Sunday, February 25, 2007

Students: Reading between the lines

For many companies, especially large ones and especially those that are public, a lot of attention is given to PR, corporate image, etc. that leads to a tendency to try and appear perfect. Every public statement is whitewashed, the language sanitized for their protection.

This causes interesting conflicts within the game industry. One conflict commonly cited is game reviews by magazines: it's tough to write a negative review when the game's publisher is taking out a full-page ad for the same game in the same magazine.

Another conflict that's more immediately relevant to students is the stuff they read online, particularly Gamasutra's post-mortems of projects. A large game publisher might not want to air their dirty laundry, saying everything that went wrong on the project that's currently selling in stores. As such, one has to read the "what went wrong" section very carefully to get to the real story of what happened.

It's particularly fun when you can be your own example, as I'm finding out now for the first time. A student pointed out to me that GameTap's Rick Sanchez had responded to my letter criticizing his treatment of episodic content in games. The man works for GameTap, so he clearly can't say anything negative about their business model; yet, he says that he agrees with some of my points, so a student following this dialogue would have to expertly read between the lines to decide what Rick really thinks. And that's a skill worth having.

1 comment:

Darius Kazemi said...

Yeah, I saw that. I enjoyed your letter, and I found his response to be... well, kind of skirting your main points.