Encylcopedia Muranica: Failure is an Option

In pondering the great mysteries of the gaming universe, I’ve stumbled upon a singular observation.

Nothing is What it Seems.

Nothing is What it Seems.

Today’s Muranica deals with the idea of valuable creativity, and how in some contrived manner, it can be meaningless in the face of making money.

While Muranica’s usually have a basic source of inspiration to draw from, I think idea’s and theories back stock into my head until a well needed inventory check.  This current line of thinking may very well have reached overflow status with  my recent realizations that failure is an option. In this instance, I speak of EA’s failed launch of SimCity due to DRM and botched online functionality making the game unplayable on day one, and them not caring.

Failure as an option, should not be an alternative one should strive for, but rather learn from.

Though EA may not represent the ideal student.

Though EA may not represent the ideal student.

Winston Churchill once said: Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts, and I think it figures largely into today’s chapter of Muranica. While I’m of the mind suffering may lead to understanding and making mistakes is a major component of learning, I’m beginning to think there is a minority who are happy to use failure as a financial tactic rather than a learning tool. As a result, many like myself pay a hefty price, and causes suffering that really just leads to more confusion than enlightenment of any kind.

And all that implies.

Pictured: Failure as a financial tactic. Not pictured: the suffering people paying the hefty price.

Looking directly at my post yesterday, in the shock and awe of EA selling the SimCity launch as if it’s somehow to be admired,  I have to only assume no one at EA really cares they were recently voted the worst company in America.

Two Years Running.

Seen Here: The runner up laughing he didn't land first place.

Seen Here: The runner up laughing he and his company didn’t land in first place.

Of course, a quick look at the financial logistics of EA’s foundation , one can easily assess why the company may make no qualms about a more honest effort. With others recent observations that the newest Transformers movie had made bucket loads of cash while simultaneously being complete ass noise, we all soon realize the sounds of a wallet opening need only be loud enough to drown out the voice of the critical to make for a bonafide “mission accomplished”.

A picture of former President Bush Jr. at the recent Transformers theatrical release

A picture of former President Bush at the last Transformers movie premiere

So, what we have here is basic capitalism at work. A company (EA), tries to turn around a massive failing, and seemingly, does so in a somewhat perverse manner. So what they said. So what you couldn’t even play the fucking game on day one, so the game works better now, so the critics are all just a bunch of whiny gamers. So what? Yes, the bottom line won’t reflect most of this, just the stupid undeserved money that they made based on ignoring prior knowledge of known and possible issues leading up to launch day, just to get the game out on time because they can “fix it later”.

I reintroduce the Churchill quote as relevant here, in further assessing this odd state of affairs. A mistake, even a gargantuan one, is not the end of world.

Though it did prevent the start of one.

Though it did prevent the start of one.

However, with this recent slew of actual financial success, mind numbingly looked upon as failure cropping up in an alarming manner, and the SimCity launch looked upon as the same financial success despite being an actual failure, one has to question what stops EA from continuing to fail on purpose. Not within the confines of a botched never give up attitude, or a missing the mark with a stay positive mentality. I mean the active want and the willing acknowledgement to fail, full well knowing they can make the same money with a broken game that they could with a working one,  in some get rich quick scheme where all of us are products of their success, and at the same time represent the failure they so eagerly create.

If you micro size it, they will transact it.

If you micro size it, they will transact it.

This may sound like it has a more conspiratorial slant than I wish to imbue it with, but the underlining message (financially speaking) makes some bad kind of mad sense, SimCity being a perfect example of this proposed insanity. The structure of success can be built, and then very easily taken advantage, if it means screwing people over in the hopes of a quick buck. While the end goal may not be vocalized or observed as “fuck the consumer”, knowing where you can save money and time, can translate to us (the gamers), losing both simultaneously.

My best summation of this sordid state of affairs, was when I made a quick joke yesterday in regards to this subject, with alluding to Mel Brooks Broadway musical, the Producers as the relevant reference point. For those unfamiliar, the story involves two men, who realize through some broken miracle of economics, one can find more success in a failed play than a successful one. They in turn, create a play called Springtime for Hitler, which in turn is lauded entirely, becoming a run away success.

As you may be able to guess where I’m going with this, my heavy concern is that the fictional is about to become reality, and what’s funny will become the essence of serious business.

ATE EA

Hitler, seen here, feeling just fabulous about EA’s new idea, free to play death camps. Food and Water DLC only $4.99.

With a steady slope in decreasing physical sales, and the need to keep topping impossible expectations, sometimes by excruciating means, what’s from stopping EA to butchering every video game launch, to save money and still make the same amount, despite incomplete or non-existent product? They could even be more selective of course, I don’t know if the company could truly get away releasing every game of a series on day one with no new content.

Well, Maybe.

Weeeeeell, Maybe.

Though, if this recent “success” with SimCity is any indication, Failure is an Option. Not only that, it’s a financially viable one. If this somewhat pessimistic template follows through to true fruition, larger companies will continue to find success, based on purposely failing, rather than trying to make worthwhile games…and ultimately valuable product. If done long enough, this would bring about the end of days (for the company’s bottom line at least), dooming themselves in the process under the guise of evolution (a not too dissimilar apocalyptic scenario I’ve touched on before). This piece of reality isn’t completely unavoidable, however, but improvements in how companies will treat their consumers (before completely self-destructing) will take time, and likely be a very slow and painful process.

Ultimately, positive change will take time.

Depends on what the definition of a game is.

Is it, though?

Time enough for even the most casual to realize, that despite what they knew at one point, it’s not in the game…there’s nothing in the fucking game. When EA begins to sell concepts, instead of games to consumers long enough, that’s when everything will come crashing down. When even the least learned of us, realize that the price of admission is the equivalent of buying bottled air, we’ll be too suffocated by their crooked stupidity for our dollar to even make it to their money grabbing hands.

This isn’t an absolution that every dev team and every game by EA is to be ignored, (I’ve recently enjoyed some of EA’s less financially taxing titles). Nor do I have misplaced motivations in recommending a boycott of the company. I am merely exhausted of cross business tactics, and stand worried as a player who wishes both gaming well, and my brothers and sisters of gaming just as well, despite an avalanche of bullshit to deal with on a regular basis.

At the end of the day, I always beg you, dear gamers, to continue to ask the right questions.

Is this fun? Or is this finance?

And why does this fun house have bars on the windows?

Public Safety Announcement: Remember Kids! There's a big difference between everything for $5, and every THING...for $5.

Public Safety Announcement: Remember Kids! There’s a big difference between everything for $5, and every THING…for $5.

The More You Know…

…Failure is an Option.

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