CupofCocoa's forum posts

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#1 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@DanAmrich said:
" @CupOfCocoa:  I looked on Destructoid for anything involving Activision, PR and "Chaotic Evil" and didn't see it -- can you link to the source article that piqued your interest?   I agree that gaming companies have to be mindful of the culture they serve; they have to represent it authentically as well as stay profitable. But I don't think anybody is upset when a game company sells a game.  They are upset when the games they sell make them feel like they are not appreciated, and that can take many forms.  That said, I think @ProfessorEss hits on an interesting and rarely offered point. Gamers are quick to condemn, sometimes at the exclusion of praise for what they like, and they are generally binary in their feedback -- it's the best ever or it's the worst ever. There's a lot of absolute opinions expressed out there -- not all of which are even based on personal experience. and it's not stuff a publisher can take as actionable (or sometimes even rational) feedback. Lots of knee-jerk reactions make it hard to foster the conversation and community part of the cultural relationship you're discussing.   And it's honestly something I don't see in other passion hobbies -- I'm a big electric guitar nut, but I don't see people condemning Fender's latest model before they see it for themselves. They go "Hmm, could be interesting, even if I don't need or even want it." There's an open-mindedness and a larger world view in other customer/creator business relationships that gaming currently lacks. Maybe it's just maturity -- guitarists have been around longer than video games, and guitar design went through its awkward phase in the 60s. Maybe we still have some ways to go. "
Actually it is filed under "Satan" (I don't kid: while the article that finally made my write something about it is here: 
I think you (@DanAmrich) and @doejonathan pick up on the same issue: the maturity of both the culture and the wider industry. In a very technical sense gaming is in its infancy. And so it seems, there are issues in how we perceive games and their creators - thus also meaning we as culture is infant as well, with little history, little memory of "movements" or styles (or the similar phenomena) we find it other, older cultural mediums.
You mention guitars, and I think that it could be different. Perhaps a more suitable analogy - with equally powerful splitting force are other "products" of culture like songs, movies, books. A guitar is more a tool for creation then the creative product it self in so far music is the outlet. 
Within some cultural movements or hobbies, you can definitely find "Bach sucks! Bugger him and go Pussy Cat Dolls!" or "Dan Brown makes me sneeze flaming acorns". Perhaps it is an issue of other contexts that factor in on the "maturity" of a group in gaming and other hobbies? 
And thanks for the comment, it was very constructive. :) 
I'll  add on a personal note that I love to write and discuss things like this, but seeing notifications on "7 new comments" makes me nearly vomit blood so thanks for not chewing me out and instead adding some interesting points to the discussion. (Which on the same not is interesting that I feel, does this reflect on the gaming community as a whole or just that the Internet can be pretty unforgiving?)
#2 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@ProfessorEss: And have the corporations? Probably not, though we gamers and groups of us have blame to bear. Given a basic understanding of corporate behavior, the sacking, nitpicking, forcefulness and overall attitude of some figures and companies don't make for a good picture.  
Take any given group of humans with a interest in something, they will bitch all the day long about it. But even in such groups - and between groups we have valuable and worthwhile relations. Though it does not exist on a 1:1 basis - it's there. In the gaming world we have dedicated groups of players spending lots of time on test servers for example. We also have sub-groups, guilds, that work very well with each other but also help test the limits of the games that in the long-run benefit many others - there may or may not be other examples though I hope my point comes across.  Humans bitch a lot, but don't take it at face value, because if it was simply so, social sciences would be pointless. :P
@doejonathan: Good point. I agree and I think it can be equally important to remind people, publishers and developers of this - though sometimes it probably don't come across between gamers "screaming hatred" or whatnot. This might actually be interesting counter point to my earlier statement: business innovation is important as well, meaning that trying out strategies to profit from games also means doing some pretty... interesting things. Though underlining the consequences (jobs, opinion, etc) is good practice in any case. I will watch the Spielberg interview later - thank you for the link.
Funny thing: The Destructoid article regarding Activision, which started this whole thread, did attach the prefix "evil" to every mention of Activision.
#3 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@sofacitysweetheart: I think it would fit snuggly into their repertoire of, what I think any given "think of the children" group call, knife-face-murder-simulators. If one won't sell, then boobies.
#4 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@melcene:  Shareholders don't run Activision, they appoint a CEO (and the subsequent management) to run the day to day operations of the company. This since most of the time they themselves just have made an investment into the company and know little if anything about how to run it. This also means, as you say, that the CEO might as well know nothing about "vidja gamez" but know all about how make proper business decisions e.g. maximize profits. That's a distinction and that is also why development decisions necessarily shouldn't be placed in such a persons hands. That's why there is a corporate ladder, one division stands under another, given the trust to do the right decisions given the circumstances; the middlemen between being a manager and a developer etc. 

I don't know if this is much of an reply to your comment though but I agree that we need more examination of the corporate side of the gaming industry.
It wasn't by intention to make this a reply on business practice and ethics but sometimes it seems that it is prominent factor. :)
@hexx462: I have tried to devise a proper response, but I think I lack the space to do it. I'll try something shorter though: You might be right, Activision turned in over 800 billion USD on Black Ops so far, however - Guitar Hero is not doing as good to say the least. In my opinion we have very much mutually invested goods in each other. I expect from Activision or any other developer to produce good games, at a decent price and to treat gamers, their customers (and source of feedback in many cases) with dignity. Activision on the other hand might expect from me to buy a game, play it and say good things about. The first part of that is rooted in basic corporate economics and the latter in cultural and human social interactions. 
So what exactly do happen when they don't care? Well, we tell them to bugger off. Their sales go down, not much in the grand scheme though. However another part of sales lies in reviews. Reviews are made by gamers. There are other outlets through simple information like news blogs, boards etc that color peoples opinions. Eventually they leak out into reality with certain effects - big or small, depending very much on the specific circumstance.
This pragmatic argument has limits and maybe not the force one would like, but there are other concerns as well. People, gamers in this case, really do care about their specific outlet of culture (and the very specific nature and circumstances it has) and a continued reduction of it into mere wares will be the cost of their loyalty. If we can have and do have good relationships with studios and publishers of games I think we should do what we can to continue to have them for these "sentimental" reasons as well as for the few pragmatic reasons. 
And finally: is it really hurtful? Yes, I think so. Whether Activision likes it or not, their words and practices affect us and other actors in industry. Activision, being the biggest; will their practices force others to do the same, maybe producing sub-par games? How will it affect pricing? Development of new technologies when it is at least as useful to iterate "old games", give a guitar and call it new? 
I don't think you agree with me, but I think there is good reasons to be careful and suspicious of arguments and justifications of "being pricks" that stem from profit or magnitude when there is other concerns to think about. 
Thank you, both of you, for reading :) 
#5 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -

 Read today at Destructoid that a PR rep from Activision thinks that their current alignment in the eyes of gamers as "Chaotic Evil" or "Lawful Evil" (which is a debate in it self) is unjust and fleeting. This is ordinary, it's PR after all, however what some of the comments said made me a bit sad:

Let's look at two arguments, the first one we can call the "making-money-is-a-goal-duh" argument. The second we will call the "I-don't-care-I-buy games-regardless-of-where-they-come-from."

The latter one we can more or less dissmiss since it is a statment about preferens or personal shopping habits - which is can be challenged by other issues however, the first argument can be a game ender in the eyes of some:

It is true, a corporation is a entity that aims to make money for its shareholders. It's also true that this statment is redudant. We have many examples of corporations that actively earn money, develop expensive and great games and also hold great respect in the communties that flurish around them. What people essentially forget is that gaming, as business mind you, is very much embedded in the culture that also (forgive the following word) consumes it. You can, and some do, make extremly medicore or bland games that make some profit, but the great games that both become legend and make shareholders cum are products of this relationship.

Mind you, this is not an absolut rule or something like that. This is merley a finger pointed at something people forget, both gamers and developers. It is a mutual relationship: don't take gamers as idiots and for gamers: support the people that make the games you love.

Blink, and you might say this is some "doe-eyes bullshit" but think: games have interesting place in culture. They are unlike movies, music, books, theater and art - each that in it self has a very specific culture that nurtures, produces and feedback on it self to make new things. The diffrence, however is that gaming culture is so very closley connected, both historicly and presently, to the production of games.

This is why Activision's activties and statements, as a large publisher and owner of studios, are hurtful. It damages this relationship. It is fine to state that it is their mission to make as much money as they can and they a free to do so, but to state that this is somehow the very essence of the problem? That is plainly wrong. They have gone against whatever "bounds" or rules the relationship, the embedded culture, have. Utltimatley if this will define their bid for redemption or the change in gaming culture, I can not know.

If this is hard to understand, there are many likewise "unstated" rules in other cultural settings: 

Just because you can smoke at bus stop doesn't mean you should.
Just because you can wear a dress of pink, stuffed animals on the streets of Paris, doesn't mean you should.

#6 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@AzureSupernova: Oh yes! I don't deny that fact - I would argue that what is perhaps most sad is that it has such potential but that the game won't let you get the opportunity to use the insane amount of attacks, combos and specials -  hence the button mashing. Rather more pathetic is the so called "dodge" system which was completely useless...
#7 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@AzureSupernova: I tried that approch - in the end, going tank on it was the solution. Bah!

@Jeust: On that note, finished a few hours ago on Medium, need to sleep on this before writing a more concise review though. Argh...
#8 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@Jeust: Haha :P You bet on that I won't eitther :P
#9 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@Jeust: I wouldn't go that far... this game is no piece of cake...
#10 Posted by CupofCocoa (25 posts) -
@Jeust: Thanks - I actually made it now. Should have explained I was on the second part of the battle, and tanks was the only way to go. :)
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