Cheer Up: That Doomed Games Business List

By Alec Meer on October 8th, 2010 at 1:54 pm.

I’ve never been a huge fan of games journalism journalism, but I took exception to GamesBrief’s ‘doomed games businesses’ piece proliferating as far as it did, most especially its repost in full on Kotaku – presenting millions of gamers with a neat list of apparently damned games, developers, publishers, concepts and business models.

I wasn’t, I admit, at all troubled when it was primarily exposed to industry types, journalists and analysts. I’m not going after the author – I’ve met him a couple of times, he seems smart and nice, has written a bunch of insightful stuff in the past, and he told me this morning that he didn’t do this for the hits – but I am extremely unhappy about the broader games media mentality that perhaps birthed and encouraged such a piece.

I have no interest in debating the accuracy of the list’s picks, by the way. In private, to colleagues, I might very well raise my eyebrows at a number of the entries in this list, and at others still. It could quite possibly turn out to be on the money with some, maybe even all, but that’s not the point. They aren’t doomed. They just might be.

GamesBrief’s Nicholas Lovell has, by the way, told me he’s working on a follow-up post to better explain his reasoning for doing the list, and I’ll certainly edit in a link to that here once it’s up. He’s interested in discussion, which I wholeheartedly applaud. UPDATE: here’s that promised explanatory post, an admirably honest mix of defence and mea culpa.

But here’s 10 reasons why I believe that list – or one like it – shouldn’t have been published on a consumer site, and perhaps not at all.

1. Whatever the intention, it comes across to me as an assassination piece in the guise of business analysis. It doesn’t matter how much you qualify it (and the author does qualify – explaining his reasons for each pick and giving a little coverage to how they might avoid their prophesised apocalypses), when it’s titled in a way that’s essentially “10 Shit Things,” it’s attracting people in a specific way, and really only leaving one take-home message. Whatever the intention, it does look like hit-chasing.

2. Its definition of ‘game business’ is extraordinarily broad, consisting of an awkward mix of studios, concepts and specific games. That’s the thing with lists. You have to bend the rules an awful lot to get your nice round number (as demonstrated by how much I’ve repeated myself in this one). Is Project Milo, a tech demo that ultimately didn’t spawn a retail game, a business? Or does it mean Lionhead? Is CCP the doomed business, or is DUST 514 specifically? Or is it about getting up to 10? Worse, this particular list lumps proven failures (e.g. the axed Milo and the known, dramatic decline of GAME’s revenues) and arguably suffering ongoing projects (such as Miniclip and Virgin’s gambling thing) with unreleased titles and speculative business models. By simple dint of proximity, the stuff that is indeed in deep trouble spreads outwards like a stain to darken the outlook on unproven, unplayed and even non-existent games and concepts.

3. Now it’s on Kotaku rather than its original inter-industry home on GamesBrief, it’s telling x many million people how they should think about several unreleased games (by which I also include businesses working on unannounced titles), that they should not trust them and they are not worth caring about. Sure, they have their own opinions and will come to their own conclusions, but even the old guy on the street with a megaphone yelling at shoppers they’re going to hell can worm his way into a few minds. This may not affect sales or investments even slightly. Not the point. There’s a reason even a site as prone to cynicism as RPS never outright says that an unreleased game is a disaster. We might say we’re concerned, or we don’t like this feature or that aspect, but we wouldn’t tell our readers it’s up the creek without a digipaddle. It isn’t here, we haven’t played it, and we don’t know. There’s a reason that these games, technologies and business models aren’t out yet: they’re still creating them, trying themselves to help make them work.

4. ‘Worried about’ and ‘doomed’ are fundamentally different concepts. The piece itself tries admirably to be the former, but again the title is the latter, because that’s likely to gain more attention. One can be legitimately concerned without using emotive, consumer opinion-twisting language like ‘doomed.’ If you’re paying any attention whatsoever, you’ll note I’m not arguing that these projects should not be criticised in public. There are a lot of interesting arguments to be made about all the strange, risky, money-grabbing and/or progressive business and design models these and other companies are taking, and they should be made. But a title like that risks shutting down a lot of discussion because the companies are earmarked for death rather than simply as being risky. Can any and all of we journalists be more comfortable with subtlety, please?

5. ’10 ways to make these risky projects less risky’ would have been a much less upsetting feature, both for people like me who took against this piece, and for the businesses it attacks. ’10 children that won’t live’ doesn’t encourage their parents into useful debate. It could have been constructive: these things do need to be talked about. Destructive commentary doesn’t build better things.

6. The throughline, whether intended or not, of a Danger! Danger! piece in this vein is that interesting projects and companies trying to do anything other than follow current successful trends are deemed too dangerous to bother with. It’s arguing for a future of safe blandness, where bold projects shouldn’t be given air. Sure, that makes business sense, and I believe that’s one of the major reasons that list came about (though see points 1 and 6) – but this is videogames, a sector based around progression and digital innovation, one that’s young and evolving, one that regularly offers up success stories no-one ever anticipated. Hello, Minecraft. So, again: what’s a piece like that doing on a gaming culture site like Kotaku?

Actually, I don’t have a 7, 8, 9 and 10. Screw lists. They never helped anyone.

, .

83 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Turin Turambar says:

    Wait… so you are firing the BFG9000 or the rocket launcher?

    • yns88 says:

      The BFG has clearly done its work, so it’s back to the rocket launcher after that.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Actually it kinda looked like he just took out some Imps with the rocket launcher and now a crap ton of imps are respawning back in.

  2. Mike says:

    I can’t help but feel that, like you, the writer ran out of items around point seven:

    “The people at CCP are experts at building a free-form space game with a subscription model on the open architecture of the web.

    Dust 514 is a first-person shooter.

    On a console.”

    Um. Alright? So the developers are trying their hand at something else. Also your third point is the most important to my mind – if you prep people with the opinion that something will fail, it’s much more likely to. It does seem a bit irresponsible. Certainly, I wouldn’t feel very happy if I worked for those companies and was logging on to catch up on Kotaku this morning.

    • mrmud says:

      Its not the job of games journalists to make developers happy.
      At least it shouldnt be.

      One of the most sad things about games journalism is how its almost tabu to say anything bad about a game before its released. Sure things may improve after that terrible E3 build you played but if its really bad you have a responsiblity to tell your readers.

    • SpinalJack says:

      Except some of the games and business models don’t exist yet so he’s just guessing and talking out his ass. Can’t judge something with no information or experience

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      @mrmud:

      I think that Alec means that this list in effect works as anti-PR. It turns people away from said games/projects/companies. If only by how the writer has chosen to discuss it.

      This is not about not being allowed to discuss games (positively or negatively). This is (as far as I can tell) about how a possibly valid topic for discussion is presented. The subjects are effectively all compared to eachother simply because they’re in the same list while there are vast differences between them.

      Personally I think this is indeed most arguable when on sites which reach a broad audience. Simply because those within the industry or frequenting sites such as RPS are likely to have their own thoughts on this. But there are plenty of people whose mental image of the subjects listed would be rather negatively coloured possibly to the extent of out-of-hand dismissal. Hence why I wrote ‘anti-PR’.

    • Popish Frenzy says:

      His worry here wasnt simply that the devs are trying their hand at something else but that Dust 514 is at the same time in different genre and on a different format. Here’s the relevant quote:

      “I used to be an investment banker and one of the first rules drummed into me was this: If you are going to advise someone to make an acquisition, suggest buying a business they understand in a new country, or a new type of business in their own country: buying into a new sector in a new country is a recipe for disaster.”

    • Mike says:

      Most of his points are entirely spurious. The points he makes about OnLive being dead in the water because it’s dropped its subscription model is just guesswork; the stuff about Dust is just a mass ‘wuh?’ from where I’m standing; even the top point about Codemasters is essentially writing off a strong team of talented developers on the basis that they’ve not released an MMO recently.

      It’s not that negativity is bad. One of those points expanded to a whole article might’ve been really informative. But it’s just stirring, as it stands.

    • Mike says:

      @Popish Frenzy – Which is wishy-washy analogy-making. We know nothing about Dust. Everything we know about CCP points to a developer worth of the benefit of the doubt. Games development is not a numbers game.

    • Tssha says:

      @mrmud

      Except that you don’t know what a game IS going to be like until release day. You don’t know that there will be a showstopper bug that got past the QA team, you don’t know that the game mechanics will come together if the early build feels really sloppy, you can even get the facts wrong and draw the conclusion that a feature is missing when it really isn’t.

      It’s not that they’re not “being critical”, it’s that they can’t criticize a work that isn’t complete yet. The reason why it’s irresponsible to respond so negatively to the E3 build is because it isn’t finished yet. When it’s released, THEN you can publicly criticize it, because THAT’S the game the public gets to play. Before then, it’s just speculation on what the game will look like when it’s released, and that leads to disinformation. You know, “facts” that are patently untrue?

      Journalists should feel free to criticize the game pre-release on anything they think might be wonky as long as they do it privately. In fact, you might see less errors in previews that a forum junkie could tell you off the top of his head, since the developer could tell you “actually, we have this feature, you just have to press these buttons to do it”.

      Journalists aren’t psychics, they can’t tell whether a feature will change or not and they can’t know how good a game is going to be on release based on an E3 demo. For that, you have to wait for the review…and really you should probably be doing that anyway. If you pre-order, you take the risk it’s overhyped crap. If you don’t, you’re a little smarter and a little wiser. Not that I never pre-order. ;)

      Criticizing Journalists for “not being critical” is really popular right now, but in this instance, it’s not actually correct. There’s a damn good reason why you shouldn’t criticize a pre-release version publicly, and that’s because there’s a good chance you’ll be wrong.

    • Azhrarn says:

      it’s not really irresponsible, CCP Shanghai (which is where Dust 514 is in development) has experience with console shooter development. This is on a much larger scale, but they know what they’re doing. CCP may not always deliver bug free stuff, but you can bet on a unique experience. =)

  3. J says:

    Fucking kotaku, man.

    • mondomau says:

      Amen to that.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think you mean fuck Kotaku.

      Really, this sort of garbage from them isn’t new. I just thought it was the japana-philia from them that made me think they’re utter shit. Trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, y’know?

    • HYPERPOWERi says:

      Hear, hear.

  4. Lewie Procter says:

    Agreed on all points.

  5. Sunjammer says:

    Consumers actually have it a bit shit when it comes to games. We’re so damn educated kids are talking about normal mapping techniques and reviews comment on “buggy net-code”. Remember back in the days where “it just doesn’t work very well” was acceptable writing?

    We’re systematically eradicating the magic behind it all, and it’s totally shit.

    • fatchap says:

      I agree, once you have peeped behind the curtain the puppet show is never as entertaining.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      I disagree. Personally I’ve found that I’ve actually begun to enjoy gaming more since I’ve been able to de-construct things while playing them. I mean on one level, sure, its destructive, highlighting linearity for example when a game might be presenting an illusion of openness. However, it opens up a new level of appreciation, such as identifying the subtle signposting used to direct the player’s attention.

      Its also taught me my own failings. When younger I made a few games in Games Factory/Game Maker and the like. While they all had a degree of technical competence (albeit nothing special, and often jury rigged) I never once considered anything beyond the basic functionality of the game mechanisms. The games were forgettable as a result.

    • Sunjammer says:

      James you are being selfish though. I’m a game developer too, I totally appreciate all this information as well. I’m talking about the greater whole.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Being more critical (especially for games designers) means better understanding. Why does Valve understand balance whereas Blizzard does not? Because Valve is self-analyzing. They have good design now, because of it.

      I’m with James on being critical of things, but that’s because I like to disseminate information. And here’s the thing: Maybe a couple of the kids they’re writing for will read the article and become a games designer?

      A good critic will take the good with the bad, right? Well wouldn’t it be the job of games journalists to do that job well when it’s the job of games designers to make it good in the first place?

      Again, Valve does this wonderfully by taking care of most of their criticisms by having thought about them in the first place. If a smaller game dev can’t work out all the stuff that will get him a scathing criticism, then he should think ahead more on the next project. And if it’s not fun, it won’t ever be fun.

    • Thants says:

      Blizzard doesn’t understand balance? What now?

  6. Kid A says:

    It’s a poor choice of title given that most of what he’s actually saying is “this isn’t doomed, but it’s probably going to downsize/be sold to X soon” or in Dust 514’s case, “THIS IS NEW AND NO-ONE HAS DONE IT BEFORE SO IT WILL FAIL”.
    Probably wrong about GAME, too, since they have Metaboli in place as a “pay X per month, get ALL OF THESE” digital option.

    • blah says:

      Exactly what I thought, when i read point 9. about GAME… that article’s too brief in some respects.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      As pointed out above in another comment, that’s not what he says about Dust at all. You’ve fallen for the framing by the title that Alec mentions in his piece. The point about Dust is that CCP is not just straying from what they were good at, they’re also doing it in a market that’s new to them. The writer says that doing just one of those is fine, but doing both is generally considered too risky.

  7. TenjouUtena says:

    Destructive commentary doesn’t build better things.

    THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS that is all.

    • Edawan says:

      Identifying weaknesses / risks can be very useful even when you don’t have any immediate solution.

      Investors, for example, just want to know if a project is safe to invest into.
      Now I know that it’s not the audience of Kotaku, but the list itself isn’t inherently bad.

  8. John O'Kane says:

    His analysis won’t actually make any real difference to the companies (other than to maybe give owners pause to think) and I don’t think there’s a need to self censor just become something will be read by people who don’t understand it or will be fooled by the title. I more applaud someone putting their reputation on the line to state what they think, he will be held to account 1 year for now if he’s badly wrong.

    Also, stop reading kotaku, that gives you cooties.

    • Anonymousity says:

      @ John O’Kane
      I agree with your point, but he also shouldn’t be held accountable for having and publishing an opinion. He’s written a piece giving his honest opinions on companies and their financial future, people do this all the time, information is the grease to the world of commerce the more information there is the more smoothly things move the better the market price is.

      @ Article this in general but tied to rest. (ie alec)
      Suggesting that someone doesn’t provide opinion for the buying or investing public is mildly disgusting, and while it might help these companies in the short term it doesn’t show a lot of respect for or understanding of modern commerce or market forces in the broader scope.

  9. disperse says:

    Alec, what’s your feeling on games journalism journalism journalism?

  10. Hoernchen says:

    With the current trend of producing “GAME TITLE n” and a year later “GAME TITLE n+1″ the last thing we need is a kotaku article knocking the idea of taking risks and trying new things.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      But I used to be an investment banker and I will tell you that proven formulas are more likely to make money thus much wiser for game developers to do. As a former investment bank let me tell you that the principle concern of all computer game makers should be profit.

      Investment banking

  11. HexagonalBolts says:

    Aaah, I don’t think it’s all that bad. I think we may just be over-used to a type of media where the standard is to hype up games to a ridiculous extent (RPS is distinctly not guilty of this, don’t worry), it’s nice to see a down to earth article devoid of hyperbole.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Devoid of hyperbole in a “doomed Doomed DOOMED!” kind of way?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      ‘Not all of these will fail: I’ll be wrong about some; others will change course. What I am saying is that I have concerns about the strategy, opportunity or market for these companies.’

      Hardly!

    • Devan says:

      @Hexagonalbolts

      “Ten games businesses that are doomed”
      “But Dust 514, on the other hand, there’s a product that’s doomed.”

      He may be sending mixed messages, but the stronger one is “Doomed”.

  12. Collic says:

    Very well observed, insightful piece. I agree completely. I found the linked article interesting as well, although I didn’t agree with all of it.

    Articles like this are why I read RPS.

  13. Urael says:

    I tuned in for fun retro-esque piece listing fun games we may not have heard of made using Id’s Doom engine.

    Instead: sober journalism. (sad face)

  14. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    “Actually, I don’t have a 7, 8, 9 and 10. Screw lists.”

    I will give you hats.

    • Daniel Johnston says:

      @AndrewC – that better not be my hat you’re giving away. How you doing anyway? I’m thinking of getting a job or something soon.

      Bet this doesn’t appear as a proper reply.

    • Daniel Johnston says:

      Holy cow that’s the first time the threaded discussion feature has ever worked for me.

  15. Mark Raymond says:

    It’s a misleading headline, to be sure, but even gamesIndustry.biz has been guilty of this from time to time. I don’t get what’s the big deal here, really. I think that, conceptually, Dust 514 is nothing short of insanity. Even if I were a leading industry analyst saying that, though, if the game turned out to be utterly amazing it wouldn’t matter a jot. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone reading the blog, or Kotaku, is going to be impacted upon that heavily.

    • SpinalJack says:

      The difference is industry websites are read mostly by people in the industry, Kotaku is read by masses of consumers who are easily manipulated and highly susceptible to suggestion. Telling a million consumers that X game will flop will most certainly make the game’s chances worse. All you need to do is look at iphone games, people simply don’t look beyond the top 25 list which is the same as having a potential customer pass up on a game because he heard somewhere that he shouldn’t bother.

    • Michael says:

      Dustybin 321 will stand or fall on the basis of the reviews when it’s released, not on various preview articles speculating on it’s success. You can make a game succeed by hyping it up. You can make a game fail by hyping it down, as in various anti-DRM campaigns. But you don’t make a game fail just by questioning it.

      The article doesn’t say ‘do not buy this terrible game,’ it says ‘I don’t think many people will buy this game.’ People may be dumb but they know the difference between a reasoned recommendation and a speculative prediction.

      I would be more concerned that games reviewers will be influenced by this stuff. If they’re expecting the game to fail, they’ll want to look clever by saying it stinks. So actually, the original article is probably more damaging. The public are smarter than the journos.

  16. Auspex says:

    Grr I’m Alec Meer and I hate boobs, doomed games lists, my fingernails, talking to Auspex at the RPS meet-o-chat and picture captions!

    Rargh!

  17. Nallen says:

    I don’t think Dust will pay for itself.

  18. mandrill says:

    Dust is incredibly risky, but would be less so if they made it cross platform and dealt with the technical challenges that threw up rather than restricting their market to one (two? No-one knows yet. Not even CCP I don’t think) closed hardware type. CCP are certainly technically capable of such a feat, and a wider market will only bring them more money. They have a ready made market for Dust in the shape of 330000 rabid EVE players, but not if its console only.

    There is the other issues that Dust is going to have to be something very very special indeed if it hopes compete with the Halos and CODs of their target market, and it is going to have to stay special to last any decent length of time, which the connection with EVE kind of requires.

    Doomed? No, Dangerously Risky? Absolutely. But what do you expect from a nation that lives on an active volcano, poking it for its electricity.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      One other factor I’m curious about is that it will come very late in the console’s lifespan. I know the next generation of consoles will be later than usual, but still. EVE can go on for a long, long time because pcs evolve. Consoles, however, make big jumps and are not always backwards compatible…

    • Manley Pointer says:

      The reason I would worry about DUST (though it’s far from “doomed”) isn’t that it’s a new genre for CCP to work on. It’s because of CCP’s track record in releasing polished games. Eve was supposedly not very good for the first year or so of its existence, but it survived because it had interesting ideas, and because players are forgiving during MMO launches. And CCP has since shown that they have trouble balancing and testing new features, as their expansions and patches have regularly broken parts of Eve, creating more lag, bugging out everyone’s overview, etc.

      When launching a first-person shooter, the player base is not nearly as tolerant of technical quirks, unfinished features, and lack of polish. Basically CCP need to create an accessible, fully working, and unfrustrating game, and they’ve never shown that they can do that.

      I don’t really know what the “hook” of DUST is supposed to be for people who aren’t interested in Eve (their target audience, it seems). It’s still unfair to predict that DUST is doomed to failure, especially when nobody has gotten their hands on anything significant from the game to judge. It’s weirder still to predict that DUST will “doom” CCP, considering they have a steady stream of revenue from Eve, as well as another MMO project in development.

  19. Dinger says:

    Never-fail internet journalism:

    A. Make a list! Lists are useless pseudo-information ordered in a way such that people will discuss inclusion and exclusion criteria, the conception of the list, and if you rank the members of the list, their order. Instant debate, and lots of hits.

    B. Troll! Dvorak is the master of the art. Tip some sacred cows and irritate people, but with just enough factual/novel bait to justify your article being an article and not a forum post. Fanbois will rush in; everyone else will enjoy the spectacle. Watch your article propagate through the aggregators and to the major news services!

    C. Comment on what other journalists are doing. Journos love nothing more than to talk about their art, and they’re more likely to link to you talking about their talkin’ bout than to anything else you talk about.

    D. Predict the future. You can be wrong, but you require of yourself and others a coherent explanation of the world and an illusion of control. Besides, you won’t be proven wrong for at least several months, and nobody’s going to remember your little bit then anyway.

    On to some of the cases:
    The logic against Dust 514 isn’t that it’s a foreign country and a foreign business: it is, after all, a videogame that shares a lot of the content with their core MMO, and one could argue that a Dust is the console translation of EVE. The threat to Dust is that it tries to synchronise with the grand strategy of Eve, and, in our experience, wiring a shooter to strategy elements that the player is not directly in control of tends to lead to frustration (cf. ant farming).

    Milo may have already failed, and the implementation folks may have been let go, but the technology is persisting. If anything, Milo is an example of what game companies should be doing: Shoot for the moon with some new tech. If it works, great, home run and all that; if not, take the elements that work and develop/integrate them.

    • cjlr says:

      @Dinger
      Sacred cow tipping is my new favourite metaphor. Congrats.

    • Tei says:

      “D. Predict the future.”

      This spawn another popular subject “Why I was wrong in the past”.

  20. The Tupper says:

    I fully agree with the sentiment that games journalism about games journalism should be avoided. You only have to look at The Guardian to see how editorial can slide into simply reporting what other media outlets are reporting.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Tech reporting in general, and the games section in particular, of the Guardian is fucking garbage. A wasteland barren of ideas or coherence. Every article signing off by asking the comments thread what it thinks.

      Urgh.

  21. Alec Meer says:

    Reading is fun!

  22. jackflash says:

    Investment bankers directly caused the Great Recession with their too-smart-by-half sales pitches of flawed ideas. Is there really any reason to listen to them when it comes to gaming?

    Nope.

    • skinlo says:

      They can sink or float a game, so yes, there is reason to listen to them.

  23. Nallen says:

    @frightlever You don’t really understand what RPS is, do you? ;)

  24. Jeffster says:

    Nicholas Lovell is an ex-lawyer trying to validate his terrible move into game business consultancy while simultaneously trying to drum up business by making inflammatory pieces that paint him as an expert. The fact that there’s barely any lifelong studio execs who people consider experts in running successful studios, it’s a miracle people believe he is.

    He has good intentions for the most part (however odd that sounds given the proceeding paragraph), but his entire business model seems to revolve around passing on easily available information, while getting paid to give talks at a million conferences every year. I wonder how many copies of his equally pro-bland, pro-middle of the road, publishing book he’ll sell off this.

    • Joe says:

      @ Jeffster

      “.. his entire business model seems to revolve around passing on easily available information, while getting paid to give talks at a million conferences every year.”

      Sadly, this is a proven and viable business model.

  25. Bahumat says:

    If you look at any major business publication, articles like this are commonplace. Consumer magazines don’t run them, but business magazines will and do.

    Given that the site was written on Games Brief, a site that seems entirely focused on the *business* of games making, I’d call the article appropriate for its target audience. Is it nice? Not always. Is it fair? Not on every point. But you might as well bemoan FuckedCompany or any of the other more respectable versions thereof in print on on the web.

    As a gamer, I’m uncomfortable with the article for the same reasons you are, Alec.
    As an investor, I’m entirely comfortable with the article and welcome more like them.

  26. Flappybat says:

    Kotaku is a terrible site. They might be a decent source of up to the minute news but they also love blogging about all the freebies they get, which is such a dirty advertising practice for them to encourage.

  27. nholmes says:

    Are you really suggesting that “Don’t tell the children!” is a valid argument for it not being on kotaku? That sounds like you are suggesting we ban all business discussion from games websites because its not in the best interest of the developers? Sounds like that wouldn’t be in the interest of consumers either

    The original article raises some interesting points, he might be wrong on all of them – but they’re still interesting. Could a similar article have saved a few punters from losing their money when APB went down and realtime worlds went under? Would that have been a bad thing?

    • Dominic White says:

      Once something hits Kotaku, even if it is poorly researched, half-true and full of logical gaps, it WILL spread, and lots of people will believe it. I think it’s more of a case of exercising a little journalistic integrity before putting something out in the wild, as certain places can really run with an idea, even if it has very little grounding in reality.

  28. Jad says:

    Kotaku is not a niche site.

  29. Nicholas Lovell says:

    Actually, DUST was one of the first items on my list. The genesis of the piece was seeing CCP present DUST at the Games Horizon conference, when Dave Jones had keynoted with APB the previous year.

    I thought RTW was doomed then, but wasn’t brave enough to say so. At least in part, my blog post was atoning for past cowardice.

  30. kwyjibo says:

    No, the piece was helpful. There’s too much fucking cheerleading in the games press. They’re too worried about losing out on advertising revenue. That SFWeekly Zynga slam piece? Could never have been written by the games press.

    There’s no one to call out ridiculously bad incompetent shit in the games industry. The RTW implosion was one that anyone with any sort of sense could see coming from a mile off. A fucking team based FPS with a Hellgate subscription fee. And yet all the previews just asked Dave Jones how cool he was.

    —-

    Dust514 – Trying to merge a preexisting MMO community with a new FPS one. It sounds like a difficult challenge, but not really one worth bothering with, when you haven’t even mastered the FPS. A multiplayer only hard sci fi FPS is going to be about as popular as Shattered Horizon is, remember that?

    With the EVE Online cash cow, better financial discipline, and lower development costs (they’re using CCP China), Dust514 could eek out a few dollars. But the risk involved is large, and the payback small. And they could have used their investment to do something bigger, and more exciting.

    Oh, and here’s one for the list – Funcom. Age of Conan was DOA, and so will The Secret World, unless it goes free to play or some shit.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Here’s another one for the fail bin – Brink. Lots of positive press, but multiplayer only games rarely do well when they’re competing with the likes of Halo and COD. Weirdly cartoon characters also look out of place in the environment, kind of like APB.

      I’m sure its ideas will find their way into other games, but I can’t see it taking off.

    • Thants says:

      It’s not multi-player only apparently, and were cartoony characters really the problem with APB?

  31. SirKicksalot says:

    “I believe that this current industry transition – from boxed products to services – will make it impossible for a boxed product publisher without a strong portfolio of AAA games to survive. I don’t believe that Codemasters has that portfolio, and it will struggle to adapt fast enough.”

    Isn’t their latest game their fastest selling title? And isn’t it digital download only on PC, except for preorders?

  32. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    “Are you really suggesting that “Don’t tell the children!” is a valid argument for it not being on kotaku?”

    The point that I am taking, and that I think Alec is trying to make, is not “don’t tell the children!” Articles providing analysis critical of an upcoming product or business practice is perfectly legitimate. But if you’re going to print something like that, particularly if you’re in the position of Kotaku, where you have influence over a large readership, don’t print badly structured articles like this one.

    It’s not bad because it exists, it’s bad because it’s bad, but being presented as worthy. I think Alec clearly enumerates (literally) the ways in which it is bad.

  33. Dreamhacker says:

    Hating on innovation in an industry is comparable to shooting yourself in the foot.

    Hating on innovation in the gaming industry is comparable to shooting yourself in the foot with a nuclear grenade launcher.

  34. Wibtiblub says:

    Amen

  35. FunkyBadger says:

    I thought it was an excellent, interesting article – I didn’t agree with some of it, but it gave me food for thought.

    Far moreso than, for example, any number of hagiographic pieces about CODBLOPS or pre-release APB.

  36. Nicholas Lovell says:

    I don’t hate innovation. I hate ill-conceived, over-funded ideas that have little chance of working and are likely to put investors off our industry for a long time.

  37. Duke of Chutney says:

    imo doesnt read like ‘professional journalism’ more like an imdb review.

    there seems to be a running trend of; micro trans and subscription is the future, any other business model will fail.

    how many non mmos are micro or sub based? I know mmos are a large chunk of the market, but there is other business that is sucessful right?

    also i concur that point 7 is lame. If anything i think devs should diversify more in the types of games they output.

    take monilth studios for instance, ive played avp2 and fear. These games, in many ways i felt were the same. Perhaps if monolith did something totally different it might bring fresh inspiration.

    p.s. monolith might have done somehting different, theyre just the first example i thought of.

  38. frags says:

    Looks like hit chasing to me. A top ten lists, create controversy by using hyperbolic language. Fuck Kotaku.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I’m confused. Surely people don’t believe anything they read in Kotaku. It’s like reading the Star or the Mirror or something on a lunch break because it’s just lying there and you didn’t have anything better to read. Occasisonally entertaining in a car crash way but ultimately not a particularly trustworthy source.

  40. no says:

    I probably put more thought into taking a piss than Kotaku does making a post.

  41. Kadayi says:

    The RTW article was weak and this latest article isn’t much better. Plus seriously right now given the general state of things in the world do we really need some douche wailing on innovation as a bad thing…..

  42. Nicholas Lovell says:

    I’m intrigued to know why you think the Real Time Worlds article was weak. I’ve had it on very good authority that it is a reasonable representation of what went on at RTW, it was well received by the industry and I have had more favourable comments than on most pieces I wrote.

    Are you complaining about the factual accuracy? The analysis? The conclusion?