Digital Polyphony

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Thinking Promptly

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM


I know I'm ready in this videogame-heavy entry. Are you? This time around we look at the next Xbox, gamer instincts and how PR can go so very wrong.

A Guy At EA Tweets About Nintendo and Wii U

(Fanboy Rage at all-time High)


And boy is he brutally honest. Here's one image from Bob Summerwill's twitter page, all of these have since been taken down, I believe:

Of course, that's just a sample. You can read more of what was said here - all this on the heels of EA announcing they have no games in development for the WiiU.


So, going by this guy's tweet, you're saying you don't want to put resources in to the WiiU. Fine…then say that instead of sounding like the asshole bully in the junior high cafeteria who pours milk on everyone's lunches. You know how the internet works, right? People can see that, and thus the Nintendo fans out there responded in kind:


This is a person at EA, folks. Someone hired him, but I can't tell the difference between what's being said here and a twelve year old over Xbox Live calling me the "N word." As I've stated before, "hardcore" gamers and such have a serious problem, but this is exactly how most act. Thing is, he's not a gamer, he's an employee, so he's more or less reinforcing what people already assume about EA: it's made up of a bunch of "hardcore" minded exec with the same "due, awesome hardcore games!" attitude. You know the kind: "Oh, we don't want to make (or play) games for this console, so let's just shit all over it to make US look better."

Honestly, if you have to constantly give reasons for something to convince everyone that you're in the right, then that something isn't the problem. You are. Graduate from high school and maybe you can figure that much out. See? This is why companies don't want its employees having social media, because most people are generally morons and will do stupid stuff like this. It's one thing to say "we don't see the WiiU as a viable platform for our target demographic," it's another to post stuff that is comparable to this:

Now I don't want to dog all over Bob here, the Nintendo faithful have more than done that. I'm sure he's a fine guy, let's face it - the internet isn't the best way to express things much less accurately judge them. But there's got to be a better way to do both and at this point, I don't know where to really start: the absolute brutal tweets from a guy at EA (note: not EA itself) or the backlash that he got from it. I suppose you have to be a little pissed at both, because my feelings went from "Wow, what an asshole" to "wow, look at these assholes…that first asshole isn't so bad." - Yes, the reaction was just as overblown as this guy's initial, dumbass tweets.


The fact is, the guy is being blunt. Some people don't like that. The WiiU has never fit with EA's model because EA has a business model that Nintendo tends to not fit in with. In turn, that upsets Nintendo people because they feel you should fit in with Nintendo's model. The fact is, both are wrong in this case. Neither are right. EA should nut up and take time to research and develop titles that can fit in with Nintendo's proprietary design and tablet, but Nintendo and Nintendo fans should have expected that making a console that is a little too "innovative" for its own good to where most third party developers and publishers see it more as a risk than a viable resource would ultimately end in companies merely dipping their toes in it.

Nintendo and Nintendo fans should be used to that by now. Now, though, we have social media, so the fans are much more vocal. Could you imagine the outcry when Squaresoft jumped shipped to the Playstation in the mid 90s for similar technologically inferior/viable platform-based reasons? I don't know if there ever was one, but the internet would probably have looked something like this:

 Start with a couple of:

Then a

With one final bout of

then you move on with life...

Now you have the hyperbole that the internet thrives on all over the place now that EA has said it's not making games for the WiiU. "Nintendo is doomed" is a popular one right now, except that Nintendo is, despite all the trials and tribulations, still pretty financially stable going by the latest financial records from Japanese companies (still in the Top 30, which is actually above Sony).

EA's departure, and this guy's bluntness, isn't an easy pill to swallow for Nintendo fans, but let's face it: If you own a WiiU, you probably don't care all that much for EA published games in the first place, that's probably not why you bought the console.  So don't be upset at him when you probably weren't going to buy games from his company in the first place.

PS: An update notes that EA has backpeddled on all this and now say they have a few games planned for the WiiU. So you can add in the idea that they have no idea what they're doing on top of being horrible at Public Relations. So I'll just leave this here:



Gamers Today Are Easily Deterred

So images like this have been making the internet rounds lately: Click Here

For those that don't want to click that link, it's a picture of various gamers on, what I assume, is the Virtual Console begging for help in a part of Super Metroid. It's funny, if you also take in to account there's a whole bunch of these across various "old school" games that my generation grew up with and we all got through fine, well before there was an internet and, at best, there was only a Nintendo Power with some tips.

But that's not entirely the point. The point isn't how funny gamers today react to older games, it's funny, and maybe a little sad, how easily they are turned away when confronted with something that you have to resolve. The idea of trying to figure something out on your own is gone, and today's gamer feels that if something isn't obvious to them, then there's something wrong with the game, not them.

I don't think anyone can deny that videogames today are far more forgiving than what they were 15/20 years ago. I'm not entirely sure when that all started to change, maybe it was as gaming became more broad in the early 2000s that it also wanted to be as inclusive as possible and not turn people away from the idea of a "challenge."

But games are still challenging, though. Just in different ways. Sure, there's no such thing as a "game over" in this day and age, but the goals and end result has changed to where a "game over" just isn't relevant anymore. Gamers today play for a different endgame than gamers from my yesteryear. Today's gamer wants the experience more than they want to actually complete something.

As a result to all this, game design has changed entirely. As a result, the gamer's instincts have changed entirely as well. No longer is a gamer concerned about trying to use problem solving skills or solve a puzzle, they just want to get to the next area to "experience it" and continue on. That's why a lot of games today have long tutorials at the beginning of the game, on-screen prompts and directions, quick time events and some even will have literal "go here next" tutorials in the pause menu.

This is what happens when the training wheels come off and there's no instincts to rely on.

So now when gamers go back and play games where the design is entirely different, they just can't figure it out. They expect it to be given to them because they haven't honed and practiced their gamer instincts through numerous titles.

Here's a case example: myself. I played a lot of RPGs back in the day, and after so many you begin to get better and better at even new games that come down the pipe. Magic is often easier to predict and use in a fight, or skill points and experience easier to manage, or equipment easier to understand and find a balance. So imagine my surprise when I popped in Ni No Kuni, every bit a fantastic game mind you, and pretty much wizzed through it. No, not because my instincts were honed, but because it literally points you in the direction, gives you numerous menu tutorials and prompts and really has no need for you to rely on "instincts" in any way.

Is it sad? Not really, it's just that today's gamer grew up without honing instincts and when put with a challenge, they fall back on needing a "guide" to help them so they can continue to "experience" it. Their generation's idea of satisfaction and "completion" is completely different than the generation that came before it.

That being said, if a gamer today who was raised on Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty complains that games today are "hard," you can probably laugh at them a bit - just understand that they also have completely different approaches to what they expect from a game and how they play than you did popping in Ninja Gaiden and practicing over and over again until you got that jump just right.


Xbox One Reveal (Aka, how to waste an hour of your time)

Wow. That's my reaction after Microsoft's conferece revealing their brand spaking new console...and that's "wow" in a bad way. First, let me say that at the Xbox conferece, Microsoft managed to do a few things right:

1) Got right to the point about specs, though it's vague on some.

2) Kept it at about an hour, which is good considering how long winded these things can be.

3) Showed the console right there. Bam! Take a look. No mysteries, it's made.

4) The idea of it being a "hub" for everything and the intutive nature of its interface came across very well.

Things they did wrong: Just about everything else. I can't make a full list, I would run out of allotted memory for my website and would have to purchase more Gigabytes to contain it all, but I think it can be summed up in one simple question: where are the games? No, not saying you have games, showing you have things. Even if it's just a montage video, the lack of actual software at an event entirely (or supposed to be entirely) dedicated to a new gaming platform is a serious gaff.

It's fine to show the console, fine to show us an interface that we'll be using, fine to even show us partnerships with publishers...but this was your moment. You didn't have to share it with anyone like you would an E3. It was all about you, and instead of showcasing a nice assortment of games to give us an impression of why we should Xbox over Playstation in our futures, we are given notes about sports and television watching, announcment of a Halo television show (which is big and kind of awesome...but shouldn't be there on Xbox One's day), and lots of....nothing. Just nothing. It was all set up for them, and they missed it completely.

This was to be the reveal of a new gaming console. It was, but what do most people do with a gaming console? They play games. They didn't show any other than three trailers. That's it. Instead they seemed to just swim around ideas and issues of what games might play like on the next Xbox, out at the end of the year.

What's worse is that this follows a pretty strong showing from Sony with the Playstation 4. The biggest complaint against Sony on that was that it was a little long and they didn't show the console. Everything else seemed to get people pretty excited because they showed games, got big names to come on stage and present them, showcase variety and just show the thing running, live right then and there, in front of an audience. Microsoft literally did the exact opposite: they kept it at about an hour, went through the motions and bullet points, and showed the console, but didn't show any games or even had major names in the gaming world step out and talk about games and exclusives that get people really excited.

And damn are they going to cram Kinect down our throats whether we like it or not.

That's all people want, guys. It's not that complicated. All that extra stuff of cloud gaming and streaming movies and apps and sports stuff...that's all incidental stuff that gamers, who play games, might or might not even care about. To most, you didn't show a gaming console, you showed a box of stuff - a grab bag that, when you reach in and pull something out, you may not like it thanks to you being vague on just about everything. What your conference showed is that your new console can do a lot of things...but gaming just isn't a priority. That's the worse reaction people could have left with, and that's the reaction that most left with.

Sure, they'll show games at E3 I'm sure, and we should all really hold off until then, but that doesn't take away from the fact (fact, I say sir!) they muffed this conference. But hey, I don't need to really say anything...the internet is saying more than enough. I hope Microsoft is listening.

Well, it is the internet...they go ape shit over every little thing.

PS: Did you notice the two women on the stage? My memory isn't the best, but I don't think I've seen two women give a keynote at any of the big-3's conferences in the past. I thought that was kind of cool...and as cool as it was to have them there announcing a pretty damn big deal with the Halo live-action TV series, it's all undermined by a complete mediocre conference. Microsoft could have, and should have, either waited until E3 for that where everything and anything Microsoft will be discussed (again, remember, this was Xbox One's day, not Microsoft).

PPS: Everyone, every time at these things, mocks console designs. While it's certainly larger than expected, after a few months nobody will care. It is a step back from the pretty slick design of the revised 360 console, though. That thing is pretty.

PPPS: Don't get me started on that "used game fee" bullshit. You don't want gamers resenting you, Microsoft. You better fix that.



Speaking of This Show...

Hey, need proof that gaming journalists are just a bunch of manchildren who write stuff about videogames and not "professional" in any way? Just listen to the audience at this, or really any, press conference from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. They don't simply "clap," which is what most journalists would do, they "whoo!" and holler their excitement. Newsflash: you're supposed to be reporting all this, your personal excitement should be repressed like the memories of a Catholic altar boy.

I don't know what was more embarrassing: the fact that Microsoft had a mediocre, at best, press conference on something that was supposed to get people excited, or the feigned excitement of the "press" in the audience that can't wait for extra hair rendered on a character's arm. I already felt a little sorry for Microsoft, whose a little oblivious to the fact that they weren't that impressive on this, but I felt ashamed to be a gamer listening to all these hooping-and-hollering from what's supposed to be an audience of professionals. Seriously, who invited the high-schoolers?

Seriously guys, people are watching.

But they aren't high-schoolers, they're adults. Adults that were probably wearing Halo T-shirts and drinking Halo Mountain Dew while blogging on their website in the bullpen while tweeting and finding funny cat photos on redditt.

There is no difference between "pros" and "fans" is there?

I'm not going to go nuts here, I'm sure it's just a minority. I doubt guys like Adam Sessler or the Gerstzmann were in that group. It's a Catch 22, though. Studios and such know they have to invite everyone or be labeled elitist or something, plus they need the press across the board on their side, so they have to invite just about everyone. It's like Thanksgiving, you want cool uncle Bob...but that mean that one cousin has to come too. You can't tell who's a douchebag from an application requesting press credentials, can you?

It's just silly, and there's no way out of it.


You can catch my past entries below. Until next time...

Previous Entries:

These Be More Prompt Thoughts

Prompting More Thoughts

Thought Prompting 2: Electric Boogaloo

Still Prompting Thoughts

More Prompt Thoughts

Prompt Thoughts

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