Jaffe Defends Gaming As A Business, We Stand Up And Applaud
Gaming is a business. Everyone seems to accept this yet only a few wish to fully understand it.
Perhaps this is why many gamers continually take potshots at publishers, claiming "corporate big business" is stifling developer creativity, and essentially, stomping on the oppressed "little man."
It's a common trend in today's society that "big business" is intrinsically evil and that if corporations get involved with smaller companies, the latter will always be - eventually - persecuted. However, while I absolutely miss the days when big business was not part of the industry, and for various personal reasons, one has to accept that such theories are often false. Take, for instance, the words of David Jaffe, who addressed a recent Kotaku article concerning the need for better game publishers. One should also note the picture they chose to use for that article.
Jaffe's ensuing rant includes the disclaimer that he does agree with some of the points the author (dubbed "Anonymous Game Developer") makes in that article. Still, he goes on to reinforce that if you want to succeed, you come at the publisher with quality, and you don't let yourself get manipulated by contracts you don't like. Wrote Jaffe:
"I agree with a number of AGD's theories about why modern games are tough to get right (i.e. AGD's write up on game's desire to be film vs. games was pretty spot on) but I reject the tired accusation that it's the publisher keeping game developers down. And I reject that accusation because of the classic line that I am sure you've heard before: you are worth what you can negotiate.
Don't like the way a publisher treats you?
Don't sign a contract with that particular publisher. Or if you do, make sure you have what you will and won't tolerate written into the contract.
And if your studio is not good enough to demand better deals and is not clever enough to secure alternate forms of financing (thus allowing you to bypass the publishers all together) then you deserve what you get."
He goes on to compare the issue to the whole "every kid who plays gets a trophy even if their team loses" line of thinking. As quaint as that may be for t-ball, it doesn't work and indeed has no place in business. Jaffe says that if you're unable to improve a contract offered by a publisher, you should improve your team "until you can demand in the real world what you think you are really worth in your mind."
The crux of Jaffe's rebuttal is something we should all continue to believe in- Effort and talent supersedes entitlement due to laziness. There are of course other factors to consider and as I said above, the impact of big business on gaming has absolutely had negative consequences. At the same time, it also breeds a higher level of competition as quality is more essential than ever. If you've got what it takes, you will be rewarded. If you don't, stop pointing the finger at the "faceless corporations" that don't necessarily exist only to squash your dreams.
4/15/2013 9:50:47 PM Ben Dutka