Anti-corporatism run amok among gamers?

PCgamer81

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As an avid PC gaming fanatic (over 250 steam games and god knows how many total), I am often running into anti-corporate, hatred of big publishers among gamers these days.

It seems that in the aftermath of a colossal release, you can bet on these haters to wriggle out from under the rocks and seep their way into the forums vomiting up drivel and hate for all things big business. And it's usually done under the guise of the games being "simplified" or "stripped down" or "turned out for a quick buck".

Now, I don't deny that the love of the color green is a non-factor among the big publishers - nor do I deny that a lot of games are stripped down or turned out for profit. No, what I want to know, is do you believe that there could be an anti-corporate hatred of big business at the root of a lot of this hate?

Let's be real about something - us gamers have gotten older and grown up. The 2nd wave gamers from the early 80s and 90s are now grown people who - guess what? Still like gaming, except now have formed opinions about various, real world topics.

It seems to me that any time a big release comes out, it is guaranteed to be HATED amongst the masses (or dare I say, proles). It is enough to make one sick. And that, coupled with the love of Indie releases, is enough to lead me to conclude that anti-corporate sentiments has indeed reared it's ugly head among video game fans.
 

casualcolors

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GOOD topic. You're right in highlighting what is becoming a wave of kneejerk, poorly informed hatred directed at the major publishers specifically. Quite honestly, while not all of their games are hits, some of the biggest hits of all time that have helped define our modern standards for what games can be would not have happened without their financial backing.

While this problem is not endemic to gamers, it crystallizes when coupled with what can only be described as an absurdly skewed set of values that the gaming mainstream holds. Case in point: when EA was voted as the worst corporate entity in online polls, over various banks that had legitimately gambled with peoples livelihoods and ruined peoples financial stability with their poor decisions. I hate to make blanket statements about any group of people, let alone a group of people to whom I belong, but sometimes gamers are completely out of touch with reality.
 
I agree.

I particularly agree with the idea that without the big corporate companies backing these games, we'd be left with "indie" games. While there is some fun to be had with them, I think we can all agree that the majority of the great games today comes from corporate backing.

I think people in general hear a story about some corporation and figures every corporation is the same. I also don't think people realize how much work goes into these games, and how much work it takes to run a company.
 

PCgamer81

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Kudos to both of you guys - you both make excellent, excellent points.

Casual Colors: EA is a terrific example. While it's true that some of their practices are unpopular (and they've gotten on my nerves in the past), EA is certainly not the only publisher to hold to such practices, yet they are often singled out the most. But if one really looks back far enough, it's easy enough to see why EA became so successful - they have had a hand in a lot of great games over the years. Their practices have proven to be successful.

Bystander: Good points, as well. As far as Indie releases go, there are quite a few good ones - I am having a bit of fun with Retro City Rampage at the moment. But there are also a lot of god-awful bad Indie releases out there, and there is usually a reason for that. The way I see it, if a concept is really, really good, it's going to be picked up by someone. It happens all the time. Indie projects are often times bought up by the big boys and turned into big releases. The big publishers are keen to watch closely what's going on in the Indie scene, and sorry to say, a lot of times if a game remains Indie - there's a reason for that. I don't always want to pay $4.99 (or whatever it is) for a poorly developed idea that wasn't good enough to successfully pitch to EA/Ubisoft/Valve/etc.
 
I think to a large extent people think they'll look "cool" hating big businesses. Microsoft has always been an easy target for that kind of thing. And the big game franchises - it's almost become shameful to admit you actually played and enjoyed the latest Call of Duty, Halo, etc. I thought Black Ops 2 was a fantastic game and I expect a lot of the hate towards Medal of Honour Warfighter is similarly just people trying to be cool anti-franchise kinda thing. Basically, gamer hipsters.
 

PCgamer81

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Exactly. I have noticed the same thing, and have offered an extreme disclaimer of such foolishness on my youtube page, for example.

http://www.youtube.com/user/samuelrosenbalm?feature=mhee
 
Here is an interesting read. I haven't gotten very far into it, but it does show that these game companies are not making nearly what these people think. Profit margins are less than 10% except for Activision due to WoW. Yet all these pirates continue to act like their are being gouged on pricing.

http://www.polygon.com/2012/10/1/3439738/the-state-of-games-state-of-aaa

If pirates stopped pirating, maybe prices could drop. Unfortunately, we live in a world of greedy, entitled users.
 

PCgamer81

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Excellent article Bystander - I am reading it right now. It is an article I imagine I will reference quite a bit in the future. One of the things that hit me right off, is it took almost 900 million up front in order for EA to make 70 million. That is nothing like what we hear on the forums.
 

casualcolors

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It's a hard sell to convince me of any egregious price gouging going on in gaming retail. Games today cost roughly what they did 25 years ago in UNADJUSTED dollars. When you adjust for inflation, games of yesteryear were as much as 100% more expensive. And before anyone goes on a rampage about the price of CD's vs. the price of cartridges, I invite them to look at the development and marketing budget for BF3 and compare it to the money spent making classic 8-bit and 16-bit games. The figures are incomparable.
 


EA is a perfect example, and the one that, I guarantee you, sticks in the minds of most gamers out there. I compare them to FOX... yes, they can spawn some great things, like Firefly or Dollhouse - these are the games produced by EA subsidies, such as Mirror's Edge or Bastion - but they kill them dead before they can take off, replacing them with such drivel as American Idol.

EA is also notorious for having essentially no customer service. Their password recovery system is broken, and has been for years. Normally this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but for those of us who bought Crysis 2, and couldn't remember the passwords to our EA accounts? Couldn't play the game multiplayer because of a bug in the game, not allowing us to create a new account. What that means is that about 5% of the people who paid $60 for the game couldn't use half of it... and EA hasn't said a word or tried to fix it.

There are a LOT of examples like this, mostly pointing to a few companies with bad policies regarding customer service and profits at all costs, which leads many people to distrust a company that relies on brand recognition to produce a half-finished game. (Another EA example: Most of the Devil May Cry series were ported so badly that the user would have to plug an xbox controller into their computer in order to pass the tutorial.)

As for you said, PCgamer81... I'd much rather blow $5 on a game than $60. A lot of the time the indie developers have an idea that's weird or strange. That doesn't mean that it's not good enough for a big studio, just that's it not large enough for them - look at Journey, Fez, or Slender. There's no denying that they're AMAZING games, and that they're quirky. Then look at the big studios. Yes, they have the money to produce excellent looking games, but most of the time they're so formulaic that it becomes pathetic - the stories are obviously rushed and so badly produced as to be a joke, and the multiplayer looks and plays just like any other games' multiplayer.

Yes, the big studios can make great games, but so can the small ones, and recently? The small ones have been more reliable than the conglomerates.
 


As for price gouging, well... I can't speak for all gamers, but I'd rather have a polished game that plays well, doesn't have huge bugs all over the place, and told a good story, than I would one that was extremely pretty. If I get a 6 hour campaign that looks amazing, but that I can't even finish because of a bug / bad design, and I had to pay $60 for that?

It's not worth it to me, and it shouldn't be worth the millions in development to the game producers - if that's the only thing they can think of to make profit, than perhaps it's time for the better indie houses to replace the large corporations. No, it wouldn't be a permanent revolution, but it would give us a bit of a change, and certainly be successful, since the costs would be considerably less on the producers' end. (Meaning prices would be lower, leading to higher customer satisfaction, leading to less pirating - There are a small portion of pirates who do it only as a form of getting a demo. Why? Because the producers know their game isn't worth the $60 to many gamers, and don't want that seen in a demo.)

As for straight up pirating, well... it doesn't affect the companies nearly as much as they'd like you to think. Most users can't figure out HOW to pirate, and those who can? Like I said, some of them, when they see a game is decent, pay for it. The others often aren't able to buy the game in the first place.

Going off of, "greedy, entitled users," well... Have you ever been disgusted with a game? It happens a LOT. Sure, a lot of gamers feel entitled, but a lot of games are produced in a half-finished state, or, worse, simply are horribly produced. Like I said, the reason gamers are disgruntled is because the end product, though it cost a lot, holds little value to the end user. The average gamer is going to be as happy with a well built 2d game as they are with an amazing looking, graphics-whore enticing game that costs millions to make... Simply put, most gamers don't have the hardware to run games on ultra, so why do companies keep spending more and more money to create better looking games at the cost of story and gameplay?
 


While there are games with bugs and problems, like any others, and often these problems are a direct result of the publishers forcing the game to be released because of costs, there are others that are not a problem.

But what gets me is you can read reviews before you purchase a game, and if these games were so bad, why are people pirating them? Just don't buy the game and stick to your Indie option if that is what you wish. They can't be all that bad if people feel the need to pirate them.

I personally like AAA games, but I also do not buy them before reading a review, so most games I buy are great games. You may also find that these unfinished releases often are followed by quick fixes. They didn't want to release them, but they had to get some money to pay for the development, so they patch it later. It sucks, but it can easily be avoided by waiting for a review.
 
Also, I'd like to add, there is nothing wrong with being Anti-corporate by just not buying their games. The people I dislike, and I assume the others are talking about, are those who feel they can pirate these games, because they feel the corporate companies are charging too much for "their" games.
 


Considering that some games have up to 80% pirated copies, I think it is safe to say that a lot of users can figure it out.
 

casualcolors

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WB Games did Bastion, and Devil May Cry is a Capcom game, and DMC4 specifically actually came out better on PC than on either of the consoles. You might want to fact check like, I don't know, virtually every part of your post.
 


That's what I do as well - I was trying to to speak about the average customer - the ones that the companies are targeting. (Because let's face it; there aren't many of us enthusiasts out there; most sales come from casual gamers who pick up a few games a year, at most.)


Ahh, okay, fair enough. I'm with you there - if you're downright stealing, and feel entitled to it, then you're a disgusting scumbag. However, I don't see the harm in downloading a game for, say, 20 minutes, perhaps a few hours; enough to see if the game is horrible or now, if there aren't enough reviews to tell. (That's provided you go back and delete the pirated copy whether or not you buy the game.) Yes, that does still mean the companies lose the sale, but they're losing the sale not because of robbery, but because they produced a product deemed to be not worth the money.


And, uhm, which games would these be? I haven't heard that statistic before.

 

casualcolors

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Witcher 2 was pirated more times than it was purchased, as confirmed by every single torrent-tracking website. Since you hadn't heard about this, you also probably haven't heard about torrent stats being non-ambiguous. But now you have.
 


Yes, I got messed up on which production house made games - I apologize. Point still stands, subsidized games can be amazing - it's the AAA games that so often have issues. DMC4, by the way, is the specific one I was referring to; I haven't tried it on consoles, but it's broken in a number of ways on the PC.

EDIT: There's also no need for you to be rude, and no, I hadn't happened to look up the numbers for sales on games and then hunted down their tracking information. I was merely being curious, because that was a somewhat surprising number.
 

casualcolors

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You know that AAA games being good and indie development projects being good are not mutually exclusive, right? You seem to have missed the point of this entire thread, and honestly the foundation of your points crumbles pretty rapidly when you're constructing them on notions that certain games were developed by companies that did not in fact develop them. It's insulting.

Furthermore you'll have to qualify your allegations in the quote above. For every AAA game that has been plagued with issues, there are more than a handful of corresponding indie and crowd-funded titles that have been crippled with issues. The difference is that you won't hear about them because no more than a few thousand people cared about their potential development in the first place. You're trying to build a position based on things that you seem to believe are generally true, that no one else in this thread agrees with you about. It's not going anywhere good.
 


Yes. I do know that - My point was attempting to explain WHY gamers so often hold large publishing houses in contempt; not particularly easy when I don't, personally.

As for the foundation of my points, I believe you're drastically misreading what I'm trying to say - I'm not raging against the machine, and I'm not basing anything on who the publishers of games were; not ones that I didn't double-check, anyways.
 

casualcolors

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Explain how Bastion was "killed dead" before it could succeed then? The game has been wildly successful and heralded as one of the great titles of its release year. The thought that Bastion was in some way inhibited isn't only a stretch, it's not even reality.

And again, DMC4 specifically was a good PC release and was one of the top sellers on several game sites during the 2012 holiday sale, well after its initial release. The evidence that you're using to support your points in your posts just doesn't exist outside of some bizarro alternate reality. Specifically several of your examples of "bad pc games" have sold particularly well on PC and have been well received for being good ports. It begins to beg the question, "what are you actually talking about?"
 


This is why I was saying you aren't paying attention to what I was saying - I was heralded by the fact that Bastion was an extremely successful game by an indie developer that was subsidized. Nowhere did I say it was held back. (Whoops, my bad. Yes, I did say that; bad typing. Bastion shouldn't have been lumped with Mirror's Edge.)

As for DMC4, I never said it was a bad game, nor that it didn't sell well - I said it was a game with a noticeable flaw; as is Crysis 2. Hugely popular game? Yes. But those of us who can't access what we paid for might not agree.

What I was talking about is that 1) The anti-establishment view of many gamers is, yes, founded on only a handful of companies with bad business practices, and 2) That because AAA titles can have issues due to cost, there's a huge market for the subsidized indie game.
 

casualcolors

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I'm confused. What is the huge flaw of DMC4? That a controller game is best played with a controller?

One of the best advantages of PC gaming is the ability to use a wider variety of peripherals to play the game the best way. If you don't own a controller as a PC gamer, that's your own fault. Not the developer's and certainly not the publisher's.

Hell, not only does DMC4 work great with a (natively supported in windows) xbox360 controller, it works great with direct-input pads such as PS2 controllers as well. It's one of the most versatile examples of a controller-driven game existing on PC without narrowing the options of the player. It's one of the worst examples you could choose.