The serious business of making games

That would have been my perception as well, but they charged $60 for it. For better or worse, that price point says AAA.

I think you’ll find the current price point for AAA is $70, or will be soon. :)

Arg! I am zinged!

I thought the AAA designation for a game depended on how much was spent or budgeted for its development, not what was charged. Kind of like a B movie.

That was my impression as well.

What a weird take. The game is literally the worst rated game of the year. If I experienced a meal that bad at a restaurant and complained about it, I would absolutely expect an apology. And any decent restaurant would give me one.

Traditionally, it was both: a large-budget and a premium price tag game.

Actually it was three things: a big budget, a premium price tag, and most importantly, the amount of hype/marketing around the title. The last was the most important, because when the term first started getting used - we’re talking the early 90s here - it was used by retailers to denote how risky stocking a game release was. A AAA game was a sure thing that everyone was talking about, a game that couldn’t fail to bring customers in the door. But a big budget, high-quality game with no marketing or hype around it might not be seen by retailers as AAA.

The term is borrowed from the financial industry, where it’s used to denote how risky a bond is (with AAA being the best bet.) Retailers used the term at shows like CES and E3, where game journos picked it up. These days game fans throw it around without knowing about its original retail roots.

Admittedly, things like free-to-play have muddied the waters when it comes to how the term is defined in recent years. Genshin Impact definitely has a budget and marketing that would be called AAA … but it’s free-to-play.

“I am so sorry that you are not enjoying your dish, sir. Can I return it to the kitchen and get you something else?”

…is a fair sight different from a five-paragraph apology including what the mission of the restaurant is, how they are going to do better, that they are listening to the feedback of their customers, and how they’re inspired by the passion that those who come into their restaurant have for fine cuisine.

Bad and mediocre videogames can be down to mismanagement and lack of skill - but often enough–as with bad VFX work–it’s down to a lack of resources. In this case, it feels like instead of the team apologizing for not doing a good enough job, it should be the publisher apologizing for making the team do an AAA game on an AA budget.

Seems like a smarter response than “It’s only $50, here’s your money back, now get over it.”

I’m mostly bothered by the assumption that refunds are that easy to get on all platforms in all territories.

That being said, yeah, people need to slow down and wait for some impressions to come in before plunking down coin on these $60-$70 games.


He’s basically saying “Get a refund if you can and shut up about it.” Nah. That’s not good customer service if you put out what is evidently the shittiest game of the year so far.

I didn’t see him say anything to players; he was speaking to developers.

I bet I can find two dozen shittier games in just the last week of Steam releases, but okay.

I think San Filippo continues to explain himself quite well, despite being swarmed by toxic replies all weekend:

Really, regardless of the merits of specific parts of this question about responsibility, I’m inclined to take San Filippo’s side simply because of the asshats who are responding like that.

Okay, then he was basically saying, “Don’t apologize to your customers if you’ve fucked up. They’re entitled harassers.” And he posted it to Twitter, so I’d say he was speaking to the public at large and was more than likely doing so to make a point to say to gamers “don’t be such entitled assholes.”

It doesn’t sit well with me. He goes on to say, “Companies ought to stop acting like gamers are their employers and investors. They. Are. Not.”

Uh, no… They are your customers. Many would say that they should be treated BETTER than your employers and investors, not worse.

And you probably should refrain from referring to your customer base as entitled and talking about what they don’t deserve. Kind of dumb.

Earlier I was talking about the broader issue, cause one guy being dumb on twitter isn’t worth talking about, but he really is working hard at it. Like, the conversation here went towards the publisher throwing the dev team under the bus, but in this guy’s case as an indie, he is the publisher and the dev team, and his game was kickstarted so the customers are his investors. Even if he doesn’t feel like he should owe them anything, isn’t it clear to him why a company tries to assure its customers it’s taking their complaints seriously?

“This may justify a class action suit to force the publisher to refund the game, but an anodyne pseudo-apology statement is a step too far.”

If you go back to what he said, he said don’t apologize “profusely for mediocre launches and slipped dates.” I’m guessing if there was a short tweet saying, “We’re sorry for any of our players experiencing serious bugs. We are working to address them as soon as possible” or something like that, he wouldn’t object. He objects to the attitude that the game’s audience has been wronged by the state of a release.

I also think this all has to be taken in the context of the behavior of fans online. Obviously, semi-anonymous platforms like Twitter will enable worse behavior. But game developers are actually significantly harassed online and sometimes in ways that bleed over into real life. I can’t speak for San Filippo on this point, but personally it wouldn’t be an issue for me except that this is pathological in the community now, and has been for years. And the style of supplicating online fans for subpar games is exacerbating it, so developers/publishers should stop.

The idea of personally harassing a developer because they made a bad piece of software seems bad.

Just don’t buy their stuff. They didn’t personally slight you.

And again, it is more akin to a movie than a car or a microwave oven. There are precious few objective metrics about the quality of an entertainment product.

It’s also a game, not some kind of life critical product.

Like, if an engineer intentionally bypassed safety protocols or something for a consumer product that led to the deaths of people, I can imagine that warranting animosity towards that engineer.

But we’re talking about people making freaking games. It ain’t that big a deal.