Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bethesda Ends Early Press Copies

Today Bethesda announced that they are not going to send out review copies of their games until the day before launch. This means that the gaming press will not have much time to play through the game before it comes out. Many in the gaming community are upset by this, but I think that it’s a step in the right direction.
At Bethesda, we value media reviews.
We read them. We watch them. We try to learn from them when they offer critique. And we understand their value to our players. 
Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years. 
With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time. 
We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.

I’d like to think that this will do at least a little bit of good toward ending the hype train. The hype train starts with game publishers releasing teasers and pre-release footage, then the media covers said footage on their blogs and YouTube channels, adding to the hype with every article and video. Consumers should be waiting until some time after launch before purchasing their games, instead of rushing to be the first on their block to own the game.

In this day and age, AAA game releases are bug filled messes on the day of launch, with Bethesda being one of the worst offenders. Anything written in before the game is released, or even just after, is going to be useless to anyone looking to buy the game later down the line. An in-depth look at the game won’t be possible until the game has been out long enough to get several bug fix patches.

There are plenty of overlooked titles out already that one could check out in the meantime, but then that wouldn’t get nearly as much traffic as articles on the latest AAA releases. Bloggers and YouTubers are incentivized to keep perpetuating the hype train, as their ability to make money depends on its continuation. If the hype train were to end, then a strong force for driving traffic would be lost.

The business model internet blogging is fundamentally broken; it needs to be replaced with a new one that rewards quality rather than typing speed and emotional manipulation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yes, GamerGate Is Still Happening

I sometimes hear people talk about how the online movement known as GamerGate has long since run its course, but these claims always confuse me. While I’ve been focusing more on my own projects as of late, I still hear about GamerGate happenings on occasion through the grapevine, and the group would seem to still be fairly active. The latest thing I heard from them was that the creator of a type of VR headsets was getting a several hit pieces written on him because he was dating a Vivian James cosplayer.


So while GamerGate is far from the chaotic fun house that it was in August of 2014, it’s still alive and kicking. KotakuInAction posts still get hundreds, sometimes thousands of upvoats, and posting to Twitter about GamerGate is still a great way of acquiring a large base of followers who RT much of what one says. So long as Twitter users continue to include the #GamerGate hashtag in their tweets, then GamerGate will continue to live on.

I would even go as far as to say that GamerGate will never die, that it will live on as long as Twitter and Reddit continue to exist. And there is a very specific reason why the group will continue on forever, which I will get to a little later. But first I must explain how we came to the current situation in regards to GamerGate.

The first step was to brand anyone who dared discuss the GamerGate controversy in anything beyond mockery as a GamerGator; these ‘Gators’ were then banned from most popular video game discussion platforms. It wasn’t just those who wished to destroy all the gaming blogs and blacklist the SJWs from the industry who were forbidden from posting; even the most vanilla of moderate voices was also cast out. Just look at when Boogie2988 got banned from NeoGaf, when all he really wanted was for everyone to get along with each other again.

The second step was to outgroup those who actually wanted to start a revolution, those who wanted all the corrupt gaming sites out of business, those who wanted an industry-wide practice of refusing to hire SJWs. This was done by tightening the rules for discussion communities on Reddit and 8chan, branding all discussion communities that didn’t follow suit as Not GG™, and making lists of supposed Bad Actors who are to be shunned as Turncoats. This left the True GamerGate Movement™ with only those moderate and neutral observers who had the GG label unwillingly thrust upon them and people who were just in it for the fake internet points.

The third and final step is to force the GamerGate label on any dissenters within the larger gaming community, like when Beamdog blamed GG for “launching a negative review campaign” against Siege of Dragonspear. That way, a gaming company can censor any harsh criticism of their product simply by branding their angry customers as “GamerGate Harassers.” This has the effect of discouraging users from criticising their false narratives, or else they will be forever branded as GamerGators, with all the negative baggage that comes with that label.

The narrative among SJWs is that GamerGate is a harassment group, a new name for one that has always existed since the dawn of gaming, the last dying screeches from the “Traditional Gamer.” There is no way of convincing SJWs otherwise, short of GamerGate discussion platforms censoring all criticism directed at anyone who is not a straight white male, no matter how minor. The only option is to continue mocking and ridiculing SJWs until everyone else can no longer take their rhetoric seriously.

Beyond that, however, the general public will still be shy about being lumped in with GamerGate. We just wanted to play video games, so how can we expect anyone else to feel otherwise? No one wants to shunned from their current gaming communities just to join some stupid “movement.”

Next month, when Watch_Dogs 2 comes out, I’m predicting that criticism against the game will be labeled as GamerGate racism. Anyone who does not like the game will have the GamerGate label thrust upon them and thrown out of their discussion communities. This will be used not only to censor criticism of their game, but also to drive sales of the game from people who follow SJWs.

So you can see why GamerGate will go on forever and ever, like an autistic phoenix that’s reborn every other week. The label is too useful as a deterrent from certain behaviors that video game publishers do not want their customers engaging in. And so long as Twitter lives on, GamerGate will continue to be the whip the gaming industry uses to keep Gamers in line.