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Game dev harassment eroding the industry

developers games harassment

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#1 Arewn

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 05:06 PM

Bit lengthy, but an interesting read. Talks about the effects of internet harassment towards devs by players, and considerations for making a support group for devs.
http://www.polygon.c...-support-groups
A reminder that people have feelings, and negativity and harassment, even on the internet, does have repercussions.
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#2 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 05:25 PM

I'm going to say, the /r/Games thread about this already debunked the Hepler thing. She didn't leave over death threats (tho she did receive them).

Anyway, I'm very curious to see what Ghostcrawler's life is like. I've never heard of the man getting death threats, but I'm sure he gets some.

I think this is an issue in the industry because people producing games rely so much on their customer base. This isn't like any other type of industry where you pretty much can only toss threats at someone on the customer support line.

They breed fanaticism in their fan-bases to sell their games and then seem entirely shocked that the mob might turn on them for a misstep that the hive-mind deems bad.

Yes, people should probably be less emotionally invested in this stuff, but if you're actively trying to build emotional investment in something you're producing with total strangers, don't be surprised when you get a few unstable characters in the mix.

Expecting people to be apathetic and emotionally uninvolved to things they disagree with and to absolutely love and adore you when you do things they like is a poor expectation.

Edited by MazingerZ, 16 August 2013 - 05:27 PM.

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It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#3 Graka

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 05:42 PM

Not to sound callus, but cry more. I've been in plenty of jobs and treated like crap. He'll I know people that have worse jobs and don't here then needing a "support group". To me this sounds as stupid as people saying they have a sex addiction problem. If there are legitimate threats report them to the police otherwise accept that you create a rabid fan base and this is the Internet. If something is garbage people will let you know. And if you disrespect the source material you will really piss some people off. One of the other problems is devs attitude sometimes of ♥♥♥♥ the players it's my dream I'll do it how I want and ther shock when the base gives them the middle finger back in kind.

Edit: after reading the article for a second time one thing bothers me. How cettain game design choices or console development choices were treated harshly by the fans, well a lot of these choices are stupid and should be treated harshly. This just seems like another thing for developers to hide behind When their games are garbage, like complaining about piracy.

Edited by Graka, 16 August 2013 - 05:51 PM.

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#4 Azure Skye

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 05:46 PM

Ah, the embodiment of entitlement.
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#5 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:02 PM

This is not entitlement.

This the what happens when your mob of fans turn against you.

Fans.

Short for fanatics.

Usually when the fanatical mob turns against you, it has never ended well.

We're lucky enough to live in a society where its no longer socially acceptable to drag people from their homes for a public stoning.
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It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#6 Arewn

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:16 PM

As the article mentions, fans by definition are fanatical. That being said, getting burnt hurts, regardless of if it was by your own fire.
Also worth underlining: death threats are becoming a regular occurrence, that's rather harsh and no longer a matter of "suck it up, stop crying about it".

Edited by Arewn, 16 August 2013 - 06:23 PM.

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#7 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:25 PM

As the article mentions, fans by definition are fanatical. That being, said getting burnt hurts, regardless of if it was by your own fire.
Also worth underlining: death threats are becoming a regular occurrence, that's rather harsh and no longer a matter of "suck it up, stop crying about it".


I just dislike these articles, because they seem to be trying to go shame shame to the fanatical mob, but there's culpabilty on the side of the developers for cultivating the fanaticism to begin with. I don't care how much it hurts. Operate with transparency, manage expectations appropriately and this stuff mitigates itself.
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It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#8 Graka

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:46 PM

As the article mentions, fans by definition are fanatical. That being said, getting burnt hurts, regardless of if it was by your own fire.
Also worth underlining: death threats are becoming a regular occurrence, that's rather harsh and no longer a matter of "suck it up, stop crying about it".


My problem is I see developers doing it to each other as well and not saying boo. Like when and I'm sorry but the names fail me, the key developer of diablo 3 said "♥♥♥♥ that guy" to the developer of diablo 1 and 2 for legitimate complaints of the diablo 3 game. And others that worked on diablo 3 saying he should diaf "die in a fire", should quit the industry etc. I'm not saying its right just it's the way things are and if they want their fans to chill maybe they should start with doing that themselves first.
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#9 Featherman

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:52 PM

Not to be callous, but I find this be pretty funny after the trend of writing off customers with the "vocal minority" argument. Anything to protect the ego, I suppose.

As someone who has been subjected to harassment while working face to face with people, all I can say is suck it up. There will always be these types of people, but complaining about them isn't going to help you do your job. I think this should be especially true if you work in highly technical fields where it's very, very easy to screw up.

And what's with the overly sensational name of the article? "Erroding the industry." The industry has far worse problems than a few emails from delinquents.

Edited by Featherman, 16 August 2013 - 07:04 PM.

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#10 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:53 PM

My problem is I see developers doing it to each other as well and not saying boo. Like when and I'm sorry but the names fail me, the key developer of diablo 3 said "♥♥♥♥ that guy" to the developer of diablo 1 and 2 for legitimate complaints of the diablo 3 game. And others that worked on diablo 3 saying he should diaf "die in a fire", should quit the industry etc. I'm not saying its right just it's the way things are and if they want their fans to chill maybe they should start with doing that themselves first.


That's a little different. A lot of those people worked on the game and have a personal connection to it. If you've got any sense of professional pride, you'd take a slight at someone criticizing your work, points made valid or not.

From a player-developer relationship though, an entire wing of their PR campaign for this stuff is making the people who worked on the game 'known' and turning them into industry personalities. They want to create a human connection between the people working on the game and the people who will buy it, because we always try to support people we -like-.

I have a 300 dollar product that a friend made simply to help their business. I like it, but sometimes I feel a little silly for what I paid for it.
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It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#11 christiansoldier

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:30 PM

Ah, the embodiment of entitlement.


I assume this is a sarcastic comment. I think there is huge sense of entitlement from the fanbase whereas I have seen very little I would consider entitlement from the developers. I don't see how developers forming a support group can be considered entitlement. Who are they demanding this from? Is it not something they are setting up themselves?
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#12 Azure Skye

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:49 PM

I assume this is a sarcastic comment. I think there is huge sense of entitlement from the fanbase whereas I have seen very little I would consider entitlement from the developers. I don't see how developers forming a support group can be considered entitlement. Who are they demanding this from? Is it not something they are setting up themselves?

From the players not the developers.

The gaming industry is changing from the behind the desk to the forefront of the public eye. Hell, even back in the nes, super nes and sega. We didnt care, who was behind the management of the company(albeit, it was a simpler time), we just wanted to play good games. The industry is just going thru some growing pains.

Edited by Azure Skye, 16 August 2013 - 07:53 PM.

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#13 Craywulf

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:06 PM

Bottom line here is people need to be more civil, and have a greater capacity of understanding what it means to create a game within the confines of a company that is in business to make money.
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#14 meltor13

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:13 PM

Not to sound callus, but cry more. I've been in plenty of jobs and treated like crap.


Did doing your job cause you to regularly receive death threats on you and your family? or (other, terrible things that apparently gw2guru won't even accept in their own threads) threats against you and your wife or your children?

I don't think the answer to the problem is "cry more". The answer would be "fans, stop being a bunch of ****ing gigantic remorseless crazy nutjobs who threaten to (word that gw2guru won't accept) and kill strangers because of a video game".

Edited by meltor13, 16 August 2013 - 08:14 PM.

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#15 Graka

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:55 PM

Did doing your job cause you to regularly receive death threats on you and your family? or (other, terrible things that apparently gw2guru won't even accept in their own threads) threats against you and your wife or your children?

I don't think the answer to the problem is "cry more". The answer would be "fans, stop being a bunch of ****ing gigantic remorseless crazy nutjobs who threaten to (word that gw2guru won't accept) and kill strangers because of a video game".


Does it really matter what I say? If I say yes you will brush it off and if I say no you will tell me I need to look at it from their perspective. To be honest yes I did quite alot used to be a parking enforcer, used to be threatened regularly, had objects thrown at me, was verbally abused at least 15 times a day. But it was good money and frankly people act like ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s. I loved that job, and no I didn't suffer PTSD or any other emotional distress. It comes with the community. They want devs to become a personality and larger than life well this happens. They turn devs into celebrities and then complain that they get the same treatment from the masses celebrities get.

So either stay in their cubicle, or accept the frothing masses.

Edit: another part of the problem is the social media. Back in the day if a game sucked you couldn't end a message on someone's twitter or anything you basically had to suck it up whatever your problem was. This close and constant communication makes us more willing and able to shoot from the hip. You remove your self from the field of targeting and the problem goes away.

Edited by Graka, 16 August 2013 - 08:59 PM.

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#16 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:19 PM

Edit: another part of the problem is the social media. Back in the day if a game sucked you couldn't end a message on someone's twitter or anything you basically had to suck it up whatever your problem was. This close and constant communication makes us more willing and able to shoot from the hip. You remove your self from the field of targeting and the problem goes away.


A big reason to not have a publicly findable Twitter account.
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It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#17 Craywulf

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:46 PM

Does it really matter what I say? If I say yes you will brush it off and if I say no you will tell me I need to look at it from their perspective. To be honest yes I did quite alot used to be a parking enforcer, used to be threatened regularly, had objects thrown at me, was verbally abused at least 15 times a day. But it was good money and frankly people act like ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s. I loved that job, and no I didn't suffer PTSD or any other emotional distress. It comes with the community. They want devs to become a personality and larger than life well this happens. They turn devs into celebrities and then complain that they get the same treatment from the masses celebrities get.

So either stay in their cubicle, or accept the frothing masses.

Edit: another part of the problem is the social media. Back in the day if a game sucked you couldn't end a message on someone's twitter or anything you basically had to suck it up whatever your problem was. This close and constant communication makes us more willing and able to shoot from the hip. You remove your self from the field of targeting and the problem goes away.

I hear what you're saying, but I don't think that gives fans/players the excuse to verbally deride developers in most unreasonable fashion. If you're not happy with a product, then deal with it civilly, or move on. Too many players think that once they own a game they have the right to forever badmouth a developer long after they have stop playing the game. As if they been emotionally wounded from buying a game that somehow didn't live up to their expectations. There are lots of games I paid big money on and have been sorely let down, I have never made point to troll the messageboards or harrass a developer about it. I simply moved on like any customer usually does.

Problem is, despite the majority of demographics of gamers in their 30s, many of them behave like juvenile brats. They go along with the kind of behavior that goes unchecked and often times selfishly rewarding.

Edited by Craywulf, 16 August 2013 - 11:43 PM.

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#18 Specialz

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 01:22 AM

I just dislike these articles, because they seem to be trying to go shame shame to the fanatical mob, but there's culpabilty on the side of the developers for cultivating the fanaticism to begin with. I don't care how much it hurts. Operate with transparency, manage expectations appropriately and this stuff mitigates itself.

Actually, this whole thing has and this very forum (history) have shown that being very open while initially nice can exacerbate this problem. The fact of the matter is that if you are very open, you set people expectation too high and if you fail to deliver (which can happen for a variety of reason usually beyond your control) those very fans will turn on you and when they do it leads to this very problem. Fans are great when things are great fans are the worst when things are not going great, especially because they start to inject their personal feelings.

I hear what you're saying, but I don't think that gives fans/players the excuse to verbally deride developers in most unreasonable fashion. If you're not happy with a product, then deal with it civilly, or move on. Too many players think that once they own a game they have the right to forever badmouth a developer long after they have stop playing the game. As if they been emotionally wounded from buying a game that somehow didn't live up to their expectations. There are lots of games I paid big money on and have been sorely let down, I have never made point to troll the messageboards or harrass a developer about it. I simply moved on like any customer usually does.

Problem is, despite the majority of demographics of gamers in their 30s, many of them behave like juvenile brats. They go along with the kind of behavior that goes unchecked and often times selfishly rewarding.

I agree certain fans become too attach to a game and will not simply move on. We have all made that bad purchase once in a while, there is nothing wrong with simply moving on. Not every thing will be for you and not everything that sound nice initially will play and feel the same.

The ironic thing is most bad game purchase could be avoided by simply waiting for the game to be release but the most die hard fanatics will not wait and are unfortunately usually the ones that send the death threats.
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#19 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 01:50 AM

You see similar stories about celebrities and the paparatsi. And, just in that case, the two groups need each other. The more developers shut the players out of the discussion by not being honest, not being transparent (at least to a degree) and most importantly not listening to feedback, the more gamers will go after them. I'm not saying death threats are ever right, but neither is the bait-and-switch that frequently goes on in the world of computer game hype and advertising.

Developers and more notably the gaming companies foster that kind of lunacy by repeatedly asking gamers to shell out a significant portion of their earnings (more often than not) every year for poorly designed, under-developed and over-hyped games. I honestly think that if the gaming and media companies took a step back and didn't do everything they can to maximize their profits that the situation would be quite different. Similarly, gamers often have more fun when the abandon the "min/max" approach. So much of our society has become about greed/efficiency that it really has caused a lot of problems like that described in the article... only most people seem too narrow minded to notice the real causes.
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#20 Specialz

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 08:08 AM

You see similar stories about celebrities and the paparatsi. And, just in that case, the two groups need each other. The more developers shut the players out of the discussion by not being honest, not being transparent (at least to a degree) and most importantly not listening to feedback, the more gamers will go after them. I'm not saying death threats are ever right, but neither is the bait-and-switch that frequently goes on in the world of computer game hype and advertising.

Developers and more notably the gaming companies foster that kind of lunacy by repeatedly asking gamers to shell out a significant portion of their earnings (more often than not) every year for poorly designed, under-developed and over-hyped games. I honestly think that if the gaming and media companies took a step back and didn't do everything they can to maximize their profits that the situation would be quite different. Similarly, gamers often have more fun when the abandon the "min/max" approach. So much of our society has become about greed/efficiency that it really has caused a lot of problems like that described in the article... only most people seem too narrow minded to notice the real causes.

Except all those things are stuff that can be easily avoided. The goal of every company is to market the stuffing out of their product it is up to the individual to decide If their stuff is for you. A lot of gamer don't want that responsible and then complain when it bites them in the butt.

Also the word overhype is over used. A lot of the times it is used to describe scenarios that are beyond the scope of the design or develeper aka TASTE.This is especially common in MMORPG where theoretically the game sound nice on paper but when you play the game all those things that sound nice doesn't seem to work out well for you, instead of simply accepting that reality players just whine about a game being overhype. not liking something =/= overhyep

Honestly, the only time gamers should complain about a game is IF the game i buggy or if they promise something tangible and did not receive it, other than that everything else is a matter of taste and taste cannot be accounted for.

Edited by Specialz, 17 August 2013 - 08:10 AM.

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#21 typographie

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:10 PM

I just dislike these articles, because they seem to be trying to go shame shame to the fanatical mob, but there's culpabilty on the side of the developers for cultivating the fanaticism to begin with. I don't care how much it hurts. Operate with transparency, manage expectations appropriately and this stuff mitigates itself.


Maybe publishers and developers did exacerbate it by hyping up expectations, but at the end of the day they didn't force anyone to issue death threats. Fans who cannot behave in a way that is socially acceptable are 100% at fault for their chosen behavior, and indeed, shame shame on them. How the marketers behave is an entirely valid discussion to have but it just doesn't account for this issue.

Edited by typographie, 18 August 2013 - 10:14 PM.

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#22 Craywulf

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:06 AM

Here's one thing that many fans/gamers overlook. They have this notion that when a developer promotes this grand idea of what the game is supposedly going to be like and it doesn't pan out that way, they feel immensely betrayed as if the developer lied to them in such a personal way. Simply because it came from their lips. Just because you know a developer by first name basis doesn't mean you're friends or that they owe you anything. Fans/gamers are customers and ALWAYS will be no matter how friendly a developer gets.

Fans/gamers just need to learn how to take things said as a grain of salt, while not being so apathetic in response to what's being said. Because when you get to a point where you completely dismiss what a developer is saying then proceed to call them out on it, then you need to move on.
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#23 Leyana

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:07 AM

I really think that Mazinger is right when it comes to the developers breeding emotional attachment in the playerbase. They want us to keep playing, to keep spending money on their game. DLC, microtransactions, subscriptions....

But I think most of the time the problem arises when the developer tries to mix it up. When they make major changes to a franchise that they have gotten players invested in to try and attract a bigger or different demographic. It's not about a sense of entitlement so much as it is the frustration that something you love has suddenly taken an about face and seems to be leaving you behind.
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#24 Azure Skye

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:08 AM

I really think that Mazinger is right when it comes to the developers breeding emotional attachment in the playerbase. They want us to keep playing, to keep spending money on their game. DLC, microtransactions, subscriptions....

But I think most of the time the problem arises when the developer tries to mix it up. When they make major changes to a franchise that they have gotten players invested in to try and attract a bigger or different demographic. It's not about a sense of entitlement so much as it is the frustration that something you love has suddenly taken an about face and seems to be leaving you behind.

then its people not moving on and wanting it back and you cant get it back as much as you want, you move on or you going to get mad or angry about for staying behind, you get the idea. Its hold a bit of nostalgia or something that once was and i do understand that but you dont need to do death threats, just go find something that makes you happy and dont dwell on the thing that is leaving you behind.

Edited by Azure Skye, 19 August 2013 - 01:20 AM.

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#25 Leyana

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:23 AM

While that is the logical route to take, you'll find that humans are anything but logical. If you want people to invest in the game as much as some of these companies do you will have to expect some backlash if you decide to do things that your current playerbase dislikes. No one can make everybody happy.

If devs don't want the backlash, they will keep catering to their current playerbase or if its a new property, properly identify their target market and ignore everyone else. If they want to change things midway after getting people all hyped up, they better be ready with fantastic PR or thick skins.
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#26 Sammich

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:57 AM

I think this is ultimately a problem with the playerbase - making death threats over a video game is freaking ridiculous.

However, a support group? Eroding the industry? Suck it up. You will never get everyone to like or agree with you. Some will take it too far. There will always be that kind of person in the world and you just have to deal with it and move on. This isn't something that is present only in the player to developer relationship.
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#27 Omega X

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:26 AM

Honestly, the only time gamers should complain about a game is IF the game i buggy or if they promise something tangible and did not receive it, other than that everything else is a matter of taste and taste cannot be accounted for.


You would find that happens more often than not and practically reinforces what Bulldozer said. Not every game company receives as much backlash as the next. But breeding this kind of attachment to games reverberates emotional backlash when it fails to deliver. Its a double-edged sword.

To be perfectly honest, parts of the games industry are now learning what it is to be a celebrity. This is the same thing that happens behind movies, music and sometimes books.
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#28 beadnbutter32

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:27 AM

A bit of sentimentalization of a few isolated incidents.

The best line in the whole article is that "most of this behavior is just bluster'.

One can garner death threats etc. just by positing as Joe Lunch bucket in this forum or Reddit with an unpopular opinion. I know, I got plenty of them directed to me just for disagreeing with popular positions.

It is society as a whole that is degrading. People no longer can engage in polite discussion and argument, any difference of opinion instantly gets escalated to 'going nuclear.'

I did like the section in the article about how 'noobs' get scorn now and certainly have seen and experienced it here. Show the least bit of weakness, lack of skill/knowledge, and prepare for the insults.

Just another example of when everyone's rights collides with big business, big business/fascism wins.

Bringing in the Bieber swat story is really crossing over into a completely different unrelated topic of pop star fan issues.

What game devs do is create content for the pubic. If they don't have the constitution to deal with the lime light, they don't belong in the field. It comes with the territory.

Just your usual "everything plus the kitchen sink' yellow journalism.

Edited by beadnbutter32, 19 August 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#29 Butcher

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:07 PM

...We're lucky enough to live in a society where its no longer socially acceptable to drag people from their homes for a public stoning.


At this point, I'd actually enjoy watching a public stoning of every Developer over at Hidden Path Entertainment, and I'd like to see Gabe Newell throw the first stone.

I can't believe VALVe gave the Counter-Strike franchise over to those goons then turned a blind eye for a year. Honestly, there's some people in the gaming industry that deserve to be harasses for being idiots.
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#30 Corsair

Corsair

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:07 PM

I'm of two minds on this. On one side devs definitely try to foster attachment to IPs, characters, and the company itself. But this is just good business and any company worth their salt does the same thing. On the other, we have rather rabid and usually aberrant fans whom are willing to throw out death threats over silly or minor things. It's frankly disgusting and lowers the quality of discussion we can have on topics when such statements are made, regardless of the actual intent behind them. Yes, the developers should have some level of resilience to what gets said to them, but the same has to be applied to praise. And the vitriolic level some of it reaches is rather extreme. The fact that we have a society where such threats are accepted as a fact of life seems horrific to me. The excuse of 'it's just the internet' isn't an acceptable reason for this treatment. Unfortunately, it's usually only the extreme edges of anything that gets the attention. If you have an opinion and want it heard we have learned to use extreme language to express ourselves, which is part of the origin of the current problem. Responses like diaf need to be ignored and removed while thoughtful and measured responses need to be highlighted and responded to in kind, collectively, in order to start changing the way we speak to eachother through our keyboards.
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