Ooblets subjected to scores of hate mail for signing exclusivity deal with Epic Store

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Onemanarmyy

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#51  Edited By Onemanarmyy
@notnert427 said:

@brackstone:

The conversation to be had here shouldn't be about the trivial-ass topic of if EGS is a quality storefront. It should be trying to figure out how in the fuck things have gotten bad enough to where an opinion on that elicits legit hatred/threats/harassment. That's reprehensible and incomprehensible. I'm not saying we're going to solve that here on GB or that anyone here is really defending it, but holy hell, lines were definitely crossed in this thing and that really shouldn't be ignored.

Sadly that seems to be happening all over the place. In the last 24 hours i've read about the death threats against these devs, Taylor Swift fans harassing Charli XCX because she said in an interview that opening for Taylor Swift felt a bit like she was waving at 5 yo kids given that she's used to perform for adult audiences at her own shows, and a football player's restaurant getting review bombed because he made a transfer to a different team. Oh you also have the sports fans that like to toss out racist shouts to 'throw a rival player off his game'. Somehow that's the pinnacle of support for your own team to some folk. People are very mad at the dumbest things and do whatever they can to deliver noticeable hardships to the person they're upset with. And it turns out that it's quite easy to achieve that nowadays.

What makes the Epic launcher different than all the other launchers out there is that they're actively upsetting the apple cart, while stores like GOG, Bethesda, Origin & Bethesda just exist for their own games and some welcome others that want to be a part of the store. Epic is actively taking 3rd party games away from competing platforms, some of which already had store pages up. Some of which walk out of a crowdfunding session being funded by fans. That causes friction. Because Epic wants to retain visibilty for the selection of games they put money into, a game like Android Assault Cactus gets turned away from the store, despite being a very decent indiegame with good scores across the board. If you're an indiegame on the Epic store without a deal, you fade to obscurity. Games like Phoenix Point, Donut Country or Gorogoa are only visible if you know it's there and you're willing to scroll down the frontpage 20x. If you find it, you better buy it immediatly because there's no way to remind yourself of those games.

Sure, those games might not be the most popular compared to games like Borderlands 3, but Steam at least has multiple options in place to still lead you to the smaller games. Personally the last 2 games i bought were A Pixel Story & The Next Big Thing. Obscure games that are fairly old already, but i found by using a combination of Steam curators, Steam reviews, the wishlist & steam forums (when i got stuck in a challenge room of a pixel story). Epic just doesn't bother at all with visibility for the smaller games they haven't signed deals with. That's very dissapointing.

They also mess with the game valuation of other devs games by having strange sales where new games suddenly cost 10 bucks less, which has forced some devs to get off the store temporarily because they didn't agree with this. The lack of regional pricing options also made it hard to impossible for a bunch of people to actually be buying the games on the platform. For some it might be as simple as downloading a new launcher & making an account on there. For others the game they wanted to play is suddenly not available to them anymore or they have gotten priced out of it. On top of that there are some weird technical errors with the launcher. I had to re-download it twice because it would just show a blank screen. They also seem convinced that i'm a russian paying with rubles, despite having 0 ties to russia, never used a russian VPN and my account has not been breached. Probably solvable if i were to start a new library on this platform, but it's another blockade.

Finally, every game that's being sold has to give up a part of it's revenue (minimum of 5%) to the streamers & creators whose tags get used by the customers that buy a game. Which is a clear attempt to have all creators, big & small choose for the financially sensible option to make content for the games that are available on the Epic store over other stores. Suddenly even a modest up & coming streamer would be better off to play the big Epic Store games that sell well for that revenue cut, instead of forming a channel that's all about a certain niche & highlighting the quality games that fit in, regardless of store. Making a living as a content creator is hard, so these financial incentives do matter. Not only is that another blow for smaller games, it also turns the valuation of the game messy. Are you going to offer 15% of your revenue to creators to have more online exposure than a comparable game that only offers 10%? Do you suddenly have to adjust your base pricepoint to make it worthwhile for creators to consider making content around your game due to the revenue sharing? If your game gets denied to be on the Epic store, do you still need to give a revenue cut to creators to have a chance for some exposure? Wait wasn't this whole store supposed to be about devs taking more money home instead of sharing it around?

That said, right now it makes 100% sense for the selected games to take these deals. They are just too good to neglect. Get paid. But in the longterm it might have a negative effect for smaller games. Let's hope i'm wrong. But the culture of chuckleheads trying to make people miserable whenever a choice or opinion negatively affects them is fucking terrible. Like it's clear that i'm not a fan of Epic and am not looking to spend money on their platform, but i'm not going out there spreading my fury around the place. I'll just wait a year and add it to my library on the platform that i'm satisfied with. Sadly that puts me on the same side that's out there making death threats.

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Brackstone

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@notnert427: If you do a little bit of research, you'll see why exactly it's not just a launcher. That's what I'm getting at, people have constantly explained how it's not just a launcher but every time the epic game store comes up, everyone trots out the "it's just a launcher" explanation which just isn't true. It's honestly exhausting because it ignores the reality that the video game market exists worldwide.

To give you just a taste: https://old.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/bb66bf/epic_games_store_12_cut_explained_buyer_takes_on/

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FinalDasa

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#53 FinalDasa  Moderator

I'm talking about how they're going to sustain a storefront with such a low cut while relying on massive payouts to gain exclusives, how only games/devs with established markets and fans seem to get spots on the store, how small games absolutely will get turned down because Epic has to manually add each game to the store which means there's a limited number of games they can add each month/year, how Valve uses their higher cut to fund projects that make gaming affordable all over the world for both consumers and devs, and how the epic store hurts all stores instead of just steam. But every time a game goes exclusive, it's a bunch of "it's just another storefront you have to download" "valve takes an unfair cut" "valve has a monopoly" "this is good for smaller devs" and "competition is good". I'm not saying valve is a saint, their hands off approach to running a storefront has so many issues of it's own, but the Epic store has serious problems that can't be hand waved away.

1. how they're going to sustain a storefront with such a low cut while relying on massive payouts to gain exclusives:

Epic is worth around $15 billion. And if you're unsure if the EGS will be here five years from now due to intense spending, just don't use it.

2. how only games/devs with established markets and fans seem to get spots on the store

Smart decision making? Why pay money to random games if your goal is to get new users? Also this isn't true. I had never heard of Satisfactory before it was released on EGS. Steam started as a Valve game storefront before slowing adding games, it happens with time. And again, if you're unsure, don't use it.

3. how small games absolutely will get turned down because Epic has to manually add each game to the store which means there's a limited number of games they can add each month/year

I assume Epic will update this. I 100% doubt they'll just add every game manually from here to eternity. And if you're worried it'll be a limited storefront, then don't use it.

4. how Valve uses their higher cut to fund projects that make gaming affordable all over the world for both consumers and devs

Not sure what you're talking about? Sales? That is really nice, especially since consoles don't hold as steep of sales as often (though they're doing much better). Steam has also been for 15 years. That's 15 years of building PC gaming support all around the world. EGS is 8 months old. Expecting them to have infrastructure in place equal to and industry veteran is a lot of pressure.

5. how the epic store hurts all stores instead of just steam

Competition is good. Steam isn't exactly in the middle of a heated market percentage battle. GOG and itch.io do fine but they aren't in the same league as Steam. Steam needed competition. Stream, the storefront once maligned for being constant DRM, became the defacto standard and that includes the positives and negatives. Having another storefront compete can only help push Valve to improve their product and compete.

Does Epic have issues? Totally. But that doesn't mean it's the devil or what they're doing is bad for business. If consoles can have exclusives, why not PC storefronts? Honestly the entire thing should barely be an issue.

Kinda wish more people would get this heated up about work conditions.

But really, just don't use it if you don't like it? I still buy stuff mostly on Steam, Epic just sits there when I feel like I need it, not too difficult.

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Brackstone

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@finaldasa:

To address your points in order, sorry for the length.

  1. So why make the store? Presumably they want the store to be profitable eventually, because right now it's just hemorrhaging money. But their current pace is not sustainable at all. It's not about whether or not the EGS is going to be around in 5 years, it's about what's going to change when that store has to start actually making money. Their current pace can't last long term, and if their current pace includes a store as barebones as it is, what happens when they slow down?
  2. It cuts into the idea that the Epic Game Store is indie friendly, which is a big part of their messaging. Only the big indie devs getting a place at the table isn't indie friendly at all. Satisfactory is from an established developer, they made Goat Simulator and Deep Rock Galactic, fairly successful indie games. Sure they aren't the biggest devs around but they've got a number of successes under their belt, they're a safe bet. Assault Android Cactus, the first game by an indie dev studio that was very successful, was not wanted on the Epic Game Store, and the dev had this to say (I linked resetera because some of the original tweets are deleted and I couldn't find pictures).
  3. They'll hopefully get there eventually, but we're in the now, and right now (in my opinion) the EGS is having a negative effect on the industry, so the "wait and see" approach kind of sucks. They're already several months behind with their roadmap. I don't have confidence they'll be able to catch up that soon, especially when it took them 3 months after release to add a search function to their store and they still to my knowledge don't have a shopping cart function. When an indie dev hears about how the revenue split is better and they want a fair price for their game, it sucks to hear they can't release it when they wanted to because all the slots are filled up with AAA devs Epic payed for exclusivity with (like Ubisoft). Similarly, as with Assault Android Cactus, being told "maybe in a year" kind of sucks when that's definitely not an option for most indie devs.
  4. This article does a good job explaining where that 30% goes and what valve can offer devs. Short summary of some of that and more: store features that are free to use (anti-cheat, dedicated servers), OpenVR SDK, footing the user fees for various payment options, steam keys (valve gets 0% off steam keys sold elsewhere), steam payment cards. Point being, a large part of Valve's 30% goes back into creating and maintaining features, it doesn't go directly to Gabe's knife collection like Epic would want you to think. To go back to what the dev of Assault Android Cactus said, Epic should be trying to do more than compete with 2003 era Valve, they should have learned something from valve's 15 years of mistakes and actually tried to compete by providing a better product. They have billions of dollars, they should at least be able to launch a store with a search function and a shopping cart.
  5. Epic's shennanigans meant GOG had to end their regional pricing rebates. This is the problem with the competition argument, everything Epic does to hurt Valve just hurts every other store more. They aren't ever going to really hurt Valve, Steam's never going away. But all those smaller stores? They actually get hurt by all this. The thing about Epic's strategy is that if Valve decides to compete, they can only compete in the same way as Epic, literally paying games to be exclusive, because Epic isn't providing actual competition with their store in terms of features. Nothing about Epic's strategy is going to compel Valve to become better because Epic doesn't really do anything better than Valve, what they do is buy exclusivity. It's a battle of money and the stores with less money can't survive.
  6. The big difference between console exclusives and PC store exclusives is one of investment and development. From Software can't just put Bloodborne on the switch even if they had permission, porting takes money and time, and everyone knows how messy a bad port can be, so it requires a lot of money and a lot of time to get right. Similarly, Bloodborne was funded by Sony from the ground up, it makes sense that they don't let Microsoft sell something they made themselves. EGS exclusives are usually timed and bought very, very late in development. Most Epic Game Store exclusives would still exist without the EGS, they have very few true exclusives. It wouldn't take much more money to put it on steam, nothing near what it takes to put a game on two different consoles. EGS exclusives are closer to the PS exclusive Destiny Raids or Call of Duty map packs hitting PS4 a month earlier. Practices that pretty much everyone hates. Finally, two wrongs don't make a right, just because other people do something bad all the time doesn't make it okay for you do to it too.

Now to speak more broadly to the topic instead of replying to specific people, and before this gets way off topic, I should clarify again, harassment of any kind is bad, the response the Ooblets devs received is not at all deserved. We do have to say that every time it happens, because there are evidently lots of people out there that don't understand that you should be nice to other people. It also has the bonus of keeping the jerks out of Giantbomb cause they see that this isn't the place for that crap.

I will add that couching "it's just a launcher, who cares" arguments in "harassment is bad, gamers suck" arguments makes it very easy to argue against people in bad faith. I don't think we got any bad faith arguments yet in this topic but when two previously separate conversations intersect like this (online harassment and EGS's place in the industry) the lines can get a little blurred. Similarly, it's fine to point out that the EGS does have issues and that the Ooblets devs could certainly have handled things better, but we need to be careful we don't take away from the fact that harassment is real, dangerous, harmful and never, ever warranted.

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Stormraider

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What are the point of all the people claiming we cant discuss the issues around this story because they received death threats? Are we supposed to just stop discussion the details around the story and just give "Thoughts and prayers" to the victims of the harassment?

The internet is full of bad people and is anyone really surprised that developers get death threats when they announce things that affect others? You regularly get death treats just by playing a match of your favorite MOBA game.

The only interesting thing about the story is the details on why the Ooblets devs got targeted and its because of their bad announcement. This is a textbook example of why every developer need a PR person even if you are just one or two person dev team. Its hard to distance yourself from feedback and communication with your players/consumers if you are also responsible for the development. Any criticism is going to feel personal and your message will be worse with every reply.

The announcement was not good. They where expecting people to be happy for them when the deal they made just benefit them and no one else. Everything written after "Angry at Epic, us, the world?" is just one of the worst pr moves ever. They iterate everything that has been proven false by EGS haters for months. The message had been better if they just left out all of that, although they already proved they don't understand the issues with the "This is exactly what Marx warned us about!" joke in the beginning.

Further more the communication after this has been bad as well. Telling the people on patreon they don't owe them anything and talk about gamers being entitled because they cant get the game on EGS or have to wait a year leaves a bad taste in the mouth and opens up questions on who are really entitled here.
I get the same vibe from the developers as I got from Phil fish. Someone that thinks they are better than others and don't need to listen to anyone, and want to tell everyone else why they are wrong.
I can understand the bad communication after all the hate they got though, and that's why its important to have someone else doing the communication, someone not to close to the development to take it personal.

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notnert427

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@brackstone:

Thank you for detailing the issues with EGS. As someone who admittedly doesn't use it, it was nice to be able to read through and consider some reasonable criticisms of it that weren't mixed within awful death threats. I wasn't aware of some of the regional stuff and can empathize there, but I still don't much buy into the idea of EGS overall being appreciably more worthy of criticism than other storefronts, which all similarly have their own advantages and drawbacks.

I do also struggle with this recent desire from the gaming community to insert themselves within the business of gaming. It's clear that you've put some actual thought towards this and consideration beyond surface-level, cherry-picked talking points (and I really appreciate that), but that's very atypical of most gamer arguments. It seems like the vast majority of gamers have little to no understanding of business and expect everyone to just make nonsensical financial decisions to best serve their personal preferences.

I guess my point is who are we to tell devs what they apparently can and can't do? It's their prerogative to stay indie or sign on with a publisher, and I feel like their decision should at the very least be understandable even for those who aren't fans of Epic or the EGS. Our role as gamers is to buy or not buy their game and that's about it, so IMO, this tangential stuff isn't worth making much of a fuss over, and damn sure shouldn't precipitate death threats.

What are the point of all the people claiming we cant discuss the issues around this story because they received death threats? Are we supposed to just stop discussion the details around the story and just give "Thoughts and prayers" to the victims of the harassment?

The internet is full of bad people and is anyone really surprised that developers get death threats when they announce things that affect others? You regularly get death treats just by playing a match of your favorite MOBA game.

The only interesting thing about the story is the details on why the Ooblets devs got targeted and its because of their bad announcement. This is a textbook example of why every developer need a PR person even if you are just one or two person dev team. Its hard to distance yourself from feedback and communication with your players/consumers if you are also responsible for the development. Any criticism is going to feel personal and your message will be worse with every reply.

The announcement was not good. They where expecting people to be happy for them when the deal they made just benefit them and no one else. Everything written after "Angry at Epic, us, the world?" is just one of the worst pr moves ever. They iterate everything that has been proven false by EGS haters for months. The message had been better if they just left out all of that, although they already proved they don't understand the issues with the "This is exactly what Marx warned us about!" joke in the beginning.

Further more the communication after this has been bad as well. Telling the people on patreon they don't owe them anything and talk about gamers being entitled because they cant get the game on EGS or have to wait a year leaves a bad taste in the mouth and opens up questions on who are really entitled here.

I get the same vibe from the developers as I got from Phil fish. Someone that thinks they are better than others and don't need to listen to anyone, and want to tell everyone else why they are wrong.

I can understand the bad communication after all the hate they got though, and that's why its important to have someone else doing the communication, someone not to close to the development to take it personal.

Discuss what you want (and we are), but I'm just saying that from a perspective standpoint, even the most nefarious/broken launcher doesn't hold a candle in my book to the fact that gamers are capable of rapidly escalating to frightening extremes. Yeah, the internet and real world are full of bad people, but as gaming is our community, we ought to police it a little. The worst of the MOBA communities do not need to become the norm, but acceptance of it is how it happens. We should actively try not to just get used to awfulness so it doesn't proliferate via apathy. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing and all that.

You're not wrong that devs could use a PR person for this sort of thing, but that's someone else being paid and therefore greater need for more financial stability. And yes, this was absolutely a PR nightmare. However, the vibe I got was that these guys were just frustrated and vented more than they should have. I get that, especially when people are telling them "epic sucks, i'm gonna pirate your game now LOLZ" or when patreon funds are struggling to pay the bills, both of which seemingly happened here. And so they fired back a little in their announcement,at which point they apparently became fair game in the minds of many for as much horrible shit that the internet could come up with, which is very not okay.

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TheHT

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@sweep said:

As we're all no doubt familiar, attempts to derail a conversation or muddy the waters with specious allegations are the base tactic of internet assholes everywhere, often for little reason other than they enjoy causing trouble. Perhaps it's just because I've been moderating this site for 8 years but does it seem to anyone else that we, as a society, have grown increasingly worse at dealing with this shit? What happened to "Don't feed the troll"? That was a meme 10 years ago and it's like we collectively forgot and now everyone is a conspiracy theorist.

Yes. Just a big yes.

I like to think it's just the sort of thing where society at large is new getting in on this bs and has to learn how to actually deal with this shit, but no. Just no. We're all fucked.

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Stormraider

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Discuss what you want (and we are), but I'm just saying that from a perspective standpoint, even the most nefarious/broken launcher doesn't hold a candle in my book to the fact that gamers are capable of rapidly escalating to frightening extremes. Yeah, the internet and real world are full of bad people, but as gaming is our community, we ought to police it a little. The worst of the MOBA communities do not need to become the norm, but acceptance of it is how it happens. We should actively try not to just get used to awfulness so it doesn't proliferate via apathy. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing and all that.

You're not wrong that devs could use a PR person for this sort of thing, but that's someone else being paid and therefore greater need for more financial stability. And yes, this was absolutely a PR nightmare. However, the vibe I got was that these guys were just frustrated and vented more than they should have. I get that, especially when people are telling them "epic sucks, i'm gonna pirate your game now LOLZ" or when patreon funds are struggling to pay the bills, both of which seemingly happened here. And so they fired back a little in their announcement,at which point they apparently became fair game in the minds of many for as much horrible shit that the internet could come up with, which is very not okay.

Several posts alluded to it not being acceptable to criticize the details surrounding the Ooblet devs messaging and I was responding to that.

I just feel like all these discussions always turn out the same. The news hits, and when it is reported on, the death threats have already hit and then you are not allowed to criticize the messaging that led up to the harassment, because then you are victim blaming. So it ends with condolences to the victims "thoughts and prayers" and we cant talk about it until it happens again to someone else.

In this case, no matter what they would have said they still would have received harassment because a group of people hate EGS that much. The are a lot of legitimate reasons not to want to support EGS and those are being swept away by devs and media outlets as not important, but it does affect the customers. Even GB are guilty of this. People are being asked to be quiet and "vote with your money", but if no none is listening or can calculate potential loss of sale, is that really working?

This makes a group of people not having any representation of their issues in the media. I think that can cause frustration that are then vented by targeting their "negative feedback"/hate directly at the companies that are doing the exclusive deals that are affecting them. This gives results, as media are reporting on it. Problem is that there are a lot of hateful people on the internet that like to jump on the bandwagon and not just express their disappointment on EGS exclusivity but need to send death threats, and then everything is destroyed, the discussion is now about that and not the original issue.

How we combat toxicity is an interesting question. Shouldn't it be the responsibility on the platform holder where the message is sent? If a death threat is sent on twitter, they should take action. If its on discord like in this case then the moderators of the discord should ban the people and take away the messages. That's why I'm saying that no matter how small of a developer you are, you are going to need people that is between you as a developer and the internet as a whole. Someone to take away the death threats and filter down the criticism to something more constructive than a torrent of screaming that unfiltered comments will feel like. Sure that will come with a cost, but it's a cost worth your sanity.

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loafofgame

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I'm a consumer. I currently have 24 free games in my EGS library, most of which are very good. I'm a satisfied consumer. Thank you, Ooblets devs, for giving me free games.

As long as I'm not entitled, I suppose. Don't people realize how much there is to consume? There's so much. There's no need to be entitled. How can anyone be entitled in this day and age? There's so much stuff.

We are consumers, we exert power by choosing what to consume. If we would just focus on that a little bit more, instead of consuming something we don't like and being an asshole about it in the process, maybe things would be different. Maybe we would be happier. I know I am.

I just feel like all these discussions always turn out the same. The news hits, and when it is reported on, the death threats have already hit and then you are not allowed to criticize the messaging that led up to the harassment, because then you are victim blaming. So it ends with condolences to the victims "thoughts and prayers" and we cant talk about it until it happens again to someone else.

Maybe that's because, and this is just how I see it, many people (not all) who feel the need to criticize often do so in very definitive and absolute terms, confident that the like-minded comments they read are enough to disregard other views and absolves them of critically looking at their own thought process.

I've read a lot of comments saying the announcement was disrespectful to consumers and ridiculing supposedly 'entitled' people, but when I read it myself I found it very hard to believe that. I mean, sure, the announcement wasn't devoid of any opinion, but I feel like people might have been projecting more onto that piece of text than was actually there.

And if people then come in with claims that consumers were being disrespected, throwing me, also a consumer, on one big pile, suggesting this is way bigger than it is and insinuating that the announcement can really only be read in the way they read it, then I'm very quick to pick the side of the devs.

I can understand why this might be frustrating, but in the end the amount of shit the devs got far outweighs the fact that they handled their communication poorly. So yeah, we can't talk about the latter anymore, because shitty people ruined it for everyone. Everything you say regarding the poor communication on the dev's part is a justification for the actions of shitty people, even if that's not your intention at all.

And to be honest, you can't really have this discussion until the shitty people stop being shitty. The messaging prior to the shit either affected you or it didn't, which might be a balanced starting point for a discussion. However, the shit throws this balance off. It's not just about discussing the poor messaging anymore, it's about discussing the poor messaging in the context of a shit storm.

Any concerns about the messaging are moot, because the devs were already disproportionately punished. So what is the point of discussing it really? People who are critical of the poor communication basically got what they wanted, albeit far worse than they would probably like.

And the people who were not affected by the poor messaging just want to support the devs who got all the shit. Why does the poor messaging matter so much if the amount of shit it causes is so disproportionate?

In this case, no matter what they would have said they still would have received harassment because a group of people hate EGS that much. The are a lot of legitimate reasons not to want to support EGS and those are being swept away by devs and media outlets as not important, but it does affect the customers. Even GB are guilty of this. People are being asked to be quiet and "vote with your money", but if no none is listening or can calculate potential loss of sale, is that really working?

Isn't this exactly what the 'entitlement' argument is about? If it turns out that not enough people vote with their wallet, doesn't that simply mean that others have to accept that they lost this battle? That they can't come in and make broad claims about how this affects customers in general. Because apparently it doesn't. The fact is that it affects a group of people that seem unwilling to accept that in this great capitalist society they might not be part of the majority and therefore have to accept that they can't have it all their way.

I'm a customer/consumer just like you, but I support EGS. It gets me free games every week. There might be legitimate reasons not to support EGS, but that doesn't matter to me. And I bet I'm not the only one. If we outnumber you, you'll just have to admit defeat and watch how we idiots destroy gaming.

As I said, there is so much stuff. So much. It's almost depressing how much I don't have to care about these Ooblets devs. Just pick something else to consume.

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@loafofgame:

"Everything you say regarding the poor communication on the dev's part is a justification for the actions of shitty people, even if that's not your intention at all."

I completely disagree with that. The communication part of the devs is the catalyst for the amount of response. The tone and content of the response is another another part. Condemning one part does not make one approve the other. Both parties can have faults in their messaging. And obviously the response part is way worse. But personally I think that part is uninteresting to discuss, because what else can you say but condemn the people sending death threats and say its not acceptable?

I think its more interesting to discus the reason why people feel so strongly about this, but if it might be just me.

In Ooblets case the "entitled" comment I read from them was regarding the patreons. They said they didn't do Kickstarter because they didn't want to owe anything to entitled gamers. Their defense is that their patreon tiers does not include promise of a game. Personally I think that's a hard argument to sell when you are taking peoples money for game development. Technically they might be right, but I don't think all the people on patreon feel the same.
I would say its far to early to tell if voting with your wallet works yet. The answer for that we will know in a year when the exclusivity period is over. If a game theoretically sells more on steam in a shorter period than it did on EGS a year later, then that would show a pretty clear message. That does not seam likely to happen though.
In the case of only having free EGS games I would argue you are not a costumer until you have actually spent any money. Because one of the issues EGS still has as far as I know is that EGS pushes the transaction fees to the customer. Making games sometimes a lot more expensive compared to competing platforms.
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BaconHound

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#61  Edited By BaconHound

I'm a customer/consumer just like you, but I support EGS. It gets me free games every week. There might be legitimate reasons not to support EGS, but that doesn't matter to me. And I bet I'm not the only one. If we outnumber you, you'll just have to admit defeat and watch how we idiots destroy gaming.

You're not. I've purchased one game on Epic and pre-ordered another...and I have 20+ games in my library. I really couldn't care less what problems other people have with the store - it has worked fine for me and I've gotten a bunch of free games. If the entire industry collapses as a result, oh well. I'll find something more productive to do with my time.

On topic, the reaction to this exclusivity announcement has been inexcusable. The devs released a poorly thought-out statement/response, but it shouldn't really matter what they say/do; the consumer's choice is to buy the product or not. Anything beyond that is completely inappropriate. Pissed about their business decision? Don't buy the game. Shut up. Move on.

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loafofgame

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#62  Edited By loafofgame

I completely disagree with that. The communication part of the devs is the catalyst for the amount of response. The tone and content of the response is another another part. Condemning one part does not make one approve the other. Both parties can have faults in their messaging. And obviously the response part is way worse. But personally I think that part is uninteresting to discuss, because what else can you say but condemn the people sending death threats and say its not acceptable?

I think its more interesting to discus the reason why people feel so strongly about this, but if it might be just me.

It would be a potentially interesting discussion to be had, but it is ruined by the disproportionate backlash, which overshadows the whole thing. The devs might have been at fault if their messaging lead to fewer sales or people politely voicing their disappointment. But that is not the case. It lead to vitriol and hate, for which the devs are not in any way to blame, regardless of what they said. This stuff happens in a context and you can't disregard that for the sake of discussion.

If you want to discuss the question you pose, you need to frame it differently and not connect it to people's reactions to something a dev said. This is not the place, because all you're going to get here is "whatever you say is irrelevant, because the backlash was way out of line". The announcement of the dev is merely a trigger, it is not the reason people feel so strongly about this. So talk about the actual reason. Which probably lies with companies doing shitty things in this case.

If you're coming in with "I don't condone this, but..." the discussion is over. Because you are putting some of the blame in the shoes of the devs and that is enough for any idiot to feel justified in their actions. If you go elsewhere and start with "Epic's conduct is problematic, because..." you're basiscally talking about the same thing, but without telling the devs they are partly to blame for the shit they get. They don't deserve it, they are not to blame, the people who threw the shit are to blame and they are getting away with it every single time.

In Ooblets case the "entitled" comment I read from them was regarding the patreons. They said they didn't do Kickstarter because they didn't want to owe anything to entitled gamers. Their defense is that their patreon tiers does not include promise of a game. Personally I think that's a hard argument to sell when you are taking peoples money for game development. Technically they might be right, but I don't think all the people on patreon feel the same.

That's speculation. There is no reason to assume people on patreon gave the devs money because they expected to be given a game on their terms. If they did, then that's completely on them. They shouldn't have expected that. Patreon is there for people to give money to other people they like or who make something they like. It generally doesn't lead to something you can own or claim. I'm sorry, but you again seem to blame the devs for other people having the wrong expectations or wrongfully feeling like they are owed something. Also, they are not taking money from patrons, they are being given that money. Arguably the same, but a whole different tone.

You might find it a hard argument to sell, but some people just want to give money to something, because they like it or because it makes them feel good, not because they expect something in return. Like a charity. If you don't want to do that and you want something in return, don't support it. But people shouldn't put words in other people's mouths by claiming that the patrons are owed a game on whatever platform. Or that customers in general are owed a game on whatever platform. That is not how this works.

In the case of only having free EGS games I would argue you are not a costumer until you have actually spent any money. Because one of the issues EGS still has as far as I know is that EGS pushes the transaction fees to the customer. Making games sometimes a lot more expensive compared to competing platforms.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have also bought games on EGS. ;-P No mental gymnastics are going to help here. I'm supporting that platform. I'm the terrible destroyer of gaming and you're just going to have to accept it. :-P I'm the actual customer here. I want the stuff and I don't care how I get it. Face the dark future.

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Stormraider

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#63  Edited By Stormraider

@loafofgame said:


In the case of only having free EGS games I would argue you are not a costumer until you have actually spent any money. Because one of the issues EGS still has as far as I know is that EGS pushes the transaction fees to the customer. Making games sometimes a lot more expensive compared to competing platforms.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have also bought games on EGS. ;-P No mental gymnastics are going to help here. I'm supporting that platform. I'm the terrible destroyer of gaming and you're just going to have to accept it. :-P I'm the actual customer here. I want the stuff and I don't care how I get it. Face the dark future.

That's fine, you are allowed to do whatever you want, its not about mental gymnastics. You can excuse missing features and a subpar ecosystem when you get things for free compared to when you are paying for it. But not everyone is affected of some of things EGS are being criticized for. You should get a tag that says "Destroyer of gaming" that would be fun :)

When you mentioned only free games I was reminded of the discussion when HOTS changed its purchase model from buying skins to lootboxes. The people complaining then was the people who spent money in the old system, because they didn't want to get skins through gambling, and when the option to purchase skins came back, they tippled the prices. The only people that where happy with the new system was the people that never spent any money in the game, since they got some free skins. The result was that people that purchased things in the past stopped, and the new players was happy with the free stuff. And now the game is on blizzards maintenance mode for not making enough revenue.

Regarding the other points, I don't really want to discuss the other points any further. I have shared my opinion and said what I want about EGS and others disagree, that's fine by me. But it was nice to have a civil discussion for once at least.

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devise22

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@loafofgame said:

In the case of only having free EGS games I would argue you are not a costumer until you have actually spent any money. Because one of the issues EGS still has as far as I know is that EGS pushes the transaction fees to the customer. Making games sometimes a lot more expensive compared to competing platforms.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have also bought games on EGS. ;-P No mental gymnastics are going to help here. I'm supporting that platform. I'm the terrible destroyer of gaming and you're just going to have to accept it. :-P I'm the actual customer here. I want the stuff and I don't care how I get it. Face the dark future.

When you mentioned only free games I was reminded of the discussion when HOTS changed its purchase model from buying skins to lootboxes. The people complaining then was the people who spent money in the old system, because they didn't want to get skins through gambling, and when the option to purchase skins came back, they tippled the prices. The only people that where happy with the new system was the people that never spent any money in the game, since they got some free skins. The result was that people that purchased things in the past stopped, and the new players was happy with the free stuff. And now the game is on blizzards maintenance mode for not making enough revenue.

I just wanted to respond to this, because I do think there is a general amount of misunderstanding on what "gamer entitlement" actually means and how widely you actually see it applied very loosely in arguments/issues.

Let's take a look at your HOTS example. It isn't that your in the wrong, or the people complaining are in the wrong about being given an unfair shake due to the change from skins, to loot boxes and back. Hell most would agree that them doing so then upping the skin prices, sucks. But that is where the complaint ends. It's a thing a company did that sucks. We are not entitled for them to fix it for us. You see?

Cellphone companies do this shit all the time. Short change existing clients because their model is hyper focused on signing new customers. Are we flooding their email inboxes with complaints and harassment? No. Why? Because that's business. There is this aspect of the game culture that feels because they have invested time and money into something that they are "owed" things they are not owed. It's one thing to be critical of something, like the issue you mentioned and then voice your displeasure as you spend your wallet on something you feel is smarter/more upfront. But the way the gaming community rallies and complains about stuff like this in an effort to "fix it" is the exact type of entitlement being discussed. That isn't to belittle the aspects of good community engagement, and how some of that can create better games.

It's like a point you made before about how voting with your wallet doesn't seem to work. Like that statement...confused me. Work to what end? It's not meant to work to the end that the person you stop supporting is forced to change and or adapt their practices. It's on them to do that. Period. Again, we aren't "owed" them doing that. If a game has business practices that a consumer dislikes and said consumer moves on, whether or not that game still exists is irrelevant. Whether or not people still support it's business practices is irrelevant. Unless they are breaking the law, it is not on us to "police" how they should or shouldn't be releasing games/content/what launcher they use/whatever. Not trying to harp on you because your arguments don't entirely seem in bad faith, it's just you see this a lot with debates around these issues. The idea that if someone isn't catered to the way a consumer likes, or in line with their current convenience that not only is it bad business, but it should be changed to reflect it.

It's also not indicative remotely of any other industry. Can you imagine me buying a Pepsi and someone standing in the store waiting to criticize me of my choice with a rationale argument as to why Coke is better? This is the same thing that is happening here. It doesn't matter that there is valid criticism, it's that people can still choose the other thing in spite of it. That is how this works. So why spend your time ridiculing the decisions other people/businesses make, especially when there is no controversy?

As for the harassment itself. Anyone who says that threads like this only exist to virtue signal needs to give their head a shake. Do you know why we need to all line up and say harassment is bad? Because enough people on the internet still rationalize and justify harassment in the face of criticisms. Does it suck that we have to take a harsh stance on this? Yes, because it does at times nullify the smaller debates that could be had on criticisms of the issues surrounding them. But anyone and everyone committing harassment should be shamed, and it's our job to make sure that the moment someone think it's okay to "latch onto" something real and relevant and make it about harassment that we make it about the harassment and only that until it stops. There will still be plenty of time to talk about the merits of the Epic Game launcher and a plethora of the other issues people brought up that were beside the point in here. But if you see harassment, if you know people who send emails to devs and do this shit...shame them. Talk to them, hell yell at them. THAT ISN'T GOOD, EVER PERIOD!

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Toxic developers get toxic responses - who would have thought.

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@devise22:You said a lot of things here and I cannot reply to all of it but I can try to clarify some points if it was unclear.

The HOTS example was not said as a point of entitlement, I mentioned it as a comparison on how opinion can be different based on if you are a free to play player or someone who paid money for skins. This was compared to a person that praises EGS store because of their free games but has no plans to actually purchase anything there. I know several people that does this but it was not relevant to loafofgame since he also spends money on the store.

Regarding voting with your wallet not working, this is more of a theory that some people might feel its not working since this is a effect that is seen over a long period of time if at all depending on if this is an issue others care about or not. For a "vote with your wallet" movement to be effective, the developers should also be informed on why someone does not purchase something so they can correlate that loss of sales data to an event.

I the case of HOTS the complaining did change things. They went from lootbox only skins to selling skins bundles again. But it took some time. First they started bundling different hero skins together to raise prices, most people only want skins for the heroes they play. So people complained again and after a long while we got back to the normal skins bundles they had, the same system they had before the lootbox change.

I guess you can see this any way you want. Either as entitled gamers wanting a specific thing, or customers that giving feedback to improve the monetization model for a game. Someone that want to spend money on a game they like but feel they cant. The tone on the feedback is probably what defines what side you chose to stand on.

So the point is I think it's important that people have the opportunity to say for example "This is important to me, and I will not purchase this game as long as its EGS exclusive" and not have their options ridiculed or belittled of the developers or other users. But they are not entitled to that change to happen. They are not here to "fix the game". That ultimately is the developers choice.

And that's why I think this story became such a big thing. The Ooblets devs messaging seemed condescending to people and they reacted with no sympathy for their issues of monetary problems.

I might have missed some of the news regarding rocket leauge's statement on going to EGS, but as far as I have read it did not receive the same amount of hate that Ooblets devs got, and my guess is that it has a lot to do with the messaging.

I think this video summaries what people are upset about and why. You might not agree at all and that's fine. When reading the Ooblets statement people will interpret the same message different. Some will say its jokingly and playful and others will call it condescending. I think we all have had misunderstandings over text messages before only to have it cleared out immediately when talking to the person.

At the same time I want to say that while I think it is peoples right to say they are disappointing to any dev that announces to go EGS exclusive it never gives them the excuse to send death threats. Death threats are never acceptable regardless of situation, and it is sad it have become such a common occurrence on the internet.

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curiosus

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@sweep said:
@cikame said:

You missed the part where the developers took peoples money for the promise of a Steam version, put out a sarcastic news post, invited people to send them messages about it, responded with insults, then opened a discord where they continued to insult people.

Sweep you also need to make peace with the fact that there are plenty of people out there with negative opinions of the Epic launcher, you even made a thread asking people why and got plenty of responses with a multitude of reasons. Whether you think those people are right to be angry with Epic is beside the point, those opinions are real regardless don't ignore them.

Hey man, I think you're right in that they could have handled that better (it's weird how a 2-person indie team doesn't have a PR guy, huh?) but don't try to make this personal - you're right I asked why people were upset and there were plenty of reasonable replies, but none that justified an internet temper-tantrum, the sending of thousands of hateful messages to a developer. Incidentally a lot of the "reasons" people had to be angry with Epic were the exact unsubstantiated propaganda I mention in my post above, which you seem to have completely sidestepped by trying to reframe this as a personal vendetta.

I never said people didn't have the right to be upset, but nothing about this reaction is proportional and anyone who says otherwise is normalizing this shitty behavior and feeding into the misinformation that's been circulating. Are you really sitting there right now arguing that this is reasonable and measured response? An anonymous internet hate-mob? For real?

Sweep you generalised about a bunch of people, their opinions, tried to link them all to harassment of this dev for holding those opinions and then you ask that people don't get personal with you? Your opening post is flamebait to use a 10 year old term and very much seems to contain a personal vendetta. I don't think you are anywhere near providing a balanced view as you are trying to claim, it reads as someone with an axe to grind. That you don't want to engage with reasonable reasons to be unhappy with Epic's behaviour and keep going back to the nutty stuff is evidence enough. Its also focusing the debate on the nonsense, you talk about not feeding the trolls and then focus exclusively on responding to them and noone else? Some self reflection please.

Exclusivity is not for consumer benefit, Epic has been very open about using it because they aren't ready to compete on marketplace features, in the short term this is disruptive and we aren't getting anything out of it, on the whole its been entirely negative because of the responses, and yes Epic caused that regardless of the people taking things too far, it was an entirely predictable response in this industry. Maybe things play out over the long term and Epic finally improve on and dislodge steam and we end up with cheaper prices, better stores, and more choice; thats not something I'd take purely on faith, and I won't be using Epic until they wind down exclusivity and their store has something to offer. But the video-on-demand industries idea of service choice, content split across expanding numbers of services is something many executives would love to bring about, if only people wouldn't yell at them so much. Stadia is Google trying to do just that. There is good reason to be fearful of Epic, very few corporations are good citizens these days, and this whole mess has been about Epic's benefit and noone elses. The better market split for devs is just PR, ofc they have to offer that to even get a foothold against steam, its not evidence of generosity just basic business sense.

Should people be harassing devs? Absolutely not. Should they be voicing their negative opinions en masse over decisions they disagree with? Absolutely. I don't for a second think most of those people are being reasonable with their complaints and they need to dial it down a few notches, but I also expect a large proportion of the communication they received was genuine, if we weren't living in an age of anger maybe this would have been a letter writing campaign. Angry people are not great at clearly expressing themselves, that doesn't necessarily mean they are wrong.

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niko_of_death

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As someone who is not interested in Ooblets, and thinks most of the backlash towards the epic store is overblown, the developers handled this extremely poorly, especially given they knew to expect backlash. Posturing as being caring and open about people's concerns and then giving responses like this

No Caption Provided

comes off extremely poorly. I agree that no consumer is inherently entitled to access to a product or service, but just as many people (justifiably) would refuse to go to Masterpiece Cakeshop, many people will likely be offput from purchasing Ooblets because of this attitude. Given that they were aware backlash was inevitable, it is hard for me to fathom them seeing this route as the best choice, rather than A. Not talking about it at all after the announcement outside of boilerplate responses or B. Hiring someone with experience in PR to manage this "open conversation". Of course they don't deserve any of the harassment they're getting - few people on the internet do - but they undoubtedly made things worse for themselves with the way they handled this.

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bobafettjm

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Man, remember when there was something harmless that you didn't like it was something ignored and moved on from. I can't figure out how anything like this deserves things like death threats or some of the really horrible stuff said. I think what the devs said was pretty dumb, but it really should have just been a deal where you don't like it? don't support it.

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Gundato

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@niko_of_death: Ignoring that receipts like that usually conveniently cut off all the previous context that leads to a seemingly polite and heartfelt comment getting an assholish response:

Yeah, the devs seem like jerks. Who the fuck cares? That is still no excuse for the level of vitriol and hate that goes toward them and anyone else who works with Epic. The correct response to "These devs are assholes" is to not give them money and move on. If you think they are particularly problematic (hi Mordhau devs...) feel free to bring it up periodically in the appropriate context. But have some self awareness

Because every post like the one you made "comes off extremely poorly" as it is essentially "Now, I am not at all for harassment. But they totally asked for it, see?"

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niko_of_death

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@gundato: Obviously there's no excuse for it, just like there's no excuse for the vitriol anyone else gets over the internet. This site's goty awards has a "hottest mess" award where 99% of the time the people involved get hit with the same kind of shit, that doesn't mean they're immune from being criticized.

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Gundato

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@niko_of_death: There is a difference between saying "Yo, Iga and 505 are fucking asholes for how they handled Bloodstained on the Switch and screwed over backers" and walking into a thread about people harassing Iga/505 and saying "Yo, that ain't right. But they are fucking assholes and deserve it"

Context matters. You, and many others, are in a thread discussing a studio being harased because they worked with a store people don't like saying "Harassment is bad, but they are fucking assholes and deserve it"

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MagnetPhonics

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#73  Edited By MagnetPhonics

@niko_of_death: Pretty sure the overwhelming majority of events in the mix for "hottest mess" don't provoke this level of absurd harrassment campaign.

nobody got death threats over Ashes Cricket's post-release cancellation.

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niko_of_death

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@magnetphonics: First of all I doubt that is the case, second of all that was 6 years ago. Also, the difference here is that this is a two person team receiving the brunt of the criticism (and one that opened up additional avenues to discuss this knowing full well peoples attitudes on the subject), so it is far more concentrated than in most cases.

@gundato: Pretty much every post in this thread that is critical of the devs prefaces that they think the harassment they've received is fucked and not at all justifiable. What is the point in having a thread to discuss something if the only discussion is talking about how you don't like that it happened.

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Gundato

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@niko_of_death: Again, as I keep saying:

Complain. I sure know I will. But understand the context. Because there is a difference between "Fuck those guys" and "Harassment is really bad guys. But fuck those guys"

The former is expressing your thoughts and opinions. The latter, whether you like it or not, is justifying harassment and victim blaming.

If you want to keep bitching about how much you hat these devs, make a new thread. Don't do it in the one about people harassing the living hell out of them.

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hankrazorbeard

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This whole situation reminds me of the meme where a guy puts a stick between the spokes of the front wheel of his bike.

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