Some reflection on 2016

  • @Bloodworth Thanks for the reply. By no means did I want to discredit EZA or anything like that, a lot of it was probably poor phrasing in my part.

    Thanks, I'll try to reply to some of this. Some things I definitely disagree on, others I'd need to digest. I think one thing to keep in mind overall is that I can't really change what anyone else does, and perhaps it would be better for you to try to take on that mindset as well. Each person has their own likes and dislikes and their interests aren't always going to line up with yours, and we're not necessarily going to be able to cover all the bases unless we grow to the point that we can bring in people that have those passions.

    9 people directly involved with the industry should bring multiple viewpoints and cover all its areas.

    I think that's an unrealistic expectation, and assumes that we built our team with that specific goal in mind. The reality is that we have the people we have because we were the last ones to get laid off from GT. Some of us like Ben and myself have pushed hard to go outside our comfort zones and play a variety of different kinds of games on different platforms. Others just play want they want to play and aren't bothered with the rest. That said, while there are some things like PC hardware that none of us really care that much about, I think we do actually have a fairly diverse set of likes / dislikes from JRPGs to strategy games to platformers, massive shooters and weird little indie games that are hard to categorize. Some voices may be louder than others at times, but we do have people that are interested in every platform and covering them fairly.

    Didn't you built your team with specific goal in mind? I know that you have to work with what you got and I know that you try to cover all kinds of games, which I really appreciate. But IT IS obvious that the focus of your group are playstation and nintendo. I'm not saying that that's your goal, it's just a fact of a current state. Majority of games you've reviewed had been reviewed on playstation. It is your console of choice,a s far as I can see it. As for Nintendo, the it has strong presence in your team, especially in Kyle, Damiani and Brad. Not to discredit anyone else, but they've let it know the most via either podcasts, games they stream etc. I'm not saying that there is "no" interested in other areas, but they are noticeably overshadowed by these two.

    While, for example, last years backwards compatibility for Xbox and this year Play Anywhere program were given much lesser attention. I personally consider those two features to be the best new things to happen in the last two years in the industry.

    I've mentioned that as well several times. It's not something that gets me hyped in a press conference, but as the programs have gone live and grown, it's something I'm appreciating more and more from Microsoft's platform.

    Really? I thought these two programs/features were the highlight of their conferences and worth getting excited about. I just think they were under-presented.

    Also the lack of enthusiasm for Scorpio seems very underwhelming from you in my opinion.

    It's still a long ways off, and we're really not that excited for the Pro either. I haven't put down the cash yet, and in a way many of us feel kind of forced into the deal due to our jobs. Both of the machines create some frustrating new circumstances for reviews too.

    I was sure you all seem very excited for the Pro. Maybe not all, but at least majority. It seemed to get a lot of coverage from your part via podcasts and other mediums. I understand how it can be frustrating, but I was certain that the common vibe was positive about it. At least before the release. Kinda "a good thing at a bad time", or "I like it even though I'm sad I had to buy it."

    Also PC Gamer show at E3 was my favorite show there, so imagine the shock when there was a question if you would even count it when you ranked them at the stream later. Of course you did count it and I think it got fair placement even, but even the question whether even acknowledge it, stung very bad.

    It's not really a press conference. It's a show put on by a magazine (not that different from ourselves) and it follows a very different interview style format that's not as focused on announcements or reveals. It's very much like what we used to do at GT with our own E3 coverage. Not that there aren't moments of value there, but it's a very different thing from a company press conference, and it moves a lot more slowly. Scheduling it right on top of a press conference and having it overlap doesn't really help.

    I understand it differs heavily from a standard press conference, but especially last year there were many announcements, reveals and trailers worth getting excited about. While the year before that it was simply bad (even I can recognise that), it was purely timed last year. But it has shown a lot of potential, so I hope it will get an equal coverage to other conferences this year, if they won't do something stupid with timing or something worse.


    I'm simultaneously excited and nervous about Breath of the Wild. The reason we're excited for it is that over the years, Zelda has become safer, more hand-holdy, and even when it makes drastic changes, many call it "more of the same." It is a series that has innovated repeatedly in both gameplay and technology, but in the process it moved from a more open ended world to a more ordered progression. Breath of the Wild goes back to that sense that you can go wherever you want and still make progress, but now with all the character that the series has gained over the years.

    I'm nervous though because I'm afraid that some amount of level design may get lost along the way and there's a lot more emphasis on disposable gear rather than the game-changing tools and gear of previous games. Will we get full dungeons? Will a new item make me see the world in a whole new way? We'll just have to wait and see.

    Thanks for this insight. I guess I missed the boat when it comes to Zelda and the "golden age" of Nintendo, if I can call it that. So any insight I very appreciate.

    Not all people have PSN, not all people own Playstation. Not all people have Netfilx to watch Vikings or some supposedly great movie. "Play what you want to play" sure, but maybe you should change it to "play what you want to play, but you also have to play these..."

    I don't feel like anyone's trying to demean your tastes. Those are just games that are really well made and often overlooked. And sure Huber speaks from a place of privilege, but he's gone out of his way to invest in every gaming platform and whatever cable / streaming services he subscribes to as well. One reason that we're all in this position is that not only do we get excited about games, but we get excited about having someone else to share that experience with. No one ever wants to make you feel bad for not playing something, they just want you to share in something that they really enjoy.

    This was probably purely phrased on my part. I don't mind that you give suggestions for games worth playing. I think it's the best thing you can do to keep the community updated. It was meant to refer to my previous comment that your focus was on playstation, or is at least your first choice when it comes to games. I tried to emphasise that not all of us have the means (PSN, PS4, netflix...) to acquire these games, movies etc.
    I just got the feeling that these 3 things became almost taken for granted in the community. A little "If you have PSN/netflix" before the suggestion would be nice. I understand that twitter has character limitation and that you just want to get the message across at that time, but there's a lot of us that are not capable or just can't access these games/movies/series. Nothing wrong with trying to share your passion (which you have in abundance), I appreciate it dearly, but when most of your suggestions can only be acquired by means that some of us don't have it leaves a sour taste. Especially when put in a such direct manner.

    TL;DR: I wish you would come to Australia, I wish you would come to Europe, I would love to meet you. You talk how great meet&greet was and how you like to communicate to us, but I feel you are so distant and isolated, both in terms of distance and the things you cover. I would love to see you outside of USA, I would love that you covered eSports (Hearthstone tournament was amazing btw) and hardware outside of Nintendo and Playstation more. I would love that you would stream some other time than when I'm asleep.

    We'd love to do a lot of that too, but we're still young. It's still a lot for us to simply do a meetup in our hometown. For now, we have to work within our means. Some of us do try to stream at times that are friendly for Europe, but many just have to squeeze it in after the main workday. Time zones are a thing that are outside of our control unfortunately, but I think we actually do have a fairly wide spread with some starting as early as 10 am here and others ending near or after midnight.

    I understand that you don't have entire day for streaming, but there are fewer streams that are friendly to African and Eurpean than you might think. Brandon and You are very kind to us in that regard and Kyle's tetris streams used to be in that fair window, but he changes it to earlier times to maintain his sanity (or what there's left of it). Damiani also has some nice streams. But there are these precious times when allies stream a multiplayer game I would like to take part in, if only it wasn't at bloody 3 am.
    This is meant as a joke, but I almost feel like you all have something against xbox and PC players in Europe /Africa.Again, I understand that you all don't have all the time every day and you don't controls timezones, but please understand that from my perspective my situation simply sucks.

    I'm not demanding that you change. But when you say that EZA is a safe, comfy place... It's not for everyone. There's an obvious target audience you have and I'm unfortunately not one of them. I love your positivity and all, but the direction EZA is going is not something I wanted. The entertainment value is there with series like Tabletop escapades and Easy update, but when it comes to criticism on podcasts and in reviews, we just can't seem to see eye to eye. Throughout the year, from Gametrailers until today, your identity has shifted from journalists to entertainers in my eyes. I still like your content and all, but it would appear that comfyness (that's a word now) and positivity had spread on the cost of professionalism. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not the thing I wanted. Not a thing I was looking for in your group.

    I don't think I'd call it a shift towards being entertainers so much as a shift toward community. You talk about wishing we had a meet and greet in Australia? In 13 years of GT we didn't have a meet and greet anywhere, and for much of that time, not many would care if we did. I do stand by saying this is a place for everyone, but that doesn't mean we're going to have an omniscient knowledge or passion for everything in gaming. You like what you're going to like and we like what we're going to like and we'll grow in those things together.

    I agree I was wrong here. The shift was definitely towards community, I can't argue that and I'm sorry if I insulted any of you with my statements. You really didn't have a meet and greet at GT? Oh... that's... sorry. But if nothing else, I hope that EZA showed that you have support worldwide. Yes worldwide. And even if don't see eye to eye in multiple instances, I would still like to meet you and unfortunately none of us has limitless resources or time.

    Again thanks for the reply. I really appreciate your feedback. I gined some valuable insight.

  • @tokeeffe9 The category this post is in is "comments and feedback", as I deemed it appropriate. I gave feedback, which was of course very subjective, but I tried to support my claims with practical examples. For me thing that I communicated matter a lot, which is a reason I even wrote this.
    I never said that they ignore PC scene, but it is definitely overshadowed by Sony and Nintendo. That much is obvious. Both from reviews, games and events they stream and how they do it.

    Then you just have those who prefer to play certain games on console and if you have a PS4 why would you play a multiplatform game on Xbox?

    Look who lacks constructive criticism now. Maybe some people own Xbox because they like controller or platform exclusives more. Maybe their friends play on Xbox? Ever thought about that?

    Are YOU serious? I'm saying that the way they communicate the suggestions across are poorly executed and I gave reasons why. I gave FEEDBACK. I'm not criticising that they give advice, but telling how it comes across. If you misunderstood that, than sorry for poor phrasing.

    I'm from Europe. Most of their streams happen from 23 pm until 7 am here. So at the worst time.
    I'm not trying to shame EZA or anything. i understand they are net godlike, but try to put yourself in my situation.

  • The discussion about the rating system I do think has merit. I also know that the Allies discussed it, and came to the decision on the 5 star system. So it's their choice.
    Personally I never think rating games works, I would prefer a more general would you recommend this to your friend idea.

    And yes there are some holes in coverage, sure. Sports games don't get talked about much, and indie games tend to get forgotten unless they are huge. But that's to be expected with a small group who aren't all even full time. It's fine. It might be nice to see an area on the site for community reviews, which might supplement the Allies well.

  • @Nillend

    I'm talking in the context of the streams they do and play. If someone has more friends on Xbox and wants to play there, that's great. It just seems a bit silly that you're bothered they play most of their games on a PS4. Even more so now that you've given reasons why one might prefer a console over another.

    Your reason is just that people might not own that device or whatever it is. If so, just ignore it. I don't want a disclaimer that I need to own a PC or a cinema just so it's cool that they recommend stuff. Also, half the time they mention something is on sale is because someone in chat tells them it is.

    Apologies on the stream comment, I thought you mentioned you were in Australia and was surprised when you said they were on at bad times. I agree that it'd be very nice to have more varied times that suited other regions in the world. Hopefully they'll be able to do something about that if it's possible for them.

  • @tokeeffe9 I really don't understand you way of thinking here, but you do raise a good topic for discussion: should you care for content on a system or service you don't own and why?

  • @Nillend I'm personally totally fine with it. I always take it as something to keep an eye on for when I might be able to purchase that item or it's available on something I own.

  • @Nillend I'm in the same boat as @tokeeffe9 on this one. I've pretty much accepted at this point that, until I have a stable source of income and have my student loan debts paid off, I'm going to be pretty behind on the console generations. But I know that when I can afford to, I'll be picking up something in this generation of consoles (since by then, the next generation will probably already be out). Having information that can inform my future purchases is nice, and knowing what games are available where and what platform multi-platform games perform best on is a huge part of that decision.

  • Are you upset that they don't play multiplatform games on Xbox or PC? If so, why does it matter? It's the same game either way

  • @alexwhiteplays @tokeeffe9 I'm clearly on the other side here. I have enough problems with the system(s) I have, so I can't afford to keep an eye on a platform that I have no intention to get. I spend enough time and money on the ones I own already, so to keep up to date with something that is unnecessary for me.
    Also it's worth noting that I'm fine with missing a boat. If I miss a game I have no problem leaving it behind. I usually don't bother with games older than 5 years.

  • @NCartwright15 No, I used that as an argument that they are a group much more focused on Playstation, as it is their platform of choice. I'm upset that I'm not in that same audience and I feel like a lot of stuff they cover doesn't concern me because of the divide of tastes and preferences we have.

    And for better and worse, it can end up quite a different game because of how well it's optimized for certain platform

  • @Nillend What did they not cover on Xbox this year though? List the Xbox One exclusives and check the reviews, most of the big games they have covered. They also covered from PC only games this year as well, so i don't know where this is coming from. Other than that, i see no problem really.

    L & R

  • @NCartwright15 For Xbox, there werent many exclusives anyway. But I would like their opinions on some good steam games from this year. Stardew Valley, Stellaris, Total war: Warhammer and Valley come to mind. I missed sports game coverage. And while it's not their bread and butter, I would like to hear them discuss PC compnents and eSports.

  • admin

    I think something to be aware of is that our platform preferences and game preferences can be two really different things. Like when someone's stoked about Yakuza*, they're just stoked about Yakuza. It's not about it being a "great game for PlayStation" it's just a great game that everyone should try. (*I personally haven't played Yakuza myself yet, but it's a good current example.)

    Personally I bounce between platforms just entirely based on the game I'm currently playing. I do play more multiplatform games on PS4 than Xbox, but that's as much about myself as it is the industry right now. Since the PS4 has the higher install base and the perceived technical advantage, more games get distributed on PS4. If I get a game on Xbox though, I really don't care. I like both controllers well enough and don't feel like the differences between consoles are that big of a deal. I do like the PS4 menus better, especially the share button. It just feels so much simpler for me to use. (The stores are all garbage though.)

    I think that the real difference in your perception comes with the fact that we are just more interested in the games that happen to be exclusive to PlayStation. We aren't mediocre on Gears of War 4 because it's an Xbox game. We're just not that into Gears in general. Conversely, while I like both Forza and Gran Turismo, I've always felt that Forza has been more forward thinking and consistent in its design, while GT takes a broader approach that ends up leaving more weak spots. The Forza Horizon series especially has risen to be one of my favorite sets of racing games so far.

  • admin

    @Nillend said in Some reflection on 2016:

    @NCartwright15 For Xbox, there werent many exclusives anyway. But I would like their opinions on some good steam games from this year. Stardew Valley, Stellaris, Total war: Warhammer and Valley come to mind. I missed sports game coverage. And while it's not their bread and butter, I would like to hear them discuss PC compnents and eSports.

    Stardew Valley came out when neither GT nor EZA were in existence. I feel like it got some mentions here and there, but sort of makes sense that it got left behind. Ben was going to do something with Total War: Warhammer, just ended up taking on a few too many projects, but I think he regrets not getting more significant coverage. Ian checked out Valley, but I think he just wasn't that into it.

    Sports games - sorry that's just not for any of us, aside from Huber and MLB. That's just not something you're going to get from us unless we someday bring in someone new that really cares about them. Same goes for PC components.

    Ben has some interest in eSports, but one thing we learned when trying to cover it at GT is that it takes as much focus, budget, and manpower as everything else we're doing combined. It's an entirely different world that takes a lot of time, knowledge, and resources to cover in a way that's relevant.

  • @Bloodworth maybe not you, but the Allies commonly gravitate towards playstation and nintendo system, be it because of games or system preference. These two things walk hand in hand.

  • @Bloodworth, Thank you so much for taking the time to address the comments and discussion @Nillend started.

    I have been a long time fan since the GT days, and was excited when EA launched. I also have commonly found a pretty strong Sony bias on the material and opinions EA represents.

    This weeks podcast highlighted it again. Ian mentioned that Xbox's resolution should be, and I have to paraphrase, to be less corporate and relate more to gamers. I find Kyle many times has had to challenge opinions on Microsoft that seem to stem from the admittedly bad reception of the initial launch of the Xbox One.

    And to be fair, Xbox damage control has been pretty spot on since. Between the total abandonment of DRM and the Kinect, to the implementation of backwards compatibility and Play Anywhere, Microsoft's focus has clearly been on delivering what people who buy games for Microsoft platforms want. No one still talks about how out of touch Sony was when they launched the PS3.

    I'm not suggesting anything needs fixing or changing, but I appreciate someone has mentioned how rough Microsoft gets it during podcasts and discussions at EA while Sony praise comes pretty easy. My friends and I who enjoy EA have long discussed how much value someone with a stronger interest in Microsoft's offering would bring to discussions.

    At any rate, thank you again for engaging with the people who enjoy what you do.

    All the best.

  • @kariwgoebel In that same podcast, the entire panel mentioned that Games for Gold was a much better value this month and that overall, it was the better option last year. In previous episodes, Kyle pointed out Xbox was outselling the PS4 and the panel discussed as to the reasons behind this. It feels disingenuous to say Microsoft has it "rough" when the Allies discuss it. I personally find the conversation (at least in regards to consoles) to be relatively balanced. What it comes down to is exclusives for this generation. Sony has had a ton that have done well both critically and financially. Microsoft's exclusives largely fall into the category of "more of the same." Gears 4 didn't do anything to shake up the formula, Jones still gave it a decent review, and Huber still streamed it for a lengthy amount of time.

    I love the Vita. I think it's a fantastic handheld that still does have great games released for it and it is by far my handheld of choice. However, I don't get upset that they hardly discuss the Vita or that the 3DS is brought into the conversation more often. I fully realize that Sony made some errors in support/marketing and that the 3DS is the dominant device. Expecting them to cover the Vita more often and then feeling alienated if they choose not to is unreasonable to say the least.

    Easy Allies is a vast gaming umbrella that covers many different bases but it can't cover them all, there's not enough time or resources to do so. I'd much rather have them play what they want to play, review what they want to review, and phrase things how they wish to. If we as a community begin to nitpick to the point where we need them to say disclaimers before recommending a game/movie/TV show to us, or we begin to focus on the percentage of which our favorite consoles are covered, we really lose sight of what this is all about. We are given so much content and with such high quality, I'm grateful for it all. If actual issues ever arise, I'm all for discussing them but nearly every complaint lodged in this thread feels misguided or entitled. Basically, we're throwing gasoline on a non-issue.

  • @SabotageTheTruth Awesome and thank you for the response.

    I particularly enjoyed the first paragraph. I brought up a point and you had a counter point. That's sufficient.

    I was not suggesting anything needs to change or needs to be defended, or registering a complaint. I agree that disclaimers on statements of opinion are a symptom of some awful new social rules, yet somehow similar disclaimers I included in the original comment seem to be overlooked.

    I like the coverage from EA, E32016 was great. I still remember how Ian and Huber suggested that Play Anywhere made owning an Xbox irrelevant. I think the general attitudes of the Allies are indicative of the larger market overall in regards to the competition between Sony and Microsoft. And that view is biased.

    Again bias isn't a problem. Sony has earned it.

    Just a side note to the Gears 4 review, Brandon's review is in the bottom 10% of the almost 97 reviews on Opencritic. I'm not saying he is right or wrong, it's a review, but from a sheer statistical standpoint based on that criteria it's in the minority. One of the critiques about the ending also seemed to demonstrate a lack of knowledge on what the ending meant in the Gears franchise. That might be a fair criticism on the Coalition being a little too subtle with the implications. Still I didn't bring it up mainly because Bloodworth already addressed it and in a much more convincing way might I add.

    Sometimes I wonder why I post comments on the internet at all. Misguided, entitled, I'm neither of those things nor have they been demonstrated. Why do we only have to discuss issues? Can't we also discuss things we like? Can't we discuss things we notice and feel? And maybe I am wrong, can't we discuss that too?

    All the best

  • @kariwgoebel I should have been more clear. The first paragraph was a direct response to your comment, the rest of what I said wasn't really directed towards you, just the conversation as a whole. When it gets to the point where people are offended strictly by phrasing (especially if they're aware of intent) that's where the entitlement comes from, which is probably the part that bothers me the most.

  • @SabotageTheTruth OK awesome. I actually didn't agree with most of what was posted in the previous comments on the thread probably the same ones you reference. Thanks for taking the time.

    If we are offering suggestions however, get Bosman a studio.