The Cost of Doing Game Business

If there’s another topic in the gaming industry to highlight other than the lootcrate debate in 2017, it’s gotta be toxicity. More devs than usual spoke out on different platforms to raise awareness that constant threats, bashing, and name-calling is what they deal with on a daily basis. Some went as far as saying that the lack of interaction between game communities and devs can largely be contributed to this toxicity.

This is a troubling development, but also largely represents the world we’re living in today. Social media has enabled people to easily spread anonymous opinions and unproven facts to a large audience. And some hide toxic behavior, doxing, and direct threats behind their “right to speak freely”. To make matters worse, trolling, bashing, and complaints get you attention, even votes. But you don’t have to pull out Trump to find an example here. Just look at the case of LaVar Ball and how he grew a business just by being a complete loudmouth.

[su_quote cite=”Morgan Jaffit” url=”″]This has become the established discourse between creators and audience in the games space. Developers aren’t speaking about this in public, by the way, for two reasons. Firstly, every time you do there’s an audience who loudly proclaims that you receive abuse because you deserve it. Secondly, because it seems petty to complain. We developers have internalised that abuse is the cost of doing business.[/su_quote]

Neverwinter Is No Different

Neverwinter as a game is no different. If you follow the message boards and other platforms you largely see negative comments about the game. People openly call out devs and attack them on a personal level, and god knows what DMs certain people get. We as site had to deal with it in the past as well, both as victim and perpetrator. Living in the online world since I’ve been 16, I personally don’t care when people throw shit at me. As a general guideline however we’ve introduced a rule to not go beyond a username. That includes all devs and mods of the game. This doesn’t mean you can’t call out John the moderator, just not John the person. It does mean you can disagree with decisions loud and clearly, just not call for people to lose their jobs.

It’s too easy to blame it all on gamers though. You fuck with the mind of people, and expect them to remain calm? The industry itself has long become mainstream, making money nowadays is more important than making great games. That’s an attitude that creates problems, not only in the game space. European sport fan bases face huge issues and more violence due to capital taking over their teams. If people feel disempowered, they try to get it back on other levels. In that case the strict policy of companies to exclude toxic fans doesn’t help. “Submitting feedback in a constructive manner” fails if players think they’ve just been smacked in the face and now have to behave. You can’t fully retreat or hide behind rules, you have to search for common ground yourself. Otherwise you just contribute to the “us versus them” mentality.

[su_quote cite=”Morgan Jaffit” url=”″]Over time, big studio development has lost the trust of its audience, in some cases for good reasons. The gap between what was going on behind the scenes and what was presented by the PR people at the front became more and more obvious. The response to that (and the rise of alternatives to the mainstream games media) was a lot of people “Telling it like it is,” on YouTube and elsewhere. Jim Sterling, Angry Joe, any number of people who shout a lot about the injustices of the industry.

If you look at any of those YouTubers and sort their videos by popularity, you’ll find out what they already know. Shouting is popular. Videos with titles like ‘Shittiest games 2016′ and ‘Why it is moral to pirate everything Nintendo makes’ rate a whole lot better than nuanced and insightful reviews.[/su_quote]

The Cost of Doing Game Business

It’s still indisputable that managing toxic behavior and communities is one of the bigger challenges of today’s industry. The quotes in this article are from a well written and thought-out piece on the topic by Morgan Jaffit on I highly suggest reading through it entirely and like to pass on his final questions to our audience here as well. Is this abuse worth the cost of doing business? And what will happen when the best established developers and most talented up-and-comers decide that it’s not? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 40,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

One thought on “The Cost of Doing Game Business

  • January 18, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Game industry haven’t changed at all. Either you deal good job and you will get loot of support from community, and minimal hatred.
    or you do bad things and you get nailed by community…

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