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For those of you wondering (and sending me messages) about the silence from other industry devs & publishers regarding the on-going Steam vs Epic Games Store furor as per my latest thread (below), this one is for you.

Pull up a chair.

Before I start the thread chopping & posting, catch up by reading these 3 articles which give a very good overview, and from different perspectives. There are others, but they're mostly rubbish not worthy of your time.

First up, is this one by @erikkain…
Next up is this one from @BenKuchera over at Polygon.

To complete the trifecta, is this one from @tyler_wilde over at PC Gamer. If you're wondering why this is even in the list, well, it's PC Gamer, the quintessential bastion of PC gaming malcontent and misplaced ire. You did notice the lede, right?

The industry has always been tribal in how it deals with not only each other in the biz, but also with the gamers who buy our games.

The media? For the most part, we in the biz tend to regard some of them as the necessary evil. They're supposed to be neutral, but most aren't

And it was a lot worse back in the day because some of them were not only in the pockets (in some fashion or another) of the big name publishers and devs, but they were also part of the machine that helped guide the success of failure of games.

It was so bad that you literally couldn't get ahead without either big name publishers pulling those strings, or if you had friends you trusted. It got so bad that they eventually started getting complacent; which then ended up with some of them being busted Red-handed.

Even when print media started going the way of the Dodo, those that quickly adopted social media and online publications, continued doing the same crap simply because they could get away with it.

As trust with gamers eroded, so did trust with the people who made the games that they were supposed to be playing and writing about. The devs.

So we stopped talking to them - about anything. No scoops. No early reveals. No heads-up. Nothing.

We don't tell them SH*T.

The reason? Some of them simply couldn't be trusted. No matter how confidential something is, there is likely to be that one person who is going to either leak it to a publisher or partner, resulting in reprisals.

And it happens more often than you could imagine.

As time went on, even as the old school guys from back in the day who we trusted without reservation, moved on to Greener pastures, we got left with a bunch of opportunists who would sacrificed integrity for hits. You wouldn't believe some of the stories.

Guys like Tom Chick, Andy Mahood, Steve Bauman, Jeff Green, Johnny Wilson, Brian Walker, and a few others from leading publications back in the day, were a cut above the rest. They were still media, so we argued, fussed, and fought with them repeatedly. But we trusted them.

As a result, in between all the reviews, good, bad or ugly, you would get very interesting insider stories, scoops, editorials etc. You know, very interesting material that gave an insight to how we as an industry grew and evolved over the years.

Those were the days when, you would get to read PAGES of a magazine based on a single .plan file by someone like John Carmack who just happened to be pondering (as he tended to) about the most inane thing that only made sense to other devs with an IQ higher than their gird

It was a time when the industry was divided into a caste system that separated outliers like myself, from the super stars who where constantly in the news for something or the other.

Needless to say, some of us were fodder used to fill pages because, well, you can only write about stupid, boring shit for so long.

Regardless, we all found a way to coexist even as we devs forged a path between us and the people who buy and play our games.

As time went on, people started moving around. That creep you knew and hated at one magazine, ended up writing for another magazine which was previously favorable to you and/or your games.

And they moved around like fruit flies on a month-old Ham sandwich.

The same was happening with industry talent that moved around as they played musical chairs with studios & publishers. So that one guy who didn't Greenlight your game at one publisher, ends up at another publisher you want to work with. Right there and then, you were fucked.

And those very same industry people who were cozy with some of the industry media, carried their relationships wherever they went. So God help you if you ever spoke (I did it all the time because people don't scare me) out against someone either in the media or the biz.

The more the industry changed & become more competitive, the more it became necessary to get scoops (the more outrageous, the better) about a game or an industry personality. Some were foolish enough to trust the wrong media person who basically leaked it.

Not only did confidential info that made it to the media get leaked back to the source's employer, but in at least two cases that I am aware of, the source didn't even know what was happening because the employer and media person colluded to suppress the story.

The most alarming incident which anyone reading this and who is aware of the insider story, would recall, was the spat between Activision and EA over the departure of Jason West and Vince Zampella.

It was leaked by media who one party in the chain entrusted.

While it wasn't the turning point for mistrust devs have against some media personality, for most of us who knew the in-depth story, some of which isn't even public, it was another wake-up call

When you see stories in recent years, for example this latest one from @eurogamer, it's because now it's mostly about revenge, than it is about justice and all that is righteous and good.…

With that setup done, let me get to the point.

As big as the industry is, you are never more than six degrees separated from someone at the high or low end of the chain.

And most of these connections are as tenuous as your love for your mother-in-law

As a result, getting anyone who is anybody to opine on anything remotely regarded as contentious or inflammatory, is a non-starter because nobody wants to ruffle feathers or be "that guy". It's not just about reprisals; it's because you never know where you'd work next.

Sure you could get enough quotes about the next big thing in vaporware to fill a novel, but anything material to the industry or the gamers we create content for? Good luck with that.

But you'd get pages of bullshit-riddled fluff about some alarmist crap nobody cares about.

It's why, for example, the recent Unity v Improbable fiasco was a little more than a whimper, despite the grave consequences that it presented for developers on that platform.

Who wants to publicly voice concern - in their name - against an industry powerhouse that's run by some of the most influential people in the biz?

The only reason why someone like Tim Sweeney would even make public statements is because well, he can afford to do that.

It's why all the stories about that fiasco are the usual bs that is of zero consequence, contain zero substance, and basically were click-bait fodder for all of 5 minutes. If ANYONE at Unity had publicly opined on what really happened, it would have been different stories.

It's why the ridiculousness of the furor over Steam vs Epic Games Store is being ignored by industry people who, aside from being influential enough to shape the narrative and shed a better light, would rather not speak out against friends, colleagues, and cohorts.

The ENTIRE industry is rigged and controlled by not only fear, but also by fleeting loyalties which are only as good as the next deal, or a good thing you have to say or write about someone in it.

Nobody is brave - or stupid - enough to rock the boat or derail status quo

Because people move around from one outfit to next, or have allies at most of the key outfits and media publications, you're ALWAYS just one social media post, email or argument away from losing something today, tomorrow, or at some point down the road when least expected.

It's why you can't say that the Epic Games Store is good for business, for competition, and for gamers.

It's why you can't say Steam grew, got complacent, then too big (enough to be regarded as a monopoly) to fail.

It's why you can't say Epic is doing the SAME thing Valve did when they built and curated Steam over the years; even as outfits like Direct2Drive, Impulse (bought + killed by GameStop), GameTap, Metaboli et al, faded away, then died.

It's why you can't say that given the chance to make even a measly 5% gain on a game's profit, most of the devs currently on Steam would migrate to EGS overnight - with little to no remorse.

It's why devs would rather vote in an anon poll (with rather alarming results) than say anything publicly - in their name - about an issue that affects their livelihood.…

It's why you wouldn't find a SINGLE media story about such important matters, and which have anything of substantial value to the industry or gamers - because NOBODY TRUSTS THE MEDIA enough to say anything which may come back to haunt them or rub someone the wrong way.

Finally, it's why, unlike the old days, you don't know most of the amazing men and women who are making the great games that you play.

It's one thing to know the dev of a game, and another to hear their opinions about the very industry that they work in.

It's why, when someone like @therealcliffyb, one of the most respected & outspoken game devs of our time, has a game fail, you wouldn't run out of crap to read about it because industry people are generally vindictive, hateful, and spiteful.

So, as you ponder why you're not likely to hear anything from the industry people you would expect to chime in on the most controversial & consequential events in our industry, it's because the whole system is rigged to control with fear, animosity and tribalism.


In case you missed my take on the Unity v Improbable fiasco, I have four threads. I will list them in FILO order.


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