Adam H wrote:
Zcorp wrote:I care both about the designers that worked on the project (I have empathy for my colleagues) and I care about the impact it has on the players and culture. I strongly believe that games should improve/add value the player who play them, and players should want to play because of that. Not because a decent psychologist/game designer is playing on their biases to manipulate them.
I'm not sure there's an objective difference between adding value to players and playing on the player's biases. If the player wants something, who are you to say whether it is valuable to them or they are just being stupid?
I'm a knowledgeable and experienced expert on game design and psychology, but that isn't really relevant. I'm not going to compare gaming to drugs, I'm not suggesting extensive playing of games is as detrimental as extensive drug abuse. I am going to suggest it can have a very significant negative impact on individuals behavior.
Some bars have a drink limit, or cut individuals off who are to drunk. They even have bouncers to assist with this. It doesn't take a medical doctor for a bartender to understand when someone is to drunk and probably should stop being served (and serving them when they are drunk and you know they are driving home certainly isn't valuable to them). Over-serving can even lead to liability for the establishment, there is even liquor liability insurance.
However, often unfortunately for the individuals selling liquor and other drugs people who use your good are less likely to continue to use your good in the short turn after a few uses. Not true of games. Playing games heavily for 4 hours doesn't result in gamers passing out.
Maybe you want an example that you perceive as a little closer to games, how about gambling. Why isn't gambling legal everywhere? Who makes these laws that say I can't gamble, I want to gamble, who are you to say what is valuable to me. I should be able to piss away all my mortgage on a slot machine, go sell my car to I can get drunk enough to try and forget about it and then by some coke to have energy to try and work the next morning right? I can actually do all of those things in society today, and none of those are in my house.
For other things that directly play on the chemical reactions of our brain to give pleasure but when overuse or specific kinds of use can lead to poor behavior we have rules, social influence and laws that put responsibility on the the vendors of those goods to sell them responsibly. This isn't true of games.
Should we care about the well-being of people who have addictions, or make poor choices in the moment? Should we care about systems that are explicitly designed to create situations where people make poor decisions and then profit off of it? I think so, not because I think I should be able to tell the guy who lost his mortgage that he can't gamble but because I care about building a good society and that includes helping the less educated and more compulsive individuals that these business models prey on.
Drink responsibly is everywhere, we should want to create a culture were we are gaming responsibly rather than apologizing for the for the companies making money off of their players who aren't gaming responsibly. Addiction shouldn't have a positive connotation within the world of game development, and sadly not only is it positive in the context of development but with marketing to the consumers.
Edit: also, do the designers that weren't privy to the business decisions have a stake in the game? It seems like they get paid no matter how the game does commercially. And anyways, I doubt you can give any evidence that the game would do better with a different pricing model, since professional business people choose this pricing model specifically so that it would make the most money for them.
People have a stake in what they create, if a game does well I'd hope their designers are getting raises with some of that profit in addition to the general sense of self-worth that comes from creating something of value. Some designers also have equity. Making a case for a different pricing model being better is a long and deep process, before we go through that I'd point you to Ramin Shokrizade, he is a decent writer covering this subject, and the first few pages of our discussion can be covered by you reading through his articles, look specifically at this
. There is a lot to be debated about his articles but it should give us a place to start talking about it, and citing what different games did and their success, and types of success.