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HonestDragon (User)

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Okay, Cliffy...Challenge Accepted

HonestDragon | 962d ago
User blog

Cliff Bleszinski is one of the most outspoken members of the video game community. That is without question. I recently read a post of his that made it on N4G's hottest stories. Yes, I read through the whole post. Bleszinski mentions that, "Any idiot can go to Try writing a fully thought out article on a subject, like the folks at Polygon, Giantbomb, Rock Paper Shotgun, or Kotaku do". All right, Cliffy. I read your post and have my own opinions on how things are going with Microsoft in the next generation and how your approach has been.

It is true that Microsoft tried and unquestionably failed to have things their way with the Xbox One. How this occurred, however, was the result of Microsoft's complete misunderstanding of its consumer base. When Microsoft first got into console gaming, their only true experience with the video game medium was in PC gaming. Gradually, Microsoft implemented more and more PC and mainstream electronic features into their consoles.

The Xbox 360 is the most successful console they have. Their online service and multiplayer are held up to the highest standards by many gamers. Said gamers have called it "revolutionary". It is with Microsoft's Xbox One unveiling that many criticized them for adding DRM, mandatory online check-ins and Kinect sensor, and cancellation of supporting used games. This was Microsoft's biggest blunder next to their overemphasis of television and sports.

The initial reveal of the Xbox One yielded many confused responses as feature after feature being shown and mentioned only made gamers feel unwanted. A mere look at a couple games and a whole ten minutes dedicated to Call of Duty: Ghosts did little to impress gamers. The majority of that conference was focused on television, apps, and sports. Basically, things that gamers could care less about for their gaming console.

The following news of the multiple restrictions and policies only managed to infuriate gamers as Microsoft PR and representatives did their best to put out the flames. Their efforts were about as effective as trying to put out a real fire with gasoline. Their muddled and conflicting answers, along with a few displays of arrogance, led that fire to spread.

This is where Microsoft lost and continues to lose much of their audience. Microsoft failed to understand that console owners do not want half of the features they put into the Xbox One nor do they want to be restricted in their rights as owners of a piece of an electronic asset. This is what it boils down to: our rights as a consumer. Microsoft threatened that when they were going to force us to be online constantly, no longer share or sell games, and check in with their servers every day lest we don't get to play our games that we spend our hard earned money on. At that point, Microsoft and the Xbox One were labelled as anti-consumer.

With Microsoft's recent backpedaling of their DRM and used games policies, things seem to be going the consumers' way. Or is it? Microsoft could have just as easily reinforced their policies and pushed forward with them into the holiday season. What stopped that? Many say it was Sony. Many say it was how things are on Amazon. Many say it was the internet. I think it's all three.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what ultimately has happened: Microsoft have realized that their implementation of these questionable business practices will not garner them favor in the next generation. Yes, they are questionable business practices. No one likes (or completely likes) DRM. No one wants their rights of ownership taken away.

Well, except for the apparent gamers who say, "I don't really care. This doesn't affect me. I'll be glad to pay more money for this stuff". Like I commented before, if you were one of those people who said that, you should turn in your gamer card right now. One N4G user known as dedicatedtogamers had it right when he said that he "is afraid of people like you". I agree because "people like you" will gladly bend over and say, "Go ahead, Microsoft. I don't mind if you go in dry".

Bleszinski, you fall under this as well. For someone who says they are for the developer, you sure do support the most questionable business practices around. It is not just the piracy and the hackers who have led companies to utilizing these types of tactics on their consumer base and development teams. It is consumers who are blindingly willing to even accept those same tactics.

In this case, the majority of consumers (including Xbox gamers) said, "No". I am proud of that. I am proud that so many rallied together to tell one company that enough is enough and they won't be seeing a dime from them. The power of a large community should never be underestimated. Look at how the campaign against SOPA went. I feel, though, that something else is ruffling your feathers, Cliffy B.

Used games sales, perhaps? In your post, you mention about how you had participated in a Gamestop managers show in Las Vegas and shortly thereafter felt betrayed as Gamestop was promoting the trade-in of Gears of War 3. I understand that you're upset. However, people trade-in video games all the time. They also trade CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and books for money and trade credit. Want to know why? Because they most likely have bills to pay or groceries to get or other games they want to buy. In retrospect, other consumers who don't make hundreds and thousands of dollars every two weeks can pay for used merchandise so they can be in on the circle, too.

Low income workers and people who intend to save money aren't the only ones in that group that Microsoft alienated. Military personnel serving abroad, residents in rural areas, and entire countries were practically ignored. There may be a glimmer of hope for them, but the still standing policies and even now defunct policies still sting for them and their decision in who to go with in the next generation.

My final thoughts about of all of this controversy is that Microsoft may have learned something, but they can still change a lot for both the better and worse. That includes bringing back DRM and locking used games completely. In an interview between Angry Joe and Larry Hryb (a.k.a Major Nelson), Joe brought up a point that DRM can easily be turned off to which Larry Hryb got very defensive and asserted that it isn't "that simple". Surprise, surprise that Major Nelson (like with Metal Gear Solid V) gets his facts wrong again. Guess it really was that easy to turn off DRM.

The bottom line is this: don't screw with the consumer. Microsoft telling us what the future of console gaming is and putting all of these restrictions on us is like a drunkard slapping a bull in the face while dancing poorly. Eventually, the horn will find its mark. Microsoft just seemed to be at the receiving end of that horn.

dedicatedtogamers  +   962d ago
Great blog! I love it when CliffyB says "gaming is a business" as if that diffuses the argument.

Yep, gaming is a business, and if your customers are rejecting your business model, then YOU need to adjust. Since gaming is a business, then it should earn its right to operate, just like any other business. If developers go bankrupt because they can't manage their money, then boo hoo. That's just business, right Cliffy?
khowat  +   962d ago
"If developers go bankrupt because they can't manage their money, then boo hoo. That's just business, right Cliffy?"

*Looks up to the sky*

*One single tear rolls down face*

*Continues to scroll through the comments*
coolbeans  +   962d ago
"Great blog! I love it when CliffyB says "gaming is a business" as if that diffuses the argument."

I couldn't stand the way he termed it a few months back. It's fine to remind people these are businesses so as to not fool themselves into thinking they 'care' for you, but the whole "gaming's sole existence is to make money" excuse as a counter-argument for disgusting actions is stupid.

Thought when initially hearing that side from Cliff: "The conflict diamond market's sole existence is to make money too, ***hole." I typically don't like being a Cursy Percy, but I can't stand such a rotten argument as that one.
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s45gr32  +   962d ago
Yeah it pisses me off when people just say gaming is a business. Okay but it doesn't mean that corporations just run over customers to be successful. We still have "the first sale doctrine" law that is a law that gives customers rights to trade, resell and buy used products. Sadly most gamers believe they have no rights.
IcyEyes  +   962d ago
I don't want to look rude or offensive, but seriously, in the game industry there a LOT of awesome and REALLY talented guys.
Do you know their names?
Maybe some, but CliffB for sure it's the most well known name in the Biz.
Other game designer (for example) have a LOT of work to do, maybe have a family, hobbies and most of them don't waste their time on forum, reddit, tweeter, etc

CliffB tweets almost everyday, at every hour and he looks more like a modern troll instead of (one of) the creator(s) of GearsOfWar.

Thake a Look over Neogaf or here on N4G and you can have an idea of what people think about him by and large.

Cliff, it's time to stop trolling. Really.
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HonestDragon  +   962d ago
@dedicated - There is just something about reading Cliffy's quotes post-Gears of War 3 that just makes me shake my head. He practically opened the challenge in his last post, so I figured why not and let him have it? I think we have a good number of people on N4G who have unique and thoughtful articles on recent events. You, yourself, had that blog that I referenced to (which was great by the way).

@coolbeans - True. The whole "this is a business" reason is dismissive. Just because gaming is a business, doesn't mean that gaming has to ripoff consumers. Same goes with any retailer and mom-and-pop shop around. Heh, "Cursy Percy". Good one, sir.

@IcyEyes - This is why Twitter seems to be a bad influence at times. People in respected positions don't realize that spouting anything they want on Twitter will get them in trouble. More often than not, people get fired over those very posts and look foolish. Cliffy B just looks like a trolling jerk most of the time.
dedicatedtogamers  +   962d ago
Oh, I totally agree. I think that the guy is crazy, but I also think his attitude is representative of a lot of higher-ups in the industry, so it's good that you tackled his statements.
SilentNegotiator  +   962d ago
This is at LEAST the 2nd time your blog was mentioned in another. I hope you win one of the best blog slots (or did, if that was last month, IDK).

On topic:
Cliffy is so annoying. He thinks that he's better than the people he's serving and you can't make good business by rejecting your customers' needs. He's an expert in ONE genre, not the game industry, but he speaks as though he were a CEO of a major game publisher.
rainslacker  +   961d ago
The thing that annoys me the most about him lately(I actually used to like him), is that it comes across as disingenuous to say how detrimental used games are while he's rolling around in a million dollar car.

If these kinds of statements came from a developer that shut down, or was on the verge of shutting down because their game was negatively effected by the 2nd hand market then I could maybe empathize. However, for all the devs that shut down this gen, not a single one has blamed the 2nd hand market. Not one. Not a single article. The only people I see saying it's bad are the high level executives making 7 figures or more a year.

On top of that, he's trying to place a lot of blame on gamers. The past 3-4 stories I've read on here about his comments have all been about blame the customer, or how the customer has no power or influence.

One in particular was his attitude towards "always on is the future", after the Adam Orth thing. He pretty much said, point blank, paraphrased, "It doesn't matter what all you whiners want. There are plenty of people out there who will take your place happily and be none the wiser, you can either accept it or leave."

Now, the validity of the assumptions of that statement is worth discussing(later), but for a guy like him to disregard the millions of gamers that have supported him and Epic over the years is nothing short of unbridled arrogance. How anyone could support a person that is so willingly hostile towards the user base of the products he created/will create is beyond me. Yet you look at his blog site, and there are people cheering him on. Shameful. And as DTG said, those kinds of people scare me.

That's be like someone buying a product I make, having a completely good transaction, then just telling the guy he's an a**hole.

One thing Cliff would be wise to remember, and this blog post expanded on this, is that game development doesn't exist without the gamer there to support it. The gamer(in this sense) does not exist without the developer. It's a two way street.
XabiDaChosenOne  +   961d ago
That last line was pure ownage.
pixelsword  +   962d ago
Big deal (about clifford's opinion); No one cares about Cliffy beyond his games, and even that you have to give credit for other people since his greatest game (Gears) was basically kill.switch and Warhammer blended together.
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skyblue14213  +   962d ago
Good blog. I never understood why cliff was so popular in part of the gaming community. So he had a hand in the gears franchise & so did many others. And now because of his one hit wonder mentality went to his head he thinks he is the be all & end all in gaming. Give me a break! As far as I am concerned cliff can shove his anti-consumer attitude & ignorant opinions where his over bloated ego is.
HonestDragon  +   962d ago
Unfortunately, that happens a lot in any given industry. Jonathan Blow being another since he only had Braid (which was five years ago) and has since been criticizing the industry. A person gets one hit and then they think that their opinions can mean life and death with whatever they are talking about. For Cliff, he had Unreal Tournament and Gears of War be the biggest franchises, but I think his ego has grown quite a bit after he left Epic Games.
EffectO  +   962d ago
CliffyB doesn't want his friends fired.Would you like to see your friends fired?

There is a huge bloodbath coming,tons of people will lose their jobs.Top talent is already leaving in droves.I don't think console gamers will like the end result.

He is barking at the wrong tree though,used games have not lethally wounded this industry,something else did.
Kenshin_BATT0USAI  +   959d ago
I believe this is only an issues because of the current practises of the industry. That is to say they hire a large group of people to work on a game, then let them ago after launch. Basically treating it like contract work. But when the game sells who gets the biggest cut? The Developer who needs the money to work on their next big hit? Nope, it's the publisher that consistently throws unrealistic deadlines and changes the dev teams image for a game.

If people lose jobs it's because of how the industry operates, not the consumer's fault. After all this industry is one of the fastest growing in both gross profit and sheer size.
khowat  +   962d ago
Microsoft policies are messed up but that's the problem, not the fact that they're trying to go digital or limiting used games.

Just because a game is new doesn't mean it HAS to be more expensive, just look at Steam, completely digital, almost 0 used games and they have 75% off sales all the time

Used games hurt Microsoft, publishers, and devs and ultimately hurting devs hurts us because we rely on devs for quality games. Worst of all used games hurt everyone while Gamestop gets rich off of insane profit margins...
Kratoscar2008  +   962d ago
Great blog, a shame cliff wont read it though (Would love to see talking crap to counter your fine argument).
HonestDragon  +   962d ago
Thanks, Kratoscar. To be honest, when I was writing this, I was wondering what would happen should he see this. I mean, I did pretty much address him directly a few times. Glad you enjoyed it.
Kratoscar2008  +   962d ago
Keep them coming.
jessupj  +   962d ago
I think huge damage has already been done to MS and the xbone, and rightly so.

But it's very disappointing to still see so many people so easy to forget how MS tried to take away all your consumer rights and to forget how they virtually stopped catering to their core fanbase after they introduced the kinect this gen.

You really think MS is going to keep throwing money at publishers to stop releasing games on the PS4? You think they're going to keep spending the same amount of money of quality exclusives for the rest of next gen?

We already know MS's focus is on TV, so when you get burnt again next gen you will only have yourself to blame.
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JM-9  +   962d ago
I'm glad that Microsoft has removed their DRM. However, certain features that were going to be on the Xbox One could work well when consoles go purely digital, such as selling used games online. This would not require a 24 hour online check in (and such a restriction should never be implemented).
CyberSentinel  +   962d ago

" Add in the fact that there’s more things than ever in 2013 competing for your dollar and you have to have 8+ figure marketing budgets to run ads and what not."

Why doesn't anyone complain about the cost of advertisements in media? Are developers, publishers, and corporations afraid to challenge theses media giants? Hmmm. I think we know the answer to that question. With all the profits GameStop makes off of used games they should advertise for the video game market for free.

If not, go all digital on them.
rainslacker  +   961d ago
The cost of advertisement probably can't be countered by the publishers. For the most part, gamers get their news from cheap online sources. Very little in the way of marketing to them. For the more mainstream, partnerships are made to mitigate the costs(things like Xbox logo showing up at the end of a commercial, despite being multi-plat).

However the more expensive advertising mediums are expensive for a reason. They reach a large number of people, and for the most part, you get back what you spend on them if you use them effectively. If the publishers decided they didn't like the price, there would be others to take their place, so it's take it or leave it for them.

I do believe however, given today's technology, and the way people consumer media, it is possible to effectively market games without breaking the bank. Publishers are going for maximum sales though, as opposed to a decent return on investment. More money is poured into marketing than actual development in some cases. Publishers want sales numbers, when instead they could do less marketing, sell fewer games, and still return the same profit, if not more in some cases.

It's a risk/return scenario, and the industries business model for making AAA games has gotten stale.

As far as GS goes, they do a hell of a lot of advertising for games. Weekly flyers, in store promotions, pre-order pushing, up-selling games/related items(like strategy guides), etc. It's not their place to advertise for the industry. They advertise for themselves, which benefits the industry...which is why publishers play ball with them.
thorstein  +   962d ago
Nice job and spot on. You also made me think of a question about the Xbox One: If it is this easy to turn the DRM switch off, then what is going to prevent them from turning it right back on?
HonestDragon  +   962d ago
Thanks, thorstein! I think you're right in that if it's so easy to turn off DRM, then what's stopping them from bringing it back? That's why I am very skeptical with their recent changes. Makes me wonder what sort of tweaks to thrown out and still existing policies they may add.
LostDjinn  +   962d ago
I think it's his own special (retarded) way of letting everyone know he's still in the industry. Even though he's not in the industry anymore!? He lets publishers know that no matter how low they're willing to sink that they can count of him. Just in case. So if any dev team requires a turd wrangler he's available. I guess you could call it networking...Cliffy style. Which leads to my plea to the gaming community.

Please. Someone give Clifford a job. It doesn't matter what it is. All these cries for attention may stop if he has something to keep him occupied.
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Kenshin_BATT0USAI  +   959d ago
I've noticed the factories around my city seem to be hiring, maybe some good 'ole hard labour will make him shut up for awhile.
s45gr32  +   962d ago
Great blog glad you mention dedicated to gamers blog.
Grindlefly  +   961d ago
Nice read. Right on the money
reef1017  +   961d ago
Very well written.
HonestDragon  +   945d ago
If you happen to be reading this from the June contest results Cat posted, I'd like to say thank you all for commenting and sharing your thoughts. The video game industry is an important industry with one of the most passionate communities around. Granted, that same community has its share of jerks and trolls, but for the majority there are many who have a good head on their shoulders and it shows.

N4G has some of the best writing from ordinary gamers who write so they can share their thoughts and opinions. That's why I started writing with my first review being Dead Island back in late 2011. I wanted to go with a no holds barred approach and I think it shows. I don't pull punches with games I review and I certainly don't hold back in my blogs. If I think something is rotten, then I express that.

Microsoft has really screwed themselves over this year and continue to do so. My thoughts on the holiday war of Playstation 4 versus Xbox One is as follows: if you are adamant about getting an Xbox One, please do your research and know what you're getting yourself into. There are still many things Microsoft hasn't addressed and the Kinect sensor is still mandatory with every unit. Cliffy B would have you think that Microsoft's change with a few of their policies is a bad thing, but if you read the blogs of N4G users like dedicatedtogamers and DragonKnight you will understand and see the point of view of other gamers and their analysis of these things.

Remember, we have rights as a consumer and as a citizen. SOPA threatened us with restrictions and policies on the internet. Microsoft threatened us with restrictions and policies in the next generation of video games. Ultimately, it is us little guys who have the power. And when we collaborate and show that we do not approve of questionable tactics, then those who can change something will change it because they can see our passion and hear our voices. Keep on being awesome N4G.

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