My new years resolution: No more games…

January 1, 2015

In 2013 I made the new years resolution to not buy any games. It was more from a fiscal standpoint than any stand against the gaming industry. That went out the window when we received some money unexpectedly and I went “Woohoo!” and bought a PS3… Which I’m grateful for as I would never have gotten to play Journey if I hadn’t, and since that was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life…

So here we are. As I write this it’s a few hours from 2015, and I decided a few days ago that for 2015, I’m done spending so much as a single cent on games. No I am not turning to piracy. Frankly that’s too much hassle as well and is filled with as many egos. In the Amiga days it was fun. I was quite involved with the scene. These days, sure you can torrent most new games, but is it really worth it? It’s invariably going to eat a ton of disk space, and you’ll invariably delete it within the hour. All of you’ve done is waste bandwidth downloading it. No, this is not me putting my wallet away and taking to the high seas with an eye patch and going “Yarrr!” a lot. This is me putting my wallet away, saying “Fuck this shit” and turning my back on the industry. Pirating a game is still a statement of support, even if not financial. Not playing the game at all isn’t.

I’ve been a gamer since the mid 70’s. That fateful day my Dad bought home a cheap Pong machine was the gateway into gaming and I’ve never looked back. From the original Atari VCS/2600, through into various computers, including a very long (and still ongoing if I’m honest) love affair with the Commodore Amiga, through to the PC, where I still game now 20 years later. Also there’s been game consoles. The Sega Megadrive/Genesis. Three generations of Playstation. A Sega Dreamcast. An Xbox 360. Nintendo Wii. Not to mention a Nintendo Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS and 3DS. Also the Sony PSP and Vita.

In short gaming has been a part of all but the first few years of my life. In that time I’ve seen the industry collapse, evolve, and become the multi billion dollar behemoth we see today, and you know what?…

I’m done.

I’m done funding this industry. I’m done paying $70 for a new game when 6 months later they’re less than half that. When a year later the sequel is out. I’m done buying unfinished titles that have been asset stripped for the purposes of post release DLC. I’m done buying games that have day one DLC that comes with the game. I’m done contributing to the unending greed of this industry.

A lot of things have contributed to me being sick of this crap. The final straw was the recent beta of Elite Dangerous.

I paid for the beta of Elite Dangerous, and it was good. I bought it on the understanding that there would be an offline single player component as had been promised. Being online is not an issue for me, but as with many online games and services, you’re beholden to the other party keeping their damn servers up for you. Sure they may say “Hey we’ve got 99% uptime!” But if that 1% falls when you have time to play, well it may as well be zero uptime. Not to mention what happens in five years? Ten years? Anyone who has a pre-iTunes digital download of a movie can tell you how great relying on other people is. Terminator 2 came with a Windows Media format file of the movie in HD for your computer! Amazing! Except now the disk it’s on is a coaster because the server for the digital rights management was shut down years ago. I paid for it, and now can’t play it. The result of my access being controlled by a third party.

We’ve experienced something similar this year in gaming, with the shutdown of Games for Windows Live. While some developers are moving their titles over to Steam, other developers aren’t bothering meaning a lot of games will be largely broken now. Too bad, so sad. That’s what you get buying into an industry where you own nothing, only the license to use it, which they can revoke at any time.

So back to Elite Dangerous, closing in on the end of beta a sneaky announcement was quietly made in the newsletter that gets sent out every week, that for bullshit pretentious aesthetic reasons, offline mode was being pulled. Sure you can still play in a solo universe, but it HAS to have an online connection.

Now first of all, this now means that anything else out of the developers mouth is suspect as we know their word cannot be trusted. Second of all, surely it should be up to the customer to decide if they are prepared to make the aesthetic sacrifice. As near as I can tell the only benefit is an active marketplace, with prices going up and down, and storyline. Given many of us played Elite, Frontier, and had a perfectly lovely time without online bullshit, this is utter crap. It’s entirely down to anti piracy I believe. Forcing an online connection means if I want my 9 year old son to play, which he wants to, I have to buy another copy if I don’t want him messing with my pilot. A move based entirely on greed. Fanboys can argue all they want, but ultimately I believe someone somewhere made this decision based on the bottom line, once again leaving pirates to provide what the customer wants. I don’t have to buy multiple copies of the same movie to enjoy it with my family, so why should games be any different?

First there was that bullshit cavalcade of lies. Then there was the bobble head. You see there used to be a little bobblehead on the dash of your ship. It was a cute thing. It also gave a nice indication as to the movement of your ship. This was quietly removed at the end of the beta. Now the forums for the game are full of people saying “I WANT MY BOBBLEHEAD BACK! HERE! TAKE MY MONEY!”

Oh boy… First of all Frontier Developments sell ship skins for in game. During the recent anniversary of the original Elite they sold a skin for the Cobra ship for $20. AND IDIOTS BOUGHT IT! Something that I could have knocked up in Photoshop in half an hour (and I paint race sim skins regularly so I ain’t blowing smoke here) Now we’ve got the same fuckwits in the forum basically saying “Strip stuff from the game, we’ll gladly give you more money to get back what we already had until you stole it.” I guarantee a cosmetic bobblehead DLC will appear soon, for at LEAST $5.

Dickheads like this are why gaming is fucked, and why I’m out. It must be lovely to have money to burn with scant regard for the consequences. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us who actually aren’t attached to a Bag of Holding full of cash.

Now I see arguments made “Well developers have to eat…” Funny, they didn’t seem to have any fucking problem eating before fucking Horse Armor reared its ugly head! Now all of a sudden it’s a financial crisis and we have DLC because developers cry and whine and their dumb fuck acolytes defending the endless emptying of the gamers wallet “for the sake of survival”. You need to nickle and dime your customers to survive? FIND ANOTHER BUSINESS TO BE IN, ASSHOLE!

Just like the whining about piracy hurting the industry. It’s never going away, so stop bitching, or find another industry, because you KNEW this was an issue before you came in, so fuck you. You don’t knowingly move to a shitty neighbourhood then moan about your car being broken into. No, you think “Damn, I should not have moved here.”

Fuck all of you. I’m done. I hate what the gaming industry has become. Even Nintendo, FUCKING NINTENDO, who said they’d never do DLC, do DLC now… The last bastion that felt like it was about gaming rather than profit and the DLC beast has been mounted forcefully, thrusting another hand into your already ravaged wallet, demanding more, and doing it’s damndest, like all the rest, to make you feel like you have to have the DLC or else your life is incomplete somehow.

It’s just no fun anymore. AAA titles are released amid much hype, like Watch Dogs (which I fucking fell for) and when it arrives it’s bugged to hell, not what was promoted, and all the other smoke and mirrors BS. “HAHA! FUCK YOU!” go the devs, because they know they can get away with it and 99% of you suckers will buy again. You get the latest Assassins Creed game released in such a broken state you KNOW damn well Ubisoft knew it was fucked and shipped it anyway because of shareholders and profits etc… And people complained, and moaned and shook their fists and said “Fuck Ubisoft” and you know damn well the next time those assholes vomit out another Assassins Creed these self same shitheads will lay there with their legs and wallets agape going “FUCK ME HARD UBI!”.

Companies are more than happy to chuck games out and have you pay to beta test them. So much so Steam have legitimized it with bullshit “Early Access”. You to can fork over a large chunk of money to play a barely Alpha title that may never actually reach beta. I’ve tried a few. While Starbound was worth it, and if nothing else happened I feel I got my money’s worth, there’s others like Carmageddon that seem to be going nowhere.

Then there’s Steam Greenlight, an exercise in fuckery that lets any hack get a game up there, game the system and VOILA! You’re now listed on Steam like a legit developer despite the fact you spent half an hour in Game Maker Studio making your visual excrement which a few people will buy and you made a few hundred bucks for almost no work.

Then there’s the indie scene… Urgh… What was once an exciting vibrant scene is now a cesspool of ego and bitching and pretentious shitheels. Phil Fish… Jesus Christ… Killed Fez 2 because people on Twitter upset him. Just… Prima donnas. There’s a few great indie devs out there, but the actual modest, talented people working on actual good games are drowned out by the endless stream of effluence. I used to love the indie scene. Now I’ve unfollowed most of the indie types I followed on Twitter as I can’t stand them anymore.

So the AAA devs are just out to fuck you. The indie devs are pretentious shagwits who think they’re making great art when in fact 95% of them are just adding to the noise. Early access is basically silicon snake oil. Steam Greenlight is like wandering into a second hand sex toy shop…

Steam has made PC gaming suck this year. First they revamped their interface to the point I can’t even bear looking at it now. Instead of sleek info we’ve got curated crap, and suggestions based on my games I own… Oh wait, I don’t actually own them I just license them… Anyhoo that moved the front page down from an every day visit to an every couple of weeks visit. Then there’s the sales.

The Steam sales are legendary. Or were. I don’t think they’re spoken of in such terms now. A few Christmases ago they ran the promo where you got lumps of coal for getting specific achievements and crafted them into gifts. I got a few free games on this which was very cool. (Though the only one I actively remember was Test Drive Unlimited 2.) It was great to see achievements actually have a point, and I greatly enjoyed spending the Christmas holidays seeing what games I had that were on today’s list and getting the achievement. Of course the entire thing was ruined by people gaming the system, rather like people with more money than sense ruined gaming, and it went away.

Still, we got the sales the next year. And the 8 hour voting on community choice etc…

Then we reached this Christmas. A bunch of lacklustre discounts, and a 24 hour vote cycle. Other places were no better. Seeing six month old games on PSN still up for $54.99 on “sale”. Fuck off.

I spent less than $20 in this years sale. It was just not engaging, no discounts were worth it, and the games of 2014 are just completely uninspiring and about as exciting as a damp towel.

I love gaming. I always will. There’s just nothing for me in its current state other than disappointment. I get to pay $70 because games just arbitrarily went up in price $10 here because fuck the customer. Apparently the billions being made aren’t enough. Games which will invariably have at least another $20 of DLC, maybe more. Take a look at Crusader Kings 2 on Steam. Now I love that game, and I love the developer, Paradox Interactive, but that game came out two years ago. To buy the whole thing at regular price a while back coist something like $300. FOR ONE GAME. That’s including the actual expansions AND the cosmetic DLC.

Mobile gaming is pointless as well. With devs charging $5 for their game and STILL having the temerity to include in app purchasing. PICK A FUCKING BUSINESS MODEL! Either make it free with IAP, or a one time fee you greedy fucks!

Another kick in the face this year was DLC for Football Manager. A game I’ve supported financially since it was Championship Manager and published by Domark on the Amiga! I’d already decided to skip this year’s incarnation as the game has long moved on from being actual fun. I was sickened when a company which has said they’d never do this sort of thing announced a DLC you can buy to nobble your opposing team with “dodgy lasagna”. Yeah, it’s optional, and idiots will defend them, but really it’s a game that’s supposed to be an idealistic view of football, and throws in an option to cheat. Of course now you have to PAY Sports Interactive for this, it’s perfectly fine.

Just fucking stop it! NOBODY can claim that SI need the fucking money. This is the biggest selling game in Europe EVERY DAMN YEAR. Miles and friends shit out a new one every year with a few additions and rake in the money. But like so many cases, people who like money want MORE money and will find as many ways as possible to relieve you of yours. And BOY are they being successful! The gaming public would have made PT Barnum wet himself with excitement. So many sheep to fleece, so little time.

Now I’m not some commie hippy, I know people gotta eat etc… But it’s the endless nickle and diming. Stuff in Football Manager that should be an option to turn off, like transfer windows… Nope, gotta pay. Stuff being removed from games just to take a few more bucks from you. “Oh but it’s only a few bucks, quit moaning”. Yeah, this time. Then there’s the next time, and the next time, and the next time. Soon those $5 and $10 add up and you’ve wound up spending over $100 more on content that’s “only a few bucks”.

I can only imagine soon games will come with colourblind DLC so those of us who suffer that particular ailment will have to pay more. Would that be the line people would refuse to cross? I wonder…

No other industry would get away with this. You buy a car. “Yes, you have a car… And here’s the day one DLC of the steering wheel and the rear brakes. Only an extra 10% of the cost of the vehicle!” Or when you buy a movie… “To see the finish of this movie, please give us $10.” Actually I better be quiet with this, or the studios may get some ideas…

Then you’ve got idiots like Leo Laporte on the mobile gaming side who freely admit to spending more than $400 on FUCKING DONUTS in Simpsons Tapped Out. Thanks, asshat! You’re contributing to the demise of good, honest gaming.

Gaming is being ruined by idiots who are too stupid to have money and give it away for absolute bullshit. The game industry has redistributed to exploit these idiots at the expense of those of us with actual common sense and fiscal responsibility.

Even my beloved race sims are taking the piss now. Okay iRacing set the bar on gouging, and at this point I feel like a heroin addict. I’m having a great time as they siphon the contents of my wallet. But hey, it’s not like iRacing pretend to be anything they aren’t. It’s a subscription service, and frankly I’ve had way more fun in that than I ever have in any MMORPG etc… But you’ve got RaceRoom which is charging $30 for a bunch of cars and tracks. And it’s just ONE SERIES. Want DTM as well? That’s more money.

The industry is a wasteland of greed, empty promises, deliberate and cynical exploitation, and creative bankruptcy.

Really I could stretch this article out to five times this size with shit that has gotten to me this year in gaming. Thank god I didn’t keep notes. I think 2014 sees the least I’ve spent on games in probably 5, maybe even 10 years! It’s been my hobby, my life and, for a time, my livelihood, and 2014 was where the blinkers finally fell off entirely and I could ignore the crap no more.

A hearty SCREW YOU to every single individual that perpetuates the survival of the slavering beast that is the current business model of the game industry.

I’m not quitting gaming, no siree. I’ve still got a massive backlog of games in Steam, on my PS3, on my Vita etc… I will maintain my PS+ subscription and get “Free” games every month for my trouble. If I stop buying games, PS+ becomes better value as there’s less chance it’ll be games I already own.

I just will not contribute one more dime to this ethically, morally and creatively bankrupt industry.

I just had to vent and get all this off my chest. I know there are decent devs out there. Hell I know a few on Twitter. Ones I didn’t unfollow because they’re decent people making decent games, both paid and free, and I love them for that. Sadly it’s like looking for the Last Honest Man. Sure they’re out there. They’re just jolly hard to find.

I realise I’m tilting at windmills, and my stand will mean not a damn thing, but I can’t, in good conscience, give money to any of these people anymore.

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