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Working in the Gaming Industry (Part II)

The following is part of a series of anonymous feature blogs which have been written by a former member of the sports video games industry who wishes to remain anonymous. We have verified proof this individual is who they say they were and did work at a major publisher.

Read Part I Here

 

As I started to settle in and understand my role, it was becoming more and more evident that the things that made sense to me, didn’t necessarily fit into what the company’s expectations were. It was very important to me to provide a voice from the gamers point of view, and I tried to stress that in every meeting, conference call, and ideation session. Sometimes the powers that be were willing to listen, other times my ideas and request just fell on deaf ears. Honestly though, there were some opportunities to offer up new perspectives, and I took full advantage of them in talking to lead developers, marketing, management and basically anyone who would listen about incorporating public desires into certain titles.

At first, the feedback that I received seemed genuine, but if I am being honest, when I saw the execution of the ideas being implemented into certain titles, it felt like coders had heard only half of what I had suggested. Of course, I wasn’t privy to every meeting and to claim I was would be less than the full truth. I can’t explain why certain ideas were carried forward, and other ones were not, other than being told a simple phrase: “We just can’t do it that way.”

There were titles that I saw being developed that I instantly knew were going to fail, and had to idly stand by and watch as millions of dollars were wasted on an IP that would make its way to the bargain bin within two month after release. I also watched one same lead developer get opportunity after opportunity, when it was evident that their ideas and the consumers’ idea of what makes a good title were extremely different. I was amazed at how easily management would eat this garbage up, and couldn’t believe what ideas were deemed good ones, and which ones were passed on when it came time to putting the pen to paper with games.


A look inside of the gaming industry reveals that people making decisions sometimes just make bad ones.

As frustrating as it was, I at least knew that I had contributed in a positive way to some title development, but when you are not a lead developer all you can do is make suggestions and hope for the best. While it is easy to assume that certain ideas couldn’t work and thus, wouldn’t find their way into said titles because of budget constraints, that wasn’t always the case.

As much as game developers try to tell consumers that budget constraints make things impossible, I just did not found that to always be the case. Of course the budget constraints excuse is true some of the time, and other times it’s because of time constraints, or even of hardware limitations.

However, a lot of the times, features are left out because because the people who are making these decisions are simply making bad ones, and sometimes those same decision makers try to cover those mistakes up by throwing even more bad money on top of it.

It’s one thing to watch a company blow millions of dollars with very little regret, the same as you or I would feel about spending money at a fast food restaurant. It is something else to watch them do it, and watch team members getting laid-off and whole divisions closed because of the horrible business practices that were being carried through on a daily basis.

When I joined this industry, I knew that it was on a financial downturn, so layoffs and firings were not out of my expectations. When they are a necessity because the same mistakes are being made over and over, the passion one once had about their job starts to erode and evaporate, and that is what was happening to me at this point.

Stay tuned for part III later this week!


Member Comments
# 1 Trick13 @ 04/22/13 02:38 PM
I want to say thank you, both for the time you spent writing this and your honesty. I wish I could say I am surprised by any of this, but that would be disingenuous on my part. I find myself wondering what would be the extremely large dollar amount that would be required to "take over" a certain company through a stock shopping spree?
Could you find enough capitol within a group that holds similar ideas about such games to beat the "talking heads" at their own game?
Maybe not, but I would love to see it happen...
 
# 2 MMChrisS @ 04/22/13 02:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trick13
I want to say thank you, both for the time you spent writing this and your honesty. I wish I could say I am surprised by any of this, but that would be disingenuous on my part. I find myself wondering what would be the extremely large dollar amount that would be required to "take over" a certain company through a stock shopping spree?
Could you find enough capitol within a group that holds similar ideas about such games to beat the "talking heads" at their own game?
Maybe not, but I would love to see it happen...
That extremely large dollar amount would be in the near billion range.
 
# 3 TreyIM2 @ 04/22/13 03:15 PM
This sounds too much like Ian talking about EA but who knows, I could be wrong. Heh...EA has been on some rubbish for a min. Some good things have come about and so has a lot more bad. Then u look at 2KSports...
 
# 4 onac22 @ 04/22/13 03:42 PM
This is about what I expected, sadly the gaming industry is only one part of our economy approving these business practices. Good read.
 
# 5 Trick13 @ 04/22/13 03:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS
That extremely large dollar amount would be in the near billion range.
Well then, I have a new goal - 1 billion dollars to raise to save NFL video gaming from silly suits. Seems fair enough. Now let's see, that means I need to save an additional 1 billion dollars - as I am flat broke at the moment.

Hey, I can dream right?
 
# 6 Jimbo614 @ 04/22/13 04:58 PM
Gee , I wonder who he's talking about?
 
# 7 Wil2DaSon @ 04/22/13 05:45 PM
This is obviously an ex EA employee....
 
# 8 CM Hooe @ 04/22/13 06:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreyIM2
This sounds too much like Ian talking about EA but who knows, I could be wrong.
Based on his Reddit AMA, Ian left EA Sports on good terms and didn't possess nearly the axe to grind as this anonymous blogger exhibits. I don't think it's him.

Quote:
Heh...EA has been on some rubbish for a min. Some good things have come about and so has a lot more bad. Then u look at 2KSports...
2K Sports isn't above bad press, they just don't have nearly as many high-profile releases as EA does. 2K Sports' most recent sports release was MLB 2K13, a slap in the face to sports gamers by virtue of providing strong and tangible truth to the misguided narrative that annual sports games are "merely roster updates".
 
# 9 jorge380 @ 04/22/13 08:34 PM
Is this the guy who was a member of OS,got a job with EA and had a crazy rant on twitter.
 
# 10 TreyIM2 @ 04/23/13 05:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
Based on his Reddit AMA, Ian left EA Sports on good terms and didn't possess nearly the axe to grind as this anonymous blogger exhibits. I don't think it's him.



2K Sports isn't above bad press, they just don't have nearly as many high-profile releases as EA does. 2K Sports' most recent sports release was MLB 2K13, a slap in the face to sports gamers by virtue of providing strong and tangible truth to the misguided narrative that annual sports games are "merely roster updates".
It's not like the person is ranting as if wherever they came from, they left on bad terms. This person is giving more of an insight so it could be Ian but like I said, who knows.

As for 2KSports, it's not about bad press and the rest u said. It's about those guys seeming to give 120% in trying to actually recreate the sports genres they're trying to represent in their sports games. Hell, Take 2/2K seem to go the extra 5miles in ALL the games they create. Seems like almost nothing holds them back even if a game doesn't do well. The effort, love and dedication seems to far outweigh EA.
 
# 11 Valdarez @ 04/26/13 07:54 PM
This article is in desperate need of an editor.
 
# 12 13whitebread @ 04/30/13 02:45 PM
Where's part 3
 

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