On July 5, 2018, Jessica Price, narrative designer for Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet was fired over a conversation she had on Twitter. The resulting fallout from that discussion, the Reddit Mob, and everything that’s come since has been a battleground for the discussion of women, sexism, and gaming.
UPDATE 1: EA has since clarified it’s stance, saying that “Oh no, that’s not really what I meant.” As to whether that’s the truth, or EA was trying to save face, who knows. But between this and the SimCity Launch, EA needs all the positive press it can get.
EA seems hellbent on earning gamer’s wrath with microtransactions. The CFO of EA last week made a statement that because of the success they’ve had, and saying that gamer’s are “enjoying and embracing,” the microtransaction model, they EA was going to be adding microtransactions to every game going forward. The CFO made a few other comments about paying money to be “stronger,” but in the interest of remembering that anyone at the C-level in a company as big as EA has a very tenuous grip on reality as it is, I’m going to brush by that comment as “woefully uninformed” and leave it at that.
By this time, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that most people who care have heard about this, and most likely, raged about it. I wanted to back up Cliffy a bit–doing this does not necessarily make EA evil because ultimately they are a company that needs to make money. That’s how this works. It does suck a little bit because what was once our niche activity that we felt were out for more than just money, we no longer have that illusion. We can thank the internet for stealing that particular piece of innocence from us gamers because the unpleasant truth that games aren’t just for our enjoyment anymore has been paraded before us…again, and again and again.
Games need to make money. Cliffy – he depended on you buy games to eat. That developer working on Assassin’s Creed IV, he needs you to buy his games so that he can eat. More than that, he needs you to spend money in the game, on onsie twosie transactions to keep food on his table. It’s so easy to demonize EA and think they are just out to make money (not saying they aren’t out to make money …), but you have to also remember that there are tons of people who work on games who need to eat. If you don’t pay, they don’t eat. If it’s working for EA, if they are making money off of it they would be stupid to ignore it and not try to capitilize on it. Do I like? Not really. But do I understand it? Hell ya I understand it. Games are big business, and they need big profits to survive. Just look at THQ (THWho?). The reality of our world is that we can’t just play games for enjoyment. Publishers and developers will do everything they can to part us from as much of our money as they can. Because that’s just good business. Morally good? Well, the US has never been what any could call a bastion of morality, so I think we are pretty mired in moral ambiguity when it comes to morals in business.
If you really hate it, as so many others have said — vote with your wallet. Business exists to make money. If you don’t like this particular path, you have the choice of not paying. In the end, that’s the most important thing to remember in all of this. You always have a choice to play the game, and to play by the rules the developers set.