There's a bit of upheaval in the video game world lately involving angry fans over how things are priced, and how many people buy things before a game comes out. No better of an example of this can be made than the recent spat Angry Joe has had over the new Warhammer game which seemingly "cut" out the race of Chaos and stuck them in as a pre-order bonus.
Angry Joe, for anyone unaware is completely against sales tactics like this which appear to be anti-consumer on the surface. He is genuinely upset over the state of gaming these days with pre-order bonuses, game bundles that come with skins that are already in the game, and DLC that doesn't feel worth the price in any way. He's fully justified feeling this way as a consumer, though he does go overboard in fanning these flames without having a lot of evidence to support his opinion. Sometimes we do get evidence like in the case of Street Fighter x Tekken, or when DLC areas are discovered in games like Destiny prior to release.
What makes the case of Warhammer so interesting though, is the developers actually responded and provided what I feel to be a very level headed and understandable response. You can read it here.
As with everything there are two sides to every story. Consumers confidence in gaming has gone downhill incredibly fast when obvious corporate greedy tactics surface and aren't addressed. But here, we see their side of it and should be able to identify with them on what's going on and put the rage aside.
As we see in their response they outline what kind of funding was received with the game, how pre-ordering is a great thing for development teams and support of any project, and ultimately why the Chaos class was designed to be a DLC / pre-order race. It makes a lot of sense when it's broken down this way, versus how it appears on the surface when fans view it. What fans fail to understand a lot of the time is people making these games are just that, they're people. They are making a product as good as they can make it, overcoming obstacles we'll never know about, and trying to be successful at it. And, yes, sadly "success" does include making a profit. Would Sega invest in their future projects if they go over budget on this, and fail to deliver success? They certainly wouldn't.
I would like to take a moment though to dissect both sides, as I feel there's hyperbole on both ends. Angry Joe rants and rages about anti-consumer policies. This is how he gets views. He regurgitates the fans distaste for seemingly greedy tactics from developers. He can't ever prove what they're doing is greedy unless data miners discover it for him. He never takes each situation uniquely either, simply lumping them all together as one overarching game developer greed...thing. As if all of these developers meet together to discuss ways to suck their consumers dry of all their money. He's a sensationalist, he'll probably not admit it, it's his job though so I don't blame him. But people need to recognize this to have a level headed understanding as to what is really going on.
From the Warhammer developer's perspective their response is pretty heavy handed. "Happy gamers" peppered throughout feels like being talked down to. We get it, we're your customers, you don't have to lick our shoes. They outline it's not about making money, but about being able to produce more content in the future. He's right, but he's wording it to appear noble. Quite frankly, yes, they need to make a profit to stay in business. It's like any business. So yes, it is about the money, you don't need to lie about it.
As for what costs what, how many races Sega was able to "fund" them for their game, well sadly we just have to take their word for it. Games cost way more to make than they ever have and the prices for games have stayed stagnate for a very long time. It's no wonder studios have found multitudes of ways to fund their projects. But at the end of the day that's what it has come down to. Either finding ways to support the content they make, or stop making it all together. Obviously, these guys love what they do and want to keep doing it, which is making games. We either have to respect that, or simply don't support it. There's no sense whining or getting angry about it. If suddenly in the next Mario game Yoshi as a power-up cost $10 to unlock, I'd probably stop playing Mario games. Understanding of course, that Nintendo probably needs that funding, I'd prefer they find a different way to achieve that.
And that's where the two roads meet ultimately. Developers have to find ways to fund their games that don't alienate their fanbase. Was creating Chaos Warriors as pseudo pre-order incentive one of those good ways? Seemingly not. In retrospect there just wasn't a great way to convey the message of their finances in with the message they sent to fans by announcing this pre-order "incentive." It just doesn't come off that way. In the developer's mind, it would have been DLC later on, that was the plan, so they felt like this would be a nice bonus for fans who buy early. To consumers, we just can't view it that way because it appears as if you're shilling content you've already completed. Appearances are EVERYTHING in sales.
In conclusion, the Warhammer guys did screw up here and hopefully they've learned they need to be more careful about how a consumer views something versus how they view it. As for consumers though, quit being whiny bitches and try to convey your dislike for something with a bit more integrity. It makes us look bad, and guys like Angry Joe popularize this poor behavior (though admittedly is incredibly entertaining to watch).
*Just chill out*
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