Once again bigwigs of the gaming world have gone out of their way to prove that they are completely out of touch with reality and completely full of shit.
So let’s get something clear from the start: I’m not opposed to mobile games. In fact, I really enjoy them and how well it will facilitate gameplay is a big factor in my decisions into what cell phones or tablets I have purchased. I have met some awesome people through games like this and have made friends I would have never met otherwise.
Secondly, people taking games, even established franchises, in new directions is not inherently bad. Innovations can come from the most unlikely places and taking that risk has brought some amazing games to market. What is inherently bad is some soulless, greedy douche canoe making a game revolve around exploitative cash grab tactics designed to financially cornhole someone for having the misfortune of playing it! That’s not cool. Ever.
And that’s exactly what has happened to Command and Conquer. EA’s Patrick Soderlund was interviewed about their upcoming mobile title. When asked about the concerns voiced by long time series fans, Patrick spewed out a lot of words that at face value sound like a good answer. Upon further inspection the veneer of PR polish is paper thin at best and, like a 500$ suit on a pig corpse, fails to adequately hide the problem.
He immediately starts in by talking about the mobile market being “the biggest gaming platform on the planet today” and goes on about their belief that it was the perfect platform for an RTS title and would make the game better.
Since he wants to start there, let’s do the same. Yes, the mobile market is huge. Every time I pull up an app store I see a dozen new games available. These games can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of downloads. However, there’s two problems with judging this market based on volume. First, there are so many copycat, shitty, hackneyed, half assed, raging dumpster fire games out on mobile that finding a good one is like bobbing for apples in a pool of vinegar. Secondly, the other reason that the mobile market has become so popular with major developers is the accepted nature of micro transaction based mechanics and pay to win economies in free to play games. The amount of money these games rake in is staggering. The sophistication of the psychological manipulation employed by their developers is terrifying. I don’t mean that in a hyperbolic sense either. People should be genuinely afraid of how well they have learned to manipulate people into spending money. This is such a slippery slope that even the most well intentioned game makers are in real danger of slipping into some shady practices just because they’re so commonplace.
Even taking these two points out of the conversation, it’s easy to find this statement suspect after the way EA has treated the mobile market before. Every game they have put out for mobile devices could be gathered up and sold as a “Manipulative Design Showcase” collection. Those fuckers made me hate a Sim City game. Do you know how difficult that is to do? It’s Dark Souls while blindfolded difficult.
He then went on to talk about how much they respect their mobile development division and how we have to learn to respect mobile games the way we do console or PC releases. This time he’s right. We should have enough respect for the people that make and play these games that they shouldn’t be forced to deal with 87 different variations on “give us money and we’ll get rid of arbitrary timers designed to make you mad enough to spend money to keep playing” games that launch every damn day. They wouldn’t dare try and put that bullshit in a console release (yet) or sell a PC title that let’s you get 3-5 minutes of game play in before asking for another five dollars if you want to play again before tomorrow. Granted, they are getting close to that (I’m looking at you and your bullshit season pass COD 4, you shitty bastard) but they aren’t that brazenly terrible yet.
These people are completely out of their minds with greed and incompetence. They don’t give a damn about any game unless it can shake players down for every last cent in their pockets. We have to keep up the pressure on them until they realize that they will lose more potential players based on their behavior that they will ever be able to compensate for by preying on whales like a pack of starving sharks. Stay loud, stay vocal. Shout down the spin and don’t give in to their manipulative practices. I promise that the only thing you’ll miss is wasted money and garbage games.
It’s time to hit back! Make it happen!
The Revolution is a weekly series from Bro Seriously highlighting the shenanigans of the game industry and how consumers can fight back. Join us every Tuesday to go once more into the breach and change the world one game at a time. Follow us on twitter @thebroseriously & @bssourpineapple to stay up to date on all things Bro, Seriously.