of a developer".

For instance, I'm a fan of the Banjo-Kazooie series, but only the ones made by Rare. What I recommend is people pay more attention to the developers that make the games they like, rather than the franchises themselves.

I have to say I agree with every point the OP makes.

Spoiled brats want to feel important...

Nothing new here it seems.

OP: Alot isn't a word, fyi.

So just stop being EA? That's clearly where you were going with this, wasn't it?

Emiscary:
casuals grinning their usual idiot smiles (they're happy as long as they have pretty colors and points being awarded for tedium).

image
I hope you realise how fucking stupid you sound at times.

s69-5:
You know what needs to happen. Developers need to stop listening to focus groups, fansites, threads, opinions, etc... and start creating things that excite themselves. If the developers are truly excited by the end product, the surely others will be as well.

In general I agree. Focus group testing isn't always bad though, particularly if the group is chosen properly to be representative of the target market. If EA had've insisted on proper focus group testing for Mass Effect 3, for example, there's no way in hell it would've had the ending it did... :P

Emiscary:

No. Stop. Shut the fuck up RIGHT now. Y'know what the above means? It means you're going to mix and match game mechanics until you get something that nobody's going to enjoy, but everyone's going to be curious to try. A 1/3 of an FPS, a 1/3 of an RPG, and a final 1/3 made up of a hodge-podge of poorly implemented minigames IS NOT the cutting edge of gaming. Y'know what I just described? A game that'll leave FPS fans wanting action, RPG fans wanting depth, and...

So what you're saying is...fuck innovation?

The mixing of genre's and styles are how things evolve in culture, why on Earth would stop developers from attempting to create something new out of elements that we have become accustomed to? You're basically calling for developers to stop being creative and following the attitude from AAA publishers that we just want the same thing over and over and over again.

Emiscary:
...casuals grinning their usual idiot smiles (they're happy as long as they have pretty colors and points being awarded for tedium).

And this just makes you out like an arsehole.

Jonny49:

Emiscary:

No. Stop. Shut the fuck up RIGHT now. Y'know what the above means? It means you're going to mix and match game mechanics until you get something that nobody's going to enjoy, but everyone's going to be curious to try. A 1/3 of an FPS, a 1/3 of an RPG, and a final 1/3 made up of a hodge-podge of poorly implemented minigames IS NOT the cutting edge of gaming. Y'know what I just described? A game that'll leave FPS fans wanting action, RPG fans wanting depth, and...

So what you're saying is...fuck innovation?

The mixing of genre's and styles are how things evolve in culture, why on Earth would stop developers from attempting to create something new out of elements that we have become accustomed to? You're basically calling for developers to stop being creative and following the attitude from AAA publishers that we just want the same thing over and over and over again.

Was passing through the forums when I saw your reply.

That's not what he was saying. He was saying that depth is better than breadth. If your game is known for being, for instance, an RPG with a focus on interaction between characters and customisation of your own character then depth would be concentrating on those two features whereas breadth would be adding multiplayer or adding a property buying mechanic.

Odgical:

Jonny49:

Emiscary:

No. Stop. Shut the fuck up RIGHT now. Y'know what the above means? It means you're going to mix and match game mechanics until you get something that nobody's going to enjoy, but everyone's going to be curious to try. A 1/3 of an FPS, a 1/3 of an RPG, and a final 1/3 made up of a hodge-podge of poorly implemented minigames IS NOT the cutting edge of gaming. Y'know what I just described? A game that'll leave FPS fans wanting action, RPG fans wanting depth, and...

So what you're saying is...fuck innovation?

The mixing of genre's and styles are how things evolve in culture, why on Earth would stop developers from attempting to create something new out of elements that we have become accustomed to? You're basically calling for developers to stop being creative and following the attitude from AAA publishers that we just want the same thing over and over and over again.

Was passing through the forums when I saw your reply.

That's not what he was saying. He was saying that depth is better than breadth. If your game is known for being, for instance, an RPG with a focus on interaction between characters and customisation of your own character then depth would be concentrating on those two features whereas breadth would be adding multiplayer or adding a property buying mechanic.

Thanks for that. I wasn't gonna bother explaining on account of my laziness, but I appreciate the assist anyway lol

Sober Thal:
OP: Alot isn't a word, fyi.

It is.

image

If you choose to believe it is.

Clearing the Eye:
Lol. Valve. The company release one game every few years, refuse to make the games their fans beg and plead decades for and tell nothing at all to the people about when they can expect a game or what game is even coming.

Lesson here is, make a good engine, release one or two highly overrated, nostalgia rich games, sit back for a few years and let modders and indie programmers do all your work for you, buy them out after it's done and find a way to monetize the product's fanbase, then you too can be proclaimed the best thing ever in gaming!

Couldn't be a more overrated group if they tried.

Um, you seem to purposely be ignoring that Valve is popular because they do right by their customers, not so much entirely for the games they make. Sure, Left 4 Dead is a pretty neat game! But would it be so popular if Valve hadn't released, like, five new content packs for it? Even after its sequel was released?

Valve make good games. If you say otherwise, you're a lame-o and I don't wish to be your friend. But that's all subjective and debatable. What ISN'T debatable is that they treat their customers with respect; they listen to their fans and they take their time to make a product that they believe is ready.

Also, I don't know where "let modders and indie programmers do all your work for you" came from. Elaborate? Are you referring to Team Fortress? Or Counter-Strike? You know those guys they hired to make the sequels? Valve usually HIRE indie devs, not "buy out" indie devs. When you buy people out, you don't usually employ them.

Edit: Oh man, the OP got suspended.

Oh dears. I sorta agreed with him. Kinda. He liked CD Projekt Red. I like those guys. We had a connection.

AD-Stu:
On the whole I think it was a good thing, they just needed to tweak the EMS system slightly in the single player so that it was a little easier to get over the magic 5000 mark without multiplayer.

Let's be very clear about this because I notice that the internet is full of people that either don't understand or intentionally obfuscate, the latter almost certainly being hired dildos.

You need at least 8000 Total Military Strength to get the best ending without multiplayer because it will half and convert to 4000 Effective Military Strength, and this is assuming you've done everything right regarding reputation and renegade/paragon scores. It will more likely require 10,000 TMS because most players haven't made sure every conversation decision was perfect.

"A LITTLE EASIER" implies that it is possible, and it it NOT POSSIBLE. There aren't enough assets in the single player game. I milked that game as much as I could and only got about 7200 TMS, and I found threadfuls of people that opened the game files just to prove that the needed war assets simply aren't there.

Bioware and EA deserve ass cancer.

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