News: Kotaku’s Rivers of Brown

Elephant Dung Catcher 1
The Kotaku news generation process.

Hideki Kamiya Likens Reading Kotaku to Eating Shit

When Platinum Games’ Hideki Kamiya was this week asked his “opinion of Valve and Steam and PC Gaming“, he replied “I don’t know well about Valve. PC gaming, no interest.” PC gaming holds very little allure for the Japanese who place a premium on portability, owing to a lifestyle which involves much in the way of transit between urban centers. Subsequently, aside from several high profile PC ports, there is very little in the way of Steam content that would interest a Japanese gamer. Kamiya followed up by justifying his disinterest by stating “Personally I don’t like cloud thing, cuz it seems kinda unstable to me. Just personally“. This is probably the point at which this discussion of Steam should have begun and ended, and that would have no doubt been the case if the bottom-feeders of Kotaku had not got ahold of this brief exchange, and used it to pen the insulting article: The Guy Who Made Bayonetta Is Clueless About Valve And PC Gaming.

The article in question, written by mincing verbal catamite, Richard Eisenbeis, used Kamiya’s tweet to paint him as retrograde simpleton, and then used this characterisation as a stand-in for the Japanese developer everyman – so while it made a few valid points [while ignoring many others], munch of the meaning was obfuscated beneath a tone of high-handed condescension. Suffice to say that the tone of the piece was not complementary, which is why Hideki Kamiya came to take exception to it when it was brought to his attention by a twitter follower. He proceeded to call Kotaku “douche bags” and when a follower replied that “kotaku = sensationalist journalism“, he responded with “Journalism? Ha ha.”

Again, this is probably the point at which the discussion should have ended, and that would have no doubt been the case were it not for Kotaku writer, Luke Plunkett, inserting himself into proceedings. In response to Kamiya’s obvious reproach, Plunkett inquired “just curious, did you actually read the piece?“, to which Kamiya responded “Do you eat shit?“, an obvious jibe at Kotaku’s notoriously low journalistic standards. Plunkett followed up by claiming he was “asking, because it’s a good piece, explains a Japanese perspective on PC gaming“, to which Kamiya responded “So I’m the leader of ALL JAPAN. Great.”

At this point Kotaku editor, Stephen Totilo, stepped in to diffuse the situation by changing the title of the story by way of apology “The original headline for this story–“The Guy Who Made Bayonetta Is Clueless about Valve and PC Gaming”–has been changed. “Clueless” was a poor choice of words and we apologize for the negative connotation. That said, we appreciate Kamiya’s colorful reaction to the story and hope that, now that we’ve changed the headline, those who couldn’t get past that will be able to read the piece.” As far as insincere apologies go, this is probably one of the more smug and condescending efforts that the gaming world has seen in recent years, and, apologies aside, one gets the distinct impression that Kotaku are secretly delighted at the controversy, as this is the sort of thing that will drive page views for weeks to come.

Project Eternity Logo
One suspects that Bioware’s traditional users now spend their days on the Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 backer forums.

Bioware’s Community Forums Have Become Too Toxic For David Gaider

In a development which will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody who has been following the downward trajectory of Electronic Bioturds, it would seem that the Electronic Bioturds forums [pretentiously named the Bioware Social Network] have become too toxic for even the EA studio’s own employees. Dragon Age II writer, David Gaider, has this week revealed that the forums have become so unrelentingly negative that he has begun to avoid them on account of how awful they make him feel about himself.

Spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative – not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general. The signal-to-noise ratio does seem to be worsening, and eventually you get the feeling like you’re at one of those parties where all anyone is doing is bitching. It doesn’t matter what they’re bitching about so much as, sooner or later, that’s all you can really hear. Engaging starts to mean partaking in the bitching until you feel like that’s all you’re doing. Even when I try to rise above, those who are most negative will seek me out in order to get a rise out of me – and not unsuccessfully. I am only human, and I’ll end up responding to score points just as they do, and end up feeling sh**ty for having done so.”

It is no great mystery as to what has happened here. Bioware were once an independent WRPG studio who focused on making PC games, but have in recent years transitioned into a corporate shooter factory, intent on milking iterative console franchises. Accordingly, the mentally enfeebled shooter crowd have settled into the once thoughtful WRPG oriented Bioware community, having the net effect of squeezing out the moderate Bioware fans, and leaving behind only the Bioware hardcore, which has itself splinted into two factions; one which will refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of Bioware, and the other which views the company’s every move through a prism of unrelenting negativity [and rightly so]. In short, for the last five years Bioware has been sowing the seeds of discord within their community, and now they are reaping the whirlwind. It would appear that one cannot unerringly court commercialism at every available juncture and still be the creative darling of the gaming industry, and it seems that this is a lesson that some Bioware employees are only now learning.

Rocky Standing in a Triumphant Pose
It has been a long and winding road to this Pyrrhic victory.

IDC: PS3 Has Surpassed Xbox 360 In Units Shipped Worldwide

In November of 2006 the Playstation 3 was launched on the heels of the Xbox 360, which had amassed a lead of several million units. The PS3 was booed and jeered for the first two years of its life, owing to a dearth of must-own software and an astronomical pricetag, yet little-by-little it came into its own as a seventh generation console. Eventually the PS3 began regularly outselling the Xbox 360 on a worldwide basis, yet it was by such a small margin that it took an age for the PS3 to whittle down the lead that the Xbox 360 had established.

This week the International Data Corporation (IDC) have announced that Sony’s PS3 has overtaken the Xbox 360 in units shipped to retail worldwide, though take this announcement with a grain of salt, as such projections appear a tad fuzzy. Case and point, Video Game Chartz still lists the PS3 at 72.1 million units to the Xbox 360’s 73.7 million, though their site is unlikely to have access to data that is as reliable as that utilised by a professional outfit like IDC. Further muddying the situation is the fact that the IDC report mentions units shipped as opposed to units sold, yet the fact that Sony has had to ship 77 million PS3’s to retail in contrast to the Xbox 360’s 76 million is an indication that the PS3 has likely, at long last, surpassed the sales of the Xbox 360. Then again, in real terms the PS3 has probably exceeded the Xbox 360’s install base long ago, given the number of people who have had to buy multiple Xbox 360 consoles on account of their system bursting into happy festival fireworks [and still they insist on buying ‘Merican].

3 comments

  1. Kotaku =/= Journalism

    (The sheer volume of posts devoted to cakes and cosplay babes are a clue.)

  2. It’s funny that EA’s own employees find the Bioware boards too toxic considering that most of the “people” on them are bro-gamers brought in to gaming by EA’s sports series as well as Call of Duty.

  3. As a game developer you absolutely do get to pick your audience to an extent, and EA/Bioware certainly made their own bed, so to speak.

Comments are closed.