Titantransactions

Titanfall 2 has recently presented me with an interesting dilemma. After its release, Respawn’s tragically underperforming game opened a microtransaction store – or at least that’s what it’s been called in the press.

As somebody who quite notoriously rails against the practice of introducing free-to-play elements in premium games, I was ready to disqualify it from any year-end honorifics and be grumpy about the whole thing. However, after looking at them myself, my initial inclination was to not classify them as microtransactions – at least not in the way I would for other fee-to-pay games.

While some may think I’m being pedantic, I think it’s worth examining the items available for Titanfall 2 and seeing where one draws the line.

Obviously, for those who have no problems at all with microtransactions of any flavor, or consider anything cosmetic acceptable, this is a cut-and-dry issue. For the rest of us, there’s some meat to chew through here.

Rather than offer premium currencies, gambling systems, or other shady economic options, Titanfall 2‘s content offering is at the very least refreshingly direct, reminding me of older downloadable content from the late 2000s.

The store currently offers various cosmetic “packs” containing paintjobs and skins for the multiplayer, ranging from $1.99 to $4.99. It’s worth noting these skins do not represent indefinite purchases or random gambles like you’d find in free-to-play games. You pay for what you want, you get them, and that’s that.

On the flipside, it’s also important to consider these are not things you can earn in-game, which is a common justification for microtransactions. If you want these skins, buying them isn’t simply a faster option, they’re the only option. At least, as near as I can tell.

Before we go any further, I should say that these are absolutely microtransactions on a literal level. A microtransaction is simply a small payment for virtual goods – it used to mean tiny payments of under a dollar but has expanded over the years to at least cover anything under five bucks.

So yes, going purely by the objective definition, these are microtransactions.

What muddies the water for me is that while they are indeed microtransactions by definition, they’re not entirely representative of what I’ve so regularly called “fee-to-pay” elements. You’re not buying a $60 game that will then keep hammering on you to continue paying additional cash indefinitely. Electronic Arts – in this one instance – is not using a common free-to-play model in order to keep making bank on something it already sold us.

Any form of paid multiplayer content will have similarities with fee-to-pay problems. Even one-shot cosmetic items, like the ones seen in Titanfall 2, will create that “haves and have-nots” economic structure with those who paid to look cooler than other players, thus tempting more customers to stump up some cash.

The same is true for season pass exclusives and pre-order bonuses, as well as any traditional DLC that’s tied to an online community.

Part of what might make this contentious for me is that I remember clearly the time before “microtransactions” became part of the gaming lexicon. Before free-to-play games popularized the term, small payments for downloadable content in games were just considered part of the wider DLC smorgasbord.

Specifically, I’m thinking of things like Dead Space, which had always offered cosmetic skins as their own unique purchases. The big contention with those skins was not that they were “microtransactions” but that they were launch-day items as well as ludicrously priced. Five bucks for a single skin was stupid, and I even said at the time I’d have been willing to maybe buy some if they were a buck or less.

In the years since then, however, microtransactions became the go-to term for these smaller pieces of DLC, but it was so closely associated with the free-to-play market that it consistently represented premium currencies, keys for random loot boxes, and similar schemes that were often acceptable trade-offs for genuine F2P games but took on a grotesque vibe when shoveled into anything that charged money up-front.

Dead Space is actually a prime example of this. Dead Space and Dead Space 2 both had launch-day cosmetic DLC, and people were annoyed only by the fact this content was sold at launch. Dead Space 3 introduced a grind-flavored crafting system with a true fee-to-pay economy, and that‘s when the series was slammed for its microtransactions in ways the previous entries hadn’t.

Many of us, I believe, mentally distinguish microtransactions by their delivery method and impact, not just the amount of money being charged.

I think most of us can look at Titanfall 2‘s DLC as microtransactions on an objective level but it becomes significantly tougher to consider them representative of all the negativity that rightly surrounds the word. Yes, that word has a specific meaning and it applies to Titanfall 2, but language is always evolving and words that have established definitions can take on new meanings altogether with enough use.

The game industry is well aware of this, and has taken steps to mitigate bad publicity.

EA once tried to use the labels “macro monetization” and “micro monetization”, attempting to retroactively normalize microtransactions by dressing them as the natural flipside to traditional post-launch content.

It benefits the game industry to keep terms loose and ill-defined, to keep switching the language and attempting to confuse the audience so things can slip past the radar. With that in mind, you can look up microtransactions to see them defined in fairly broad terms, while different platforms all use different words – in-app purchases, free-to-start, in-app billing, etcetera.

Mileage varies on what is or isn’t acceptable here, and there is no right answer whatsoever. The acceptability of DLC practices is defined only by the individual customer on a case-by-case basis. If you’re buying keys for loot crates, then clearly they’re acceptable for you and I wouldn’t tell you you’re wrong – it’s your money to spend as you see fit, even if I personally hate to see business practices I’d consider scummy get rewarded.

For me as a critic – one who has strong feelings about fee-to-pay that directly impacts my coverage of games – it’s an intriguing question and a knotty issue. Titanfall 2, for example, made the shortlist for the Jimquisition Awards, but my rule that microtransactions in premium games disqualify them for consideration has been pretty hardline and this, by virtue of the wording I’ve used, is easy to shoot down as a violation of that rule.

But I can’t claim to find Titanfall 2‘s DLC to be truly galling due to their one-shot nature and mostly decent pricing. It’s not what I think of when I use the term “fee-to-pay” which, admittedly, is a term I made up myself and never exactly took off outside of my own tiny pocket of influence. I wish it caught on as well as “asset flip” did.

At the very least, Titanfall 2 may well represent the softest possible side of the thorny microtransaction subject. In a year where Overwatch sported a mutilated, unsatisfying reward system and Square Enix royally took the piss with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it’s hard for me to take offense at Respawn’s little marketplace.

Like I suggested only recently though, the “it could be worse” excuse starts us down a rocky road where previously dismal practices gain acceptance because even worse ones keep rising up.

That just leaves me back at square one – on the fence about Titanfall 2, caught as it is in the space between the true definition of “microtransactions” and the excess that is “fee-to-pay.”

It’s something I’ll be giving a lot of thought before my year-end wrap-ups start (which will be very soon!), and it’s definitely something I’ve found rewarding – if frustrating – to mentally tear into.

God though, Overwatch‘s loot boxes are fucking shit.

CaptainDustTree
Guest
CaptainDustTree

From my standpoint, I support these as a way to let the relatively small audience for this game continue to support the game they love.

If it’s a choice between this and no more Titanfall, I’m sure they’re more than happy to spend the cash. It’s why I bought into SFV’s season pass, because I love the game and I want it to stick around.

fireaura08
Guest
fireaura08

Ah, good to see Jim writing an article on this. I too was reluctant to support the microtransaction model but I personally am okay with the way they are going about it, so I bought a handful to continue to support the game. I do hope Titanfall 2 makes it into his final list, it is a truly fantastic game that I bought on Jim’s recommendation.

Benj
Guest
Benj

The crucial difference for me is that we know exactly how much money it takes to get all the content that Titanfall 2 is offering and that amount will always be the same for everyone.

Not so for Overwatch. You could potentially spend the entire US GDP and still not get the one really great item that you friend managed to get for nothing.

sillyskeleton
Guest
sillyskeleton

Untrue. You earn in game currency through loot boxes and exchanging duplicate rewards. You can purchase any item with that currency. I put 40 hours into the game, haven’t paid a cent, and unlocked two legendary skins I wanted.

Matt
Guest
Matt
You can’t purchase profile icons with money, but otherwise true. You’re expected to grind through many lootboxes first, and then once you have enough items, you’ll start regularly getting duplicates that fund purchases of items you actually want. After a few hundred lootboxes, you’ll find yourself getting more duplicates than not, so currency accumulates more the more you get. I don’t have as strong an opinion as Jim on the subject, but I still think it’s pretty shitty. I don’t think it lowers the quality of Overwatch to have them present, considering they’re just cosmetic, but I do think Overwatch… Read more »
Doom Video Vault
Guest

What ever happened to unlocking shit as you played more?

fireaura08
Guest
fireaura08

That is the case for weapons and other skins, which are unlocked consistently through normal progression and the game’s credits (which you cannot exchange real money for).

goodbyejojo
Guest
goodbyejojo

i find this alarming at all, its not like everybody bought the fucking game 😛

Billy Bissette
Guest
Billy Bissette
The hard stance against microtransactions made sense as a statement of standing against what microtransactions would become. That ship has long sailed and/or sank. The “prevention” or “warning” aspect is long gone, and all that is left is a broad arbitrary and arguably hypocritical stance. It seems time to reevaluate any such stance into something more meaningful. Consider this, many years ago people argued against buying any game that had DLC. Would you keep that stance today, now that everything has DLC? Would a “Game of the Year” award even mean anything if you had to strike your first 20+… Read more »
Nitrium
Guest
Nitrium

To those that claim “this is just DLC not microtransaction”, then EA blatantly lied in their presser when they said ALL Titanfall 2 DLC would be free:
https://www(DOT)vg247(DOT)com/2016/11/02/ea-explains-why-all-post-launch-dlc-for-titanfall-2-will-be-free/ (replace the (DOTS) with . ).

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

That’s a pretty good point, actually.

ThinkerT
Guest
ThinkerT

EA isn’t bound to what others argue should be called DLC. They’re only obligated to what they consider DLC, and as long as it’s a reasonable interpretation they’re ok. If this were a situation where the content was obviously DLC, then you could argue that EA was lying, but the fact that there’s this level of discussion makes it hard to argue that.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

That’s the idea. If EA is calling them “microtransactions”, then who are we to argue?

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

Depends on if that is their explaination for this content being free, if “microtransactions” is distinct enough from “DLC” to clearly catagorize content as one or the other, and if this content can be reasonably considered “microtransactions”.

I mean, EA also tried to justify SimCity’s mandatory online connection by calling it an MMO. So it’s not like they wouldn’t try to pull that nonsense if they thought it looked better.

Benj
Guest
Benj

We’re kind of in the position of condemning this as fee-to-pay microtransactions in a full price game OR condemning it as EA going back on their word about all DLC being free.

I personally think it’s the latter.

Dallium
Guest
Dallium
We aren’t remotely in that position. EA gets to decide what DLC means to them. So if they don’t consider this DLC, they’ve fulfilled the letter of their promise. I personally feel they’ve violated the SPIRIT of that promise, but that’s not really relevant. We all get to decide what micro-transactions mean to each of us. If you condemn all micro-transactions in all “full price” games, it up to you to set the bar for what a micro-transaction is or is not. So it would be totally valid for someone to think “gee, I don’t like micro-transactions, but these skins… Read more »
Benj
Guest
Benj
Well I mean, if DLC can mean whatever EA want it to mean then “all DLC will be free” is completely meaningless because anything they charge for can be hand-waved as “that’s not what we meant by DLC”. Essentially this stuff is both DLC and microtransactions. The two have never been mutually exclusive, it’s just that commentary around them has been different. It’s content that is downloaded via small in game transactions. I’m not one for getting strict on definitions but words still mean things and when I get promised that “all post launch DLC will be free” I don’t… Read more »
Nitrium
Guest
Nitrium

If this is neither DLC or microtransactions, then we obviously need a new name for it. I wasn’t happy with calling this DLC, since I don’t consider a skin constitutes “content” (and EA also clearly aren’t labelling it as DLC). And microtransactions usually are some sort of short-cut to get something you could get by grinding (which isn’t the case here). How about Purchasable Cosmetics?

BeerDone
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BeerDone

Read the article. It doesn’t say that all DLC will be free at all. vg247 is just bad at its own titles.

sillyskeleton
Guest
sillyskeleton

Stick to your guns, man. This is the developer trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of a $60 game, same as always.

In all honesty I’d see it as extremely hypocritical for you to knock down something like Overwatch’s microtransaction system, but give Titan Fall 2’s a pass. Both are purely cosmetic.

August Loolam
Guest
August Loolam
The big difference here is you pay for loot boxes in overwatch, which may or may not contain actually valuable stuff, you could end up paying for a set of voice lines and sprays, its that gambling aspect that makes Overwatches loot box system a worse example. Titanfall 2 on the other hand shows you exactly what your getting and paying for, how much its worth in real dollars and you get it. You buy it once and you have it, no buying 10 loot boxes hoping at least one of them contains a pink item maybe even that one… Read more »
sillyskeleton
Guest
sillyskeleton
Both systems have their ups and downs. What I’m saying is if you’re completely against paying for microtransactions in games, then Overwatch has the better one. I won’t pay a single cent towards microtransactions in any game I play, but at least in Overwatch they’ll throw me a bone for every level up I earn. I can appreciate that you know what you’re getting with Titan Fall 2’s microtransactions, but that’s useless if you’re not willing to pay more than the initial purchase price of the game. To be clear, I think both systems are shit. I’m just saying it’s… Read more »
Gurphardt
Guest

>then Overwatch has the better one

I love Overwatch to bits but this is absolutely not true.

K. Scott Ross
Guest

If we didn’t have the term “microtransactions” already associated with things you buy in games, I would have just called this “DLC.” You buy it, you have it. Sure, it might be $5 Horse Armour, but I’m buying exactly what it says on the tin. When I hear “microtransactions” I think “random drops.”

Nitrium
Guest
Nitrium

They can’t call it “DLC” because EA said ALL DLC for Titanfall 2 would be FREE!

K. Scott Ross
Guest

Ha! Way to paint themselves into a corner.

Shui Gor
Guest
Shui Gor

So long as microtransactions cannot affect myself, my teammates and my opponents in online multiplayer matches, where it can give all parties a particular advantage of in gameplay, purely cosmetic-based DLC is fine with me.

John Sarasien
Guest
John Sarasien

Titanfall’s skin micro-transactions remind me of Minecraft’s (console editions) skin micro-transactions. Both purely cosmetic and a way to define your own character in the game.

As long as they aren’t random or require “X” amount of in game money that has to be purchased with real world money, then this is a call back to old DLC rather than “accepted” fee-to-pay.

mth
Guest
mth
In the literal sense of the words, “downloadable content” would be all content that is downloaded to your PC/console, regardless of how you would unlock it. I’m not sure whether this is a useful definition, but at least it’s a clear one. By this definition the vast majority of cosmetic-only content would be considered DLC, but things like XP boosts, consumables and item unlocks would not, since they don’t add new content, only remove restrictions on accessing it. Another way to look at it is to say expansions are large content additions, DLCs are medium-sized and microtransactions are small. Of… Read more »
09philj
Guest
09philj

As a rule of thumb, letting you buy a thing that doesn’t give you an inherent advantage once is fine. Making it pay to win, or making you buy the same item over and over, isn’t.

Bilateralrope
Guest
Bilateralrope

If you do decide to let Titanfall 2 qualify for an award, make sure to set an objective standard for what gets a game disqualified.

Glen
Guest
Glen
As far as I see it, a microtransaction is a kind of DLC or in-game purchase that you are pushed to make repeatedly, for what is functionally the same thing each time. It sounds like Titanfall 2 has ordinary DLC, albeit “cheap DLC” (referring both to price and value). Kind of like, say, Hyrule Warriors, where you could buy certain outfits for characters… but once you bought the outfit, you had it permanently. Even if the “DLC” is just an unlock code for something in the game already (like skins), it’s DLC, because you pay for it once, and have… Read more »
Wraithy2773
Guest
Wraithy2773
Here’s my thing on Microtransactions: 1: If it’s Microtransactions for Multiplayer only 2: If the game either has a strong Singleplayer Campaign or is MP-Only but like $20-30 3: If the game has zero, ZERO paid DLC for Multiplayer when it comes to content but will release free DLC for like a year or more? 4: If NONE OF THIS CRAP TOUCHES THE SINGLE PLAYER. Then fine. I ceed the ground. Just don’t make it Pay to Win. My rationale is basically that if the company is going to continue to develop content for the game post-release, they’re going to… Read more »
greyXstar
Guest
greyXstar
I have to say that while I totally get your stance on this, I don’t it’s necessarily fair to disqualify games from year-end honors because of microtransactions. I think you can absolutely say that Overwatch is the best multiplayer experience of the year, while also devoting time to talking about how Blizzard screwed up the loot box system. Similarly, you could say Mankind Divided was great in spite of that weird extra mode that the microtransactions exist for. Ultimately if a game deserves recognition, then it should get it. I don’t think it makes any sense to have year-end awards… Read more »
diamond
Guest
diamond

Makes sense to me, i’m glad those scumbags at Blizzard weren’t rewarded by Jim for their greed.

greyXstar
Guest
greyXstar

But it’s not an actual prize. It doesn’t come with a big check or trophy. If a critic can give a game a glowing review while also pointing out its shitty business model, then they can give it an arbitrary award.

But yeah, Blizzard screwed up. Which is sad because Hearthstone has the best F2P business model I’ve seen.

There's Always Peng!
Guest
There's Always Peng!

I think its Jim’s way of publicly making a stand against such business practices in all his work. Personally I think Overwatch is a tarnished experience thanks to its micotransactions and RNG loot stuffs, makes me feel as though I’m grinding against the odds.

greyXstar
Guest
greyXstar

I get that. It takes entirely too long to grind for the relatively small number of interesting items. But if you felt that the overall experience wasn’t tarnished by that, then why disqualify it and give the honors it would have gotten to a game that wasn’t as good?

diamond
Guest
diamond

Because it’s a shitty practice that should not be ignored.

There's Always Peng!
Guest
There's Always Peng!

Mainly because its a key aspect of the game. And since I feel like a, its bad design and b, I feel as though my time and money is being exploited; I think the game is lesser experience. Besides there are far better games (in my opinion) that have released this year and to give some of the less known ones a but of limelight is always good.

step1999
Guest
step1999

“in spite of that weird extra mode that the microtransactions exist for.”

There are actually story mode microtransactions in Mankind Divided as well, not just for Breach. Luckily Squenix demanded they were added in like a week before launch, so the devs didn’t have time to rebalance the story to sell MTs like SE told them to.

Drake Warnock
Guest
Drake Warnock
For me this isn’t really a cash shop. It is more an in game marketplace for their DLC. For me the difference isn’t that there is more stuff to buy but how it is sold. The problem for me is charging people for the game then trying to psychologically manipulate people into buying more. That’s why they use seperate currencies; so you don’t notice how much you’re spending. This isn’t the same thing, this is just giving you an easier, more streamlined option for buying the DLC instead of needing to exit the game. As far as I can tell,… Read more »
Nitrium
Guest
Nitrium

EA themselves are NOT calling this stuff DLC since they very clearly stated ALL DLC for Titanfall 2 would be FREE post-launch.

V1rax117
Guest
V1rax117

You aren’t going to start a “bash EA” train just because people outside of EA are calling this stuff DLC. Calm your tits and stop posting the above.. We get it. Titanfall 2 DLC should be free.

Drake Warnock
Guest
Drake Warnock

I thought they said all DLC for things like maps and characters and whatnot was going to be free, not all the skins and cosmetics.

Nitrium
Guest
Nitrium

I guess. It is still paying extra on top of a $60 title, even if “just cosmetic”. The right thing to do imo, really, is allowing users to import their own original or DLed skins (from Nexus, for example). The community would make a hell of a lot more interesting skins than anything EA could come up with.

Kotaro
Guest
Kotaro

Looking at it, this just comes across as regular cosmetic DLC to me. Not a problem at all.

Sapphire Crook
Guest
Sapphire Crook

Jim’s been hit with so many Skinless Overwatch boxes he forgot what regular cosmetic DLC looks like. Poor boglin boy.

Cocofang
Guest
Cocofang

Skins are microtransactions.

Alayen Eisenfell
Guest

“[…] “haves and have-nots” economic structure with those who paid to look cooler than other players, thus tempting more customers to stump up some cash.”

I’d like to see some scientific literature done on the effect DLC has on players in multiple kinds of games and also during multiple stages of it (e.g. adding different prices/models down the line). Because right now, you have a convincing theory, but no actual proof. I might be looking into doing a small scope study… If anyone can refer to me some relevant literature, you’d be a darling.

Drake Warnock
Guest
Drake Warnock

I’m too lazy to look, but I’m fairly certain someone has done a study on how seeing someone with something makes you want to buy it more. They just may not have done the study using video games, though.

Belsameth
Guest
Belsameth

To me this is DLC, not a microtransaction and thus TF2 should win game of the year.
Its dubious DLC, but DLC still.

Sned
Guest
Sned
The line is only drawn for me if I feel the game forces me to buy them. For example, in DX:MD, the game’s economy was balanced to be played perfectly fine without microtransactions. For this reason, I felt like the game was fine, as I could player the whole singleplayer campaign without thinking that I could have a better experience with microtransactions. Games that feel like a grind, but offer microtransactions in order to make the game ‘more fun’ is what really annoys me. In that case, the developer deliberately messes with the economy to make the game less fun… Read more »
diamond
Guest
diamond

I don’t think most devs even know who the hell Jim Sterling is, so I doubt they’ll cry themselves to sleep over not getting a JQ award.

I do think Jim has every right to not reward bad practices, and MD’s MTs were truly scummy.

Sned
Guest
Sned
It’s about principal. If I was a dev who had worked for 5 years on the game, I would not like the legacy of the game to be “The game that had shitty microtransactions”, As that does not do the game justice. To me, it’s about whether Jim’s awards are aimed at the developer, publisher, or the game itself. And then if he is judging the game as a whole, he would need to decide whether the microtransactions affected the way he enjoyed the game. As a disclaimer, I really enjoyed DX:MD, partially because I did not find the microtransactions… Read more »
diamond
Guest
diamond

I enjoyed the game too and did not notice the MTs, but that does not mean i’m OK with them being there, not after I know the whole background behind them thanks the JQ on MD.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Then it’s exceptionally simple don’t include them. If you taint you’re own legacy you deserve the response that comes from that.

Sned
Guest
Sned

It’s not the developer’s decision. No-one at the actual studio wants to include microtransactions in their game – it’s usually the publisher which forces them in.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Then take a stance or have a better contract with the publisher. If they exist in your game you’re complicit in their appearance.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

The publisher holds all the cards at that point. Just look at what happened in the development of Deux Ex: Mankind Divided. Just before being released, the developers received the order of including microtransactions. Which do you think would had been the consequences if they had took a stand?

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

They do but the developer is party to it so they are complicit and have already given up part of their integrity.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

You didn’t answer my question. Which do you think would had been the consequences if they had took a stand?

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer
The most likely result they get fired and potentially gamers don’t get a game or gets handed off a to a third party to input them. The preferable result would be the story would get out as to why and provide a valid reason to have an issue with microtransactions. The thing is if X game coming out from a developer I liked but was being published by a company known for inputting microtransactions in games and it was suddenly cancelled. I’d certainly be annoyed but if it came out later that the reason was that they said unwilling to… Read more »
diamond
Guest
diamond

You are very naive.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

You do get that I’m describing a fantasy scenario that I want to occur not one that features actual realism right? The chances of a developer actually taking a stance and refusing? I’m suspecting a Nirvana reunion featuring Kurt is more likely with a guest appearance from Leonard Cohen.

diamond
Guest
diamond

No developer in their right mind is going to get a game cancelled just for microtransactions, not when they’ve worked on it for years.

You do realize your post is asinine right?

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

As is yours as I’m very clearly stating my point isn’t realistic as there is that vast difference between idealistic and realistic. The criticism would be worth if it I weren’t obviously talking about situations which are not going to occur.

Is a developer actually going to take a stance? No that would be why I suggested that two dead musicians going on tour is a more realistic scenario.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

As he’s being doing games journalism for a decade and knows multiple people in the industry and has been blacklisted by several major publishers for his coverage of their actions I would suspect that Jim is known by quite a lot of people.

dsmush
Guest
dsmush

I understand your predicament Jim just looking at the comments on your article and already its awash with people defending it with the term “it’s not as bad as…” why are we justifying the industry BS. It’s not as thought Respawn said there will be cosmetic DLC to come soon. People who don’t like a have and have not economy may have already bought the game by then.

krazykain
Guest
krazykain

this remins me of Killing Floor 2 getting a micro transaction shop an people losing their shit… even though Killing Floor 1 has these mini dlcs that they just don’t call micro transactions.

Scott John Harrison
Guest
Scott John Harrison
When gamer gate was ironically talking about “Ethics in games journalism” I find things like this and Laura’s recent post about the PS4 slim/Switch leaks are some of the most interesting pieces of Ethical discussion. This,This is a beautiful piece of work about how you are going to Define your Ethical Standards of the Jimquisition Awards – You have a few years back put a ban for nomination of games which include “Microtransactions” but now the term has shifted from your definition and a game in the running has been seen to have “Microtransactions” by some. Your final decision is… Read more »
Mygaffer
Guest
Mygaffer

I don’t think people using the gamergate hashtag were speaking ironically about gaming journalism ethics, I think they were talking about things like the way advertising influences coverage, review events, and the sometimes too close or sycophantic relationships between the people covering games and the people making them.

I’ve never been one for hashtags but those topics are all very worth talking about, although I think Jim has shown what the way forward is, and that is community or fan supported coverage.

Jim Sterling
Guest

“I don’t think people using the gamergate hashtag were speaking ironically about gaming journalism ethics, I think they were talking about things like the way advertising influences coverage, review events, and the sometimes too close or sycophantic relationships between the people covering games and the people making them.”

That’s what they claimed it was about, but they spent all their time harassing people (myself included), issuing threats, and complaining about women – all the while running “ops” to have advertisers pull out of publications they didn’t like, directly trying to influence coverage with marketing.

diamond
Guest
diamond

Hey Jim, have you considered appearing on the Co Optional Podcast this year?

Fallen Prime
Guest
Fallen Prime

I saw an intriguing article suggesting that the alt-right surge that got Trump into the White House has direct ties to GamerGate and may have been forged from it. Both claimed to be working for what on the surface could be a respectable goal (corruption in games journalism vs. corruption in US politics), both are rife with disgusting levels abuse towards people who aren’t straight white dudes, and the more level-headed participants try to excuse or ignore the abuse and claim it’s all working towards the on-paper goal.

GamerGate was a Trump prequel.

diamond
Guest
diamond

I dunno, most Trumpers i’ve come across seem to come from the Jack Thompson school of thought of “all games are murder simulators”

Misha
Guest
Misha

yeah, the adults who dont play video games. look at the 20 somethings that support him

Jim Sterling
Guest

There are definite ties. The whole alt-reich thing has been fueled by the crossbreeding of various hate groups.

Mygaffer
Guest
Mygaffer

Did my reply to Misha’s comment above get removed? If so why?

greyXstar
Guest
greyXstar

Absolutely! Some of the craziest Trump people I’ve run into on Twitter have GG avis.

Mygaffer
Guest
Mygaffer
By saying “I’ve never been one for hashtags” I was trying to say that I’ve never used that hashtag nor considered myself a “gamergater” but before that was even a thing I had some of the same concerns I’ve listed above about how games have been traditionally covered. Now it feels like even trying to speak about those issues is a lot harder to do. If you bring up any of these issues there are many people who will assume things about you. I’ve never told anyone to kill themselves. I’ve never called anyone a “fake gamer girl.” I don’t… Read more »
Misha
Guest
Misha
If what your saying is true, then Jim himself would be called a GGer. Being critical will not get you lambasted or made assumptions about… unless your wording your language in specific ways. The entire point was that it was never about culture war or anything. It was just about harassment, and in order to make it look ‘ok’ they put a pretty bow on it to make people defend them by saying “but ethics do matter”. Yes, of course they do, but journalism has got on just fine for thousands of years covering ethical stories without sinking to the… Read more »
Mygaffer
Guest
Mygaffer

What I said is true for me, I’m just speaking on my own experience.
I’ll point towards someone else though who got lumped in with the worst displays of #gamergate, Totalbiscuit. He initially supported the movement as it aligned with one of his core values as someone who covers games, consumer advocacy. He didn’t harass anyone. But several people came out in 2015 and called him a “gamergate organizer,” a “harrasser,” tried to boycott him and some even went so far as to say his cancer was well deserved. It was ugly.

Benj
Guest
Benj

I agree.

There’s a reason why “…It’s actually about ethics in game journalism” became the ironic punchline it now is.