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Game dev harassment eroding the industry

developers games harassment

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#91 draxynnic

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 02:36 PM

Like I said, harassing anyone or threatening anyone is ridiculous. Personal attacks are absurd and not necessary. However, if you look at some comments, they simply make the statement that all critique of game developers is some sort of terrible act. It isn't.

Indeed. There's a big difference between constructive criticism and hurling insults. And there's an even bigger difference between hurling insults and sending death threats. And while I'm not in the industry myself, I have heard of rare occasions where threats of physical violence have been... well, attempted to be carried out. The perpetrator apparently underestimated the strength of the window he tried throwing a brick through.

The thing is that there is a spectrum, and distinct points on that spectrum. A developer should listen to constructive criticism, in aggregate if not to individual people, and if they disagree with a prevailing opinion, give a respectful response explaining why they disagree. A death threat, on the other hand... is something that really should be actionable. Yeah, maybe it's become part of the culture that we throw them around like candy... but maybe it shouldn't be, and coming down hard on a few particularly particularly bad examples (threatening to own someone's wife and/or murder their kids? Really?) may turn things around.

On a couple of side points that have come up:

First, like there's a distinction between constructive criticism and insults, I think there's also a distinction between disagreeing with criticism and whiteknighting. Partially it comes from observing someone over a period - if someone agrees with some criticism and not others, for instance, they're clearly not a whiteknight, while someone who switches stance every time the company does probably is. More importantly, though, is the level at which they respond. To give a black and white example (of course, few things are), someone who disagrees with a criticism by saying they like the way things are and gives well-thought-out reasons why they like things currently and why they think any proposed suggestions to address the criticism would be harmful is expressing a valid opinion. A response to criticism that boils down to "it's their game and they can do what they like with it"... sorry. That's whiteknighting. It might be true, but people have a right to voice their opinions in a constructive and respectful fashion without being given the "if you don't like it, you can always leave" treatment.

Second, I'm amused by the mentioning of the term 'noob', since while it has a common root word, it doesn't strictly refer to someone who's new to the game. Strictly speaking, the defining feature of being a noob is someone who refuses to learn, however much better players may try to teach them. Now, that in itself is something of a subjective definition, since there have probably been thousands of times where two or more players each think they're the best and the others are noobs that would be better off following their instructions, but most gamers (most) are happy to help a genuinely new player along, even while deriding a technically more experienced player as a noob.

It's also somewhat higher stakes than in most hobbies, since in most hobbies one person's inexperience doesn't impact on the enjoyment and rewards others get in the hobby. To use sewing as an analogy, a 'noob' isn't just someone who's new - it's someone who always managed to mangle the fabric with the sewing machine however many times you've tried to teach them how to avoid doing so, and yet keeps hogging the machine and insisting that everyone else should give them their patterns so they can show off their "awesome" sewing skills.
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#92 Arewn

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 03:03 PM

You know what the gaming industry needs? A big fat class action lawsuit that sets the tone for marketing and advertising for the industry.

There are a lot of legitimate points that players are making and while some of them are a bit harsh, I think developers get way too defensive about the criticisms.

No one should be subjected to death threats or overly abusive comments - but I feel like developers take even harsh comments (which are completely legitimate) too defensively.

There is nothing wrong with calling a developer's work lazy, poorly designed, unbalanced, etc. They need to understand that they create the environment for these criticisms. And, once they fire back, look out. All they are doing is creating a shit storm for themselves regardless of whether it is appropriate or not.

If the gaming industry wants to know why these things are happening, they need to take a long hard look in the mirror and realize that they have caused a lot of it - regardless of whether it is appropriate or not. That doesn't mean people making death threats are off the hook, but that is something that the developers of games have a fair amount of control over.

Not sure they have that much control over it... I really like how Rasberry put it "Simply put, people flip their shit over the littlest things. They should stop that."

About the lawsuit, I think that actually happened xD Check out 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' I don't remember the details and I'm about to leave, so you'll have to go look it up to make sure.
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#93 El Duderino

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 03:19 PM

Not sure they have that much control over it... I really like how Rasberry put it "Simply put, people flip their shit over the littlest things. They should stop that."

About the lawsuit, I think that actually happened xD Check out 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' I don't remember the details and I'm about to leave, so you'll have to go look it up to make sure.


Well, managing expectations would offer a lot of control, in my opinion. But yes, people flip their shit about dumb stuff. But, then again, wouldn't it be best to ignore it instead of getting defensive. And, if enough people are upset by it - maybe they have a point or a reason?

That is what I am getting at. Very few people get THAT upset to send death threats or say things that are ridiculously hurtful. Then again, maybe I am naive and people are ♥♥♥♥s.

I just don't see how something gets to that point without the other side being able to control it.
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#94 raspberry jam

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:47 PM

You know what the gaming industry needs? A big fat class action lawsuit that sets the tone for marketing and advertising for the industry.

I would love to see a lawsuit actually go through. But until we have a very widespread public understanding of games, that's not going to happen. Game ads and hype uses very loosely defined words which makes it insanely hard to prove a lie. What might happen though is that we will see suits that fail, and once we have a couple of prior rulings, courts will see the even most insane hype as "not deceptive".
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#95 El Duderino

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:48 PM

I would love to see a lawsuit actually go through. But until we have a very widespread public understanding of games, that's not going to happen. Game ads and hype uses very loosely defined words which makes it insanely hard to prove a lie. What might happen though is that we will see suits that fail, and once we have a couple of prior rulings, courts will see the even most insane hype as "not deceptive".


I am optimistic based on the results of lawsuits like this one: http://www.foxnews.c...natural-claims/

Although, I agree that the gaming industry would offer much more difficult ideas for a court to understand and regulate.
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#96 Corsair

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 06:42 AM

Not sure they have that much control over it... I really like how Rasberry put it "Simply put, people flip their shit over the littlest things. They should stop that."

About the lawsuit, I think that actually happened xD Check out 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' I don't remember the details and I'm about to leave, so you'll have to go look it up to make sure.

Games like Colonial Marines is exactly why I don't pre-order. That was some bullshit. And I was really hoping it would be a good game because I like the Alien franchise. Or, more exactly, the first two movies and a couple of the games. In addition to it showing Gearbox as rather more untrustworthy and unsavory (I wasn't impressed with Borderlands, DNF should have been left to die, and changing Band of Brothers from a serious reflection to a bad Iglorious Basterds/TF2 chimera of weeping shame. Sure, start a new IP for it, but don't slap a name on something that bears no resemblance to it's namesake) it shows how terrible review embargos and exclusives are for the industry.

Well, managing expectations would offer a lot of control, in my opinion. But yes, people flip their shit about dumb stuff. But, then again, wouldn't it be best to ignore it instead of getting defensive. And, if enough people are upset by it - maybe they have a point or a reason?

That is what I am getting at. Very few people get THAT upset to send death threats or say things that are ridiculously hurtful. Then again, maybe I am naive and people are ♥♥♥♥s.

I just don't see how something gets to that point without the other side being able to control it.

Unfortunately not everybody has skin this thick. I wish that it were, I think everybody would live a happier life. And it's not even just those who make bonehead comments, when a developer receives death threats, plural, over a few minor balance changes something is wrong.

Neither side is blameless, all I want is a little maturity from people. I know not everybody will be, the odd outlier or manchild is bound to exist. But I don't want it to be an accepted or commonplace thing, either. It's probably too much to ask, but I shall do so anyway.
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#97 raspberry jam

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:37 AM

Neither side is blameless, all I want is a little maturity from people. I know not everybody will be, the odd outlier or manchild is bound to exist. But I don't want it to be an accepted or commonplace thing, either. It's probably too much to ask, but I shall do so anyway.

When the decent thing to do is also the futile thing to do, we see the difference between those who are compelled by decency and those who merely pretended to be.
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#98 Lycrus

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:13 PM

Funny. First the ygrow a fanbase. Then they dont behave correctly in the eyes of the fans. then they complain its shooting back.

Ive heard this from somewhere. oh wait, sports/soccer/football etc.

And honestly..if the devs are worried about this then they should ask a few big managers out there who receive 100s of insults and threats per day. but, oh my god, a lot of people are also smart and DONT SHOW their names or adresses. Not always possible but still.

Also..the devs started with this thing on their own. now to cry about they created is like...it reminds me of Frankenstein rly.

Naivity at its glory i guess.
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#99 raspberry jam

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:29 PM

Funny. First the ygrow a fanbase. Then they dont behave correctly in the eyes of the fans. then they complain its shooting back.

Ive heard this from somewhere. oh wait, sports/soccer/football etc.

And honestly..if the devs are worried about this then they should ask a few big managers out there who receive 100s of insults and threats per day. but, oh my god, a lot of people are also smart and DONT SHOW their names or adresses. Not always possible but still.

Also..the devs started with this thing on their own. now to cry about they created is like...it reminds me of Frankenstein rly.

Naivity at its glory i guess.

You know in sports it's considered extremely bad form to intentionally play so bad that you lose the match. If that not only happened but the players also bragged about it happening and then proceeded to post on Twitter that anyone who didn't like it should just ♥♥♥♥ off, I would understand if the fans felt betrayed.
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#100 Graka

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 04:21 PM

You know what the gaming industry needs? A big fat class action lawsuit that sets the tone for marketing and advertising for the industry.

There are a lot of legitimate points that players are making and while some of them are a bit harsh, I think developers get way too defensive about the criticisms.

No one should be subjected to death threats or overly abusive comments - but I feel like developers take even harsh comments (which are completely legitimate) too defensively.

There is nothing wrong with calling a developer's work lazy, poorly designed, unbalanced, etc. They need to understand that they create the environment for these criticisms. And, once they fire back, look out. All they are doing is creating a shit storm for themselves regardless of whether it is appropriate or not.

If the gaming industry wants to know why these things are happening, they need to take a long hard look in the mirror and realize that they have caused a lot of it - regardless of whether it is appropriate or not. That doesn't mean people making death threats are off the hook, but that is something that the developers of games have a fair amount of control over.


I think my favorite example of this is when Epic games rolled out Unreal Tournament 3, it was such a POS, and a complete blatent lie upon everything they promised. It was just a Gears of War clone and a crappy one at that. Yet when fans reacted by dropping the game like the hot flaming turd it was and going back to Unreal Tournament 2003 Epic blamed everything from voodoo to aliens, it was hilarious to watch. The main culprit they tried to scapegoat was the terrible "People are downloading our game off piratebay, its stealing our money" Yet when you checked, it was downloaded like 1000 times cause it was a POS. In the end Epic used this to justify not making a PC game since 2006.

Some actually even think that was the intent, to get out of making actual good content on the PC and just turn into a Gears sequel factory.
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