Co-founder of Devolver Digital and Good Shepherd, Mike Wilson, has recently spoken out on the hardships that game developers go through, most notably online toxicity, which, to be fair, often spirals out of control on social networks.
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Wilson said that this is a unique time for game developers and the industry itself, seeing as how they're expected to communicate with their audience on a constant basis.
"That's something that no other artist in the history of making art has had to figure out", Wilson said and we'd have to agree on that. Game developers have to cater to their audiences while creating their art and if the music industry had a similar mechanism, we doubt Elvis would've ever come back from the army.
Wilson argues that many smaller teams already invest superhuman efforts into making a game that stands out, which makes public backlashes all the more painful. Such teams are physically incapable of adhering to every gamer's whim but though that doesn't stop them from requesting triple A quality.
He pointed out that gamers are "being complete f***ing a**holes online". It can be incredibly discouraging browsing social networks and reading how you're a piece of faecal mater and how "you should stop working because you're never going to make anything good", he added.
Wilson says that such behaviour can be even more detrimental for smaller, independent studios, many of whom are already understaffed and/or deprived. "And it doesn't matter if you read a thousand great comments, it's that one or two that say you're an absolute worthless piece of sh** that sticks in your heart when you least need it", Wilson concluded.
To be fair, Devolver Digital may not be the prime candidate to be talking about toxicity, what with all the ruckus around last year's E3. You may recall the company's E3 conference being a prime example of toxicity, i.e. all criticism and zero initiative to address issues. Nevertheless, Wilson does have a point here.
One Bit Beyond