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MMORPG.com Videos - The Rant - We the Giant Slayers

In this week's Rant, Bill Murphy tackles the issues plaguing Maxis' SimCity, and whether or not we should be too hasty to ridicule the game and its developers. Drawing inspiration from other letdowns of recent memory (SWTOR, D3, Mass Effect), Bill says there might be reason to think before you troll.

Duration: 4:15
Views: 1,771  26 comments
Game: General
Direct Link: http://youtu.be/UH0LuejXwhc
Ryowulf writes:

Single player games aren't going online because of piracy.  The fact is most people who pirate a game, aren't going to buy it anyway.  Also if someone does pirate a game and enjoys it and talks about it, won't that make positive buzz which will sell more copies?

As far as the hate, I agree that people hate on games for faling to live up to expectations that were to high to start with.  But who's fault is that? Companies hype, hype and hype. They make promises they know they can't keep.

Mon Mar 11 2013 9:24AM Report
dgarbini writes:

Your very wrong on this one Bill.  Major companies or any company do not need praise for doing something good.  Their praise is called money, they are not a bunch of babies with a 4yo ego (well some of them).  Nor should we have to hold back anything ever in all honesty.  And to state that the developers dearly want to make games we love so we can play for years, is also untrue, they are in it for the money and it has become just all to apartent recently with these various cash grabs.  The consumers have been burned so often, and quite often by these exact same companies that they give them little slack so it is very rightly earned.  And your view is a bit off, players complain because they do strongly care about the industry and their beloved games so much it often angers them to see it be screwed up like it often is.

 

The gaming industry is very fortunate that it gets so much comsumer feedback, this is not the case in other industries, where if they fail on a major product could mean the close of their entire business.  I would  much rather deal with criticism as a business then to just disapear.  Because that criticism means they are still interested in your company or products.  I think the industry as a whole need to get their crap together and man up.  They almost always know exactly what they are doing and why, and often it is a very bad intent.  The only difference is alot of the consumers have woken up to see that and are not tolerating it as much, which they shouldnt have to.

 

This is the big boy world, maybe its time for the video game industry as a whole to start acting a bit more professional and acountable.

Mon Mar 11 2013 10:16AM Report
Lobotomist writes:

Small guys get the hate aswell - with much more fatal results.

Example:

Couple of days ago I purchased Showdown Effect - by Paradox. Excellent team that made Magicka

Not the game made two mistakes :

1. Its multiplayer only game , but the demo is just single player training.

2. There was very agressive filter on server browser preventing people to see higher ping games.

 

Now the game that is pretty good, is all but burried on steam.

Usually such indie project  gets lot of love fast and flourish , or get cold sholder and die.

For this game, it seems its the latter. And all because of small mistake...

Mon Mar 11 2013 10:53AM Report
Brenix writes:

EA gets crapped on because they only care about money these days.  Although it seems like most game companies hold true to that, EA is the one of the largest companies so naturally they're going to be targeted. You can't really compare D3 to Simcity because D3 is largely a multiplayer game whereas Simcity is only multiplayer because they wanted the always online DRM. If you put your game out where it can't be played because of the DRM, it should be wholly expected that people will backlash in a large way. 

EA used to be a company that cared mostly about it's games. Just compare simcity 4 to 5. Simcity 4 comes with everything you need to play, addon support, and an expansion that added new content that people would glady pay for. It seems like Simcity 5 was released with shortcomings that DLC would eventually fix, which is completely wrong (larger maps seeming to be the big one.)

People aren't stupid but it seems like EA assumes we all are and that's why they get so much hate. In a world that allows so much feedback, expect to be heavily criticized, especially if you don't give what you promise.

Anyway, I want to play Simcity, I'll probably end getting it at some point. I don't like EA or the way most game developers are going these days but life is too short to get caught up in meaningless rants and mass displeasure over games. I would have been miffed if I bought it day 1 and wasn't able to play it, but not enough to get me as upset as most seem to be.

 

Mon Mar 11 2013 12:02PM Report
Purutzil writes:

Well EA is a terrible company purely for money value which, sure it works for selling products but I feel for entertainment industry does NOT promote a good company.

 

Simcity 5 itself has only 1 manor flaw and that is the DRM. That is the BIGGEST flaw and I'd willingly make a gamble it was done not because it was to stop piracy (though I would say its a small reason and the main one they would push to consumers) but to make money off it, to capitalize on players and push for micro transactions as the player is unable to cheat UNLESS they create their world in a specific mode. 

Don't get me wrong, at the very least it seems they took advantage of this and ended up making stuff for online that was interesting for the players (seeing other towns and having them 'interact' to a degree) but its stuff that could easily of been done without forcing it always online either. 

The DRM is what ruins an otherwise great game, or why even be so specifically, its called Greed, EAs favorite thing. Milk the consumer as much as possible making sure they don't hate you just enough to get enough people in for more profits.

Mon Mar 11 2013 2:15PM Report
MindTrigger writes:

I disagree with the "trying as hard as they can" bit as well.  The only thing they are trying hard as they can doing these days is making a game that will bring in as much money as possible.  Many of these companies have been so focused on dollar signs that they have completely forgotten how to innovate and push the boundaries of MMO gaming.  Instead they opt for copy cat design which has led to failure after failure, and hoards of people just going back to WoW since there's not much reason to stay with these new game.

I think the customers are leaving these companies behind.  Not all of the, but an increasing number of people have evolved beyond the crap that is being releases today, and game companies are too blind from drinking their own corporate cool-aid to see it.  Thankfully, this is starting to change, at least with a few companies who are willing to break the status quo.

Mon Mar 11 2013 4:33PM Report
Jenuviel writes:

Why are gamers critical of the big companies? A video response to this Rant was relased on YouTube 11 months ago, and it makes a very solid case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6TmTv6deTI

 

The short version:

Small companies"We want to make games, but in order to do that we have to make some money."

Big Companies - "We want to make money, but in order to do that we have to make some games."
 
It's like comparing "Memento" or "Winter's Bone"  with "Transformers 3." The goal of the latter is not to make art, it's to separate as many people from as much of their money as possible. The goal of the former is to make the best thing possible with whatever funds can be scrabbled together.
 
EA's reputation as the Big Bad didn't develop overnight, it was earned over more than a decade. Similarly, the consumer's distrust of major gaming publishers didn't develop overnight, it's been growing with each perceived breach of trust. Fool us once, shame on them; fool us twice, shame on us.
Mon Mar 11 2013 4:57PM Report
Megatronic writes: Good video, people on the internet are WAY too crucial nowadays and the rabid hate needs to go down. Mon Mar 11 2013 6:25PM Report
Raventree writes: I agree with Bill to the extent that there is a lot of unnecessary screaming and crying that goes on for nearly every single game these days.  On the other hand, when a company tries to force a game into online mode before they can even pull it off just so that they can force advertisements down our throat or make us pay endlessly instead of once and then tell us the game we payed for isn't ours, well, I think they get what they have coming to them. Mon Mar 11 2013 8:00PM Report
Raventree writes: Ack, I mean *paid* for.  What a strange typo. Mon Mar 11 2013 8:02PM Report
jimdandy26 writes: I agree with Bill pretty much in the entirety here. Players really need to let go of the idea that studios and publishers are doing nothing but making copy cats in order to make a quick buck. Just like every other industry on the planet it is very true that they are for profit, but that does not mean every game is a copycat affair thrown out for a quick buck. The sheer amount of time, and the cost that goes into making them makes that really an impossibility. A single artist easily costs these companies upwords of $10k per month between salary and program liscenses. Mon Mar 11 2013 10:02PM Report
jtcgs writes: The word Troll is highly abused here...if you dont do anyything BUT kiss backside you are called a troll. Mon Mar 11 2013 10:52PM Report
mcrippins writes:

After watching this - i'm strangely reminded of a show called Shark Tank. When you release a game or any product for that matter - you're taking a risk. Some may love it, some may hate it, but you're exposing yourself to criticism. When you try to appeal to the masses you should expect massive forms of criticism. 

 

With social media being so prevalent in today's world - word of mouth means everything, and it spreads like wildfire. There is no hiding behind the curtain. You're simply exposed (sometimes unfairly) to the world. We should appreciate these people for taking that risk. Even if you don't like the game they created for you - they and it deserve respect. 

 

In a world of trolls - reason is illogical.

Tue Mar 12 2013 6:00AM Report
locustuses writes:

Mind blowing that you get "we shouldn't praise them, it's all about the money" and "we hate them because it's all about the money" right next to each other.  

Bill - you're bringing up a great point about the heavy handedness. Games need praise, not just dollars, and we as gamers are heavy handed in a predominantly negative way.  It's like we are screaming children who have been spoiled - and that's just it!  In the last decade of gaming, there have been a LOT of tremendous games, and we drag that history into every comparison as the silent partner named Expectation, though most people won't admit it.  

Food for thought - I got a lot out of this rant and reevaluated how I feel about several recent games.  That's the point of good journalism, and so, thanks, Bill.

Tue Mar 12 2013 6:12AM Report
Newnan writes: Hey bill another good "The Rant", you have some good points about Sim city. I have been playing it off and on with some friends since release. Yea It pissed me off when it didn't work or when the reginal stuff wasn't working, but EA is improving it slowly. I am not a fan of big companies like Blizz and EA but I still buy into their games from time to time. On a more on focus point Gamers that normal like products are the majority and are busy entertaining themselves in said products to not post on forums or media about negativity of games. always a vocal minority that Screams fire and negativity. Tue Mar 12 2013 7:15AM Report
BMBender writes:   If a company wants my $, they WILL meet my standards.   WTF do you not get that?  If I'm dumb enough to buy an EA game( I wasn't) and it failed to deliver, then yes they deserve everything they are getting.  I have absolutely no sympathy for your argument, sorry go shill elsewhere. Tue Mar 12 2013 7:58AM Report
knightaudit writes:

I think part of the problem gets back to a prevoius rant by Bill. Hype. I think they over hype and then the drive to release the game becomes too much before they get everything working.

I can not imagine that you would want to buy a new car with all the flash and substance with out knowing the breaks work.

I do not care who makes the game I just want a game that works, and I can play, when I can play. But if developers keep comming out with broken gmes .. I do not think new games will be for me. As far as being king of the sandbox (king of the hill or whatever) I think developes need to be more focused on what they are making and not worry about the 400lb gorilla in the room.

Tue Mar 12 2013 9:11AM Report
xenorace writes:

I can only speculate, but I feel there is are to many "decisions" going on behind these big companies like EA that are not pro consumer. Cool, great! Watch out for your own best interests, I get that, but this is a very spiteful industry and gamers do not like to feel as if our best interests are not being looked at.

A few examples are the poor decisions made by EA, not just with Sim City but over almost a decade of very uneventful game releases. I've decided years ago to not buy anymore EA published games, and I have recently added Blizzard into that, until I (a consumer), see something other then a half assed attempt to release a game.

Tue Mar 12 2013 9:23AM Report
maplestone writes:

With great hype comes great backlash.

Tue Mar 12 2013 12:15PM Report
Segun777 writes: Good rant. Tue Mar 12 2013 3:24PM Report
NobleNerd writes:

  Enjoyed the rant. I am an equal basher. I believe if you are going to put out the hype and claim to make something then you better have the Gnads to back it! If a game publisher/developer claims to have the next greatest game then it better work and work well. If you want my 60+ dollars and continued sub or support then your game better be top notch. It better work. It better be updated regularly or I will seek another.

  That said... I do realize all games (especially MMOs) have their problems, glitches, bugs and crashes. I don't want to rage quit when my WoW server randomly shuts down and locks me out for a day, or when Rift won't let me log in. Things happen, even to big publishers and developers. BUT it better be fixed quickly and a little recognition from the the company and compensation is greatly appreciated when things go horribly bad (i.e. FFXIV). What big companies need to realize we are more than just a consumer.... we live, breath, eat, and dream in the worlds they create..... we are part of their world and thus have greater attachment to it when things go wrong.

Tue Mar 12 2013 4:20PM Report
Dragnog writes:

After listening to the rant this week I considered that perhaps "gamers" are not the target audience for these games. We make up such a small percentage of the total gamers now that why would they even care what we think?

That might seem cynical but I personally think that hardcore gamers have lost the voice that they might once have had. I think that there will be niche games designed for them but I don't believe that main stream titles (the games that you grew up with and loved) are anymore for us. 

So instead of getting frustrated by the state of a game - jsut walk away and take your money with it. Eventually a new market will be created that will cater to a more decerning gamer but be willing to pay for it... 

Tue Mar 12 2013 7:45PM Report
Codenak writes:

Should a company get a free pass for producing sub standard "services" on a product where there is no real need for an always online requirement?

How long before EA turns off their servers for this game? A year after they bring out the next version that you will have to "buy", 6 months, simultaneously with a new version release? Or will the sales be disappointing and they turn the servers off after only a year then shelve the IP for a while?

No one has "bought" this game, they rented a licence to play under such conditions as EA see fit to put on them and for ONLY as long as EA wants them to play. Its a pig in a poke say I amd they deserve what they are getting.

Tue Mar 12 2013 8:00PM Report
erictlewis writes:

I think EA has done so many things wrong the past couple of year, they get what they deserve. Bioware use to make games for players, then EA aquaired them.  Waht we got was an incomplete shallow game.  Then they went about sticking the store in it.  Now EA been making statements they are going to add the store in everything they do.  To me EA is about proffit now and not about gamers.  

I will say I not only bashed ea,  I bashed other games like Tera, Fallen Earth, STO,  Warhammer.   When I see a company making a mess out of things I will weigh in.   When I see a company doing something right not often I will say so as well.  

The past several years have been a disaster for gaming. 

 

Wed Mar 13 2013 9:08AM Report
Ashar1972 writes:

[My Counter Rant] What gets me all fired up, is people who working in the gaming industry media (and this definitely can be extended out to media in general) not bringing a critical eye to their reporting. Is not some of the wrath directed at gaming corporations (I think they get it so easy compared to other corps in other industries), deserving of being directed at an adoring bunch of journo's who should know better. You are journalists, you are meant to be leading a (in this instance) global conversation to try and uncover truths and facts. Instead, I see far too many instances where medias role here is failing. Reviews are a case in point, but so many interviews here, and on other game media sites, I see journos fawning over the game studio execs, and barely a single critical word comes out. It seems that it has to be a fairly spectacular rip-off for that not to be the case (eg WAR Z).

 

I have only been playing MMO's for about five years or so, and during that time I was mainly employed as a community advocate - my job was to hold government bodies accountable in my area. I mixed with a number of journos over the years, other community advocates, and people from other accountability areas. While there are some noteworthy examples in gaming journalism in general (e.g. Rock Paper Scissors on CIV V), they are generally speaking, an exception. Indeed in this example, the reviews, interviews and so forth gave so many thumbs up, yet when we read what the RPS journo had to say, we have to ask "What were the other journos on?" I see this too much in gaming news sites, the vast majority with their heads up execs dark matter, with only a few going "Why do you stink of poo?"

 

So, Bill Murphy when you question the scathing outpouring of criticism that can be seen on gaming forums about gaming corporations, who's primary purpose is not to produce a good game, it is to produce profit (and no the one does not require the other) I would say "Becuase, in no small part, your profession is not doing its job effectively."

 

Why do we think it's a good idea to crap all over companies when they have a "rough go of things" - after I choked, I wanted to say - because they want both our money and loyalty (which means in corporate speak our money guaranteed no matter what they put out) - rough go of things, oh belly chuckle - are you talking about your Aunt Jane's struggles with her pension - that's a rough go of things - this is a lifeless, soulless corporation! Seriously!

 

And to be fair, you do go on to say there are cases when studios fail to deliver an all-around quality product. However, rather than go on to talk about just how much of the industry that is (in the last five years I've been playing MMOs - it seems more than not the case), you immediately bring us back to gamers who have little to no power in the process. They have imagined power, just like a heroine junkie has imagined power. But when you get down to it, it just doesn't pan out that way, from my experience. And of course this isn't just limited to MMOs (as the CIV V example alludes to) - I hear this a lot on the consoles, and other platforms - the plethora of games released that aren't quite finished, or that take community modding (free work from community for corporate profiteering) to actually make decent. But where is that in interviews - it's a rare bird, when it should be a pigeon/dove.

 

I love TSW, for another example, and I thought the media could have handled it's release a lot better than they did, and yet I think they also missed, in most instances, the hard questions, that certainly the gamers were asking. Like "Why should anyone trust you after your product history?" Those of us that found TSW awesome, really needed those questions in the forums quelled - because it took people away from us by not having the tough questions asked and answered with some level of reasoned satisfaction.

 

Similarly everytime an EA game gets released where is the question "Much of the gaming community finds your approach to game release foul & odious, and their descriptions of your company are in the ballpark of outraged to be polite - in what ways are you rehabilitating your business model to stop being such a bunch of A_holes?"

I think gaming journos seem to know a lot about games but little about business, again, in general. I hear this as you then blither on about D3's (and that section of your segment) problem being the "rose coloured glasses of nostalgia" rather than what seems like the obvious problem to me - a broken mechanism (from the community's perspective) of the game release quality assurance amongst the gaming industry.

 

Again to be fair, you do go on then to say that bad games and bad launches require reparations to be made, which is a rarity of a statement, and I appreciate it. Here, I should confess I am a bit of a Bill Hicks convert to the marketing and advertising component of the industry. But as someone who has both owned my own business, and also sat on boards for state owned enterprises I think if the media, on behalf of gamers actually constantly hit the gaming execs over the head with hard question, then you would notice a difference. That actually would be a threat to profits - which is what corporations need to experience to being about change, for the most part.

 

Consumer activism is largely ineffective because of the lack of follow-up. Yes immediate gains can be seen in the short-term, but the status quo soon re-establishes itself once the hype wares off. And gamers have this horrible underlying blackness that come out of our psyche, that games somehow, are really important.  Studies in human history/psychology etc certainly don't support that belief, but I hear it over and over again "It's just a game...." 

 

Oh gods here we go "To stamp out piracy..." Give me five minutes with my programmer friends and we'll beat that ludicrous statement right out of you. Except you seem quite invested in it "I see the merit of that" Really - ask those big media (including gaming) corporations to extrapolate on how they come to such figures of 'how bad piracy is' (Becuase so many big corporates have failed because of it) and you will see that not only is this actually an exercise in creating accountings equivalent of unicorns, but also that perhaps they are delighted at the coverage they can scoop from it, and the things they can get away with in the name thereof (Geographic restrictions, lack of portability, etc ) - thankfully all of which some hacker somewhere will FREELY break in gamers/media-users favour. The acts of merchant bankers are more of a threat than pirates will ever be to the gaming industry.

 

Again to be fair, you then go on to point out we should be consistent with our criticisms - small and medium, and big corporates should receive equally high levels of reasoned criticism, from the media. And then you make another misnomer "The bigger you are the harder you fall" Except the GFC (aka ponzi scheme) showed us that in the real world corporations have this free license, provided by their political lackeys to try and be part of the too big to fail crowd. I'm not saying EA is Goldman and Sachs (although they both share an understated loathing in the public eye) - what I am pointing out is don't presume the corporations are anything until you have thoroughly investigated them, and understand them.  Another great example of this is big pharma - you'd think they were interested in people's health, thankfully one head of one of the giants straightened that out in a moment of honesty, with words to the effect of "We are not in the business of people's health, we are in the business of making money." Again one does not automatically require the other, and I think you are misguided about that in the gaming industry's case. And to be fair, you are far from alone in that.

 

The F2P model has certainly saved bad to mediocre games from the fate of loosing profits in the medium to long term, and the part of the community that thinks F2P should excuse reduced quality, I think, fail to understand the profit models of companies. Gaming companies certainly haven't, and are well aware they can get away with sloppy products and launches as long as they don't do a War Z. Largely, my rant is that this is so, not because of a lack of intelligent and reasoned consumer activism, but because, in no small part, the gaming media give them, relatively speaking, a free ride. 

 

See your line "Be as heavy handed with your praise as with your pessimism" LOL These soulless lifeless things that are gaming corporations are not our friends, they are our crack dealers - pistol-whip them repeatedly until they bake you a good batch. But in all seriousness there - they are a corporation, repeat, they are a corporation - if you are treating them like a friend or living being, then you are disadvantaging yourself and allowing yourself to bite hook, line, and sinker into their service, rather than being an actual journalist, representing our needs - as a journalist your ethical responsibility is to us the public, not the corporations. We need from you, critical reasoning, and fierce digging for the truth about the games we are interested in, so we can break through the mammoth amount of investment these corporations have made in marketing and advertising, which misdirect our attention from the lack of evidence that seems all too often been the case in point. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri Mar 29 2013 8:37PM Report
Ashar1972 writes:

"...that come out of our psyche, that games somehow, are really important." 

What a typo - meant to be "that games somehow, AREN'T really important

Fri Mar 29 2013 8:48PM Report

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