Strangulation by Press and PR

Or how to frighten your staff into thinking that they’re in an abusive relationship…OK, so we asked a video game developer (D) what they were looking forward to in games in 2013 and what games stuff had been interesting in 2012. We sent a lovely email.

They panicked obviously thinking that we were going to use that information to destroy the industry…

They sent our request to a big, dark office (O). We have now received these responses from O.

“D send this email over to me as I do all the PR for Game X III (G). Please make sure to contact you (sic) Company (C) person if you would like an interview, not the developer. Do you know who you work with at C?”

We responded very politely thus:

“There’s nothing to worry about. The email was not regarding G, or any upcoming game. It was simply a few questions about what a developer thinks about gaming in general in 2012 and 2013. If s/he is too busy to respond, I completely understand.”

Reply came there thus:

“Thanks for the clarification. This is more a processes issue for us, we’d prefer you to come to us with all requests rather than go direct to studios. Am sure you understand the reasons why this would be the case. Feel free to contact myself, B or Z on Y@C.com if you need anything.”

In short, meaningless, communication blocking, jobsworthian bullshit. No, they don’t ‘prefer it’, they demand it. Sure we understand why they say they “prefer” it. This is so they can remain in a job, a job that entails actively interfering with communication and also fostering a spirit of mistrust and simmering hate.

Oh, by the way, this was the incendiary email that kicked the whole thing off:

“I’m currently contacting a number of influential developers to get their reactions on industry events that have taken place this year, and what their thoughts are on the year ahead. The idea is to publish a series of features throughout December that will prove thought-provoking to our readers.

Do you have a few moments to spare to answer some questions on this? I’d love to read your opinions. Many thanks for your time in advance, and I hope to see you again soon.

1. In what ways has the rise in tablet and mobile gaming proven beneficial/challenging to your work?

2. How do you feel the industry has coped with regards to the economy, particularly redundancies and studio closures?

3. What’s your opinion of cloud gaming? Have Gakai, OnLive, Sony helped with perception?

4. Crowd-sourcing (i.e. Kickstarter) has become a popular method for games developers to pitch their projects. Would you use it? Have you?

5. What is the best possible thing that can happen to the world of games in 2013?”

This could of course have been greeted, as it was in a number of other cases with a straightforward: “Sorry mate too busy” or even “No, not interested unless you’re IGN”. However, the apparent climate of strangulating fear at Company C and its affiliates and owned studios meant that developer D was forced to lose any and all independence.

Says a lot about creative freedoms in the games industry.

Can you guess which company I am talking about?

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