Yesterday a indie studio Puppy Games, went of on a bit of a rant and wrote essay/rant on their blog about the people who buy (or did not buy) their video games:
“Customers all think they’re worth everything in the entire world to us. The funny thing is, you are. Without customers, we’re dead in the water, homeless and living in a cardboard box outside Berko sewage plant. But individually, you’re like ants. And all of developers secretly know it and don’t talk about it. You’re not worth supporting. It’s far, far better to completely, totally ignore support, if you want to make a living. Developers don’t like to talk about it, and they certainly don’t want to make customers aware of it.
Some developers right now are bristling with public-relation-inflating indignation, waiting to burst into my castle in shining white armour championing the cause of their customers, and how they treat their customers like royalty still. But I know, and they know, they’re only doing that because it’s actually yet more Dark Side of Public Relations. It’s a lie. The numbers do not add up. I’ll show you where they do add up – on Steam, on the App Store, on Big Fish, on Google Play.
That’s where all of the money is going these days, great sucking, black holes, spewing out tat on their event horizons and hoovering up pennies from wallets worldwide. You can yell about how important you are into the black hole if you like. No-one cares. You can “take your money elsewhere” and “never buy another product from you again, EVER”, and the black hole will continue to treat you exactly as you deserve – with impassive, voracious, inexorable silence, and still ever-growing. Because you’re worthless.”
After I watched the “indie game” movie I approach any indie developed game with a mix of caution and admiration. Caution because of the above and what happened in the past with people like Phill Fish and his game Fez. And admiration because it is hard for developers to have their creative vision shit on by gamers on a daily basis. People love to complain about everything, especially gamers. We want to hate things like the Xbox One or Call of Duty, and to be fair constructive criticism is fine, even needed in most cases it holds true for almost anything in life. But calling someone else’s work shit and saying that it should fit your specific tastes is not constructive, it is downright ignorant.
And the above rant by Puppy Games is part of a much larger issue that the gaming industry is facing at the moment. The gaming community has really become a “toxic environment” for developers and publishers. Purely because a portion of the gaming community has self-entitled attitude when it comes to their choice of games and gaming platforms. Now I am not saying the above rant is justified, because there are far better ways to vent. And yes we all know we (myself included) can be a winy bunch of self-entitled gamers, the trick to going on a rant like this is to say it like it is without sounding like an even bigger ass-hole than we the customers can be at the best of times.
Currently the industry is stuck in a sort of paradox that nothing can be improved in the industry because of gamers. They complain when everything is the same and then complain when developers try something new and different. I think it has a lot to do with the anonymity of the internet, making it easier to act like an ass-hole on-line. I really want the gaming industry to grow up, mostly because the minority of gamers are obnoxious, but they’re sadly the vocal majority. We are so deep in the cesspool the internet has created, we have forgotten what boundaries used to exist between people.