Jimquisition: Damn Fine Coffee

Jimothy Sterling

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Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?
 

Deacon Cole

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Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.

Real coffee has a roast level that is unique to the bean. Some need to be darker, others need to have a lighter roast. A place that only dark roasts their coffee do so to cover up or burn off the imperfections in the beans.

Also, that "priest with his pants down" comment is epic.

That Overstrike video looked cool, too. Maybe the developer will make it after all a la Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and watch how the cheesy spinoff game outsells the real one. They still won't learn anything, but maybe publishers will retard themselves to death.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Izanagi009 said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?
Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Izanagi009 said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?
Yep, I was right. Geez, developers, get a bloody backbone and make the games that YOU want not what the rest want. You will get more love from gamers and more appreciation from the community as a whole.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Izanagi009 said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?
Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.
I said it already but it's worth saying again. DEVELOPERS, GROW A BLOODY SPINE. i will start to sound like an otaku but look at some of Vanillaware's or Platinum's work. They are full of vibrance and energy and even if they aren't the best, we still love them because they are unique with mechanics that are fun and characters that are over-the-top insane to see.
 

Entitled

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I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
 

axlryder

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by the end all I could think of was


and yeah, I'd noticed this very thing that you were talking about. Back when the Wii came out I was part of a few focus groups, and discovered that most of the people in them were a bunch of idiots who clearly had no idea what they wanted. I felt like the only person there who actually had an opinion on the system, and everyone else was just kind of following the interviewers lead.
 

Arslan Aladeen

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To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.
 

1337mokro

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With milk and lots of sugar.

People don't know what they want. Most of the times they want a dream, but not the actual product. They think they want something but sometimes you just need to smack them on the head and tell them no. That's not what you want. You want this. Now if you want it hand over the money or fuck off!

If you build it they will come. If you ask them what they want you to build they will ignore it when it's done!

Bioshock Infinite is the game it is because of these focus groups. Fuse is the game it is because of these focus groups. Stop using these goddamned focus groups or get an actual focus group, which involves members of all your target audience.
 

Entitled

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Arslan Aladeen said:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.
Then why did they explicitly state that the problem is that there is a female protagonist?

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/20/publishers-rejected-remember-me-because-of-female-lead/
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Well if there was one type of person you can count on to have an overly flattering opinion of themselves, it would be groupies.
 

GonzoGamer

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I think a lot of the pretentiousness we see in games (especially "story driven" games) is also thanks to this social desirability bias. I think many people want to sound like the kind of person who wants to play a slow moving "story driven" game like Heavy Rain because then people might think they're not the kind of gamer that goes onto CoD shouting slurs.

It's probably the same reason everyone thinks all guys want a skinny girl with long hair and big boobs. I know for a fact that there are a lot of guys who try really hard to get that kind of girl just because they want to seem like an alpha male. I find that's it's the most obnoxiously vocal ones that are the ones trying to convince everyone.

I dig the merchandising Jim's decked in this week: nice mug & tshirt.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
This reminds me of something I heard about movie production, probably from movie bob but I can't remember. It was about why we have so many sequels and remakes of movies. Really it came down to being able to protect one's ass. If someone tried to make a wholy original movie and it failed then they only had themselves to blame and be blamed but if they had a bunch of numbers from similar projects then it allowed them to point at those numbers and say "You saw the same stats I did, there is every reason this should have been just as popular."
 

Lyvric

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Lighter the roast - less bitter/stronger flavor, more caffeine
darker - stronger more bitter flavor, less caffeine
medium - just right.

Games are like coffee - it never hurts to try different roasts and mixes. Both can be very addictive. I should probably stop drinking coffee, but that'll happen the day I stop gaming, so, yeah, but no.
 

Ishal

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Priest with his pants down? Hoo boy that gave me a good laugh.

OT: Do publishers really... really ... fill their focus groups with a demographic that they believe will have a reaction that they want? Like, guess we're gonna make this game more like CoD better make sure the focus group is 18-23 yr old Caucasian males hur dur.

Well, I suppose when the echo chamber is THAT far ingrained in the development cycle it explains a lot about the state of AAA games.
 

Dewrah

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I couldn't help but think of Team Fortress 2 while watching the over strike video (similar art style), which immediately made me excited, then crushed by the Fuse video. Dammit Jim!!
 

Tombsite

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?
Actually I do prefer my coffee black, but how can I make you believe me :p

I would still love to play Overstrike. Seemed like such a fun game. Also about Overlord 2. I LOVE that series but I have never even seen the MP lobby.
 

The Artificially Prolonged

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Every time I see that Overstrike trailer I get a little sad, damn it Insomniac you used to be cool, what happened?

On focus groups, I don't now why anyone would seriously ask 12 years olds want they want. They're idiots and generally have no idea what they want.


And what's worse is they have no money to buy your games themselves anyway. What I'm saying if you need focus testers, ask me. I know what I want and have the money to buy it :p
 

tardcore

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Well chalk up video game development as yet another industry to move to the "human centipede" method of production. So instead of trying to bring us new and exciting types of pasta sauce they are all working on turning every game into a thin slurry of shit.
 

Entitled

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Worgen said:
This reminds me of something I heard about movie production, probably from movie bob but I can't remember. It was about why we have so many sequels and remakes of movies. Really it came down to being able to protect one's ass. If someone tried to make a wholy original movie and it failed then they only had themselves to blame and be blamed but if they had a bunch of numbers from similar projects then it allowed them to point at those numbers and say "You saw the same stats I did, there is every reason this should have been just as popular."
On the other hand, the reverse of this is also true, if you imagine online movie geeks as a kind of focus group, that just weren't asked by studios.

The only reason why we tend to imagine "New IP" as the pinnacle of enjoyable entertainment, is because just like with my earlier post's example of "innovation", it's one of those things that we all like to repeat in an echo-chamber as it sounds very sophisticated and intelligent.

Go to a specialized TV show or game or movie fandom, ask people what they want, and they will admit "More of our favorite thing". But ask them all in front of the Escapist forums, and they will all say "New IP", because none of them wants to admit to being That Guy who cares more about a franchise than about the Freshness of the Industry.
 

UrinalDook

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the antithesis said:
Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.

Real coffee has a roast level that is unique to the bean. Some need to be darker, others need to have a lighter roast. A place that only dark roasts their coffee do so to cover up or burn off the imperfections in the beans.
Huh. That makes sense. See, I thought I preferred darker roast and was about to get all uppity with you and say some of us do genuinely prefer it without wanting to be seen as cool. Then I realised that I like Boston Tea Party's dark roast, and that Starbuck's darker stuff is indeed chuffing awful. So there we go. I've learned something new about coffee.

Also, were I ever asked this question in some sort of focus testing, I like to think I would reply truthfully and say it honestly depends what time of day it is. So there's that too.

the antithesis said:
Also, that "priest with his pants down" comment is epic.

That Overstrike video looked cool, too. Maybe the developer will make it after all a la Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and watch how the cheesy spinoff game outsells the real one. They still won't learn anything, but maybe publishers will retard themselves to death.
Well, here's hoping. Won't be holding my breath though. Damn, I hadn't really seen much of Overstrike until looking it up after this video. Looked ace. Fuckin' EA.

OT: Jim, please don't take this the wrong way, but if you've figured this out, why the fuck haven't the developers? I mean, you spelling it out there makes it seem like the simplest fucking thing: the best games are the ones made by the developers who give a shit about following their vision. Just like every other sodding piece of art or craftsmanship. I just wish it were possible for developers to make games with expensive engines and decent voice talent without the big motivator being to make that investment back.
 

Falseprophet

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the antithesis said:
Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.
Preach on. I can't stand Starbucks mudwater. I prefer light roasts anyway, they generally have more caffeine. Actually, I can tolerate Starbucks' new blonde roast for this reason, if I must go there. But I trained myself to drink coffee black--I don't need the extra calories from milk and sugar. It took gradual steps over a couple years to go from two cream and two sugar to black, but I don't look back.
 

Arslan Aladeen

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Entitled said:
Arslan Aladeen said:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.
Then why did they explicitly state that the problem is that there is a female protagonist?

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/20/publishers-rejected-remember-me-because-of-female-lead/
Cause no one admits their games is not that great and they wanted to seem like they were champions in a topical cause, probably.
 

Hitchmeister

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I like my coffee... coffee flavored. Black, no sugar, coffee flavored.

But, on the other hand, don't give me cover and co-op in video games. I want "innovation" despite the fact that it can be statistically proven that 9 times out of 10 anything "innovative" in a video game is going to suck. Sorry, devs and publishers. If you want to please me, you're going to have to fail a lot.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Jim did you seriously talk about beating a dead horse while bitching and moaning about EA?
Seriously Jim? Your teaching the same lesson with a new spin every week now.

Dear God man Diversify.

Not saying it sucks, not saying it's bad.. it's an awesome lesson... And i like reputation Lord knows i play diablo 3,

But come on man Just a little something else. I swear to God we won't all start magically respecting EA 1 week later if you shelf bitching about them just a little bit.

Pretty please?
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Izanagi009 said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?
Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.
Shame on you Jim! Sacrificing your heart and your creativity in the name of pumping out calculated sequels to episodes you've already done, just because you know they were popular. For shaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmeee!

[sub]Love you really. :)[/sub]
 

MisterColeman

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Gamers are getting older and are increasing in wealth and net worth. Why are they focus testing poor college students still? Do they not know what their demographic is? You start off by designing a game most of us will buy because it sounds innovative, not the same old crap we've played 20 times, and then you let focus testers that aren't even us turn it into that repetitive nonsense!?

Even after Jim's video I do not understand why. Why do they do this? That needs to be a video. I do not understand. Doing the same junk over and over again and expecting to sell like call of duty? Have we not told you the definition of insanity?

Lets abuse the coffee analogy. I drink dark, and I also drink coffee I've basically turned into ice cream. Starbucks abuses this by periodically coming up with new ridiculous ways to sell me dessert disguised as coffee.

Call of Duty is our preferred dark coffee. We are not going to buy any other brand of it. We keep bringing it up because it is popular to do so.

You need to come up with the drink of the month. You need to repackage coffee with some personality. You need to make what we actually want. It's so stupidly simple that I fear it is going to remain a rare occurrence.
 

Wyvern65

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Nice video, as per usual. One very related issue you may want to think about or address in a future video is something I've seen little critique or discussion of.

Telemetry.

Game devs seem to be relying more and more on it, and it's pernicious for several reasons. Say what you will about market research and focus groups, the problems with them are known.

Bioware trotting out its stats on people who played ME3 is emblematic of the issue.

It encourages "always online" policies because it saves EA from having to pay a ton for market research (because why bother when you can just datamine your consumer and record every decision someone makes in a game?)

It lessens the possibility of new IP being developed because all telemetry tells you is what someone /did/ like, not what they /will/ like. (Your pasta sauce analogy.)

The largest danger is that it's a ton of data (which investors and risk averse CEOs love) with no context. It doesn't tell you why players did what they did - just that they did something.

Anyway, thank God for you, you sexy madman.
 

Canadamus Prime

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I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.
 

SecretAlienMan

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Some people don't like coffee; I drink hot chocolate instead. Starbucks knows this, and that's why they sell it. If Starbucks only sold lattes and completely suspended the selling of their food and other beverages, then I'm pretty sure their profits will fall significantly. This same example can be applied to video games: If first person shooters are the only type of games a publisher will make, then they are not going to be able to realize their full profit potential.
 

Imp_Emissary

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Entitled said:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
Yeah. You make a good point. Also reminds me of the "Innovation for innovation's sake" episode. Changing or adding things without thought on if it is really needed, or how it will affect the whole game's experience.

I'm glade we're seeing more "fun" looking games now. Things like that borderlands 2 Tiny Tina Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, and the Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon DLC. Those things were made just cause the devs wanted to have fun making something. From what I hear it's working so far. Hope we get more stuff like that in the future.
thaluikhain said:
Priest with his pants down?

Ouch. Wasn't expecting that analogy.
HA! :D What are you talking about? This is Jim. He can compare anything to pedophiles.
 

Voltano

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In defense to focus groups (Which Jim did well at the end), I think they can be useful as a way to listen to the community. Being creative all the time is hard, but what fills creativity is inspiration and/or ideas. Getting ideas from a focus group could lead to a potentially great game, or take a familiar genre of games and add a unique spin on it to make it unique.

But it sounds like publishers are only allowing a niche audience of gamers that are the "Call of Duty" fans into the group, rather than a diverse group of females, "Dark Souls" fans, and middle-aged gamers for testing. Plus it sounds like the output from these focus groups is used as a base-line for a game, not as a way to get feedback from the community. Of course these games are going to be bland and repetitive to "Call of Duty", because you are just making a mediocre "Call of Duty" game to meet the "Call of Duty" fan boys expectations.

Although the discussion on how a person's opinion is influenced by the group is interesting, and unfortunately does lead to poor results. Are these focus groups meant to give their answers as a group or individually?
 

Jimothy Sterling

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canadamus_prime said:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.
It's not sad. If you set the bar low enough by design you can make anything look Brilliant.
Granted that bar is in fact EA,

and yes Jim sterling on his nuttiest worse day will always sound, look, and possibly even smell better than EA. he will be more likeable.

Crap your lowest internet troll (cough Ben yahtzee) could pull that off. it's not sad.. it's obvious.
 

Imp_Emissary

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canadamus_prime said:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.
I don't like it either. Never drink it.

Also, there is a joy in being mad that only madmen know about.
Give it a try everyone! ;) Ya might like it.

Thank God for Jim.
 

Strain42

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Okay, I'd never even heard of Overstrike before, and I usually don't even like shooters of the 1st or 3rd person variety but...Holy Crap, I would have played that. It was an interesting style you don't see very often, it had the goo balls weapon from The Incredibles.

I would have played the hell out of that.

But now it's...Fuse? ...That?

...I'll pass. Thanks Jim.
 

Mr. Q

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First off, in regards to EA's latest clusterfuck that turned Over Strike into Fuse, I'd like to offer the following statement...


Second, I've only had french vanilla from the college coffee machine only when I needed to keep warm during the winter months and that was on rare occasions. If I need a caffeine fix, I'll stick with soda. no energy drinks or that 5 Hour crack substitute for me, thank you very much.

Third, FUCK the majority that focus groups aim for. If there was any group of people that need to be shunned for life, its the over-indulged, selfish, sexist, fratboy douche-bags whose only useful purpose I could think of is being used as human meat shields in the next war this country gets dragged into. No guns, no body armor, just give them a clean pair of underwear and paint giant bullseyes on their chest and face.

Just as Jim (perhaps the few sane madmen in this insane world we live in) stated at the end, focus groups are a tool that can be used properly or abused by the worst individuals in society. For those that use this tool wisely, thank you for practicing common sense and best of luck to you.

To the worthless fuckwits that abuse focus groups, please take the following example to heart...

 

kmg90

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I've played every game Insomniac has developed since the PS1-era, if one thing I noticed while playing FUSE over the past week it's the total absence of feeling/looking like this was made by Insomniac...

The dialog and story is generic as a generic third person shooter can get, complete with terrible attempts to be humorous. Another thing I noticed is the lackluster arsenal of (unique) weapons (one of Insomniac's wheelhouses)

FUSE to me is now the poster child of making a creative studio develop generic, homogeneous games that is restrained by narrow-minded focus groups...
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Social desirability bias? It doesn't happen to me. I prefer to say what I really mean. More people should try it. I think it's more respectful to tell the truth than to simply say what you think people want to hear.
 

Terramax

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It's strange, I much prefer games with female protagonists, either because they characters are more interesting, or because I love to look at a good piece of ass...... yeah, I'm a guy, get over it.

It always surprises me that I'm supposedly the minority that prefer female protagonists.

Anyways, I agree with Jim Sterling. I remember some people here giving me slack because I said it wasn't worth paying full retail for an online version the 10+ year-old Darkstalkers game (including The Escapist reviewer), and yet, so many people won't even likely play that game online all the time. Because there are so many other fighting games, everyone has their favs, and they return to them soon after.
 

Legion

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I like mine black with no sugar. Beyond that I don't have a clue.

One thing I think is worth mentioning when it comes to games with "tacked on" multiplayer is that 9/10 the multiplayer is supported terribly. It's not just that people claim to want it when they don't, it's that when they hear people want it, they don't seem to grasp that simply having multiplayer isn't going to miraculously make the game good. The multiplayer itself needs to be worth actually playing.

A lot of smaller games that include it (for example re-makes or games that in the olden days would have been played split-screen or in the case of fighting games, just on the same TV) tend to have terrible connection problems, or many other technical faults because they haven't put in the effort to make it work properly.

Even games such as Assassins Creed failed to get it right. Finding a working game without either getting kicked out for no reason, or being split up from your party without any warning was a rarity in almost all of the games that featured it.

Or larger games often tend to get incredibly uninspired versions that are literally a copy and paste of what countless other games have already done. The difference is that those games have already mastered it, so why would they want an inferior clone?

People can complain about Halo and COD as much as they like, but nobody can honestly deny that they don't put a hell of a lot of effort into making their multiplayer work. Both on the technical side and the game side as well.

Speaking of focus testing, it was this kind of attitude that irritated me with Gears of War 3. The previous games were primarily focused on single life game-modes so tactics, positioning and skill played an important role. They then decided to make a standard death match their primary game-mode, which basically turned into any other reflex shooter.
 

Headdrivehardscrew

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Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick." - Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.
 

Fappy

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That is a cool fucking mug. Also, thanks for ruining my anticipation for Fuse. Granted, I had totally forgotten about it since that teaser originally premiered, but I think I was looking forward to it subconsciously. Now it will never exist :(
 

Canadamus Prime

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Magog1 said:
canadamus_prime said:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.
It's not sad. If you set the bar low enough by design you can make anything look Brilliant.
Granted that bar is in fact EA,

and yes Jim sterling on his nuttiest worse day will always sound, look, and possibly even smell better than EA. he will be more likeable.

Crap your lowest internet troll (cough Ben yahtzee) could pull that off. it's not sad.. it's obvious.
That's true too. I certainly can't argue with that.
Imp Emissary said:
canadamus_prime said:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.
I don't like it either. Never drink it.

Also, there is a joy in being mad that only madmen know about.
Give it a try everyone! ;) Ya might like it.

Thank God for Jim.
I'm not saying their isn't, it's just sad when madmen make more sense than so-called industry "professionals."
 

Andy Shandy

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Gotta say, Jim, another brilliant episode, as has very much been the case recently. So, bravo, "madman".

And I'm really disheartened about Overstrike becoming Fuse again.
 

Rect Pola

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Focus testing shouldn't be used on a creative aspect because creativity depends on independent thought. There are plenty of more concrete places when a general barometer is a good idea before you're in too deep. Like "does this control scheme suck?", or "was it too vague". That last point actually reminds me Extra Credits did an episode a while back where the optimum approach wasn't what the testers said, but very carefully observing how they reacted.
 

xPixelatedx

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Jimothy Sterling said:
*depression be here*
Frat boys and 12 year old boys? ...REALLY!? That wasn't an exaggeration or anything? Because that's exactly what I've been saying for the last 3 years; it seems to be the only people the industry is really targeting anymore, at least in the triple A department. Last year the only triple A games I bought were Halo 4 and Borderlands 2, because they were the only ones I could stomach. This year? Nothing, and probably going to be nothing out of "the big releases" before the year ends. Though I am happy to hear game sales are down across the board. But that brings me to my real question.

Tell me Jim, do you think sales will eventually get so bad publishers and devs will realize this is unsustainable, and finally break themselves of the cycle? Or do you think they will stubbornly 'stay the course' until we have another crash?
 

kmg90

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Headdrivehardscrew said:
Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick." - Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.
It's funny that Ted would say that since the code name for the Resistance 2 private beta was titled Girl With a Stick...

Still have the save data for it on my PS3 for (lack of a better word) sentimental purposes
 

Elijah Newton

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Funny thing about Coke, and focus-testing, actually.

In April 1985 the company briefly replaced the familiar Coca-Cola formula with one called "the new taste of Coke". This new formulation was not well received and after a few years was withdrawn from the market, replaced with a slight variation of the old recipe (the primary difference was that cane sugar was replaced with high-fructose corn syrup), briefly identified as "Classic Coke" before returning to its identity as simply "Coke"

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_formula, skip down to "New Coke" )

This was a pretty deliberate switch, though, driven by money. The short of it was that "New Coke" was designed to fail so Coke could win points / free publicity by pretending to cater to fans when it switched back to 'Original Coke', while disguising the change in taste that came from shifting from cane sugar to HFC. Coke needed to make that change because sugar was two to three times as expensive as HFC. Apparently the initial focus testing showed that without the intermediary, and deliberately foul, New Coke, customers would not endorse the new taste.

FWIW, the New Coke wikipedia entry lists this as a conspiracy theory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke#cite_ref-Oliver183_41-1 ), which for some reason amuses me. The one or two people still reading this post may be interested in "The Real Coke, the Real Story" by Thomas Oliver ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Coke-Story/dp/0140104089/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370278175&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Real+Coke%2C+The+Real+Story )
 

Vault Citizen

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As an athiest who am I to thank for Jim when he descends from the mountain to deliver his truth?

Strange joking aside good episode Jim.
 

Erttheking

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Call of Duty has a soul and is made from the heart...Jim, you're gonna need this.

http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/13/132850/2262045-FlameShield.jpg

Also it kinda feels like you're stagnating a little. This feels like a retread of the pasta sauce video, and while I liked that video, it feels like the same thing here worded differently. Maybe you could make videos about things you really like in the industry to spice things up. You've already got countless videos saying "don't do this," a few videos saying "do this instead," would be a nice compliment.
 

Gearhead mk2

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MEANWHILE, IN EVERY AAA PUBLISHER'S BOARDROOM...
OT: This is just sad. Even leaving out the fact that I hate fratboys and dudebros with a passion, while would you want to cater to just them? There are so many other markets with more money to spend on your products, and the fratboys and dudebros are already satisfied with their yearly dose of spunkgargleweewee.

Oh, and... Insomniac, I am sad for you that your game got turned into what it is now by EA, but honestly what made you think signing up with EA was a good idea?
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
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Voltano said:
In defense to focus groups (Which Jim did well at the end), I think they can be useful as a way to listen to the community. Being creative all the time is hard, but what fills creativity is inspiration and/or ideas. Getting ideas from a focus group could lead to a potentially great game, or take a familiar genre of games and add a unique spin on it to make it unique.

But it sounds like publishers are only allowing a niche audience of gamers that are the "Call of Duty" fans into the group, rather than a diverse group of females, "Dark Souls" fans, and middle-aged gamers for testing. Plus it sounds like the output from these focus groups is used as a base-line for a game, not as a way to get feedback from the community. Of course these games are going to be bland and repetitive to "Call of Duty", because you are just making a mediocre "Call of Duty" game to meet the "Call of Duty" fan boys expectations.

Although the discussion on how a person's opinion is influenced by the group is interesting, and unfortunately does lead to poor results. Are these focus groups meant to give their answers as a group or individually?
Exactly this.

Everyone wants to be Call of Duty and all they do is ask Call of Duty fans how to improve their shitty clone, ironically, so that in the end, they don't buy it because they already have frakking Call of Duty.
 

geizr

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Game publishers are looking for a magic silver-bullet that will magically make massive profits as a result of no, or, at best, extremely minimal, effort on their part. Unfortunately for them, no such bullet exists.

EDIT: Corrected "not just" to "no such". Can't believe I didn't catch that the first time.
 

rofltehcat

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So let's assume I'd get into a focus testing group and all their questions would be coffee-related and in their feedback form to fill out I can't just tell them "I don't even like coffee! Give me hot chocolate and black tea!" except in the 2 lines space at the bottom that nobody will read anyways...
yeah, my answers would probably disregarded or their coffe would range from mediocre to horrible.
 

Zeles

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I think that developers and publishers should sit down together and ask eachother: What would be fun?

What will make this game more enjoyable to play?
 

Lono Shrugged

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DAMN fine episode......and HOT!

You may enjoy Jim http://www.javadistribution.com/coffee/david-lynch-signature-cup-organic-coffee/
 

tardcore

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Magog1 said:
Jim did you seriously talk about beating a dead horse while bitching and moaning about EA?
Seriously Jim? Your teaching the same lesson with a new spin every week now.

Dear God man Diversify.

Not saying it sucks, not saying it's bad.. it's an awesome lesson... And i like reputation Lord knows i play diablo 3,

But come on man Just a little something else. I swear to God we won't all start magically respecting EA 1 week later if you shelf bitching about them just a little bit.

Pretty please?
So a new game comes out and in almost no way resembles the game it was at the beginning of the development process. Jim goes on to explain why this is and gives us an excellent look at how focus groups and companies chasing the almighty dollar are generifying gaming to death. And all you got out of this was that Jim is bashing EA. Seriously if anyone here is narrow mindedly obsessing over something, I don't think it's Jim.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Jim seems to be confused regarding why games are made and what focus groups are for. Games aren't made because a company thinks it will be cool to make this game but because they want to make money. So it makes sense for the developers to talk to a focus group made up of their target audience to see what these people are willing to spend their money on. No matter how well made a game is or how much fun it was to make if it doesn't appeal to enough people if will fail. A good example of this is Psychonauts, which for years had poor sales because it simply didn't appeal to most people.

Jim's complaints that focus groups are bad because they aren't diverse enough is deeply flawed. Given that Jim complained about games being changed after feedback from a focus group made up of the people a company is trying to sell their game to I'd hate to think how much he'd complain if a game was watered down to appeal to men and women of all ages.

Finally the problem isn't so much with focus groups but the way the people in these groups are asked what they want. Indirectly trying to find out what people like is an effective way of determining what will be popular.
 

GamemasterAnthony

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Things have gotten so insane that the madman makes sense?

That has to be one of the most poignant(sp?) things I have ever heard. A sad truth, but still...
 

II2

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That's the sketchiest, coffee clubhouse I've ever seen. The kind where attempts at 'brewing coffee' yield low purity piles of MDPV.

I'm just kidding. I know it's just a picture of a crappy shed, but it's a welcome addition the regular rollodex of shrimp, kids halloween costumes and meat.
 

Proverbial Jon

Not evil, just mildly malevolent
Nov 10, 2009
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Headdrivehardscrew said:
Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick." - Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.
Wow... that just makes Insomniac sound like complete idiots who simply get lucky with each franchise they put out. I suddenly feel much less respect for them.

erttheking said:
Call of Duty has a soul and is made from the heart...Jim, you're gonna need this.
Jim's right. Call of Duty is about the only franchise out there that isn't trying to be like anyone else. They have their target market and they make very specific games that cater to that market. Because of that they are successful. It also means that the developers don't have to suffer the wrath of useless focus testers and they are free to make the god damn best explodey shootey grey shooter they like.

You may not like COD personally (neither do I) but it does what it does to a high quality and that means that someone somewhere cares about what goes into the game.
 

Trishbot

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It hurts. It hurts so much.

This is like a reverse-Borderlands; a generic, realistic, dirt-brown shooter that was turned into a quirky, bizarre, stylized loot-a-thon. Only this went from a quirky, stylized, interesting-looing game into a dull, generic, forgettable flop.

The thing is, we KNOW Insomniac is better then this. They've proven it over the past decade and a half. "Overstrike" looked like a breath of fresh air in a sea of lifeless, violent, gritty, dull shooters, and it instead became one itself.

Shame.
 

nodlimax

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I always love to name Dark Souls in this perspective (even though I haven't played it....yet). The Lead Designer made decisions based on what he would love to see in the game and look what it got them.....SUCCESS! Who would've imagined?
 

Ishigami

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I don't like coffee... consequential I crossed ?Overstrike? from my ?that could be interesting? list when it became Fuse.
 

TheNarrator

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Entitled said:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
I can only speak for myself, but I know I mean it when I say I want innovation in games. Some of my favourite games of all times are (in no particular order) Magicka, Hammerfight, Hotline Miami, Mount&Blade, Portal, Braid, ... What all these have in common is that their core mechanics were different from other games, and exploring these mechanics was half the fun. And it's really about these different game mechanics for me. I didn't care much for Braid's "artsiness", if that's a word, but I loved the game beneath it. And I enjoyed the humour in the Portal games, but that wasn't the most important reason why I enjoyed it. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a well made game in a more classic genre, by the way, but usually (not always) they're more forgettable.

As I said, I can only speak for myself, but I'm not sure you're right. In my perception, there are more people on the internet complaining about poor graphical fidelity or bad storylines than about gameplay stagnation (though I'm not sure, this may be biased). There may be people who, after playing a poorly made CoD clone like MoH, claim that they want innovation without actually meaning it; but I think that, for every such person, there's three people that just say "lol, not as good as CoD", without pretending they want anything else.
 

RTR

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As part of my studies in computer technology, one of my classes was about designing interfaces. A good chunk of my final project consisted in putting together a study of an app I designed which involved putting together a focus group. This consisted of running a survey with general questions about their use of mobile apps and the current situation that I was looking to solve with an app. It also included a test where the user gets to try the app. However, instead of telling the user what to do, we would let him/her use it freely for a few minutes. The purpose of this was to study the manner in which the user used the interface and his reactions to it. Was the user frustrated? Bored? Did he notice any problems?

Of course, the purpose of the test was to make the interface as simple and straightforward as possible to use without compromising its functions, which is what any user would want. The only way this test can be done with a game is to test the controls and functionalities. However, when it comes to subject manner of a game, it's very counter-intuitive to assume that data and charts can determine the tastes of people. In an ideal world, developers and auters would be able to express their vision in a game without having to resort to catering to the industry's current common denominator (the COD audience) and combine that with an intuitive and functional interface, which is what focus groups in the game industry should be focusing on.
 

Lurklen

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I remember being so excited about Overstrike (though the name was crap) when I saw it at E3. I'm not normally excited about new shooters coming out, but this game looked fun. It had a sort of saturday morning cartoon for adults vibe, with a tongue in cheek sense about itself. Plus it was designed with co-op in mind, it looked like the kind of game you want to play with your friends so you could spend the whole afternoon laughing your ass off and blowing shit up.

Then it became Fuse and lost all it's character and all of my interest.
 

IamLEAM1983

Neloth's got swag.
Aug 22, 2011
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Entitled said:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
I'd say that's right enough. We all want "innovation", but what innovations do we actually want?

Listen to those crickets, man. They be chirpin' pretty hard.

Innovation is a vague concept to most gamers, like the concept of "more" in Disney movies, as dreamt of by the incumbent Disney Princess of the moment. We want innovation because like it or not, there's a certain amount of habituation to our hobby, and we don't want to be essentially replaying the same old shit over and over. The thing is, most gamers know about jack shit in terms of game theory or narratology, so they're stuck hoping and being unable to formulate coherent wants and needs.

So what do you do to try and fit in, during a focus group? You blindly agree. Oh yeah, a cover system. Oh yeah, make it gritty; I'm maybe sure I'll possibly like that, but I can't voice my lack of certainty because we're all here for the donuts and coffee and easy 200$! Yes, make the protagonist a brown-haired male! I mean, uh, Call of Duty, right? Wanting a game to be like CoD is good, right?

Right?

Nope. Focus groups aren't the problem, the problem is that people who participate in focus groups are afraid to speak their minds. As soon as you're stuck in a group of people, fear of ridicule becomes a factor. If there's a *single* Brown FPS player in the room, you can be absolutely fucking certain that everyone else in the group will try and pander to his tastes, because *he* embodies the statistical hardcore gamer. *He* is the one guy who needs to be sold on the premise at all costs.

There's a science to making things fun to play with, and ideally, if the gaming industry wants to keep expanding, it'll have to create a generation of educated gamers who are far less passive. I'm not saying we all need to be NeoGAF or GamesIndustry fanatics, but staying in the realm of casual interest means you won't be able to contribute to any serious games-related debate. Playing does naturally impart some basic game theory tidbits, but the end result is still a gaggle of neophytes who can't really design coherent mechanics for shits and giggles.

That, I think, is the real problem. Gamers need to be educated. That way, our preferences and what we'll mention as advantageous aspects in focus groups will expand.
 

Toilet

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Speaking of people doing the same thing over and over I would like Jim to Jimquire about something different (or positive) instead of the same "Publishers are the problem." episode I have been watching for the past few weeks.

Arslan Aladeen said:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.
Either way Remember Me won't sell and the dudes at the top will blame the use of a female protagonist instead of the game being shit and the fact it had very little advertising. I didn't even know it came out this week until I saw Jim on Twitter say his review for it was was out.
 

Callate

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Perhaps a side point is that video game companies (and undoubtedly, many other companies) have stopped treating focus testing like a science experiment that has to be evaluated for biases and flaws, then refined. Instead they treat it like a tool that came out of the toolbox perfected for purpose regardless of how it's set up or used. There are ways to lessen the likelihood that players will pick what they feel to be "socially correct" rather than what they actually want; failing that, there are ways to glean what they actually want that in some instances may be more accurate than simply asking them. (If you offer people a stack of games and let them play what they want for as long as they want, and they say they're mad for Call of Duty but actually spend all their time playing Bejeweled...) Events like the aforementioned "frat boy" testing and the "Last of Us" testing that failed to include any female gamers seem like such contemptibly obvious mistakes that one had to wonder if any thought went to the process at all- or was it simply that they handed the process off sight unseen to someone unqualified and ticked off the "focus testing" check box?

Jim's gesticulating and melting into his podium in the first minute-and-a-half was wonderfully expressive.
 

Wolle

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Vault Citizen said:
As an athiest who am I to thank for Jim when he descends from the mountain to deliver his truth?
Thank Jim for Jim.
 

Ashoten

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I like my coffee super saturated to the point where there are always sugar and coffee crystals floating at the bottom. 2 healthy scoops of instant coffee, 3 large spoons of sugar, and about 1/4 cream if I can get it. I want to be puckering my lips when I drink my coffee.
 

Arslan Aladeen

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Toilet said:
Speaking of people doing the same thing over and over I would like Jim to Jimquire about something different (or positive) instead of the same "Publishers are the problem." episode I have been watching for the past few weeks.

Arslan Aladeen said:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.
Either way Remember Me won't sell and the dudes at the top will blame the use of a female protagonist instead of the game being shit and the fact it had very little advertising. I didn't even know it came out this week until I saw Jim on Twitter say his review for it was was out.
That's unfortunate, but seems to be the likely outcome. I feel like all this behind the scenes stuff and backdoor politics is one of the worst things to happen to games and movies. Can't judge anything by the actual content. Now I have to worry about what kind of person is making it and if they said some out of context remark on twitter and what impact the game has on society.
 

LetalisK

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axlryder said:
by the end all I could think of was


and yeah, I'd noticed this very thing that you were talking about. Back when the Wii came out I was part of a few focus groups, and discovered that most of the people in them were a bunch of idiots who clearly had no idea what they wanted. I felt like the only person there who actually had an opinion on the system, and everyone else was just kind of following the interviewers lead.
I've never heard that song in full. I never realized how good that song was, I just always got put off by the repeated and auto-tuned "Ma-ma-ma".

Muse has a fetish for riot scenes though, don't they? >.>

That said, I'm now curious about Remember Me, but after looking at its metacritic, I'm worried it's very mediocre. Also looking at the metacritic, I realized there is a population of shitty little trolls that just rate games for god knows why despite never having played it.
 

UNHchabo

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Elijah Newton said:
Funny thing about Coke, and focus-testing, actually.

In April 1985 the company briefly replaced the familiar Coca-Cola formula with one called "the new taste of Coke". This new formulation was not well received and after a few years was withdrawn from the market, replaced with a slight variation of the old recipe (the primary difference was that cane sugar was replaced with high-fructose corn syrup), briefly identified as "Classic Coke" before returning to its identity as simply "Coke"

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_formula, skip down to "New Coke" )

This was a pretty deliberate switch, though, driven by money. The short of it was that "New Coke" was designed to fail so Coke could win points / free publicity by pretending to cater to fans when it switched back to 'Original Coke', while disguising the change in taste that came from shifting from cane sugar to HFC. Coke needed to make that change because sugar was two to three times as expensive as HFC. Apparently the initial focus testing showed that without the intermediary, and deliberately foul, New Coke, customers would not endorse the new taste.

FWIW, the New Coke wikipedia entry lists this as a conspiracy theory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke#cite_ref-Oliver183_41-1 ), which for some reason amuses me. The one or two people still reading this post may be interested in "The Real Coke, the Real Story" by Thomas Oliver ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Coke-Story/dp/0140104089/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370278175&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Real+Coke%2C+The+Real+Story )
Some bottlers were already using HFCS instead of cane sugar before taking the original off the market, so I doubt that was the reason. I'm willing to believe that it's possible they introduced New Coke in order to get people passionate about "Old Coke", but I doubt it. I'm a big fan of the phrase "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

One of the primary motivations behind creating New Coke was to make it sweeter. Pepsi had always won taste tests against coke because it's sweeter, but the problem is that focus group taste tests only use a couple ounces at a time. When drinking that small amount, most people will prefer the sweeter drink. However, when drinking 12 or 20 ounces at a time, Pepsi is too sweet for many people, so they prefer Coke. So there's some more evidence that focus groups need to be handled carefully...
 

LordMonty

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Jul 2, 2008
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Don't like coffee but like Jim, thank god.

Also I'm an english tea drinker nuff said. To expand, I see games as art, true art is an impusle at the start not even an idea, a feeling, a mood, a half remebered memory that may or may not have ever been. I write badly but enjoy it I wouldn't write a book to sell the most books, I will write a story that moves my heart and soul, where or not i can convey what i feel is down to skill in said writting(or in any form of art). This all saddens me at my core.
 

CrazyCapnMorgan

Is not insane, just crazy >:)
Jan 5, 2011
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Jimothy Sterling said:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video
Brilliant episode, Jim. One question, however.

As you talked about developers, publishers, the games industry at large...and then added coffee to both the title and the discussion...


I would've thought this would've been a given, all things considered.

OT: Developers need to grow a collective pair and tell publishers to fuck off as it concerns making the games.
 

Dragonbums

Indulge in it's whiffy sensation
May 9, 2013
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Wow. Overstrike looked really cool, and in the back of my head I said "I wanna get this game NOW" Fuse however...I am very sad. Just another dull bloody game. And here I thought we would get another shooter like TF2. Then again...EA.

And to answer your question Jim- I am a pump with milk and douse with sugar/cream coffee gal(on the rare occasions I drink coffee anyway)
Now excuse me while I go back to the shame shack with all the other unsophisticated coffee enthusiasts.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Callate said:
Events like the aforementioned "frat boy" testing and the "Last of Us" testing that failed to include any female gamers seem like such contemptibly obvious mistakes that one had to wonder if any thought went to the process at all- or was it simply that they handed the process off sight unseen to someone unqualified and ticked off the "focus testing" check box?
Most likely they didn't consult females because they were targeting a male audience. Seriously if 90% of the people who play this genre are male then getting feedback from female gamers is likely to make your product worse as it won't be as focused on your core audience.

I don't know what sort of changes you'd need to make to Call of Duty to make it as popular with girls as Angry Birds but these changes will probably be hated by the people who like Call of Duty because it will radically alter this game.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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I worked for a focus group company a few years ago. People would sign up to be apart of our database, give us some details (age, income, whatever), and we'd get contacts from companies who wanted to do market research.

The years I worked there... I have never seen a survey group that was polled just to get an idea. Every survey was carefully put together to get the maximum amount of people who would probably already like the product. IE if it was a Merlot company, they would only want to hear from red wine drinkers.

The companies defeat themselves. They see what they want, but do not realize that the product they want to emulate is already out on the market... so there's little room for them. Why lose out on sales from a market you hope to tap into at the cost of sales that you already generated the hype from? To tap in Call of Duty, they lost most of the goodwill they created. And didn't tap into Call of Duty. Why do these people still get placed in positions of leadership?
 

Dfskelleton

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That depresses me, the game you showed at the beginning looked awesome, and, seeing what it's become... eugh.

And while we're talking Coffee: Personally, I actually do enjoy black coffee, but I'm not particularly picky about it, either. I'll drink it from just about anywhere, from the most pretentious cafe in town to my local Sonic and McDonalds. As long as it doesn't taste like sand, then I'm all good.
I started drinking it around the time I was watching Twin Peaks, and I've been a happy camper ever since.
 

Darth_Payn

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Wait, Jim, did you use Bioshock: Infinite as an example of focus-group driven vomit or a product of pure, unrestrained vision? Because it sounded like you used both.
I was part of a focus group to test out an unfinished version of STAR WARS: Battlefront II, and I had a blast! We played a mission, mentally jotted down what went wrong, and told the developers what needed fixing. We also voted on which commercial to use. And we gots paid, son! So, in space battles, when they point out where on the enemy capital ship to launch missiles or drop bombs, that's partially thanks to me.
GonzoGamer said:
I think a lot of the pretentiousness we see in games (especially "story driven" games) is also thanks to this social desirability bias. I think many people want to sound like the kind of person who wants to play a slow moving "story driven" game like Heavy Rain because then people might think they're not the kind of gamer that goes onto CoD shouting slurs.

It's probably the same reason everyone thinks all guys want a skinny girl with long hair and big boobs. I know for a fact that there are a lot of guys who try really hard to get that kind of girl just because they want to seem like an alpha male. I find that's it's the most obnoxiously vocal ones that are the ones trying to convince everyone.

I dig the merchandising Jim's decked in this week: nice mug & tshirt.
Hmm, I didn't think of that before. What do you mean when you say "pretentious"? I get the feeling it means that the game's story is calling you the player an awful person, or something like that.

captcha: OSCARS
If this was a MovieBob video, I'd have a more clever comeback to that.
 

DeadCoyote

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Feb 1, 2011
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As far as i can tell, videogeme publishers and developers just don't know how to work with focuss groups. Wich is quite sad. Because we've covered all sides of working with them at 3d year in university, wich means that people who work on game marketing are incompetent as hell. =(
 

shadowstriker86

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Hey wait, so...

>companies use kids to test products

>products are rated M

Isn't that like...i dunno....a crime?
 

mjc0961

YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
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Okay, got that out of my system. :p Onto the video.

EA RUINED IT THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO OVERSTRIKE! Insomniac should have stuck with Sony for their publisher, or at least gone with absolutely anyone else other than EA. Fuse is a big steamy pile of shit and I blame it solely on EA because after 3 generations of playing great Insomniac games, I know what kind of awesome games they're capable of making when not under the thumb of the most evil game publisher in existence.

HAHAHA, loved the bit about how the game industry chases smooth young boys like a priest. XD Also, nice GTA mug.
 

wetfart

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Jimothy Sterling said:
How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?
Well since you asked, I prefer a light roast and I take it black. Medium is okay in a pinch. I never really developed a taste for dark roasts. Though I wouldn't mind trying a robusta coffee someday.

Delicious Coffee
 

loudestmute

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I was browsing through the Battlelog forums one day (please, I beg you, don't make that same mistake), and saw a massive amount of threads asking to put a Zombies-type mode in Battlefield. The most common explanation given (okay, second most, because a majority didn't bother justifying the need) was "Coz Call of Duty has one."

I glanced over at my gaming collection, noticed more than five zombie shooting experiences (seven if you count ones without "Dead" in the title, and wept openly about the thought of another goddamn zombie game because "That's what the kids like."

Then I saw today's Jimquisition, and sobbed some more. Well done, Jim. You've brought me to tears you magnificent bastard.
 

PunkRex

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I was wondering who that was I played Overlord with online... have to get them cheivos right?
 

PunkRex

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shadowstriker86 said:
Hey wait, so...

>companies use kids to test products

>products are rated M

Isn't that like...i dunno....a crime?
This one's making to much sense, SEDATE HIM!
 

XDravond

Something something....
Mar 30, 2011
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And yet again he talketh the truth to the people and the people listened and heard it was the truth....

To bad it's just "the people" and not the ones deciding to make crap games...


I think they should use focus groups to see what the shouldn't be making, in other words what the focus group liked, try do the opposite and see what happens...
Like I wonder what "focus group" thought that an of the following would be successful Minecraft, Angry Birds, PvZ, Bastion, Journey and so on... They are no where near CoD... And I REALLY want Mirrors Edge 2, and I really don't care that "the focus groups didn't like it", Strong female lead, very different FPS (with clumsy annoying shooting), and well some sort of story to get you form point A to point B, I would probably pay to see that pitched to a "focus group" or executive...

And I think Mojang (sure they are small) are doing most right, they are listening to much of what their fanbase wants and gives it to them. Is it really that hard to scale up to "AAA" games?...
Sell a Beta at a lower price, then listen to what the (dumb ;-) people whom bought it thinks and fix it...
 

loudestmute

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Darth_Payn said:
Wait, Jim, did you use Bioshock: Infinite as an example of focus-group driven vomit or a product of pure, unrestrained vision? Because it sounded like you used both.
The game itself was a product of pure, unrestrained vision. The MARKETING for the game (re: box art, TV adverts, etc) was the product of going wrist deep into a frat boy's anus and sniffing your hand afterwards to see what they like.

...Unless my definition of "brofist" is completely different from the actual thing.
 

loc978

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"I like my coffee black, just like my metal."

"I like my women like I like my coffee: black, bitter, and preferably free-trade."


For serious. I don't necessarily prefer a darker roast, but I fucking hate sugar and cream in my coffee. Sometimes a little dark chocolate doesn't go amiss... maybe a hint of cinnamon now and again. Also, I'm not big on drip, espresso is always better.

Oh wait, this is about games. Fuck, I hate consumer culture. I want my niche back.
 

Tinybear

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Aug 27, 2010
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Is it wrong that I am starting to have sexual fantasies of the Jimquisition videos becoming the new videogame developer gospel?
 

Gottesstrafe

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What's not shown immediately after the end credits roll is Jim doing a spit-take after realizing he left a trout in the percolator. Still, that was some damn good cherry pie. Just don't make eye contact with the log-lady across the counter...
 

IndianaJonny

Mysteron Display Team
Jan 6, 2011
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GonzoGamer said:
I think a lot of the pretentiousness we see in games (especially "story driven" games) is also thanks to this social desirability bias. I think many people want to sound like the kind of person who wants to play a slow moving "story driven" game like Heavy Rain because then people might think they're not the kind of gamer that goes onto CoD shouting slurs.

It's probably the same reason everyone thinks all guys want a skinny girl with long hair and big boobs. I know for a fact that there are a lot of guys who try really hard to get that kind of girl just because they want to seem like an alpha male. I find that's it's the most obnoxiously vocal ones that are the ones trying to convince everyone....
Brother, that's a pretty profound start to the week. Nice going. :)
 

orangeapples

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The problem with the focus groups as Jim pointed out is that they are not an accurate cross-section of the gaming community. Everyone wants the 12 year old boys who play call of duty, but the only game they care about is call of duty. If the developers spent time caring about the rest of the market (you know, the part of the market with money), they would sell more games.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Proverbial Jon said:
Headdrivehardscrew said:
Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick." - Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.
Wow... that just makes Insomniac sound like complete idiots who simply get lucky with each franchise they put out. I suddenly feel much less respect for them.
Except it WORKED for them. You'll note he said nothing about how much publisher interference was involved in the games in question. Somehow I doubt focus groups and publisher demands were responsible for any major changes in AGWAS/R&C. Whereas you can be damned sure they were responsible for the major changes in Overstrike/Fuse.
 

ConanThe3rd

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Jul 3, 2012
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I actually like Hot Chocolate and Tea over Coffee so yeah. I'm a rebel with as many Dragon Quest games as I can carry.
 

zinho73

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A little tale to illustrate how focus groups should be used.

Several years ago I was a marketing manager at a shopping mall and the supervisor insisted in making a focus group to see what kind of store we should bring to the mall. A lot of people said that they wanted store X (a sportswear brand) and the super was intent on inviting that same store to the mall.

But this is how I read it:
. We have a lot of sportswear fans at the mall that are not buying sportswear stuff here because they are already buying elsewhere. Their loyalty is already elsewhere and to change that is an uphill battle.

Conclusion:
. Let's bring another sportswear brand that people never heard of. It is novel but aligned with our costumers tastes. They say they want brand X because it is all they know. The new sportswear store was a huge success.

In the words of Henry Ford: If I've had done exactly what people want me to do I would have given them a faster horse.
 

zinho73

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Jst to finish my thoughts: Focus groups data are data for interpretation not to follow blindly.
 

Bazaalmon

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I actually love black coffee, if the beans are good. Preferably Ethiopian or Brazilian, always fair-trade. If I'm getting coffee from Starbucks or whatever, I add milk and splenda, but when I use my french press, I love blacker-than-midnight-on-a-moonless-night coffee. It's freaking delicious.
Yeah, I'm a coffee snob.
 

Akytalusia

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but... but i really do like my coffee black as midnight on a moonless night... anything weaker might as well just be coffee flavored tea, or water... anyway.. it would benefit us all if the industry started listening to you. i wonder if there's anything we can do to get that to happen. it's a damn shame if none of your words are reaching any significant ears.
 

TheKrigeron

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You could have just made a GTA background jeez Escapist

How do you make this shit in a week? damng good content
 

Proverbial Jon

Not evil, just mildly malevolent
Nov 10, 2009
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ravenshrike said:
Except it WORKED for them. You'll note he said nothing about how much publisher interference was involved in the games in question. Somehow I doubt focus groups and publisher demands were responsible for any major changes in AGWAS/R&C. Whereas you can be damned sure they were responsible for the major changes in Overstrike/Fuse.
Yeah, you have a point there. From what I understand both Half Life and Halo were very different games during the iniial stages of their production. We may have ended up with far inferior games had the respective developers not decided to change things for the better.

It's just a little odd that the concept of Girl with a stick is SO different to Ratchet and Clank, I mean you'd think a game development studio would have a clear idea of the type of game they are making first.

The article linked by Headdrivehardscrew contained this line from CEO Ted Price regarding Overstrike/Fuse

Ted Price said:
At the time, when we showed Overstrike in 2011, we weren't where we needed to be with the weapons. We had some cool concepts on paper and in the video, but ultimately, when we started playing the game, the weapons lacked heft, they lacked impact, and they lacked that fun factor that we believe is at the core of every one of our games.
In short, Insomniac themselves orchestrated the changes to the game, it was not a product of publisher pressure. The most baffling part of the whole thing is that Overstrike, a fun, stylised and colourful 4 player shooter, turned into Fuse, a grey, gritty, cover based shooter, because they thought the guns weren't "fun" enough. Why would you change the tone of the game so dramatically when your guns were the problem? Surely the OTT nature of Overstrike gave far more opportunity for fun guns and silly gameplay.
 

Vegosiux

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And this is why it's so hard to be a rational consumer. Because the entire market is skewed towards people who spend cash they don't have, on things they don't need or want, to impress people they don't even like or care about.

Keep going, Jim. While I could have said all you've said yourself, I could not have put it even remotely so well.
 

GonzoGamer

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Darth_Payn said:
GonzoGamer said:
I think a lot of the pretentiousness we see in games (especially "story driven" games) is also thanks to this social desirability bias. I think many people want to sound like the kind of person who wants to play a slow moving "story driven" game like Heavy Rain because then people might think they're not the kind of gamer that goes onto CoD shouting slurs.
Hmm, I didn't think of that before. What do you mean when you say "pretentious"? I get the feeling it means that the game's story is calling you the player an awful person, or something like that.
I mean the habit of making something relatively mundane and trying too hard to make it seem like its so much more important. Like in the aforementioned Heavy Rain you have to sit and watch your character's kid eat dinner and do his homework. Doing these things with your real life kid is important when you're doing it but I would never make someone else watch and doing this with a game npc you've just met is absurdly tedious.

Or in GTA4 (minor spoiler you probably already know BTW) where they kill off that girl you went on a date with that time and expect you to get all emotional, not taking into account that you probably killed 60 people just driving to that location...on the sidewalks.

IndianaJonny said:
Brother, that's a pretty profound start to the week. Nice going. :)
You should hear me after I've smoked a couple of spliffs.
It's not all that profound when you think about it. How many people did you know in HS who tried really hard to "fit in." How many HS graduates have you met that have matured since then?
 

Lilani

Sometimes known as CaitieLou
May 27, 2009
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Magog1 said:
Jim did you seriously talk about beating a dead horse while bitching and moaning about EA?
Seriously Jim? Your teaching the same lesson with a new spin every week now.

Dear God man Diversify.

Not saying it sucks, not saying it's bad.. it's an awesome lesson... And i like reputation Lord knows i play diablo 3,

But come on man Just a little something else. I swear to God we won't all start magically respecting EA 1 week later if you shelf bitching about them just a little bit.

Pretty please?
He'll have a reason to stop talking about it when it stops being a problem. He kicked off this video with the new Insomniac trailer as evidence that this still is a problem. Also, I don't think he's had an episode completely dedicated to focus groups. He's talked about them a lot, but never gone this in depth.
 

PoolCleaningRobot

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Entitled said:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
Dear god, all my this^^^

I hate it when people in threads don't even realize they've turned in the buzz word spewing people they're criticizing.
I hate brown shooters!
Indi games all the way!
Games need color!

Just ranting as thought putting those things into a game is some kind of magic recipe for success.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.395876-Sonic-06-Objectively-Better-Than-Portal

Best. Thread. Ever.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
24,760
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Entitled said:
On the other hand, the reverse of this is also true, if you imagine online movie geeks as a kind of focus group, that just weren't asked by studios.

The only reason why we tend to imagine "New IP" as the pinnacle of enjoyable entertainment, is because just like with my earlier post's example of "innovation", it's one of those things that we all like to repeat in an echo-chamber as it sounds very sophisticated and intelligent.

Go to a specialized TV show or game or movie fandom, ask people what they want, and they will admit "More of our favorite thing". But ask them all in front of the Escapist forums, and they will all say "New IP", because none of them wants to admit to being That Guy who cares more about a franchise than about the Freshness of the Industry.
Personally, I've gone on record as thinking the "innovation" craze and the whole "new IP are necessary" are ridiculous, and I'll keep doing it.

Also, throw in immersion, since most people keep using that word and I don't think it means what they think it means.
 

TurboPanda

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The most ironic thing about this problem is that market research almost prevented Modern Warfare 1 from happening. If it wasn't for Infinity Ward practically begging Activision to give them a chance the generic modern military shooter wouldn't exist in the first place. http://uk.gamespot.com/news/activision-did-not-want-modern-warfare-infinity-ward-6232123
 

Arawn

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Once again Jim makes sense. But I'm curious how it's gotten like this. I've done so many alpha and beta tests, you'd think with the feedback companies would see the error of their ways. But really how can this happen? You don't walk into a T-Mobile store and start asking who likes T-mobile. You're supposed to get John Smith And Sally Jane on the sidewalk and see what they think. Yet it makes sense if you are targeting a certain group. With every survey I've taken I've spoken my mind as best I can. Still there's no telling if it made a difference. It's been pointed out that they shift results to favor their desired outcome. Or as mentioned they rather play it safe than go out on that limb alone. Sure the studies show if we add Unicorns and Rainbow cats to the game everyone will like it. But when the sales don't come through it's not my fault. We all saw the data. Abit lame, but innovation is risk and no one wants to try too hard. Stick to the formula.


http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/reviews/previews/9916-Overstrike-Becomes-Fuse

Yeah I remember when I saw that announcement. I was shocked to say the least. Who made that call? While it's nice to see that parts of Overstrike lives on in Fuse. The original idea looked so much more appealing. But it's possible it would have had the same mechanics as the current game has. Would the appearance and style have pushed the sales? Hard to say at this point.
 

Aardvaarkman

I am the one who eats ants!
Jul 14, 2011
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Uh, New Coke was a massive success.

It refocused attention on the Coca Cola brand, and away from Pepsi. People were buying Coke in massive quantities and stockpiling it. And then they got to re-release Coke as "Coke Classic" to incredible sales. Meanwhile, Pepsi was left in the corner getting no publicity for their brand.
 

Loop Stricken

Covered in bees!
Jun 17, 2009
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Dewrah said:
I couldn't help but think of Team Fortress 2 while watching the over strike video (similar art style), which immediately made me excited, then crushed by the Fuse video. Dammit Jim!!
I couldn't help but think "what fool wouldn't want to play as this [http://media1.gameinformer.com/imagefeed/screenshots/Overstrike/os_izzy.jpg] cute asskicking redhead?"
 

badgersprite

[--SYSTEM ERROR--]
Sep 22, 2009
3,820
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Focus testing is riddled with problems. Ever hear the phrase, "A cow is a horse designed by committee?" That's what you get when you try and make a game that pleases everyone by adding one element and taking away another. You please nobody at all.
 
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I am a girly-girl and gay and full of cooties![footnote]And you can quote me on that.[/footnote]

That is to say, I am more inclined to play a female protagonist than yet another grizzled space marine in boxy armor.

And I drink mochas. With whip. Blended if it's a warm day.

238U
 

Baresark

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I'll expand on what Jim was talking about further with my good old friends, Kahneman and Tverski. Their work revealed that peoples tastes are NOT constant. People by their nature are irrational. That means that when people said they wanted those things in the focus groups, they may have actually wanted to see those things. But people's taste are not constant. Everyone's tastes actually change from situation to situation in completely unpredictable ways. It's the irrational mind of the average person they are trying to design a game for, and that will always lead to failure.

Edit: I do take my coffee black. But I have never met anyone like me, who actually likes to take their coffee black. That said, if you take your coffee black, you probably prefer a lighter roast, not a rich dark roast. When you add cream and sugar to your coffee, you need typically need to have a darker richer roast to even have a discernibly noticeable flavor of coffee. Focus groups are twats.
 

Jewpacabra

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Just a thing about new Coke... didn't Coke make massive amount of cash re-releasing "traditional" coke back into the wild? And the people went nuts over this old thing they had loved, released as new again, at a massive mark-up, because when the new thing came out all trace of what we loved was...well not scorched from the earth, but my point is the console market now is like the soda market of the mid to late 80's
 

Breywood

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I do like my coffee dark roasted, but it's because I can get away with using less grounds to make a good flavored coffee. I also don't drink it with milk or sugar, but I usually have something to go with it like a muffin. I find black coffee helps when I've got the flu because it seems that I can starve the virus of sugar and kick it within 4 days, if not sooner.
 

Reyold

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All I want to know is how Overstrike became... that thing. 'Tis a sad day indeed.
Zeles said:
I think that developers and publishers should sit down together and ask eachother: What would be fun?

What will make this game more enjoyable to play?
That's a good question to ask. Unfortunately, the publishers are more interested in making money rather than making a quality game. And that's because:
geizr said:
Game publishers are looking for a magic silver-bullet that will magically make massive profits as a result of no, or, at best, extremely minimal, effort on their part. Unfortunately for them, not just bullet exists.
Exactly. Quality requires effort, plain and simple. If you don't pour your heart and soul into a game, chances are good it's gonna suffer for it.
 

Atmos Duality

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I actually do prefer a dark roast...But then coat the beans in chocolate and freeze them for later.
Mmm...delicious.

Of course the biggest publishers are going to lean heavily on bias focus groups; they're all chasing that magic demographic that buys the same bloody game every bloody year without fail. Why? Because Activision's competitors are starting to fail; they're panicking and in their panic the most logical thing to do is to find out whatever is working for the guy in first, and copy it relentlessly.

By far, Activision-Blizzard is at the top of the AAA totem pole, with the most healthy revenue. Revenue that is generated almost entirely from just TWO mega cash cows. TWO.
Outside of Skylanders, I literally cannot think of another Activision title apart from CoD4.x.

What does this tell the other publishers?
"Well, if Activision-Blizzard can make megabucks on two Golden Geese, we can too!"

Failing to realize that in a creative information-based medium, DISTINCTION has more value. EA can copy CoD4.x down to the polished animations, but they cannot ever distinguish themselves by doing so, and thus, it can never hit the same marks as CoD4.x.

Same thing happened in the MMO genre. How many games blatantly copied World of Warcraft? From the stupid quest givers with glowing punctuation marks over their heads, to the toon-cel graphics to the arrangement of the interface?
You know how many of those clones knocked WoW off its perch and poached all of that sweet effortless subscription money?
NONE. NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE.

The AAA Publishers are lost and confused; they have known so many years of effortless success that they just don't know what to do anymore, so the suits fall back to copying whatever is most popular to the exclusion of everything else.
And because of this, I don't really care if I miss out on the majority of titles they release because chances are good that I've seen it all before.

Reyold said:
All I want to know is how Overstrike became... that thing. 'Tis a sad day indeed.
EA happened.
 

CardinalPiggles

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My hot drinks are always milky, with one sugar, I couldn't drink them any other way.

This episode really opened my eyes too. Publishers still actually use focus groups? They're insane. That's like holding an election but only letting 30 random people vote. What is the fucking point?
 

uhohimdead

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anyone know the specific song used in the background as jim talks? i tried looking for it via the artist but to no avail
 

CyberMachinist

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Atmos Duality said:
Failing to realize that in a creative information-based medium, DISTINCTION has more value. EA can copy CoD4.x down to the polished animations, but they cannot ever distinguish themselves by doing so, and thus, it can never hit the same marks as CoD4.x.

Same thing happened in the MMO genre. How many games blatantly copied World of Warcraft? From the stupid quest givers with glowing punctuation marks over their heads, to the toon-cel graphics to the arrangement of the interface?
You know how many of those clones knocked WoW off its perch and poached all of that sweet effortless subscription money?
NONE. NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE.
If there is one thing I've learned about trying to work for this industry, from what I've been observing, it's that being both a rational (as well as clever and astute) businessman and a gamer (or have good gamer knowledge) is a fundamental requirement to survive in this industry, with a chance of actually succeeding. Doesn't hurt to throw in some psychological knowledge to help your chances considerably.

Maybe that's the reason publishers are so dependent on things like focus tests, cause that's all they really know how to do, handle business, and even then they're bad at it, especially in gaming with the way they "control" the variables in their own tests.
 

Nowhere Man

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I find it odd how gamers are stuck in the position of dealing with publishers that rely too much on focus groups while those that make the consoles don't listen to a lick of what we say at all.
 

Zer0Saber

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I like my coffee like I like my women.

Ground up and in the freezer.

Lets hope greenlight and kickstarter can help alleviate the problem of publishers wasting tons of money on some mediocre vanilla broad appeal game, then spending tons more money telling us how awesome their mediocre vanilla broad appeal game is, then are shocked when their mediocre vanilla broad appeal game is received by us as a mediocre vanilla broad appeal game, and the reviews are ,"Meh."
 

Atmos Duality

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CyberMachinist said:
If there is one thing I've learned about trying to work for this industry, from what I've been observing, it's that being both a rational (as well as clever and astute) businessman and a gamer (or have good gamer knowledge) is a fundamental requirement to survive in this industry, with a chance of actually succeeding. Doesn't hurt to throw in some psychological knowledge to help your chances considerably.

Maybe that's the reason publishers are so dependent on things like focus tests, cause that's all they really know how to do, handle business, and even then they're bad at it, especially in gaming with the way they "control" the variables in their own tests.
Maybe they are stuck in their ways; I mean, this latest console generation was the most profitable of all in gaming history; that's pretty solid reinforcement for behaviors that worked before.

Of course, things change, and they don't know what to do except blindly chase what still seems to work.

To use a (bad) analogy:
Instead of planting a variety of crops, they are instead tilling and retilling the same fields in the hopes that their bland grain will somehow stand out among all the other bland grains because one particular kind of bland grain always manages to sell well. And when their bland grain yields fail to meet their sales expectations, they try again, and again. And again.

All the while, failing to realize that they can work a particular field with a particular crop only so many times before its yields fail entirely.
 

Mylinkay Asdara

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Nov 28, 2010
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Entitled said:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.
Yes. Y'know what I want in a game? The same things I've liked all along. I like to talk to npcs and read flavor text and be given free reign at some point (though don't over do it and get me lost or give me 7,000 things to do - all opposite ends of the map all the time - before breakfast) characters I can relate to, laugh at, become entirely too attached to, or genuinely hate. Fantasy setting preferred over Sci-Fi. but a well done entry in the second category is better than a poorly done offering from the first. A new thing I like is: let me play a girl because I am one and that's way cool for me when I get to be one digitally too - but not if it's going to botch up the whole thing you already have going or something, if you've got a good enough vision I'll take a walk with you in my dude strut. Don't ever make me do anything with the controller other than push the buttons (and we know where the right places are for what by now, so use those - don't get fancy and reverse them for giggles on me without letting me control that setting to put it right!). I like DLC - I like content that extends my gameplay and makes the game worth another play to enjoy, more specifically. Yes, I will shell out $5 for your extra baubles and outfits and trinkets, but you better have something more than the fluff incoming to keep me putting your disc into my console so that actually happens and I don't miss all that by totally not caring anymore. Stop trying to take away my ability to make a hard save - autosave is nice and well and good, as a complement to - not a replacement for - the hard save in my book.

Most importantly - if you're going to make a game I don't like: good for you! I don't have to like every single game ever published, including yours. Sell to the people who want to buy what you wanted to make. If that's me, super! If that's some other Escapist, also super! Sometimes it will be both of us, but it doesn't and shouldn't have to be every time. Stop homogenizing the things I like into things I don't like - the average that results is me liking the things less overall and that's a bummer for me. And a bummer for the people who really love the games I hate, who are stuck with stuff I like now in their games - which they no doubt hate.

Also: Coffee is for flavoring the milk that is for delivering sugar when I drink of cup of that stuff.
 

MB202

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It's so weird, I hear people complaining that they want oneline multiplayer for all KINDS of games, but I have to wonder, how many of them are going to use it? I never use online multiplayer, so I don't pretend that a game should have it.

So once again, Jim speaks the truth! Thank God for Jim!
 

uncanny474

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Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble with the video refusing to load after about 56 seconds? I have FiOS, and every other site (including other escapist videos) is working fine. It's just this video. I tried CTRL-F5ing, too, to no avail.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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The coffee industry has programmed people to want a "rich dark roast" for the same reason the gaming industry wants "cover based shooters", that's what they want to sell.

If consumers can be programmed to believe they want a "rich dark roast" the coffee companies can sell blends with a high percentage of robusta beans. Anyone who actually knows anything about coffee will explain to you that "robusta" is coffee-speak for "cheap shitty beans from Thailand and Vietnam". Often sold under cover as "fair trade" coffee these beans have a very strong flavor, but they taste like ass. If you roast the hell out of them, though, the burnt taste at least partially covers up the ass taste and you can "blend" in a small amount of light roast arabica to make a drinkable cup of mud.

Real coffee drinkers prefer arabica beans. These beans have a milder flavor, but they actually taste good and can therefore support the lighter roast most coffee drinkers actually prefer (whether, as Jim has so eloquently noted, they admit it or not). Unfortunatly for the coffee companies arabica beans are also much more expensive than robusta beans, and the consumers that buy them are savvier. This means at retail "100% Arabica" may cost more than a "blend", but it brings in a much smaller margin.

The game industry already makes cover based shooters. It's just easier to keep reskinning them than it is to actually try something new.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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I cant help but feel Planetside 2 did this.

It keeps fumbling around trying to be an answer to Battlefield 3, and every single update is more hats and cosmetics rather than fix the very broken balancing between infantry-tanks-air.

AA too easy , too powerful? Lol nope, you gotta deal with it.
Anti tank too plentiful and powerful? Lol nope.

Now they want to add bubbles over bases so vehicles have no reason to be spawned ever. Might as well be call of duty.

All of this because Higby and team think Call of Duty infantry fights can save their dying MMO. There was a time when games were made with foresight, and actual thought. It seems this isn't the world we live in anymore.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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I don't think Overstrike would have been a much better game. It might have had better aesthetics and it was probably supposed to be lighthearted and humorous, but I don't think the core gameplay mechanics would be any different than they are in Fuse, and reviewers aren't really praising those.

But it's easier to see all the flaws when the game is so dull that every single boring thing doesn't even have a place to hide. At least in Overstrike the boring shooting could have been hidden behind some pretty stuff.
 

I.Muir

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I remember having this particular conversation with randoms on /v/ a month ago
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Adam Jensen said:
I don't think Overstrike would have been a much better game. It might have had better aesthetics and it was probably supposed to be lighthearted and humorous, but I don't think the core gameplay mechanics would be any different than they are in Fuse, and reviewers aren't really praising those.

But it's easier to see all the flaws when the game is so dull that every single boring thing doesn't even have a place to hide. At least in Overstrike the boring shooting could have been hidden behind some pretty stuff.
Aye, flair can do much to hide flaws, even if its only for a little while. I mean god, personally I think the first Ratchet and Clank game is the weakest of the series (mainstays that is, not the spinoffs). It has none of the upgrading, health-leveling (as seen later on), and has a final boss that serves as no challenge besides being a horrible bullet-sponge. Yet the aesthetic and humorous flair the game exudes helps minimize all of those faults. It carried me to the end of the game, and a few fights against the last boss.

Mayhaps it would of been the same, but I'll say this. I have yet to see a game that switch from completely gritty/realistic to more lighthearted/cartoony and not succeed. I mean hell look at Borderlands, or by their own admission the Ratchet and Clank games.
Now, tell me of all the games that went from lighthearted to uber-gritty/realistic, and were big hits... because I sure as hell can't think of any.
 

CyberMachinist

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Atmos Duality said:
CyberMachinist said:
snip
The only question now is when? When will the field that is the gaming industry stop being fertile and you won't be able to grow the same game types anymore? cause at the moment it seems like there is still some nitrates in this field.

I'm pretty sure it was entrepreneurs like bill gates and Henry ford that changed their trade businesses old mindset and made enormous profits off it, granted I'm not sure if these are good examples but you know what I'm trying to say.

This kind of thing is what happens when you let old men run the world(a little reference for you) they can't replicate the same success that their outside-thinking predecessor made so they end up doing what they think will work based on the past because they don't have the same insight as the guy who knew how it worked and how to go beyond it.

captcha; Dalek asylum? Aren't we all in an asylum in this world filled with Daleks.
 

Zeraki

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I never heard of Overstrike before... and now I'm sad that I have. That game actually looked interesting. The game it turned into, looks like just another generic pile of 'meh'.
 

Callate

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uanime5 said:
Most likely they didn't consult females because they were targeting a male audience. Seriously if 90% of the people who play this genre are male then getting feedback from female gamers is likely to make your product worse as it won't be as focused on your core audience.

I don't know what sort of changes you'd need to make to Call of Duty to make it as popular with girls as Angry Birds but these changes will probably be hated by the people who like Call of Duty because it will radically alter this game.
It's not a zero-sum game. You don't necessarily lose a male audience by gaining a female one. Actually, the tendency to pick a choice based on what you believe your peer group would approve makes it at least as likely that a product's designers taking a broader perspective will open up the possibility of introducing elements that one type of audience would enjoy, even if they aren't currently aware that they would enjoy those things because they're limiting their consumption to what their peer group enjoys. Thirty years ago, people were still making jokes along the lines of "We had sushi back where we came from; course, we called it 'bait', hyuk hyuk." Now you can find sushi restaurants hundreds of miles from the water because people discovered, hey, this "sushi" thing could actually be pretty tasty.

It isn't some either-or dichotomy with Angry Birds and long talks about feelings on one side and Call of Duty and grunting about trucks on the other. It's possible to make games that appeal to a wider audience without diluting or disparaging things that appeal to a "core" audience. But first, things like focus testing have to be judged with a caution and thought and not simply perceived to be hard data that plots an unquestionable course to the motherload.

"The Last of Us" is already seen as having taken a significant risk in including a female character who is vital not just to the story-line but to the game play. But having taken that risk, to fail to consider the possibility that the game could appeal to both a male and female audience would just be short-sighted, even from a strictly business-oriented point of view.
 

Metalrocks

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true. even games that are average at least, you still can tell more or less if the developers put some effort in to it. this impression remember me gives me and im sure i will enjoy the game one way or another.
yes, RE6 is not a RE game anymore but as a shooter its actually still entertaining.
 

Redd the Sock

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First off, I appreciate that just about every commentator on the games industry sees lack of AAA innovation as the most serious issue at hand, but this is just getting fucking repetitive. I get it. They get it. What we don't have is a solution that doesn't put their companies in immediate financial risk.

I'm honestly amazed that focus groups are still relevant int he internet age. A well place forum question can get you all the info you need and more ideas than you could implement. Proper usage comes down to the right questions: more "what you we like to see" and less "what games to you like" taking into account that some people lie, and others may have had every intention of using said feature or buying said game, but when it's a big month, sometimes you just buy Skyrim like everyone else. On our end, we need to be reasonable. Gamers want everything to be a mega epic quest with all the trimmings, but that gets expensive so it isn't a surprise they want to market to a game to the demographic they know won't ask for much. Similarly, if all we bring to the table is lists of things we don't like instead of a few new ideas, we can the "impossible to please" label and get ignored.

But then, as others have said, innovation is more a buzz word than something we truly want. There's a lot of indy games to sate the thirst for something new, but somehow that $5 is too big a risk on a new game, even though we spend more than that for burgers made of pink slime and grease.So many metrics go back to companies through achievements, trophies and digital buying systems, that they probably have a better idea of what we'll buy than we do as we claim to want something new, but play the umpteenth sequel, or the COD clone.

And just for the record, I hate coffee. I don't even really like coffee flavored things.
 

likalaruku

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Needs at least half of cup of 1/2 & 1/2 & half a packet of Sweet'n'Low, & that's only if I'm not in the mood for one of a billion different flavored creamers. I bore with flavors quickly so I rotate them. If the coffee-to-flavor ration is imbalanced by being too sweet or too diluted, I'll dump it out & start with a fresh cup.

You could say I like my games the same way.

Am I the only one who adds cream until the coffee is the exact same color as my skin?
 

mbarker

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It's a classic case of the snake eating its own tail. Its not that focus groups are bad or inefficient and stupid. The biggest problem is that the publishers have already told everyone on the focus group what they want and they are just paroting that. Using a small group of profesionals to judge and anylize a problem is a common method used in statistics, of course these views are usually kept unbiased.

The only real solution to using a focus group is to get one that is completely untainted by industry nonsense and the only way to get one of those is to wait till the industry realizes that it needs to change.
 

lastjustice

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Yes Thank God for you Mr Sterling. I almost have to doubt many of the game industry actually watch this show or take any of it on face value or you'd see someone else trying make sense of it all.

They want to make check list of what I want here we go...

- Make me a pile of damn Good Jrpgs....remember back in the PS1 and PS2 you couldn't walk down a game aisle and not almost trip over them. They re on the verge of extinction nowdays. Square has become the emperor with no clothes as they don't seem remember how make games that you actually can play. (I've been recently replaying Chrono trigger, Final fantasy 1,4 and 6 on GBA looking back like how far the mighty have fallen.) and Suikoden never seemed to get a big enough following in the states to keep making them. I'd like some turn based, some actiony ones, and some strategy based ones. Give me a ton of different ones with whatever crazy ideas you want to add. Go nuts, just start making them again. I'm tired of them being banished to Handhelds and DLC. Someone out there make them in earnest. This is a corner of the market greatly under served.

- Games I can play co op with people in the same room. Yes we have the internet and who wants to share a split screen right....wrong. I miss the days of playing 4 player multiplayer in the same room. Tearing thru waves of bad guys in an action game with my brother. Alot of games seem to not want to make the co op local. (which I hated about War for Cybertron.)Wii seems be the only system that still tried give us that experience. PS3 and Xbox 360 have dried up this well for most part.


I'm sure I can add more, but these are things Id like to see more of in the future.
 

kburns10

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Never saw that original trailer for Fuse. The cartoon look was really cool and reminded me of Team Fortress 2. I would have much rather played that than what they ended up releasing!
 

JohnnyDelRay

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Maybe I'm a total ignoramus (rhetorical question ok, shutup) but I thought people answer anonymous surveys and provide statistical results more truthfully than they otherwise would when speaking to their buddies/colleagues/partners or whomever? In any case, this proves to be very different, or maybe that's because we are on forums. So I can think of 2 different scenarios going on here, in the case of GAMES, because that's what Jim's explanation refers to:

A) Gamers are simply providing superficial results to the focus groups, because they don't go parallel with what gamers are actually buying; they say they want innovation but in fact continue to buy the big franchises as quick as they can be released.

B) Gamers are providing truthful results, and would go more in-line with what we read on forums, but they just continue buying the stuff that comes out anyways, because of....other reasons? The higher quality, better graphics, what? And don't tell me "customer service"
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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JohnnyDelRay said:
Maybe I'm a total ignoramus (rhetorical question ok, shutup) but I thought people answer anonymous surveys and provide statistical results more truthfully than they otherwise would when speaking to their buddies/colleagues/partners or whomever? In any case, this proves to be very different, or maybe that's because we are on forums. So I can think of 2 different scenarios going on here, in the case of GAMES, because that's what Jim's explanation refers to:

A) Gamers are simply providing superficial results to the focus groups, because they don't go parallel with what gamers are actually buying; they say they want innovation but in fact continue to buy the big franchises as quick as they can be released.

B) Gamers are providing truthful results, and would go more in-line with what we read on forums, but they just continue buying the stuff that comes out anyways, because of....other reasons? The higher quality, better graphics, what? And don't tell me "customer service"
Focus Groups aren't surveys, they are where you get a 'random' sample of potential clients/customers stick them in a room and show them the product, all the while allowing them to chatter amongst themselves.

There is a little more to it but that is the gist of it.
 

JohnnyDelRay

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Ed130 said:
JohnnyDelRay said:
Maybe I'm a total ignoramus (rhetorical question ok, shutup) but I thought people answer anonymous surveys and provide statistical results more truthfully than they otherwise would when speaking to their buddies/colleagues/partners or whomever? In any case, this proves to be very different, or maybe that's because we are on forums. So I can think of 2 different scenarios going on here, in the case of GAMES, because that's what Jim's explanation refers to:

A) Gamers are simply providing superficial results to the focus groups, because they don't go parallel with what gamers are actually buying; they say they want innovation but in fact continue to buy the big franchises as quick as they can be released.

B) Gamers are providing truthful results, and would go more in-line with what we read on forums, but they just continue buying the stuff that comes out anyways, because of....other reasons? The higher quality, better graphics, what? And don't tell me "customer service"
Focus Groups aren't surveys, they are where you get a 'random' sample of potential clients/customers stick them in a room and show them the product, all the while allowing them to chatter amongst themselves.

There is a little more to it but that is the gist of it.
Thanks for the heads up! I guess I should have read a bit more about what a focus group is before posting (no sarcasm! Honestly I thought it was more of a survey as well).

But now that I have had a quick glance at wiki-P, my comments are still kinda the same, only now, there's even less of a sense of anonymity, because you are actually talking to people about it and giving feedback, even if it's with total strangers.
 

Korolev

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If you have your coffee club meetings in that shack.... that must be a pretty grim coffee club.
 

IronMit

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daxterx2005 said:
I've honestly never heard of "New Coke"
It's a 1985-1992 thing.
It might not of been a failure - coke eventually re-released classic coke and everyone went wild.
people think it was a publicity stunt
 

Toxic Sniper

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...Is "black fine roast" drip? I'm not a coffee connoisseur.

I like drip coffee, but that's mainly because it's so strong tasting that it actually wakes me up on the late nights or early mornings I need coffee.
 

Gunner 51

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I think there are a few reasons why publishers don't listen to you, Jim. I should warn you that you're not going to like them.

1.) Let's start off with you - your attitude is off-putting to say the least - especially to genteel boardroom types. They don't want to see or hear some guy with an ego the size of Jupiter mouthing off and hurling abuse at them like some sort of anti-EA strawman.

I know that your ego is part of your schtick, but if you truly wanted boardroom types to listen to you - ditch the ego and replace it with maturity. I'm not telling you to become a corporate brown-noser like those in IGN (screw those guys) - but be a little more mature in future.

2.) Publishers won't listen to you or anyone because some of them are still making profits and have since adopted an "I'm OK, Jack" attitude. Until they are all in complete freefall, no-one will truly get listened to. However, with the X-box One about to tank - this may be a situatation that remedies itself.

3.) The Frat-boys, CoD Bros, CoD Kids and Console Peasants or whatever derisive name everyone here calls them are still the backbone of gaming. They're the ones who buy most of the games or at least have games bought for them - those who like a little imagination, story and a little context put into the games like us - are sadly the minority.

Remember those days when gamers wanted to share their hobby with everyone and for more people to become gamers? It'd seem some financial djinni were listening and have since granted that wish. Like you, I will lament the fact that games are no longer the art they once were but are turning into business products. I can only hope that this mythical crash will come soon and purge the money-men out of gaming.
 

Rainforce

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IronMit said:
daxterx2005 said:
I've honestly never heard of "New Coke"
It's a 1985-1992 thing.
It might not of been a failure - coke eventually re-released classic coke and everyone went wild.
people think it was a publicity stunt
That's good to know, never heard about new coke either.

Also it's "might HAVE" not "might of". Using the latter is a horrible sin against common sense and the actual meaning of the words, and you should feel bad for that! D: (Where is this coming from anyways? It's popping up more and more lately)
 

Tim Chuma

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The Arma series is an excellent example of game that has been developed for the players and not chasing some sort of market share.

The game is more of a sandbox in which you can create your own scenarios
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdKwsWKP1dA

Also this happened
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV0np7HOiSk

DayZ was based on the ARMA engine and also why I started watching the Shacktac videos.

Steam does seem to have a lot of games like Prison Architect that you would not find anywhere else.
 

Cabisco

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It's these types of videos when you look at wider issues involving the entire state of gaming which I really enjoy.

When you started talking about the manipulation of testing groups all I could think about was this:


Watching this again I think this is eerily similar to what happens...
 

Jimothy Sterling

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UrinalDook said:
[...] but if you've figured this out, why the fuck haven't the developers?
Because the Developers aren't in control, the Publishers are. And even the Publishers aren't really in control either, the Shareholders are. Do you see where this is going?

If you've ever been one of those people who wonder why companies like Valve, CDProjekt, Bethesda and Blizzard (before their merger with Activision) get so much praise, well it's because they can do whatever the fuck they want and they can take however long they need!
 

IronMit

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Rainforce said:
IronMit said:
daxterx2005 said:
I've honestly never heard of "New Coke"
It's a 1985-1992 thing.
It might not of been a failure - coke eventually re-released classic coke and everyone went wild.
people think it was a publicity stunt
That's good to know, never heard about new coke either.

Also it's "might HAVE" not "might of". Using the latter is a horrible sin against common sense and the actual meaning of the words, and you should feel bad for that! D: (Where is this coming from anyways? It's popping up more and more lately)
It's common where I am from. Not sure why...it could be a West London slang thing or a 2nd generation immigrant thing
I remember a few of our English teacher's continually correcting us
 

immortalfrieza

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One thing you forgot to mention Jim. Even if a focus group is made up of people of relevant demographics that all give their honest opinions and they actually have relevant opinions, they are statistically irrelevant. The problem with surveying a group of people to figure out ANYTHING about a much much larger group of people has always been that the size of said group is always far too small to really be effective at determining anything. 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 people, hell, even 100,000 is still too small a number to actually mean anything when the group you're trying to find crap out about numbers to several million people or more.
 

masticina

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I couldn't care LESS about Call of Duty

Strangely the amount of games I have bought last years have been..less then expected.

Odd how that goes!
 

ZexionSephiroth

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I say I probably wouldn't have the Social Bias thingy as much as others.

I Drink Milky Coffee! And I'm not afraid to admit that!

...Of course the trick is to use less hot water, more coffee, more Milk, and more sugar.

...Although I may just use more coffee because I have a desperate need for Caffeine that no normal drink can state in one go. So rich or not, regular levels of coffee are going to do shit.

So... Mild Brew coffee with lots of milk, sugar and Caffeine?

Why don't I just grab a soft drink then?

Oh Wait! I DO!

Among other confessions, I don't like guns as a weapon, or shooter games. But its not because they are bland. Its because I have horrible aim and can't shoot for crap.

So instead I'm an avid player of games that use close range maneuverability based combat. Where I can dash in and out of my enemies range of attack at will.

Further more. Of the few games I bought in the last... However long. One major thing they all had in common was they looked like an anime...

Such as one where you play as some character that fight evil with Giant Magical Suits of Armour, one where students enter a TV to fight TV inspired Demons using fragments of their own psyche that look like Cartoon Characters, and a game that allows your Avatar to date the Future Child of your Best Friends, and then have your own child date another one.

...There was also one where I had to actually orchestrate Time Shenanigans... But that was to prove to myself I could wrap my head around it.

Also... I stopped Playing Minecraft when I realized I didn't really have anything I really wanted to make besides a Plate to block out the sun... Which would take forever. And generally, I would have preferred to make something that can move. Like an animal or space ship, or orbital Space Station. And your capacity to make those in Minecraft are Dangerously limited.

...Actually... Now that I think about it... If one wants to make any head way with Focus groups. You need to have them treat it like a confessional group. All "I know this is embarrassing... But I must confess..." and stuff.

...And in a strange sort of confession... normally... When I'm brought into a group... I generally oppose every popular decision everyone else makes because "It's been done", and try to interject my own Ideas and get someone to make something crazy that will appeal to me... But nobody ever listens to me. Although that may just be because I'm overbearing and possessive.
 

Flannel Gary

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I think several people may be missing a critically important point here about Focus Groups. There's a lot of ink spilled in the last few pages of posts I've read through about how (1) people aren't truthful in those groups out of pressure, (2) companies aren't honest about the data provided, (3) it should be done "man on the street" style outside of a select sample, (4) there should be better questions to encourage more diverse opinion, and/or (5) the consumer isn't educated enough to answer well.

I don't think any of that is the issue.

What the study/research shows is that there's a disconnect between peoples' answers (and this goes to scale, it isn't idiocy or ignorance or fraud or anything untoward) and their actual behavior. Too many people, I feel, are trying to make this a difference between the stated preferences of a focus group in an interview and the stated preferences of real gamers in a real gamer world.

I think that's short-sighted.

The disconnect is between what consumers genuinely believe they want (including real gamers and casual ones and weak ones) and what they actually spend time, money, effort, and joy experiencing. The astonishing truth isn't that companies do focus groups wrong, it's that most consumers (even those who think they know better) really don't know what they want--not very well. And in a world (like games, I imagine) where part of the art is the new experience, it must be much harder to position the next product in front of a consumer base that says one thing (and believes it) and actually truly deeply only wants another (which they don't know how to express).

In actuality, and likelihood, both the Dude-Frat-bro CoD gamer (whom people seem to disdain here) and the Gamecore (Tru-gamer) Guy are both bad at this. It'd would be born out in their actual playtime what they truly like and don't.
 

Charli

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Rich coffee with two sugars. No. Milk. Rich is not the same as 'toasted' to charcoal though. It means the beans I like have good flavor and have been prepared accordingly. Also I don't get coffee from 'coffee chain shops'. If I do it's because I want a frappe, and that's my coffee icecream.

ANYWAY. As much as I love rambling about my coffee addiction. Can't say I can argue with this. Publishers and Developers are far too rigid with 'focus testing'. Sega of London recently hired some female playtesters (my friend is one) so I can start to see how they're worried they're not focus testing fairly and are failing trying to push the gritty and realistic too heavily on ONE age group.

But you also have to beware of the other end of the spectrum which is trying to please everyone.

Sadly the 12 year old male demographic is STILL the most lucrative. But if you can expand that outwards a little bit (not too much) to 12 year old girls, or even younger/older. Etc. Maybe do some one off games that do appeal to different audiences...

You might develop a product that's got a little more meat to it.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Toxic Sniper said:
...Is "black fine roast" drip? I'm not a coffee connoisseur.

I like drip coffee, but that's mainly because it's so strong tasting that it actually wakes me up on the late nights or early mornings I need coffee.
pretty much anything can be made for Drip, but yes fine generally refers to how well ground it is, and the thinner the better for drip coffee , the "dark roast" has to do with how long the beans are cooked.

The longer that they are cooked the more bitter and strong the coffee is, generally speaking of course.

Myself I am a medium roast man with a bit of cream.

And now that coffee talk is over... Jim, great job again! Favorite show on the escapist.
 

craigdolphin

New member
Apr 5, 2010
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Gunner 51 said:
I think there are a few reasons why publishers don't listen to you, Jim. I should warn you that you're not going to like them.

1.) Let's start off with you - your attitude is off-putting to say the least - especially to genteel boardroom types. They don't want to see or hear some guy with an ego the size of Jupiter mouthing off and hurling abuse at them like some sort of anti-EA strawman.

I know that your ego is part of your schtick, but if you truly wanted boardroom types to listen to you - ditch the ego and replace it with maturity. I'm not telling you to become a corporate brown-noser like those in IGN (screw those guys) - but be a little more mature in future.

2.) Publishers won't listen to you or anyone because some of them are still making profits and have since adopted an "I'm OK, Jack" attitude. Until they are all in complete freefall, no-one will truly get listened to. However, with the X-box One about to tank - this may be a situatation that remedies itself.

3.) The Frat-boys, CoD Bros, CoD Kids and Console Peasants or whatever derisive name everyone here calls them are still the backbone of gaming. They're the ones who buy most of the games or at least have games bought for them - those who like a little imagination, story and a little context put into the games like us - are sadly the minority.

Remember those days when gamers wanted to share their hobby with everyone and for more people to become gamers? It'd seem some financial djinni were listening and have since granted that wish. Like you, I will lament the fact that games are no longer the art they once were but are turning into business products. I can only hope that this mythical crash will come soon and purge the money-men out of gaming.
Not to be a complete douche but... BOLLOCKS!

Frankly, the corporates and moneymen would not listen to the type of mature, calmly asserted, reasoned critique that you advocate. We know this because amidst the fanboi wars and vitriol on the web, over the years there has been an abundance of the calm, respectful critique you mention on the internet. EA in particular have been given reams of respectful feedback for years on the Bioware forums on matters of DRM/Origin Requirements, changes to Dragon Age (DA2 WTF?), Mass Effect 3's evolution from RPG to 3rdPS, the 'ending' controversy, for example. And they've never so much as entered into an honest conversation with those fans. They don't even bother to pretend they're listening. They go so far as to say discussions of aspects of the product you buy from them are 'off topic'! And the bioware forums have subsequently degenerated into a cesspool of vitriol and hate between the fanbois and the few pissed-off former fans who still bother to show up.

So screw them. The simple fact is that corporates don't listen to logic, or common sense. They look only at the bottom line in the short term. They do whatever they feel they can get away with, regardless of morality or legality, or the long term effect on their company. I think they'd forcibly addict their mother to crack and sell her to a pimp if they thought it would improve their bottom line for the coming quarter.

Jim is one of the only gaming journos who doesn't appear to be suffering some form of stockholm syndrome with regards to the increasingly soulless and myopic AAA industry. (RPS is another outlet that still can see the forest for the trees.) Aside from them, games journalism is an oxymoron.

I hope Jim continues his rants because calling a pile of bovine excrement 'bullshit' without mincing words, without couching it in pseudo-intellectual claptrap, without kow-towing and genuflecting to the exalted status of the C-suites, is about the only thing that MIGHT get them to pause for a second and consider that maybe they ought to start paying attention to the lowly rabble gathering with pitchforks and torches outside the gates of their silence-shielded PR-cocoon and the lower level yes-men they surround themselves with. Jim is the anti-silence to the publishers 'silence' strategy. Long may he continue to throw the brickbats.

Thank God for Jim, indeed.
 

Amir Kondori

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Apr 11, 2013
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I'll tell you what game I want to see come out. Call of Booty. It would be bright and colorful, well there would be a lot of tans, creams, pinks, and the like, you could have a female protagonist if you wanted to, and the whole game would be about going through a wide open sandbox trying to score booty. The hotter and more desirable the person the more challenging to seduce and the higher the score would be. There would be unlockables, achievements, gear you could wear to make yourself more desirable to different people, you could level up your looks or witty banter, or charm, etc.

Of course that game would never focus test well so I guess we'll never get it.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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All of Jim's videos have so much naivete and misinformation in it, it's not funny. Doesn't help that he sounds like a populist.

His never-ending AAA games bashing is getting annoying. What Jim doesn't understand is that even smaller B-tier games are still multi-million projects and quite risky for publisher. (more than last gen)
On the bright sight, less rubbish games and shovelware were made this gen on PS3/360. (the amount of awful Ps2 and Wii games/shovelware was breathtaking, especially towards the end of their lifecycle)

But here is the thing I really dislike about him, he's a hypocrite.
Jim actually admitted in some neogaf thread that he gets his ideas and topics from "hardcore gamer" forums. (god, that term makes me cringe)
The thing is, he also copies the answers. He basically steals his content and forms his opinions based on other people's work. (i.e. long-winded written opinions by other forum users) Most of the time he just repeats the most sensible answers ad nauseam and claims to be the voice of reason. It's basically a copy-paste job.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=53282400&postcount=539

I guess it's the new formula to make successful videogame related videos on youtube.
i.e. A video of someone complaining about companies making money. I'm sure at some point he'll start talking about "the industry" because everybody that owns a console seems to know what's right for "the industry".
 

Maevine

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Feb 4, 2013
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I like my coffee made into cubes and blended with milk, chocolate syrup, caramel, sugar, vanilla, and Blue Bunny's Coffee Break icecream. I use black coffee as an air freshener.

I'm personally using and loving my focus groups, but only because they're a horribly honest lot. They have nothing to prove or hide. They're little fountains of genuine opinions~ <3 Of course, I don't have a checklist for them, either. I gave them a few studies, got some good feedback, and took from that feedback the things they weren't already getting with their other games. They have Amnesia. They have Dandelion Wishes. I want to give them something totally different.

I wish more games would go out there and do something different. I'm itching to play a game in which I save people and/or negotiate with the enemy rather than slaughter everyone. GoW was the last game I liked of that mentality before it got freaking boring.
 

Kian2

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Oct 20, 2010
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Reminds me of the quote by Henry Ford, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said 'a faster horse'."

You can't be innovative by asking consumers what they want. They want what they know, only better. Which is not to say you shouldn't have user testing. But you should use it to highlight issues in usability, not design. Watch them play and see where they spend the most time, what they have issues with, etc. Don't just give them a questionnaire.
 

Gunner 51

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craigdolphin said:
Not to be a complete douche but... BOLLOCKS!

Frankly, the corporates and moneymen would not listen to the type of mature, calmly asserted, reasoned critique that you advocate. We know this because amidst the fanboi wars and vitriol on the web, over the years there has been an abundance of the calm, respectful critique you mention on the internet. EA in particular have been given reams of respectful feedback for years on the Bioware forums on matters of DRM/Origin Requirements, changes to Dragon Age (DA2 WTF?), Mass Effect 3's evolution from RPG to 3rdPS, the 'ending' controversy, for example. And they've never so much as entered into an honest conversation with those fans. They don't even bother to pretend they're listening. They go so far as to say discussions of aspects of the product you buy from them are 'off topic'! And the bioware forums have subsequently degenerated into a cesspool of vitriol and hate between the fanbois and the few pissed-off former fans who still bother to show up.

So screw them. The simple fact is that corporates don't listen to logic, or common sense. They look only at the bottom line in the short term. They do whatever they feel they can get away with, regardless of morality or legality, or the long term effect on their company. I think they'd forcibly addict their mother to crack and sell her to a pimp if they thought it would improve their bottom line for the coming quarter.

Jim is one of the only gaming journos who doesn't appear to be suffering some form of stockholm syndrome with regards to the increasingly soulless and myopic AAA industry. (RPS is another outlet that still can see the forest for the trees.) Aside from them, games journalism is an oxymoron.

I hope Jim continues his rants because calling a pile of bovine excrement 'bullshit' without mincing words, without couching it in pseudo-intellectual claptrap, without kow-towing and genuflecting to the exalted status of the C-suites, is about the only thing that MIGHT get them to pause for a second and consider that maybe they ought to start paying attention to the lowly rabble gathering with pitchforks and torches outside the gates of their silence-shielded PR-cocoon and the lower level yes-men they surround themselves with. Jim is the anti-silence to the publishers 'silence' strategy. Long may he continue to throw the brickbats.

Thank God for Jim, indeed.
I'd have to disagree with you on that there's a lot of level-headed and calm criticism leveled at the corporate world from gamers. In my experience, I have found that most of it is adolescent, foul-mouthed knee-jerk reactive posts on forums. Especially when you use the EA and Bioware games.

I will agree with you that most corporations will not listen to anyone if the money's still coming in. The solution to this is simple: hold off on buying the games, buy second hand or don't buy the games at all. But the hard part comes after that - sticking to your guns.

Screaming obscenities at the genteel types with power doesn't work at all. It just makes gamers the world over look like sulky teenagers at best and toddlers at worst. But what does work is choking the corporations with apathy and stinging them with a lack of money.

As for the Bioware forums turning into the toxic sludge-fest that it is now - that is due to hubris. As the saying goes - pride comes before a fall. Nowadays public opinion of Bioware and EA is at a near all-time low. But I don't think this hubris stops at the gates of EA and Bioware - I'd say it's nearly a pandemic throughout gaming. The launch of the X-box One will be the prime example of the greed and hubris the corporate types have and the fall that follows it. (Interestingly, if Andy Chalk is to believed, it might just be starting to happen. Here's something for your perusal. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124559-Analyst-Recommends-Sale-of-Microsofts-Xbox-Division )

I'll admit Jim isn't a corporate brown-noser, far from it - in fact. But I'd balk to call him a journalist, journalists ask questions - Jim launches diatribes. I not sure if he conducts interviews - even Jessica Chobot managed that. Even if she's toe curlingly awful at it - especially that "for the epic win" quote she did. (Trust me, it's almost painful to watch.:D ) Though I'll give Rock,Paper Shotgun a look-in, they sound interesting.
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
8,407
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What if i dont drink coffe?

However im the kind of guy that would be good focus group. if i say i like something i like it and if i hate something i hate it and dont pretend to be otherwise (which got me in trouble multiple times). and i would criticize the shit out of their game for doing this crap. but i like calculated stuff, i like sleak look and forgive this heracy for i never heard about the game but from the videos the second one did look better. thats just looks of course.

Gunner 51 said:
I'll admit Jim isn't a corporate brown-noser, far from it - in fact. But I'd balk to call him a journalist, journalists ask questions - Jim launches diatribes. I not sure if he conducts interviews - even Jessica Chobot managed that. Even if she's toe curlingly awful at it - especially that "for the epic win" quote she did. (Trust me, it's almost painful to watch.:D ) Though I'll give Rock,Paper Shotgun a look-in, they sound interesting.
You dont visit Destructoid do you?
 

Mangod

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Feb 20, 2011
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Funny, this video actually reminded me of an old story about Michelangelo and the Statue of David. Apparently, the guy who had commissioned the statue (or one of his flunkies) had shown up and complained that the statues nose was too big. So, Michelangelo grabbed a fistful of dust, got on the ladder, climbed up to the statues head, made some gestures with the hammer (never touching the statue) and then threw the dust in the observers face. After the observer had cleared his eyes, he said that the statue looked much better now.

Moral of the story: some people are just full of it, and will say anything that'll make them sound clever.
 

Hellfireboy

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Mar 11, 2013
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"I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap."
Theodore Sturgeon

In other words, great games are the exception not the rule. The rule is to find something that has already proven successful and copy the shit out of it in hopes of the same. Innovation and creativity carry a much greater risk than imitation and, though we like to believe that games are first and foremost an art out of our own existential need for legitimacy and acceptance, they are in fact first and foremost a commodity.

Your putting the cart before the horse by assuming that if they would just stop doing this or that they would make better games. They ask the consumer what they want, the consumer lies to them, they make crap based on the lie. You're assuming that the consumer is lying because they were told what to think by the industry yet New Coke is a good example of the consumer telling the industry what to think after the focus group fed them a pack of lies. These cookie cutter games don't actually fail to sell but rather fail to make money. That's more of an issue with resource management in production that acceptance of the game. Battlefield is just a Call of Duty come lately but it still sold more than six times as many copies as Bioshock Infinite. If your going out to make a game which route do you take? Heartfelt inspiration and creativity (Bioshock Infinite, 2.22M units worldwide, all platforms) or copycat of a magnificently successful existing franchise (Battlefield 3, 15.63M units worldwide, all platforms)? As you can see it isn't just focus groups that make then churn out the same old thing over and over again. It's also market research which seems to reveal that the same old thing really does sell better than something new and creative.

(sales numbers from vgchartz.com/)
 

Rebel_Raven

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Jul 24, 2011
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OH GOD! I miss the old overstrike crew. *Sobs* I loved Izzy Sinclair initially! The team was so epic, too! And playing the Fuse Demo, while they had some humor to them, they felt watered down.

And now I know why it's no longer the quirky, awesome, kicking a guy in the balls, then smashing their skull in with a giant briefcase (My favorite scene! It's how I'd do it! Feels natural!) screaming dude going ballistic game it was.
What boggles me is how the 12 year olds didn't like it. But Jim explains that one, I guess, as social desirability bias.

Jim's reaction is very much similar to mine on the matter.

Weren't games more profitable -before- the focus groups? What happened to that? Oh, right, the ever expanding desire for more profit. Greed.

If you're going to use focus groups use diverse focus groups, and not yes-men, and don't poison the results with selecting specefic people! And don't let them dictate everything!

The gaming industry is damaged, poisoned, and toxic to some ideas thanks to stuff like what Jim points out week after week. It's destroying the market!
What's worse is that people are excusing these actions, and defending them bitterly! They refuse to see the problem. They refuse to have empathy towards the people who were turned off by these actions.

Market, and focus testing is litterally killing desire to play these games! My significant other is hard pressed to find games that truely interest her thanks to this stuff. I'm desperately clinging on to the notion that the market will more often produce games that break free from the idiotic mess that it's in now, and will, again, shine!

I really wish the game industry listened to Jim! But if they did, what would he talk about? Oh, who am I kidding. Even if they did listen to Jim, they'd find some other way to screw things up.

Ha! And just after this episode of Jimquisition, a coke commercial. Strikes me as funny!

Ah, thank GOD for Jim!

P.S. I like Remember Me a lot! Even without the pre-order DLC amazon didn't give!
P.S.S. Amazon's pre-order bonus is just delayed apparently.
 

ShirowShirow

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Oct 14, 2010
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So guys the UK sales charts are out and FUSE, the blatantly genericized shooter, debuted at 37th.

37th.

Looks like those focus testers did woooooooonders.

And so Jim is right again.
 

TheBaron87

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Jul 12, 2010
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Oh god, that's what happened to this game? I was in a focus group for this exact game when it still looked like the first clip, before they had anything playable (I think this was in 2010 or 2011). Believe me, I would NOT have told them to make something like Fuse. I just didn't care much about the game at the time because I was already very tired of shooters by then, especially console shooters, but I don't remember anybody asking for Fuse. What I do remember is saying that one of the female characters looked much worse in 3D than the 2D concept art they showed us (before the E3 2011 trailer, Isabelle looked very different. She looks much better in that trailer than she did at my focus test), and that the characterization was fun, but the story didn't have any interesting substance yet. They were taking a gameplay first approach in a genre I didn't care much about, so there wasn't much else for me to say. If you guys want to get involved in focus testing, VGMarket.com is how I got into doing focus tests. If you don't agree with what the people in these focus tests think, then get into the groups yourself, and BE HONEST. It's pretty fun, and they pay you! And if you're worried about looking like a loser, then screw those judgmental assholes, you're never going to see them again anyway.

Hellfireboy said:
Battlefield is just a Call of Duty come lately but it still sold more than six times as many copies as Bioshock Infinite. If your going out to make a game which route do you take? Heartfelt inspiration and creativity (Bioshock Infinite, 2.22M units worldwide, all platforms) or copycat of a magnificently successful existing franchise (Battlefield 3, 15.63M units worldwide, all platforms)? As you can see it isn't just focus groups that make then churn out the same old thing over and over again. It's also market research which seems to reveal that the same old thing really does sell better than something new and creative.

(sales numbers from vgchartz.com/)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_1942 Release date(s) Windows NA September 10, 2002
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_Duty_(video_game) Release date(s) Windows NA October 29, 2003

Also, Battlefield has multiplayer, Bioshock does not. You really think it's an apple to apple comparison?
 

MercurySteam

Tastes Like Chicken!
Apr 11, 2008
4,948
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0
Glad to know I'm not the only one who remembers Overstrike and has lost interest due to it becoming basically another cover-based shooter. I don't mind cover-based shooters but I already have my Gears of War games. Give me something with slightly more originality and I would have maybe even bought it first day. Now I'm just waiting for a price drop, something I never used to do but I find myself in this position more and more of late.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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nodlimax said:
I always love to name Dark Souls in this perspective (even though I haven't played it....yet). The Lead Designer made decisions based on what he would love to see in the game and look what it got them.....SUCCESS! Who would've imagined?
It also got him taken away from making Dark Souls 2 because he wouldn't change his way of making Soul's games they stuck two TES and pony loving ceo ass licking twats in his place.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
6,766
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Maybe its me, but I don't think its fair to call the average male gamer a sexist because he won't* play a game with a female hero. As far as I can tell, focus grouping 12 year old boys, as in preteens, doesn't count as focus grouping men. The same would apply to focus grouping preteen girls and making ONLY games involving Justin Bieber and One Direction and then saying all female games love boy bands. I played Mass Effect 1-3 as a FemShep and I never felt 'gay' for romancing Kaiden. I think only preteen boys who haven't figured out what sexuality IS think playing as a woman is gay.
Can we please stop assuming that focus groups are representational of the actual gaming community?
This is the one thing Jim keeps messing up on. He rightly points out that focus grouping little boys is absurd, but then extrapolates that 20-something male gamers have the same maturity as those selfsame boys. I never played the DOA beach volleyballs games. And I never will. But I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm some sort of moral champion and claim umbrage at how women are depicted. Its a bad game so I won't be playing it. I think Jim needs to look at the target audience publishers THINK they have, and then the actual gamers. They think they're making games for preteens because that's who the test them on. But the people with the disposable income needed for a $60 game are young adults with more mature tastes in games.
 

gyrobot_v1legacy

New member
Apr 30, 2009
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Rebel_Raven said:
OH GOD! I miss the old overstrike crew. *Sobs* I loved Izzy Sinclair initially! The team was so epic, too! And playing the Fuse Demo, while they had some humor to them, they felt watered down.

And now I know why it's no longer the quirky, awesome, kicking a guy in the balls, then smashing their skull in with a giant briefcase (My favorite scene! It's how I'd do it! Feels natural!) screaming dude going ballistic game it was.
What boggles me is how the 12 year olds didn't like it. But Jim explains that one, I guess, as social desirability bias.

Jim's reaction is very much similar to mine on the matter.

Weren't games more profitable -before- the focus groups? What happened to that? Oh, right, the ever expanding desire for more profit. Greed.

If you're going to use focus groups use diverse focus groups, and not yes-men, and don't poison the results with selecting specefic people! And don't let them dictate everything!

The gaming industry is damaged, poisoned, and toxic to some ideas thanks to stuff like what Jim points out week after week. It's destroying the market!
What's worse is that people are excusing these actions, and defending them bitterly! They refuse to see the problem. They refuse to have empathy towards the people who were turned off by these actions.

Market, and focus testing is litterally killing desire to play these games! My significant other is hard pressed to find games that truely interest her thanks to this stuff. I'm desperately clinging on to the notion that the market will more often produce games that break free from the idiotic mess that it's in now, and will, again, shine!

I really wish the game industry listened to Jim! But if they did, what would he talk about? Oh, who am I kidding. Even if they did listen to Jim, they'd find some other way to screw things up.

Ha! And just after this episode of Jimquisition, a coke commercial. Strikes me as funny!

Ah, thank GOD for Jim!

P.S. I like Remember Me a lot! Even without the pre-order DLC amazon didn't give!
P.S.S. Amazon's pre-order bonus is just delayed apparently.
I think I saw one at another forum I go to that thinks your train of thinking is flawed. I support your thoughts but clearly these people don't

One user in denial:

No they wouldn't, and you know they wouldn't. They won't buy it because it came out on the 360 as well instead of being a PS3 exclusive, they won't buy it because it wasn't released on the PC, they won't buy it because it was published by EA, or they won't buy it because fighting twelve foot tall killbot acrobats and huge teleporting dudes wielding chainguns is too "generic," or they'll make some other excuse up because they're deluded enough to believe that a cinematic trailer made two years ago will look exactly like the finished product.
 

Razorback0z

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Feb 10, 2009
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Its a combination of no balls, no vision and a corporate imperative to make a profit. When faced with the prosepct of making something new and daring or churning out a clone of something that made money, the suits will opt for what they believe is the safe bet everytime.

Im actually worried that 100 hour epics like Oblivion/Skyrim, Red Dead and the like are perhaps already a thing of the past as the industry swoons over the potential of "10 hours" of gameplay in titles like Two Souls and consumers seem to not only lap it up but defend the fact that games are soon going to be as short and as crappy as most hollywood movies, but cost 5 times as much for a ticket. (sorry longest sentence ever)
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Apr 18, 2011
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I liked what you said about Activision. I remember when I played Black Ops Single Player I thought "Yeah, the guy who designed this, as bad as it was, really wanted to make this" it felt less like it was a crummy game made through focus testing and instead a crummy game made through poor design decisions. Ironically, the only CoD single players I felt that were not like that was CoD 1 and World at War (MW3 as well, but I digress) which people often say as the only ones they enjoyed. It's why I have always hated every Final Fantasy except III and X. III because while it felt like a "Made by focus testing" game, it was just a fun JRPG, and X, because it felt like they really tried with that one. VII felt like they were half way through making an amazing JRPG which would have blown the socks off even pre-Persona 4 me when I couldn't stand JRPGs, then they just changed shit to appeal to what they thought their fans wanted...which apparently they did want that with how big that game was, but once again, I digress.

(I still have no idea what saying I digress means, but seems like when I say it I'm saying it correctly, kinda like i have no idea when to say 'per se' but I'm correct when I say it, at least according to great grammar nazi the Oatmeal)