As we noted yesterday, former Epic man Cliff Bleszinski took some time to defend the controversial use of microtransactions in retail games, sticking up for it on the basis that companies exist to make money. I rarely turn down an opportunity to have a debate on these matters, so let's offer a respectful disagreement.
"The video game industry is just that. An industry," he wrote on his blog. "Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please … or to refrain from spending that money.
"I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are 'nickel and diming them.' They’re raging at 'big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.' I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as 'the bad guy.' I think it’s bullshit that EA has the 'scumbag EA' memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong."
I think I've got a tiny violin somewhere, I'll hunt it down and play EA a tune! Seriously though, I don't think EA's being bullied without cause. The company managed to acquire many talented studios and a lot of great intellectual property. When you cultivate a passionate fanbase, then try to trade that passion in for money, I think you should expect a backlash. That's what's happening here.
Designer Cliff Bleszinski has shared his thoughts on the microtransactions and the backlash they receive, arguing that game companies exist to make money and if people don't like them or their practices, they can vote with th...
Cliff Bleszinski has painted a grim portrait of the game console landscape in a recent GI interview, likening the "state of transition" to that experienced in the famous videogame market crash. His most controversial statement was the suggestion that Nintendo may step away from hardware entirely. Oh dear.
"This business has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the '80s," he said. "I really think we're in a massive state of turmoil. I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward. I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad.
"The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now. I think we're ready to do digital download games all the time ... I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it's like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins."
While Bleszinski's words will likely infuriate Nintendo fans, his warning that the console industry is facing potential turmoil is spot-on in my opinion. The market has become such a convoluted mess right now, I wouldn't rule anything out of the equation. I'd personally see Microsoft stepping away from games hardware before Nintendo, but who knows what'll happen in the next five years?
Except, of course, the one thing we all know -- PC gaming f*ck yeah!
As Dead Space 3 trades terror for cover mechanics, and Resident Evil 6 gives up all pretense of being a scary game, it's becomes ever clearer that mainstream publishers have no faith in horror games. Developer Cliff Bleszinski agrees, claiming the $60 retail market just won't accept such experiences anymore.
"In the $60 disc based market horror doesn’t fly -- it’s the ultimate 'Campaign Rental' that's played for 2 days and traded in and I’m sure EA knows this," said Cliffy in a blog post. "When we're fully digital we’ll see more true horror games coming back. (Look at Amnesia and Slenderman on PC.)"
The trouble is, I don't think digital is going to truly solve the issue, because I don't believe it's a "retail" problem. The problem, as I see it, is the continued bloating of development costs and marketing budgets to the point where every single game needs to be a mass market success or else considered a failure. Horror games can be successful, but only if you have a realistic expectation of what success actually means.
This year's PAX East keynote (or "Storytime" as Penny Arcade is referring to it as now) will be hosted by Cliff Bleszinski. The charismatic man is always a pleasure to listen to, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what...
Over a year ago, Cliff Bleszinski (then of Epic Games) and myself had a public falling out and have never traded a word since.
Ever a man of peace and goodwill, I hereby extend the olive branch the only way I know how -- with a little help from The Escapist's very own Miracle of Sound.
Well hello there, jewels. How are you doing this fine evening? Staying dry, I hope? Wha-OKAY ENOUGH SMALL TALK.
On today's Destructoid Show, we're treated to a launch trailer for Assassin's Creed III, a live-action trai...
Cliffy B, honcho behind the Gears of War series, recently became a free agent. Meanwhile at Capcom, Resident Evil 6 has been collecting some of the worst reviews in the series history, largely due to the game's arguably faile...
On today's completely professional, mature, and otherwise not stupid or embarrassing Destructoid Show, we discuss some very serious topics. First, a season pass is announced for Assassin's Creed III, and the first DLC will b...
Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski, known for his work on Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, and Gears of War, is leaving the company "to chart the next stage of his career."
"I've been doing this since I was a teenager," he writes, "and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Capps] likes to say. And now that I'm grown up, it's time for a much needed break.
"I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people. Epic only hires the best of the best, and it has been a joy working with each and every one of you on a daily basis, whether you were hired weeks ago or decades ago. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR -- it's been one big, rewarding learning experience. I'm confident that each project that is being built, whether at Epic, Chair, PCF, or Impossible will be top notch and will please gamers and critics alike."
In addition to his personal remarks, there are also comments from Epic's Tim Sweeney, Mike Capps, and Mark Rein. It's surprising to see Cliff go, but his reasoning is something I can sympathize with. I'm curious to see what he does next.
Gears of War head Cliff Bleszinski is at it again! Not content with just criticizing honest reviews and calling 8/10s "hateful", it seems as if Cliffy B has now set his sights on a new target: the Japanese game industry and t...
There are explanations for games that ship with downloadable content already included. There are, however, no excuses. While you may have a reason, you do not have validation, because on-disc DLC is a problem willingly creat...
If reactions to Street Fighter x Tekken are anything to go by, savvy gamers do not appreciate being sold content that they've technically already bought by purchasing the disc it's housed on. Forking over extra money to unloc...
During GDC, developer Warren Spector was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award. To pay tribute to a man who has brought so much love and joy in the world, Mega64 teamed up with Cliff Bleszinski for a short video retros...
Cliff Bleszinski, Gears of War creator and lover of blue aliens, isn't fully satisfied with game graphics today. They're good, but they're not Avatar good, right?
"I'm sorry, do you think graphics are good enough?" Blesz...
Gears of War 3 just hit retail, and the reviews were positive across the board, ranging from great to perfect. For most games, that would be more than enough to please both the title's developers and fans, but in the case of Gears 3, there was something of an uproar when the game received "just an 8" by a few select outlets.
For a variety of reasons (not the least of which was that the gaming press has cultivated a culture where a game that receives less than a 9 is considered "sh*t" by many readers), many Gears fans came out fighting, claiming that giving Gears 3 an 8 was insulting at best and a "hate-filled lie" at worst. Others went so far as to say that the fact that some reviewers gave the game a score a whole two points lower is proof that review scores should be done away with entirely. They said that if there can't be a 100% consensus on how many "factual points of fun" Gears of War 3 contains, then the whole idea of review scores must be destroyed.
Like last week's scene with Nubageddon, I felt that this situation needed an outside perspective, so I went to the park to talk to a woman about it. I made the right move. I came away from our conversation with a fresh understanding of why Gears 3 was getting lower scores than Gears 2 from a few outlets, and a better feeling for what review scores are really all about.
Check out the video, then come along with me as I tell you the tale of "The Curse of Three"!