Posted by TheToiletDuck (5 posts) -

I see a lot of complaints about entitlement, how gamers think they are owed something. Disgruntled gamers being told to “deal with it” when a game is shitty. But you know what? Gamers shouldn’t have to “deal with it” the reason why gamers are entitled to quality is because they are no longer just consumers, they are co-developers / investors.

Gamers are getting shafted at every opportunity. As gaming gets more and more expensive a lot of game developers are looking into ways they can monetize aspects of the development that would normally go out for free. More and more developers are giving people the option to buy in to betas, and sometimes alphas. It’s become so common that Valve has introduced a whole subsection of their store dedicated to unfinished games.

The median wage for a games tester in the UK (according to payscales.com) is about £17,726. The average wage paid by developers such as Mojang and Introversion Software (creators of Prison Archetict) to you for games testing is -£15. Note, that’s a negative. You’re paying to do their dirty work. Almost every update to Minecraft lead to something else not working. Minecraft wouldn’t have been nearly as big a success if it wasn’t for the patience of the dedicated few that stuck by it during the beta. These testers were thanked by being given a $10 bill for this ‘privilege’. Prison Architect is a lot more transparent in its beta, they are telling you that the game has bugs and at times is flat out broken. But being told you’re going to be kicked in the nuts, before you get kicked in the nuts, doesn’t take away the pain. Just because it’s a job that is seemingly quite fun, does not mean it’s a job you should be doing for free. These developers are taking advantage of gamers good will by charging them for them for their labour. Gamers are not deluded with a sense of grandeur. They are legitimately owed something.

Now don’t get me wrong, not every developer are crooks and charge for beta or alpha testing. Grinding Gear Games, developers of the Action RPG Path of Exile recently touted the success of their open beta in stress testing the servers, they had 56,700 ‘players’ working for them on one weekend to make their product better. To make it so more people will purchase their product and that the product was up to scratch when it was released.. 56,700 people that are advertising for them, but receive no monetary gain. No wonder gamers have a sense of connection to these games, it’s the least they can get given that if they game is successful they don’t see a dime (even though they’ve invested time and money into its development).

Fans of gaming are the best marketing a game could ever get. There's a reason why community managers exist. Developers are of course not unfeeling monsters and like to see their product get love but then to invest actual money into nurturing this with an employee position shows that there is a return on investment in the long run. Think about the last convention you went to and how many dude-Aeriths or Fat-Links you saw? When you saw them, did it make you then think of Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda? Probably. The fans are adding to the product mindshare. They are marketers.

It’s becoming increasingly more common that developers are taking input from the community. The recent success of the Skullsgirl’s Indiegogo campaign is a good example. Instead of paying for market research, fans are choosing and paying for the best characters to include in the game. The gamers that invest are given these characters for free, but then these characters become an incentive for other gamers to buy the game. It’s perfect for the developers because it’s a guaranteed hit, they are getting development costs, market research AND advertising all for the one buck. Kickstarter is far more explicit evidence for gamers as investors, but somehow it’s now called a donation. That’s a pretty insidious way to run your company.

I would hazard that many of you have been buying games for years, maybe even buying games in one series for years. You're probably loyal to the series, you purchase the games, the soundtracks, the stuffed toy faff. The least the company can do is give you the story/gameplay they've consistently produced in the past or teased for the last few games. But instead you get reboots, such as DmC, or considerable different games, e.g. Hitman Absolution. Sure a company can do what it wants, but you can understand how this might be a bit of a shock to someone that has been so loyal to a franchise and invested so much.

The fact of the matter is that game companies need us, we don’t need them. Pre-order incentives such as the Bioshock Infinite deals are good evidence of how desperate they are for our business. At least Irrational Games had the grace to make a game without begging.

As consumers we make or break a company. You are supporting these companies so they can make more and more money in the future. Even when you take money out of the picture you have given the artists a chance to spread their work. A painting locked in a room where no one sees it is pointless.

We are receiving unfinished products and are contributing our time and money to finish them, and finish them well so that they appeal to a greater audience. People forget that game companies are businesses. They are out there to make money. They’ve found a very good way to make money, by offsetting their costs and convincing people to be charitable to ‘The Man’. So stop telling gamers to Shut The Fuck Up when a terrible game comes out. Despite all the support they give they receive little respect in return, complaining is the only thing they can do.

Part One End.

#1 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1518 posts) -

I'm not sure I'm on board with the idea that buying a game and/or game-related merchandise entitles you to anything except what you paid for. You may have been a "loyal" fan of Devil May Cry, Hitman, or some other rebooted series, and I'm sure the developers and publishers of those games appreciated that, but your fandom and consumer relationship doesn't give you a voting stake in the company.

I do agree that stuff like Kickstarter and "free" alphas/betas can be insidious. People are free to spend their time and money however they wish, but I really question why they're choosing to donate it to companies that (more often than not) don't need it. My stance is that if a Kickstarted game or product ends up being good, I'll buy it when it comes out. I might pay a bit more, and I'll miss some glorified pre-order bonuses, but I'm also not gambling my money or supporting a business practice that (in my opinion) is often exploitative and consumer-unfriendly. Any time your relationship with a company is anything other than "I give you money, you give me a finished product", you're pretty much asking to be burned.

#2 Posted by Drebin_893 (2899 posts) -

The problem with literally everything you say is that you make it sound like people have no choice but buy these games, or to you use your analogy, 'get kicked in the nuts'.

#3 Edited by Slag (3989 posts) -

You lost me somewhere

what is your point exactly?

Are you trying to say gamers are now voluntary unpaid intern beta testers? Or is this about something else?

I mean I still feel like a consumer, I don't do beta tests (although I'm not opposed to doing one, just never have my backlog low enough to justify it), and if a game is going to be bad I don't buy it. If a publisher is going to publicly disrespect my opinion, my experience/time and my money on top of that, then I buy a competitors's product next time.

#4 Posted by psylah (2162 posts) -

I just consumed this meatball sub.

#dealwithit

#5 Edited by Brodehouse (9569 posts) -

Let me shorten it down for the crowd.

Gamers being excited or willing to spend money or time on things they want are bad, gamers who don't want a thing but spend money or time on them anyways aren't being properly respected.

People who wanted DmC because they wanted it and were willing to spend money on it, are somehow directly screwing over the people who didn't want DmC and didn't spend money on it. Because if the people who did want DmC didn't exist, the company would somehow be forced to create whatever it is the people who didn't want DmC actually wanted.

It would be like if you like chocolate ice cream and then two other siblings like strawberry and then your mom goes out and buys a tub of strawberry. But that's not fair mom! Clearly, the existence of these two other people are directly interfering with your ability to have chocolate. They are at fault. They are preventing you from enjoying chocolate. They must be purged.

#6 Edited by McGhee (6094 posts) -

You sound like someone who feels a little . . . entitled.

#7 Posted by AlexanderSheen (4928 posts) -

Can't be more excited for Part Two.

#8 Edited by hyphgoblin (5 posts) -

All this is probably why all I want to do recently is buy, collect and play old counsels and old games I missed or want to re-visit, I hardly want to re-play anything after I beat it anymore.

#9 Edited by Chibithor (574 posts) -

Oh no all that time I spent with Minecraft I thought I was enjoying a game I bought but I was actually getting screwed! And now you're telling me that Lab Zero doesn't need to pay for market research because of me! I feel terrible now

I'm legitimately interested in reading part two. I'm equally fine with him leaving the write-up in an unfinished state as some alpha/beta-related statement though.

#10 Posted by believer258 (11622 posts) -

I'd say a lot but A) I'm on a phone and B) there are smarter duders than I already saying it.

#11 Posted by JasonR86 (9604 posts) -

I don't agree but it's cool that you put so much into this post.

#12 Posted by Atlas (2430 posts) -

I love the implication that one is rendered literally incapable of enacting free will and not buying a game just because it has a certain name attached to it. Sure, I've made bad decisions based on loyalty or nostalgia before, but I have no issue with not laying down my money if I am in any way suspicious that a game might be an inferior product or not to my taste, regardless of what name is slapped on it. Did I love the first two Mass Effect games, and the first two Dead Space games? Hell yes. Did I buy ME3 and DS3 day one? No.

The digital age has certainly blurred a lot of lines, and developers and consumers are still working this stuff out. To me, it's not something that seems worth getting up in arms about. I don't feel like I'm being repeatedly spit on by publishers, even when they make decisions that I fundamentally disagree with. The best thing consumers can do is just be a little bit savvy about their purchasing decisions, and do their best to be as well informed as possible.

#13 Edited by EXTomar (4489 posts) -

So if I understand the argument, the good and sage gamers who only buy the best and proper games are being screwed over by the selfish and bad gamers who just like to buy anything with flashing lights. I don't think being more elitist is going to help anything.

#14 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

You are thinking of this in a very weird way. When you make a trade, any kind of trade, pokemon cards for pokemon cards. sex for sex, or money for sex you, along with your trade partner should ask yourself one thing.

Is the product, worth the money I am giving up?

#15 Posted by Winternet (8002 posts) -

Who am I, then? Tell me who I am!

Online
#16 Posted by Veektarius (4579 posts) -

This is yet another opportunity to point out that there'd be more money for game development if games sold for more. The market is saturated. Sales numbers are what they are. Time to make the $ work.

#17 Posted by Nictel (2380 posts) -

Developers ask money for things, people pay them money for it. Simple as that. That gives them no rights apart from that the game should be playable. If its not they should get a refund. That's it.

Now if people invest money in a kickstarter, I think the rules are pretty clear on that: The risk is on you.

#18 Edited by Jams (2959 posts) -

@nictel said:

Developers ask money for things, people pay them money for it. Simple as that. That gives them no rights apart from that the game should be playable. If its not they should get a refund. That's it.

Now if people invest money in a kickstarter, I think the rules are pretty clear on that: The risk is on you.

Playable is a surprisingly subjective term these days.

#19 Posted by Sam_Spain (1 posts) -

This guy is pretty damn good at writing.

#20 Posted by StarvingGamer (7985 posts) -

Maybe you should find a new hobby.

#21 Edited by Nictel (2380 posts) -

@jams said:

@nictel said:

Developers ask money for things, people pay them money for it. Simple as that. That gives them no rights apart from that the game should be playable. If its not they should get a refund. That's it.

Now if people invest money in a kickstarter, I think the rules are pretty clear on that: The risk is on you.

Playable is a surprisingly subjective term these days.

Weren't there people trying to get a refund for Colonial Marines? Wonder if they succeeded.

#22 Posted by EXTomar (4489 posts) -

ps. Are reboots bad? I haven't found the compelling argument to suggest that reboots are a scourge. Also what is a reboot? Is Halo 4 also fit the definition of a reboot even though it follows directly after Halo 3?

#23 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2903 posts) -

The Kickstrarter situation is the most interesting thing you bring up. I feel like some of your points are misguided, like not liking DmC or Hitman because they were too different from previous entries. That's all wrapped in personal perspective and is hard to make any really interesting arguments from. I enjoyed the originals and the sequels, for example.

Gamers being unpaid Beta and Alpha testers *is* relevant, and the whole donation/investment skew is worth talking about too. It's interesting that not one single developer has offered a return of investment perk, even for those donating 10,000+ dollars.

#24 Edited by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

The OP has five posts.

This dude apparently made an account just to say the OP was a good writer:

This guy is pretty damn good at writing.

This whole thing seems sketchy.

#25 Posted by TruthTellah (8517 posts) -

Something about this doesn't seem right. What's going on here? >_>

Online
#27 Edited by jozzy (2041 posts) -

I do agree that this growing trend towards [Early access] could turn into something nasty. Yes, in the end we vote with our wallets regarding early access, pre-orders, season passes and microtransactions. But as all these things seem to be really successful, there is less and less choice for the people that just want to buy a finished and content complete product at launch.

Now, you can make the argument that early access doesn't prevent you from buying the product when it's ready, but most of these products either never ever are deemed as "ready" - because it's such a great excuse for keeping it buggy and unfinished in it while making money-, or it gets released after years. At that point, most of the people have already moved on and the game is completely discovered. Just think of the horror of a game like Dark Souls or Fez being released as early access. Big part of the fun in those games is figuring stuff as a community.

I still feel that early access has it's merits, but I hope it stays relegated to indies with bigger dreams than budgets.

#28 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

pretty good read. kind of lost in some parts. like what you said people now are kind of ending up becoming a beta testing for products that they're buying. some games just become broken when they are released.

#29 Posted by bgdiner (275 posts) -

The grammar and sentence style is a little off-putting to your argument, not to mention the overwhelmingly subjective stance this blog takes. Granted, it's a blog, and it's your opinion, but without an objective tone, or at least a near-objective tone, your argument is lost in vitriol and petty anger.

But what is your argument? You say I'm no longer the consumer, as per your blog title, but then make little to no reference of such throughout your argument. In fact, you state that as consumers, we make or break a company! So which is it?

I get it, you're pissed at the current state of the industry, as many undoubtedly are as well. But your point is obfuscated beneath a layer of horrid writing and circular logic. Make a point and stick with it.

#30 Posted by TyCobb (1945 posts) -

I saw pictures and I looked at them.

I saw text and well, I didn't read it after the first paragraph. Gamers are not co-developers or investors. We are guinea pigs and, contrary to your title, we are consumers.

#31 Edited by Zekhariah (697 posts) -

@thetoiletduck: I suppose a person could also just choose to not pre-order every game that comes out. Buy hey, complaining about software having a variable quality also works.

Anyway - the ultimate purchaser is still the consumer, as that is where the monetary transaction takes place. In an ad supported game it is the advertiser. And for a subsidized cell phone it can be the carrier to some extent. I'm not sure I get where the not being the consumer bit goes, unless the game secretly uses your spare GPU cycles to mine bitcoins credited to the developer :D>.

#32 Posted by nonforma (57 posts) -

You seem to be pulling a lot of figures out of your ass.

#33 Posted by Gaff (1649 posts) -

The problem with literally everything you say is that you make it sound like people have no choice but buy these games, or to you use your analogy, 'get kicked in the nuts'.

The bigger problem is that people are being told that they're going to get kicked in the nuts, pay money to get kicked in the nuts (or even pay a premium to get kicked in the nuts with some spiffy designer steel-tipped shoes), and then start complaining about a sudden pain in their crown jewels.

Goddammit, this analogy is terrible.

#34 Edited by Kidavenger (3504 posts) -
Online
#35 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5205 posts) -

Video Games, right guys?!

#36 Edited by Snail (8578 posts) -

I see a lot of complaints about entitlement, how gamers think they are owed something. Disgruntled gamers being told to “deal with it” when a game is shitty. But you know what? Gamers shouldn’t have to “deal with it” the reason why gamers are entitled to quality is because they are no longer just consumers, they are co-developers / investors.

No they aren't. Unless you're talking Kickstarter, and even then that's kind of only partially true.

#37 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

and you were never an interesting blogger.

BOOM

#38 Posted by troll93 (386 posts) -

It would be like if you like chocolate ice cream and then two other siblings like strawberry and then your mom goes out and buys a tub of strawberry. But that's not fair mom! Clearly, the existence of these two other people are directly interfering with your ability to have chocolate. They are at fault. They are preventing you from enjoying chocolate. They must be purged.

So we need a volcano????????/

#39 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

If you buy games that aren't finished or up to the quality they should be, it's because you didn't do your research and make sure it would be worth buying before you bought it. Most games today are pretty awesome. Sometimes devs and publishers fuck things up. But even when they do, it's usually in an extraneous way that doesn't really harm the game itself.

@snail said:
@thetoiletduck said:

I see a lot of complaints about entitlement, how gamers think they are owed something. Disgruntled gamers being told to “deal with it” when a game is shitty. But you know what? Gamers shouldn’t have to “deal with it” the reason why gamers are entitled to quality is because they are no longer just consumers, they are co-developers / investors.

No they aren't. Unless you're talking Kickstarter, and even then that's kind of only partially true.

And in the few cases where games are developed beyond their original form (ArmA 2 is a perfect example, playing with mods like ACE and ACRE change the game entirely) it seems like the developers do their best to embrace and reward those people. Modders for Bethesda games basically get as much access as they need to make awesome content and Bethesda understands that it can't make the game what everyone wants so they work on making good tools and an engine that accepts modded content very smoothly.

In the case of ArmA, it's been hinted on multiple occasions by multiple major players in the community that specifically the ACE team is doing SOMETHING with Bohemia. So these guys that basically created a second Bohemia studio are actually being brought into the development fold.

If YOU ever contributed to a game, you let me know. Buying something gives you exactly one right: owning that item. That's what you get for your money. If you actually invest in something, maybe you can say something about having a stake in things. But acting like you deserve better just because you bought the last game and then blindly bought into something bad when there are still plenty of good games out there? That is all on you. You don't have a right for all games to be good just because they are parts of franchises you like. You just have the right to buy or not to buy them.

#40 Edited by Slag (3989 posts) -

Who am I, then? Tell me who I am!

Max Payne?!

#41 Posted by StarvingGamer (7985 posts) -