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Op Ed

Cliffski's Blog - Kickstarting inequality.
Kickstarter is the absolute poster-child for inequality amongst gamers, based on income. Now I am definitely not a raging socialist, but I know a lot of gamers are, and I find it a bit weird that it doesn’t bug them that when these kickstarter games ship, not only will gamers with more money that them be swanning around with better outfits and weapons, (This already happens in F2P games), but some of the NPC’s will have the names of the ‘wealthy’ backers. Some will even have their digitized faces in the game. Elite is actually naming PLANETS after people who back the game with a lot of money.

Gamers say they hate in-game product placement and advertising. It compromises the game design for the sake of money. I agree. So why are we deciding that the best way to name our planets or design the appearance of our NPC’s is to put that part of game design up for auction? Why should gamers who are wealthy get more influence over a game that those who flip burgers for a living? The cold hard economic reality of the real world is bad enough without shoehorning it into games too.

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104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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44. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 12:56 Axis
 
daPhoenix wrote on Nov 25, 2012, 11:44:
Axis wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 22:48:
Maybe you should actually live in or well-know someone who lived in a socialist country before you announce the wonderfulness of what you believe it is.
All Nordic countries are essentially socialistic democracies.

Oddly enough, they also tend to shine in the quality of life barometers - even your own Newsweek elected one to be the best country to live in in 2011..

Hilarious how out of touch you guys are, seriously.

You should be reading some history books instead of repeating dorm room discussions where you keep saying the same things over and over patting each other on the back.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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43. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 12:04 Prez
 
Yeah - Cliffy B has more money wrapped up in the 'bling' he wears than Cliffski has made in his whole life. They couldn't be less similar.  
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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42. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 11:56 Slashman
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Nov 25, 2012, 10:24:
Cliffski is a piece of scum whos days in the gaming industry are OVER. Its 2012 Cliffski, time for your ancient ideas to ride off into the sunset.

Cliffski is NOT Cliffy B. This is not the guy from Epic. This is the guy who made Gratuitous Space Battles.
 
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41. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 11:44 daPhoenix
 
Axis wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 22:48:
Maybe you should actually live in or well-know someone who lived in a socialist country before you announce the wonderfulness of what you believe it is.
All Nordic countries are essentially socialistic democracies.

Oddly enough, they also tend to shine in the quality of life barometers - even your own Newsweek elected one to be the best country to live in in 2011..
 
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40. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 11:17 eRe4s3r
 
Mount and Blade was not exactly the poster child of community driven development though. We wanted multi-stage, multi-objective dynamic siege battles, we got 1stage TDM with cokepoints. We wanted proper formations and proper squad/companion system, We got a useless barebones formation system and useless (in combat, specifically) companions.

So yeah, community is the reason Mount and Blade 1.011 exists, but let's not post Taleworlds as the pinnacle of community driven development because after the "original" MB released it seemed as if they were just polishing it, not actually implementing anything properly. And when they implemented things, it was often not how the community wanted. Hence the 6 billion mods that remake native.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2012, 11:28.
 
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39. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 10:24 [VG]Reagle
 
Cliffski is a piece of scum whos days in the gaming industry are OVER. Its 2012 Cliffski, time for your ancient ideas to ride off into the sunset.  
Avatar 8515
 
I am MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better now.
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38. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 08:47 briktal
 
EricFate wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 23:37:
Patronage is not product placement. May as well be pissed at a hospital for being named after the biggest donor, or at a portrait for being of the wife of the person who commissioned it. Having some pixels named after a dude with more disposable income than me doesn't disrupt my engagement with the game world in the slightest. Because that dude wanted the game to exist just as much as I did, but had more resources to help make that happen. He isn't trying to sell me something. Gamers aren't outraged because we know the difference.

I think some people do dislike buildings/parts of buildings named after big donors. Both for that and for games, I think the reaction would depend on who exactly it is. If there is no special designation in-game that the NPC/planet/etc is named after a kickstarter backer, then nobody would probably notice unless it's a well known person. I'm sure a lot of people will react every time they meet the Notch NPC in a game, but not the random rich gamer Bill Smith NPC.
 
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37. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 08:16 Bhruic
 
Equating advertising with naming planets is just odd. The reason people don't like ads in games is because the ads are trying to sell us something. When playing games for entertainment, we don't want to be sold at - we get enough of that everywhere else. Having a planet named after someone isn't trying to sell us anything.

Really, the idea that it "compromises" the game design in any sense is something I don't understand. How is the look of an NPC or the name of a planet anything to do with the actual design of the game? It's nothing but an aesthetics choice.

As for getting better weapons/outfits, yes, I dislike taking that approach. There's nothing wrong with giving people cosmetic bonuses, but when they start getting practical ones, that can be annoying - especially in games with multiplayer. It's not a trend that I'd like to see continue.

What will be interesting is if corporations start taking advantage of some of these offers. For example, if you get the option to name a planet in Elite, why couldn't we end up with planet Intel, thanks to a $5,000 pledge? That'd be the point where I'd start to have a problem, as it would be blurring the line with advertisement.
 
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36. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 07:59 Dev
 
NewMaxx wrote on Nov 25, 2012, 04:43:
Dev wrote on Nov 25, 2012, 04:13:
So was my post just too long to respond to? lol

I think you made some good points, but your initial assertion of jealousy seems misplaced. I do agree, however, that the overall arguments presented in the blog are outdated or incorrect.

An example I could give is Mount & Blade, which I followed from the very start, and seeing this talented couple do it on the side with great community feedback was inspiring. Yet it wasn't until they got publisher backing and released a full version, on places like Steam, that it became profitable enough to be a full-blown occupation, which in turn enabled much faster response and rapid improvements. It's naive to think that funding isn't a huge factor or that developers can be "single-minded" and ignore their community.

So to re-iterate what I stated in my post below and on the blog, I feel that he's leaning towards the "open" aspect more than the "investment" aspect, when the reality is that the modern gaming industry for the PC is an ugly hybrid that's still very much working itself out. Yet I feel anybody who falls to the wayside in either direction will ultimately get left behind.

Community-driven is the future and to ignore disparate funding would be like Wikipedia demanding a specific donation amount, or the government charging everybody the same tax. The whole point of open is that people can be involved to a level of their choosing, and more importantly for transparency regardless of investment.
Thanks for the response.
The jealousy thing is my opinion, I admit it could be wrong.
You have a great point about Mount & Blade. And there's many other examples where a good community can help with constructive feedback.
 
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35. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 04:43 NewMaxx
 
Dev wrote on Nov 25, 2012, 04:13:
So was my post just too long to respond to? lol

I think you made some good points, but your initial assertion of jealousy seems misplaced. I do agree, however, that the overall arguments presented in the blog are outdated or incorrect.

An example I could give is Mount & Blade, which I followed from the very start, and seeing this talented couple do it on the side with great community feedback was inspiring. Yet it wasn't until they got publisher backing and released a full version, on places like Steam, that it became profitable enough to be a full-blown occupation, which in turn enabled much faster response and rapid improvements. It's naive to think that funding isn't a huge factor or that developers can be "single-minded" and ignore their community.

So to re-iterate what I stated in my post below and on the blog, I feel that he's leaning towards the "open" aspect more than the "investment" aspect, when the reality is that the modern gaming industry for the PC is an ugly hybrid that's still very much working itself out. Yet I feel anybody who falls to the wayside in either direction will ultimately get left behind.

Community-driven is the future and to ignore disparate funding would be like Wikipedia demanding a specific donation amount, or the government charging everybody the same tax. The whole point of open is that people can be involved to a level of their choosing, and more importantly for transparency regardless of investment.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2012, 04:52.
 
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34. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 04:13 Dev
 
So was my post just too long to respond to? lol  
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33. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 03:53 FloorPie
 
I miss the piracy rant era Cliffski.

"Now I am definitely not a raging socialist, but I know a lot of gamers are,"

Translation: I am a big raging socialist and I hang out with them on the QT3 forums.
 
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32. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 01:46 Creston
 
Hey, cliffski found something to bitch about again. It's been awhile.

Cliff, here's the difference. Pay attention now, because I want to make sure you can follow, okay? I'll talk REAL.SLOW.

The reason we have no problem with planets or NPCs being named after wealthy backers is because without those wealthy backers that game wouldn't exist.

When a publisher like EA sells me a game for 60 bucks, which got funded with their apparently endless billions of dollars (why the IRS doesn't burn that place to the ground is incomprehensible), and then they put advertising and product placement in it, it's pure greed. The game would easily have existed without it. Even so, if the placement is unobtrusive and doesn't hamper performance, most gamers really don't care that much. If the bad guys in GTA5 all drive a big SUV that says Tahoe on it, eh... Does anyone really care?

But if in Alan Wake, you constantly stumble across reminders to PICK UP MORE BATTERIES FOR YOUR VERIZON PHONE!!! then THAT is fucking annoying.

Now, seeing an NPC company in Eternity called "David's Azz Kickurz!" will probably be annoying too (and I doubt they'd allow such a thing), but I can console myself with the idea that without it, the game wouldn't have existed.

Do you see the difference now? Oh wait, who am I kidding, of course you don't. You bitch against anything and everything that's good for gaming.

Creston
 
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31. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 00:04 NewMaxx
 
Optional Nickname! wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 23:16:
Kickstarter has been a great boon for PC game development awareness.

Ah, I am glad to see a thought-provoking post, particularly one that shares sentiments with which I agree.

I quote this particular excerpt because ultimately the one large benefit of new social media is awareness. This goes for all forms of entertainment. You correctly surmise that investment and its trappings are nothing new, and that people often overlook the novel introduction of the open age, points I made with my comment that lies directly on Cliffski's blog. As the Enlightenment brought the concept of popularity to center stage, we enter an era where anyone can experience what everyone offers. Having awareness of the process is an important part of being an investor, too.

Perhaps a bit grand for the simple argument of crowdfunding for games, but let's be honest, this is a crucial stage for PC game development. Even the kingpin of Steam has its Greenlight, mobility has $1-5 games, consoles are dying even with AAA; this is a place PCs can shine and define the next generation. It just needs to be done in a responsible fashion, and I think that's part of the issue many people have with the system. Cliffski, I feel, approaches it with good points from a game developer's perspective - but I also feel it is rapidly becoming an obsolete position.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed Nov 25, 2012, 00:00 Silicon Avatar
 
If imagined gamer slights are all Cliffski has to worry about these days he really ought to just shut up.  
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29. Re: Op Ed Nov 24, 2012, 23:37 EricFate
 
Patronage is not product placement. May as well be pissed at a hospital for being named after the biggest donor, or at a portrait for being of the wife of the person who commissioned it. Having some pixels named after a dude with more disposable income than me doesn't disrupt my engagement with the game world in the slightest. Because that dude wanted the game to exist just as much as I did, but had more resources to help make that happen. He isn't trying to sell me something. Gamers aren't outraged because we know the difference.  
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28. Re: Op Ed Nov 24, 2012, 23:16 Optional Nickname!
 
Did many people, yesterday or today, complain about Prince Carl von Lichnowksy commissioning Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique (Op.13) or his very generous (and ultimately written-off) loans to Mozart?

How much would you have given circa 1996 to James Ohlen and Ray Muzyka to create a isometric D&D based RPG which we now call Baldur's Gate?

How much are you willing to spend to pre-order a game promised by those very same people who are directly and indirectly the reason you post to this web-site? The Mozart's and Beethoven's of the PC gaming world? You spend what you can afford, as we do for every other item.

Personally, I chose to spend more for Project: Eternity's development based on my game time with Baldur's Gate (and PS:T). The premium over retail plus schwag I consider a deserved bonus for their prior Masterpieces. I also spent more for Star Citizen since I know how easy it is to blow up those crappy entry-level ships.

Kickstarter has been a great boon for PC game development awareness. Not only does it give flexibility to the Greats in terms of financing a large studio and adjusting game sophistication and complexity to the desires of the paying customer, but it provides a welcoming environment to other PC game craftsmen, artisans and apprentices, Cliffsky included.

Perhaps Cliffsky should attempt a Kickstarter-like crowd sourced project and work with his not insignificantly numbered customer base. I enjoy the frequent improvements to GSB, it's a much better game then when initially released.

 
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27. Re: Op Ed Nov 24, 2012, 23:10 Draugr
 
Axis wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 22:48:
Cutter wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 19:54:
Spot on. Too many people bat around the word socialist without understanding what it means in the context of a democracy - particularly in the US where many have been brainwashed into using it in a negative context.

Maybe you should actually live in or well-know someone who lived in a socialist country before you announce the wonderfulness of what you believe it is.

Socialism in it's purest form? The gov't controls, takes for those who succeed and give it to people the Govt deems worthy. First step toward communism. And that, my friend, is fucked -- so keep it the fuck out of America thank you very much. Immigrants still flock the hell out of shithole socialist governments to live in a non socialist America. Now you tell me ONE American leaving here to go live in a socialist country. So naive...


Thank you for providing us with an example of what he was talking about.

 
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26. Re: Op Ed Nov 24, 2012, 22:48 Axis
 
Cutter wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 19:54:
Prez wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 17:25:
I don't get his complaint at all. In-game advertising is a cynical money grab and annoying to those who already paid for the game (obviously exempting F2P games). Having characters, planets, or other things named after the largest donors (without whom the game very likely would have never been made) isn't the same at all. I don't get his reference to socialism at all either.

Spot on. Too many people bat around the word socialist without understanding what it means in the context of a democracy - particularly in the US where many have been brainwashed into using it in a negative context. There are plenty of rich people in socialist oriented societies - they just pay more in line with whats their fair share. That's it. No boogeymen. The sky doesn't fall. And they have a better overall standard of living for everyone.

His complaints are groundless because if you don't want to back a game that's obviously P2W like Star Citizen then you don't back it. Just because someone can afford to drop 5k on and get a mob named after them bothers me as much as not having any other luxury item in life. Sure it would be nice but it really doesn't bother me. So long as I get a good game in the end I could give a shit less. In fact I think its pretty fucking silly dropping several thousand dollars for a virtual item when it comes right down to it.


Maybe you should actually live in or well-know someone who lived in a socialist country before you announce the wonderfulness of what you believe it is.

Socialism in it's purest form? The gov't controls, takes for those who succeed and give it to people the Govt deems worthy. First step toward communism. And that, my friend, is fucked -- so keep it the fuck out of America thank you very much. Immigrants still flock the hell out of shithole socialist governments to live in a non socialist America. Now you tell me ONE American leaving here to go live in a socialist country. So naive...
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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25. Re: Op Ed Nov 24, 2012, 22:33 Draugr
 
Prez wrote on Nov 24, 2012, 17:25:
I don't get his complaint at all. In-game advertising is a cynical money grab and annoying to those who already paid for the game (obviously exempting F2P games). Having characters, planets, or other things named after the largest donors (without whom the game very likely would have never been made) isn't the same at all. I don't get his reference to socialism at all either.

It truly seems odd. Art, Games, and participation in game development I don't see as an issue of equality.

Game Developers usually just name things however they'd like, no one is demanding that power is given to the people. All of the arguments he would make against a kickstarted game would apply to the traditional publisher model, but I don't see him taking issue with it or expecting others to do the same.

All of the 'points' just fall flat for several reason, the most outstanding reason being that luxury goods part of a luxury service don't really determine social equity. At least, not in the way he seems to imply.

The only valid point he makes is P2W games are lame, but I think most people were already aware of that.
 
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104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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