CAAApitalism: The Successful Failure Of Videogames (The Jimquisition)

Oct 25, 2017
118
#1

Videogame publishers are greedy, exploitative predators for which no amount of money will ever be enough. While we know and loathe this, it is also by design that they are the way they are.

Layoffs, cutbacks, excessive monetization, it's all part of a system built on unsustainable, short-sighted growth. Now we're in the endgame, where we find out there IS no endgame.

But let's start with Buzzfeed...
 
Oct 26, 2017
850
#2
Just watched this. Jim has been saying this for years, it's only now that game companies are admitting it.

So to all of the people defending publisher greed: no amount of money will ever be enough for them.
 
Jan 17, 2018
1,164
#3
I remember Tomb Raider reboot sold 7 million copies and EA weren’t happy with the sales lol what?

EA could sell 10 millions copies and they wouldn’t be happy
 

TheFireman

Banned
Member
Dec 22, 2017
3,862
#8
Smash bros is literally the only good thing about capitalism and when the series is over i fully expect popular opinion to swing hard towards socialism.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,040
#9
About the 1 thing I 100% agree with Jim on since he said it awhile ago. No amount of success is ever enough, at best it just staves off the hunger for a quarter or two.
 
Nov 2, 2017
2,632
Norway
#10
Just watched this. Jim has been saying this for years, it's only now that game companies are admitting it.

So to all of the people defending publisher greed: no amount of money will ever be enough for them.
And this goes for any industry.
It's GROWTH GROWTH GROWTH..
Well the earth is only so big and last year we "used up" that years budget of resources before summer was over.

I work in an industry affected by this and I've seen so many weird decisions made to make those quarterly numbers it's not even funny. Doesn't matter if it's very damaging long term, all that matters is next quarter.
 
Oct 27, 2017
7,368
#12
Is weird to see smalls devs being ultra happy with their game selling like 50k copies at best only to read these huge ass corporations being mad that their game only sold 7 million units.

I know that the scope of both games are not comparable, but still, 7 million units is almost like the entire population of a country bought your game and you still think that it wasn't enough
 
Nov 10, 2017
5,829
#13
Ethical consumption, capitalism... bleh bleh....

Greatest engine of human wealth in history bleh blah

Era corportist as all hell vs Socialist Era

This should be fun.
 
Oct 30, 2017
379
#14
I work in an industry affected by this and I've seen so many weird decisions made to make those quarterly numbers it's not even funny. Doesn't matter if it's very damaging long term, all that matters is next quarter.
Exactly. This lack of long-term thinking is why Bethesda shipped Fallout 76 like they did, for example. They lost a lot of customer goodwill with that one, and honestly they had to have known they would, but they felt like they had to have a big holiday game. (This is especially weird to me because their games would be an event release any time of year, but whatever.)

I wonder how BFV sales would’ve been if it was released in, say, March, when it was a more complete product. My hunch is that the numbers might have been more satisfactory to EA.
 
Jan 8, 2019
115
#16
I don't know if I'd call them greedy. They're literally trying to keep the lights on and keep people employed in many cases. In order to do that some crappy things have to happen.

Running a business isn't something I envy.

Is weird to see smalls devs being ultra happy with their game selling like 50k copies at best only to read these huge ass corporations being mad that their game only sold 7 million units.

I know that the scope of both games are not comparable, but still, 7 million units is almost like the entire population of a country bought your game and you still think that it wasn't enough
Ok, factor in employee salaries, benefits, building costs, lawyers, marketing etc for a big corp. That 7 million the big corp is selling may not account that much of a profit after all is said and done.

Now the 2 dudes that made a successful indie out of their house that also work their other jobs. Granted they make sacrifices at times, I think the Cuphead brothers remortgaged their homes to continue development early on.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,967
#20
Some people are waking up to this, but the rich have the resources to be ahead of the game. They are the heightening unrest and are doubling and tripling down on their slash and burn tactics. Unbridled greed has once again fucked everyone.
 
Jan 19, 2018
349
#21
I don't know if I'd call them greedy. They're literally trying to keep the lights on and keep people employed in many cases. In order to do that some crappy things have to happen.

Running a business isn't something I envy.
Yes this is true for some but in some other cases.... 1) Activision-Blizzard is laying off people. 2) Activision CEO takes 28million salary.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,634
#23
I remember Tomb Raider reboot sold 7 million copies and EA weren’t happy with the sales lol what?

EA could sell 10 millions copies and they wouldn’t be happy
Wasn’t it only the initial sales SE weren’t happy with? It got to 7 million thanks to several re releases and strong word of mouth.

EDIT: just checked, it was. They had sales targets above 3.4 million which is what it hit in its first month.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,561
The Research Triangle
#24
Something something something the video games industry continues to evolve in bold and unexpected ways and we will continue to innovate to offer players great play experiences that can only be found at EA but it will remain a challenge to keep up with rapidly changing trends but we will meet and exceed that challenge next quarter please love me
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,848
#25
I remember Tomb Raider reboot sold 7 million copies and EA weren’t happy with the sales lol what?

EA could sell 10 millions copies and they wouldn’t be happy
Wrong in a couple of points here.

First off, Square Enix.

Secondly, they were complaining about early sales of the game well before it hit 7 million. Also worth pointing a lot of those sales came when the game was deeply discounted (that's when I bought it).
 
Jan 22, 2019
79
#26
I'm glad that Jim pretty much just went all the way with it here and blatantly said "The problem here is capitalism. Capitalism makes AAA game development like this and it will ruin everything else it touches given enough time." He's been great at getting Gamers to critique capitalism without realizing it, and obviously he does that on purpose, but I'm glad he laid it on pretty thick this time. He's right-on, of course, even if the response to his videos tends to just be "I'm bored of hearing this."
 

minimaxir

Built an AI that makes better threads than you
Member
May 9, 2018
747
#28
Although Jim has always been good at pointing out unethical behavior, I haven't been a fan of the recent "capitalism is evil" approaches. It's a tricky machine of many different parts that can't all be extrapolated from investor statements and earning calls (e.g. maximizing profit is not necessarily greedy; for example, Fortnite's massive profits have been used to subsidize Epic Games Store and UE4 development). Like it or not, capitalism is why most of your favorite games are made.

However, the fun thing about capitalism is that it's self-regulating because companies aren't stupid to do projects that won't perform well; but it takes years for any invisible-hand action to take effect, partially due to the software development lifecycle. (key example: the deemphasis on lootboxes as a revenue model).
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#29
I'm usually okay with Jim but sounds like he is reading investor reports verbatim, which no one in business does. He also doesn't know how much any of the projects costs.

When a business says "we aren't happy with sales" or "sales aren't where we expected"...that doesn't mean it is a flop or sales were bad or it didn't break even. That's a childish way to read them.

This was my problem with his "WTF is EA doing with the Disney license, Disney must be so pissed" without know any of the circumstances behind it. But, if EA pushed out these games and they were poor, then there would be a different kind of backlash.

Lots of things to criticize AAA publishers on, but getting triggered by language in an investor's report that you can't understand, or claiming a publisher is doing a bad job by canceling a game you've never seen, or being honest about sales numbers that you have no financials on...it's flatout immature.It's like the people who were saying "LOL people selling Sony stocks, rich people so greedy AMIRITE" because you don't even have the most basic of basic knowledge when it comes to the stock market.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#32
Although Jim has always been good at pointing out unethical behavior, I haven't been a fan of the recent "capitalism is evil" approaches. It's a tricky machine of many different parts that can't all be extrapolated from investor statements and earning calls (e.g. maximizing profit is not necessarily greedy; for example, Fortnite's massive profits have been used to subsidize Epic Games Store and UE4 development). Like it or not, capitalism is why most of your favorite games are made.
This. He has zero info to back this up, or that things would be better in a non-capitalist world for gaming, because that would require knowing the numbers as well.

That grass isn't always greener...and almost everything bad people bring up, would still exist in a non-capitalist world in some form, some things less but some things more (high work hours for devs, questionable MTX practices, rushed releases, canceled games, exclusive licenses, GaaS, layoffs).
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,933
#33
Jim's recent videos are good, but it does get a bit boring with him saying the exact same comments video after video.

However, the fun thing about capitalism is that it's self-regulating because companies aren't stupid to do projects that won't perform well; but it takes years for any invisible-hand action to take effect, partially due to the software development lifecycle. (key example: the deemphasis on lootboxes as a revenue model).
Lol right. Self-regulating only in input, not output. A company can create nothing but absolute shit if they hold enough capital to dominate a market (not even at monopoly level). They can be conservative enough with their assets to hand around for over a hundred years while ruining a market if they so wish.

No, there is no real self-regulation. That's ridiculous.

I'm usually okay with Jim but sounds like he is reading investor reports verbatim, which no one in business does. He also doesn't know how much any of the projects costs.

When a business says "we aren't happy with sales" or "sales aren't where we expected"...that doesn't mean it is a flop or sales were bad or it didn't break even. That's a childish way to read them.

This was my problem with his "WTF is EA doing with the Disney license, Disney must be so pissed" without know any of the circumstances behind it. But, if EA pushed out these games and they were poor, then there would be a different kind of backlash.

Lots of things to criticize AAA publishers on, but getting triggered by language in an investor's report that you can't understand, or claiming a publisher is doing a bad job by canceling a game you've never seen, or being honest about sales numbers that you have no financials on...it's flatout immature.It's like the people who were saying "LOL people selling Sony stocks, rich people so greedy AMIRITE" because you don't even have the most basic of basic knowledge when it comes to the stock market.
He quotes the reports a lot, but he also has real material points which are the substance of his argument.
 
Dec 9, 2017
1,387
#35
7M units when your game costs like 250M to make and market isn't as much as it seems. That $60 doesn't all go back to the publisher. Out of the 420M that 7M copies generated, the publisher probably gets 200M of it which means they're probably losing money if they didn't do mtx or a bunch of mega deluxe editions.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#37
That's the point..that is not sustainable unless you think constant record growth is sustainable.
Who is asking for constant record growth? But constant growth...is absolutely sustainable...that's like, the basis of all business. And when growth ends, usually it's because something has replaced it.
 

minimaxir

Built an AI that makes better threads than you
Member
May 9, 2018
747
#38
Lol right. Self-regulating only in input, not output. A company can create nothing but absolute shit if they hold enough capital to dominate a market (not even at monopoly level).
Fair, but that isn't even remotely the case in the video game industry nowadays. (it was potentially the case during the 90s/00s years of video gaming though when only Nintendo/Sony/Sega/etc. held the keys, before the barrier to entry was eliminated through various programs. $50 games back in the 90's were a lot more expensive than a $60 game in the 2010's.)
 

CosmicSea

Banned
Member
Feb 5, 2019
502
#39
Who is asking for constant record growth? But constant growth...is absolutely sustainable...that's like, the basis of all business. And when growth ends, usually it's because something has replaced it.
Do you know what capitalism is? It requires constant growth....that's the entire point. Growth will slow down, does not mean Cease to exist either.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#41
Jim's recent videos are good, but it does get a bit boring with him saying the exact same comments video after video.



Lol right. Self-regulating only in input, not output. A company can create nothing but absolute shit if they hold enough capital to dominate a market (not even at monopoly level). They can be conservative enough with their assets to hand around for over a hundred years while ruining a market if they so wish.

No, there is no real self-regulation. That's ridiculous.



He quotes the reports a lot, but he also has real material points which are the substance of his argument.
Come on, he says that Take-Two is "whining" about money being down. That's just absolutely ridiculous and makes him sound ignorant. He also sounds TOTALLY ignorant on everything he says about BuzzFeed...he even mentions that part about "raising" funds that BuzzFeed said...how much debt does BuzzFeed have? How much profit have they made (likely zero)? Like do you know how many companies like that are close to basically surviving month to month on investor money? Like...he really things BuzzFeed has ever turned a real profit.

It has ZERO to do with greed.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,570
#42
The problem with the example of Battlefield 5 is that not only did it not show growth, it showed a massive decline.

It's a really bad example to be focusing on.
 
Oct 28, 2017
4,187
Canada
#43
I'm glad that he actually criticizes capitalism in this video, I previously felt that he was attacking symptoms rather than the roots of the issues themselves, maybe I was just unaware of his critiques of capitalism himself though, as I admittedly don't know him very well.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#44
Do you know what capitalism is? It requires constant growth....that's the entire point. Growth will slow down, does not mean Cease to exist either.
No, you said, constant record growth. But tell me, what magical industry is this that hasn't grown constantly, that wasn't replaced by another product? Like people some stuff like that...it has no basis in reality. Like...you are saying something that has never happened...ever. Capitalism isn't some some thing instituted by a government, some element of it exists in most every business.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,104
#45
I'll give it to him, videos like this are separate Jim from the cynical click chasers on YT who do similar content daily.
 

minimaxir

Built an AI that makes better threads than you
Member
May 9, 2018
747
#46
Oh, I just watched the video, and I didn't realize he discussed the BuzzFeed layoffs, which is where I work (and was not laid off) and should have disclosed earlier. The economics of media companies and game development companies are much different and the layoffs from both sectors shouldn't be compared.

To give an example on the economics, BuzzFeed's revenue is diversified among various sectors (see a blog post by the CEO), while game companies only really have one sector and therefore a lot of risk/reward.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#47
LOL this video is so bad...yeah EA totally said "BFV only (in snarky voice) sold 7 million"...like...I'm sorry but he sounds like a little kid. EA literally never said anything like that.

I'm fine with almost all his stuff but this is just "corporations are evil/rich people are evil/capitalism is evil/America is evil nonsense"...there is ZERO here based in truth, he is blatant lying about why investors sell stock and why investor reports are worded a certain way...and guess what...alot of it is law! Like, if Battlefield V sells less than expected, you legally have to be clear about that if it is part of your earnings.

An investment report, or investors saying "sales are not where we want them" does not mean they are saying "this game SUCKS" or "OMG this stock is a joke I want stock that never drops!"...literally NO ONE says that. When an investor sells stock, it's because all the investor reports for ALL BUSINESSES for the 3rd quarter comes out in January...so, they often have you know...OTHER STOCKS that they might want to invest in. There aren't any "gamer investors" that only invest in games, and then sell their stocks because they are mad that BFV wasn't as critically acclaimed as last year's. Investors change companies more than you change your underwear! Which...is how you have constant growth. No company is laying off people because of a temporary stock drop hours after an investment report was released. If that was so, we would be in a permanent recession.

Don't get me started on his comments on a CFO getting paid...like what does that have to do with anything, one doesn't affect the other. And then praises Apex, which has lootboxes and other stuff.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,170
NYC
#50
I'm glad that he actually criticizes capitalism in this video
That's the problem, he doesn't. He is literally using elementary school verbatim to try to understand investor and business language. Someone saying their income is down from last year, doesn't mean they are saying they aren't rich or that they are struggling. And investor selling a stock has nothing to do with greed, and selling stocks normally has no real affect on the health of a business. He also doesn't understand that alot of the things he is criticizing...are regulations to control capitalism! Like...you have to be honest about your numbers and they language you present them with...it's actually law. EA isn't going to say "well this game turned a profit, that's all you need to know".