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About Gian-Reto

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  1. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    I couldn't agree more... well said. Well.... again, I wouldn't generalize like that. An AAA game using microtransactions to give you ADDITIONAL content you can selectively buy is a good thing to me... you know, a Fighting game with an already choke full selection of fighters cramming in some additional classical characters from older games, charging a fair price per additional character (lets say 2-3$ per character) is cool for me. You could say that they could have produced a full expansion pack / DLC pack out of it for 10-15 bucks, giving you more bang for the bucks. Sure, there are limit to what I am ready to pay for such small additions to a game, I would never pay 5$ or more just for an additional character... unless its that one character that I want in every installment (and then expect me to bitch and moan online about that character not making the cut for the normal fighter roster... yeah, I can be quite whiny about little things like that ). There still are cases where microtransactions make sense for an AAA game. Tastes differ here, for me the line is where ADDITIONAL content gets put in as microtransaction for FAIR prices. Cut out stuff that should be part of the normal game, or overcharge me, and I will no longer think its a good thing (and certainly not pay for the microtransaction, maybe even not buy the game)
  2. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Interesting... why do you say it led to failure? Do you mean financial failure? Was it a premium game? Did the fact it cost something upfront led to lower downloads? That would mean not going F2P led to failure, NOT microtransactions itself. I think microtransactions in F2P games itself are fine, even though they still can be harmful towards the weak minded, people with gambling addictions or minors. But nobody REALLY complains about mobile games or other F2P titles implementing microtransactions (of course, I cannot speak for everybody, or the poster you quoted)... The current controversy revolves around microtransactions in premium games. Which CAN be done in a non-intrusive way that DO give players that want to spend extra money options without interfering with the play expierience of everybody else (which is NOT what EA has done in BF2 as far as I understand it). While certainly true that SOME types of microtransactions have been created to be a predatory as possible, and some companies, especially in the mobile space, seem to take their data collection mania to creepy levels, in essence stalking their whale prey on social media to get more information on how to squeeze the last penny out of them, I would dare to say this is a little overgeneralizing. I have seen the good kind of microtransactions. I have spent quite something on it myself actually in F2P games I liked. Because I wanted to support the dev and the game, AND because I got something in exchange which was worth my money without screwing up my or anyone elses play expierience. I feel like the premium vehicles in the Wargaming titles are (mostly) a good example. You get some unique vehicles, which offer a different play expierience, and a vanity item at the same time (given you cannot get access to these vehicles without spending money)... while at best not being overpowered at all (some recent additions are not as cut and dry there, but thanks to the game having a lot of skill needed to pull off about anything, an overpowered vehicle alone does not make for an automatic win). Now, are these premium vehicles designed to get some money out of non-paying customers? Yes. Are they sometimes designed to "force" true collectors to buy them (by using historically relevant vehicles)? Yes. But they do not affect the play expierience of other players in the best case (until a total newbie buys a high tier vehicle and trys to ruin a tier 8 game for everyone else by being total useless... even then, as long as its only one person, there are 10+ other persons left in the team to make up for his inexpierience). They might be making some collectors and historical nuts grab grudgingly for their wallet because they HAVE to have the Tirpitz Battleship, or they need ALL the US Ships they can get in game... but they do not incite gambling addiction, as you get what you buy. So I wouldn't say ALL microtransactions are bad. Only the ones that work only thanks to addictions being abused, and a game being made grindier to incentivise players to spend money are in my eyes. And Pay2Win schemes of course.
  3. What is your Game of the Year for 2017 and why?

    Well, the trailers I have seen kind of painted the 3D graphics in a not to kind light... though as usual, it seemed to look fine-ish during normal play, just when drawing the camera in for a cutscene did the closeup geometry revealed its lowpoly nature. If I had a 3DS, I probably would keep it on my list for games to check out during sales. Not sure if I really will like it over AM2R, but on the other hand its a 2D-ish Metroid... which is probably something we will only get as remakes of older titles now. (I will probably have to get a 3DS when prices fall due to the switch with all the gems I missed like Bravely Default... guess that would be a chance to also play Samus Return) ... I really hope Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will wake up some AAA studios, including Nintendo, to the fact that the Metroidvania genre still has some live in it. If a game has the chance to create some wave in this genre, its this one. Please be good, Bloodstained..
  4. What is your Game of the Year for 2017 and why?

    It is really a shame that Nintendo didn't dip into the pool of pure fan-love that gathered in the AM2R Project. That remake is really amazing. As much as it is still riddled with some of the downsides of the original M2 (for example not that much enemy variety), its amazing 2D Graphics, and the really out there sound design show both the love for the original by the group who made the remake, as well as the sound designer credentials of the lead (who must be the biggest M2 fan ever for sticking with the project for so long). All the complaints about the controls have been fixed, and a lot of the good changes to the formula from Super Metroid has been brought onboard I get that Nintendo isn't Sega (who brought remakers in to work on a Sonic title before after a very good fan remake), that Nintendos vision for the project was different (no pixelated retro style on official 3DS Titles, thus 2D Pixelart would likely be much more expensive than the low quality 3D art used for the official remake), and that Nintendo probably was already working on their rework when ordering the remake crew to take the links to the AM2R builds down. But boy, is AM2R what Metroid has needed to be for quite a while. A classic Metroidvania with amazing 2D graphics (even if retro style), an amazing Soundtrack that concentrates on telling its story through gameplay. I cannot comment on the official remake, but I kinda was underwhelmed by the graphics even though it was a 3DS game, and I have my doubt if the soundtrack can come anywhere close to the AM2R soundtrack: As much as it was probably never gonna happen... I would love to play THIS game on a Nintendo console as an official remake of M2. Would it make me reconsider and buy the Switch? Probably not. Nintendo would have to put a GOOD, NEW entry in the series into the bag too. But it would certainly sweeten the deal enough for me to buy the Switch just for some Metroid glory.
  5. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Sure, as said, I am not implying that all the outrage is ever justified... nor that it matters that much, most of the time. I am just saying that for premium games, there is a very simple way to minimize backlash. Which is to go back to a 60$ flat price and deliver a game that can be made on this price point. If that is possible in the current market, if the games that do manage it are outliers, or if constant damage control PR is good or bad are different questions again. But I feel like I need to touch on one subject in your response: conflating people outraged about some "nerd rage" topic like the guy from DMC no longer having white hair (which made me giggle a little bit, even though I did had to question why the change was needed) with people actually calling out real p2w issues, or exploitative tactics that will trigger gambling addictions in weak people is comparing apples to oranges. I do think a lot of the people not happy with the latest resident evil games are "nerd raging". Hell, in case of the resident evil games after RE4, I kind of understand it. I didn't play them, BECAUSE they looked more like action games. I don't get exactly the rage about RE7 which does look interesting and for the love of god, gives us a break from the constant Zombies-in-disugise enemies from the earlier titles (as far as I can tell, haven't played it yet)... is the change to FPS perspective really worth "nerd raging" over? IDK... But this is a completly different subject to people getting outraged about the star cards in BF2. No matter how much EA tones down the system, it reeks of P2W until they take all star cards out of the paid lootboxes. It will even out in the end given a player puts in the hours and gets all of it through normal play... but that just means grinding through a p2w infested expierience as the underdog until you have randomly been given enough stuff to catch up to the whales dominating (given their skills match up) the scene. I don't think anyone wants to discuss why p2w is bad in a meritocratic system like a first person shooter... And then the gambling addicts... yeah sure, most people raising the issue probably are not affected themselves. It doesn't make it less of a problem. And its nowhere near on the same level as some people disliking mechanical or graphical changes in their beloved game series. ... probably I have made the same mistake in the thread before, so I have to remind myself too to not place all the outrage in the same category. Some of it can and should be dismissed (unless you fear loosing your fans over)... some of it should be really looked into (because p2w is the community killer no.1 in online gaming, so if a dev wants to keep a game alive, p2w should be kept out of it outside of the mobile market)... some of it should be top priority (because gambling is treated pretty seriously by many countries, and could damage the whole industry if it gets out of hand). My opinion here: yes, they can. But it will take time. Consumer trust is hard to loose... many consumers tend to give many chances over years, because they have no other choice (if you are a sucker for SW games, EA is the only shop in town that can give you what you want), because of what the publisher or dev has done or was in the past (I remember when Borderlands came out and I was excited what Gearbox would do in the future... now I am less so after all the scandals and mediocre games), because "it was just that single time", "they have learned their lesson", and all that. But once lost, I would reckon consumer trust is hard to win back. And yeah, I do agree that this will only ever affect a % of the consumers. The informed ones. The ones ready to walk away and play something else. But the current market is not exactly starved for alternatives. If anything, some upstart AAA devs and publishers will profit from it (until they become the big company doing the same thing as all the others). Funny enough, after a lot of people were fairly disappointed with BF1, EA has launched one hell of a PR campaign to win customer trust back, and from what I have seen online and in vids, it did its job. And sure enough, it wasn't all faked BS, instead EA and Dice DID listen and delivered the content lacking in the first part from the get go. They did move away from the season pass scheme... they just didn't mention how they would monetize it else. I reckon IF EA doesn't get the SW license pulled by Disney over its continued mishandling of the license (because no matter how you see the individual games as good or bad, every SW game EA has put out to date was either controversial, or just not that successfull), IF the next SW game takes ALL the critisism onboard, without new controversies, I think at least the SW fans among the players will forgive EA. Its SW after all... and the BF games, apart from being a little shallow contentwise or mechanical maybe, don't seem to be bad games. The graphics of BF1 made SW drool all over the planet. But I guess this will not happen. I am unsure if Disney really will leave EA messing with their license now that EA messed up just in front of a big SW movie. If they do, I am sceptical if EA will ever do the right thing. Because it would mean baking smaller cookies for once, and EA isn't known for that lately. If they manage to pull it off, call me amazed and happy at the same time. It is SW after all. And no matter what George Lucas' episode 1+2, and the Disney atrocity which was "the force awakens" have done to the legacy... I loved the original trilogy, I loved Darth Vaders origin story, and I would love to play a good story campaign in a game I want to support financially, with the beatiful graphics Dice has crafted. I am not going to hold my breath though.... On the other hand, as @Scouting Ninja puts it, no matter how much I might think EA has to redeem themselves, the question is if this controversy can even do enough damage to EA to make them change their way even an inch. I guess it will all come down to what Disney does over all this, and not really how consumers act... because there are always enough that buy games and not care about the controversy, or not even aware that much of the p2w elements....
  6. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Who again is pissed off by paying 60 bucks for an AAA game? The people who expect more game for their money than the classic 60$ premium game model without additional monetization can pay for, assuming you have to expect a moderate number of sales and cannot hope for making the game of the year before putting your game on the market and finding out how it does in said market? I am not going to try to deny that yes, there are players out there that expect more and more content and graphics and everything from their games every year, and are contributing to the budgets spiralling out of control, and these people will belittle every game not meeting their standarts... but really, I would expect that given a) a mechanically sound game with b) an at least mildly interesting story and c) a bare minimum of content, added with at least d) some small innovations in some places, you would see enough player interest to make your money back without having to increase prices. At least if you have the marketing reach of some of the wellknown studios and publishers. Because lets face it, some of the games that seem to fall into the escalating content and graphics threshold trap seem to be games which fail to meet minimum standarts in story and content (SW Battlefront 1 comes to mind), are mechanically repetetive and flat or just bring little innovation to the table (SOME of the yearly repeated games like FIFA come to mind)... If you got nothing to offer to sell people your new game over all the competition, for example last years FIFA game... well, you gotta crank up those graphics to show people WHY the FIFA game they already posses is inferior to the new one. As you said yourself before, and I guess many in this industry see it... games are an industrial product for the games industry. They probably have to be. And there is nothing wrong with that. But should the question not rather be "How can the games industry continue to create expieriences players want, charge a fair price for it without resorting to exploitative tactics in the worst case, and still make a profit of it?". And "do budgets really need to escalate like this, or do we need to pivot away from every AAA title needing to take part in this arms race?"... Because at the end of the day, I don't think the problem is one game having microtransactions with p2w elements. Or one publisher being notorious with their monetization growing ever more overbearing. Its not that players cannot for the life of them understand that a big, really big openworld AAA game with cutting edge graphics need to make big bucks from a lot of people or risk not turning a profit. The problem is when ALL the big publishers start showing the same trends, when ALL the AAA games coming out are monetized with additional microtransaction, its when ALL AAA games coming out try to be the next GTA5 and whatever-is-the-moneymaking-big-hitter-of-the-day game on the market irrespective of what people really want and expect from the series (Dead Space 3 comes to mind), when even games that do not SEEM to be all that expensive compared to games that did well some years ago on a 60$ premium game model contain all these additional monetization models (while developers explain them with rising cost), then players will get wipped into these huge fits of outrage. And yeah, when I say ALL here, I mean all from a certain slice of the AAA publishers. Because there are still the ones who seem to not partake in this whole microtransaction frenzy, or at least only with a lot of restraint. Sadly, it looks like a lot of the western AAA studios are getting more an more monopolized by publishers which do engage in these trends... and while CD Project Red is, at the moment, a shining beacon of light in this regard, a lot of the other AAA publishers who showed more restraint are located in Japan, and their games are not as big in the west as they once were. Thus for many gamers, especially on PC, EA, Ubisoft and Activision IS the AAA industry by now, because all the games they know and play are by now under the umbrella of these publishers. Players are sometimes entitled creatures... we all know that. A lot of player outrage comes from a vocal minority, and will fade away quickly. Normally. I do think this year, we might see a bigger wave of outrage triggered by BF2 BECAUSE of the groundwork laid by almost all the other big AAA games from the likes of EA, Ubi and Activision. I don't even think people would mind some of those as much as an isolated incident. I really think too much of this bad PR has happened in a too short amount of time. Sure, the AAA publishers can continue to concentrate on damage control. Has worked most of the time in the past. I am just not sure that with the current frequency of events that need to be damage controlled, this really is a viable strategy.
  7. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Well... as said, it was a theory. But then, this is one of the lamest reasons I have heard to boycott a game, until the game has been reviewed and the networking is found wanting (like in For Honor)... which is kind of hard to do with a game not out yet. So maybe they just had a change of mind on the matter and that game once it was out (and networking wasn't an issue)? Didn't really play MW2 over the net, have there been any issues with the networked part of it? Don't remember much controversy around that game back then.
  8. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Well, I don't want to get into another nitpick war here, but as soon as you have to PAY for random loot, you change A LOT about chests found in dungeons. Sure, it works the exact same save the way you get access to the box. And sure, as much as some people might not LIKE getting only random rewards in a game outside of RPGs, we all know how addictive the random rewards in games can be. Yes, they have been in there for a long time and they work very well to keep that item-grind-loop going in Diablo and similar games. But don't you think now adding in the simple fact people pay real money for it changes the whole deal more than just a little bit? Before we were talking about a mechanic to hook players to your game... which in turn some companies could use to then charge them for the time spent in the game (like in WoW), or for speeding up the process (like in some F2P games)... Now we are talking about giving people the opportunity to get extra spins at the wheel for a fee. And it doesn't stop there (because if it would stop there, I don't think there would be much of an outrage), because the game is now built to urge players to want to spin the wheel as often as they can. So yes, it is a difference if you ask me. And the biggest difference here is: this is not a f2p game we are talking about. Where people that play it accepted the grindy parts, the timegating and whatnot as part of the play for free deal, and either cough up the money to pay for it (hopefully because they like the game and want to support it), or just deal with the additional grind and inconvienience as free players. We are talking about full price AAA titles that are doing it here. Does it matter? It will not matter to everyone... some people will accept the grindiness, skip those parts, or simply don't mind spending extra. Some people will not mind the p2w elements (I didn't in some f2p games either, as long as the elements where rather tame and didn't completly took skill out of the equation)... a lot of people do. And I can understand why they do. To clarify: I don't expect random loot chests (or lootboxes) to dissapear... only the option to aquire lootboxes with real money. I am sure devs and publishers will find ways around it. Probably officials will then call it out again, and potentially regulators will have to step in. Probably an endless game of catching up... But paid lootboxes in the current iteration are probably having a hard time in the coming months... and I for one expect that to be dropped by publishers at some point (probably in favour of the next monetization craze). Well, then you didn't got the context of what I was saying. Again, I have nothing against well implemented microtransactions in AAA games. I have nothing against non-P2W microtransactions in F2P games. What I do object to is publishers and devs creating their games around microtransactions and gambling mechanics. Which has nothing to do with speeding up progress in a F2P game, which of course HAS to be built around microtransactions. When I buy an AAA game for 60$, I expect to be able to play the game without having timegates and paywalls and other inconviniences at every corner urging me to put more money into the arcade machine. That is not why I pay full price for a game to play on my console or PC. What I do pay for, and gladly do so: - getting a day of premium every sunday in World of Warships when playing with my friends for some hours. Speeds up the progress in the little time I have to play the game, and evens out the progress I loose somewhat to my friends who have less timewasting hobbies besides gaming like me - every few months, I buy a premium ship, when wargaming releases one that is well balanced, having a good looking model and is of some historical relevance or just an interesting concept. I feel like wargaming deserves more of my money than what I pay them with the little premium time I buy, and the premium vehicles I bought from Wargaming to date have been well implemented and handled by them. - Getting additional characters and DLC in games I like, which seem like complete products from the start. When I don't feel like the game has been chopped to pieces, I gladly buy additional characters or pay for other DLC. I would totally agree to this. I think there should be room for different prices in the market, without people screaming bloody murder because some game they really would like to play is more expensive than another game. To some extent we already have this... Indie games being cheaper come to mind, and some less successfull games going down in price over time, while more successfull ones being kept at a higher price. Now the base price should also be open in the other direction. Because as much as some people might not WANT to understand it, not all games cost the same to make. And a system with a flat price does not only incentivice the publishers to add more and more microtransactions and other monetization to their games beyond the base price, it also incentivices devs and publishers to cut corners, maybe beyond what is good for the game.
  9. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    You pay 60$ to play a complete game. SOME games in past have walled part of the expierience behind a paywall. I am talking NOT about ADDITIONAL content like additional costumes, separate missions, and stuff like that. I am talking about parts of a game being cut out to put in as microtransactions. And then not communicating that clearly. Also, there is the problem with the Lootbox gambling and how people quickly loose track of how much money they put in because of how the whole system is set up. It certainly is built in a way to make people spend way more than they should, given they have a gambling addiction or similar weakness. Sure, you can educate yourself and find what is part of the base game and what is not, most of the time from firstparty resources, the DLC list in Steam and similar stores, and whatnot. You can say people who are surprised by getting only part of the game they paid for and not knowing about the paywall should have informed themselves better. And sure, nobody forces you to buy those lootboxes and not grind the stuff you want the traditional route, IF that is a possibility. And if it is not, just suck up to be not at the top of the P2W pyramid, or in the best case, not having the best looking hat in the game. I can agree to that. But then we put in all the psychological tactics to urge players to invest money. The unnecessary grind, the p2w elements, and all the other psychological tricks employed. Might not sound sneaky to you... it does to me. Shouldn't really be a surprise or work at all on a healthy adult mind. Yet we know there are the weakminded and kids. Sure, you can say "why do they have access to a credit card or even play such a game"... but you see where I am going. Its a grey area for sure, at least IMO Yeah, I did write about those. Just below the part you quoted. I am pretty much in favour of these editions, but the fact still stands that most people will go for the cheapest edition. I was talking about the base price in that paragraph, not a special edition. Most people are used to a 120$ collectors edition... some people will go for that because of the additional gubbinz they get. I don't see people being so calm about it when the BASE price of the normal edition would be 120$, without any extra gubbinz, and without any choice to get a cheaper normal edition. I still think 70$, or maybe even 80$ might still be accepted as base price, after some outrage (because lets face it, EVERYTHING garners outrage of some level these days... especially price hikes, no matter how justified)... EDIT: But see, @Novadude987, maybe I am derailing your thread here a little bit. I am not sure you wanted to discuss IF certain types of microtransactions have a place in an AAA game. I think we have diametral opinions on SOME forms of microtransactions, while I am sure we agree on others. I for one are not really lambasting any business to act in their own interest. I might be a little bit irritated when those businesses then do not own their own mess when getting called out for it and earning pushback by their community because of some of their decisions, and instead are trying to smoke an mirror the issue, sugarcoat it, or even start attacking the community, their own fans, for calling them out. Maybe my irritation with some of the AAA Industries decisions of the last few years, including EA's decisions on how to handle the BF2 mess, have influenced my posts in this thread a little bit. While I never will like gambling mechanics in games, or paywalls, I never meant to attack anyone for those decisions, or having a different stance on these mechanics. If I sounded too harsh or like I was attacking anyone in particular (other than faceless big companies and their collective decisions), I am sorry. That was not my intention.
  10. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Well, I am not denying that. Does that mean trying to sneak more money out of the customer without them realizing it, or chopping up the game into pieces to have a 60$ base price will go down easier with customers? I would dare say a game price of 70$ or 80$ would probably garner outrage on the level of some games hiding parts of the expierience behind a paywall... that is, loud outrage with little financial impact. Some gamers might not pay the highe price just as much as much as they might have not bought the paywalled game, most gamers will in the end accept it IF the game is good enough to warrant them paying more. Of course, people WILL be aware of the higher price. While most uninformed gamers might only notice the paywalled content AFTER they have bought the game. Which might turn them unable to return the base product. 1:0 for the paywall... Now, there have ALWAYS been schemes to offer customers games at different price tiers... which are pretty much accepted and even loved by gamers today. Yes, I am talking about limited and collectors editions. Why not expand on that? Just as an example: when I bought my PS4 Pro and the games to go along with it this spring, I was very tempted by the steelbook editions and even collectors editions of both HZD and Nier:Automata. Both because at that point it has become clear these where quite good games, I was looking forward to both, and I am in desperate need for some plastic junk to fill some desk space in my home office (yeah, not really, but that Aloy and 2B Figurines where still tempting). Now of course I didn't pre-order, I waited for the reviews to come in and then had to do some soulsearching (and find a third game good enough for me to buy, to justify the lay out for the console itself)... and by the time I finally ordered, not only was the collectors edition long sold out (the Nier:Automata one never even came to europe), I was only able to order Nier in the Steelbook edition (which at least will make my games shelf look more shiny), having to settle for the normal edition for HZD. I can see how "limited editions" try to make customers buy "nao!" because of their limited nature, I am still wondering if that edition could generate some more profit if it was sold for longer? Why not offer the limited edition through some channels even months after the release of the game? Why make the Steelbook edition limited? Why not build on that by offering more varying editions that offer more bling, and more ADDITIONAL content over the base game for higher prices? I know, that ain't that different from the GOOD microtransactions which give you a different costume for a small fee, but its a concept that has been highly accepted in the gaming world for ages. While I see the need for generating more money in face of higher budgets (though I do question if budgets do indeed HAVE to spiral ever higher, or if that is just build on false assumptions by devs or a discrepancy between expectations and real need as expressed by gamers), and I see that this is kind of a sticky situation where devs and publishers will get under fire either way, trying to got the most shady route, trying to sneak in additional cost, cutting the expierience in pieces to be sold seperately, or making the game deliberately more tedious to urge players to pay for shortcuts don't seem that good of an idea to me. And apart from that, I don't think they are the ONLY way to generate more money with your games. Just because some of those tactics have proven to work well in the mobile space doesn't mean its the only way for AAA games to go. EDIT: Well, I remembered there had been some people as of the last few years complaining about "complete platinum deluxe collectors editions".... but that was mostly in regards to these being sold as pre-orders, maybe even preorder only. For sometimes complete insane prices. So it was more complained in regards to preorder culture and this being another try to urge people to preorder games. So point IMO still stands... nobody really faults devs and publishers for releasing more expensive versions of the game as collectors editions.
  11. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    yeah, they have. That doesn't mean the current feeding frenzy can go on forever. Seems like EA has finally gone too far and some officials are calling regulators to step in. I don't think paid lootboxes are here to stay for that reason. No matter how youpersonally view lootboxes (gambling vs not gambling), if enough countries or the EU for example are regulating against it, pubishers will probably drop the practice. And I don't think the AAA industry really should like the attention. It means whatever new scheme they come up with to replace the profits from lootboxes will now be put under a microscope by officials... at least for a year or two. If I would guess, I'd say the whole microtransaction frenzy will calm down for a year or two now, until publishers think the gamers have calmed down and forgotten, and officials and regulators have moved on to other things. And then the next wave of lootbox like craziness is going to hit AAA games again. But of course, maybe I am misinterpreting the longevity of the current outrage, AND the officials and regulators attentionspan. Maybe everything has been forgotten in a month, at least until EA switches on lootboxes again in SWBF2... which is as sure as the amen in the church. As to gamers being simple creatures... yeah. A pet peeve of mine. I have a hard time understanding how you can hate on the practices of a publisher so much and still buy their games. How, in this day and age, ANYONE can still pre-order games and be disappointed when the game turns out buggy, overhyped or just not as good as expected. How much of an ADDICT do you have to be to not be able to wait some weeks and months for reviews to come out and bugs to be fixed before buying the newest AAA title. But there is an alternative theory: maybe the die hard fans are NOT as hypocritical as I expressed in my last paragraph. Maybe the people being outrage do NOT buy the games, and do NOT pre-order them. Maybe its the others, people not well informed, people ignorant of gaming news that pay the publishers all that cash for subpar releases and the microtransactions tied to them. If that theory is correct, there is a time limit to this culture of taking as much as you can, while delivering as little as you can get away with. Because at some point, the amount of people woke to that kind of culture has reached a critical mass and sales start to slip. Because as much as Star Wars fans might love star wars, and shooter fans might love DICE games.... its not like shooter fans are starving for alternatives, there are plenty of good shooters on the market that are not going as far with their monetization, and SW might just pass over a SW product they deem not worth it, unless they are the kind of fan who needs to collect and see EVERYTHING, even if its subpar or way too expensive. It's a dangerous game to play, even if the market has proven the EA's and Ubisofts of this world right until now. That can change quickly, and if one of them oversteps the boundaries, the whole system (of microtransactions) might get into question.
  12. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Which is why for me, at least, Crowd Funding is the future of investment, even if that future probably never be funding many of the big AAA products. Investors ALWAYS bring a conflict of interests to a game development shop or publisher. Because, as you rightly say, a company that is traded in the stockmarkets has to put the interests of their investors first. That doesn't mean that this is a GOOD Idea IMO... just that its a reality, and a conflict of interests these companys have to deal with. I am pretty aware of that reality... I am still calling it out, because while a big publisher like EA probably will never be able to sustain itself without investment by entities having other interests than their customers, and being in the business of creating profits, they should be a little bit more aware that there are conflicting interests at work that, when not kept in balance, could result in slipping sales... not to speak of a bad reputation. Thus EA will probably always try to deliver the minimum product for the maximum amount of product they can get away with. But it is the markets right to tell them when they overstepped their goal, and should make corrections. And the likes of EA should thanks the market for the feedback and make corrections, instead of complaining. Which they did in case of SW BF2.... just way, way, WAY to late to avoid the fallout. Why it took EA so long and Disney stepping in to realize people wouldn't stop complaining about something perceived as p2w is beyond me. I am not lambasting anyone for having a "business first" mentality... I am just playing devils advocate here because SOME AAA companies seem to have forgotten they are selling a product to people, and not just dumb bots who will never complain. And complaining aside, vote with their wallets. I am talking about a Utopia world here maybe... one can dream, right? Again, its everyones right to make bad decisions. And again, its just my opinion I am voicing when I call these decisions "bad". In the end, its the market that decides about how good or bad a decision was in the long run.... If the likes of EA and Ubisoft do shady stuff and keep getting away with it, while raking in the profits... sure, I cannot say really the market proves them wrong. I still think they might be reaching a breaking point somewhere... that is why I don't think a shortterm "smart" move from a financial perspective will be a longterm "smart" move.
  13. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Why? Because it SHOULDN'T be your first priority. If you first and foremost priority as a ENTERTAINMENT company is not to ENTERTAIN your audience, well, I sure hope the ENTERTAINMENT market spits you out as soon as it finds out you are not really doing your "job". Me playing Devils Advocate here? Maybe.... but really, its about an attitude. If all you are seeing your customers as are dumb sheep to be sheared for profit, well, I would say that is not a healthy attitude that will last you long in about ANY industry. Maybe you find enough dumb customers to sustain yourself. A lot of shady businesses can survive SOMEHOW, and I am not yet going to compare having a bad atitude towards your customers with these shady businesses... not until you go full casino mode. But lets be real here. Consumers can be simple minds at times, easely manipulated by marketing stunts and hype. But this is a shortterm game. In the end, consumers will call out bad behaviour towards them. And while such things start as online dumpster fires only reaching the vocal minority at the beginning, in time the outcry will reach parts of the mainstream and will affect sales. And besides that (because making MORE with exploitative microtransactions and stuff like that might make up for what you lose in sales due to outcry and people being fed up), it will damage a companys reputation. Over multiple iterations of that cycle, you WILL at some point see sales slipping. The most important thing though is this: when the dev (either because of their own gr... ehr... need for money, or because they are forced by a publisher) concentrates on maximizing the monetization strategy of a game, I am dead certain that time that could have been used to make the game BETTER is wasted on that. If you already have a fantastic game to begin with, and plenty of time left, sure, that might not have any detrimental effect on the end product. When your game is in urgent need of balancing, or not finished at all, and you start altering the game to maximize profits, messing up the balancing for pay2win mechanics (or by simply cutting out content to put behind a paywall), and hampering the efforts of other devs to playtest and complete the game due to constant business driven changes, you are hurting the games quality in an effort to maximize the monetization. You end up with a perfectly monetized game which is obviously undercooked, buggy and badly balanced. THAT is what I mean when I say "Concentrate on satisfying your customers need BEFORE finding ways to generate more money out of them". I am not saying "build it and they will come", nor am saying never ever put ANY additional revenue streams into your games. All I am saying is this: Concentrating on MONEY only in an industry where your end product is not MONEY (financial industry would be an example for that) will hurt the product you put on the market in the end. As to Jim: No, he isn't. The average AAA company NOT delving deep into the monetization rabbit hole is not exactly Robin Hood. And yet Jim lauds every good AAA game that is both GOOD, delivering value for money, AND not partaking in this monetization madness that has gripped the industry. And while you say games are an INDUSTRIAL product... I don't think many of your customers want to play an INDUSTRIAL product. Not matter how much it is an illusion, players want at least the ILLUSION of games as an art form. There MIGHT be a market for yearly recycles like the FIFAs and Call of Duties... yet even there, at some point the Industry feels a need to innovate. Again, nitpicking about the meaning behind a word... you might have meant INDUSTRIAL to have a different meaning to you. And as to how the industry should be perceived.... that is for the customer to decide. Just as much as it is the industries right to be "greedy", it is my right to call it that as a customer. Can I stop them being "greedy"? Maybe, by not buying their products, and telling others to do the same. Its the right of every customer on this planet. And its the reason why this industry should bloody well learn who really has the power to make or break them longterm: not their investors, but their customers. If that slow moving mass of players one day starts to not buy their products anymore, the investors at some point will HAVE to take the customers side. The greedy dev or publisher can then decide to cling to their ways on a ship heading for an iceberg, or start making course corrections. And yes, I put the word greedy in parantheses here. Because in all honesty, I see why people would get stuck up on the word... its loaded, and not that accurate for what are either bad business practices, or one just focusing on the interests of one side over the others. Calling it greedy is a kind of... populistic way of putting it. I don't think its WRONG per se to perceive it as greed... but its certainly not helpful. So that is where the parantheses come from. Jim does it more vocally and certainly with a lot more exaggeration than needed, but ultimately, he is right IMO. Even if he certainly shoots way, way over his target with his sometimes quite... toxic language he uses. As to the last point, we can agree again. IF a 60$ game adds a balanced, well thought out way to generate more money, while at the same time putting out a finished, GOOD and complete game for the base price, I will not complain. If you are able to create a fully featured game for 60$, and have enough time and resources to produce ADDITIONAL content above and beyond that, which isn't pay to win, and you are not artificially screwing with your game to force people to pay the additional content (unreasonable grind and so on), then I have nothing against that. And most other customers probably wouldn't complain either. Hell, I don't think Jim Sterling would complain about that. But when you are asking for more money than others, you have to accept that you are putting yourself under a microscope. Do ANYTHING wrong with it, and you will be targetted by the hatemobs... sometimes even if you didn't mean it that way. I don't think there is much you can do about other than to be aware that everything you do might be seen as cutting out content, using manipulative tactics to increase revenue, and adding pay2win once you go down the route of additional monetization, and try extra hard to make your microtransactions and DLCs look proper. Maybe even shy away from day one DLC even if it is ready from day one. Giving at least the illusion that said content was worked on and finished after the release of the base game can make a lot of the whining about it disappear (given it wasn't obviously content cut from the base game). To me personally, it always come down to two factors: is the base game good (thus do I actually want to play that game, or is it riddled by bugs and balancing issues, or just plain boring), and is the additional content worth the money (not going to spend 5$ on an additional SF5 Fighter that should be part of the base rooster of fighters... both because it is obviously content cut from the base game to be put behind a paywall, and because an additional fighter I might use that much is not worth 5$ to me. Not when I am not the biggest fan of said fighter, and only expect to play SF5 as a party game when friends are over)... different people might feel differently about a game, or the value of additional content being sold as microtransactions. That still doesn't mean I will not call out this practice when it obviously has hurt the quality of the base game. Which, in many instances lately, it did. As to the usual smoke and mirrors tactics of "games are expensive to make"... yeah sure. They have been expensive to make since decades. Yet game devs survived on 60$ premium games sales and expansion packs until very recent. Has the market since become fiercer? Sure, nobody is denying that. But the customer is just as little in the market to feed a dev as the dev needs to cater to every need of the customer. The customer wants a product? He has to bloody pay for it. The Dev wants to sell something? He better offers good value for money or sit on his products and go bankrupt. Its a give and take situation for both really... if the customer wants to continue play sequels of his beloved franchises, he has to support the dev by buying his products. If the dev wants to stay in business, he has to cater to his customers needs... which could also mean to listen when the customer feels taken advantage of. Even if untrue, there is still merit to the old saying "the customer is always right". Again, if creating games and pricing them the olden ways becomes unsustainable, changes have to be done. But if those changes have been the right one are ultimately for the market to choose. If the market is responding badly to changes to monetization, maybe the industry should pivot their approach quicker, instead of doubling down and blaming the gamers.
  14. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Well, the freeloaders was more directed at non-paying players in F2P... as I wasn't sure if we were discussing just F2P or Premium games, or both. From the view of some publishers it seems they see the people just paying the entry fee also as "free loaders"... but that is a whole new discussion - lets just say given the open nature of the discussion, the term was probably poorly chosen here. I think in essence it is simple... games to big to be made when "<projected number of sales> X 60$" is not breaking you even and paying a healthy profit? You screwed up. Now either cut your losses by dropping the project immidiatly, see if you can reduce the scope if you are still early enough in development to release a smaller game with enough quality to warrant the 60$, or just be honest and ask for 80$ or more. We know the last one will not be easy to swallow for most customers used to games costing 60$ since they can remember (I remember my SNES games costing me at least 100$ new in the early nineties, I was a broke teenager back then and it was pretty much okay. But then the idea of buying 20+ games on sale during a steam sale to then have them linger in my library and never play would have sounded like madness to me back then)... We also know how cutting corners usually goes (insert any kind of broken or bad games that got bastardized during development because of cost or time constraints) We know how many games still get shot down early in development. As a longterm gamer, seeing the results of project leads NOT cutting the cords when there is still time, I have become very tolerant to this approach. Even if its a game I looked forward to, even if I wanted to play the game so badly. I rather get disappointed by the game being dropped in development than getting a crap game on the shelves and a) either paying 60$ to get even more disappointed, or b) risking the whole franchise to not get touched with a ten foot pole anymore because of bad sales. But yeah, I know where you are coming from. We all know that games have NOT become so expensive to make. At least not games that a) have focus, b) have more than just eye candy to carry the game, c) are put out by game developers which are still in the market to deliver entertainment to their customers (which are gamers in this case) instead of delivering RoI to their shareholders. IF games have become too expensive to make. I highly doubt this is REALLY the markets, or the gamers fault. While I do know there are the visual candy addicts out there... when a REALLY great game comes out with mediocre graphics, only a small minority will moan about "subpar graphics". As long as the graphic is EFFECTIVE, and/or STYLISH, and fitting, people will not care if its the most high detail 3D Scan or just a low poly model ran through a clever toon shader. Its game developers who try to sell games on visual candy when running out of ideas, game developers trying to keep players "trapped" in their games for as long as possible to maximize the exposure to their microtransactions, and keep interest in future DLC high, that drive up cost of games. But trying to argue with Suits in big studios this way is futile. IMO its much more effective to tell them simply to price the games higher or cut costs when they bring the "games are expensive to make" argument when trying to justify all their money making schemes involved with the moder AAA industry. If a game has to sell 120$ per copy... why not ask for 120$? if you can sell more copies by having a base price, and then the full price... doesn't that mean that you sell more copies at a reduced average price now (how many people will really spend the full additional 60$ for additional content... unless most of the game has been sealed off into DLC, at which point people will soon catch up and either not spend even the base price on the game, return it when they find out about the scam, or simply drop the game when reaching the paywall). Haven't played Andromeda, and after the controversies, don't plan to. Not because I expect it to be just as bad as the reviews make it out to be. But a) because I will not pay for a defective product, until its fixed. And don't get me wrong, I expect a lot of the bugs to be fixed by now. I just don't expect all of them being fixed by the time the dev gave up on fixing that dumpster fire to not get impacted by them when playing the game. b) I don't want to pay for rushed products. I think the industry needs to learn to take their time again, and push release dates back if needed. If the investors, or studio heads cannot spare the time to let an unfinished product simmer in the oven a little longer, I cannot spare my time and cash on a product which will most probably deliver a subpar expierience, if only for immersion breaking bugs. c) would be that I have a whole GOOD trilogy to still play BEFORE I would waste my time on the arguably least highest rated entry in the series, so even if one day I would find my love for Mass Effect... I probably be busy enough playing the first three entries and finding out what the controversy about the ending of part three was all about, before coming back to give Andromeda a shot. Buying it used by then, of course. You are certainly right about that pressure. But then we need to ask, who is responsible for that pressure? Its certainly not the gamers. While its true SOME gamers might be pretty toxic and have a quite distorted expectation of games, MOST gamers are not, and just expect entertainment products that work and are worth their money. We can talk about a feedback loop here that also causes gamers to expect ever more of their games. But there are two sides involved in a feedback loop, and the AAA industry is quick to feed into the hype and inflation of expectations. At the end of the day, the pressure is simple: investors expect an ever increasing return on an ever decreasing cost. That puts the AAA industry in a very uncomfortable position for sure. But one they can break free from with some agility (as in, not put all your eggs into one basket, not just work on 500m$ mega blockbusters), some creativity (as in let creative people also make some decisions, not just the suits who have no idea what a game even is), and some listening (to players for once, not just marketing shills, focus groups and investors). As to the price discussion. As said, I grew up in a time where paying 100$ was normal for a game, at least where I lived. So 60$ is already CHEAP to me. But then we are living in a society where an increasing amount of people are trained to expect everything to be free, not seeing how they pay for Free google stuff with their data and so on. So yeah, as much as I wished for the AAA industry to have some more flexibility on pricing, we know this is not going to happen. The stupid vocal minority will go apeshit if a game only ups the price to 70$, and even if MOST people interested in the game don't care (because players ON AVERAGE are in an age group that generally works for a living, thus has disposable income and not enough time to play every new game coming out... that may be a viewpoint informed of me living in a rich country where games are not that much more expensive to buy, still, point stands)... At the same time we know if people start accept AAA game prices between 60-120$ ... all AAA games would suddenly go up to 120$. Maybe after some years, if sales are dropping, they would start moderating themselves again and settle at 90$... still, we know if the AAA industry sees a way to make more money... they have a hard time controlling themselves. Well, Jim Sterling is making a show of it. He certainly is bashing on things to feed of the negative emotions that drives people to watch bashing videos. He is right at the heart though. When entertainment industries are more concerned with generating profit then entertaining their audience, there is something wrong with that industry. There have been people climbing the ranks in the AAA industry that should never have. Because as much as they make money RIGHT NOW, they are laying the seeds for a big crash to come. Either to the company they are now conditioning to go after the maximum profit right now... or the whole industry if some bad practices continue to spread and the companies are so stubborn that even a greedy company like Disney has to tell them to stop when they are trying to sit the sh*tstorm out. Holy **** EA, did Disney just show you how to react to customer outrage? Disney the evil destroyer of franchises? (and yes, I am still salty about Disney aquiring Star Wars) .... the good thing, as always, is that there are other companies. Companies that put out great games for 60$, not walling off any content, and then working on DLC for some time to give people who want more more content for a fair price down the line. Who do not need gambling mechanics and all that crap in their games advertised as premium games (as said, in F2P games, go to town... as long as your players swallow it, and until the regulators step in)... Who seem to still care about after sales support just as much as about the sales pitch. Who deliver quality over quantity. Who are, obviously, still able to do proper project management so they can deliver a game of a big scope for 60$ and get enough profit out of that.... something the likes of EA, Ubisoft and other AAA giants seemed to have lost along the way to ever bigger profit margins. Its easy to say its the fault of players. Yet all the outrage I hear as of lately seems to be very justified and deserved by a few bad players in the AAA industry and games which were proven to be rushed, and/or subpar in quality, and monetization strategies which were most probably unneeded at best, bordering on predatory at worst. As much as gamers can be held accountable for TRAINING the AAA industry wrongly on their needs (we need the best graphics ever) and their limits ("**** that game I preordered, its crap, I will never preorder again... Oh, is that a new Star Wars game? And it is supposed to be good this time? Hit that pre-order button now!") ... its not the gamers that profit from the current sad state SOME parts of the AAA industry are in. I am not sure ANYONE will profit from it longterm... but some execs sure as hell make a killing at the moment. If they are for once not screwing up so badly it affects sales.
  15. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    I can agree to that... but there are limits. If that money can allow me to skip fun and engaging gameplay which I simply don't have time to engage in, I feel like I am making a decision myself. And the free loaders, which are also important to flesh out the servers population, have fun while putting in the time. Everybody wins. If the gameplay I skip is repetitive and boring, I feel kinda pressurized to jump over it with microtransactions. I no longer feel like I am making a decision here. The games dev tells me to give him money, and helds the engaging gameplay ransom. The free loaders on the other most probably have long left the game before they come to the stage I am jumping to, so all I am paying for is to skip the boring part of the game where most free loaders are being "worked to death", while getting to the fun gameplay where only the few whales who used money to skip the grind are playing with each other in rather empty locations. And that leaves the whole discussion about skipping the l2p phase of the game, and noobs entering the end game with no idea how to play the game ans screwing over their team in team based, high skill ceiling games. Sure, not everyone needs a 100h grind phase to gid gud, but the people who are NOT fast learners straight jumping into the end game against people who have a hundred times more time invested into the game and know their stuff will certainly quit the game quickly.... while again, in team based games making everybody else bitch about endgame wallet warriors in their Teams, even IF the p2w aspect is kept in check. All in all, I agree with some youtubers: Microtransactions are fine in a f2p game, if kept under tight control (no p2w, some mitigation for straight buying into endgame content, making the grind not too grindy). Microtransactions have no place in premium games or, even worse, single player games. If a game cannot be made for 60 bucks and still turn a profit, increase the price. Reduce the scope. If really needed, move part of the game into DLC (which will inevitable incur some bitching by the players). Never ever sell single characters for ludicrous prices like SF5 did (I am waiting for the complete edition of that game that will give me all the 120+$ worth of DLC for 50$, with the base game. Screw you Capcom for trying to hold Cammy at ransom, she should be a part of the base game). Never, ever do lootboxes. That is scummy in F2P games. In Premium games -> Instant no-buy for me. I will not support a game that tries to take advantage of peoples addiction, AND then asks me to pay for entry too. No casino asking for an entry fee would survive long.