When players criticize bad business practices by video game publishers, they're usually complaining about getting games that are less than what they'd paid for. But sometimes companies go completely off the rails and pull off such hilariously dumb/shady bullshit that you almost have to applaud them for the audacity ...
When playing Dark Souls, players will likely come across messages left by other players recommending that they jump to certain places in order to help them find secret areas. Except some of these messages exist just to troll players into seeing Dark Souls' iconic game over screen.
Dark Souls gets the credit for inventing this adrenaline-pumping mechanic, but the truth is that someone did it long before; too bad they did it in real life.
Back in the mid-'00s, Sony apparently thought they were too big to fail, so they launched a genius ad campaign for the PSP, which plastered messages all over the UK, some of them asking players to "Take a running jump." Just like in Dark Souls, most of these ads were likely well-meaning and placed in harmless locations, but a few of them ended in front of railways and bus stops, a place where no one should be reading this.
The Brits didn't ban the ads, instead probably opting for asking Sony to make future suicide-encouraging campaigns a bit less overt. Sony then agreed to remove the posters from "specific locations," presumably after realizing that their games weren't doing big numbers among dead gamers.
The remaining ads from this campaign weren't much better, either.
Redditor u/crankyrecursion found out that one of the planes in Flight Simulator included malware that extracted all usernames and passwords from the Chrome browser on an infected computer. Players quickly informed FSL, the people behind the Flight Simulator series, that there was a monster on the wing of the plane, to which they replied that they knew because they were the ones who'd put it there.
FSL claim they did it only to catch pirates, even though they infected every computer that had the game installed. Now, even if we forget how unethical it is to ship a malware-filled game without the knowledge of your paying customers, we can't forget how the malware itself doesn't distinguish piracy from any other attack. Yeah, even being the victim of a hack by a third party could get your data "rightfully" stolen by Flight Simulator's Patriot Act.
This ended up as one of the biggest controversies in the surprisingly problematic Flight Simulator series, second only to that time it got in hot water after reports suggested terrorists used it to train for the 9/11 attacks. Though in the team's defense, the idea of using a virus to counter a smaller problem came about before the pandemic, so this must be their first inside job ... right?
One of the saddest realities of the games industry is that more and more games are turning into traps you need to pay for to get trapped by. Sadder still is seeing how some game companies are seemingly enjoying showing their fans that they're turning their favorite games into full-on gambling operations.
Konami is well aware that people love their games, so, every once in a while, they announce a new title in the Metal Gear or Silent Hill series, only to reveal it's actually just another goddamn pachinko machine.
One that looks even better than the actual game …
... because it's likely that Konami worked on a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 to appease its fans but later canceled it to instead appease their own money hunger.
And Konami is not alone. Following in its footsteps is Atari, which is currently developing not just a casino, mind you, but a crypto-casino. It will be built in "Vegas City," which is not the actual city of Las Vegas, but a cyber district in whatever the hell the "Ethereum-based Decentraland's metaverse" is.
Working hard on a game to see it pirated must suck -- especially when your company had you crunching your ass off to make it. Some companies, however, deal with seeing their games get Jack Sparrow-ed better than others. CD Projekt Red, the company behind the great Witcher series and the even greater bummer that was Cyberpunk 2077, decided it'd be a cool idea to send letters to the addresses of people they caught pirating The Witcher 2 asking for money. Now, that probably wouldn't sound cool even from the people who made Sonic '06 but imagine getting one from the guys who make a really good game about a coin-hungry killer-for-hire.
Maybe an easier sell before the charming, indie, miniscule-E3-booth company snagged their own Keanu.
The gaming community at large -- pirates and good sailors alike -- got together to tell CD Projekt Red that even they thought the letter thing was too much of a LARPer move. Credit where credit is due, CD Projekt Red ended up apologizing, and there were no reports of players getting murdered by genetically enhanced silver-haired mercenaries.
Marvel's Avengers features the most popular characters of this generation not created by a TERF, but still manages to feel less like Avengers by the people who made Tomb Raider and more like Avengers by drug dealers.
The game is an incredible failure, not because it's poorly made but because it feels like it was very well crafted for the purpose of sucking. There's an actually decent game inside Avengers, but it's hidden underneath an Iron Man level armor of pay-to-play bullshit. Avengers is an especially grueling experience because it bullies players with its extremely slow progression system until they give up and shell out actual cash to get decent stuff. Come on, this is a Marvel game; the fans want to feel like Iron Man, not Tony Stark's wallet. Players have been complaining about it since the god damn release of the game, and finally, the devs have answered. Unfortunately, they decided to make progression even slower.
On top of the awful decision, a Crystal Dynamics' spokesperson stated that they were doing it because players could find leveling up fast overwhelming and confusing -- you know like one would find a simplified tax form more complex. This sucks, but we're excited about what's next for Loki as Crystal Dynamics' PR guy.
Top image: Square Enix