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DragonKnight

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An Open Letter to the Gaming Industry: Page 1

Dear publishers and developers, large or small, the following is an appeal to you all.

Gaming is a global phenomena, an industry poised to be valued at $100 billion very soon. Millions of people flock to their favourite gaming devices, spending untold hours on one of, if not the most interactive forms of entertainment humanity has ever devised. From the simplest puzzle games, to the most complex stories, with absolutely no characters to speak of, or the most human people that can be written; gaming has won over generations of men, women, and children. For this, we thank every developer working tirelessly to bring so many such joy.

However...

Nothing, no matter how great, is ever perfect in this world. We strive to be as close to perfect as we can get, trying to avoid mistakes, costly or not. You, too, dear publishers and developers are not immune to this fact of life. So, allow me to recite some gripes, my sole opinion they may be but shared among many I believe.

1. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

A growing trend coming from both developers and publishers is making promises that will not or can not be kept. This ranges from merely showcasing a version of a game that is superior to the final product, to promising content will be present at launch and then quietly removing it before release and not even addressing its absence. Make a plan, consider if it is feasible, then work it out. When you try to do too much, or promise too much, you set yourself up for negativity when you can't deliver. The internet never forgets.

2. Stop jumping the gun.

For all of their many, MANY, faults; one thing that Bethesda does right is game announcements. Or rather, they USED to do that right. Waiting to announce and showcase a game until the development is in the final stretch is a great way to prevent unrealistic expectations from forming, and uncontrollable anticipation from creating a narrative. Certain developers, and publishers, are especially guilty of announcing games years in advance and these games almost never live up to the created expectations the userbase comes up with. Which moves perfectly into the next point.

3. Stop relying on, and attempting to create, hype.

Hype, or rather excitement, is an organic concept. It can be controlled somewhat, but is very fickle. When studios and publishers announce games years in advance, it's easy to understand why. They are trying to create excitement and anticipation and translate that creation into dollar figures for shareholders, and review scores for bonuses. The problem with this is that the longer the wait, the greater the expectations, and the greater the chance for a critical flop among the userbase. People in general are not patient, and when you try to maintain a high level of excitement over a long period of time, you'd better be bringing something amazing to the table when it finally comes out to justify the level of hype. This, more than any other reason, is how so many games never turn into franchises. This is how established franchises see sequels and successors fail. Expectation ruins games.

4. Enough with the delays.

I may be wrong about this, but it appears to me that 2016 is the year of delays. More and more games that were supposed to see a release this year have been pushed to next year and beyond. The reasons you come up with are immaterial, because the real reason is that you bit off more than you could chew. You made promises you couldn't keep, didn't stick to a viable schedule, had poor intra-team communication, etc.. etc... ad infinitum. Delays are a symbol of a poor business with bad leadership and lack of discipline. Some will defend delays, saying they'd rather a delay than a poor product. These people fail to understand that a delay is a sign of an already poor product getting dressed up to appear better. When you create a space in between product releases, you create chaotic conditions that are not in your favour.

5. Stop relying on journalists as a metric for quality

Most gaming journalists are parasites who wouldn't know honesty if presented with a situation in which a lie was impossible. Gaming journalists are not interested in being truthful about the quality of your games, at least not the professional ones. They are interested in a co-dependent relationship where they inflate your ego and you continue to give them free stuff and access so they can pay their bills. The numerical score scale has been grossly perverted beyond all recognition or repair and you should never be surprised when critical acclaim does not translate to commercial success. Capcom is the absolute best example of this with DmC: Devil May Cry. DmC was critically successful but a commercial flop, even for a title in a niche series like Devil May Cry. This is the result of a development studio with unearned arrogance and a publisher who remained silent on the whole issue. None of this was ever conveyed by professional gaming journalists, at least not prominently, and therein lies the disconnect between the average gamer and the games press. When you rely on gaming journalism to tell you that your product is good or bad, you will almost never get an accurate assessment, and certainly not a wholly honest one.

These 5 points are just the beginning, stay tuned to flip to page 2 where we'll continue to point out just how damaged the industry really is.

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eldingo1732d ago (Edited 1732d ago )

Just wanted to say i enjoyed this open letter and look forward to part 2 the industry needs more people willing to tell them to stop galavanting about promising this and that when they can't deliver even great companies like cd projekt are guilty of downgrading the witcher 3 after showing it off at a demonstration.

If the industry has more realistic expectations when they make their games and convey this to the audience when they announce them and STOP hyping them up so early in development along with trying to gouge us with overpriced dlc and micro transactions and set realistic budgets for their games they won't need millions of sales just to break even on the costs.

I appreciate the effort man keep doing what your doing.

s45gr321732d ago

Please continue. Very nice read

Gazondaily1732d ago

Spot on advice for game devs. These trappings are really prominent this gen I feel. Nailed it

TankCrossing1732d ago (Edited 1732d ago )

Good advice, though I think Activision stand as evidence that actually hype can be tamed and mastered.

I think what most publishers and devs really need is a proper PRINCE2 or equivalent project manager. Gaming is serious business with serious budgets and commitments, but looking in from the outside it so often appears to be run by passionate amateurs.

You don't ever want to lose that passion and give creative power to the vultures in suits, but the number of delays and cock-ups these days is mind blowing and costly. Proper project management would go a long way.

monkeyfox1731d ago

Well written article. We need more critical thinking like this about the state of the industry.

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