The Writer Within X

LEVEL 10: MONEY HUNGRY


We’ve talked about microtransactions, we’ve talked about Loot boxes, we’ve even spoken about downloadable content and how it may, or may not, be additional content purposely held to get more money for publishers. Let me say that again; publishers. I don’t blame the developers because, most times, they have a vision of what they want to make, and that vision gets muddy by the involvement of others. Despite all of those additional forms of receiving more profits, developers have to go through crunches and make the bare minimum while publishers, particularly the higher-ups, continue to see an increase in their bank account statements. No matter how much content they sell, no matter how many items are placed behind paywalls, it’s never enough.

I’ll never forget how in 2013, despite selling over 3 million copies, Tomb Raider was considered to not have met sales expectations. It was considered a failure. Over 3 million is a sales goal any company would be thrilled to even reach half of, but, well, greed has a way of distorting your vision.

The gaming industry is at an all-time high right now, with sales higher in 2018 than the previous year. That’s a trend, a very good one, that everyone should be benefiting from. Not everyone does. Those games we love so much are made by developers who put their life and soul into a project, sacrificing time and family to meet deadlines and to make others happy. Despite all of this wealth within the industry, there is a push for more. Publishers and higher-ups are desperate to continue to receive more money and they honestly don’t care about how they have to go about it. Let’s not forget the Battlefront II debacle that Activision went through. Oh, and how they recently began to sell a red dot reticle for $1 in Black Ops. 4. The main reason we are here discussing this is because of Activision’s history of openly giving their CEOs and CFOs ridiculous amounts of money as a bonus.

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If you type in “Activision CEO gets bonus” into Google, you’ll get several articles from 2013 – 2019 with examples of these CEOs and CFOs getting very lucrative bonuses. The most recent is Mr. Dennis Durkin who just got a bonus of 15 million. Nice to know they are all doing well, God bless, but why is it that they want more? Corporate greed.

I believe that you get what you earned in life. Durkin went to college, climb his ladder, and made his success. Every single wealthy person in this world either earned their wealth or it was passed down from family. Nothing wrong with that. Respect.

There comes a time, however, when one has to take care of those who brought us to the dance. These developers go above and beyond to get these games out and they take all of the rage and hate from gamers when something doesn’t turn out the way it was supposed to when games are littered with microtransactions when 80% of it is locked in Loot boxes. Do you think developers purposely set out to hurt their content? Do you think they want to be ridiculed and harassed online? No, they do what they are told while trying to retain some semblance of the vision they had when they started. Trust me, they get a ton of viciousness from gamers.

Let’s also not forget that Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision, made 28.6 million in 2017. If games are at an all-time high, CEOs of companies are making millions, then why aren’t developers getting any of the pie? I’m not saying every developer should be making millions, or that these CEOs should have to share their money, but they should be allowed to make what they want and should be compensated for their hard work. More and more I find myself intrigued at the idea of developers unionizing because if publishers aren’t going to help them, they’ll have to help themselves.

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If all of Activision’s developers decided to not make any more games for them, they would be fine and be able to make money somewhere else with ease. These rich CEOs, however, will find themselves with a lot of issues.

So, what’s the point of this Writer Within?

Its simple, publishers need to better appreciate and protect their developers. They need to stop meddling in what they do best and forcing them to think of new and exciting ways to nickel and dime players, to find creative ways to extract more money from customers. Does Activision really need to give their CEO enough money to where he makes 300 times that of the average employee? I don’t buy the excuse that games cost more money to make. If they managed their money better and valued their customer’s getting a complete purchase at launch, they wouldn’t be in the predicament they think they are in. Other studios are still making profits without holding the gamer’s wallet hostage. We are going to reach a point where the AAA development will collapse and indie games, as well as mid-tier games, will reign in the industry.

Developers just want the freedom to create what they want, and gamers just want to play cool and exciting games.

Mr. Durkin could have sacrificed 5 out of his 15 million bonus, which he’ll more than likely receive a lot more bonuses throughout the year and spread it across for the developers who have sacrificed so much so that he can play golf on a private island, or whatever rich dudes do. Activision should show some appreciation for their developers and that’s the main point of this entry. Developers need to be appreciated and treated fairly. We gamers, when something isn’t how we like it, need to stop and think before we attack a developer because it’s possible that they didn’t make the choice that has ruined our game.

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With all of that being said, what do you think? Is it right for developers to receive all the backlash from decisions in a game we don’t agree with? Are CEOs allowed to continue making money and are immune to the backlash? Let me know what you think down below and keep following The Loot Gaming for all of your gaming news and reviews.

Make sure to check the previous Writer Within level here, or simply head here to see the full list of levels.

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