What game companies have to do to stop fucking up.
(EDIT: There’s actually some stuff I forgot, so I’m adding it now.) OK so E3 and a new generation of consoles are about to explode and everyone’s pissed about the direction they’ve been going. Maybe if I make a list of obvious ranty things with lots of swears, it will make it to the desks of a few industry people and they’ll start doing things right again.
Stop focusing on stupid fucking gimmicks and focus on games, idiots.
OK, so Netflix, Hulu Plus, Facebook, Twitter, etc can be accessed through our game consoles now. It’s neat. That’s a good thing for consoles to have. It’s icing on the cake. But putting it first and foremost in your reveal events and hardly bringing up games is like showing me a plate of icing and calling it a cake. Features don’t get gamers excited, and they don’t sell game consoles; GAMES do. Games or GTFO.
And nobody cares that these features are faster on the new one, nobody’s going to buy a new console just for that.
Motion control is dead.
The Wii may have decimated its competition in sales, but it doesn’t change the fact that The Wii was a fad - and people stopped giving a shit about it around 2009, and that includes Nintendo. If you noticed in the second half of the Wii’s lifespan, Nintendo’s games focused more on holding the controller sideways and playing NES-style with the occasional shaking or screen-pointing (See: Wario Land Shake, Metroid Other M, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby Returns to Dream Land) instead of in the beginning where games were designed around flailing your arms about like they were covered in spiders.
Fuck the Move, and double-fuck the Kinect, I am not interested in operating an Xbox by yelling at it.
Stop assuming we’re all rich technocrats.
We’re not fucking Tony Stark - a lot of gamers don’t have the latest kickass tech. It may be 2013, but you may be shocked to find that there are gamers out there who don’t have wireless internet, high-speed internet, or any internet connection at all. And even if they did, that’s not a guarantee they’ll ever connect their consoles. Hell, some of us STILL don’t have HDTVs. I only just got one in my household a year ago, and I don’t play my games on it. I have a large SD set in my game room.
And to those of you going ‘WELL U SHOULD JUST BUY ONE DEN’, fuck off. Don’t tell me what to do with my money. (Not that I don’t want one, mind.)
Stop putting DRM, Online Passes, and mandatory internet connection in your games under the assumption that everyone is trying to pirate it, you fascists. How dare you.
These practices don’t work anyway. Pirates are always one step ahead, they always find a way to circumvent your bullshit, no matter how much you (falsely) claim it works. And if a customer is given a choice between buying a game with all these restrictions, and pirating it with all this crap removed, what do you THINK they’d choose?
Which brings up my next point…
Stop trying to control us. Let us have the choice to buy used.
Yeah, yeah, I know. The industry and Gamestop are always butting heads over this, some morons can’t stop groaning over HOW USED GAEMS A RUINING TEH INDSATREE, but I’ve never seen any solid proof. I wouldn’t have a fraction of the console games I own if I couldn’t buy them used. If your console blocks or charges an additional fee for a used game - FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUCK YOOOOOOOU. That is a DEAL-BREAKER. I will not buy your console; I will go to your competitors that allow used games.
Stop phasing out backwards compatibility, you prick-holes.
It’s inexcusable. This is a standard in the industry. Yeah, I know it wasn’t a big deal the SNES couldn’t play NES games. THAT WASN’T A THING BACK THEN. Some people don’t own current consoles but would be interested in the new one if it could play the games from the last one. Removing backwards compatibility shuts out an entire library of games, and potential game sales.
Stop abusing DLC.
The game I buy off the shelf should be the full package. STOP withholding features that should be free, stop making us pay for cheat codes, and stop nickel and diming us with useless features like costume packs. If you have to have DLC to lengthen your game’s lifespan, it should have substance, like expansion packs from back in the day.
Put features on your new console that are actually useful.
Let us charge the controllers with the console off. Let us use USB devices like external HDDs, thumb drives, wireless keyboards/mice, cameras, and microphones. Let us use common Bluetooth devices. Let us use Ethernet cables if we don’t wanna use wi-fi. Let us integrate our smartphones. LET. US. USE. SD CARDS.
Stop using your greedy corporate synergy bullshit; excluding these convenient devices from your machines and forcing us to go with your brand of memory cards, or having to drop an extra $100 on 500GB of built-in hard drive space that we probably won’t need. And some of us don’t want to use cloud storage, we don’t know if we can depend on it.
Don’t launch anything that isn’t ready for prime time on day one.
Red ring of death. SimCity’s server troubles. The Wii U, dead on arrival - the “U” probably stood for “Updating”. Having your games and consoles not work at launch just makes consumers want to wait until well after launch to buy. Put that shit back in the oven until you know it’s ready; I’d rather have a game delayed and come out working good than a non-functioning turd that’s on time.
Make your prices reasonable. $60-70 a game is too damn much. Stop trying to charge $10 for 20-year-old SNES games too.
Steam, GOG, and the App Store are undercutting your prices at every turn. People go where it’s cheaper. You have to figure out a way to keep your prices competitive.
Speaking of which:
Do some goddamn math and place your game budgets and sales expectations somewhere in the realm of reality.
Tomb Raider was a “failure”. It sold 3 million copies at launch, was #1 in sales for that month, and was the biggest-selling game in the franchise’s history. But it was still a “failure”? What the hell were they expecting it to do?
This is only a recent example, but it’s been happening a lot - games that sell in millions still fail to meet projections. Profits in the millions still don’t make up for the development costs. Studios have to close, even though they created a game that was successful. How is this good business? Scale it back - have your AAA money-magnets, but at the same time make some middle-budgeted, more experimental games. That’s where all the interesting stuff happens.
Tell your employees to shut the fuck up.
Adam “Deal With It” Orth.
Do I even need to continue? Sure, game consumers can be petty, irrational and impossible to please; just look at me—I’m taking precious time out of my day to post a long-winded blog post to bitch about video games. But the customer is always right, and you have to be careful not to piss them off - your comments could cause a firestorm. Quit shit-talking each other too. One week we have EA pissing on the Wii U, and the next week they announce their support for the Wii U. How can we trust your word if you are constantly doing 180°s like that?
Be more open and supportive to indie developers — wait, what’s that? You’re already doing that? That’s good! That’s good.
Just try not to screw that up.
Be innovative, but only when necessary.
New ideas are awesome, but they can be stupid if they’re created just for the sake of being new ideas. Try new things, but be willing to let them go if they don’t work out. Stop trying to force them down our throats(*COUGH*KINECT*COUGH*) if they aren’t doing well.
OK, this one might be a little unrealistic of me since it’s unquestionably the best business decision to have your new releases in Q4 when everyone is in Post-Thanksgiving shopping berserker mode. But personally, I’m just tired of it.
Tired of rushed jobs just so it’s ready by November. Tired of game release dry-spells in the spring and summer. Tired of seeing parents and adult gamers camping out at 2 AM in front of Best Buy in the freezing cold, not just for new consoles, but for preorder tickets. Preorder tickets!! Freakin’ madness is what it is.
So there. Do all of this stuff within the next five years, and maybe, maybe, this won’t be the “next big game crash” everyone is speculating about. Maybe it won’t be the often prophesied “Last ever generation of consoles”.
Because it will be “Definitely” if things keep going the way they are.
I meant to see Wreck-It Ralph by now, but it was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy making everybody’s life suck. I’ll probably get to it this week though, I refuse to miss it. Especially since I’ve been following the hype machine for over a year. Seeing the cameos of Bowser, Robotnik, and Sonic made me hopeful I’d see “the big scene” we were all hoping for—equivalent to the Roger Rabbit reference I’m making here. Unfortunately, in the case of ol’ Mr. Jumpman, it just wasn’t meant to be. … … … … but we DO get to see Skrillex! Not a total loss.
(DISCLAIMER: I know this was referred to by TWBB and other webcomics years ago. Shut up. I don’t care.)
So I went and got (“Went” meaning sat perfectly still while I ordered it on Amazon) Kirby’s Dream Collection, to revisit all the Kirby games I played growing up, and even some I missed, like Kirby 3 on SNES. But not only was Kirby doing stuff I haven’t seen him do in over a decade in the game, but I also saw something I haven’t seen him do in over a decade in the box: