Profit margin driven companies backed by a capitalist society where infinite growth is deemed viable sucks*


It's impossible to get people to stop buying AAA games, but please, stop buying AAA games.


Indie stuff is way more interesting anyway, but I could never get my old lan party friends to look at them.


For me, the visuals are a huge part of gaming, i simply don’t like the style of most indie games go for. The “artsy” stylistic graphics, the 80’s inspired pixel graphics, the simple polygon graphic is all indie games seem to choose between these days, and in personally hate looking at it.


I agree, I’m looking for immersion and story. That said, I’m also willing to wait a few months for devs to fix all the bugs they should have removed before the rushed release dates.


I bought minecraft when it was 10$ I believe. Pretty sure it was still played in the browser then.

I‘m down for this type of indie game. :)


Meh. Today’s realistic graphics is tomorrow’s retro graphics. If a game was fun ten years ago, it’s fun today. If it was only playable ten years ago because of the graphics, but isn’t it playable today, it wasn’t fun in the first place.

H_Interlinked avatar

"Choose" isn't really an accurate term to use in your comment though, is it? Obviously high-realism AAA game graphics are going to come with a high budget outside the realm of possibility for the average indie dev, unless they have some super talented people with a passion for the project working for cheap.

A lot of us are willing to make this concession or adjust expectations for an experience that has great gameplay, soundtrack, story, etc. as easily as reading subtitles to enjoy a foreign film. The imagination can do plenty of the heavy lifting.


There’s a few indie titles that are developed by one person and maybe a handful of part timers or freelance people. Turbo Overkill and HROT(Single dev working is Pascal). Most of the time, the retro art style works to the design of the game. Ion Fury uses a opensource fork of the Build Engine(Duke Nuken 3d) and leans heavily into the 90’s idea of Cyberpunk and 90’s pop culture in general. Dusk is a Quake-like, but I had more immersion in the smooth gameplay then I would in a HD game where the hardware can’t keep up with the optimized graphics engine.

Kill_joy avatar

I would actually just settle for not pre ordering AAA games as a good place to start.


This I do not understand. I am sure a ton of people pre-ordered Cyberpunk Phantom Liberty even though we know how it launched. (And I love the game, I followed all the news, but even I could wait for a fckin day to wait for the reviews)


The strategy to this is to buy so much crap on Steam and Humble Bundle that you don’t have time to pre-order AAA games.

For example, I love Borderlands series, and I have so many games to play that I could easily wait for TTW to be on sale - lo and behold, 10 bucks in a Humble Monthly with all the DLCs, and extra 7 games with it aswell. Banger.

H_Interlinked avatar

It baffles me how anyone can stand to preorder any game with the market being so oversaturated. There are SO MANY great games on a constant $20 or less sale rotation you'll probably never have a chance to play if you're a full-time working adult. I'm worried about grabbing a highly acclaimed title that's been out for 5 years before it fades into obscurity, and I have to stumble upon a shout-out 3 years later to be reminded of its existence. Not about some stupid launch skin bonus, or OST mp3s you'll never click open.


What defines AAA?

Like, is baldurs gate AAA?

Or just anything from EA, Ubisoft, etc.?

H_Interlinked avatar

Larian is an unusual case. It's indie but it's huge. They aren't funded by or marketing through a bigger publishing company so IMO that's still indie. But they're hundreds of people so not really small, and BG3 can by all means be considered a AAA game because the difference in quality and scale is indistinguishable from AAA published games.

verysoft, (edited )

Id say BG3 probably falls into "III" or perhaps AA if you count Larian as such, they certainly didnt have a large marketing campaign on par with AAA.

AAA are games from large publishers that spend millions on development and marketing, so such as EA, Ubi, ActiBlizz, CDPR, Playstation, Xbox etc


I still play AAA games occasionally, but I’ve enjoyed gaming so much more since I got more selective with them.

ToTK was worthwhile, but even for the newest entry in my favorite series since childhood, (from a developer with a pretty good track record for their games) I still waited a week to see if any launch bugs needed to be ironed out.

I can’t even remember the last AAA game I bought before that.

Sanctus, avatar

I don’t know how to say this but corporations suck. They turn human spirit into profits and excrement. Anything led by a corporation will inevitably suck if it doesn’t right off the bat.


The stock market has to be one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made as human beings.


What even is the point? The stock market is just a ticking time bomb and when it fucks up, somehow people lose their job and their house and anything else thats sustained by income. This makes sense how??? How is the stock market not considered a crime against humanity? It doesn’t benefit anyone except maybe rich people but rich people are already rich so who tf cares.


Because it makes the fat cats even richer, they couldn’t give less of a fuck about the rest of us.

GhostOfElectricity, avatar

It’s time the fat cats had a heart attack.


You know that their time’s coming to an end


Until you dismantle inheritance, the old fat cats will find a way to pass their wealth to younger fat cats.

Sanctus, avatar

Don’t worry, the environment has a plan


Are there any tech co-ops or 100% employee owned companies? Could be a system forward.

Sanctus, avatar

I’m sure there are. But, at least in the states, many tech people are also right-leaning libertarians. Co-ops are unpopular with them because they want to be the kings in the castle, not equal with their peers.


Makes sense I guess. Thanks for elaborating.


Co-ops are quite rare in Europe as well. I can’t name a single tech co-op.

In fact I’d say it worse over here. In my experience stock options are a very rare kind of remuneration, whereas as far as I understand it’s common in US Big Tech companies like Google or Apple (though of course non-voting shares are a far cry from actual co-ownership of the company).

On the other hand corporate profits are taxed pretty high in many countries (for the smaller tech companies that aren’t based in Ireland). It’s 30 % here in Belgium IIRC. So at least some of the profits make it back to the people, in a more general sense.


These companies have always used the call center style of employment.

They’re ‘seasonal’ positions.


Yeah having worked in a call center for 3 years I always find it amusing when people think these issues are related to a certain industry when in reality it’s just the core essence of capitalism calling for infinite growth in a finite market


Indie game development works well. It’s really just that large companies suck in video games as well as all other areas, so not really news.


Alanah is a great creator. She worked for IGN as a reporter for years, then at Funhaus as a host/editor, and finally broke into games writing, which was her goal for a long time. She also hosts an excellent cross discipline gaming podcast with gaming actors/musicians/devs talking about all things gaming.

Shes seen the industry from every angle. Its telling that her conclusion as a whole is “this is fucked.”

dojan, avatar

I don’t think you need that much insight to see that the whole institution is fucked.

  • Rampant “frat bro” culture
  • Frequent cases of sexual harrassment, and assault
  • Cases of suicide
  • Cases of burnout
  • Layoffs like clockwork
  • Often deliver rubbish products
  • Frequently employs consumer-hostile and manipulative tactics

What is even the point, really? Maybe I’m an outlier but I don’t feel like the AAA gaming industry provides enough good to warrant all the crap they put their workers through, and the way the sentient wallets customers are treated.


The point is to make as much money as possible while paying the workers as little as is possible. Same as it ever was.

They could always pay us more, but we’re just supposed to be happy they aren’t sending the Pinkertons to shoot our women and children anymore, I guess?

dojan, avatar

By asking “what’s the point” I meant less “what’s their goals” and more “what benefit do they serve?”

I’d love for some big swoop to just upend the entire industry. Create better conditions for the workers. Stop the companies from stealing from artists. Have actual consequences for nepotism, corruption, and abuse of power. Like crunch and all that BS is just expected as though it is because of the job, but it’s not, it’s because of the system.


Yeah, all that you described? That’s what a union does. points at WGA They did it against some of the biggest multimedia companies. The only people who are going to fix the gaming industry are the workers and that takes a union.

dojan, avatar

Yeah I live in a country where pretty much everyone is unionised. What I described is standard here. It could be over there too.


I guess the “benefit” they serve is to increase the payout % for the people at the top of the ladder and their goal is to do that until the breaking point that some higher up takes the blame and they fall with a golden parachute before landing at another company exactly the same as the last one.

Rinse and repeat until you’re Summering on a yacht? Seems pretty straightforward to me.


She’s been great for a long time. One of the few people with public comments on the industry that has a really great intuitive grasp on the business side of it.

PeachMan, avatar

I mean honestly it makes sense. If we assume that the average game dev is similar to the average “hardcore” gamer, then we can only assume that they’re toxic little shits 😆


She has a great deal of respect for the devs/writers/artists/workers. Its the system itself and the execs that are fucked. The toxic atmosphere they cultivate keeps churn high so profits stay high. They build a bad place that attracts bad people that stay and good people that should leave, and they dont give a fuck as long as “number goes up.”

Give the video a watch. It’s a very candid take from someone immersed in all the layers of the field.


On a different note I just watched a very similar video that was recommended to me by a pretty much unknown creator about the importance of indie developers and pretty much everything Alanah says here shows how important they really are. To imagine where we would be without tiny indies breaking the mold… it sends a shudder down my spine. ‘Indies > AAA’ has been my way to go for many years, now that I think about it.


will anybody think of the C-suite!!! How will they be able to face their other rich friends if they don’t wage-steal to ensure they hit record profits quarter after quarter???


Form a Professional Game Developers Union.


cough capita cough lism cough


How could we have expected this was going to happen if we made it a law companies are obligated to do everything in their power to increase profits!


It absolutely sucks, but many of the standard calls of “it’s always been shit” and “boycott” aren’t really doing anything outside of virtue signalling or trying to hold a moral view to a company that couldn’t give a fuck about the 0.001% of people that action these views.

Regarding software engineering, I’ve often said that “if the games industry doesn’t unionise, there’s no hope for the rest of the tech industry”, and I still stand by that. While there are obvious complications in forming unions in a global market, I truly believe that the US is often the barrier towards workers rights. If American workers can unionise, you can bet that those in Europe would do so too.


Video game workers are starting to unionise in France, finally.

The liberal culture of the people working there didn’t help.


I’m British, so I don’t have a great understanding of French law, but do they have unions in the same way, or are they similar to works councils in Germany? I know French law is protective of workers, so wonder if it’s as divisive as it would be in the West.


Union is actually mandatory in France if the company is more than 50 people iirc. But depending on the place, and especially in computer related work, very, very few people participate in the union.

Unions often suffer very bad reputation, and people are very often afraid either that they will act against their company interest or antagonise their bosses. I think about 15% of workers are unionised in France.


Too many devs think they’re above unionizing. It’s going to be very difficult to pull off. They won’t be interested until it’s too late.

Bottom line is that tech is chock full of greedy fucking people who only care about what they’re getting paid this year.

I don’t think the gaming industry could lead on this issue though. It’s tech companies like FAANG that really lead the market and that’s where people refuse to organize.


I couldn’t agree more. I’m a software engineer at a FAANG company, and the split is very apparent. There are either people that would love to see a union (but know their employer would happily fire 100k+ people for even trying it), alongside people that believe unions are the devil. There was a shift in the last 12 months due to the mass layoffs and the nature of how someone with a decade or more of loyal work can be locked out and fired immediately without so much as a “goodbye”, but there is still a huge number of people that view tech as a “survival of the fittest” thing. I work with some people that even love the idea of URA and the “weakest” people in the team losing their jobs.

Game dev is an interesting thing, though. For decades now, even smaller companies (at the time) like Rare were built from the mentality that you cannot just work 50 hours a week to make a good game, or that once a release is complete, you move on to your next gig. That culture has existed throughout corporate, not just in tech, which is why I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a true effort towards unionising industry-wide. Hell, I would’ve thought that the Activision issues from a while ago would have spurred something too.


Also layoffs temporarily raise the stock price, it’s probably more costly in the long run… but who cares as long as the numbers go up for a bit and everyone gets bonuses.

lorty, avatar

Then later they do big hiring sprees as part of investing in making bigger games, and stocks rise.


who cares as long as the numbers go up for a bit

Ironically, that’s the motivation with which I play many games.

aesthelete, (edited )

who cares as long as the numbers go up for a bit

Especially when you’re mostly stock compensated. Just make the numbers go up long enough to see your share prices soar, browse around for a different job in the meantime. Sell your stocks at a high, exit the company as it implodes behind you. Rinse and repeat.


A lot of this industry needs unionization and pushback from labor, and a lot of this industry needs to be straight-up illegal.



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  • gramie,

    The solution is not for you to show contempt or lack of empathy to these people, it’s for them and you to demand better treatment from the owners and executives.

    The system is fucked and it is skewed wildly against anyone who is not at the top.



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  • heydo,

    Boy howdy, you sure are committed to your idiot perspective aren’t you?



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  • echo64,

    Me hurt from lack of other people caring about bad things happening to me. Me hate people who care about other people having bad things happen to them.



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  • echo64,

    Please learn about paragraphs. Thank you.

    skulbuny, avatar

    By your own admission you are punching down or sideways at best. Punch up. You see what you want to see, you aren’t the only person in the world who’s a card carrying union member here nor are you the only person who cares about workers in any non-tech industry here. Class infighting is about the dumbest thing ever.


    I don’t think you realize that video game developers and other related jobs are pretty badly compensated for the job they’re doing. Those devs are among the most skilled ones and could probably earn 5 or 10x what they’re getting now by going to work at some FAANG or big banks. They’re working here because they love video games and want to create something fun, so it sucks when you just get fired like that.

    Also, it’s not because you’ve had it worse that their situation is okay, it’s fairly easy to always find a worse situation and just dismiss any issue.

    skellener avatar

    It’s always sucked - at least with large companies.

    Nobsi, avatar

    Nope. All companies started in the 90s as groups of gamerbros. When they started to make loads of money and had to get managers cause they didnt want to do management was when it started to go down.


    That’s really not at all what happened. Gaming development goes back to the 70s and gamerbro culture has almost nothing to do with history of game dev, that’s a more recent thing that happened with DOTA and the like.


    Blizzard made awesome games and was led by someone who wanted to make awesome games. Eventually they gave upper management to someone who doesnt play games and now we have empty sheels


    Atari was founded by engineers, and went on to tell its game developers they were interchangeable code monkeys. So the six guys who made half of Atari’s profits founded Activision, and after fighting in court to make third-party publishing legal, went on to mistreat their developers the same way. So a bunch of guys left Activision to found Accolade, which went on to mistreat its developers, who founded Acclaim, and-- look. If you think any behind-the-scenes problems started recently, you are very mistaken.

    There is a landfill full of 4 KB cartridges, which should have been a monument to why crunch is bad. It was buried and forgotten two years before the NES existed.

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