Jimquisition Reminds Us Publishers Aren’t Your Friends (Again)

This is a discussion we’ve all had before, but as always, it bears repeating: Publishers are not your friends. Neither are game developers. They make things so that you will give them money.

Apparently this point needs reiterating, like, all the time among the gaming public, however, and Jim Sterling is pretty damn good at beating the bushes with the right message. In the latest Jimquisition, Jim turns a withering stare to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which he reminds that Electronic Arts sold for $30 while also including roadblocks to the gameplay mechanics to encourage people to pay for micro-transactions, and then adding those micro-transactions.

Apparently players are thanking EA for allowing them to pay more money into a game they purchased, and which was designed to be frustrating in order to encourage them to give up more money.

Watch the video and let us know what you think of this attitude of gratitude in the comments.

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5 Comments on Jimquisition Reminds Us Publishers Aren’t Your Friends (Again)

Bob

On May 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Obviously jim has never played the game on an average round of gardens vs graveyards i am getting between 15000 to 25000 coins so thats a lot of coins hardly fustrating at all. I think the like alot of the time is talking out his arse.

Nelly

On May 6, 2014 at 3:28 am

Any game that hides a large portion of its content to force players into paying more has failed in its task of being a game. If your game is so non-engaging that players would rather pay extra just to avoid grinding, you’re a poor game designer. EA has absolutely no sense of longevity, it’s willing to keep screwing its customers around for short-term financial gains knowing it will lose a lot of those customers. Those that hang around will either grow out of it or just keep buying the same crap ad infinitum. Not a sustainable business model.

Nobody wants a publisher to be its friend, they just don’t want it to treat its audience as a contemptible inconvenience. EA has repeatedly done the latter but it will survive for many more years doing the same thing because ultimately it does release mostly decent and occasionally good games, and whenever an IP shoots itself in the foot, it will simply be replaced by another one under the same hit-based system that is the antithesis of art. EA is not the only publisher guilty of this – Activision is arguably worse as it’s killed lucrative and popular series in order to focus on COD, and Ubisoft to a lesser extent is doing this with Assassin’s Creed albeit they’re usually better and more progressive titles. But EA is the scapegoat because it has done more over the years to destroy beloved developers and treats its customers and employers like dirt than just about any other publisher.

I don’t really need a past-relevant Jim Sterling to confirm this for me, I wrote him off long ago as an over-opinionated loudmouth who has no less contempt for gamers than the publishers he targets.

Franklin

On May 6, 2014 at 3:44 am

@Nelly i think you missed the point here and dlc ect is set to expand so players keep playing their is nothing wrong with that as it IS THE CONSUMERS FAULT IN CONSISTENTLY PURCHASING THESE THINGS. and that is the target 4 million plus sales just mean 4 million + target for sales is all. The business works well and that is the current market PERIOD if complying consumers do not like it they do not have to purchase it all, but when the millions of dlc and microtransations stop selling then companies will stop buying as the vast majority of gamers are purchasing these contents.

Jim is just looking to complain because that is simply all he can do he knows no different, he has built his career on this prospect.

psycros

On May 6, 2014 at 5:04 am

Nelly nailed it. All I can really add is my hope that Kickstarter and the indie movement continue to produce *real* games that are more than empty husks waiting to be filled with the endless microtrans of button-mashing addicts. Maybe we’ll eventually reach a tipping point that will drive the biggest publishers to start providing real value and quality once again.

Nelly

On May 6, 2014 at 5:09 am

@Franklin – I don’t mind DLC that expands the game. That’s not what this was about. This was about content already within the game that was withheld in order to ensure microtransactions. As a point of comparison, the first Mass Effect had two pretty decent but entirely optional DLC packs that expanded the game while not compromising the product for those that didn’t buy them. The next two Mass Effects had DLC that was preplanned simply to make more money for EA on an already full-priced game (e.g. the Kasumi DLC for the second game already had its achievements on the game’s achievement list) and, in the case of Javik, actually took a lot out of the complete package just for a cynical day-one cash grab.

DLC in many cases can be a good thing, like in Bethesda games. When it’s used just for the sake of forcing players to part with more money for something that in many cases should be included at launch, it’s a bad thing. EA has too often strayed towards the latter, using DLC and microtransactions purely to serve its own finances rather than serve the games themselves. Unfortunately, as you point out, a lot of people keep paying for it so obviously EA isn’t going to break the habit no matter how many people they piss off along the way.

At least we agree about Sterling.