Discussion: The toxicity of consumers and how it affects game devs

  • @Haru17 I won't comment on game devs since I don't know much on that front, but I will say that I appreciated CD Projekt Red's openness about their DLC for Witcher 3. They were upfront about the two expansions, what they would be called, how long they would be, what they would be about, and how much they would cost. It was nice instead of a lot of companies who just announce expansion packs without information about the contents.
    Sure the free stuff could have been included in the base game, but it could also have cost money. It seems odd to not commend a company for avoiding charging for these things, since I don't doubt that some people would have paid for hairstyles, armor, outfits and a couple new quests.

  • @Inustar You see I don't buy that for a minute because Zelda and plenty of other companies do the same thing. The announce DLC plans pre-release, provide outlines of what will be in it, and gamers online get outraged and self-righteous while media say 'you shouldn't have talked about DLC before a game was out.'

    It's impossible to understand precisely because the outrage is irrational, gamers are touch about being asked to pay for anything more than $60 when that price tag hasn't been adjusting for inflation to avoid sticker shock.

    And the 16 baubles thing was an obvious PR stunt. Remember, plenty of game websites ran with "The Witcher 3 has free DLC" before they announced their actual DLC plan. Plenty of other devs put content like that in the base game without piecemealing it all out across weeks and weeks and making show of it. When Skyrim added horseback combat it was a patch, an update, not 'free DLC' or whatever made-up marketing term.

  • @Haru17 you are correct, it definitely was a PR stunt, and a pretty smart one. They gave fans stuff and got people on their side. It's fine if you don't agree with it though, but it was a calculated business decision that worked out for them.

    But as for the rest, are you referring to Breath of the Wild? Because they certainly weren't upfront about the DLC, they didn't tell anyone what the story dlc was. And I don't remember people being outraged about the Witcher DLC when it was outlined? Perhaps it was because people saw value in the 10 or 20 hour dlc.

  • @Inustar Yep. Nintendo outlined the 2nd Zelda DLC would contain a dungeon and a new plot — probably everything they had figured out at the time. I'm not saying it was totally okay given Breath of the Wild's ending and 'dungeons,' but commenters had no way of knowing those things about the main game before purchasing. People just freaked out because it was a Zelda game with DLC.

    I never said people were angry at Witcher 3. By all accounts that game got given special treatment by the media compared to other open worlds or RPGs. That's my point, that it's mostly meaningless favoritism and preconception.

  • Banned

    @ZyloWolfBane in Capcom's defense, MVCI is one of the most mechanically solid fighting games released this gen, and that game's problems have more to do with overhead from Disney that they are probably contractually obligated not to speak about.

  • Coincidentally just saw this in my Twitter timeline which reflex what I said pretty well and shows why this "toxicity" is mainly a western problem. Japanese companies still know who's the boss, and the moment they forget it for just a second, the boss aka the consumer will remind them.
    This is how it should be:
    alt text
    alt text

  • Honestly, I'm much more concerned about the toxicity of our city, of our city.

  • Absolutely excellent insight @Axel. Thank you.

  • @Axel I was wanted to write something like this, but you said it better than I could have. :)

  • @El-Shmiablo
    Funny you should mention gearbox because this seems pretty clearly related to the recent absolute bilge coming out of Gearbox blaming gamers for Alien Colonial Marines sucking

    Youtube Video

    a game where they lied to everyone and stole from other companies.

    and I went and looked at Randy Pitchford's twitter and of course this is 100% what it's about.
    Borderline criminals are using you to deflect criticism of their actions

  • Banned

    @Sieghardt Haha. Thats exactly what I was referring to.
    Randy Pitchford can get fucked.

  • @Sieghardt That A:CM thing is genuinely one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen from a game company. Flat out embezzlement and then blaming the players when their scheme got caught. Fuck em, there's a reason they're one of maybe three companies I refuse to support.

  • @Axel 's reply hits the nail on the head.

    In my personal experience I've been on the recieving end of misinformation about game dev informing a person's view of the work I do and how I do it. It's never fun to have someone tell you how to do your job especially when their only source of info "well I read it online." Doubly worse when they just make assumptions and never make an effort to learn more.

    There are endless threads on countless forums and many twitterstorms from people misunderstanding even the basics of how and why a game is made. It all contributes to spreading misinformation on the amount of effort required to make a "good" game. In the past few years I've noticed a big swing towards agressive behaviour at devs online too. Starting with the Mass Effect 3 ending rage then moving onto gamergate and the hellish suckfest that was and continues to be. It often feels like a very vocal minority are happy to be eternally angry and misinformed which would be fine if there was no fallout to it but it can be really draining even if you aren't even part of the latest thing everyone is angry about.

    I feel the games industry should do more to explain things like production cycles, game design principles, how every product evolves over time and even basic things like why a developer's choice of game engine is not an indicator for the quality of the final product. Sadly whenever such a push is made it seems to go unnoticed and eventually tails off. PRobably because a detailed explination of agile development isn't as dramatic as shouting that Destiny 2's maintanence has been extended because the devs "don't know what they are doing!!!! ahasjhkahkasjhkashasjk!!!!"

  • Jason Schreier's Blood, Sweat, and Pixels does an excellent job providing background about how why ten of the biggest (notoriety) games were made, and I encourage everyone to give it a read. I believe there is not a better book about how some games get made that I've read. It gives insight about what really happens pertaining to crunch, story decisions, prototype cuts and other aspects of development.

  • @thenerdtheword
    About Mass Effect I can kinda of understand the rage towards it, but like @Axel said the team that made ME1 wasnt the same team that made ME3, people in major and minor positions changed, ideas changed, and plans change. It could also be that they really did plan that ME3 would have varied endings to account for every major and minor decision, it could be that EA was forcing its hand on the team and wouldn't let them delay the game. I can understand that there are a myriad number of reasons for why the ending fell apart on a internal level. However during the PR build up for ME3 they did also promise that every ending would be different and unique for every play thru, and player. Where in retrospect it might have been better to never talk about the ending during the PR hype, or just to promise a satisfying ending for fans.

    But like you said there will be people who will be angry about everything, and those people should be rightfully ignored. However when its say long time fans that had previously done nothing but praise your work who are angry, you should listen, and listen closely, and for the most part Bioware did kinda listen, the Citadel, and Omega DLC were great, giving more of a chance to see and catch up with characters who are only briefly mentioned during the main game. They also did try to fix the ending by expanding it, instead of just leaving it as is. However the main game itself is still enjoyable, and only really falls apart during what amounts to the last 10 minutes of 20 hour game.

    As for Gamergate it would actually be dead if games journalist would stop doing the things that caused it in the first place. (ill probably follow up on this further at some point, in the mean time watch this from about the 4:15 mark)
    Youtube Video – [04:09..]

  • @Brannox I recently read that book, and I couldn't agree more.

    As for my few cents on the matter, @Axel put it well, but I will say as much:

    There are plenty of reasons for gamers these days to get angry for shitty games, bad business practises etc. But more often than not, they blame the developers, because "they made the game, so they are to blame" without realizing, that more often than not, it's the publisher that made the call to release the game when it was released, in the state it was released. Because business reasons etc. As most of here hopefully should know by now. This is not always the case, as some bugs left in game are there because of mistake made by someone in dev team, but usually those are left in because of the strict time limits given by publishers.

    But fact is, that games can't be developed as long as it needs to, as the devs do need their money, and so does the publishers, and they do get that money from selling the game, so it needs to get out in reasonable time. The more time game takes in development, more it costs to make, and if that cost gets too high, it won't profit, and that means publisher, who gave the devs money to make the game in the first place, won't be getting their investment back, and they might pull funding from them altogether, which might lead to people losing their jobs etc.

    But the biggest problem with all this is the fact that not only are many people blaming developers, some are trying to single out the one person "who f-d it up" and start spewing hateful messages towards them. And on top of that, some people go as far as to hunting that devs contact information so that they can dox them which is outright sickening. This is something that needs to stop. I don't care how bad a game is, but death threats, doxxing, or anything like that is going too far.

    This is also why people need to STOP PRE-ORDERING GAMES and blindly trusting companies. They may seem nice, but you are just a customer to them, and you're not their friend. Wait for reviews or youtubers/streamers to make videos/streams about the game. Vote with your wallet. As most of the toxicity comes from gamers who got too hyped, and then got burned by not as good game.

    As for smaller games that aren't as likely to get reviews from big sites, best way for them is to get someone from Twitch or YouTube to promote their game, which is more than possible.

  • Fantastic post @Axel for giving insight and getting across what the topic is actually discussing, how open a developer can be.

    Personally I think it's worth being open to tell us some of the tricks and processes developers use to enlighten the people who actually want that information in spite of the small portion of awful people out there. I would just hope that the minority would keep getting smaller.

  • @El-Shmiablo
    Was going to say the same thing, its gameplay alone is worth the $60 in my opinion, but at the same time its hard to overlook things that are (and will be if my theory is right) Disney's fault down the road. Such as cutting X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, the rather bland art direction ("it must look like our movies") and rather small launch roster, possibly caused by Disney wanting the game out close enough to bank on recent films, with Spiderman:Homecoming having its digital home release in September, physical in October, and Thor Raganorck in November, and from October thru December all 6 of the DLC roster will be released at 2 a month, along with costume DLC during said time frame that loosely ties into the film releases (Plant Hulk costume gets wide release when Thor 3 comes out as a example)
    Assuming the trend continues then its safe to say that we will see some costume DLC when Black Panther comes out in Febuary, along with maybe a pack of 2 costumes releasing each month until May when Avengers 3 is released at which point we will be getting costumes and characters. Again it's just a theory but it does make some business sense, throw a trailer on the Spider-man bluray, and in front of Thor, Black Panther, Avengers 3 and possibly Star Wars (Major Disney related film that will have a mass number of asses in seats). General audiences will get a reminder of MvC every couple of months at that point.

    Although to spoil the story of MvC:I they do have a small gap to explain if say down the road Wolverine joins the roster. There's a line towards the start of the game about various unnamed characters dying when the convergence happened. When Ultron Sigma Omega is killed, thus permanently fusing the two worlds together there is another line about the permanent fusion possibly bringing the dead back to life. Assuming said dead are say previous MvC veterans and new comers. There is at least some wiggle room to explain them joining the roster from a story perspective...kinda.

    But like you said there is probably alot of over head from working with Disney on anything, let along using what has become one of Disney's biggest cash cows

  • One thing I will add though is that I don't entirely agree with this particular developer regarding devs not being open.

    I think things like GDC and even PSX give quite a bit of excellent insight into development. PSX at a more friendly level while GDC can get quite technical and generally all those panels are available online.

  • @tokeeffe9 Yes, the GDC panels are very interesting, you can find them here.

    This video about the making of Shadow Complex for example is pretty cool and a good example to follow for anyone making a Metroidvania game:

    Youtube Video

    Otherwise, good resources are Gamasutra or to a lesser extent GamesIndustry.biz.