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Raymond: Gamers Demanding Perfection Limits Innovation

Over the weekend, we asked if gamers truly want originality. After all, we're much happier buying games we know we'll like.

And Ubisoft boss and veteran designer Jade Raymond expands upon this point, saying that with such demanding consumers, most developers don't want to test the waters. In speaking to OXM, Raymond spoke about how the most popular games are starting to rule the industry's current trends.

"One of the things I see that's different [about the industry today] is that our audience expects perfection. Before, there were only, say, two million people playing games - they were real fans and they were playing every game. They were willing to forgive bugs, and try things that weren't as much fun because they were different.

Now, there are 30 million people buying and they only buy the top five," she went on. "They expect perfection. I think that growing up with everything being so good, so easy to use, there are certain expectations."

And as a result, those expectations tend to limit innovation and originality because quite frankly, we're not all that forgiving. As Raymond says, gamers freaking out over bugs and other flaws is common and it can impact sales. Throw in the always-on Internet where people are constantly trading complaints and information, and the "expectations for perfection" theory seems quite sound.

Tags: ubisoft, jade raymond, gamers, gaming industry, innovative games

8/13/2012 8:31:13 PM Ben Dutka

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Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 9:36:27 PM

Companies need to be better managed. Too often are games over budgeted and thus higher sales are expected simply to break even. You shouldn't have to sell 3 million copies for a game to be considered a success.

Last edited by LimitedVertigo on 8/13/2012 9:36:35 PM

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Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 10:54:46 PM

Can you imagine how over budgeted CoD must be? Naughty Dog made Uncharted 2 with like 100 people.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 10:03:57 AM

Completely agree. I've been against the cost of development for years now, as it seems to make the game companies demand huge sales of games to justify them. Ms. Raymond seems to forget Thatgamecompany just produced Journey and it was successful. Major developers think you have to spend a great deal of money to make games, which forces you to sell a great deal of that game to make money. (And its all about making money thesedays) I am saddened by this thinking and I dont wonder about the future of gaming. But as long as we have David Cage, thatgamecompany, and other like them Im thinking we might be ok.

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Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 10:07:48 PM

So she wants us to spend $60 for a game that may not be all that fun to play or may have major bugs to where it's not playable at all, makes perfect sense.

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Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 10:20:21 PM

While gamers are a sensitive bunch, we are also forgiving. If the content is awesome enough, we will be happy to overlook your bugs so long as they aren't game-breaking. And I think innovation is right where it should be, which is mostly handled by the indie scene and great up-and-comers like ThatGameCompany.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 2:07:23 PM

Exactly. If Jade were right, would Skyrim have been the huge success it was? We may want bug-less games, but we're no less forgiving than in the past, if the game is good. The only difference is that now we expect patches to fix the big bugs.

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Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 11:04:48 PM

It's all Hideo Kojima's fault, because he made a perfect game and set the bar high, so now I want a perfect game. Hideo Kojima you're the culprit, for being a genius and a perfectionist. Hehe.

I think it doesn't limit innovation, it just a question of if you really have the guts to test the waters. And some developers are willing to take the risks. And if the game is good, we will buy it. Some good marketing also helps big time. And some developers really just want to make a lot of money always, so they don't gamble at all in innovation. And of course some will be pissed if the game has so many bugs. Who will be happy if the game is broken and can't finish it? If you're making a game at least aim for perfection, new IP or an established franchise.

Last edited by homura on 8/13/2012 11:23:14 PM

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 12:41:13 AM

Stick your foot further down your mouth Jade! If gamers EXPECTED perfection then why in the world does Bethesda make money on all their games? Seriously! I really hope when she used the word "our" that she meant her company, because that is quite simply false.

In my opinion this gen has had more bugs then many of the earlier gens combined, and that is not the consumers fault. Devs are getting better, but the pubs are putting ridiculous amounts of pressure on the devs to deliver what she is calling perfection in a very small time frame.

And I am sorry that they can't see the downloadable market for what it is, it is a remarkably great place to test the market on any new ideas. It allows you to create, bug-proof, and get a reasonable idea of whether or not gamers would be willing to shell out big money for those ideas. It is also a great place to create extra revenue while you are working on your bigger titles. Use the tools you have at your doorstep, don't simply look for an excuse to say "this is what it is".

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 1:03:17 AM

Maybe I should apologize for expecting something close to perfect when I pay f'ing $60 plus tax for a game.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 1:14:30 AM

"Avoid costly taxes! Use the internet! Your friends will be amazed."

-From the desk of Andrew Ryan

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 1:55:15 AM

You can find most pre-orders for $47.99 if you watch the net for sales.

Or you can just go check out the "good deals for gamers" inside the gamers discussion section of our own forum where I also put those deals when i find them(BTW, there's a bunch in there right now).

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 4:29:30 AM

oh hogwash!
im sorry jade but that is just a piss poor excuse!
people do not demand perfection.
no one is perfect, were never going to see a perfect game there will always be flaws in every game no one expects against that!
games are always buggy, uncharted 2 one of THE best most highly polished games of all time had a bug in the last level which prevented some people from finishing it.
and how did that go?
its one of THE most beloved games of the industry!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 4:39:55 AM

Disagree on the part about bugs, Bethesda runs a bug house and fans still love their games.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 6:36:09 AM

She's looking at gamers wrong. Those two million gamers who used to try everything and were actually excited about new ideas and different forms of gameplay, guess what Raymond, THEY STILL EXIST. And they've grown to a larger crowd. My guess, about 6 million.

The other 20 million people buying "the top 5 games" are what I like to call "the loud-mouth group." A group who THINKS they know gaming and are quick to yell and scream about what's wrong with games. These same people cause "wars" on the net over which system or game is "better." They don't love games like the first group, they are entitled and demanding of games.

I realize that big publishers must appeal to that large crowd of loud mouths because that's where the majority of the money is, but don't go on record saying the "real fans" have grown to a throng of 30 million strong. That's just not accurate. The loud mouths have attached themselves to those real fans and are making a mess out of the industry, but they are NOT real fans. They're just people who buy "the top five" because they're either told to by those who know, or they only buy a game or two a year so they don't want to be wasting their money on a "bad" game.

I highly recommend she take another look at the gaming scene. Take a good look at Minecraft or DayZ and try to figure out what's going on there. Are THEY perfect games? Nope. Are they easy to use? Nope. And yet the gaming wildfires are burning in that direction. Why is that Raymond? I'll tell you. Because SOME companies know that the real fans still exist and, although not 30 million strong, that's all they care about and that's who they are developing for. In fact, these companies often consist of real fans and not just people who want a paycheck.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 12:47:16 PM

And to me the major drawback of those other 20 million is they are the ones who like to go on forums and be extremely vocal, making it look like those of us who enjoyed said game think it sucks. A lot of people in the industry seem not to realize that the people who enjoy the games a lot of times will never go to their forums, and even if they do it will be for a quick post saying I enjoyed it. Whereas the complainers (most of which are among that other 20 million) will have a post count over a thousand.

And I also agree with you that the crowd she speaks of has grown much larger than it was, I know far to many gamers that play many different types of games both from the "top 5" and even from say the "bottom 5". I just looked at my friends list and I would say at least 70 of them on there have a very diverse trophy count, let alone all the people I know outside in the real world that have massive collections.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 8:06:33 AM

It amazes me that she lumps such a diverse group of people together like this. By her logic, only a thin sliver of gamers buy games that most wouldn't look twice at or have even heard of. And the rest buy "top 5" games? That's a bit of hyperbole and, from what my experience has been, not true.

Back in April, she was saying that developers need to "grow up" and be more innovative. It's like she's saying two different things now. To me, it seems as if she's saying these things to get her name in the press and promote the upcoming AC3. Not a bad thing...but doing it in such a negative way is a bit off-putting.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 8:41:29 AM

The more Jade Raymond talks the more respect I lose for her. First that talk about the controller and now this?

I have always played a variety of genres, actually I would say I am one of the most genre diverse gamers I know. But none of my friends are, and for her to say that gamers used to play everything, well I have a hard time believing that.

Call of Duty sells ridiculous amounts EVERY year yet the netcode and online issues that plagued the first MW game are largely still there. Gamers clearly aren't demanding perfection, and if Call of Duty is the pinnacle of perfection then I don't want to live on this planet anymore ;)

Some of my favourite games have been unpolished, I liked Alpha Protocol and it was one of the weirdest borderline broken games I have played. I liked it because well how many spy RPGs are there?

Gamers seem to reward uniqueness, look at the souls series. Its a Niche title that sold extremely well because it was DIFFERENT, not because it was perfection. If a game is broken then yeah we wont play it.

There is a difference between perfection and what Raymond is saying. Not to mention the industry has done this to itself. Some publishers are still trying to chase those CoD numbers and keep failing, then blame us for not supporting them? Maybe we want more unique games that aren't all dusty desert shooters with michael bay explosions. Then you have devs like CDProjekt Red who makes awesome unique games like the Witcher 2, with No DRM, free DLC and patches over a year after release and they are still making profits. I think part of this is publishers and devs spending WAY too much money on production costs, and PR campaigns. Like someone said above its ridiculous that a game should have to sell 3 million copies to be a success.

So I have a hard time sympathizing with this women. True gamers complain a lot, but complaining does not equal low sales. Look at all the hate CoD gets, and those same hates for some reason still buy CoD year after year. I have friends who say, man this sucks I'm done with this, but apparently they forget all of that 9 months later when they let a trailer get them hyped up.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 12:40:10 PM

Same here with regards to the respect for her, the last three interviews I have seen from her make it look like she is completely out of touch with the gaming world.

And I would love to see the 2 million she claims played everything...I don't know of a single person that has all the games or even a high majority from say the PS1 or PS2 era, and I know several collectors.

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