The hypocrisy of gamers

So it looks like RealTime Worlds is going belly up. And everyone seems so sad about it. I’m sad about it. I really had fun playing APB and was looking forward to playing it some more once they got a few patches into it.

Sure, the game wasn’t perfect…what game is? But it was fun, which at the end of the day is all that matters to me.

Of course when it launched, gamers and gaming journalists were gleefully taking all kinds of dumps on it, treating it like some kind of Daikatana-style train wreck. Gamers, as a breed (there are of course exceptions) take an immense amount of joy from tearing a game apart, spreading it’s entrails all over the internet, then posting pics of the mayhem to Facebook.

So that’s cool and all. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even if it’s a horribly uninformed opinion. Like all the people who bitched about the payment model without stopping to think about it. How many games do you spend $50-$60 dollars on and then play for 15-20 hours? APB gave you 50 game-play hours with the box. That’s not time spent socializing, that’s essentially time in combat. Imaging what your WoW character’s /played time would be if you didn’t count time spent traveling to quest locations, fiddling at the bank, searching the auction house, talking to your guildies, waiting for a raid to form… 50 hours of actual combat is probably 200 hours of playtime. The fact is, most users would never hit that 50 hour limit in APB. It never was a game you were going to play as a replacement for your MMO of choice. It was just a game, not a lifestyle.

Anyway I digress, but that’s an important point. So many people reviled the game, without even trying it, due to the payment model…it just seemed unfair to me.

“So yay! APB sucks! RealTime Worlds can’t make a game that isn’t total crap! We’ve hardly even played it but we know it sucks, and if someone tells you they had any fun playing, it’s just because there [sic] a noob who doesn’t know what’s good! Let’s kick its corpse all over the internet!”

And now RealTime Worlds is going under and what do we hear?

“Oh, what a shame!” “I feel bad for those affected.” “Hope those guys land of their feet!” “Wow, the gaming business sure is brutal!”

When the same person that was ‘piling on’ to the flaws in APB turns around and tries to act all sympathetic about these guys losing their jobs… wow, I just find it an unbelievable display of hypocrisy.

People need to learn that their words have consequences. If you hated APB that much then you should be glad these people won’t be making another game; you should be happy they’ll now get a chance to go into a line of work they’re better at.

Now if you tried APB and didn’t enjoy it and said as much, while listing real reasons that you didn’t like it… I’m not talking about you! Quite the opposite…constructive negative criticism can help a development team get better. You gave the game a fair shot, didn’t like it and moved on. I totally respect that and again, I’m not talking about you in this post!!

I’m talking about the people who played for 10-15 minutes, didn’t take any time to learn what was going on, and then used their influence with their friends, or worse, with their readers/listening audience, to trash the game to an extent that the people they have influence over were never going to even take a look at APB.

All I’m asking is for people to stand behind their words, and stop being so wishy-washy. When a developer has 1 current game out, trashing the game is trashing the developer. You helped put RTW where they are today. At least take ownership of that fact.

8 thoughts on “The hypocrisy of gamers

  1. Well there are two factors at play here.

    1. There’s the game, with its business model, gameplay and engine limitations.

    2. And then there’s the general expectations of all MMO players that persistence is well, persistent.

    I didn’t play the game, I admit, but I didn’t pan it either. I wasn’t thrilled about the pricing, but that’s never stopped me before. I avoided it because I’d heard the areas were small, which didn’t surprise me given the engine (UT3) and its performance issues.

    On the other hand, whenever any MMO shuts down, whether I liked it or not, that’s disappointing. I think of the players, because every game has its fans.

    Frankly I’m less supportive of the publishers and developers because I think publishing an MMO comes with a certain responsibility to keep some of the cash on hand to run it for at least for awhile, because they’re asking players to have faith in their business model and the game. When they don’t have that cash cushion, but they’ve spent a lot of money on the game, it feels more like a get-rich-or-die scheme.

    I was pretty bummed about Motor City Online and Sims Online going kaput, even tho I hadn’t played either of them. Mind you, the market has matured, so there are more choices for everyone when a game disappears now.

    I am less disappointed to see APB go, primarily because maybe it will make way for a much better implementation of a GTA-like MMO.

    I don’t think my perspective is wishy washy or hypocritical, I think it’s pretty consistent. I don’t think I’m one of the people you’re calling out mind you. =)

  2. Not that I doubt your thesis that (most) gamers are hypocrites, but can you actually list (don’t need to — but CAN you) people who dumped all over APB and are now sad at its passing? I am always hearing about “well, most gamers said X and NOW they all say Y” but, do they?

    I’m betting there’s a group of people who dump on a game, and a group of people who don’t necessarily care one way or other about a game, but can feel bad for the developers who have lost their jobs.

    Me, I didn’t care for the genre, not being a GTA fan, but I felt that any game that takes a risk and tries to broaden the MMO genre is a good thing.

  3. I think the most hypocritical part is how many MMO Players say ‘We want something different, all these new games are just WOW clones’ and complain about the similarity of all the games that come out, and then when a game that’s TRULY different comes out they don’t support it. It’s sad – there are a lot of MMOs that never see the light of day or fail on the launch pad because they tried to break the WoW/LOTRO mold and give gamers something new, interesting and unique.

  4. It is an interesting aspect of the community, to be sure. What we don’t get most times is the the game is inextricably tied to the employee. It is their product. If that product fails, then the jobs of those employees are at risk. That doesn’t mean that we should be ever the enabler and buy every game that hits the shelves, but I agree that we should watch our words.

    I look at it like the Death Panel hullaballoo that was going around last year. It was pure farce, but it got parrotted so much that some people believed it. We know that isn’t true, and all the evidence was there for anyone to see it wasn’t true, but because we heard it so much we came to believe it. People heard so much about APB that they just came to accept it as true, whether they took the opportunity to find out for themselves or not.

    I never had a problem with the pricing model per se. It was something new to wrap my head around, which is really where my hesitation came in most. It was like the F2P business model for me: at first I was leary but after trying it, I like it. I think I would come to appreciate the APB pricing model, but that also assumes I pay full retail for any game, which is highly unlikely for me. I buy on the cheap, whether it be on sale or just a regular price drop.

    It is sad to think that they did not have a better business plan than “I hope we sell enough copies.” Sometimes that is what business comes down to, but I’m not certain it’s the best strategy for an online game, which needs a bit more than a 3-month plan.

    It’s also sad that these employees have to lose their job. That’s just the truth. Whether it be because of a bad product, a bad economy, or a bad community is irrelevant. Losing your job sucks, and sympathizing with those people is a natural reaction.

    But I have to disagree a bit. I don’t believe there is a direct correlation between community trash talk and game failure. If that were the case, I believe Vanguard would have failed long ago. It certainly does not help. On the other hand, a community that sings a games praises doesn’t mean the game will succeed (Okami). It doesn’t hurt though.

    Yes, people should not be hypocrites. But no, I don’t think that, in this case, that hypocritical behavior is particularly the whole of the story of the downfall of Real Time Worlds.

    /tldr *kisses*

  5. @Rog & Dickie — Good points about MMO publishers needing to have a better business plan so they can support their games post-launch. In RTW favor I’ll point out that the most recent patch was…today. So they’re at least soldiering on. But yeah, they should’ve had money in the bank to keep them going on fumes for a good while. Because they could count on a lump from box sales but then it was going to be a long while before they got any subscription revenue out of this game.

    I wonder how the Global Agenda people are handling this same kind of situation. Presumably their business plan accounted for subscription revenue that now isn’t coming since they changed plans. I hope they do ok.

    @Tipa – I didn’t keep a list of people who were trashing the game to now compare it to the people who’re lamenting the end of RTW and APB. I suppose I could be totally wrong and these are two completely separate groups, but the APB community isn’t really all that large so I’m assuming (and you know where that can lead) that many of the same voices were on both sides of the issue. To be fair, there *are* people saying “Yeah, I’m not surprised, their game was broken and they’re getting what they deserved.” and even though I don’t agree with that, I can at least respect the consistency.

    I’m waiting to hear Giant Bomb’s reaction to the news. They’ve shown this sort of hypocrisy before, kind of reversed (with regard to Grin, who they talked up while being visited by employees, then switched their views once the dev got shut down). Maybe Gerstmann will totally surprise me and say that RTW deserved to go under. He certainly did his part to kill the company.

    None of my friends really did this, because I associate with a better class of person than the internet-at-large seems to offer 🙂 so I don’t have to worry about naming names there.

    @DittoWizard – Totally agree. We see this not only in MMOs but in other gaming circles as well, where people complain about too many sequels, then when an original IP comes out against a sequel, guess which sells? 🙂

    @Dickie – Yeah, I don’t mean to imply that people trash-talking the game was the only reason for the downfall. But it certainly didn’t help.

  6. The game is still being developed. Version 1.4 is being tested right now. I have enjoyed APB, and I hope it will stay online!

  7. “All I�m asking is for people to stand behind their words”

    I am happy to stand behind my words. APB had a terrible business model and they deserved to fail. I am thrill they are gone. Hopefully we will never again see a developer who tries to bill us by the minute.

    This is not 1992. I have no interest in punching a time card when I game. Micro transaction f2p by the month. Lots if viable models. Their model was greedy and consumer unfriendly. And it failed utterly.

    That is a good thing.

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