Generic Post

“If you accept buggy games and shady PR, you get the games you deserve.”

I could probably replace a quarter of my posts with that. The message seems not to get through. Then again, it has not gotten through on non-game fronts for a few thousand years, so my hope is misplaced.

: Zubon

14 thoughts on “Generic Post”

  1. If I don’t accept buggy games and shady PR, I don’t get games at all — at least, not in my preferred genre.

    Ideally, we’d be playing in a proper physics engine where, once the bugs have been sorted out, unexpected circumstances will generally behave according to the same rules as those planned for. Realistically, gamers with top-end machines are a niche market, we’re playing in a 2D hack designed for the lowest system requirements the publisher can get away with, and the engine requires specific instructions for every circumstance (often with unintended effects).

    I guess I’ll just take what I can get.

  2. If you don’t accept buggy games and PR (what PR is not shady?) you don’t play MMOs.

    As others have pointed out, this is news in 2009 why?

  3. There is PR, which is okay (for God’s sake, promote your game. nothing wrong with that), and then there’s PR that just bends the truth or flat out states lies for the sake of promotion and hype.

    That to me has always been where the line is; promotion is fine, lying isn’t. I’ll be the first to admit that nowadays most of the “lying PR” is not really lying, but rather just cases of fine print. Which is not cool, but not really lying. “I’ll just try to slip this by you guys if you’re not paying attention”. That kind of thing.

    Doesn’t make it excusable, but like the great Eddie Izzard said, “You realize that if there are levels of murder, there must be levels of perjury too”.

    Ideally, and this is just me personally, I have no use for prose in PR. As in, I’m not swayed one bit by lines and lines telling me how awesome the game is. I’m happy as a clam with a detailed list of features, because I can judge for myself how awesome or not it is. But I realize not all people are like this and many people want to be “convinced” or “won over” as a customer or some crap like that.

    To me, make it clear cut and let me judge for myself.

  4. Just because “it is the way it is” doesn’t mean we should accept it. I doubt we will ever see a MMO launched bug free and feature complete – but the more consumers relay the information to developers that it is “unacceptable” (via box sales, cancelled subs, or just information in general), the better chance we have of getting more complete games.

    I am not an Ostrich.

  5. I’m not so sure “should” enters into it. It is the way it is. I choose to indulge myself with what’s available. You may hold out, hoping others will join you in boycotting the current business model, but it won’t work. Publishers wouldn’t see the light and suddenly start investing another year or two’s development costs into each of their games. They’d just invest their money in another genre with an audience that has reasonable expectations.

  6. I think it’s plenty reasonable to expect a stable launch for an MMO. I know that there will be problems that only live testing can solve as the zerg horde stomps their way through the untested code, but a lot of problems I see with new MMOs are things that could have been solved with a bit more planning and better execution. (Not even more money, just better project management. As a rat in the warren of game development, I see a *lot* of things that could be done better.) Shoveling something out the door thinking that you’ll fix it later isn’t just poor coding practice and poor business, it’s bad PR, which can kill an MMO.

    Perhaps this is one reason to champion the idea of MMO third party engine developers. The Unreal engine has made some game development cheaper and more reliable… maybe it’s time that the MMO genre finds a similar solution.

  7. @Tesh

    In part, that’s why I have such high hopes for SW:tOR. Useing Simutronics game engine means the onus to perfect and de-bug a large portion of the game is on the shoulders of another company. Nothing increases quality like competition in the free-market!

  8. People are gullible and believe the hype about a game that PR and marketing put out. So they have to get it as soon as it is released, without waiting for a free trial to come out, without waiting for the truth about a game’s completeness to come out, etc. Always a problem when you cannot try before you buy. I’ve stopped going to the movies, because every time some mediocre movie comes out, and is reported to gross more than any movie before it at box office, it sickens me. I’ll rent movies first, and then buy them if I think I will watch them again. I try not to buy games where I haven’t played the demo or a free trial first. Then I know I’m putting my money where I want to.

  9. I demand a stable game with minimal bugs. Because MMOs so often fail to meat this minimum standard, I simply won’t buy one that I haven’t previewed via a trial or a beta. It does irk me the we are still getting hit with fiascos like the AoC launch after more than a decade of MMOs.

    Shady PR, on the other hand, just doesn’t bother me. It’s PR, I don’t expect to be able to take it at face value. Why should we hold marketing from PC game developers to a higher standard than other forms of marketing?

    Being flat out lied too about the feature set of a product is one thing. If that’s what you mean by “shady PR” than I guess I would agree with you. However, to me misleading or vacuous PR (“1 million characters created,” “free new classes coming to WAR,” “one of the most popular MMOs in North America,” “one of the most successful launches in MMO history,” ect.) isn’t anywhere near that.

  10. One example I can think of regarding flat out lying, top of my head, was in the retail box for Half-Life 2. It was one of those (popular now) boxes that you flip the “cover” and there’s a spread with something or other. Some nice art, screenies, whathaveyou.

    Well the spread on this box depicted a scene which was not included in the game, showing characters wearing clothes that could not be found in the game at all. This wasn’t a scene I might have missed while playing because HL2 is a very linear game, and there were only a few spots during that progression where I could have spotted the depicted scene. It was just an invention. That to me is already dipping its toes into false advertising proper, even if it wasn’t in an advert.

    It’s a similar case to doctored/touched up screenshots for upcoming games or technologies. You’re not showing what the thing will do. So what are you showing? Something else. This surfaces regularly every time there’s a new generation of consoles coming up and everybody rushes to show how cool the graphics are and retouch those screenshots to hell and back until the screenshot has nothign to do with the product. On the PC they can -kinda- get away with it arguing for different user configurations or settings that, well oh well, the user is dumb and can’t reproduce the screenshot, but hey in house we can. On consoles… what configuration? Which settings? They still routinely get away with it because nobody calls them on it.

    One thing is hype, bombastic language, dubious claims and so on. Another thing is to show something that is not in your game and/or your game is not capable of. That’s just false advertising.

  11. You sound like de Tocqueville (or Machiavelli, or Twain, or Jefferson – or whomever first said it): in a free market, the people get the games they deserve.

    That’s why it’s only through activism, protest and participation that we’ll get better games.

    Vive la resistance!

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