What does it take for you to lose your faith in a game studio?

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It's been an eventful week, and you've no doubt read a veritable deluge of information and ranting about Cyberpunk 2077's highly-criticized launch. Why don't we take a little time to reflect, and recap these recent events? Or, perhaps, even compare CD Projekt Red and their woes to a very familiar bug-prone studio.

For a time, Bethesda could do no wrong. Consumer support was strong after the landmark release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and their revival of the Fallout series in its third installment. Followed by publishing Dishonored, DOOM, and Wolfenstein reboots, it seemed the company was the prodigal child of the industry. Beloved by all, even in the face of its flaws.

It peaked when Bethesda revealed Fallout 4 for the very first time, with a release date just mere months away. But when the game did launch, the praise and hype were marred by complaints of bugs, a weak narrative, and endless vapid radiant side quests. The dissent was taken further when gamers began questioning Bethesda’s writing abilities, going back to Fallout 3 and claiming that it was never good in the first place, compared to what came before. The drama further unfurled when Bethesda released Fallout 76, a few years later, and the game suffered a downright terrible launch, which brings us to their reputation today: a studio that is still popular, but has lost a fair amount of the vocal and dedicated fan base it built in a decade in a matter of years, thanks to questionable practices and endlessly buggy releases.

In a very similar vein, it took a little over a week to sour gamers’ opinions of the once darling studio that could also do no wrong: CD Projekt.

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Having developed one of the most renowned modern RPGs, The Witcher 3, and their creation of Good Old Games, a storefront dedicated to releasing DRM-free PC games, CD Projekt became an absolute titan of a company. Combined with their PR department valuing being transparent with fans, it was the perfect recipe for success. With Cyberpunk 2077’s hype through the roof and looking like the perfect send-off to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the stage was set for them to take the throne as the most-loved company in the industry, besides Nintendo, of course.

Then, the delays hit. Pushed back a few months here, delayed a few weeks there. But players had waited nearly a decade for the game, and a few more months didn’t matter much in the long run: after all, a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad, right? Around the time of one of the few delays that Cyberpunk 2077 faced, questions began to arise regarding the working conditions of those at CD Projekt Red, hard at work on the game. While 2020 has featured many dramatic industry revelations, one of the biggest topics has been that of development “crunch” at major game studios.

So, when the higher-ups at CD Projekt Red ensured that its team wouldn’t force crunch on its workers, at least on a large, mandatory scale, it seemed like yet another win for everyone’s favorite developer...Until it wasn’t. As the new September release date loomed ever closer, an investor call revealed that there would be some degree of crunch happening in order to get the game out on time, followed by further reports of crunch becoming “mandatory”, to hit the shifted November release date, then things began to involve over-time and 6-day workweeks, all to reach a newly-established launch date of December 10th. A game eight years in the making had been unable to meet multiple deadlines, and the development team had been pushing themselves for over a year like this. Still, many defended the choice, as CD Projekt would be kind enough to compensate their workers, and even promised a large bonus to its team, based on the profits made following Cyberpunk 2077’s release. Not many other companies would do the same.

Still, it was enough to begin to shake some peoples’ faith in the game, or even the company itself. Even so, CD Projekt Red was still beloved by many, and fans fervently defended them across the internet when anyone dared question their developmental problems.

When review scores were published, it seemed like Cyberpunk had hit the mark, delivering well within instant-classic status, with Opencritic’s average sitting at 88/100, and its Metacritic score similarly around 90/100. It was curiously observed that review codes for the console versions of the game weren’t being provided prior to release, but the concern didn’t really gain traction until after Cyberpunk 2077 had hit retail shelves. By then, the public had realized that the game was not nearly what players had expected, to the point of refunds being demanded.

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As aggregates began to publish reviews for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, the Opencritic average score of 88 fell to an 81, while Metacritic’s decreased from 90 to 87 (as of the time of writing). It was then that CD Projekt began to walk back its initial claims of giving employees a bonus payment if Cyberpunk 2077 hit a 90 or above on Metacritic, to promising a bonus no matter what the score was, as it had fallen from its threshold, and continued to tick down with every passing day.

Now, the fanbase had become incensed, thanks to a launch that saw reportedly awful performance on last-gen consoles, low resolution textures that hit instant meme status, and so many bugs and glitches on PC that players had lost count. The rage furthered, as PS4 users continued to demand refunds for digital copies, which were no longer being offered, despite being guaranteed originally. CD Projekt publicly apologized for releasing the game in such a state, attempting to smooth things over by promising performance patches and constant quality updates, though the biggest bugfixes would require patiently waiting until February--more than two months after launch.

Irritation grew towards CD Projekt issuing yet another yellow-background apology note, and for the inconsistent quality of the game. As if they hadn’t hogged the entire news flow for a week, things got worse, as CD Projekt barred the sale of Devotion from their GOG storefront, mere hours after the developer announced its release on the platform, with minimal explanation other than a vague and confusing “many messages from gamers” had influenced their decision.


With the ongoing drama regarding refunds and shady subterfuge over the console release of Cyberpunk 2077, Sony stepped in, removing the game from sale on the PlayStation Store entirely, and refunding any and all customers who bought the game and wished for their money back. A major AAA title had been pulled from sale overnight--a rather startling sight to behold. If things couldn't get worse, physical retailers like Best Buy were allowing refunds for the game, alongside Microsoft also letting digital buyers refund their copy, even if it was over the 2-hours played limitation.

The story isn’t even close to ending yet--it’s only a matter of time before the next headline regarding CD Projekt’s latest move or Cyberpunk 2077’s most recent pitfall hits the front page of every gaming website out there. But in this past week alone, it seems that the company has repeatedly shot itself in the foot, to the point where even the most devout of fans have been shaken. At the same time, CD Projekt appears willing to please unsatisfied customers by allowing these refunds on the basis of false promises and constant crashes, to the point of saying they'll pay for some players' refunds out of their own pocket. Even the game that helped boost CD Projekt to their critical acclaim--The Witcher 3--didn't release without its own set of issues, all the way back in 2015.

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Have the negative events of this past week been dramatic enough to deter you from CD Projekt and their practices, despite years of quality content prior to this, much like how gamers found themselves done with Bethesda after Fallout 76's mess of a release? Was Cyberpunk 2077 doomed to never live up to its hype, even if it launched bug-free? And have you given up on the game, or are you holding out hope, waiting for that eventual bug-fixing patch or PS5/XSX|S release?
 

th3joker

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Destiny 1 i loved. Got me a job at 2kgames. Destiny 2 i never played due to the pay to play nickel and diming mechanics.phantom pain and konami killed my favorite game franchise. Death stranding did not fill the void only made it worse. I think the only thing in video games in the last 5 years that brought me true joy was all the sm64 hd remakes and ports. That and n64 emu on ps3
 
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nolimits59

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[...] I just think that the reaction to the games current state is a bit much compared to what we've seen before.[...] I do think the game needed another year in dev time before release. btw I have something to add to your list. if you put too many crafting materials and items in your inventory(way way above encumbrance) and you save and your file ends up being above 8mb you'll permanently corrupt your save. Can't even make this shit up.

https://support.gog.com/hc/en-us/ar...-is-damaged-and-cannot-be-loaded-?product=gog

When you feel that a game needs another 10 to 12 months of dev because of its current state, I doesnt feel that is too much to be fair, those 2 sentences can't be in the same paragraph x)

I went to check my savefile in a heartbeat lol, 4mb, halfway there !

I guess it was made to circumvent the dupe glitch you can make with the vending machine ah ah.
 

naughty_cat

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The suits and the devs need to shift away from the usual master-slave paradigm. It always ends bad. A game developer is not a race horse that you'd just slash with a whip into victory. Developing video games is now starting to become one of the most sophisticated professions in the entire world, a line of work that requires almost as much delicacy as surgery.
And to be quite honest, I lost faith in cyberpunk 2077 the moment they announced that it was gonna be a first person shooter (And not having VR support really didn't help). Not that I have anything against 1st person shooters... I just don't see much logic in playing a game that's all about playing with a character that lives in a "society that's obsessed with cybernetic body modifications" without actually being able to run around in my super hot modified cybernetic body. It just felt largely counter productive from the get go.

And last but not least, in my opinion, that game could've been a whole lot more successful, had it not been for the inclusion of "genitalia" as a feature for your character. Just imagine the amount of children that ended up not being able to play this game because of that one teeny tiny, useless feature. There are a lot of cool parents out there that let their children play Grand Theft Auto, and watch Kill Bill... I just don't think the same applies to a game like Cyberpunk 2077 (or a movie like Sin City :rofl2:). GTA online had a far more sophisticated and versatile - design your own character - interface, despite being a game that came out 7 years ago, and Rockstar didn't feel like adding genitalia in order to be able to prove that... In addition to being most unsuitable for certain age groups, I also happen to find it largely distasteful. Just wait and see what happens when the game goes online, after people start sharing videos featuring modded characters :rolleyes:
 

64bitmodels

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what does it take? keep releasing dated hardware and completely ignore 3rd party, fill your shitty store with trashy indies no one gives a fuck about, make nothing but remakes and rehashes, release a game which is basically a rom, have garbage online, dmca the fuck out of everyone and don't give a rats ass about your fans!

can you guess WHO I am talkiing about?
Please nintendo all im begging is for you to just go 3rd party already sega has it right

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Can't be disappointed in CDPR if you were never a fan of their games
can't be disappointed in any company if you truly see them for what they are- greedy pigs
you CAN be disappointed in capitalism for letting us get to this point in overmonetization and greediness in the entertainment industry though.
 
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Paranoid V

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I’ll tell you what it takes: releasing boring ass games that hand-hold you the entire time for 3 straight generations, clearly and obviously using reused assets for your latest game while telling lies of doing otherwise, and releasing said game with an incomplete rooster of critters on purpose just so they could sell the rest as DLCs.
Despicable anti-costumer company.
 
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You say Fallout 4 being an unstable and buggy shitshow made fans loose faith in Bethesda, which implies that all of their games weren't that way to being with.
 

djnate27

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1 - Adding micro-transactions to every game (EA)
2 - Releasing the same game (with minor upgrades) on 3 successive console generations (R*)
 
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WhiteMaze

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excuse me? Sony is the one with the most popular console by far... last gen and even this new gen nintendo hasnt been the popular one since the wii days... and before that it was the snes/nes days only.

The PS4 definitely has more lifetime sales, basically double the switches sales. But those sales have been counting since its release date in 2013. The switch has half of those sales and it was released in 2017, four years later.

So I definitely count the switch as the more popular console.
 
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Glyptofane

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excuse me? Sony is the one with the most popular console by far... last gen and even this new gen nintendo hasnt been the popular one since the wii days... and before that it was the snes/nes days only.

The PS4 definitely has more lifetime sales, basically double the switches sales. But those sales have been counting since its release date in 2013. The switch has half of those sales and it was released in 2017, four years later.

So I definitely count the switch as the more popular console.
Games that are multiplatform on both PS4 and Switch are currently selling better on Switch even though these are almost always the crappier versions of the games. Some examples are this article about Sakuna preorders and you can also see it with Strictly Limited's product availability. They always print more Switch than PS4 copies of their physical releases.

https://www.siliconera.com/sakuna-of-rice-and-ruin-pre-ordered-twice-as-many-times-on-switch/
 

64bitmodels

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Games that are multiplatform on both PS4 and Switch are currently selling better on Switch even though these are almost always the crappier versions of the games. Some examples are this article about Sakuna preorders and you can also see it with Strictly Limited's product availability. They always print more Switch than PS4 copies of their physical releases.

https://www.siliconera.com/sakuna-of-rice-and-ruin-pre-ordered-twice-as-many-times-on-switch/
youve got to take the ps5 into consideration too tho
 
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Silent_Gunner

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Faith in brands is a dumb thing to have to begin with IMHO. Companies are made up of people, and when it comes to video games, you're hoping that, when you buy a game with your hard earned money, that whatever teamwork was required to make the game in question, that it's gonna be worth that week you spent working who knows when. The fact is, you have a very different generation of devs that are up and coming that, while clearly talented, the way many games get marketed nowadays, what with ad campaigns that make the costs of development look like nothing in comparison, it leads to a situation to where games coming out like they used to before the 7th generation of consoles is simply not sustainable anymore.

There's no doubt in my mind that there's still good games coming around the corner, as there have always been. But a lot of the games you and I grew up with? At least, the ones that aren't called Mario, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, *insert trendy multiplayer game that defined an era, be it Halo 2/Quake 3/Counter Strike/Unreal Tournament in the early 2000's as far as FPS goes, COD throughout the entirety of the 7th gen, and now Fortnite*? Whether the company gives those brand names a go now depends on how the brand is doing.

Times are changing. Yesterday's companies from the old days are either riding out whatever success they achieved from back in the 80's-90's, or getting absorbed up by other companies.

Look at Nintendo's catalog of games up to the GC. Before the Wii, these games were still getting actual, brand new, non-port/remaster entries on a consistent basis:

*Mario
*Donkey Kong
*Legend of Zelda
*Star Fox
*Metroid
*F-Zero
*Kirby
*Fire Emblem
*Advance Wars/Famicom Wars
*Pokemon
*Yoshi
*Mario Kart/Mario *insert sports here*

Now? Let's look at modern Nintendo with the Switch regarding games that aren't ports/remasters that are still getting brand new games on a consistent basis:

*Mario
*Legend of Zelda
*Fire Emblem
*Kirby
*Pokemon
*Yoshi
*Mario Kart

And it isn't just Nintendo. Konami, before they went full pachinko, were making new games in the following series. What wasn't relevant at that point will be crossed out:

*Metal Gear Solid
*Castlevania
*Their soccer games that aren't FIFA
*Contra
*Goemon
*Gradius
*Vandal Hearts
*Bomberman
*Suikoden


Niche, experimental games are the realm of the indie nowadays, and now, whether you like a brand at this point depends on whether you like what they're outputting now, and a lot of these games either take elements from the aforementioned niche series as a sort of way to be like, "hey, it isn't dead! It was just integrated into the more popular product," which makes sense from a business standpoint. Why have two racing series when you can have one that has Mario who's known more than Captain Falcon, who may as well be called Captain Smash Bros., considering that the zeitgeist for him nowadays is his presence in Smash as opposed to F-Zero!


The fact is, nothing lasts forever. Transformers is remembered in the zeigeist more for its original 80's TV show and movie as opposed to the Transformers Armada that I saw on Toonami back in the early 2000's and Michael Bay's explosive orgasms.

Ever since the late 2000's, it's like there's been nothing but rehashes; Mortal Kombat 9 is just Mortal Kombat Trilogy in a better playing package and with a budget that Ed Boon and co. wish they had back with Midway. Terminator 5, from what I've heard, was just Terminator 2 again with something different. Remakes of games people have been clamoring for so long in RE2Make, R3make, FF7Remake, etc. have finally come to fruition (with that last one still being a WIP thanks to the whole weird "let's split up the game into different parts and sell them later, while also making other Final Fantasy games!") and while the RE2make was good, I just don't think it the remake had the same "this replaces the original" that REMake did as hard, and R3make was just a giant cash grab where the resources were mismanaged to make a game that one could beat in an afternoon, while cutting out large chunks of the areas that the original RE3 covered.


tl;dr - Where as we had a lot of originality and new things to look forward to going into the 2000's as far as games are concerned, nowadays, a lot of the new experimental stuff is in the indie scene, and even then, a lot of those seem to be the same "Metroidvania-Roguelike-wannabe-hybrid" stuff that a lot of games have devolved into nowadays with playing things safe, rehashing the same old, same old, and never taking risks that make me unable to wait to play a game like in the old days. I'd say the last game that gripped me so was Nier: Automata, and those games don't come out every year like Call of Duty does.

And the less said about my backlog being the size of Mt. Fuji, the better!
 
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notimp

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I see most of this as a PR issue. Because that mainstream media started picking up the story once Sony threw them out of the Store, was a crisis management issue. And a crisis management issue alone.

Played 40 hours of the game on PC.

Structural issues:

- World building. They built a world that is so huge, they had to fill it with auto generated fetchquest stuff to the brim, just to not make it feel so empty. For what it is, its ok. Then they had 'quest hub' issues on top of it, where quests are fed to you by cellphone, so are craigslist ads. From the same people. Doesnt make sense. Ruins immersion.
- They underdesigned the starting district. If you crawl around it for 10+ hours, you will start to hate the ads, hone in on the entirely depressing nature of it (children playing with guns, telling you to f*ck off, parants doing the same, people vomiting in the streets, corpses in dark allies on trashbags), nothing to interact with, that isn't kill, kill, kill - once free roam opens up the entire world (and ads) gets a little more diverse, but the craigslist car ads issue srtarts, and fixers will nag you to do quests. V suddenly has 7+ bosses.

- Tone: Serious issues in world building, cut quests that would have established heart. Who is Victor, who is Jacky, who is esoteric emporium lady. Jacky barely works, the other two after a few hours get lost in the vastness of the city, they are just two specs in a metropole, that dont have that much to do with you.
- Serious issues in worldbuilding congruency. Every 'cyberpunk' action movie is represented in this world in some way or form, tone is GTAV Trevor worked, go kill a few more dudes, cyberpunk novels and stories get a backseat position to that. Storytelling gets a backseat position to that.

- The six factions to beat on that all feel like 'soulless baddies', aside from Cyberpsychos, which oddly enough have some of the most human, flashed out storytelling in the 'throw away' kind of sidemissions.

- Issues: Driving system is basically broken. Especially in the starting cars, its not fun at all to cruse the city. When I think back to Sleeping dogs (a game that was better at the driving bits, that GTA was...) thats the part in Cyberpunk that feels most like a broken mess.

- Police system is broken, but thats overplayed. Police will instantly show up, and pop you. No discussion, no 'recovering' - not in game penalty, back to load screen. Once you get into a car they cant chase you. Once you get into a store they forget you. There is no system there - but really, who cares.

- Shooting and AI is on par with Deus Ex - but nothing more. There are designated areas in game, where you are allowed to shoot at baddies from. Step out them and police with chase you and kill you. Horrible system. But its understandable, why its there. You have hundreds of empty 'kill' sidequests, and thousands of enemy groupings you are allowed to kill by simply walking up to them and cutting their head off. No penalty in game, only reward. Game is more 'murder simulator' than GTA. ;)
- Gameplay design IS Deus Ex for the most part, not a single bit more than that. But times 30 in scope (amount of missions).

- No heart, no vistas (no panning introduction shots), no time to breath, no 'working yourself up to a better life', no taste of a better life, no humanity in world building, no comic relief (the old couple missions with Trevor on GTAV), no political intrigue, that isnt the main quest. No 'myth' that isnt the main quest (at least none that I came accross). They simply didnt understand worldbuilding.

- Serious graphical issues. TXAA, and low texture quality and volumetric smoke and light scattering, and.... Everything is blurry everything is grainy, until you jack up resolution to at least 1440p and effects to high. Turn off some effects, and you have a mess. Low res textures, TAA bluriness... Turn on all graphical effects, and its borderline beautiful.

- Crafting is broken. Saving is broken (8MB filesize issue, that prevents you from exploring looting). Items can be duped. Damage and armor scaling is broken.

- No interactibility - give me 10 storefronts, give me some interactibility that isnt all 'ammunation' and 'clothes store' from GTA.
--

And yet - Night city is an achievement. Its a marvel. It pulls me back in there for the metropolitan atmosphere alone. For the promise what might be around the next corner.

Setpieces are wonderful. The first run on a megacorp, the feeling when you try to get out there. The developer foresight, to make the entire setpiece accessible again (via some glitching) hours after that. The detail that is in there (calling a main character after he has died). The clothing system works.

Storytelling where its good - works.

And all of it when pulling it together is easily a lower 90s title, because of ambition alone, and that they pulled it off in large parts. A city this well realized with mission design this 'modular' (enter from the rooftop, or a side alley) - it does something to you. It feels - exceptional. If a few more systems worked... If that immersion wasnt broken by 'oh no the police, now I have to reload'....
----------

Why CDPR is loosing reputation is none of the above though. Its simply bad crisis management. Last gen console versions look - bad - have more bugs, the end.

CDPR laid the focus on 'and hows the bugs?' with their last delay, gamed journalism at the same time (selective review copy send out, PC version only, review windows), that they ever made it to a 9 on metacritic on any version - is per design.

Console versions were a mess, and because CDPR had introduced that narrative (and how are console versions, buggy I hear?) people harped on it, they underdelivered. They hid it. 4/10 PS4 ratings says all.

CDPR with their GOG background, immediately went into crisis mode, when their reputation got tarnished, they tried to 'pay themselves out' to do something to reduce the fallout. Overstressed Sonys customer report system, and tanked their reputation (what are you selling in such a major marketing push?), Sony then f*cked them over - because who the f*ck do you think you are - announcing customer 'reputation management sh*t' without clearing first what impact that has on us?

All that in a youtuber culture of 'get hyped or get your head bashed in, for the views' - which CDPR themselves fostered. Their PR was sickening. They 'embedded' bloggers in ways no one else had before, and for good reason. They basically f*cked over the reputation of several 18 year olds what stumbled through this sh*t believing they'd caught a break - and all so willing to lie into everyones face how great the thing was.

Who needs journalism?
--

If you look at all this... Management issue.

Most of it is fixable. Oddly enough - the systems people are most angry with dont matter, and bugs at least on the PC side never are center stage, but some of them VERY, VERY immersion breaking. The game isnt a bugfest on PC. (If you dont count, many of the crafting and savegame 8MB issues, most users havent even picked up on). AI in missions? Who effing cares? This is a Deus Ex with 30 times the content, what do you expect? Police system? Who cares. You can escape them. Escaping them feels lousy. But all that is, is a system to not make it blatantly obvious, that there are certain zones where you can mash dedicated NPCs to death in bare daylight - and when you step out of them, instant game over. To mitigate that, is why you have a chase system. So the player doesnt think too much about what happened. Thats no main gameplay cornerpiece...

Whats not fixable is CDPR having gamed the review process, and produced a 4/10 last gen gameplay experience.
--


On ambition and scope, and some of the storytelling (arcs are thinned out, not that the dudebro would notice... "My first cyberpunk novel" in storytelling ambition/congruency from Jeff Gerstman, hits it on its head. More often than not, yes - thats it.), this game is very, very worth playing.

Its just, that there is no real 'narrative' emerging, why you should. Because everything is kind of ... 'lacking', except for - the city. And the setpieces. And some of the story. And the size of the whole thing. And some of the beauty at the highest settings.

Its unfinished, and cut, and broken. But its grand. :)



On CDPRs internal outlooks culture - they f*cked people over with Gwent before. They ran it as a design concept on how to rope you in longterm, on unbeatable systems, while feeling good. They went from 'Industry darling' directly to 'how can we best run a CCG racket to bind people longterm. And communicated it as such. Dont forget that. Management issue.

They tried so hard to become GTA online, that everything else seemed just like an afterthought.
 
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    They're all after your Lucky Charms.
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  • Hayato213 @ Hayato213:
    at least lucky charm is quite popular, probably my favorite cereal.
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  • AkiraKurusu @ AkiraKurusu:
    I wonder...how would the gaming scene have changed had the Wii (and its bullshit motion controls and criminally neglected Classic Controller) failed?
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  • AkiraKurusu @ AkiraKurusu:
    Microsoft certainly wouldn't have experimented with the Kinect, that's for sure. Would Nintendo have released something like the Wii U early?
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  • AkiraKurusu @ AkiraKurusu:
    That would've had a different name, so as not to tie it to its failed predecessor (something the Wii U dearly wished it has gotten anyway).
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  • Veho @ Veho:
    PlayStation 2 already had that EyeToy thing before the Wii, and a whole lot of games supported it. Microsoft would have had something like the Kinect even if the Wii failed.
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  • mr_switch @ mr_switch:
    Planning to buy a cronus zen to record inputs to negate mundane grinds/farming, anyone have it? How is it?
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  • E1ite007 @ E1ite007:
    For some reason, some Amazon reviews said it was a scam 'cause it launch there before they made an official launch on their webpage...anyway, according to people, it's good...it was gonna be my first option to buy when I wanted something to farm in games automatically, but then I backed down since tax fees and shipping would have costed me a fortune to Mexico...
    +1
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  • SaulFabre @ SaulFabre:
    Wii was a great sucess
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  • Plazorn @ Plazorn:
    It was, it surpassed the PS3 and XBOX 360 sells
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    SaulFabre @ SaulFabre: yep