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Author Topic: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare  (Read 1634 times)

Renegade

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This is an interesting article where a game developer argues for regulation in the gaming industry against psychological warfare techniques used in ads and customer management.

http://positech.co.u...ents-please-stop-us/

Quote
Hi, I’m from the games industry. Governments, please stop us.


This may not be popular, but its how I feel. First, some background and disclaimers. I run a small games company making games for the PC, strategy games with an up front payment. We don’t make ‘free to play’ games or have micro transactions. Also, I’m pretty much a capitalist. I am not a big fan of government regulation in general. I am a ‘get rid of red tape’ kind of guy. I actually oppose tax breaks for game development. I am not a friend of regulation. But nevertheless.

I awake this morning to read about this:

*** see link for graphic ***

Some background: Star Citizen is a space game. Its being made by someone who made space games years ago, and they ‘crowd-funded’ the money to make this one. The game is way behind schedule, and is of course, not finished yet. They just passed $100,000,000 in money raised. They can do this because individual ships in the game are for sale, even though you bought the game.  I guess at this point we could just say ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’, but yet we do not do this with gambling addiction. In fact we some countries have extremely strict laws on gambling, precisely because they know addiction is a thing, and that people need to be saved from themselves.

Can spending money on games be a problem? Frankly yes, and its because games marketing and the science of advertising has changed beyond recognition from when games first appeared. Games ads have often been dubious, and tacky, but the problem is that now they are such a huge business, the stakes are higher, people are prepared to go further. On the fringes we have this crap:


And one snippet:

Quote
This is not market research, this is not game design. This is psychological warfare.

More at the link.

I encourage you to read the entire article as it gets a lot better with some pretty shocking stuff if you're not already familiar with the industry inside.

FWIW - I've been doing a lot of work in the gaming industry for a long time, and I get to see some of the dirt, but certainly not all of it.

I know some other DCers are knowledgeable in Big Data and can help shed light on the subject. Hopefully they'll chime in.

The tl;dr is that gamers are massively outgunned by marketing departments with bots and Big Data.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 12:25:17 PM »

I'm flat out involving myself with Ludum Dare but I saved / jammed this into a diff node of virtual window Dexpot, so I will probably get to it in a bunch of days. (Days are like grapes - Bunch can mean wide vars on quantity!)
:)


Attronarch

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 02:17:58 PM »
Good article, thank you for sharing.

mwb1100

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 04:13:03 PM »
I am so glad that free-to-play/freemium/in-app-purchase gaming model pissed me off right from the start so that I just never started down that path.

Then again, I'm not a big time game player, so it was pretty easy for me.

wraith808

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 04:21:29 PM »
The tl;dr is that gamers are massively outgunned by marketing departments with bots and Big Data.


I might go for that, other than this line:

people need to be saved from themselves.

Bullshit.  Just because one side is bad, doesn't mean the other side is worse.

An article that might seem to lean towards the way of the writer:

http://toucharcade.c...ee-to-play-producer/

It is bad.  In fact, it's arguably worse than what he says in the article.  But adults don't need to be saved from themselves.  No matter the reasoning.  It's not a slippery slope.  It's an express elevator funded by your tax dollars.

"Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?"

I follow Cliffski, and have bought his games, and do enjoy his articles.  But he's a bit vitriolic at times, and definitely has his own agenda.  And even worse, he subscribes to his agenda with one hand, while bashing the system with the other.

http://positech.co.u...ove-on-or-they-fail/

http://positech.co.u...-ethical-capitalism/

http://positech.co.u...ie-apocalypse-maybe/

He's a good writer, and very well-spoken.  I like his game.  But I also realize he has biases, and they show... but he doesn't really acknowledge it.  So I take the good, and bin the bad in his conversation, passing them through the lens of known bias.

But really, if I didn't hammer it home enough: Don't ask the government for anything for me, or for the "greater good".  You'll get a new form of evil in response.

That bias in this case can be summed up very well:

“Hi, I’m from the games industry. Governments, please regulate my more successful competitors.”

Always remember:

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 04:34:05 PM by wraith808 »

Target

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 05:10:06 PM »
That bias in this case can be summed up very well:

“Hi, I’m from the games industry. Governments, please regulate my more successful competitors.”

Always remember:

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

both of these are valid viewpoints

with respect to the first, successful doesn't mean better (or even good), which is what I think was the nub of his complaint (I know nothing about star citizen, but the voice in my head was screaming duke nukem!!)

and with respect to the latter there's another quote about if you tell a lie for long enough it becomes the truth.  Seems to me that we could well be filling the world with fools, simply because all we're giving them is lies advertising

wraith808

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 06:06:16 PM »
That bias in this case can be summed up very well:

“Hi, I’m from the games industry. Governments, please regulate my more successful competitors.”

Always remember:

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

both of these are valid viewpoints

with respect to the first, successful doesn't mean better (or even good), which is what I think was the nub of his complaint (I know nothing about star citizen, but the voice in my head was screaming duke nukem!!)

and with respect to the latter there's another quote about if you tell a lie for long enough it becomes the truth.  Seems to me that we could well be filling the world with fools, simply because all we're giving them is lies advertising



Just to add (didn't want to rant anymore than I already was), that the whole thing rang as disingenuous, when Star Citizen and f2p browser games are apples and oranges, and applying the same broad stroke to both is a recipe for the same type of regulation that we have today.

Target

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 06:45:50 PM »
Just to add (didn't want to rant anymore than I already was), that the whole thing rang as disingenuous, when Star Citizen and f2p browser games are apples and oranges, and applying the same broad stroke to both is a recipe for the same type of regulation that we have today.

I don't disagree with you about this.  More government regulation isn't the answer, but some self regulation would be a good thing. 

Unfortunately I think the former is probably required in order to get anything like the latter...

Renegade

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 08:38:32 PM »
...snip...
I might go for that, other than this line:

people need to be saved from themselves.
...snip...

Just to be clear for everyone else -- wraith was quoting from the article there, and not me. It'll be a cold day in Hell when I think you need to be saved from yourself. ;)

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Renegade

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 09:16:34 PM »
An article that might seem to lean towards the way of the writer:

http://toucharcade.c...ee-to-play-producer/

He quoted that article in his article. Then ranted like hades on it! :)

It is bad.  In fact, it's arguably worse than what he says in the article.  But adults don't need to be saved from themselves.  No matter the reasoning.  It's not a slippery slope.  It's an express elevator funded by your tax dollars.

"Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?"


It's common all over -- save this, save that, save the planet, trees, whales, children, climate, oceans, plastic bottles, seagulls, birds, dogs, cats, historic buildings, accident victim, blah blah blah.

I'm fine with people going and following causes to help solve a problem. The only issue I have is trying to ram that down my throat. I have my own problems to solve, and I have my own causes that I support. I don't need everyone else's problems or causes. Got enough, thank you very much. :)


I follow Cliffski, and have bought his games, and do enjoy his articles.  But he's a bit vitriolic at times, and definitely has his own agenda.  And even worse, he subscribes to his agenda with one hand, while bashing the system with the other.

http://positech.co.u...ove-on-or-they-fail/

http://positech.co.u...-ethical-capitalism/

http://positech.co.u...ie-apocalypse-maybe/

He's a good writer, and very well-spoken.  I like his game.  But I also realize he has biases, and they show... but he doesn't really acknowledge it.  So I take the good, and bin the bad in his conversation, passing them through the lens of known bias.

I had a peek at a few of his blog posts, and read the second on there. A far as that one goes, well... I think he needs to read "Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises and take a look again at subjective value. $216,000 is a lot for me, but Larry Ellison poops that much every morning.

I got his point, but... well... @wraith, I see what you mean about him in that article pretty clearly.


But really, if I didn't hammer it home enough: Don't ask the government for anything for me, or for the "greater good".  You'll get a new form of evil in response.

That bias in this case can be summed up very well:

“Hi, I’m from the games industry. Governments, please regulate my more successful competitors.”

Always remember:

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”


+1 and well put. People rarely ever consider "unintended consequences", which are very often disastrous or worse (skipping history lessons here).

I also had a read on this post:

http://positech.co.u...-fairly-socialist-d/

It was quite interesting. He's basically got a revised version of a Nolan Chart there.

It reminds me of one game I worked on a while back where I changed the name of an NPC group from "Anarchists" to "Anarcho-communists". :P

Reading through a bunch of his other posts... wow... Dude really gets it. He's damn smart. It's like post after post he's nailing the gaming industry perfectly. Any aspiring game developers would do very well to read what he's got there. It's like a gold mine.

I work for a few large gaming companies, and on some pretty big games, and I get to peer into games in ways that a lot of people don't. Reading more of Cliff's stuff was like chanting "yes" a fair bit.

@wraith - Thanks for pointing out the other blog posts and about Cliff. I'd never read him before. I just happened across that one article and figured some people here would enjoy it.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Deozaan

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2015, 01:15:43 PM »
This is kind of relevant:

Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification


tomos

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2015, 02:00:36 PM »
^ that sounds incredibly heavy :-/
Tom

Renegade

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2015, 03:43:50 PM »
This is kind of relevant:

Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification



Ok, that took "dystopian" way the hell beyond Brave New World in extremely disturbing ways.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2015, 04:51:28 PM »
This is kind of relevant:

Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification


One of the better vids I've seen Deo, and we're doing our own version, but like a different cultural version with "pseudo neutral media" in the middle.

(Countless X things from YouTube vids, articles, and whatever) "If you enjoyed this, please Like this on Facebook and ReTweet and share share share!"

So the Govt is a couple of steps more indirect in our version. Think about it. There's this giant hole int he middle. "Right. So you got more Facebook Likes. So what do you plan to DO with those?! Don't tell me that's just to make your ego feel better. So how much is your going rate you're selling your base to advertisers for?"

So for the "types of jobs you can hold", anyone with more brain cells than fingers on one hand can figure out who I am, but at least an HR rep who typed my name into Google won't get all 5,000 of my board posts without actually spending some work, at which point the point is there.

And yeah, those blunt force "tools" that are so 70's / 80's bad tv plots, are passe mostly. These little increment steps are hard to see and then they don't go away because there's nothing shocking to rally against.


"If you enjoyed this, retweet it

Renegade

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Re: Game developer laments gaming industry marketing/psychological warfare
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2015, 06:17:53 PM »
I read 2 articles on Sesame Credit. I'm linking them here:

http://www.bbc.com/n...-asia-china-34592186

https://www.privatei...-political-opinions/

Here are 2 sentences. 1 from each article. You guess which is which:

Quote
Perhaps it is good for all citizens to learn quickly about the concept of a "social credit" score, while it is still partly voluntary.

Quote
I wonder what it’ll really take to make such people realize that the 1984 point of surveillance has long come and gone.

It's almost like the BBC works overtime to make sure that <insert rant here />.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker