EA’s Dungeon Keeper remake for mobiles was involved in a shitstorm of criticism from journalists and gamers alike, its pathetic money-grabbing structure being one of the most insulting things to arrive in some time. It was so bad that Dungeon Keeper’s developer Mythic went under.
Still, the collective memory of people is very short, no matter much screaming they do, and thus everyone had pretty much forgotten about Dungeon Keeper already, those who ranted against EA being likely to pick up another EA published title within a year.
But EA…well, EA just aren’t so smart. While EA CEO Andrew WIlson recently apologized for the mere existence of Dungeon Keeper, EA’s head of mobile Frank Gibeau attempted to defend it by saying the dumbest thing ever:
“Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things,” Gibeau told Games Industry. “I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren’t ready for… I don’t think we did a particularly good job marketing it or talking to fans about their expectations for what Dungeon Keeper was going to be or ultimately should be.”
What? Seriously, what? Dungeon Keeper wasn’t innovation. It didn’t do anything new, nor did it implement a revolutionary new business model. What it actually did was simply take the idea of microtransactions in the free to play market and ramp them up a billion times and then build the entire game around it. I hope to the bottom of my heart that people will never be ready for such pathetic things as Dungeon Keeper.
Yet there’s growing evidence suggesting Dungeon Keeper might just be a sign of things to come. Following a recent court ruling that put a stop to Dungeon Keep actually being advertised as a “free” game, because the court found that it simply wasn’t the case, Peter Moore talked about the model:
“I think the core audience that dislikes the fact that there are play-for-free games and microtransactions built into those… fine, I get that,” Moore said. “As you know, I read all the stuff, and it is the most intelligent commentary on the web as regards games. There’s no doubt about that. But every now and again, and you’ve seen me do it, somebody will come in there and say something stupid that I think is beneath the site itself and beneath the industry.”
“I don’t think anybody has to like it,” Moore continued. “I think that’s where it goes. It’s like me; I get grumpy about some things, but if the river of progress is flowing and I’m trying to paddle my canoe in the opposite direction, then eventually I’m just going to lose out. From the perspective of what needs to happen in this industry, we need to embrace the fact that billions of people are playing games now.”
It is true to a degree that people in general do have problems with change, but provided said change clearly gives people something better they tend to accept it readily enough. What Moore and EA refuse to admit or accept is that gamers are so vocal about some of the new models being introduced because they are bad for the consumer. They cost us more for less content and control. Gamers have embraced the idea of free-to-play games, but what they have not embraced, and rightfully so, are the abusive payment models companies are attempting to introduce into them.
Gamers have accepted DLC with little content and high pricetags. They have accepted parts of the game being sold seperately when they should have been a part of the game at launch. They have accepted Season Passes and other things. But accepting something through force isn’t the same as embracing something because it’s good. Yet we gamers are just as much to blame, because as much as we rant and rave we still buy the games and line the coffers, providing the funds needed for publishers to force through ideas that few people actually want while claiming how good they are for the customer.
Treat gamers with respect and show them why change is good and they’ll embrace it. But don’t insult them by claiming they are merely resistant to change, when the truth is they’re resistant because companies like you (EA) Have tried to fuck them over so many times, and you’re unwilling to see it.