Soliciting Entitlement

I am totally on board for scolding people for an exaggerated sense of entitlement, but many gaming companies are literally asking for it. MMOs have long solicited player participation in development, from requesting suggestions to testing implementation. In a Web 2.0 world, more developers started inviting players to participate. “Make your voice heard!” Games being Kickstarted frequently offer beta board access as a reward so that you the customer can help guide the development of the game.

I have seen good, implemented solutions come from the suggestions board, and I have seen games that really do have player-influenced or even -driven development. I have also seen a lot of companies decide that is good PR, set up a suggestions board, and maybe harvest a few ideas but mostly just do what they were going to do anyway and maybe point to a thread and say, “because you demanded it!” It is so much marketing BS, just as we recognize that people are not really “testing” the game in that open beta. Some suggestions may have merit, and maybe you have a new idea, but the designers are not waiting with bated breath for the next epiphany from the armchair designers.

I have trouble saying that the players have an unfair expectation that they should be listened to when the company says they are listening. Using the two senses of “expectation” from that link: as a realistic assessment of what the company is likely to do, one should not place high odds on the company being guided by your suggestions; as a normative assessment that people should follow through on their promises, one is completely fair in thinking that a company that says it is listening should listen. If you say you are listening to create customer buy-in, then do not particularly listen, you totally deserve it when those customers react badly to the realization.

If a company never claimed to be listening, you can maybe argue that it would be better if they did, but you do not get to claim a sense of personal betrayal.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Soliciting Entitlement”

  1. Actually yes you do get to claim a sense of personal betrayal with some companies. You see game developers like Arenanet have a long history of not being honest with their forthcoming changes.They’ve made several promises they couldn’t keep and since they can’t be honest about their development plans they do the extreme opposite and try to snuff out any and all mentions of anything and limit their interviews of major updates, instead of you know growing a backbone and actually being honest with their players. There’s a long list on Wiki of plan after plan they were to come out with only to have them sweep these under the rug and hope people forgot they said that.

  2. The whole ‘do what they wanted, find a thread that supports it, claim it was player-driven’ thing also works the other way. Take for example the WoW UI; its basically fully player-created, as time and time again Bliz would take the most popular UI mod and add it to the base game, and as far as I know, never once giving credit to the mod.

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