It’s been a year of plenty of controversies in video gaming, as it seems every year is. For this Top 5, I had plenty to work with, but I decided on a few criteria to cut things out. First off, I’m not going to be going over any thing that was more in the line of disappointing, particularly any game launches that were less than stellar. I will be going over the disappointments of 2015 in a later article, but for now I’m just going to cover controversies.
5) Steam Sales Price Shenanigans
Steam sales always draw thousands of people to buy games they would otherwise never buy. Specifically, Steam’s summer sales bring in a lot of customers to grab some games that are on sale. In anticipation of these sales, some developers and publishers decide to hike the prices, and then cut down the price with a sale, creating a faux sale. Some call this a smart marketing trick, others such as the law in Ireland, Canada, England, and EU call this illegal.
This trick was tried again in the fall, during Steam’s other big sale. With Valve doing the absolute minimum to manage Steam, it’s no surprise that these developers keep getting away with an illegal business tactic.
4) The Peter Molyneux Interview
Back in February of this year, Peter Molyneux, Founder and CEO of 22cans, sat down with Rock, Paper, Shotgun for an interview, and it was a rocky one. The interviewer, John Walker, started off the interview by asking Molyneux if he was a”pathological liar”. From there it went about as well as you’d expect. Molyneux’s feet were put to the flame in regards to his crowd-funding project, Godus, which did not achieve what Molyneux said it would. Walker pushed all of Molyneux’s failings pretty hard in the interview, trying to get answers.
Of course, this spun debate on whether or not the interviewer pushed the topic appropriately or not, and if he should have asked the questions he did and say the things that were said. In the end, Molyneux stated that he was done with interviews, and for the past months, he has been relatively quiet. A few months later, 22Cans went under corporate restructuring, replacing Molyneux as CEO of the company.
Godus is still getting worked on, but the new CEO has admitted that some parts of the project just won’t be able to be completed.
3) Payday 2 Micro-transactions
This one is fairly recent, happening only a month or two ago. I never got into Payday 2, but I always felt it didn’t get the coverage it deserved. During Crimefest, a large event for Payday 2, the developers, Overkill, announced that there would be micro-transactions. Crimefest is supposed to be for all players, but some rewards were locked behind paywalls. If you bought these hidden items, you also received a stat boost from the item.
After a huge wave of fan outcry over such a terrible plan, an Overkill
developer eventually spoke up on the Payday Reddit, where he not only defended the micro-transactions, but claimed that fans liked them. This only sunk them deeper into their whole. Most fans of the games would say they lost their faith in Overkill and Overkill just doesn’t care.
2) Paid Mods on Steam
The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim came out in 2011, but it wasn’t until this year that Bethesda and Valve collaborated to put paid mods for the game on Steam. This led to quite an uproar in all fan-bases. A lot of what was going on didn’t make a lot of sense, including the age of the game, the fact that mods are available outside of Steam, and the shear expense. There was a lot of debate over whether or not this was a good idea, but the general consensus that got laid out was that this was done poorly.
Soon parody mods came out, one of which charged players for an extra apple on a desk, as well as one that gave realistic horse genitalia. Modders eventually revealed how little money they were actually getting from the money paid by players for the mod. Gabe Newell, Founder and CEO of Valve eventually stepped in for AMA on Reddit. In general it seemed like damage control, and even seemed like Gabe Newell wasn’t aware of everything that was going on.
Though in only a few days, it was done. Valve and Bethesda gave up on the idea because “It’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,”. It’s rare to see a Triple A developer admit they were wrong, so it was nice for Valve to take the blame. Paid mods might’ve been a brief trial for both developers and fans, but it still left an uproar and distaste in people’s mouths.
1) Konami’s Descent into Madness
Konami has been in headlines all year, so it’s no surprise to name their mishandling of themselves as the number one controversy in gaming this year. At the start of the year, it seemed like Konami was on track to have one of the best year in gaming, with Hideo Kojima at the helm of it all. Metal Gear Solid V was coming out in September, Metal Gear Online was coming later in the year, P.T was released to critical acclaim, Kojima & del Toro’s Silent Hills was announced, and they even opened a new studio in L.A.
Then things started to get weird. P.T was taken off the PSN market place, and then rumors on the cancellation of Silent Hills came about. Later on more sources claimed that Kojima is not staying with the company, with Konami trying to silence those sources. Konami’s new CEO began to talks of “mobile gaming” being the future, along with Konami being less about console and PC development in the future. The final nail in the coffin came with rumors of blatant mistreatment by Konami to its employees.
Once the company seemed aware of their intensely negative PR, they seemed almost eager to keep it going. Most recently, they banned Kojima from receiving an award from the Game Awards. Thankfully, Kojima is free of them now, but it remains to be seen what the future holds for Konami.
Well, there they are. My top 5 most controversial events in gaming this year. Feel the list missed something? Or maybe you believe I misnumbered something? Leave a comment and discuss what you think is the biggest controversy in gaming this year. Thanks for reading and keep checking back for more content.