That Sense of Entitlement

I like to jump into game discussions with a two-fisted, if-I-had-my-way approach, even if I keep from alienating too many people by getting too specific. I want gaming as a hobby to improve, and I want individual games that deserve a spotlight to make the most of the brief time they have our attention. This means I'll often talk about features I like or what more of, and how a game disappointed me, or even enraged me.
 
Yet, I don't treat it as if I deserve these things. I'm trying to talk for a good segment of the population, with the idea that even if the game I'm talking about was free, it's still a thing that can be improved on. If money changed hands then increasing the quality is likely to be in the producer's best interest, even if they decided that the choices they made were the best ones and couldn't care less about criticisms. That's their privilege, because they are the ones who create the games.
 
Where I draw the line is harassment, or moralized ranting on why a game has cheated a user out of the experience they were expecting. You see this once in a while in the film world, but unless the filmmakers went out of their way to deceive the viewing public, these rants tend to sound a bit crazy if they're too extreme. Yet in a more malleable medium, video games, where my impression might differ strongly from yours because the way things can be experienced is arguably more likely to be different because of all the different ways a person can tackle a game, you seem to see a ton more of these kinds of rants.
 
I've talked before about the makers of a Heroes of Might and Magic III expansion pack received death threats because they wanted to take the game's theme in a different direction, but there have been blowups about Valve bringing the Left 4 Dead sequel out too early while neglecting their other properties, that the nature of the protagonist in a series of games isn't aesthetically pleasing, or folks getting mighty angry that love isn't so convoluted in Dragon Age II as they wanted it to be.
 
Rants like these get filed under tantrums in my brain, but they often come from adults who should know better. It's weird, but the bigger a company gets, the more we tend to treat it like a government institution, as if they're bound by law to do what we want because we've paid them 50 bucks or whatever. Maybe I should chalk this up to people not knowing how to argue their point properly; some of the arguments I've seen out there could easily have been worded better and sound less like someone off their medication. Still, there's a strangeness wedged tight into some of these rants that seem to fundamentally misunderstand the creator/consumer relationship, even if we are likely to influence things more now, with the widespread interconnectivity out there, than we used to.
 
I believe that, ultimately, creators should have the last say in what they want to make. If they want to make a choice that may turn out to be worse later, let them. They're the ones that have to feed their families in this relatively volatile industry, whose existence is arguably not essential for human beings to continue to exist. If they screw up that sequel you were dying to play, it's their fault, but browbeating them into changing their minds is not the way to go.
 
I see that attitude in general, with people demanding their rights in front of a stunned retailer, even though these idiots don't [necessarily] know what their rights are. It's a bit of the win-the-lottery mentality you see in people seeping into video game discussions, where people are hoping beyond hope that their little voice will be heard, thinking that these big companies are full of cash and prizes to be won if they manage to break the code.  Frankly, it's embarrassing.
 
It's not exclusive to games, and beyond bitching at a retailer that they have the moral obligation to trade in that thing you dropped into the grain thresher even if you didn't think to get the warranty, you'll have writers who are harangued until they write yet another book in some endless series even if they want to change their focus, and demands for sequels that often wind up sucking.
 
I think it's great that there's more communication between creator and consumer, but without having unique voices from these creators, we're designing by committee, and counting votes by the loudest voices. Thankfully, not everyone has the time to worry too much about what everyone has to say, even if, at times, what everyone thinks is wrong with a game is a perfectly reasonable criticism. We have to leave it up to them to be wise enough to learn from their mistakes, let other creators take up the slack if they don't, or roll up our sleeves and start creating ourselves.
 
I'm beginning to wonder if I'll talk about this once a year...

31 Comments
31 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

I like to jump into game discussions with a two-fisted, if-I-had-my-way approach, even if I keep from alienating too many people by getting too specific. I want gaming as a hobby to improve, and I want individual games that deserve a spotlight to make the most of the brief time they have our attention. This means I'll often talk about features I like or what more of, and how a game disappointed me, or even enraged me.
 
Yet, I don't treat it as if I deserve these things. I'm trying to talk for a good segment of the population, with the idea that even if the game I'm talking about was free, it's still a thing that can be improved on. If money changed hands then increasing the quality is likely to be in the producer's best interest, even if they decided that the choices they made were the best ones and couldn't care less about criticisms. That's their privilege, because they are the ones who create the games.
 
Where I draw the line is harassment, or moralized ranting on why a game has cheated a user out of the experience they were expecting. You see this once in a while in the film world, but unless the filmmakers went out of their way to deceive the viewing public, these rants tend to sound a bit crazy if they're too extreme. Yet in a more malleable medium, video games, where my impression might differ strongly from yours because the way things can be experienced is arguably more likely to be different because of all the different ways a person can tackle a game, you seem to see a ton more of these kinds of rants.
 
I've talked before about the makers of a Heroes of Might and Magic III expansion pack received death threats because they wanted to take the game's theme in a different direction, but there have been blowups about Valve bringing the Left 4 Dead sequel out too early while neglecting their other properties, that the nature of the protagonist in a series of games isn't aesthetically pleasing, or folks getting mighty angry that love isn't so convoluted in Dragon Age II as they wanted it to be.
 
Rants like these get filed under tantrums in my brain, but they often come from adults who should know better. It's weird, but the bigger a company gets, the more we tend to treat it like a government institution, as if they're bound by law to do what we want because we've paid them 50 bucks or whatever. Maybe I should chalk this up to people not knowing how to argue their point properly; some of the arguments I've seen out there could easily have been worded better and sound less like someone off their medication. Still, there's a strangeness wedged tight into some of these rants that seem to fundamentally misunderstand the creator/consumer relationship, even if we are likely to influence things more now, with the widespread interconnectivity out there, than we used to.
 
I believe that, ultimately, creators should have the last say in what they want to make. If they want to make a choice that may turn out to be worse later, let them. They're the ones that have to feed their families in this relatively volatile industry, whose existence is arguably not essential for human beings to continue to exist. If they screw up that sequel you were dying to play, it's their fault, but browbeating them into changing their minds is not the way to go.
 
I see that attitude in general, with people demanding their rights in front of a stunned retailer, even though these idiots don't [necessarily] know what their rights are. It's a bit of the win-the-lottery mentality you see in people seeping into video game discussions, where people are hoping beyond hope that their little voice will be heard, thinking that these big companies are full of cash and prizes to be won if they manage to break the code.  Frankly, it's embarrassing.
 
It's not exclusive to games, and beyond bitching at a retailer that they have the moral obligation to trade in that thing you dropped into the grain thresher even if you didn't think to get the warranty, you'll have writers who are harangued until they write yet another book in some endless series even if they want to change their focus, and demands for sequels that often wind up sucking.
 
I think it's great that there's more communication between creator and consumer, but without having unique voices from these creators, we're designing by committee, and counting votes by the loudest voices. Thankfully, not everyone has the time to worry too much about what everyone has to say, even if, at times, what everyone thinks is wrong with a game is a perfectly reasonable criticism. We have to leave it up to them to be wise enough to learn from their mistakes, let other creators take up the slack if they don't, or roll up our sleeves and start creating ourselves.
 
I'm beginning to wonder if I'll talk about this once a year...

Posted by Akrid

 I've learned from my blog (plug) that input is incredibly helpful even though it's only correct 10% of the time. I trust devs to exercise this judgement as well.

Edited by owl_of_minerva

Good post, I agree with the sentiment and I see where you're coming from. It springs from a nerdy internet culture which finds it entertaining to indulge in excessive rage over any perceived slights to their favoured medium/genre/franchise. 
However, I think in some cases it's warranted - (a) when a franchise switches genre or cashes in with a cheapo sequel (b) when a game's mechanics are 'dumbed down' because it's boring for people with expertise in that genre (c) when developers start deserting or treating one's favoured system, say PC, as a second-class citizen. In those cases, I think some amount of critique or even disappointment is warranted because as a player one is invested in those things and wants to see them progress for the better rather than the opposite. Better that than apathetic, right?  

 Venturing into tl;dr territory but I think it might have something to do with an increasingly diverse gaming demographic which results in clashing interests and perspectives, more so than when it was the preserve of white PC-using male nerds with a strong degree of homogeneity.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Unfortunately, I couldn't really decipher what you were talking about. All I could figure out is that gamers feel entitled to their games, maybe, but since I haven't seen any gamers behaving like this, I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Edited by ChampionOfTheWorld

Yeah, I'm having a hard time understanding the OP's post. Are you saying consumers aren't entitled to complain? Developers have to feed their families? So what? We do to. Developers also make a shit ton more money than the average gamer. I have to feed my family too. Therefore, I'm not coughing up $60 for DA2 which is a stripped down game compared to DAO.
 
Basically, I'm getting the impression that you think it's OK for developers to be lazy while their games are still charged full price.

Edited by ryanwho

So you're angry that people have opinions on games. Okay. Well this "nerd rage" or whatever you wanna call it helps the devs, because they get to preview what will happen to their sales if they pull the same stunt again. I only feel "entitled" to a good DA game because I have standards for the series. If they do the same thing a second time, I just don't buy the product. I appreciate that you empathize with the feelings of devs you've never met, but understand the alternative is devs being surprised when a game doesn't do well. I think they'd rather hear impotent rage now than feel it in their paychecks later. But that's just me. You wanna only look 5 feet ahead, that's on you.

Edited by thehexeditor

I get what you're talking about.. a dose of sanity when compared to the fanatical zealotry of certain reactions and rants on the internet. Though I think you are implicitly giving the sort of people you're harping against more power than they really have; don't worry, they are pretty much harmless (unless the day comes where the death threat is acted upon or the mass boycott actually happens)

Posted by Claude

Because of my feelings of entitlement, I no longer love my Wii. Nintendo has quit making video games for me. F-Zero one of my favorite franchises is silent. Mario Golf seemed like a no-brainer on the Wii. Wave Race would be rad if allowed to hit the waves once again. How about a little 1080?
 
Well, I guess you see my point. I'm pissed. I'm not sure about other people, but it seems Nintendo doesn't care about me. They no longer make video games for me. Hell, they would probably fuck those games up anyway, trying to give them mass appeal.

Posted by Sweep

I agree with the sentiment that developers should work towards their own aspirations, not those of the consumer, but it's important not to lost sight of the fact that they are creating a commercial product for the consumer. To ignore feedback entirely, as you suggest, reeks of an arrogance that reminds me of Dennis Dyak after Too Human was received poorly, claiming that "We weren't playing it right". 
 
Do not forget that without the support of their fans, many developers would cease to exist. If a fan therefore voices his displeasure at a game which has supposedly been developed for them then they are entitled to complain about it.
 
Several of the examples you listed were extreme cases where perhaps players were being unreasonable with their expectations of a developer, but on the whole It seems moronic for a developer to proceed blindly down a course of their own choosing if the general public opinion does not support it. 

Moderator
Posted by ArbitraryWater

It's the double edged blade of having people who care about your games and these people having a very specific vision of what they want your game to be. While I'll be more than willing to admit that Dragon Age II is probably not the sequel to Dragon Age Origins that most people wanted, it's still a perfectly fine game.  The thing is, game development isn't a democracy and while that can lead to the situation mentioned above, taking the wishes of the minority of people who care enough about your game to post about it on the internet can be almost as bad, as shown in the Forge Fiasco, Master of Orion 3, and to some degree: Heroes IV. 
 
 It's part of the new/old balancing act that many developers subvert by simply not making any major changes. Pokemon has, for all intents and purposes, the exact same core gameplay as it did 15 years ago when Red and Green were released in Japan, but because those games cater to newcomers (i.e. Children who haven't played a Pokemon game before) and the super hardcore competitive base (To whom most of the minor mechanical changes are aimed at), they still rake in the cash despite not really innovating since Gold and Silver.

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@owl_of_minerva:  I think what you touch on actually bridges the gap between criticism and random ranting, though. When it intersects with what the consumer expects, especially given the hype and the promises made, I think they have a legitimate problem with the makers of a game when it doesn't even get close to paying back on that promise. I'm not sure if a thing being a sequel is enough, but when there's the assumption of a quality product that isn't there, even if it's not something obvious, like bugs (which people tend to tolerate more than aesthetics, which is strange to me).
 
In general, in society, in the WORLD *puts hands very far apart, arches back, looks at the sky* there tends to be this case where we all make assumptions about what is "common decency" or common society, and we're constantly shocked and disgusted by what those strange others are doing. They look like us, talk like us, but they do these strange, disgusting things. It freaks us out, it's like invasion of the body snatchers, but it's, I guess, inevitable because the internet is prone to broadcasting what would otherwise be said in whispers.
 
Good points. I wasn't as nuanced as I could have been, but I'm glad I got the ball rolling.
 
@Akrid: I think giving input its due is sensible. Being a slave to it means one winds up just reflecting what they think everyone wants, rather than expressing one's own viewpoint. I guess there's room for both, but folks in general are going to be a bit more disciplined, becoming minor creators themselves with more of an investment in the final product.
 
@ChampionOfTheWorld:
@Video_Game_King:
 
Thanks for your input, king and champion :)
 
I'm trying to say criticism is cool, but I have in mind the death threats, the kind of demands that basically say that they want a game specifically tailored to them (even though they're a bunch of random individuals), that I think go too far. I could have gotten more specific, but I didn't want it to wind up being about a particular issue. 
 
As for developers making a shit ton of money, some do, especially if they have some control over their own publishing, but when I think about the people who actually make the game, that one writer, I don't like the idea of them being beholden to whatever random asshole wants to vent on them. If they wind up feeling like they have to check the forums every time they make a decision, games will suck.
 
If someone is willing to spend fifty bucks on a game, they deserve to have a decent experience, but beyond that it goes into crazy town. I think voting with a dollar is a smart way to tell a game maker that you don't want what they're selling.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ahoodedfigure said:
" If they wind up feeling like they have to check the forums every time they make a decision, games will suck. "
But that's pretty much what producers do; writers are only there to make sense of the ideas that a producer comes up with.
Edited by ChampionOfTheWorld
@ahoodedfigure said:

@ChampionOfTheWorld:
@Video_Game_King:  Thanks for your input, king and champion :)  I'm trying to say criticism is cool, but I have in mind the death threats, the kind of demands that basically say that they want a game specifically tailored to them (even though they're a bunch of random individuals), that I think go too far. I could have gotten more specific, but I didn't want it to wind up being about a particular issue.   As for developers making a shit ton of money, some do, especially if they have some control over their own publishing, but when I think about the people who actually make the game, that one writer, I don't like the idea of them being beholden to whatever random asshole wants to vent on them. If they wind up feeling like they have to check the forums every time they make a decision, games will suck.  If someone is willing to spend fifty bucks on a game, they deserve to have a decent experience, but beyond that it goes into crazy town. I think voting with a dollar is a smart way to tell a game maker that you don't want what they're selling. "

Ah, understood. :)
Posted by DystopiaX

Yeah, I agree with some of the others. I think you have a good point, it just took me awhile to figure it out. At first I thought you meant people weren't allowed to be upset by some things (day 1 DLC, shitty PC ports, etc.), but if you're just talking about death threats/random whining, then I agree with you. One of the worst culprits I see are PC fanboys; I thought console fanboys were bad but I'm just about to build my first real gaming-ready PC and looked around some PC gaming forums, half of them just drop dumb phrases like "console infestation" and how gaming has been ruined by consoles, but I think it's the opposite. While they've had to give up many things they had in the past, the reality is that we woudn't see such high budget blockbusters without console gaming, since a majority of sales (and therefore recouping of revenue) is made on consoles. If the market were just PC gaming, then the games would have to be a lot smaller. There's a lot of dumb whining to that effect- oh this game just WENT to consoles, even though it's PC lead, it MUST be bad, shit like that. I'm not hating on PC gaming, just that subset of PC gamer who seems really bitter (now that gaming seems to be console focused) and pissed (now that the shit they're used to- open SDKs, etc.) aren't given to them, when most gamers don't have access to half the shit they do.

Posted by DystopiaX
@Sweep said:
" I agree with the sentiment that developers should work towards their own aspirations, not those of the consumer, but it's important not to lost sight of the fact that they are creating a commercial product for the consumer. To ignore feedback entirely, as you suggest, reeks of an arrogance that reminds me of Dennis Dyak after Too Human was received poorly, claiming that "We weren't playing it right". 
 
Do not forget that without the support of their fans, many developers would cease to exist. If a fan therefore voices his displeasure at a game which has supposedly been developed for them then they are entitled to complain about it. Several of the examples you listed were extreme cases where perhaps players were being unreasonable with their expectations of a developer, but on the whole It seems moronic for a developer to proceed blindly down a course of their own choosing if the general public opinion does not support it.  "
Agreed. I think of inFamous 2, where they tried to go with a new design for Cole but so many people hated it that the devs changed/redesigned it- I loved that they wanted to go somewhere, but ultimately they're making something that other people are going to buy and enjoy, so you have to listen to them in some part.
Posted by Tordah

I did not know about that scrapped Heroes 3 town. That was pretty interesting. I can't say I disagree with the decision though. It didn't look very enticing or fitting for the Heroes universe. 
 
As much as gamers sense of entitlement may seem like arrogant and spoilt behaviour, in most cases I don't think it's unjustified.

Edited by ahoodedfigure
@ryanwho:  When I said "Where I draw the line is harassment, or moralized ranting on why a game has cheated a user out of the experience they were expecting", I have in mind tone and thrust more than the binary idea that there has to be either full input fully obeyed or no input at all. I have met developers, but not ones in the major houses, who have a few more walls to jump over than I could ever manage; most of the people I met or even worked with were small enough that user input was usually more reasonable, since there was a general desire for the project to succeed in spite of the major houses.
 
But even for small developers you'll get someone yelling at them in a forum post because they, say, want this game that this guy makes in his spare time to have cheat codes, and they'll act as if it's a fucking moral imperative to have this random thing this person was requesting.
 
On the one had you have the 180 they pulled on DA2 in terms of style, perspective, engine depth, battle system, and character development is a sensible criticism, especially since it's ostensibly a sequel but seems like a nearly complete departure, and on the other hand you have someone very angry at old Bioware for not making the sexual environment to his tastes, as you may have heard. 
 
...I'm barely 2 feet away from this computer screen, but I'll try to readjust.

@thehexeditor: I like to think I'm not harping, but yes, that's all I'm really after. Civility, maybe. Like I tried to say, a lot of arguments I've seen might be more effective if they were just, y'know, shelved for a day before sending, on the chance that the argument could be refined or thrown out if it looked too pitiful in retrospect.
 
@Claude: I've not been paying much attention to what they've been doing for the Wii lately, but apart from hearing from the people who seem to love it unconditionally, I've seen them make a lot of compromises in their software. What's really struck me is how much Ninetendo's attitude toward 3rd party titles has changed since the old NES days, back when they clamped down on things a bit too tightly. Now the market's flooded, and I wonder if they wound up making more on licensing fees than in developing games and decided to coast on that. There hasn't been much news about major titles for that system in a while as far as I've been aware, but I can't tell if that's the usual Wii disdain.
 
It's harder when we're talking about a platform, instead of just a particular game. When does that console not feel like a particularly good investment anymore? If it's before its lifespan is over, it's a lot different than just moving on to a new game, you're right. I usually hopped on to a platform late, because I wanted to see how things progressed before being committed. We got the Genesis pretty early and I think we got a good amount back for what we got. But I remember we also got the old Atari 7800, and I remember we wrote the company asking about all these games they had talked about making and had put in their catalogs, and all these peripheral ports on the back of the machine, and they said how those games were likely not to be made, and the ports unlikely to be supported. Felt pretty empty, but then again that console wasn't exactly successful, unlike the Wii.
 
@Sweep: Did I suggest they ignore the consumer input entirely? Eventually they have to do their own thing and live with the consequences, but ignoring fan input entirely is probably going too far on their end, and it's not something I'd ever like to hear. I'm pretty much talking about the extremes, whether they're the lone voice of crazy or campaigns to boycott a company because they're not making a game that was never announced.

@ArbitraryWater: I guess that's where I'm going with this. I have in mind the Forge Fiasco specifically, and the Dragon Age II homosexual rant, where one guy gets the spotlight but there's more to it than just one person slipping a gear. In both examples there was backing by a vocal group of folks who think they're somehow the only people who buy the games, or at least the only ones that matter.   It's not so much the criticisms themselves, but it's expecting that they will obey us, all at once, as if they're creating motor cars.
 
I'm not familiar with the Pokemon franchise (apart from owning a few decks of the actual cards a long time ago), but I've seen that in a lot of successful franchises over the years. I think the general dislike a lot of people have for many of the RPGs coming out of Japan, as unfair as that sounds when broadly stated, is that while there tends to be innovation in certain directions, a lot of other directions get completely ignored. I guess it's not just a matter of there being too much innovation at once, but also too little.
Posted by AlisterCat

If you go on the Crysis 2 forums now it's full on PC users, newly created accounts with names like 'CryCocks' making the most massively over dramatic statements you'll find about betrayal, feeling like the developer owes them something for not pirating the game, saying they are pirating the game just because there's no DX11, complaining that amazing graphics aren't quite enough, demanding refunds and telling a very successful company of highly talented people why they are bad at their jobs, and why this particular customer is right and could do it better.
 
It is a scary though of 'design by committee' for games in a place like the internet where people will act like a developer has committed a crime against themselves and their family., even though there's slightly more important injustice in the world like.. famine, or natural disasters like Japan has faced. I can't tell if it's an issue of maturity, or as you say entitlement.

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@DystopiaX:  I'm beginning to think I didn't make my point clearly enough. That's what I get for writing after I had a big dinner. What you say is where I'm going with it: the input itself is fine, criticism is great, but turning it into moral outrage when the issue is far from a global one is kinda loony toons.  Heck, even moral problems with games is fine, but I like to think that, eventually, they're just going to follow their vision, assuming it was a good enough vision to begin with.
 
As far as the PC community, it's pretty diverse, but I've seen the kinds of folks you mention. You'll find some people who are so into keeping up with the latest hardware that the rest of the PC market doesn't exist and is only screwing things up for the few people who want to get a new graphics card for christmas every year.
 
@Video_Game_King: I guess it depends on the process they have. There are some companies that have been pretty top-down, with the producers having enough confidence to let the creators, whether they're actually writers and designers or just lead programmers, go at it, and others have been "demographics suggest we need a space game, go!" I forget where I read about this or I'd link it, maybe I heard about it on that After Dark interview feature on Eurogamer, but there are a lot of different company structures, and the battle for specific games that goes on behind the scenes isn't always as one-sided as it might seem. Still, I'm willing to bet what you say might be the case in a lot of stuff we see, especially the stuff that feels like it's pandering a bit too much (argh), or that seems tailored to some key criticisms (yay).
 
I'd never suggest people not lean on them a bit. I've done it, whether or not I was a playtester, when I saw what seemed like a sensible direction for them to go in. They didn't always listen to me, but I never expected them to bow to my wishes because it's ultimately their product to fuck up. I guess that's my angle.
 
@Tordah: The Forge Town didn't really fit with how they sold the Heroes series, and I sorta wish that even if they had mechanical beasties that they were a bit more original with what they did make, but it totally fit with the Might and Magic series, of which Heroes was a subset, at least in a setting sense. I still remember my own reactions to them, which was "man, this doesn't look too good. I hope this is just drawing board stuff." I was appalled by the hate a lot of people unleashed on New World Computing, but I was sort of hoping they might at least try a different approach. They may have sold the idea a bit better by making the units seem a bit more well-integrated, possibly having the upgraded troops have the machine parts or something. Water under the bridge, I guess.
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@AlisterCat:  Maybe entitlement is the wrong word, but it's sometimes used colloquially for what you say, more of a lack of maturity when you see stuff kind of like what you're talking about. I wondered if it was an issue of maturity, but even that has a derisive undertone that doesn't fit what I'm trying to say. I guess I could have put it better.
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

A certain degree of entitlement as a consumer is healthy.  Bitching and moaning on the Internet because a game franchise is trying to appeal to a wider audience or sell more copies by making smart business changes is not.  Where's the line?  I don't really know.  Consumers have become almost their own worst enemy thanks to pirating and the used game trade.  I think we need to recognize that if we want to see sweeping changes made to franchises, we need to encourage intelligent discussion, positive critical thinking, and stop treating the Internet like the dumping ground of ten year old children.  
 
Now THAT'S a fucking pipe dream, but still... you'd be surprised at what people will read and listen to when it's well written and not full of stereotypical Internet buggery.

Moderator
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Sparky_Buzzsaw:  I think criticism done right increases the chance it's read, and people who know what they're doing will read that criticism and grow from it. Goes for just about any medium. I've heard some people say ignore all criticism at all times because the masses don't know what they want, but of course that's idiotic, and you see a lot of examples in history, even the history of entertainment, where ignoring others completely is tantamount to being in your own world. Since I believe entertainment is just another form of communication, if you ignore too much then all you're doing is pleasing yourself, which does no one any good (including yourself, strangely enough).
 
I do think that a little idealism, and basic civility, wind up going a good distance. I mentioned in the comments about some guy harassing an independent developer for not adding cheat codes to his game, but I didn't mention the sensible backlash that whiner got in the forums afterward. A lot of straightforward criticisms were accepted, but stuff as extreme as the cheat code rant wasn't tolerated. It helps to have a community that's set up to foster that divide between blind acceptance and verbal assault. I guess that gets harder and harder the bigger the company's following is, though.
Posted by JeanLuc

Great blog. I've been think about this exact same thing recently. I have a friend whose sense of entitlement about games could rival the majority of the internet.

Edited by Astras

 
Interesting, I think every consumers opinion is relevant. I remember when I used to work In Game (retailer) about 10 years ago, we used to have a 10 day return policy whereby if customers were not happy with a product they could return the game and exchange it. 
Of course this system is stopped now because it turned the shop into more of a 10 day rental store, but I feel that consumers are entitled to their opinions. 
 
Of course we have been trained into thinking that the individuals opinion is irrelevant in modern society, for me that is not the case, every opinion is valid and a representation of that consumers experience of the product, no matter how warped or distorted it seems.
 
Your topic is interesting but to me not a representation 'for me' of some of the problems that are in the gaming industry and effect game development, you cannot just say that people don't have a right to complain about a product which they purchased. Okay I agree that some of the problems such as "The game does not have cheat codes" is a ridiculous complaint, but the internet has definitely helped strengthen the voices of the individuals, I know for one I certainly read USER reviews before parting with any money now.  
 
I understand your point about larger companies getting 'anti government' type flak. But that's because of the experiences we have received from allot of these companies in terms of products and quality. I agree that some communities have what seems like a crusade against these companies, but much of the time it's because they churn out 'third rate products' year after year and care more about their yearly growth figure than being "Innovative, creative and consumer orientated."  
The words "Risk assessment" often ring in my head when I see another release, usually a sequel churned out from one of the big companies, it is often the same words which govern their development life cycle and is responsible for very safe, very familiar and ultimately dull gaming experiences.
 
For me there are many great developers out there, over the last 10 years I would give a great shout out to: 
 Blizzard, Bioware, CCP, Bestheda, Konami, Stardock, Gas powered games. 
 For I feel taking huge risks to try and make great games.


Although there are just some reasons where companies deserve all the crap they get, and yes if you buy that product from a retailer and the product is not a true representation of what was advertised then I do feel more tighter controls should be in place such as:

  • Some of the practices that developers of MMO's employ: releasing unfinished games, being cryptic with their content, advertising features which are such a false representation of what was advertised that it should be a crime, releasing unfinished games. One of the worst developers in this market for me is Cryptic studio's who I would say make churn out MMO's that are basically rushed, unfinished and often broken.  
 
To finish with
Back when I used to have a NES, I would of loved to be able to see user reviews, all I was able to read about was reviews from magazines that were trying to basically sell you a product. I remember buying some Terrible games at £30+ English pounds each. 
I do feel that the empowerment of the voice of the individual has saved me money as a consumer and gave developers who take the 'Safe' approach(*for example release last years sports game, with VERY minor improvements) or devs who make just down right poor games, less chance to steal hard working money.  
 
To turn around on a forum of all places and say that internet whiners and critics should just simply "Grow up and stop whining because your criticisms don't matter" is ignorant (especially on giant bomb of all places).

For me all opinions are valid, you have to view them as sort of a historian would view a point in history represented by the accounts of different individuals with different perceptions of an event. Important business practice for a developer is to address these complaints and critisms also, in the age of communication, for me most of the time they really have no choice.
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Astras:  When you quote  "Grow up and stop whining because your criticisms don't matter"    I'm not sure who you're quoting there, but I'm pretty sure I never said criticism in general isn't valid. If I'm guilty of anything it's not plainly stating what I feel and citing specific examples of opinions that go too far and muddle legitimate debate.  Suggesting that that's my opinion is creating a straw man, so to speak.
 
And yet I do think it's pretty clear that in the end a company can't keep listening to every random thing someone says, that eventually they have to buckle down and try to create something, and that means, yes, ignoring some people who came too late to the party, or who don't make a strong enough point.  Given that the development cycle of a game can last a LONG time, this can only be emphasized further because it's simply impossible for them to take everything to heart. I believe consumers often do have valid points, especially since they come from the outside. Being an outsider myself I see the value in getting other opinions, like the ones expressed in the comments here, to help come to a better understanding of the world at large. But too much dependence on that brings about the very pandering you warn against, where people create sub-quality garbage in order to check off demographics boxes and please no one by trying to please everyone.
 
But perhaps part of my problem is that I still look at creative content in games as an expression of something. There are plenty of shit games out there that pander, and they get plenty of arguably undeserved attention and praise simply because they're creating a shared experience that a lot of people can get in on, even if all it is is yet another version of shooting dudes in the head that's no better, and perhaps even worse, than the last ten iterations of the exact same game.
Posted by Khann
@ahoodedfigure said:
" @Astras:  When you quote  "Grow up and stop whining because your criticisms don't matter"    I'm not sure who you're quoting there, but I'm pretty sure I never said criticism in general isn't valid. If I'm guilty of anything it's not plainly stating what I feel and citing specific examples of opinions that go too far and muddle legitimate debate.  Suggesting that that's my opinion is creating a straw man, so to speak. And yet I do think it's pretty clear that in the end a company can't keep listening to every random thing someone says, that eventually they have to buckle down and try to create something, and that means, yes, ignoring some people who came too late to the party, or who don't make a strong enough point.  Given that the development cycle of a game can last a LONG time, this can only be emphasized further because it's simply impossible for them to take everything to heart. I believe consumers often do have valid points, especially since they come from the outside. Being an outsider myself I see the value in getting other opinions, like the ones expressed in the comments here, to help come to a better understanding of the world at large. But too much dependence on that brings about the very pandering you warn against, where people create sub-quality garbage in order to check off demographics boxes and please no one by trying to please everyone. But perhaps part of my problem is that I still look at creative content in games as an expression of something. There are plenty of shit games out there that pander, and they get plenty of arguably undeserved attention and praise simply because they're creating a shared experience that a lot of people can get in on, even if all it is is yet another version of shooting dudes in the head that's no better, and perhaps even worse, than the last ten iterations of the exact same game. "
It seems to me that your point is less about entitlement, and more that devs shouldn't listen to stupid people. 
 
I agree. 
 
But not all of the community is stupid.
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Khann: 
 
I'm pretty sure I didn't, at any time, say all of the community is stupid. I'm beginning to wonder if this binary reading that some people have had on this blog entry is just how arguments tend to be conducted, and that I can't take it personally. If I argue for a slight push in one direction, it seems I'm perceived as shoving as hard as I can. 
 
Yet the word entitlement is often thrown out there to mean, y'know, entitlement bitches, specific people who think the world revolves around them. Maybe my using it in that emotive way, rather than the more neutral meaning of simply being entitled to something, which can be taken a lot of different ways, might have resulted in all these frayed edges.
Posted by Khann
@ahoodedfigure said:
" @Khann:   I'm pretty sure I didn't, at any time, say all of the community is stupid. I'm beginning to wonder if this binary reading that some people have had on this blog entry is just how arguments tend to be conducted, and that I can't take it personally. If I argue for a slight push in one direction, it seems I'm perceived as shoving as hard as I can.   Yet the word entitlement is often thrown out there to mean, y'know, entitlement bitches, specific people who think the world revolves around them. Maybe my using it in that emotive way, rather than the more neutral meaning of simply being entitled to something, which can be taken a lot of different ways, might have resulted in all these frayed edges. "
I was more referring to the post I quoted, not the original blog entry. 
 
And no, you didn't say all of the community was stupid. I was saying that a large portion of the community is stupid, but that there was some valuable discussion to be found amongst the shit.
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Khann:  I definitely believe that myself, otherwise I wouldn't see much point in writing for my own blog :)  Thanks for your comments.
Posted by QuistisTrepe

We're the consumers, we have every right to bitch. Some people are just over the top ridiculous, but feedback is always a good thing. Think of the changes that would never be made if we kept silent. (I'm looking at you Firaxis, keep those Civ V patches coming out)

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@QuistisTrepe:  Well, as far being ABLE to bitch, I'm pretty sure nothing save a giant asteroid will slow that down. Yet I really don't think this is a black and white issue. I'm pretty sure companies wouldn't have such high walls around themselves as they do if more people knew what battles to pick (and those who had a problem with the company, but assumed they would never be heard so never said anything, would speak up, too). You get too many people complaining at once and all there is is noise. Since companies are filled with human beings, there's going to be some attrition after a while.
 
Not sure if there is a solution, but people on the extreme end, which is what I'm talking about pretty much, might benefit from a little more respect if they expect their opinions to be taken seriously. And still, I'll keep saying it, at some point a company has to dig in their heels and do something, because it's up to them to actually deliver.