In his latest blog entry, Cliff Bleszinski shares his thoughts on micro-transactions, and how people perceive them.
His overall message is that people should tone down the internet rage, and vote with their wallet instead. In general, I agree with that principle. It’s a free market, so if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Unfortunately, as he also points out, the people who are aware enough of the business practice to complain, are also the vocal minority.
Most people purchasing games aren’t aware of the repercussions and are doing it, as Cliff so elegantly puts it, “Your average guy that buys just Madden and GTA every year doesn’t know, nor does he care. He has no problem throwing a few bucks more at a game because, hey, why not?”
And that’s just it, your average consumer, who’s spending habits consists of, “hey, why not?” is speaking for those of us who truly care about the long term effects of the industries business models.
As you can imagine, feeling as if our voices aren’t heard can be extremely frustrating. So please, let us at least have one place for us to feel as if we’re actually being heard. Instead of complaining about the complainers, and defending the poor old multi-million dollar corporations, let us voice our opinions. The customer is always right, after all.
Cliff goes on to remark upon the negative stigamtisms that EA gets, in contrast to the near perpetual praise Valve receives.
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.
Specifically, he targets the differences between their attitudes on free-to-play, steam and origin.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Gabe and co most everything they do. (Remember, I bought that custom portal turret that took over the internet a while back and I have friends over there.)
However, it blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and when Valve charges 100$ for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2 it’s somehow “cool” yet when EA wants to sell something similar it’s seen as “evil.” Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, as awesome as Valve is they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible.
They’re just way better at their image control.
While I agree that there is definitely a bias, I don’t know anyone who isn’t cognizant of the fact that Valve is, in fact, a business. Actually, I think what makes them so popular, is the fact that they’re such a good business.
It’s how they do business and how they interact with and listen to their customers, that is (part of) why they’re so beloved. Telling people to shut up and speak with their wallets, is polar opposite to Valve’s narrative.
Cliff continued with:
People love to beat up on Origin, but they forget that, for a good amount of time, Steam sucked. No one took it seriously for the first while. When Gabe pitched it at GDC to my former co-workers years ago they came back with eye rolls. (Who’s laughing now? All of Valve.) It took Valve years to bang their service into the stellar shape that it is in these days.
Yet somehow everyone online forgets this, and they give EA crap about trying to create their own online services. Heaven forbid they see our digital roadmap for the future and try to get on board the “games as services” movement.
I think that, ironically, this is the perfect example of why Valve is liked and EA is perceived as greedy. It’s not that people don’t like Origin because its poorly made, we don’t like it because EA is forcing us to use it. When you could once buy EA games on Steam, that’s no longer an option and are now forced to use Origin whether you like it as a program or not.
Hell, I’ll even admit that Origin has some nice features, and apparently Steam would agree with me, as it’s painfully obvious that they’ve now implemented said features in recent patches. However, by mere virtue of forcing me to use Origin to play EA games whether I want to or not, I will always have a bad taste in my mouth every time I start up the program.
What makes it even worse, is the fact that you guys laughed at Valve when they came up with the idea of Steam, and now you’re straight up copying them, because you see how much money it makes them. Then, out of pure greed, you’re making it so t hey can no longer earn money off of EA games.
What’s next? EA refusing to let retailers to sell their games, so that we’re all forced to buy directly from EA? I wonder, how would the “average gamer” respond to that?