Rundown (11/25-12/01) Corporate Woes

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Currently my school-based workload is diminishing, my mother is doing a lot better, and my mental state is in a more stable position, so reviews will resume on Wednesday, and a more structured format will hopefully be established in the following weeks. But in the meantime, the small assortments of stories I found noteworthy this past week all followed a corporate theme of sorts and, while ultimately positive, are difficult for me to not view in a cynical light. My reasoning from this universally stems from how much corporations get away with in these modern times, and how, well, following just about anything for years upon years causes people to become jaded.

Over the past year, there has been a wave of backlash against in-game purchases of randomized content in premium games, or loot boxes as they have come to be more commonly known, and while there has been progress in snuffing them out, and further linking them to actual gambling, I have become incredibly doubtful in the ability of modern governing bodies to do little more than aid in the interest of massive corporations and the profoundly wealthy. So I was quite surprised to hear that the Federal Trade Commission of the United States will be investigating loot boxes and their legality. All while the Electronic Software Association murmured about how loot boxes provide benefits to the experience of playing a game, repeating it like a mantra, while not providing any defensible points to their argument and instead sounding like a confused 6th grader. Hopefully this leads to manipulative business practices like these being more heavily regulated, but I am doubtful that this will lead to any action being made, because America is America.

Remember how back during the days of the Wii U Nintendo rolled out this boneheaded plan to take partial share in the monetization earned by people using gameplay or promotional footage? Well, that archaic practice, known as the Nintendo Creators Program has finally come to a close, and in its place Nintendo have elected to adopt new practices, which are more or less what most game companies towards streaming, let’s plays, reviews, and so forth. Where blatant copying of footage, posting footage of unreleased games, and other dubious vaguely defined yet likely to be unenforced bad things, are not permitted. Yet anything that can be considered transformative or a liberal modern interpretation of fair use, is permitted. This was a bad practice to begin with, and while some ire could be drawn from how it lasted for so long, I say stick a fork in this fish, ‘cos it’s dead, and just look forwards, because Nintendo is inevitably going to screw something else up, and people will get irate in response before they accept it as they always do.

Continuing this trend of what should be seen as good news, but I am in too much of a jaded and disgruntled mood to view it as a positive, Valve have announced changes to their revenue sharing model with developers on Steam. A fairly small change in the grand scheme of things that sees high performing games shift away from the fixed 30% transaction fee imposed by Valve, and most other digital storefronts, for processing payment, offering store space, and providing download services. With products that generate more than $10 million in total revenue receiving a 25% fee for all transactions whether they be full game purchases, DLC, or microtransactions, and the fee further decreasing to 20% after the game breaks $50 million. All of which is conducted with the hope of further rewarding larger titles and aligning their interest with Steam. Which is a somewhat commendable practice that may or may not have something to do with how Steam is close to launching in China, and this may be a small way to incentivise Chinese publishers to use their storefront.

Oh, and the same announcement also revealed that developers can freely disclose sales data, which they apparently were only allowed to do sometimes before. Personally I kind of which overall sales data was just made public on any given Steam page, but I know that is unrealistic and leads to various issues, so I’ll just view this as a small benefit that will hopefully result in sales data being more commonly discussed among small-time developers.

Header image is from a lewd TG doujin from the artist Hb called InCha ga Onna ni Natte Chikan Saretemita.

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