Posted by irishalwaystaken (39 posts) -
Gamers are aware now more than ever how much of an industry their hobby really is.

I should probably preface this by saying I’ve a lot respect for Cliff, he’s helped to create some incredibly fun games and definitely has a greater knowledge of the industry than me but this post ( http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters ) popped up in my twitter feed and really did not sit well with me. As a consumer, a long time gamer, essentially a nobody and as someone looking at possibly getting into the industry I was surprised with how disconnected he seemed with gamers, their issues with microtransactions and EA, and why Valve are as loved as they are on communities like GAF and reddit (and /v/).

The video game industry is just that.

An industry.

Of course the video game industry is just that, but it is one of the newest and largest ones prevalent in modern day life, one that is growing and evolving as we speak. Being an industry does not confer a right to screw over consumers however. Do people give mechanics a free pass if they lie to them or overcharge them when fixing a car, simply because “hey, we’re an industry, we need to get more money from you”. It’s all fine to say if you don’t like don’t buy it but this is a terrible fallacy. Gamers might love a developers work but hate the publisher’s practices, see EA and Bioware. Is the solution then not to support the dev? To pop over to The Pirate Bay and grab the latest Razor, RELOADED or Blackbox release (which will probably have all the microtransactions unlocked, every pre-order bonus and in the case of a BlackBox repack will usually be much smaller in size, having unneeded languages and other content ripped, making it more appealing to those with limited internet speeds or bandwidth caps) and say fuck it,the developer that produces games I like doesn’t deserve my cash because of how the publisher acts. Valve always maintained that you must provide a better service than pirates (ugh, shit term, not worth going in to now though) and people will then purchase your product. I don’t think its a stretch to say that they have proved this repeatedly. EA however appear to rip content from the game in order to “nickel and dime” you.

This is what leads to the tension about microtransactions. Microtransactions are not evil, they are not a method for exploiting consumers but their constant misuse has overshadowed their ability to provide more value to a person. Publishers need to find the sweet spot where gamers are willing to buy additional content after the initial purchase but they also have to not feel like they are being ripped off. I’m glad you brought Valve into this as being both a dev and publisher they have a better perspective than most on this and I think they have fully fucking nailed figuring out how to sell additional content that consumers will pay money for and don’t find offensive, while EA are probably the largest example of doing this completely the wrong way. More on this in a bit.

I 100% agree with Cliff when he says games being incredible value for money nowadays but on the other hand…they have to be. If we take some arbitrary numbers, like it costing 10$ for a new two hour movie at the cinema and apply that model to a game, we end up with being charged 250 bucks for an average RPG, 30-60$ for a modern fps’s single player alone, add on multiplayer and you’ll start doubling and tripling the cost, and so on. Needless to say this is completely unreasonable, the average gamer isn’t going to pay the price of a console for the next Final Fantasy and so the most logical way to be profitable is to set a reasonable price point and to gain more revenue after the initial sale they need to look at sequels and DLC. Which is completely understandable, take a look at a list of credits on a recent Ubisoft published game and it will seem like a miracle that 60$ per game will cover the cost of every single person that worked on it. It would be stupid to have devs hanging around doing nothing after they finish their part of a game, give them something to work on, if its fun or interesting people will pay for it, if its a character already locked on the disc, well you can see why people could get upset.

Day 1 DLC is not inherently evil, it just has extremely negative connotations with gamers because of how it is commonly handled, with EA being the biggest perpetrator of how it should not be done. If we take it back to Mass Effect 2′s DLC I was really surprised and impressed at how they handled it. Here was a cool brand new character in Zaeed, not as fully fleshed out as the others (no dialogue wheel for example) but still had some of the best lines in the game but wasn’t overly important to the plot, and he was free, because I paid for the game on Day 1 and not as part of a collectors edition. However in the complete 180 that Dragon Age 2 (the prince guy, the entire game was forgettable) and Mass Effect 3 (From Ashes DLC) pulled we saw the cost of selling your soul to the EA devil. In ME3 specifically this character was a completely integral part of the overarching storyline, a character from a race long thought of as extinct and who’s tech was used for the basis as everything in the ME Universe (more or less, talking about cycles and the deeper lore is really tangential) and it seemingly being ripped from the game as DLC reeked of EA involvement. People just changed a value in .ini file to unlock him for fuck’s sake. Same with the DA2 DLC character in most respects. Imagine if vitally important characters like Kreia or Morrigan/Alistair were locked behind 10$ paywalls. Not a pretty thought.

A quick bit on Dead Space 3 now, seeing as it is probably the basis for you post. Disclaimer: I haven’t played it, I stopped playing the DS games half way through 2, but from everything I’ve heard EA have introduced well in that they are completely unnecessary and in fact can potentially break the game if you load up on the resources you can purchase too early in the game. Personally I think the controversy about this stems from two points. It is seen in tandem with the co-op, as betrayal of the series’ foundations in “survival horror” having the ability to spend cash by whipping out a credit card rips you from the immersion, a vital part of this genre. The other points boils down to, even if they balance it right (which from what I’ve heard it does seem like they sort of managed it) what does this mean for future EA products and can we trust EA to not mess this is up in future games. Short answer: no, going by their past, which we have to do Cliff, we can give them a chance to change but have they really looked they are going to? Long(er) answer : Maybe, but it doesn’t matter we have to wait and see, as micro transactions are confirmed for new EA titles the onus is on EA to make them worth our time and money.

This all contributes to EA’s image, which brings me to the biggest contention I have with Cliff’s post; How can someone so ingrained in the industry not comprehend why EA and Valve are perceived as they are? How can Cliff not understand the value that Valve provides to a consumer? This is where I may start sounding like a “Valvedrone” or fanboi-ish so I’m just going to say that while I think Valve hits the mark more often then not, I do not believe they are perfect, in fact I think one of the biggest issues in PC gaming is Valve not releasing Steam sale data but this is all a digression from the main point. Where EA published games like ME3 and DA2 where they seemingly rip content that was supposed to be in the game, just to make a cheap buck (not to mention the games being considered a betrayal of the franchise), Valve provide regular content updates for free, microtransactions are for purely aesthetic content in their free-to-play games like Dota 2 and TF2, they also release mod tools and SDK’s, announce new games in innovative ways like through their prequel (Portal’s radio update) organise ARG’s to engage people and build hype for a game. Where EA buys studios only to shutter them a few years later (R.I.P Westwood Studios and Bullfrog, The Lion King on the Megadrive was the first game I ever played) Valve hires students and mod teams that have cool ideas (Portal, CS 1.6 and Dota 2 all were ideas who’s roots started outside the company) and help publish and develop games that these teams could not do by themselves.

Valve are not as immune from criticism as you think though Cliff, a boycott was started because Left4dead 2 was seen as Valve breaking promises on updates and providing a service in the original L4D. And what was Valve’s response? They fucking flew the leaders of the boycott out to see the game.The game went on to not only be received well but also got a bunch of content updates for free on PC, including maps, characters and story content, even levels from the first game. Can you remember the last time EA gave anything away for free? I think of Zaeed personally but I had to buy the game new to even get that. While I don’t have any experience with WoW Totalbiscuit claims many did find issue with Blizzard selling pets, in more recent times look at how quickly opinion soured on Diablo 3 when it seemed like the final difficulty was balanced around buying gear with on the auction house as opposed to a players skill or using equipment you found while playing and even maxing characters.

“People love to beat up on Origin, but they forget that, for a good amount of time, Steam sucked.”

Back to EA, Origin is good in theory, a monopoly on digital distribution benefits only the holder of the monopoly but when the head of the service comes out and spews what looks like some mandatory promotional bullshit to try and discredit their competitor its not hard to see why an inferior service does not endear itself to the public:

Q: One of the things that Steam does is this random deep-discounting of software, and it works well for them. Do you see that as something you want to do? David DeMartini: We won’t be doing that. Obviously they think it’s the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property.

Of course Origin going on to do exactly that just made it all the more funny.

So in the end of the day, it comes to finding a balance. I think saying “vote with your wallets” is not really looking at the full picture. I’d have no problem throwing money at a game I love, I’ve bought Portal three times, on two different platforms, and Mass Effect 2 twice on PC and 360. I can love a developer but should I not pay for their product if their publisher’s practices leave a bad taste in my mouth? Valve have proved to be hugely profitable, is it really too much to ask other publishers to take a good hard look at Valve and their relationship with users? Maybe for EA it is, but I hope not.

Side note: I found your post very interesting but poor use of shitty memes might endear yourself to the lowest common denominators of Reddit it really doesn’t give much credence to your argument.

#1 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1833 posts) -

Just and FYI i wanted to point out /v/ hates valve with a burning passion

#2 Edited by Alexander (1721 posts) -

Well said, I hadn't actually read all of Cliff's post until now, just some snippets. Part of his argument is that simply because EA and Valve are profit-driven companies they're one and the same and deserve an equal bashing. I think you gave a few great examples of their behaviour and why there is a difference in perception. I probably won't be playing much of the next Command & Conquer: Generals because it's free to play / pay to win, I know how that's going to go. It's a shame and I certainly won't be spending any money on that title, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it. I loved the original Generals (no love for Red Alert 2 here) and was excited for a sequel, now less so.

On another note I don't have to expect Origin to be in the same shambles as Steam when it came on the scene....TEN YEARS AGO. Not that Origin is as bad, I use it for one game and it does a fantastic job launching that one game. I'm not in the hate-EA crowd, I paid for Battlefield 3 Premium and feel I'm getting good value and hours of game time, but Cliff using "companies want to make money" is a pretty poor and condescending response to people's complaints.

#3 Posted by irishalwaystaken (39 posts) -

@connerthekewlkid: oh ya? proof it

@alexander: Thanks for reading it, wasn't actually expecting any response really. I think Cliff really missed the mark on why people get upset about DLC and why Valve seems to be so adored. Considering his accomplishments I found it somewhat boggling. Dragging EA and Valve into it so poorly did him no favours imo

#4 Posted by Subjugation (4720 posts) -

Just and FYI i wanted to point out /v/ hates valve with a burning passion

Aaaand wrong.

@irishalwaystaken: I agree microtransactions have a place in the market when done right. They are the perfect way to deliver smaller content updates more frequently rather than having to wait for full fledged expansions. Another case is selling cosmetic items. Many F2P games do this to generate revenue and it is totally fine, they aren't selling power and placing those who don't want to spend that money at a disadvantage. As for content being "stripped out" of a game to be sold later on as dlc, yeah that sounds dirty but it is incredibly hard to prove that that is what happened in almost all cases.

#5 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

I don't believe many begrudge a company for trying to make money. That doesn't excuse annoying the buyer. Part of being in the market is meeting the demands of the customer while extracting the maximum from them. They can't ignore the "demands of the customer" part.

#6 Posted by spykereightsix (78 posts) -

I agree with all the comments above, but I think we should remember that hindsight is 20/20. Inexpensive apps and microtransactions are completely new revenue streams that I don't believe any company has yet to master, and with the impact they're having on more traditional retail games, I'll bet the EA's and Activision's of the world are scared out of their minds. So a lot of what we're seeing now is their way of experimenting with them, trying to find the best implementation for both us (as gamers) and their revenue. And when they trip up, Lord knows we let them know it. Hopefully as these streams mature, so will their implementations in a way we can live with.

#7 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

<- wants more microtransactions.

#8 Edited by SlashDance (1815 posts) -

The main issue I have with Cliff's point is that "don't like it, don't eat" attitude. The fact that the consumer has a choice to not buy a game doesn't free publishers from all ethics.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (9708 posts) -

@extomar said:

I don't believe many begrudge a company for trying to make money. That doesn't excuse annoying the buyer. Part of being in the market is meeting the demands of the customer while extracting the maximum from them. They can't ignore the "demands of the customer".

Yep. Any argument that ends with the assumption that games should be bigger then a revenue source is blind to reality. The games industry is a business and, like any business, it is designed to create a steady stream of money at the least and, hopefully, large profits at the most. But the business side of this arrangement doesn't need to be flaunted in the consumers face either. Plus there are great ways to generate revenue without hurting the creative side of the business and hampering the play style of consumers who don't wish to buy products through microtransactions. Valve's sales on Steam have lead to me spending a bunch of money on Steam that, without those sales, I would have never spent on that store. So even if they have a net loss with the sale of one under-price game if I buy five under-price games they make a net-profit. Plus the chances that I'll buy games that are not on sale go up because I am in their store longer. So those sales are good for Valve and good for consumers. EA, and a lot of other companies, have yet to find that balance between generating revenue and giving consumers what they want.

#10 Edited by JasonR86 (9708 posts) -

The main issue I have with Cliff's point is that "don't like it, don't eat" attitude. The fact that the consumer has a choice to not buy a game doesn't free publishers from all ethics.

Well, what has EA or any other publisher done in terms of microtransactions that have flown in the face of ethics? I'm under the impression that these business deals could get ugly but so far they haven't.

#11 Edited by SlashDance (1815 posts) -
@jasonr86 said:

@slashdance said:

The main issue I have with Cliff's point is that "don't like it, don't eat" attitude. The fact that the consumer has a choice to not buy a game doesn't free publishers from all ethics.

Well, what has EA or any other publisher done in terms of microtransactions that have flown in the face of ethics? I'm under the impression that these business deals could get ugly but so far they haven't.

When they do get ugly the main defense will be "don't like it, don't buy it/vote with your dollars". I'm saying that's a weak defense.

#12 Edited by JasonR86 (9708 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

@slashdance said:

The main issue I have with Cliff's point is that "don't like it, don't eat" attitude. The fact that the consumer has a choice to not buy a game doesn't free publishers from all ethics.

Well, what has EA or any other publisher done in terms of microtransactions that have flown in the face of ethics? I'm under the impression that these business deals could get ugly but so far they haven't.

When they do get ugly the main defense will be "don't like it, don't buy it/vote with your dollars". I'm saying that's a weak defense.

But he's not writing to what hasn't happened yet or what could happen in the future. He's writing to what's happening currently. Which is why I didn't get why you were calling the ethics of EA or any other publisher into question now for what hasn't happened yet. Plus, since nothing ugly has happened yet he's right in saying, at this current point in time, the agency the consumer has over the matter is not supporting the current business model with our money. If the business model got legitimately ugly I think Cliff might have a different response. But I'm sure the consumers would and justifiably so. But, as of now, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying 'don't like it, don't buy it' and, honestly, that truly is our only real course of action as consumers even if things were to get ugly.

I think what people sometimes don't like is that the game industry is constantly changing and might change into something that a lot of us don't like. But if the most people are for that change, speaking mostly to how money is spent by consumers, then that change will come no matter what people here or on any board might say.

#13 Edited by SlashDance (1815 posts) -

@jasonr86: When I say I take issue with this argument, I'm not implying it's inherently wrong. It's just not good enough of an answer for those who think EA and other publishers are being unethical right now. If they think their business model is exploitative, explain to them how it isn't. Simply saying "it's business/don't buy" will not justify it and will probably not change their mind, precisely because it makes it sound like ethics are not part of the equation.

#14 Edited by JasonR86 (9708 posts) -

@slashdance:

I don't mean to play dumb or bug you about this. I'm fairly removed from microtransactions as I don't contribute to those models. But I still get the impression that publishers are being scolded for something that hasn't happened yet. I can't think of any ethical issues with any of the business models used yet. These responses just seem irrelevant to anything that has happened yet making those responses overly dramatic and pointless. At least until the publishers actually fuck up.

#15 Edited by Funkydupe (3319 posts) -

I'm in the market for some armor. For my horse, specifically.

#16 Edited by TangoUp (307 posts) -

Good blog post. It's sad to see game developers and publishers cry about how costly a game is to make. The problem is then compounded by gaming websites spouting the same sob-stories over and over again. If the game is too costly to make, maybe they should consider making games that are cheaper to develop. It's no good accusing the gamer of not caring enough about the freaking industry and the developers' jobs. This constant barrage of guilt-tipped articles by gaming media and publishers has made people accept the existence of day 1 DLC and online passes. Maybe if they cry enough, they might be successful in raising the price of video games too.

Stop asking for charity. There are a lot more people in need other than a bunch of companies who cannot manage video game production.

#17 Posted by ProfessorEss (7376 posts) -

@tangoup said:

Good blog post. It's sad to see game developers and publishers cry about how costly a game is to make. The problem is then compounded by gaming websites spouting the same sob-stories over and over again. If the game is too costly to make, maybe they should consider making games that are cheaper to develop. It's no good accusing the gamer of not caring enough about the freaking industry and the developers' jobs. This constant barrage of guilt-tipped articles by gaming media and publishers has made people accept the existence of day 1 DLC and online passes. Maybe if they cry enough, they might be successful in raising the price of video games too.

Stop asking for charity. There are a lot more people in need other than a bunch of companies who cannot manage video game production.

Amen brother. The industry is poorly run and this idea that we, the consumer, should be buying games for the sake of saving people's jobs is ridiculous.

...and I think it's a shame that the gaming press endorses it so strongly.

#18 Posted by Morningstar (2161 posts) -

An excellent read.

#19 Edited by Demoskinos (14835 posts) -

Im with Cliff on this one. He has an absolute concrete point. EA and Valve are one in the same Valve just is better at image control. Steam is still DRM they absolutely do micro transactions in their games as well. Its easy to scoff at the price tag on development when making games isn't your job. If you've got a mortgage to pay and a kid to feed making sure your company stays afloat is a constant battle. And game companies are going out of business left and right.

#20 Posted by Humanity (9260 posts) -

@irishalwaystaken: It just depends on your point of view. I agree with pretty much everything he said and don't think he missed the point at all. Not saying your opinion is wrong, just that neither is his.

Online
#21 Posted by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

I don't believe punishment by "voting with your wallet" works well here either. It is just too lucrative to assign a small team to create content for micro-transaction store where even a few hundred sales makes profit. On the other hand I believe "voting with your wallet" works better by rewarding producers who do things the right way works out better. Buying a game that doesn't offend us is good. Buying micro-transactions in a game that is designed to not annoy or disrupt play is also good.

#22 Posted by GS_Dan (1403 posts) -

I agreed with everything Cliff said

#23 Edited by DaMisterChief (628 posts) -

I agree with my wallet, don't buy anything EA period.

#24 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@demoskinos said:

Steam is still DRM they absolutely do micro transactions in their games as well.

Valve include microtransactions in two of their free to play games - Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2. They don't affect game balance in any way, especially in DOTA's case as you can't buy anything that gives you better weapons, etc. Although, in TF2 balance isn't really upset either as people would have better weapons than you even before micro-transactions were added. (because the achievement weapon unlocks would still be a factor)

I believe you can buy hats on Portal 2 as well (and can earn them elsewhere) but how is that any different than buying costumes/skins in the likes of Street Fighter IV and Gears of War 3?

EA and Valve aren't the same and Steam is pretty much an accepted form of DRM because it provides good services on top and games would have DRM regardless. Steam isn't always on DRM at least, you can play your games without the Internet although you do have to be signed in prior to an outage, unless you enable offline mode first.

#25 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4812 posts) -

@tangoup said:

Good blog post. It's sad to see game developers and publishers cry about how costly a game is to make. The problem is then compounded by gaming websites spouting the same sob-stories over and over again. If the game is too costly to make, maybe they should consider making games that are cheaper to develop. It's no good accusing the gamer of not caring enough about the freaking industry and the developers' jobs. This constant barrage of guilt-tipped articles by gaming media and publishers has made people accept the existence of day 1 DLC and online passes. Maybe if they cry enough, they might be successful in raising the price of video games too.

Stop asking for charity. There are a lot more people in need other than a bunch of companies who cannot manage video game production.

Amen brother. The industry is poorly run and this idea that we, the consumer, should be buying games for the sake of saving people's jobs is ridiculous.

...and I think it's a shame that the gaming press endorses it so strongly.

They kind of have to. The gaming press has proven many times this generation how beholden they are to publishers and not their readers. Oh sure a lot of them want to say they put their readers/viewers above their relationships with publishers, but when it came time to prove it we got shit like Jeff getting shit-canned as well as that circle jerk from the press over the Mass Effect 3 ending. It seems like every time something huge happened and the gaming press had to pick a side between their reader and a publisher, they chose the publisher every single time. Or they just sit still and be quiet like Giant Bomb.

Then again, it's hard to just say the gaming press is terrible and that's that. Right now the press is beholden entirely to publishers who control the flow of information as well as shit like access to review code and previews and all of the other crap the press needs to do their job. The publishers also contribute most of the advertising on these sites as well. As shitty as it is, they've got the press bent over a barrel and they have for a long time now. In light of all that I can't say there's an easy answer or that there's one definitive bad guy (well there is, it's the publishing houses).

I mean, at the end of the day, who here can say with a straight face they'd bite the hand that feeds them?

#26 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Considering he's never been a part of a project with such micro-transactions, I think it's silly to react this way. I mean come on guys, he's being realistic, not saying that EA won't see a backlash or what is right for gamers. I see this as more of an explanation of why it's happening and why people shouldn't be surprised.

I think EA's plans are stupid and awful and will pretty quickly either make them way too much money or be obliterated by negative reactions. Either way, the market will speak.

#27 Posted by TangoUp (307 posts) -

@oldirtybearon said:

@professoress said:

@tangoup said:

Good blog post. It's sad to see game developers and publishers cry about how costly a game is to make. The problem is then compounded by gaming websites spouting the same sob-stories over and over again. If the game is too costly to make, maybe they should consider making games that are cheaper to develop. It's no good accusing the gamer of not caring enough about the freaking industry and the developers' jobs. This constant barrage of guilt-tipped articles by gaming media and publishers has made people accept the existence of day 1 DLC and online passes. Maybe if they cry enough, they might be successful in raising the price of video games too.

Stop asking for charity. There are a lot more people in need other than a bunch of companies who cannot manage video game production.

Amen brother. The industry is poorly run and this idea that we, the consumer, should be buying games for the sake of saving people's jobs is ridiculous.

...and I think it's a shame that the gaming press endorses it so strongly.

They kind of have to. The gaming press has proven many times this generation how beholden they are to publishers and not their readers. Oh sure a lot of them want to say they put their readers/viewers above their relationships with publishers, but when it came time to prove it we got shit like Jeff getting shit-canned as well as that circle jerk from the press over the Mass Effect 3 ending. It seems like every time something huge happened and the gaming press had to pick a side between their reader and a publisher, they chose the publisher every single time. Or they just sit still and be quiet like Giant Bomb.

Then again, it's hard to just say the gaming press is terrible and that's that. Right now the press is beholden entirely to publishers who control the flow of information as well as shit like access to review code and previews and all of the other crap the press needs to do their job. The publishers also contribute most of the advertising on these sites as well. As shitty as it is, they've got the press bent over a barrel and they have for a long time now. In light of all that I can't say there's an easy answer or that there's one definitive bad guy (well there is, it's the publishing houses).

I mean, at the end of the day, who here can say with a straight face they'd bite the hand that feeds them?

The aggression with which media sites like to lash out at gamers is what bothers me also. Don't like the ending for a game? Just shut up because it's not your story. Don't like the character re-design of a game? Shut up and don't buy it then. No one's forcing you to buy it. And then when these games do poorly, the typical response is to blame people for not buying a game they don't want to play. At this point, it isn't the consumers' job to sympathize with the publishers and media sites. There will always be more publishers and media sites to take the place of the fallen ones.

Right now they are heavily focusing on garnering sympathy for their poor management and that is a horrible strategy. I didn't know so many publishers and developers are as inept at video game production as Kazunori Yamauchi.

#28 Posted by Gaff (1758 posts) -

I must have missed the global amendment to all constitutions in which gaming has become an inalienable right and a necessity for living, not a luxury that you can live without.

#29 Posted by JasonR86 (9708 posts) -

@gaff said:

I must have missed the global amendment to all constitutions in which gaming has become an inalienable right and a necessity for living, not a luxury that you can live without.

That's why it's ok to pirate games. Because 'I want it' is the same as 'I'll get it because it's mine'.

#30 Posted by irishalwaystaken (39 posts) -

@jasonr86: I did reference some things EA have done that seemed unsavory (DLC character in DA2 and on disk for ME3). Even Brad's gone on record about how different his ME3 experience was because of the DLC he bought. I believe that the major issue around Dead Space 3 was the implication for further EA games, it may be somewhat unobtrusive in this game but EA are not trusted to keep it that way for further games based on their past actions.

@tangoup: I wasn't really tackling that bucket of fish, personal think advertising is the real money sink that needs to be looked at and potentially overhauled but that's all aside from my point that microtransactions can provide good value for money. You need to look at Valve (and Riot games to a much lesser extent) to see just how well received they can be done if done right.

@morningstar: Cheers man.

@demoskinos: We'll agree to disagree then. I never said Valve didn't do microtransactions, they absolutely do. However the value Valve provide in vastly superior especially when they never feel like something has been ripped from the game in order to sell it later. Look at the Steam Marketplace and Workshop where players can submit their own created content (which Gabe himself has said Valve will never be able to match) to the game they love. If the submission is accepted they get a cut of the sale as well as the pride of having something you made in a game you enjoy. These items are all cosmetic, you never purchase power and in the case of Dota 2 there is the possibility of getting the majority of these cosmetics without spending a cent (extremely remote but that's what trading is for).

@humanity: I agreed with a lot that he said as well, but I find it baffling (fanboy like comment warning) that he can't grasp the differences between how EA and Valve operate.

@oldirtybearon: I think the solution here is to find people you trust and that you understand their tastes and abilities, with more of the emphasis on people than sites. Personally I find the team at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Forbe's Erik Kain, the crew here ofc and even YouTube personalities like Total Biscuit (to some extent) more or less align with my own tastes and opinions. But there are limits that because I know say Brad's style of play so to speak, that his review of DMC was not going to coincide with what I thought of the game.

#31 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -
#32 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@professoress said:

@tangoup said:

Good blog post. It's sad to see game developers and publishers cry about how costly a game is to make. The problem is then compounded by gaming websites spouting the same sob-stories over and over again. If the game is too costly to make, maybe they should consider making games that are cheaper to develop. It's no good accusing the gamer of not caring enough about the freaking industry and the developers' jobs. This constant barrage of guilt-tipped articles by gaming media and publishers has made people accept the existence of day 1 DLC and online passes. Maybe if they cry enough, they might be successful in raising the price of video games too.

Stop asking for charity. There are a lot more people in need other than a bunch of companies who cannot manage video game production.

Amen brother. The industry is poorly run and this idea that we, the consumer, should be buying games for the sake of saving people's jobs is ridiculous.

...and I think it's a shame that the gaming press endorses it so strongly.

They kind of have to. The gaming press has proven many times this generation how beholden they are to publishers and not their readers. Oh sure a lot of them want to say they put their readers/viewers above their relationships with publishers, but when it came time to prove it we got shit like Jeff getting shit-canned as well as that circle jerk from the press over the Mass Effect 3 ending. It seems like every time something huge happened and the gaming press had to pick a side between their reader and a publisher, they chose the publisher every single time. Or they just sit still and be quiet like Giant Bomb.

Then again, it's hard to just say the gaming press is terrible and that's that. Right now the press is beholden entirely to publishers who control the flow of information as well as shit like access to review code and previews and all of the other crap the press needs to do their job. The publishers also contribute most of the advertising on these sites as well. As shitty as it is, they've got the press bent over a barrel and they have for a long time now. In light of all that I can't say there's an easy answer or that there's one definitive bad guy (well there is, it's the publishing houses).

I mean, at the end of the day, who here can say with a straight face they'd bite the hand that feeds them?

This is precisely why I only trust reviews and opinions from folks like Erik Kain and Mark Bussler, people who are safely outside the tight grip of publishers.

#33 Posted by Vermy81 (57 posts) -

I think it may very well be the case that a lot of EAs customers are telling them that they really do want micro-transactions, that they really do want this stuff.

On the other hand it seems fully real that these two companies are handling them differently. Valve has picked a strategy that does seem less offensive to gamers sensibilities. At least the kinds of gamers who comment about things on the internet.

The vote with your wallet argument is great, but it appears that we've lost the vote. I've bought almost zero bits of DLC or add-in content but it increasingly feels like something that's degrading my experience especially in EA games.