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An Intelligent Gamer's Manifesto: Quality versus Deadline

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  • An Intelligent Gamer's Manifesto: Quality versus Deadline

    I produce a comic five days a week. So, I know what effect deadlines play on the quality of the comics I produce. If I'm short on time, either the color or content of the strip is going to be affected. But, I also understand that it is quality that sells my comic to the masses, encouraging them to forage through my archives and come back again tomorrow to see what's next.

    Now, keep in mind, those exact same people are prepared to skin me alive if they come back to visit GU the next day and find that I have not updated the strip in a timely fashion. They want to see the quality; and, they want to see it on time. So, I walk a fine line, balancing the two. And, that's pretty much the way of all things.

    But, I see a disturbing trend in the rank and file of the gaming industry that breaks apart this suppositional relationship between quality and deadline. Companies are becoming so engrossed in releasing games at specific times, to ensure maximum estimated yeild, that they are cutting the legs out from under the development teams. In essence, publishers are forcing developers to acquiesce to release timelines that do not take into account the number of man hours that are required to guarantee bug-free, solid products that demonstrate innovative thinking and promote competitive progression within the industry as a whole.

    Marketers, that are almost completely disassociated with the development process, latch on to the wishlists of the developers as the game is being produced and push that information out to the information hungry mass of gamers that eat buzz words like candy. Publishers see the resultant feeding frenzy and assign some arbitrary release date to the game in an effort to capitalize on the proverbial "blood in the water".

    As a game enthusiast, I absolutely dine on the notion of "the sooner the better" when it comes to games that have really piqued my curiosity. But, I am also an intelligent individual; and, I'm not about to sacrifice quality of content, just to get my hands on the product sooner. It's a lesson I wish marketters and publishers would learn. But, until they give up on the idea of "money now; content later", we are all going to have to suffer through increasingly damaged and buggy product releases.

    I am of the opinion that the reigns need to be taken from the hands of the publishers. And, for that matter, the pens (or mice) need to be taken from the hands of marketers.

    And, to that end, I say: give we, the gamers, some credit for our collective intelligence. Provide us with accurate information on the game as it becomes available. Don't offer us hype and rhetoric if there is true knowledge, about the games we crave, to be had. And, don't release a game until it's ready. We're tired of sitting through patches the same day a game is released. That means it wasn't ready. Use the Beta process as it was intended. We want to beta test the game while it's actually in beta not after we've paid fifty dollars for it.

    I think I can safely speak for the vast majority of the gaming community when I say, we want to see something new, original, and innovative. We don't want to play a rehashed, recycled, and regujitated adaptation of games that already exist within the genre. Let the developers decide when their games are finished. And most importantly, we are intelligent. Don't patronize us; challenge us.