Why Everquest Next Will Be a Setback for MMOs

What follows is a rant. Brace yourselves, for rants are rare at Red Skies.

I’m all about sandbox MMOs. There’s hardly a blogger out there which believes as firmly as I do that they are the way of the future for the genre. However, I’ve rarely talked about the (significant) downside to the whole sandbox thing. The side that will certainly witness companies abusing the players-as-content feature in a way we’ve never seen before. It will be nothing short of them opening the doors to taking player content and profiting from it all the while trying to persuade us that it’s fair exchange: they get your money and you get a game. While we get “fun” and a “thanks for playing!” they implement our content (say, Landmarks) and take it to the bank. I’m extremely cynical about this arrangement because it will be as unfair as they can make it, no matter what kind of share they promise us.

The thing with player-created content is that, in essence, players are generating revenue for companies by making the stuff in their games. In that sense, it’s like working for free. Oh, sure it doesn’t feel like a job or anything we associate with traditional work. It doesn’t matter how much passion and joy I have for creating things in a game or sharing them. The player-creator model essentially allows MMO companies to do something they’ve never been able to do: create a persistent world and not need to regularly create tons of content for it, depending on players to do some of the legwork so that development costs less and profits increase accordingly.

Case in Point

If EQN pulls of what they say they will (they can’t), then Norrath will largely be a world in which players produce a lot of content. Sony’s no fool (they know how to get your money without delivering on their word)  and let me just make my position on their ability to create a great sandbox MMO perfectly clear: they’re incapable of succeeding. This company is the pinnacle of ineptitude, from management to development, when it comes to MMOs. They have a great lineage of over-promising and under-delivering. EQN will be the next feature in their circus line-up on Sony Station.

A quick browse of the Station is like walking through a museum. There are so many games there which players had great hopes for, and which had great potential. Placed in the hands of Sony, their failures were inevitable. Every game in there had a terrible launch, missing features, and broken core mechanics from day one. Credit where it’s due, Everquest 2 did eventually become a very respectable game. It’s too bad they botched the launch and subsequent 2 years of it’s early days to the point where it won’t be remembered that way.

The propaganda flying out of their hype-machine is so painfully superficial that only dreaming eyes would think they could re-invigorate the MMO genre with this scheme. It’s so transparent. EQN will be a mediocre title. It’s opening days will be nearly unplayable or else thoroughly under-deliver; features will be missing at launch and others flat out broken. That destructible world will be little more than a respawn mechanic taken to new heights or else a total wasteland not unlike Star Wars Galaxies. PvP will be half-baked. Classes will be unbalanced. Sony has a proven track record of incompetence and mediocre game development and these are just some of the star features of it. Players have almost no reason to believe EQN will be different.

The Sandbox Hoax

In the grand scheme of things, sandboxes do and will continue to do, all the things which I think make them compatible with MMO game design. It will return players-as-conent to the core of gameplay as it should be. This is eternally good for traditional MMOs because they don’t work well without this dynamic. Since producing games for the genre can be astronomically expensive, sandboxes decrease this load like nothing else. Players get exactly the kind of universe they want to play in with like-minded others. Content development can remain focused on that niche, decreasing costs and leading to a sustainable formula. Finally, niche sandboxes leave LOTS of room for MANY different types of MMOs to thrive. It counter-acts the need for them to be everything to everyone in order to be profitable and successful.

EQN will corrupt this potential by blatantly running a game designed to extract content from players as a “feature” of Norrath. They plan to prey on player fantasies of building things in our worlds and our desire to share those things with other players.  And since Sony will fail in this endeavor, companies with the same intent will pick up the corpse and make their own Frankenstein with it, promising to “get it right.” To say I’ve been disappointed with Sony and it’s promises surrounding EQN is an understatement. I can feel the lies. I think it’s very safe to say that suits are running the show and they want as many barriers from EQ2 broken down as possible including making it F2P. They plan to make their money somehow and that includes encouraging player content development so they can take a slice of the pie. It’ll be a “class revolution”, alright.

 

Comments

  1. Bhagpuss Bhagpuss says

    As someone who’s played all of SOE’s fantasy MMOs, most of them from
    launch, I’d have to differ with almost everything in your rant. It’s
    certainly true that over-enthusiasm rules the roost at SOE and always
    has, but that’s what makes their games so exuberant, enjoyable and
    emotionally resonant.

    Having played more MMOs thanI can remember over the last decade and a half, my three favorites remain EQ, EQ2 and Vanguard. The only real question in my mind about EQNext is whether it will come in at #4 or push one or more of the others down a place.

    I have little interest in the “sell your work” aspect. If people want to do that, good for them. The terms and conditions will be clear and people can participate or decline as they prefer.

    I don’t need to go to work in Norrath or any other imaginary world. I already have a job in this one and I come home from it of an evening, sit at my computer, log in and hope to be entertained. If the “sandbox” element of EQNext turns out to be marketing hype and what we really get is another iteration of the same game that’s already my first, second and third favorite MMO (because everyone knows Vanguard is just EQ2.5) then I’ll be delighted. In fact, I’d prefer it that way.

    And as for the bits that don’t work, a big part of the fun of playing MMOs is seeing that process play out, watching systems clash, ideas fail to gel and,
    eventually, order get restored. Polish is very, very overrated. Work-in-progress is ten times as entertaining.

    • says

      I accept your disagreement! :) But tell me …what are you disagreeing with? That they launches are terrible? That features are often missing? That crucial mechanics are often broken? For all the MMOs you named, this was the case.

      And there’s serious difference between having a couple of trivial bugs and a game which suffers from under-development/under-delivery. It’s not about polish, it’s about a working game complete with all that was promised. I would never pay for a work-in-progress car. Or refrigerator. Would you buy a book with 100 pages, but in which pages 7, 37, and 88 are missing? Why then do gamers accept work-in-progress games?

  2. Milady says

    I thought it might be my cynicism speaking and I dismissed it because I didn’t want to sound pessimistic so soon, but… I thought the same thing when I heard about this Landmark feature. It annoyed me that they thought players would work for them and be grateful for the opportunity to have their work displayed in the world… because they definitely will, that’s how fans are.

    I thought: if you want to vaunt a great housing/minecraft system, why not showcase it as inside the game proper instead of as a standalone title from where you will extract the ‘best’ designs? Why would I care to create anything outside of the MMO I’m playing when I know very well that only a few minecraft geniuses (who should probably be game designers in their own right) will have that creation mean anything at all? And how convenient that you will have players do the work for you!

    Even though there might be real good material presented in Landmark, as there are stunning mods that surpass the original game in any Elder Scrolls title, I am not keen on crowd-designing something players know only the surface details about. A lot of lore and nuance will be lost or truncated. I will give you an example of this. Imagine Blizzard would let players do as SOE intends. They set out as a goal for the players to design the interior of the new raid, say, Karazhan (because I’m familiar with that one, not because it’s new!) They make a document with a list of features that they think Karazhan must have: eery lighting, cobwebs, luxurious but fusty draperies, etc. Maybe a few players come up with something equal in beauty to Karazhan, sure. But unless you are very specific and reveal everything that must be known about the place, the details that convey the lore will escape them, like the books scattered on the ground of the tower, containing powerful spells. They might create their own lore behind their design rationale, the players, but it will not be what the developer’s intended story was. Or there just wouldn’t be any story, just pretty aesthetics. If you hand out ‘design’ powers to people who are not ‘in’ on the design of the world, who are just spectators, the result will be a) a pretty but vapid scenery; b) a new lore that diverges from the original direction. I’m more or less ok with b), but it annoys me that players would be doing the work for the designers in this case. And the divergence from the original plan could make it all a mess resulting from multiple voices that do not speak with each other.

    • says

      Your statements about lore are exactly why these features are all about corporate money grab. Suits don’t care about story! “will they pay to destroy it? Sell it to them!” I’m sure this is the general feeling up there.

      I’m looking forward to details coming out about how they monetize the game. It’s coming.

  3. says

    But these opinions aren’t influenced by hatred. I did explain that past experiences with their MMO titles have lead me to believe they are incapable of delivering what they promised. I also outlined the reasons. You can afford to do the same for the sake of discussion.

    I’m not sure you understood what’s written here, as you’ve decided not to point out any specifics about what you disagreed with in my rant. Indulge us here. What exactly do you believe to be the “logic” behind my opinion? You didn’t make that clear.

    • Waldy Angeloak says

      I’m not arguing your past experience with Sony MMO titles. That is your rightful opinion of Sony. But, in my opinion,
      that has been the industry norm for MMO developers since the beginning. And since that is the case, I could
      realistically take your rant and insert any of the big developers’ names in place of Sony, and with your logic, make the same points.

      That is ‘my problem’ with your rant. Your hatred of Sony was evident.

      • says

        A rant it may be, but it’s got truthful examples which show why I don’t believe they’re competent/willing enough to deliver on their word. There’s a tendency for people commenting as you have to dismiss legitimate criticism. Tear apart the content, not the author. By dismissing the author as hateful, you show that you have nothing to say about the substance of the article. Describe what it is you believe to be illegitimate criticism and perhaps you’ll be justified in dismissing the content.

        Second, it doesn’t matter if every dev is jumping off cliffs. This is hardly a valid counterpoint to legitimate criticism. Any one game may or may not do well at launch, but when every game from the same company does it’s considered a trend. Point out some concrete examples and show me why what I say is false.

        None of us needs to have a hatred of Sony to have legitimate reasons to believe they can’t deliver. I don’t mind attacks on the content of what I write. You’re welcome to comment on the contents and I encourage it. Point out some examples of why what I say is false as pertains to Sony instead of attempting to dismiss the article’s merit.

  4. gerryq says

    “And since Sony will fail in this endeavor, companies with the same intent will pick up the corpse and make their own Frankenstein with it, promising to “get it right.””
    Isn’t that how the best games are actually developed?

    • says

      I’d argue that the best games are NOT built on failures. Failed games act as great warnings, but no one who wants a successful game emulates a failed game. They make a new game and avoid the same pitfalls.

      There’s room for nuance here, though. Design philosophy counts. WoW can’t allow players to build castles in it’s world but it’s not because the idea is poor. The game isn’t made with this in mind. Yet the same feature in EVE is incredible. So it’s not so much that games don’t borrow from each other, it’s knowing what’s suitable for the game. The trend in popular, AAA MMO development is to pack every feature possible to be everything to everyone. EQN follows this philosophy and so the trend continues.

  5. says

    Landmarks, as I understand them, will essentially be the toolbox for players to build things. Those creations can then be selected by Sony and later featured in the real game, EQN. Landmark isn’t quite a game. It’s a tool for the EQN game whose central purpose is to allow players to create. It’s got all the hallmarks of a sweatshop in the hands of Sony; separate the workers from the real game, don’t let the crud go into EQN unmitigated, take the best fruits and place them in the real game. The real game is EQN. I’ll grant that they’ve been purposely vague about Landmark so far, but that just makes their word that much less trustworthy about it’s purpose.

    You have a point about “working less” but that’s not exactly what I meant. I could have explained it better. What I mean is devs are able to be less concerned with content generation (the creative process of coming up with stuff for their games) and are able to focus instead on improving tools and maintaining the sandbox. The thing which I think is most important, however, is the role of players in all of this. I’m wary of the ways in which Sony will corrupt the beautiful thing that is player content creation in order to make a buck. And I believe Sony has showed us exactly what it’s agenda is over the years: money. Not great games, not working games, not games which deliver what they promise. Money. I can’t think of a single reason I should have confidence they can deliver the game you and I are really dreaming of. They are vaguely aware of player desires and I think their goal is to hype those things up and under-deliver as usual.

    One need only tour the Station if they want to know what kind of games Sony makes and for what purpose.

    • says

      It’s true that there’s not a ton of Landmark info out; the most they’ve pointed out besides construction are the territory claims, plans for player hubs and markets and also in fact combat features. it’s hard to say though if this will be a half-assed attempt at sandbox gaming or not, although it will appeal to a certain crowd that is happy to build their own thing and not much else. at the very least.

      as for exploiting player creativity, where does it say that they’ll earn money with player constructs per se? if it’s just a feature, some sort of community contest, it’s actually quite awesome that they intend to take player creations on board? to say that this is exploitative is like saying free beta testers are a form of exploitation, too.

      “I can’t think of a single reason I should have confidence they can deliver the game you and I are really dreaming of.”

      neither can I, either way – and that always goes for all AAA launches that come with big promises. but I do not share the particular Sony bias here. many of my close friends loved both EQ and EQ2 to death.

      • says

        In fact, I would definitely say that free beta testers are exploited. I’m curious why you think they are not :)

        There are too few details about Landmarks, the game being F2P, and how Sony plans to make money from it. But we know that they plan to allow players to make money via the Player Studio and I think its very safe to assume they will get a cut of that one way or another.

        You believe they don’t plan to make a penny on any of this?

        • says

          Of course they will make money of this, why shouldn’t they? :) they need to make money or there wouldn’t be any games, right?

          they will make money the way other F2P MMOs do. there’s a big difference between making money with games and exploitation though and so far I don’t see where Sony is exploitative. whatever they will implement will follow a similar business model like GW2 or LOTRO or what any of the others have, it doesn’t really matter if it’s just with a cash shop or via property sales or other. you’re suggesting the sort of foul play that I personally haven’t seen indicated anywhere. but then I am liberal when it comes to F2P models – I’ve a feeling you don’t approve of them in general.

          • says

            Ah well just STRING ME UP SYL :D

            This is the reason I don’t do rants often. My rants aren’t fully fleshed out thoughts; they’re raw, gut feelings and I don’t always have explanable reasons why I feel that way. You’ve reminded me that i need to explore them a bit more next time.

            To answer you though, I will say that EQN and Sony exist within the current context of our western societies. And the trends there continue to show declines in employment. Companies continue to prefer to not employ people if they don’t have to. Yet those companies have to be able to get the same products out for their own survival. Take the government. People pay taxes which are then used to employ them. They pay for their own jobs and continue to pay for those jobs to be taken away, defending it the whole way by saying it’s the best thing for them. This is happening in our virtual worlds as well between developers and gamers and you’re right — I need to sit with those thoughts a lot more to explain the Crazy streaming from them :)

            Suffice it to say, I will be shocked if Sony delivers and more shocked if they don’t try to profit from player creativity. I don’t see this as a fair exchange and, yes, I think these kinds of exchanges must be fair.

  6. Brian 'Psychochild' Green says

    I’m hideously behind on my blog reading, and I can’t say much because my company Storybricks is doing the AI for EQ Next; anything I say can and will be held against me and the game in the court of public opinion. But, let me repeat what I just wrote: they’re working with an outside company to provide AI. This isn’t a case of them skimping on employees and offloading development to players work for “free”.

    Plus, SOE Player Studio shows that they don’t expect players to come along and not be compensated for work done in the game.

    Anyway, just giving another perspective.

    • says

      I’m aware they’re doing that. They have done that with various parts of some of their MMOs in the past, albeit they usually bought them out afterwards.

      It IS a rant. I do plan to give full explanation of my low expectations in the near future.

      • Brian 'Psychochild' Green says

        Sadly, I’m really limited in what I can say, but let me just say it’s not the same as before.

        No worries. I loves me a good rant, but I also like clearing up misconceptions when I can.

        • Doone says

          What misconception is that :) I see you’re hinting at having some insider information, but you haven’t pointed out anything I’ve said which isn’t factual (the misconception). Please do.

          Sony will do what they’ve always done here, and I’ll eat my hat if it goes differently: they will over-hype and under-deliver. They will then market in ways which maximize money and minimize development. It’s a rant, but there’s some reasoning given here grounded in truth. I don’t think the fact that they’re using another studio for AI will change that. And you haven’t explained how that changes or clears up “misconceptions” of anything said here.

        • says

          It seems some comments have disappeared and I just noticed this now. I had replied to you asking what misconceptions you believe are in this article. Please do point out what a misconception is here even if you don’t explain why it’s a misconception.

          • Brian 'Psychochild' Green says

            This might be old enough I can get away with being a bit more verbose. As usual, I’m only tangentially touching about EQN and I make no promises about what will or will not be in the final game.

            I disagree that SOE is a terrible company, but that might be expected given what Storybricks is doing. Personally, I admire the fact that they fight hard not to close down games. The primary reason they’ve shut down have been due to external licensing issues rather than simply because the games just don’t make enough money. As a player, I’d rather play a game I know will be around rather than judge the game based on how it launches. People always forget that almost every MMO has a terrible launch, including (especially!) WoW, which people take as the gold standard of how to run a game. The real measure is how the game does after the launch.

            As for user-created content, let me share my learning experience about user-created content. I used to loathe the idea, because obviously players generally cannot create content as well as a game designer can; an amateur can sometimes rise to the level of a professional, but this is the exception rather than the rule. I thought games and worlds, like Second Life, that relied on players to create content were flawed for this reason, because most of that content was going to be uninteresting.

            But, I realized that there’s a second reason to have user-created content: allowing expression of the player. Some people like to go in and create stuff. Sometimes they want to share their work and have other people look at their creations. Consider, does Minecraft rely on players to create content for the game? I don’t think that was the main focus of the game when it was created. Rather, it was a system that lets players express their creativity using a system that was easy-to-use.

            This second reason for user content has been one of the driving forces for Storybricks, and why I was excited about the work we did prior to working on EQNext. Our goal wasn’t to have players create content for us; I knew better than that. Our goal was to provide great tools for players to express themselves. We expected the stories to be interesting and meaningful to the players who created them, even if they were not terribly interesting to the rest of the playerbase.

            Some food for thought.

          • says

            Alright, then there’s no misconception! I understand and had considered these things before ranting. None of them make my concerns less justified :)

            No one’s blaming SOE for crap launches exclusively. In fact, I berate them for the launches *because of* the aftermath. They hype first and under deliver. EQ2 has been the exception and it’s a quality game that I’ve enjoyed despite any flaws. Vanguard was …there are no words. There’s a reason Station is such a bargain. SOE is the bargain bin of MMOs.

            The promises they’re making on EQN are exciting as hell …but I’m skeptical with good reason. I’m still rooting for you and SOE to pull this off! It’s the kind of game I’d love to play. But it remains to be seen and if the past is any indicator, they will let players down by totally under delivering what they’re promising.

            It’s great that Sony fights not to shutdown their games. It’s truly commendable. I definitely don’t try to attack the developers personally (I’m sure they’re hardworking, well-intentioned, creative people), but rather I judge them on the quality of their current games. That quality is mediocre at best on average.

            I understand that your closeness to the project because of Storybricks sets off your alarm when players like me are skeptical EQN. Storybricks is an amazing thing on it’s own, EQN won’t likely change that (god I hope not).

            In fact, you can do all of us a favor who are rooting for the game! Tell Sony to stop over-hyping it. They’re totally setting themselves and the players up for disappointment. Tell them to only talk about the stuff they are certain is awesome (non-staged images and videos showing that it works) or shut-up. They’ve already toned down the rhetoric delivered a Live and it was an injustice. They should be more considerate of the players by not jerking us around with hype.

          • Brian 'Psychochild' Green says

            A healthy dose of skepticism is fine, and surely encouraged. But, I don’t think it’s just skepticism. The title itself suggest that EQN will be a setback (no questions), and your tone in the article is equally assertive, even for a rant. You don’t merely say, “I don’t think they can deliver”, you say that they’re taking your work and making a profit from it.

            I have no control over the PR and marketing for the game. But, let me say: there is no such thing as over-hyping. Either you promote your product the best you can or you do not and you fail. Let’s just leave it at that, though.

          • says

            Yes, I believe there is strong potential for abuse with the Landmark/Player Studio feature, but this goes hand in hand with my statement of distrust of SOE.

            Naturally, if I believe that they will under deliver then it follows that this will cause a setback for the genre. So this is not surprising or somehow at odds with the rest of the article.

            Of course they plan to make profit from player work …that’s literally what they’ve announced. You’re making it sound like this is a bad thing to be wary of. I think there’s potential for abuse. Rant it may be, but I definitely give justifiable reasons. I’m not pulling them out of oblivion even if you think them unfair to SOE. I think it’s unfair when they under-deliver. That’s the state of their player-dev relationship with me.

            I definitely think a product can be over-hyped and strongly disagree with the idea of “you can never have too much”. Yes, there’s such a thing as too much. Implying that promoting your product the best you can is synonymous with over-hyping (in this case, exaggerating game features to the point of saying things that just aren’t true such as the “anywhere, anytime” outright lie Georgeson gave at Live and later retracted — how is this not wrong?) is wrong and I think it’s disingenuous of you to imply otherwise.

            When a person is at the point where they will say and do anything for money/marketing, then they lack integrity because they’re less concerned with honesty. No, I don’t trust people/things which lack integrity.

            Everything isn’t fair game, but you and I have a fundamental disagreement on ethics as we learned last year. I don’t think everything is fair game. I think it’s an ethically bankrupt concept.

            As ever, thank you for being civil and patient enough to engage an intense debate. These conversations I think show us different ways to think about topics. You and I are hit or miss when it comes to some things, but I’m glad the engagement has been worthwhile for us thus far. I had to reply to your points, but if you wish we can certainly leave the discussion at this juncture and save our passion for another time.

          • Brian 'Psychochild' Green says

            Glad to participate in a good discussion. I do admit, this is a bit more wearying than most, because I have to measure my words a lot more carefully. As usual, I’m speaking as a fan and developer of other games, not as someone working at a company that is working with SOE.

            As for PlayerStudio, I talked to someone who used it a lot when I was SOE Live this year. He was one of the top sellers, mostly selling items in EQ. He wasn’t some hotshot artist or someone running a studio cranking out art, he was just a guy with a good eye for what makes cool weapons and shields. Needless to say, he was extremely happy with how the system works; he got to express some of his creativity, and he got an income stream from the game.

            Worrying about abuse here is like worrying that Amazon will abuse people who want to sell their ebooks. Yes, the potential for abuse does exist and should be watched for, but it’s better to focus on actual abuse rather than worrying about it when the exact same system has shown no signs of abuse.

            As for hype, I used to subscribe to your philosophy. I ran a game where I wanted to do “it right”, and wanted to do straight-forward advertising and let the quality of my game do the selling for me. I learned that’s not what happens. Players don’t get excited about that type of game. Bloggers don’t post about that type of game. People aren’t attracted to that type of game. The internet doesn’t support the idea of letting the quality of your work speak for itself, because the internet is awash with noise. If you don’t hype your product, and hype it hard, it disappears from view.

            The reality is that it is a tough path to walk when you’re promoting your game. Talk too much, and people lament the hype train. Speak too little, and either people ignore your game or you get accused of being a tease. Promise something amazing and people will criticize it’s unrealistic. Promise too little and people will just not care.

            As for Dave Georgeson, you seem to assume that his intention is to deceive. Let me present another possibility: he’s legitimately excited about the project. He’s bursting at the seams to share stuff about it. Yes, sometimes that means he has to take a step back from something he’s said. I’ve had to do the same thing. But, consider for a moment that this game might be something truly revolutionary, something completely new that nobody has seen before. Consider how exciting that is to someone who has worked in the industry for years.

            Anyway, I’ve probably said more than I should. What I’m saying is that it’s fine to be wary, but I think assuming malice is a bit much. I guess we’ll all have to wait until EQNext is actually playable for people to see how it ultimately turns out.

          • Doone says

            I don’t want you to take my replies as me shouting “Malice!” If I don’t trust the company, I don’t trust them. It doesn’t require malice for players to be let down or to have their hopes pumped up only to be dumped down on false promises — that the devs knew were false when they sold us the hype. I’m sorry, but me and lots of adults are excited about things we’re doing and we don’t go around raising false expectations about it and most of us don’t do that because *it’s wrong*. It’s really not hard to be honest, no matter how excited one is (and half-truths have the same effects as outright lies). Again, we just fundamentally disagree on this kind of thing. He may be a well meaning guy, but there’s just no excuse for this kind of thing, shady industry be damned.

            Of course players are also eager to forgive these slip ups …when the devs sincerely acknowledge them as flat out wrong and show, through action, that they understand that and won’t do it again.

            Listen, as I wrote in a later article I’m as excited as the next player about these ideas in EQN. What I don’t appreciate is the over hype in which these companies go into liar territory. We can agree to disagree about whether lying is justified in the pursuit of greater profit.

            Anyway, hurry up and tell us more about Storybricks in EQN :)

          • Doone says

            Yes, I believe there is strong potential for abuse with the Landmark/Player Studio feature, but this goes hand in hand with my statement of distrust of SOE.

            Naturally, if I believe that they will under deliver then it follows that this will cause a setback for the genre. So this is not surprising or somehow at odds with the rest of the article.

            Of course they plan to make profit from player work …that’s literally what they’ve announced. You’re making it sound like this is a bad thing to be wary of. I think there’s potential for abuse. Rant it may be, but I definitely give justifiable reasons. I’m not pulling them out of oblivion even if you think them unfair to SOE. I think it’s unfair when they under-deliver. That’s the state of their player-dev relationship with me.

            I definitely think a product can be over-hyped and strongly disagree with the idea of “you can never have too much”. Yes, there’s such a thing as too much. Implying that promoting your product the best you can is synonymous with over-hyping (in this case, exaggerating game features to the point of saying things that just aren’t true such as the “anywhere, anytime” outright lie Georgeson gave at Live and later retracted — how is this not wrong?) is wrong and I think it’s disingenuous of you to imply otherwise.

            When a person is at the point where they will say and do anything for money/marketing, then they lack integrity because they’re less concerned with honesty. No, I don’t trust people/things which lack integrity.

            Everything isn’t fair game, but you and I have a fundamental disagreement on ethics as we learned last year. I don’t think everything is fair game. I think it’s an ethically bankrupt concept.

            As ever, thank you for being civil and patient enough to engage an intense debate. These conversations I think show us different ways to think about topics. You and I are hit or miss when it comes to some things, but I’m glad the engagement has been worthwhile for us thus far. I had to reply to your points, but if you wish we can certainly leave the discussion at this juncture and save our passion for another time.