Friday, March 22, 2013

Open Letter to Games Workshop, and its Publishing Arm, Black Library

To whom it may concern,

I would really like a copy of Fulgrim in hardcover. I believe it is one of the most powerful pieces of literature I've ever read, and when I worked in a sci-fi bookstore, I would happily tell anyone, and everyone, about its universal appeal.

But I refuse to buy in to (so to speak) this ridiculous exclusivity. Games Workshop and its subsidiaries continue to push their business in directions that are anti-consumer. I have ceased doing business with Games Workshop and Forge World on this basis.

I worked for years trying to convince people every day that franchise fiction like that of the Black Library had merit, and should not be dismissed out of hand due to the stigma attached to 'toys' and 'games'. I purchased some of your exclusive (and expensive) titles. I recommended you to customers and friends. I even submitted a short story for your open submissions (even though it was not accepted, I am still very proud of it).

I'm sad to see the direction you are taking. I presume that in the next few years Black Library will be transitioning towards a 'all online sales are through OUR website' model as per Games Workshop's current direction. In protest, and 'putting my money where my mouth is', I will purchase your titles 'exclusively' from Amazon and/or other online retailers (maybe even from a brick and mortar before they all go out of business). No more Games Day Anthologies, no more Brotherhood of the Storms for me. No wonderful Fulgrim hardcover.

As non-'exclusives' get rarer and rarer, I'll just have to... I dunno, read something else? Its not like I don't know how the Horus Heresy ends, is it?

Let your friends at Games Workshop know that when they are ready to get with the times and treat their customers with a modicum of respect, we'll be ready for them.

Yours regretfully,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Conflict of Interest

In a newspaper, the lines are clear. You can be paid by a company for advertising space. Advertisements must either be clear in their advertising message OR if they are deliberately designed in such a way as to appear similar to the news content of the paper i.e. an 'advertorial' they must be clearly labelled as advertising.

If a conflict of interests can be shown to have graced a newspapers pages, it can damage that newspapers reputation, both with its audience, and within its industry.

At the present time, video-game 'journalism' seems to have none of the checks and balances that journalism requires to have any validity in modern society. The audience is too immature to stand up for their rights as consumers, or the content of journalism, and the corporations and 'journalists' know that the industry they work in is immature, and is looked down upon by so many other industries and popular culture, that they can get away with bloody murder.

At the moment, video-games 'journalism' is a production line where games get stamped with a quality rating. This rating is determined by two things:

The opinions of the reviewer (good)
The money and marketing thrown at them by the publisher (bad)

These numbers are meaningless, but consumers still fall for them, and companies use them (idiotically I might add) as a metric for the performance of development teams.

Newspapers are paid for by advertising and the consumer. If newspapers are seen to behave in ways seen as unethical, then readership falls, and therefore advertising revenue falls (advertising revenue is based off the number of people who read it). It is in the newspapers best interest to provide unbiased reporting.

Video-game 'journalism' is paid for PURELY BY ADVERTISEMENT. How much money they make is based on how many hits their websites get. How many hits they receive is based on how many hits they get from search engines. How many hits they get in search engines is based on how much they spam related content. That's why there are 150+ (o.0) videos of Mass Effect 3 at IGN.

Why are there so many news features on 'Bioware's artistic integrity'(regarding the complaints over endings in Mass Effect 3)? Its not because the websites care, or even understand what is at issue, its because its a 'hot topic' that gets hits. Many of these articles are FOR Bioware's artistic integrity. Are they so stupid that they don't realize EA and Bioware suckered us in with false advertising about decisions impacting the ending, and how it would be more than an A, B, C choice? No. It's because controversy gathers more hits and comments, and because they want to stay chummy with the companies that pay their wages. The big game websites may as well be on the payroll of the big corporations.

Gamers need to stand up for their rights. Problems with a product, problems with bias in journalism, need to be spoken, and spoken loudly. As things stand the corporations and journalists are riding roughshod over us. The few voices who speak out are labelled 'whiners' and 'entitled' and 'conspiracy theorists', even having a discussion of these issues is grounds for thread closure on Bioware's 'social network'.

The media and corporations taking advantage of consumers isn't conspiracy theory, IT IS WHAT THEY DO. IF we let them.

Demand impartiality in journalism. Demand your rights as a consumer. Ignore review scores. If you want to know about a game, seek out criticisms, don't just buy the corporate line wrapped up in 'review' clothing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chris Priestly: Community Coordinator

In his own words:

BioWare's Community Coordinator "Evil Chris Priestly works at the BioWare main office in Edmonton Alberta. Besides laying down the law on the BioWare forums, he also gets to play the best games in the world before the rest of you. =P

We are open to valid criticism, but there are far too many lies and outright falsehoods here such as the ridiculous accusation that we buy reviews. That is enough BioWare/EA abuse.

Thanks for your erronious opinion.


Gloating is acceptable professional behaviour for someone in a customer service position (What makes it worse is the 'best games in the world' are anything but these days).

I'm sorry Chris, can you define 'valid criticism' for me? Would that be criticism YOU think is valid? You do know what criticism is right? Here is an example if you don't: this article.

Again, Chris, do you understand what an opinion is? Explain to me how you can have an erroneous opinion. Then while you are at it, explain how erroneous is spelled.


A moderator obsessed with his own self-importance? On the INTERNET?!?!

Jokes aside, Chris acts quite unprofessionally, for someone in a customer service position. He is a fine example of how horrible Bioware and EA are at customer service.

*Sorry, almost forgot, saying that a company that pays for reviews is grounds for thread closure? You don't like having your authority questioned? You pay for ads don't you? On gaming websites? That review your games?

I'm disgusted at EA and Bioware

Ray Muzyka has the audacity to tell CUSTOMERS that 'they will not respond to *destructive* commentary.'

I'm studying management, and when I told my class that an executive said that negative comment on his product was unacceptable they all burst out laughing.

Chris Priestly, Bioware 'Community Coordinator' has the audacity to shut down a 400 page forum thread criticizing EA and Bioware's complete lack of respect for its user base (as shown by their constant PR nonsense), on the grounds that suggesting they buy reviews from media outlets is ABUSE.

Aside from the fact they have bought advertising space on most major websites (therefore paying for reviews, indirectly or not), it is not an unreasonable speculation considering the current video-game 'journalism' climate.

We, the consumer, are being told by this COMPANY that our negative reaction to their product is abuse, and that our negative reaction to the way they treat their customers is abuse.

EA AND BIOWARE ARE NOT THE VICTIM HERE, WE ARE. They used false advertisement to sucker in fans of a five year franchise into a 'finale' riddled with bugs, where no choices matter, and they taunt us with screen of text saying that they'll happily take more money off us. False advertisement is against the law, and speaking out on it is your right, protected by law.

I'm afraid now to post my legitimate concerns over this title on their website for fear I will be banned from their 'social network' for abuse, when all I want is what I deserve under the laws of business transactions in most countries.

The video-game industry, and the video-game media, are just as accountable as any other industry or media. They have the same responsibilities.

Instead, they take advantage of us. They take advantage of the fact that the video-game medium is seen as an immature joke by the popular media, and too immature in their attitudes to DEFEND THEMSELVES. They milk us for all we're worth, presenting us with false advertisement, trying to manipulate our opinions through their PR spin, bought reviews and reviewers, and selling us broken products, then telling us to shut up and deal when we complain (I'm sure they are also using other PR tricks like whisper marketing, but I guess saying that would be abuse too?).

I'm tired of it. I knew it was just a matter of time, when I heard about EA's acquisition of Bioware. It seems that time has come.

I'm sorry.
I'm sorry I bought into the hype and promise of an epic, golden age, science-fiction, space opera, RPG, trilogy where your choices mattered.
I'm sorry that what was delivered to me was an unfit for purpose, modern action sci-fi, reality tv show in space, 3rd person shooter, railroad to a nonsensical cookie cutter ending.

I'm certainly not sorry for all the 'abuse' you copped for it, or the revenue you lost.

'Art' is not a licence to violate the law, the contract between a customer and a business, or the faith that you built up with no intention of following through.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hold the Line!

Mass Effect 3: Hold the Line

Please, make your voice heard about the many and varied issues with the release of Mass Effect 3. Many people have paid for a product that is buggy, unplayable, and with story and game mechanics contrary to the marketing and expectations for the series. Look how sad Captain Kirrahe looks about it...

Hold the line.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Glitch in Mass Effect 3 deserves song!

Can't read my,
Can't read my
No it can't read my Shepard's face
(Reapers gonna kill everybody)
Can't read my
Can't read my
No it can't read my Shepard's face
(Reapers gonna kill everybody)

S-s-s-shepard's face, S-s-shepard's face
(Mum mum mum mah)
S-s-s-shepard's face, S-s-shepard's face
(Mum mum mum mah)

I wanna roll with them a hard crew we will be
A little scanning's fun when you're with me (I love it)
Thermal clips just are not the same without a gun
And baby when it's love if its not blue it isn't fun, fun

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh
I'll get TIM hot, show him what I've got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh,
I'll get TIM hot, show him what I've got