Open Discussion: April 23rd, 2017
(Last Updated On: April 23, 2017)

Every Sunday a new Open Discussion surfaces and explores a wide variety of things regarding video games and sometimes other mediums. The hobby known as gaming has lasted for quite some time and will last for years to come, so this series aims to spur discussion and find out what gamers think about the past and present state of the gaming industry… and possibly what the future will be like.

In this entry — like all the other past entries in the series — no topic is off the table. Anything that strays off topic is more than welcome and will not be censored or banned. If a comment faces censorship by Disqus or WordPress, please let us know and we will try to restore the comment.

Recent I’ve been thinking about something… what’s the most hated or irksome thing about the gaming industry, publishers, developers, games , etc? I commonly hear that some folks are displeased that games are going backwards in innovation and features as well as stunts like DLC and microtransactions. I also hear that other stuff going behind the scenes of a game and the standpoint of a development team also plays a part as to whether gamers will take to a game/dev team or not, which leads to the next part…

There are a lot of comments and videos out there talking about problems in games — more so broken content and features — but rarely I see or hear actual suggestions to fix the problem(s) accordingly. Take for instance If a weapon or an ability in a game stirs up controversy most people will complain about it, but rarely offer up thoughtful conversations on how to fix said issue(s), resulting in the problem just staying stagnate and lingering around like the stench of moldy cheese.

This now leads to the last part, what problems are looming around in the gaming industry that you don’t like, but more importantly, what is a solution that you feel will help better the situation? Sound off below.

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  • what’s the most hated or irksome thing about the gaming industry, publishers, developers, games , etc?

    For me it’s the constant Western pandering and sucking up to Social Justice, feminism, gender politics and race politics in order to virtue signal and get those precious PR points.

    The more that happens, the more powerful SJWs become.

    It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to hate the virtue signalling more than the actual SJWs/feminists themselves, and that’s really saying something.

    • Agreed.

      In fact, I haven’t even debated or argued much with SJWs recently, but the pandering is just obnoxious. It’s everywhere in media and it’s poorly done and overwrought with self-aggrandizing pompousness.

  • Disqusted

    Where to start? There are so many things I hate about gaming and the game industry now, but I don’t think there’s anything I hate “the most”. I complain a lot, but I usually try and offer solutions. It doesn’t feel like many people notice that, though. Gonna be a bit lazy this time and just list stuff that comes to mind and why I don’t like them, because I didn’t get much sleep and I wanna go do something else.

    Something I’ve been talking about with a long-time Japanese gamer friend is about how modern games waste so much time/effort/budget on visuals, but are so shallow in actual content and gameplay. I also noticed this a while back: old games often have many more ways to interact, which were defined by simple text.

    Now, because of immersion, realism and focus on visual detail, those things have to be animated in full detail. So I think a lot of modern games simplify interactions because they can’t get away with describing actions in text anymore, which is a shame because there’s so much information that can be conveyed in text.

    There are also “games” that are more about being a visual masterpiece than anything else. I’ve made that mistake myself, focused too much on making something pretty and never got around to making the actual game part.

    I’ve said this a billion times before: modern game design seems to mostly be about taking systems/elements proven to work in other games, and throwing them all into one big pot, and stirring. People were like that in my game design classes, too. Just brainstorming and throwing in stuff.

    In actuality, design elements need to work in concert with one another. Game devs nowadays often don’t seem to understand this. They have a bunch of conflicting elements, because they don’t understand why design elements are there to begin with, and so when they run into issues with gameplay design, they don’t know where the problem is or how to fix it.

    I think older games were more about game design elements that people find fun. Now, they’re more about having elements that sell, or benefit the developer in some way, and not the player. For example, extending gameplay time. Encouraging people to buy microtransactions. Stuff like that.

    And I said this elsewhere in the comments here: devs are often at the mercy of producers/investors who often don’t know what makes a good game. They get forced to put in crap that doesn’t work well, for stupid reasons like “because AAA game that sold a lot has it”.

    I think older games were more about creating a challenging situation, giving players a general goal and tools to experiment with, and letting them find their own solution. But modern games are often heavily dictated: devs want you to experience and play the game in a very specific way. They go to great lengths to do this, for immersion/realism, balance, etc. I think that makes games a lot more boring and restrictive. I enjoy games that let players mess around.

    Modern games also focus much more on defining goals for the player, via trophies/achievements, unlocking, progression, etc. There’s a GDC video (the QWOP one) that talks about how games nowadays set goalposts for players, and that actually ruins personal experiences. I think people enjoy games more when they set their own goalposts and beat their own goals, instead of having goals defined for them.

    For example, being compared to other player’s insanely high scores can make you feel like you’re crappy in comparison, so why even bother trying? But if you can’t see other people’s scores, you’re more likely to set your own goal and try anyway.

    Everyone wants to sell as many copies as possible, right? So we have tons of games dumbing themselves down, censoring themselves, in order to ensure maximum sales. Obviously that’s going to result in a shittier game.

    It’s impossible to make something with lots of depth that appeals to EVERYBODY. You either focus on a smaller target group and make something amazing for them, or you make watered-down rubbish that gets a luke-warm reception from everybody. Sadly, the latter tends to make more money. Or so we’re led to believe.

    DLC, microtransactions, pay to win, pay to save time, etc. Probably don’t need to go into detail here. Everyone knows why they suck. It’s especially bad because modern games often have systems intentionally designed to torture players into paying extra cash. Of course that’s going to make the game shittier.

    I keep thinking about how Haunting Grounds comes with so many extra bonuses that unlock after you beat the game. So many extra costumes, game modes, etc. You’d never get those for free in a modern game.

    There are a bunch of games that I’d feel would be better off as a movie/film. What makes a game different is the aspect of control: being able to influence events and change them. But that’s not how a lot of story-focused games work.

    Most of them give you control at stupid, pointless places, like when moving from point A to B. And they’re horribly inconsistent about it. Sometimes they will skip you to the destination, and sometimes they don’t. Forcing you to travel from point A to B is often used as a way to present the narrative: characters tell more of the story while you’re forced to manually travel. I’m not a fan of that.

    They often don’t give you control when it matters, like when you want to prevent a character from dying, or in those fights that they make you lose for the sake of story.

    Modern soundtracks also sound too much like ambient Hollywood stuff. When visuals weren’t as great, games were often carried by their amazing soundtracks. Doesn’t happen much anymore.

    Grinding to unlock something, to increase stats, to gain money to buy stuff, etc. Trading, crafting, selling, etc. There’s nothing wrong with these things if the core gameplay is actually fun. But it usually isn’t. Some people say the mere element of grinding is fun in itself. I personally don’t feel that way.

    I think if a game is fun to play, you will unlock/level up/gain money without realizing it. Ever wonder why people cheat so much? It’s because they don’t want to “play” the parts that they don’t enjoy.

    And using real life systems means carrying over the same problems. Inflation, etc.

    A lot of games dictate what the player experiences by using RNG. But the more RNG there is, the less control/influence a player has. It becomes more of a glorified form of gambling. I dunno about other people, but I prefer to be able to beat challenges with my own ability instead of relying on luck.

    I’m sure there are more things, but I gotta go do some other stuff now. Lots of issues, obviously.

    • Mr.Towel

      Except for “Restricting possibilities and defining goalposts” I agree with everything. I personally don’t agree with the aforementioned because, on a personal level, I do enjoy more linear games than open world games and I do prefer more focused gameplay rather than sandboxed ones. I do believe that there’s is something as “too much freedom/agency” when it comes to a game, at least for me. That’s a case which for me, more isn’t necessarily better.

      One of the ebst description that I’ve ever heard about modern game design came from total biscuit, when he was speaking about modern games. The description he used was along the lines of: “A water pool with the vastness of an ocean but the depth of a puddle”.

      That’s what modern gaming feels like. The assets, the productions values, the content, truly are immense. But they also are so shallow, so alien to the gaming experience, that you can never dive in them. It’s impossible, it doesn’t have enough depth. Most of them are not even good enough to be memorable or even entice the player enough to just finish the game, to see the whole thing till the end. Simply because it’s not interesting. It’s repetitive and shallow. As soon as you get used to the begnning, there’s nothing more to see, it’ll be the same till the end.

  • LurkerJK

    A lot of games have been removing DLC and season passes, out of morbid curiosity i would like to know what kind of sale drops brought that change

    Imho a solution that would at least partially help with most of the problems with gaming is to scale back budgets, they tie their hands with large ones, suddenly they cannot experiment, they have to do sequels or clone successful games and failures are FATAL

    You don’t need that multiplayer in your 100hs rpg, save yourself the cost of implementing it
    You don’t need extremely expensive ultra realistic graphics with uncanny valley problems, stylized cartoony looks are good enough
    You don’t need movie like cutscenes, use that money on Q&A
    You don’t need 800hs of spoken dialogue, you can use partial voice overs like Torment or Persona 5
    You definitely do not need famous movie starts phoning in voice overs (most of the time unrecognizable ingame and few stars even bring butts to cinema screens these days anyway, why do you think they would sell your game?)
    You don’t need a new engine for every game, many existing ones are good enough for most things
    Do you really need an open world ? really really think about that, a more directed experience might just work, be cheaper and easier to Q&A

    However for this to happen gamers need to scale back their expectations as well, stop asking for AAAA movie quality everything for every game, i don’t think this is that hard, ppl are buying early access after all

    • Disqusted

      I’m not sure the budget has a direct relation to experimenting. Sure, they don’t experiment because if their AAA game flops, they’re finished. But at the same time, I think devs who want to experiment will have that intention from the beginning – they prototype the gameplay first before they start building on top.

      I think a lot of recent games are like, “we want to make a game that has these elements” and then they throw a bunch of ideas into a basket and put that game together without testing if it’s actually fun to play first.

      When I studied game dev in college, we had a guest lecturer from a game company come in and tell us that dev teams are often at the mercy of producers and investors, who make demands to change the game despite not knowing what makes a game good. I’d imagine that’s where the budget thing is a big issue. If I recall correctly, they sometimes make devs 180 after the assets and shit are already done.

      That’s probably what you’re referring to when you talk about people who say “we have to have multiplayer” or “we have to have open world”. Those people probably aren’t thinking about whether it’ll actually make a good game, but more along the lines of whether it’ll increase sales just by having that element.

      And I think that’s why a lot of games suck nowadays. They’re not trying to make a fun game that works well, they’re trying to make something that has features that sell. There’s nothing wrong with stuff like multiplayer if it actually works well for the game, but you shouldn’t be shoving it in just to sell a few more copies.

      I know I said I wanted multiplayer in Elder Scrolls before. I’m seeing that as more of, “the dev has extra time on their hands and decided to implement the basic multiplayer infrastructure for modders to build upon later”, not “we have to put it in to sell extra copies”. The latter would likely make the game suck, yes. But it really depends on the dev team circumstances and environment, I think.

      • That’s a good breakdown of the situation.

      • LurkerJK

        yep, thats pretty much it

        My problem with “the dev has extra time on their hands” is that if they do have extra time they should be using it for bug fixing and testing, not adding half baked features that will be disabled on release, i would say this for any developer but i will add an special emphasis when talking about bethesda

        Look how games are coming out these days, the idea of adding extra unused features instead of bug fixing just seems like complete madness to me

        • Disqusted

          Yeah, but from what I keep hearing (had a friend who was a bug tester at a big AAA company, too) when they check for bugs, they want testers to check for only a specific bug. If the testers find other bugs, they often don’t bother to fix those other ones.

          Whole thing sounds like a damn mess to me.

          Besides, when I say extra time on their hands, I mean after fixing bugs.

  • GodBowser

    Not sure if it’s me but does anyone else think that LGBT people are most likely to believe any fake news if it happen to be anything negative about Trump?

    Before I get the odd SJW telling me that I’m being homophobic by saying that well let me tell you this… I’m a homosexual and I chose not to associate with the LGBT community because it has become so ridden with SJW’s and Gaymer X is just another one of their hug boxes

    Since the leftist media seems to be going out of their way to make Trump look bad I was wonder if they did the same to anyone else

    • Remember that the media painted Trump as the ultimate villain to the LGBTQI community. So no matter how ridiculous it is, the community is likely to believe it.

      It’s no different than how they’ve painted Trump towards women — that he’s this ultimate misogynist and he’s trying to take away the rights of women. It doesn’t matter how absurd it is there are people who believe that BS anyway.

      But… then again there is also the flipside… there’s a good measure of people who believe Michelle Obama has a schlong.

    • Disqusted

      I’m not homo, but I hate being a guy because of how society often treats guys like shit. If you’re a guy, you’re expected to throw away your body to protect everyone else, you’re expected to not have any feelings, you’re treated like a vicious feral beast that rapes everything. Some of us want to be nice people and help others, but we can’t do that when everyone assumes we always have some kind of ulterior sexual motive. It sucks.

      Anyway, getting to my point… I don’t associate with the LGBT because they seem to be filled with professional victims. We had an LGBT person in the comments here a while back who kept yelling that they’ve gone through more shit than anyone else and nobody can understand their suffering. That just sounds insanely selfish to me. How the hell would they know about other people’s suffering? Fact is, they don’t care.

      I’d imagine LGBTs are quick to believe anti-Trump stuff because they WANT to. It benefits their professional victim agenda. They can win more attention, pity and sympathy if they keep everyone believing that Trump is actively hunting LGBTs. They don’t want to admit Trump supports LGBTs, because that means no more playing the victim.

      And of course, that kind of mentality is actually harmful to people who really do get bullied for being LGBT or whatever. Just like how modern feminist behavior is harmful to real rape victims. Their professional victim bullshit takes the spotlight away from real victims who need help.

      • GodBowser

        Reading your comment made me think that straight people might be more understanding and accepting of LGBT people then the community it’s self and to be honest I prefer to be round straight people because they don’t make me feel like an outcast and would that guy you described believe that I should be treated as one because of how I feel about the community

        • Disqusted

          I’m not sure I’d call myself “straight” either. I have weird views on sexuality in general. Nothing illegal, of course. And not intentionally, I think I just came out weird from how messed up the world around me is. We live in very strange times.

          As a guy, being constantly told it’s wrong/sick/perverse to find females attractive can really mess with your head. Gotta respect females, gotta be nice to females, not allowed to look at females, etc, etc. But females can do whatever they like to guys and it’s okay!

          I wouldn’t label myself as anything. I don’t like labels or groups. I have some friends who are bi or homo or potentially trans. None of us make a big deal about it, or hang out with the LGBT community or anything. As far as I know, anyway. We just keep to ourselves and act normal.

          I think the LBGT community has been co-opted by professional victims, attention-seekers and assholes using such communities to push political agenda. Gotta watch out for communities that got hijacked like that.

  • Mr.Towel

    To me, and this will sound tribal I know, the problem with gaming started with the internet.

    I know a lot of glorious stuff came to be when games started to use the internet. Steam, digital downloads, digital libraries, gaming mods, online play and so on.

    But for me, one of the worst developments we had when gaming and internet got together was the ability to patch things up and buy DLC. In itself, these things are not inherently bad, but you put that together with greedy publishers and you get bad behavior.

    You get shoddy game launches, because you can “just patch everything later, after the game releases”, giving us a plethora of unfinished 60 dollar games. In the past, there was no patch, and that served as a sword of discipline for publishers and developers. Your game had be to working PROPERLY when gone gold, for there was no “day one patch” or any kind of patch whatsoever. Either you did a good job right from the beginning or your game would forever be broken. It enforced incredible amounts of discipline on publishers and developers.

    DLCs are also a thing that came about with the internet. They’re little segments of content which can be downloaded separately for a game, which in itself is not something inherrently bad, but it very quickly became just another excuse to release a game unfinished and charge a lot for a little extra content. Before the internet, all extra content could only come about in the form of an expansion pack. You would more or less pay the same amount you paid for the base game, and get a good extra amount of content, almost as big as the base game itself. It was way more fair to the consumer and also forced the publisher and developer to curate their extra content properly. Instead of just hassling up some new textures and charge 15 dollars for it.

    The internet is here to stay and I know it brought us many good things. But the bad practices that came about because of it are also saddening. Sometimes I think we won’t get out of this hole.

    • Totally understand what you’re saying and I agree.

      Back during the cart days you had to make your game right proper out of the gate, otherwise the game sales would tank and oftentimes spell the death of the company in the process.

      These days you can launch a broken POS and “patch it later” like No Man’s Sky and attempt to recover some of that bad rep that was gained during the launch days.

      However… this issue wouldn’t be so prevalent if media held companies to higher standards. If they didn’t shill so much and instead pointed out these flaws regularly.

      Too often a lot of companies bend to the will of the media but always for bullcrap stuff. Like the media should be pushing for high-quality day-one releases without day-one DLC. Instead the media tries to influence the sheeple to bend over and spread their cheeks for DLC.

      Too often the media advocates for microtransactions; and always tries to shutdown discussion and proactive measures to get companies to change their stance.

      The media is the conduit that can be used to bridge communication and improve standards, but instead it’s used for propaganda and to create division.

      • Mr.Towel

        Hey, you actually gave me some sort of hope.

        Haven’t thought about the power of media on publishers. Truly, publishers do hate when the enthusiast media bites them off, even if it feels inconsequential to them.

        If I had shitloads of money laying around one of the biggest ivestments I would do it with it would be to crate a private rating company which would rate games and publishers based on their consumer friendly behavior, taking points down from unfinished launch, day one patches, abusive DLCs, manipulative microtransaction psychology, hell, maybe we could even get a medical/psychiatric associations to give their rating basing on gambling addiction ratings and so on. Then try to get journalists to propagate these ratings on their reviews and news from the game. Standard press feed where most journalists do their daily work would be a good start.

        Publishers would feel threatened should that idea take off. Specially if it becomes big enough to be included on metacritic or other board ratings.

    • LurkerJK

      The internet also brought us the extremely loud vocal minorities that sometimes sound like majorities
      “why doesn’t persona 5 have coop ?! i just want to play with my friends! … even a 100hs long story heavy jrpg”, “nobody plays single player on fps, pff”, “we need character creators in EVERY game, even when it doesnt make sense! bland interchangeable main characters for every game is the key”, etc

      …and esports, i fucking hate esports, suddenly making a game “fun” is no longer the main goal

      • Mr.Towel

        Indeed. It’s because of these people that we have stupid trends in this industry. Suddenly everyone wants FPS, so every fucking game needs to be in first person. Then everyone wants Open-World games and every fucking game needs to be first person and so on. Too many features are shoehorned in games these days because most gamers don’t have a fucking clue about game making and what they want from a game.

        eSports to me it’s just as sad and pointless as real sports. Sports themselves are a fun thing to do, to play, with your friends and acquaintances, just to bond with them, socially. However when you bring sports to the serious professional level olympic athlete, things quickly get out of hand. An acvitivy which was suposed to be fun and somewhat harmless becomes unhealthy and deadly. They push themselves too hard, harder than the human body is able to cope with on a long term basis. You have Olympic Marathonists dying of cardiac diseases, olympic weightlifter suffering from joint problems, bone problems, hormone problems, hell, digestive problems with their colon prolapses and so on.

        As is the case, I do believe that on long term basis eSports will create a higher incidence or neurological and psychological diseases on professional eSports athletes. The amount of stress they put on their nerves and mind is inhumane, some will certainly be scarred for life because of it. It all becomes pretty pointless.

    • Disqusted

      Agreed. I miss when stuff used to come in a complete package, instead of broken half-complete shit that you have to pay extra to get the full experience of.

      When you mentioned internet, the first thing that came to my mind is how the internet gave a voice to people who don’t really know what they’re talking about. They make requests/demands and throw a fit if devs/companies don’t do everything they say.

      There are people who do know what they’re talking about, but they get drowned out by all the idiots. Devs/companies don’t know who is worth listening to or not. I’ve experienced this myself firsthand.

  • Hawk Hopper

    A problem in the gaming industry is sketchy or unfulfilled Kickstarters. My personal solution is just to never help Kickstart a game and only buy ones that are completed and are good.

    Shaquille O’Neal had a fighting game called Shaq Fu

    Michael Jordan had a platforming game called Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City.

    The Michael Jordan game has a lot of post apocalyptic and industrial level designs and a haunted house. Seems kind of fun.

    • Disqusted

      I think Kickstarter projects take advantage of people’s expectations and then often fail to deliver, in various ways.

      I remember RogueStar said that if you’re going to Kickstart something, you should have the project well underway so that you have something to show, and not rely on the Kickstarter to keep the whole project going.

      Makes sense to me. I’m someone who has trouble completing projects. I wouldn’t want to ask money from people and then never deliver.

      • Hawk Hopper

        Is that the RogueStar that crowd funded a “game” that was basically just a tutorial?