How To Not F2P Like A Total Wanker (The Jimquisition)

http://www.patreon.com/jimquisition
http://sharkrobot.com/collections/Jimquisition-merch

Sometimes, independent developers ask my advice on certain practices. I can only say what I like, but I’ll say that for free.

Here are the clearest cut ways to avoid being a wanker in the freemium market, as one dev was curious to know. I think this happens to be quite a fine episode.

Speaking of wankers though, we also gotta talk about Randy.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer
I started playing some Free to Play games once I got myself a PS4 and I set a rule for myself that’s working so far – I’ll spend as much on Microtransactions (if I feel inclined to at all) as I would have spent to buy the game if it hadn’t been free. So by the time I hit what felt like a grindwall in Let it Die I’d only spent about £7 in Death Metal, well within that margin, and if I hadn’t decided to stop playing (just past the first miniboss on the surface FYI) I’d have spent… Read more »
El Chica Incognitus
Member
Let me just give a simple comparison. How much money has Overwatch made off me? 60 dollar. How much money has Warframe made off me? Maybe around 350+ dollars. Did I “need” to buy all that Warframe platinum? No. I have thousands of it sitting on my account right now with not much I really need to do with it. Why do I keep giving them money? They made a good fucking game and they’re giving it to me for free with constant updates. I do this with a lot of “free” games I play where I give them money… Read more »
Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer
Whenever I’ve spent money on Microtransactions it’s been because the game has fostered an environment where I feel positively inclined to do so, either to extend an experience I’m enjoying or to get a taste of what’s to come to make me want to continue. Like I started playing Warframe myself a week or two ago, and I ended up buying a second frame (with a 75% off coupon, mind you) because I was enjoying the game so much that I wanted to experiment and try different things, which I only did because I trusted the game enough that I… Read more »
Allan Weallans
Member
I remember Dungeon Keeper 2 would have the announcer tell you to go to bed if you were playing after midnight. It didn’t want you to play too long (it didn’t force you to stop, but it did nag you). Dungeon Keeper Mobile ideally did want you to play too long; it just wanted you to pay for the privilege. Both games told you to stop playing, but there’s an important difference. Not the difference that DK2 didn’t force you to stop playing; a more important difference than that. The difference between “you should stop playing” and “you should stop… Read more »
MM
Member
MM
I like your post but some parts seem to have the logic a bit off: if that worked like that (on all scales, I’ll explain what I mean in a bit) then DK2 would have achieved it’s goal, by keeping the players playing and (eventually) paying. But the scale of “penalizing” in DK2 is far, FAR, into *torture* territory (hm, a tongue tangler?) Regarding your earlier point about “wait might actually help to combat addictive/poor impulse control”, it’s not that they get penalized (waiting in this case) for gambling, on the contrary, they get tortured if they DON’T. So, if… Read more »
Sperium3000
Member

Blandy Pitchfraud is pretty good.

MM
Member
MM

“Don’t get used to it”, referring to the classic intro song? 🙂

Anyways.. what’s the name of that guy we thank Jim for again? Old.. bearded guy.. you know, lives in the clouds, likes to smite with thunderbolts, flood worlds, send messiahS to save humanity?

Escapes me right now. :-/

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

I’m glad that the dildo bat’s made a return. It’s been far too long since it last made an appearance.

Xion Eternum
Member
Xion Eternum
For the sake of argument here regarding servers and server upkeep; it’s fairly easy to put a cost value on servers and server maintenance. Let’s take the big one as a case-in-point: World of Warcraft. Presuming they are running it on bare minimum hardware needed which is one main set of servers – one for each realm – with network cross-talk between servers on a rack for cross-realm(server) communication and interaction. Add to that a minimum reasonable backup set of 10% should some fail for some reason. Between US and EU servers there are 500+ involved. Knowing the kind of… Read more »
Lloyd Arold
Member
Funny how the “But how are they supposed to pay for X?” argument seems to get trotted out when discussing “AAA” games by massive companies. The games that are guaranteed to rake in ridiculous amounts on money in basic sales, season passes, DLC, merchandise, sponsorship deals, etc. even before the addition of a F2P/microtransactions. As if Blizzard of all companies couldn’t afford to add free new content in Overwatch, a game that sold over 7 million copies (iirc) in the first week alone, without having loot boxes scientifically designed to prey on customers. Nope it cannot be done so keep… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

30 Million players in Overwatch as of April 2017

Arella Jardin
Member
Arella Jardin
I sift through mobile F2P games all the time. Most are shit, but some have fun content. I usually quit as soon as I hit a pay wall, that point where the grind becomes so apparent, continuing to play for without spending money is practically impossible. However, in a few rare instances, where I find the game both fun, and fair towards free players, I like to support the game. I especially like it when a game has a “subscription” package. These give a certain amount of premium currency every day for a month, rather than a lump sum all… Read more »
Anton
Member
Anton

So now we know that they guy on Craigslist looking for a big British guy with a hardon is, in fact, Randy Pitchford.

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

Randy must’ve been briefly convinced he was back in his therapist’s chair for a moment there.

Exley97
Member
Exley97

Is Randy Pitchford video interview new?

I still don’t understand how Pitchford has a lick of crediblity or goodwill left at this point, and I’m glad at least a few folks are still calling him out of his repeated fuck ups instead of doing the ball washing that some places are STILL doing (cough, IGN, cough).

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

September 1st, 2017
IGN Unfiltered 22: Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford

Exley97
Member
Exley97

OMFG really? IGN did THIS crap too????

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

IGN’s comments are even calling him out on the scumbag he is.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
Alright, I’m going to say it. I wanted to keep anonymous about it, but the person in question knows how I feel and this has to be known since it directly ties to this video. I have a friend who helped code the initial groundwork for the microtransactions in Shadow of War. When I began to discuss the MTs in Destiny 2 with them, we got on the topic if they are really needed in games such as D2, Overwatch or not… Since they are in the industry, and still do code similar things for another developer, their reply was… Read more »
Exley97
Member
Exley97

I have a friend at a major games company that has a similar opinion, which amounts to “Hey, if people are going to pay for micro-transaction content, then what are we supposed to do? Not offer them?” And my reply is, YES. If you want to maintain a good image and reputation as putting customers first and NOT trying to gouge every last dime out of them, then yes — don’t put stupid microtransactions in your game. While I agree that the gamers who support this crap model are partly to blame, it starts with the actual developer.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Basically it goes back to the parent and the child argument.

A kid misbehaves because they are allowed to misbehave. The parent needs to step up and take responsibility for letting stuff like this happen and get out of control.

Not sure if this is the best analogy, but it really feels like it fits, you know?
Don’t blame the parent, the child is the one misbehaving! Only because the parent lets them, and because they were allowed to misbehave, they have begun to think their attitude and actions are normal.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

No, that makes sense – I see a lot of anti-microtransaction people going “Well *I* have the restraint not to buy microtransactions, so if other people don’t then it’s their own fault”, without considering that forgiving developers and publishers for exploiting certain customers enables them to keep doing it, and increasing the presence of microtransactions in their games even if they themselves aren’t buying them.

Myles Adams
Member
In terms of planning…it depends, IMO. Stuff should be planned ahead of time. Managing features/development time is the point of planning. If some section of sideplot is going to be a DLC down the road, you want to know that so you can shift it lower priority compared to the release content. You also want to know so you can drop some story seeds into the main plot that can develop later (good writing please, not *you must pay $10 for me to talk to you* BS. There’s also different things being done at different rates. The general art for… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Aye, some departments have more downtime than others, giving them ample time to work on more content.
Though I’d prefer the content to be announced and shown after the release of the game, instead of before hand. This makes the purchase feel more complete and might lead to better customer satisfaction. Though that might be part of the plan “See you bought the game, but you don’t have everything.”
To me, it makes me feel like I am buying an early access.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer
Sometimes it’s really blatant, though – when it’s ready to go immediately on launch (such as the Arkham games’ side-campaigns) it means it had to jump through the same post-development hoops (QA, Certification) as the base game, so it could only be ready if it was being made alongside the base game. The classic example of course being Street Fighter X Tekken, with twelve finished, playtested characters present in the retail release but unavailable without DLC to “unlock” them. How many times have we seen games laden with launch-day DLC that ended up sinking because the main game wasn’t up… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Bioware’s infamous Day 1 DLC and literal missing zones in the original Dragon Age.

machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

Don’t forget Capcom’s infamous on-disc DLC characters in MVC 3 and Street Fighter v Tekken.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Oh hell yea.
I call them “Disc-Locked Content”

Chris
Member

Thank you for this post. I’d really like to think maybe this will put to rest the “well it must only be the publisher, the devs would never do this to their work of art themselves” mentality I see in the comments here. Big devs, the kind making these games, are companies who like money too. Nothing interesting wrong with that, but people need to stop acting like they are altruistic or friends to their customers when they are looking to turn profits as much as the publishers are.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

It also depends on the company.
The friend in question regularly talks about how friendly and open their work place is, all their comradely and how much they listen to fans. However as you said at the end of the day, they are there to make money.

machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty
I don’t believe all devs are innocent, I remember listening to the special Podtoid episode where Jim talked with David Jaffe(Developer of the Twisted Metal reboot) about used games, and I can’t remember the last time my respect for someone plummeted so quickly, David Jaffe was such a tool, I was shocked at how much he was defending publishers exploitative business practices(particularly the online pass) and he acted as though he was a victim because gamers had the audacity to trade in copies of Twisted Metal to Gamestop, OMG the horror! I was surprised at how composted Jim was when… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
Yep, any dev who bitches about “Used Games” instantly aggravates me and goes on my shit list. It’s been proven that used sales actually helps the industry grow and promotes new sales of existing IPs because it allows players to catch up to the current release at a substantially reduced price, along with allowing the sale of titles and IPs which may no longer be in print or never really caught on. There are so many wonderful niche and hiddens gems out there, and not everything is offered digitally. If we didn’t have used games, we’d never be able to… Read more »
HelixShade
Member
HelixShade

Well, after reading this, I guess this is the third thing on this topic I get to be sick with today. Honestly, your friend’s opinion on this is quite abhorrent.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

There are two things that I’d really like to know.
#1. How many people in the industry feel this way.
As I said, my friend just does the coding for the online applications, microtransaction and DLC along with other coding duties… but still has has such strong opinions.

#2. How many people in the industry share these opinions about Jim.
This is more of a personal though… but what does the industry feel about Jim?
We already know Randy’s homo-erotic feelings.. (Ok, it was a bad joke but I had to go there.)

HelixShade
Member
HelixShade

I’d weblink stuff, but I’m not sure how the new comments will react to that. However, I feel the two episodes Jim did on Deus Ex; Mankind Divided (“Mankind Derided” and “How Square Enix Kept Meddling With Deus Ex”) would shed some light on that. At the very least, this is not universally accepted even among some Triple A Development Teams.

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS
Square Enix is just weird. They are almost at Nintendo levels of being incomprehensible. ////////////// On the one hand we have the Deus Ex controversies, Hitman being cracked like an egg and discarded, All the Bravest {never forget}, Final Fantasy 15 being milked for every bit of goo it can produce, FF in general being a catch-all term for any weird RPGish spin-off their addled minds conceive of, and the fact Kingdom Hearts is best described as a clusterf— (both business-wide and narratively). On top of many other things I can’t remember, mostly relegated to their mobile releases. On the… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Final Fantasy 13 and 15 being milked like an over productive cow which has since had it’s udders shrivel to a raisin.

HelixShade
Member
HelixShade

Reading this, it sounds almost like at some point in history, some bolt of malefic energy struck Square Enix and split it in two.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

You could also add Before the Storm featuring cosmetic items and content being locked behind a paywall, which rather seems to have gone unnoticed and those elements don’t really seem to have been viewed critically at all. Or in general the entire reason that game exists is due to SE wanting to milk the LIS cashcow. Episode one was good though.

df458
Member
df458
Hi, I work at a studio owned by one of the AAA publishers that Jim’s mocked in the past. I’m going to try and keep things general, but here are my thoughts: I like Jim, and have been watching him for a few years. I’m glad there are people like him out there to point these things out. However, I’m under the impression that most devs don’t share this opinion. From my (limited) experience, the inside of a studio can be a bit of an echo chamber. Where I work, it’s typical to see all kinds of positive feedback like… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

I can understand that, and it’s sort of a part or derivative of the “Backfire Effect.”
Where when someone or something is proven wrong, it just makes supporters of their thing double down in their belief, because they feel like they are being directly confronted now.

Chris
Member
Mostly I think people need to keep it in perspective and not focus their anger at specific people or even specific companies most of the time. The industry as a whole has a problem with this stuff, and if you’re working inside it its probably pretty hard to see that because everyone around you is doing it too and you are getting positive feedback in terms of sales and revenue and you are comparing yourself to the rest of the industry. Pundits and critics from the outside criticizing things seem like ‘the enemy’ and angry customers are easy to write… Read more »
machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

Did you ask your friend how he fault about the whole charity DLC fiasco? Is he OK with WB making money off his dead colleague?

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Never asked honestly, they’ve not worked at the company for a few months.
I’ve since learned that this is quite the hot topic with them, and much like other topics, it leads to heated debates between themselves and I. So I try to avoid bringing it up as of late.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

“Cut Content is just manufactured outrage nonsense. Now let me tell you about how we set aside certain content to be later DLC right from the initial planning phase.”

Either your friend is just genuinely okay with exploiting customers like this, or it’s cognitive dissonance at work – nobody keeps doing something they know is bad, so they either stop (or in this case quit), become more and more miserable over what they’re doing, or work out a way of excusing what they’re doing as not being bad at all.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
Their exact words “Would you rather it be secret? Because I guarantee you in a lot of cases it’s not like “oh the game did well, we should think about DLC”, it’s planned well in advance. Still predicated on whether or not the game does well, but if it’s not planned well in advance, you don’t get DLC for like a year instead of 3-6 months. On Shadow of War, we were talking about what DLCs to plan for in pre-production (2015)” When I pointed out how it stinks of cut content, like stuff that could or SHOULD have been… Read more »
Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer
Oh wow. Yeah, that first friend sounds well and truly on board with the whole AAA ethos there. And if I might say so, like kind of an asshole about it (“wishful thinking to assuage your own ego”? Sheesh!). I suppose for some it must be a matter of learning to live with something about their job they don’t like but if they’re full-on epsousing it of their own volition, I guess it’s just that people who are inclined that way are the ones that succeed in that environment, thus reinforcing it. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down… Read more »
drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

It is in secret though. Unless their development practices are 100% transparent and all material related to them is available to the public from inception to conclusion then it is in secret.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

I genuinely understand working on DLC and new content before the release, but not in the pre-planning phases.
I can see after the development and production stages are complete and they’re just testing and bug squashing months before release, The DLC should begin development then. Because most of the team now has quite a bit of down time, but not along side the development of the main game.

machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

Your so-called “friend” sounds like a complete fucking tool, I personally could never ever respect someone with a disgusting attitude towards consumers like that.

I hope Shadow of War fails so that people like him will get sacked, we do not need toxic devs like that who are happy to exploit consumers.

Chris
Member
Or they sound like a completely standard part of a big, AAA dev or publisher. This is not the fault of one single person, it is a company and an industry that are doing this. No need to make it personal and wish someone out of a job. Interesting you’re saying this now, when you’ve in the past insisted that the devs of Shadow of War can’t /possibly/ be the ones behind these decisions and that WB must be forcing them. Any thoughts on that now that we have a first hand report that the devs were the ones making… Read more »
machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

I know that, but I still don’t have to respect the guy for having such a bad attitude.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Which is fair but there are ways of stating that and there are ways of stating that others would view as one of the ‘mistakes’ you mentioned recently.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

They no longer work for WB and Monolith, though they do currently work for another “AAA” Developer Jim frequently mentions.

However you’re right, their attitude annoys and agitates me as well. It’s almost as if they cannot see the problem because they are so close to the situation.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

He’s one of the Romine Brothers?

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Oh hell no, The Romine brothers never worked for Monolith..
I don’t think any respectable developer…. or any developer would hire them. Hell, after their PR fiasco, I doubt ANYONE would hire them, it would be too toxic.

My friend left Monolith/WB for another big name, AAA Developer. One who Jim has repeatedly spoken out against in their digital/microtransaction practices. That is what I meant.

As I said, they are a friend and while we disagree venomously on this subject, they are still my friend. Which is why I will not reveal more info about them.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
So Jim, how do you define microtransactions? I am just curious because, like many other things in the industry, people seem to use many words interchangeably and i wanted your own definition. I have a few friends in the industry, one of which makes APP games for mobile devices. To his company, microtransactions are any and all items sold through their game, including new hats and outfits. To me, a microtransaction is any “repeatable” digital purchase. Such as the purchase of one time use items (Deux Ex: Mankind Divided), extra lives (Sonic Lost Worlds, similar to old coin-op), loot boxes… Read more »
Deena
Member
Deena

The problem with that definition is that even items you permanently keep aren’t the only ones of their respective categories – you can buy and keep *a* unique skin, yes, but you then have to choose from fifty. What’s to stop you from putting down cash for other skins once you have that first one?

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

That’s still downloadable content IMHO.
You’re paying for content you perminantly download to your system and can use anytime, and redownload it at your will.
I don’t remember what game I’m thinking of is, maybe Arkham City and Knight, but you could be each skins separately for an outrageous price, or in packs for a discounted price, or all included in the season pass.
Some of these skins were around $5-10 a piece at the time if I remember correctly. (Just looked up Arkham Knight on the PS4, the skins are $1 each now, or $2 if you want a pack)

machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

Loot boxes are microtransactions.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
That’s why I included them in the list of various things I consider Microtransactions. To me, Microtransactions are any “repeatable” transaction – One Time Use Items (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided mods. They were only allowed to be used on one of your save slot and then never again) – Extra Lives or Continues (Sonic Lost World, similar to coin-op arcades on how they sold them) – Loot Boxes (Overwatch, Paladins) – Resources (Dead Space 3, Mobile games) – In Game Currency (Too many to count) Now the stuff you BUY with the in game currency can be considered a DLC,… Read more »
Deena
Member
Deena

Oh Randy,
You came and you lied without blinking
So we’ll send you away
Oh Randy,
Your bullshit won’t stop us from laughing
So just shut up today
Oh Randy

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

This is an underrated comment.

MuddyScarecrow
Member

He knows that you have a British accent and that you’re “kind of” a big guy. And that you have a hard on for him. But goddamn if he only remembered your name maybe this helpful young journalist can help! I would love to see some parodies of this somewhere down the line. Like, he’s describing everything about you like your leather top hat and your cane and even starts describing episodes you’ve done but goddamnit WHAT’S HIS NAME?!

MM
Member
MM

he’d be allowed to remember his last name: “Son” and his middle name: “Furking”

R.M.Renfield
Member
R.M.Renfield

I’ve met a couple of fanatics online who insisted LoL was “pay to win”, but it’s not – you can buy all the champs you want and still be totally shit.

As for the Randy Pitchford stuff – loved it. It excites me, it rouses me to see Jim putting on his war plate again, ready to get into another beef with some shithead. Fuck that guy, Jim, tell him what an arse-weasel he really is.

Akless
Member
Akless
League of Legends is mostly fine with how they deal with their micro-transactions and such, but they are starting to follow the “Overwatch” model to an extent. Crates (with separate keys) are now a thing, with each crate giving a single item from it and said items still require crafting with a currency you get from “dusting” previous things you got from crates. That and they have a handful of skins that can only be bought with a separate currency than everything else (gemstones). Said gemstones can only be gained from the Crates as a very rare drop or from… Read more »
InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS

I’m still waiting, even after all these months, for the ability to post sad-sighing .gifs, because I feel like that is the most appropriate response to video games these days.

Now even the ones who made hand-over-fist money doing it as close to right as possible are falling down the awful tree. Hope is dead, long live gambling.

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Wow did Randy really go so low as to do fat shaming? Really?

Amy
Member

Its ironic really, i didn’t know Randy’s name till i started watching the jimquisition.

As for f2p, I say the core gameplay needs to be left alone but add MT’s for cool extras, and let people pay upfront for most if not all of it. I’ve spent loads of money on the MOBA I play and I’ll do it again I tell you, because I can buy what I want and not a chance at what i want.

LegendaryFrog
Member
LegendaryFrog

A new show staring the Duke reciting actual comments from the net? My body is so ready.

MM
Member
MM

Boy.. just like the first time I saw the FucKonami news (before the ‘push the lever’, which IMO spoils the surprise)

Benj
Member
Benj

Pitchford definitely knew Jim’s name right away.

He repeats it to himself over and over again every night before he goes to sleep.

MM
Member
MM

He wants to deny he’s different from all we loyal followers, who mumble Jim in our night prayers every day.. he just needs a little love.. a little tough love if need be.. Monday…
” I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.”
— Luke 15:3-7,
See also: Matthew 18:12-14

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

And remember, if you’re a giant publisher making all the profits using all the dirty tricks, it’s probably best to at least pay your corporation tax to your financially stretched country so you don’t look like a complete capitalist parasite.

Nice backdrop for the Duke there… who’s estate did you break into for that? Or is patreon paying that well these days? 😉

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS

Cait Sith, a robot liar who swindles people by selling them fortunes in an amusement park, has his own theme song.
That theme plays for a good portion of this video.

Make of that what you will.

Pilkington
Member
Pilkington

Born Depressed is back?! \o/
Also, Pitchford, I’m sure you’re a decent guy in real life, but you need to stop defending shit games. =x

MuddyScarecrow
Member
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call him “decent.” If you watch the rest of the interview he basically blames his customers for the game getting a bad reception, saying that it was their fault that they expected so much more out of the game than they should. Which…is definitely confusing since it just seems to suggest that he KNEW the game was shit and it’s our fault for thinking it would be otherwise. Other than that it is so goddamn cringy how desperately determined he is to maintain that the game isn’t bad and that people… Read more »
MM
Member
MM

But they DID expect more, they believed the trailer?! Those FOOLS!

MuddyScarecrow
Member

In the full interview he blames that trailer on Sega. He basically says he and Gearbox had nothing to do with it and they have no idea why Sega made it. Which….didn’t he narrate the fucking thing?!

machine_dirty
Guest
machine_dirty

I don’t actually think the game is that bad, i’ve played far far worse, and it did help that my expectations for it were not that high.

MuddyScarecrow
Member

And that’s totally fair. But a great many people despised it and he’s basically trying to pretend that they either don’t exist, aren’t important enough to acknowledge, are victims of their own hype (that HE drummed up) or are lying cuz they all got hard ons for him.

Dj_Ziio
Member
Dj_Ziio

Yeah, the intro caught me offguard. I was just becoming accustomed to the new theme music. I thought I had clicked an old video at first, especially when I saw Randy.