We the Gaming News #2: Trump’s Policies vs Games Industry

Posted August 7, 2017 by Garret Bland in Video Games

Gaming news is always kind of barren during the summer. You hear about one or two big games that are on your radar (maybe various smaller games), some boring financial reports, and maybe smaller game announcements. Hopefully I can fill that gap a little bit by showcasing some interesting articles… and yes we are going to talk about Trump at some point, but first let us start off with an unconventional full-time career.

1- For 20 Years, This Man Has Survived Entirely by Hacking Online Games (Source: Motherboard)

Have I ever thought that hacking as a career could be viable? Oh yeah. What about hacking online games as a career? now… I’m not sure. Well this man did. For almost as long as I’ve been living, a man has been hacking multiple online games including WildStar Online, Ultima Online, Final Fantasy XI, and many others to the point he makes a decent living. Wait, isn’t this ILLEGAL? Not necessarily. He just found loopholes to exploit the system. Basically his hacking “consisted of tricking games into giving him items or currency he doesn’t have a right to have”. He then exchanges that stuff to “online gray markets” such as the Internet Game Exchange.

So now, the reason why he came out with this article is to “show the world that video games need to take security more seriously”. I’m glad he is coming out and finally setting things right. Read the Full Article by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai here.

2- How Blizzard Saved Diablo III From Disaster (Source: Kotaku, Jason Schreier)

Another great excerpt from one of my favorite gaming journalists, Jason Schreier. This is a section of his new book, BLOOD, SWEAT, AND PIXELS, and let me tell you, this story will not disappoint. This is the story of how Blizzard fully supported and adapted Diablo III to what it is today. There were many struggles behind the initial launch of the game with many people encountering server errors and the initial difficulty was too punishing. The team had to go back and fix those changes in order for the game to be sustainable. After being “on the game for nearly a decade”, the team did not catch a break. They however persevered and made a great game with multiple expansions.

I applaud Jason for grabbing this section and putting on Kotaku. It’s a worth-while anecdote to read. Be sure to read the Full Excerpt.

3- Trump’s policies are hurting the US game industry, say EA and Take-Two (Source: Polygon, Samit Sarkar)

Now we get to the heart of this post. President Trump has been blamed for many things… and for the most part, they are his fault. But, can we actually blame him for hurting the games industry? Yes, we definitely can. There was a panel at the 2017 Games for Change Festival in which Take-Two and EA discussed how Trump’s policies are going against the companies’ interests. Samit wrote an excellent piece summarizing this panel. The first major policy is the immigration executive orders. This constricts highly-skilled workers from other countries coming to the US. This includes skills in the gaming industry. From software engineering to designers, the gaming industry is always in need of highly-skilled labor. However, with Trump’s policies, we are not able to get as much people from outside of the US.

Another side is foreign trade. With a digital market growing, a lot of major gaming companies now rely on digital sales. Policies such as increasing private investment from the FCC or tax reform can severely increase digital sales for consumers and costing more for companies. Of course Trump doesn’t really care as long as America is first, right? You can read the Full Article here. Colin Moriarity (formerly at Kinda Funny) also gave a great explanation about this matter way back in February, but I still find it interesting. Full Video is below.

4- Bungie’s 13-year battle with crunch culture (Source: gamesindustry.biz, Matthew Handrahan)

You may have heard stories about how hard it is being video game developer. Let me tell you that it is completely true. From independent to AAA, game devs sometimes have it rough if not everything goes according to plan or they envision something a lot more than they can produce. That’s what happened to Bungie during the development of Halo 2. This piece summarizes a talk from Bungie’s Luke Timmins about how Halo 2‘s brutal crunch led to a new way of thinking about people management. By Timmin’s definition, crunch is basically “whenever you’re working at least 50 hours a week”. “The Halo 2 crunch almost killed Bungie as a company. It is the most I’ve ever seen humans work in a year and a half” says Timmins. I’ve also heard many brutal crunch stories from Naughty Dog and various smaller devs working as much as 100 hours a week at one point. This is not healthy for people at all mentally and physically. Families also get ruined because of crunch time. Just know that next time whenever you think why a game can get delayed numerous of times.

This was a great talk about a dire lesson Bungie has learned throughout their life-span. The big practice they incorporated into their management was transparency among employees and managers. When everyone is on the same page, they made tremendous progress. Now with Destiny 2 about to release, there is no enforced crunch. Good for them! You can read the Full Article here.

5-  Game That Entered Development in 1997 Comes Out Today (Source: Kotaku, Jason Schreier)

I would never thought a game can be in development longer than Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian. Grimoire is a game that came out Friday (August 4th, 2017) that has been in development for 20 YEARS! What the hell? Grimoire looks like a game from the 90s… I wouldn’t recommend getting it since the top review says the game continually crashes. Anyways, there you go. A game… that came out.. after 20 years in development.. You can read the Full Article here and here’s the Steam page.

About the Author

Garret Bland

Texas Tech University- Environmental Engineering Class of 2016. Scuba diver. Gamer. Coffee drinker. Research assistant. Best Friend #kindafunnyfollow.