The Daily Grind: Do you actually care whether game studios apologize for screw-ups?

Bungie. Epic. Hi-Rez. Lots of apologies this week for one thing or another. As one of our readers, @Helltrek, put it, “It seems that the only thing productive @Bungie has been doing since release is… apologizing.”

I’ve read so many thousands of apologies from game studios that they all blur together, literally, just like the “we’re sunsetting and thank you for your support” messages. They could replace all that with a robotic [sorrowful sentiment] and I’d probably be OK with it. What I actually care about (and skim for to quote in articles) is what they’re doing about it. The patch, the compensation, the rollbacks, the toxicity strike team – whatever. Just get to it. It’s likely because whoever is doing the apology is five times removed from the person who screwed it up to begin with.

Do you actually care whether MMO studios apologize for screw-ups? If they didn’t apologize and just gave you a stack of currency, would you be just as content? Or do you require some performative atonement from a community manager?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Will Martin

NO because the dont mean it. Especially Archeage… theyve apologized for so much but they refuse to listen to the community about everything.

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Alex Malone

For an apology to mean something to me, it has to:

1) Acknowledge what the problem was – you’d think this would be easy, but far too many companies put out an apology without acknowledging the problem. They just skip right past it, which gives the impression of “we hear you’re whining, please shut up”

2) Explain what happened – honesty is the key here. Don’t have to name and shame, or fire anyone. I just want to be assured that the company actually understands why something went wrong.

3) Explain how it’s going to be addressed – sometimes accidents happen and nothing can be done to prevent it occurring again. I get that and I’m fine with it. But other things, like piss-poor design decisions, can be prevented so I want to know the company will attempt to improve itself.

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Jacquotte Fox Kline

If game studios never, ever apologize, it comes off as condescending and elitist, i.e. “just hand us the money, we aren’t listening to you idiots”. Even if a studio has zero credibility, and the apologies are devoid of any trust or belief in good intentions, something is better than nothing imho.

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James Hicks

If it’s sincere. I don’t know anything about Bungie, but one thing I’ll never forget about this industry is the email I got from Brad Wardell (stardock CEO) apologising to all of his customers because he felt that Elemental: War of Magic didn’t live up to expectations.

The apology came with their next game free, and the reply-to email address went straight into his personal inbox, not some PR or tech support address.

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David Goodman

I tend not to believe apologies made by companies under EA or Activison (sans blizzard who seems to be legitimately autonomous).

Its the publisher that is making most of these recent screwup (microtransaction / loot boxes) and making the devs jump under the bus for them. I dont buy it because its not coming from the right place

The people at the top will never suffer from their own failures or hubris.

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Eamil

Apologies are good, but wear thin when the same company manages to have a new major screwup to apologize for on a monthly basis like clockwork. A sincere desire to improve has to be demonstrated, and the longer such mistakes continue, the less faith anyone has in such a desire and the more action it will take to restore such faith. This has been the state of Bungie since D2 launch.

possum440 .
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possum440 .

In the military we hired developers to work and work at ZERO defect, they didnt get paid unless they delivered on what was agreed upon in the contract. Heh, and those contracts were so funny when the subcontractor and their lawyers would look at us from across the table and we read through what they were going to deliver and we would say….”no”.

Developer have no need to apologize if they know their job, know their limitations and can show a short/mid/ and long term report to the publisher that wont be changed because of “problems”.

Good developers know what they can and cant do but many take bids and lowball in an attempt to get the contract and the publisher or backers get the shaft because they let an unkown quantity start making their game with it ultimately failing and requiring apologies etc.

Take the division for example, some of the most incompetant devs on the planet. They made mobile apps and smartphone apps and then were given this monsterous contract to make a huge triple a game on a scale they still cant handle to this day. That is an example of moronic devs bidding low and talking crap to get a contract and then needing to apologize after they fail over and over. the sad thing is this company was given an even larger contract by a huge name in the entertainment industry.

Goes to show you that stupidity runs rampant in the entertainment industry and apologies seem to work with weak minded people.

quark1020
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quark1020

It depends on how severe the offense is, but I’m more concerned on how they make amends than the apology email/forum post. Something like kick-starter refunds from the Greed Monster devs is a much better apology than sending some bull shit email saying how sorry they are for squandering their money.

Otherwise, its just like EA’s apologies: meaningless at best or a calculated maneuver at worst.

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Kickstarter Donor
Dividion

If it’s an unintentional screw-up, then yes, they should apologize, preferably with actions rather than words depending on the severity. If they intentionally did something that was a betrayal of trust, then they need to do something spectacular to win back that trust (if possible). A simple apology won’t cut it.

veldara
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veldara

It’s important to remember that it’s the people on top of the foodchain within the company that are to blame, and it’s these people whom undermine the product/brand. As an IP, Destiny is wounded, they can turn it around, if they start making meaningful changes. But I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon unless there’s some shuffling of staff positions.