A Few Weeks of Turmoil for Gaming… And Standards of Behavior Drop

Well the past few weeks has seen no shortage of controversies in the gamer-verse, though I'm not sure how much I can say about most of them… they are too self-evident, exactly what we all expected, and just more of the same bullshit from the same actors…. except maybe one.

We have seen Nintendo, after DMCAing the initial release of AM2R from anyone carrying the download (a remake of Metroid 2: Return of Samus that both they themselves should have made and I am playing for the 100DaysofGaming for Extra Life), doing the same to the author himself after he updated and patched the game. This obviously enraged many fans of the franchise as this and a spin-off were all they had for the 30th anniversary of the original title. It does not help them that last game before (Metroid: Other M) was released over 5 years ago and exceedingly divisive among the fans (you either loved it or hated it, though I could not imagine how you could love it) and is likely playing it's own part in the failure of that spin off (Metroid Prime: Federation Forces).

We have seen the release of Revolution 60, a port of an iPad game promised for PC gamers 2 years ago from a developer known to be a little bit "erratic." From the moment the game's Steam store page was up (and shortly before the game could even be bought), it was controversial as the discussion threads began to fill with people making fun of the developer as well as the developer herself starting hate threads with herself as the target so she could use it as more fuel that "the dreaded GamerGate" was still out to get her. And even when you get past that, it remains a shady game since it’s a flat port putting things like any new cutscenes that were promised during the porting process and even standard features of steam-based games like steam cards behind DLC. Add to this some incredibly laughable "let's plays on Youtube" and you have a game that is doomed to fail and exists only to stir the pot for some “Patreon Bucks.”

Hell, we have even seen a Hillary Clinton SuperPac bring back the boogieman of Gamergate to try to scare people into voting for their candidate on their twitter, basically trying to push one side of the political divide against gamers for political gain. Hell, even their article is written by the same person who wrote Revolution 60!

But sadly I think we could all but have predicted all of these. After all, Nintendo only did both what fans expected and what copyright law required of them to protect their franchise when they DMCAed AM2R. There was anger, some cursing, and a few uploading out of some mix of wanting more people to play this fan-made masterpiece and throwing their middle fingers at Nintendo for doing it, but absolutely no surprise.

The developer of Revolution 60 is just doing what we have come to expect of her as well. She’s become kinda known as an attention whore who will make things up and cultivate her own “harassment” to profit off the sympathy she can garner from it, so to see her get caught in the act again surprises no one. At most the shady action of putting a paywall around what have become standard Steam features in the form of only implementing them in the “Special Edition” DLC is new and frankly a new low, but the absolute failure this game is turning into (no joke it’s peak people playing at the same time since launch is 10 with 6 being the max in the last 24 hours according to Steam charts when I wrote this) I dont think anyone is going to do anything more then point and laugh.

And even the SuperPac is just slinging mud we expect the mainstream media to sling at gamers. Yes, it may seem new since “Gamergate” was targeted, but think about it. The mainstream media has been doing this for 2 years. It’s gotten to the point that it will sway no one who isn’t already swayed. Hell it was even predicted to happen two years ago on one of the aGG’s on their twitter account!

As dramatic as some of it may seem, this is all status quo. However, another event has occurred which I need to point out so as to prevent it from becoming status quo, involving a lazy developer and denying a chunk of their fans access to any new content for their game, not because they even chose the wrong platform and the developer doesn't have the manpower to support it, but because they chose the wrong store on said platform.

Armello started life as a kickstarter project in which League of Geeks asked backers on the internet for $200,000 to make the game for PC and Android which was funded and then some, reaching $305,360 before the campaign was over with backers being promised copies of the game on either Steam or DRM-free, which they did deliver on. In fact, they were able to expand the reach of the game so it was sold on Steam, Gog.com, and even now on the both the PS4 and Xbox One. It was highly praised by it's fans until fairly recently. You see on August 28th, League of Geeks made an announcement about where Armello is going, and some of it was downright ugly:

"Armello DRM Free Edition
We want to ensure that whatever platforms Armello is on, we're providing the best experience as we possibly can. As Armello moves more and more into online services (like Steam inventory and more multiplayer features) and as we begin to roll out our plans for DLC, we've been working closely with GoG on an edition of Armello specific to GoG. The Armello - DRM Free Edition should be up and running on GoG.com now.

We've had fantastic meetings with GoG about the future of Armello on the platform and although there's no way for us to provide DLC for DRM Free users or to attempt to retain parity with the Steam version of Armello, Armello DRM Free Edition will see features that best suit a DRM Free experience picked across from other platforms into early-mid 2017, helping LoG & GoG (lol) reach our mutual goal of providing users the best possible DRM Free Armello experience."

And this is the big one that caused people to flip their shit. The developer basically outlined that since they want to rely more on services in one store, the other store will lose the ability to use new content. If they had made such a choice when making the game, this might not have blown up in their faces nearly as much as it did (although the fact that DRM free was promised in the kickstarter would still have caused them some rumblings to put it mildly), but with customers eager to have the complete release as more content is released now stuck with a version being dropped, this lazy/uncaring behavior the developer showed them in the above text had earned the shit coming their way.

This has been compounded by coverage from sites like TechRaptor covering the events and making more people aware of this douche-beggary. And while Gog.com is now offering refunds to gamers who understandably feel ripped off which, based on a conversation via the steam forums with the devs, appears to be funded by LoG directly, it still is a serious abandonment of their audience. And it's not like the developer is denying this fact. In fact, a later post at the end of that same thread shows just how flippant they got about it:

"DLC on DRM Free
Just because another studio or game has DLC on DRM Free, doesn't mean it's immediately a possibility for us or Armello. Assuming as much is incredibly naive. Every team's processes, resources, and games are innumerably different.

Almost every single piece of conjecture about ways we could have or should roll out our DLC on DRM Free have either been wildly off course or avenues we've already investigated.

Now, of course it's theoretically possible to have DLC on DRM Free, I mean, there's a robot taking selfies on Mars right now. So sure, given infinite resources and time we could undertake the task of rewriting the underlying architecture at the core of this decision, but that's straight up not feasible for a vast number of reasons that are unique to LoG, Armello, where we're standing right now and where we see Armello's future. "

So yep... we basically have one of the developer not only explaining that the design THEY CHOSE wont let them support the DRM-FREE version, suggesting what they outlined in their initial message, but they then took the time to compare it to getting selfies on mars like it would be some technical marvel rather then being difficult now because of them making a bad choice for part of their audience earlier on since it was easier. The arrogance/ignorance on display here is the kind I have not seen since the Ubisoft CEO was screaming about 90% piracy levels on PC while putting out always on DRM that actively discouraged people from BUYING their games rather then risk the game stopping on them if their internet connection has a hickup or not being able to resinstall if something happened like a hard drive failure or even just building a new PC.

I am frankly impressed to see this in a little indie game developer who claims to love their audience, but at least we can count on the audience to turn their back on them too... as noted by a current Gog.com wishlist request to remove Armello from the GOG catalog. And yes, I will say again, they are trying to make good with refunds, but this “we screwed up, here you go” bullshit has to go. It only encourages a mentality where you can fuck over your long-term audience if you go back and say “I’m sorry, here’s your money back” once enough shit hits the fan and be ok. You shouldn’t be as you still fucked your audience. That is now part of your legacy. I'm glad to see I'm not alone in thinking that.


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