The first Reader Submission this weekend comes to us from Plush Labs, talking about the current state of driving games, in particular racing sims, and how it’s ridiculous that there are so many unfinished products on the market that people gladly eat up.
I hate reading an article raving about a game the author isn’t even good at, only to be filled with regret when I purchase it myself. I’ve played many great games and a few terrible ones thanks to reviewers, but I like being able to see the latest news and reviews about games without bias on PRC.net. So far, I haven’t found anything that I disagree with on PRC.
My complaints today are towards the video game market in general, which seems to make terrible, unplayable games profitable thanks to Steam Greenlight and the latest free Unity download. I believe I may have found one of the reasons these terrible games exist and make profits regardless of their quality, too.
I think some of the blame should be pointed towards YouTube personalities and their audiences.I’m sure everyone is familiar with at least one LPer; even PRC has mentioned a certain Unfilled Container more than once. My focus is specifically on people like Cr1TiKaL, Markiplier, and that one Swedish fuck who screams too much.
These people, and the millions who watch them, seem to love playing games that don’t work. The audience loves funny things, and it certainly is a hoot when you see somebody’s vehicle suddenly explode into the air with no warning, or a corpse twitching itself into defying physics and flying through the skybox. However, because some of these games are so cheap, a lot of people seem keen on buying these games to experience the terrible glitches themselves when they can easily torrent the game instead.
I know at least three people in my social circle who have purchased games like Sonic Boom or Project CARS simply because they knew they were broken. They wanted to try the game for themselves and experience these terrible games because they found it funny. These people seem to believe these shitty games are in a genre all on their own, and buy these games as if they were intended to be terrible. This kind of consumer attitude makes bad games marketable and, as a consequence, I think the sim racing market has been affected at least slightly.
Even when a game is actually playable, some games also take up the extortionate tradition of making you buy the game, then tipping you upside down and shaking loose change out of your pockets for additional content. iRacing is especially guilty of this, forcing you to pay to use the game every month with the addition of having to pay for content you never actually own, anyways. Your payments made towards iRacing are only giving you a license to use these things, which means you can’t modify, sell, or trade that content for other content. That may seem like it makes sense to a lot of people, but many people already know where the problems with iRacing’s physics lies. They just can’t fix it – not even for use in a private event, like 4chan has been doing to EEC’s mod. You can’t even test drive the vehicles before you buy the license to use them, either, and you can’t trade cars or tracks with your friends either.
I think developers have found a get-rich-quick scheme within the LP community, and it could be a reason SMS released their game in its still-buggy state as well. Easy cash-ins are beginning to deteriorate consumer trust, and this very deterioration and saturation created the gigantic gaming market crash in 1983 North America. I don’t think we’ll see a market crash with similar strong effects, but I think this could at least cause a recession in the market if shitty devs keep making shitty games. However, some of the best games came after this big market crash because developers finally realized they had to make their games good in order to be profitable. pCars may not be the Pac-Man or E.T. of today’s console/PC generation, and even though most indie games are on par with the same severe lack in QA, they lack the expensive marketing budget Atari threw at both games.
I feel like the sim community may be approaching a game of similar traits to those failed Atari releases, and we may see the consumers finally wake up and revolt against these terrible business practices. But I worry they’ll just buy that game anyways, either because everyone else is playing it because it’s a terrible game, or because it’s been marketed as the best in its genre.
I’m not sure if YouTube personalities are a reason video games are declining in quality; I think it has more to do with the Stockholm Syndrome effect created within message boards. With so much communication between developers and the userbase in an effort to appear to be in touch with what the community wants, a lot of customers feel as if they’ve formed a bond with the Studio that goes beyond being someone who enjoys their video game. With Coding Livestreams and Crowd Funding campaigns becoming the norm, this bond is taken to levels counterproductive to the end product.
We’re now at a time where if a game ships with a crippling glitch and someone (like myself) draws attention to it, the immediate reaction is to bitch at the person who found the glitch as if the $60 video game is their promiscuous teenage daughter and she’s been outed as the town bicycle. People legitimately think this approach will magically make glaring flaws disappear, even though these people are playing the same game everyone else is, and their cars are warping into the ground just as often as the people drawing attention to issues in the first place. Better yet, nobody seems to recall a time when driving games were actually good.
This sort of community aggression happened with Project CARS…
…happened with iRacing:
…and it happened with Assetto Corsa:
And you can’t even make fun of these people, because they won’t figure it out:
What’s the end result of all this Stockholm Syndrome-like behavior? Companies are encouraged to push out games that are either shit or continuously in development, and threads on Reddit begin popping up saying I bought a bunch of racing games this year, and they’re all literally un-fininshed:
This is the future you chose.