A local question

Astro Boy, Gigantor and Eight Man are classic shows that have a place in American pop culture, even thou Eight Man is probably the most forgotten piece of the bunch. This was the 60’s, and a cartoon with robots flying in the sky, high-speed androids and robot boys fit the era fine. From what I’ve gathered from what people who grew up with these shows, nobody questioned their origin. They were entertaining shows on the telly and that’s all that mattered. I’d throw Speed Racer into the mix as well, thou it arrived just a tad later to the mix, but met with the same treatment.

Video and computer games have a similar history, all things considered. Nobody really cared where from arcade games came from, they just rocked the place. Not even the name Nintendo raised some eyebrows, it was just some exotic name cocked up in a meeting. Pretty much what Herb Powell did in The Simpsons.

Games had a shorter gestation period than robot cartoons when it comes to finding the source to some extent. US saw the mid-1970’s Shogun Warriors, a toyline that used wide variety of toys based on Toei’s show with some changed names to fit better the American market. The NES era is relatively infamous of its localised games, and much like how American reception of these Japanese cartoons ultimately was felt back in Japan, so was the localisations and changed made to games. Perhaps the best example of this would how Salamander became Life Force in its arcade re-release and effectively became its own spin-off from the base game.

This, of course, has been largely in America. Europe is a bit of a different thing, with France, Italy and Spain having their own imported animation culture to the point of Spain having a statue for Mazinger Z. I remember reading about a tennis comic that a French publisher continued after its end in Japan. This was done by hiring an illustrator who could replicate the original style and saw healthy sales for a time. Something that like probably could never happen in modern world, unless the original author has died and has made it clear that continuing his work is allowed. Somehow I can see titles like Mazinger  and Dragon Ball still gaining new entries to the franchise long after Go Nagai and Akira Toriyama have left for Mangahalla.

Sadly, I am not as well versed in pan-European phenomena when it comes to Japanese animation in the Old World, but there are numerous resources in both online and book format, often in native tongue. Perhaps worth investing time into for future entries.

While things like Robotech and Voltron made their names around the American landscape, the 1980’s saw a growing appreciation for the original, unaltered footage. This was the era of Laserdisc, and people were mail ordering cartoons solely based on the covers. Can’t blame them, LDs tend to have absolutely awesome covers. Whenever these shows were shown in a convention, a leaflet explaining the overall premise and the story would be spread among the visitors or a separate person would enter the stage and give a synopsis of the events on the screen. There were those who felt, and still feel, that localisation demeans the original work.

Similarly, game importing became a thing in the latter part of the 1980’s and in the early 1990’s with NES’ success, though it should be mentioned that Europe saw PC game importing across regions far more. The Nordic countries began importing NES games anywhere they could and specialised mail service stores popped up just to service this part of the population. It wasn’t uncommon to see Genesis and Mega Drive titles sold side by side in-game stores. Appreciation for the original game saw a rise, either because of it was simply cool to have shit in Japanese or from America, or because some level of censorship was present. However, more often it was because Europe was largely ignored when it came to releasing certain games. Importing unavailable games to a region is still relevant, perhaps even more so than previously now that companies are investing in English releases in Asian versions and region free consoles are becoming an industry standard.

The question I’ve been asking myself for a long time now, longer than I’ve been writing this blog, is that whether or not wholesome localisation like Space Battleship Yamato and Starblazers was a necessary evil of the time that we can be do without now, that we are grown culturally to accept the original work as a whole, or whether it’s just hubris of the people who are too close to their sub-culture and co-fans. A person who is tightly knit with music’s sub-culture doesn’t exactly understand the sub-culture of pinball or golf.

By that I mean that pop-culture in general doesn’t give jackshit whether or not panties are censored in a video game, it’s irrelevant in macro-scale. Even in a localised form a product can impact pop-culture in ways that the original couldn’t, the aforementioned Speed Racer and Robotech being highly impacting examples in American pop-culture. I guarantee that these shows would not have their impact without the localisation effort.

Is it a necessary evil then? Perhaps this is the subjective part with no answer. Those who value original, unaltered product without a doubt will always prefer the “purest” form of the product, whereas someone who doesn’t have the same priorities will most likely enjoy the localised version just as fine. It would be infantile to assume that people who don’t know better can’t appreciate the original piece or lack in intelligence somehow. It is merely a matter preference, and like assholes, everyone has one.

If it matters, I personally vouch for unaltered products whenever applicable for the sake of keeping the integrity of the product and the intentions of the creators intact. However, also see complete localisations having their valid place in e.g. children’s cartoons. While it would be nice to have two or more versions of everything for the sake of options, that’s not always an option for budgetary, marketing or some other reasons.

Perhaps that’s what could be argued; when it comes to Western culture, we are more acceptable to unlocalised products more than previously, but total localisations still have their place. Even without knowing much about the source, we can appreciate the intentions and look past the cultural difference.

Or at least we should be able to, and appreciate the differences and intentions without resorting to raising a hell for nothing.

Microsoft combining their platforms

For some time now I’ve been expecting Microsoft to return to their native PC market. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is hitting the PC via Windows 10 Store. Similarly, Forza 6’s slimmed down version is getting a release via Win10 store as well.

What does this tell you? This tells you that Microsoft is unifying PC and Xbox One.

The Xbox brand has been less successful than Microsoft wanted it to be. From the very first console, it never dominated the market anywhere to any extend outside the America. The Xbox lost to PS2, the 360 lost to the Wii and Xbox One doesn’t seem to sell anywhere. These have translated into losses very fast, but Microsoft’s vast monetary resources have kept the brand afloat.

Not only that, but the consumer has made clear what sort of OS they prefer. Windows 7 is still the most used OS at 52.34% market share, followed by Win10 and the goddamn WinXP. Nobody liked Windows 8, and it looks like Win10 is gaining foothold because it’s a forced update. It offers something to the hardcore gamers for sure, but that’s a niche audience at best.

UWP, the Universal Windows Platform, aims to run platforms on both PC and Xbox. Seeing how Microsoft is turning Xbox into a gaming machine that can be upgraded in hardware, like almost any PC. Hell, at this point they should do away with the Xbox brand as a console and start selling them as gaming designated PCs. Wouldn’t be the first time somebody has done that either.

On top of that, Microsoft wants to get into the whole Augmented Reality stuff.

It seems they are restructuring themselves harshly, but something doesn’t seem right. They’re not making a clear-cut difference with the console market, but they are teetering on its edge. With the upgradeable hardware they are essentially announcing that their targeted consumer base will be smaller than previously, as most console gamers are not into modifying their hardware in any way.

This weird split won’t push either Xbox side or the PC side if the UWP in the way they are hoping for. Digitally, the UWP acts as one platform, but we always have to remember that there exists a large amount of different hardwares running Win10. For the cross platform to work as intended, all UWP games would need to be tied to the Xbox side of hardware in performance and options. I do not see a scenario where UWP would allow any Xbox game to use the full potential of the PC hardware because Xbox hardware exists.

On top of that, DirectX 12 will be Windows 10 exclusive and that won’t affect anything. Rather, if UWP will utilise it, the Xbox will most likely get an equivalent update to it.

UWP and Win10 Store will function as digital game console, much like how Steam works, and that is what Microsoft will have an uphill battle with. Steam is without a doubt in a monopoly position when it comes to digital platform on PC. Both EA and Ubisoft tried their own thing and failed. GOG is sticking around as a good alternative for older games. Some have expressed the worry that Windows 10 will put games behind a walled garden, forcing people to use certain software to access their games to begin with with always online functionality, but you’d think they already got used to it with Steam.

Xbox as a brand had some root as a console name, and had dedicated fans just like everything else. However, unlike most of Nintendo’s consoles, both SONY and Microsoft were always the hardcore red sea competitors. But now there is an ad floating around with a modified Xbox One claiming that Together we are ONE, and especially mentions how the whole thing goes from the best casual games to a new generation PC gaming. It’s laughable and implies that PC gaming is the hardcore market, which it really is as we’ve discussed previously.While it’s sidestepping the hardcore fallacy, it resorts to casual fallacy with no care in the world.

The Xbox One seems to become a Steam Machine in many ways, an incredibly dumbed down computer for games.

None of this matters if the software they’re offering isn’t  up the task. Microsoft can reorganise the Xbox brand and their PC side as many times as they want to, but without the software to push either one, they will fall flat. Gaming on consoles has always been about one thing and one thing only; games. With Frankenstein’s monster -esque change they’re making won’t benefit the gamers or themselves as long as they intend to mix PC and consoles together.

I see this becoming another failure in Microsoft’s ventures. Zune failed, Microsoft phones failed, Microsoft’s tablets have been failing and now their consoles have failed and are being turned into third-rate PCs. The only reason Microsoft is still around is what made them big in the first place; Windows. The OS installation base is still large and Office is still largely a standard, but with their misadventures and constant screw-ups they are doing their hardest to fuck this monopoly up.

Games, art, objects, hate and helicopters

It often baffles me how there are people who think video games are real life. There are those who seem to equate a video game character to a real person. It’s understandable, as it seems to be the human nature to humanise and antromorphise things that are not human to be more humanlike or completely human.

I’ll cut the chase; video game characters are not people. They are not men or women, they are programmed objects. To say a game character objectifies someone raises the question why do you think something that is an actual object would do that? It would be more apt to say that it is the person viewing the object is doing the objectification. Of course, the designer and the person who does the modelling have their hands in creating the object and their take on various aspects does affect the end result. However, there’s a need to emphasize that they are modelling a human body, but a human being. Video game characters have as much humanity and everything carried with them as your general blowdoll.

Any and all people have tendency to see things where there aren’t any. Overly analysing something and anything has become a sort of cultural pass time in the Western countries. It’s no doubt part of the post-modern era of art we live in, where everything has something deeper to say. In reality, not everything has an agenda, a message or a deeper meaning but there are those who see things otherwise mostly because everything they do does have an agenda, a message and the alleged deeper meaning. This is extremely sad, as otherwise possibly great products become politically charged items, and politics is one thing consumers of the video game industry do not want to see. It always needs to be repeated, but people play games to get rid of stuff like politics, feminism and reality overall and just have fun.

Hatred has got a lot of buzz around it since the release of its trailer. This is pretty good, as Hatred clearly harks back to the era where there was no bullshit attached to the games and you’re just thrown in to play the damn game. Hell, even the logo has distinctly similar typeface to Doom.

And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked
And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked

As the people at Destructive knowingly are going against the rising trend of making everything comfortable and political correct, they’ve already seen fairly high amounts of criticism, a thing which definitely will only encourage them to go even more out there and show more outlandish things. It’s a motivational thing, and I’m sure this is a reaction they hoped for, despite the people having nothing much to it than what’s on the surface.
I’m sure Hatred will be described as murder simulator by people who have never tried their hands at a proper simulator in their life and can’t make a proper distinction.

The above is an example how a simulator can teach even a novice how to get a Kamov Ka-50 up and running. A proper simulator is a far cry from a game like Hatred, where the player character simply loads up the gun and walks out.

It needs to be understood shooting a gun in real life is not the same thing as ‘shooting a gun’ in games. To use a real weapon requires certain degree of knowledge how a gun works from loading to shooting. There are online sources that readily teach you how to handle a gun and take the recoil properly, whereas a game simply allows the player to use the object of a gun. Claiming that clicking the mouse button to shoot a virtual weapon is the same thing as pulling a real trigger is ridiculous claim to say the least.

Because of human nature to reflect reality into what is not real, it’s not too farfetched, and is applicable, to see people bringing their frustrations into a game environment. I assume everybody would agree that it would be better to get your more violent frustrations out through a match of Tekken rather than go to the closest BBQ line and fight people there. Because we see these objects as avatars to human life, we get all sorts of satisfactions from them even when they’re far from the original intentions.

But let’s take bit different stance and let’s consider games as form of art.

Art, essentially, is all about creating an objectification of a human. Be it paintings or sculpture, the classical arts have always portrayed humans in the ways the creator has intended. Indeed, the girls of Dead or Alive are nothing less than direct descendants of statues of Aphrodite. Who would be mad enough to begin to argue that the idolised woman and man in art could be something evil or bad? After all, shouldn’t we all strive to become the heroes from legends? There is no form of depiction that would not offend somebody or gain a claim of negatively objectifying something. I would argue that depiction of something is essentially creating an object out of the depicted thing. If you don’t like the depiction, you’re free to find all the other alternatives that are out there. Of course, objectification in itself is a matter we need to discuss at one point, but in context of this post we need to remember that no game character is a person or even a human being, but a literal object.

In modern world, especially in the West, the sentiment of What I say I right and you are a horrible person for disagreeing is dominant. This is apparent from the petition that aims to take down Hatred. The whole wall of text provided is not good to read and shows how certain parties simply don’t give a fuck about anyone else but themselves. There are numerous spots that should be discussed overall when it comes to video games, but in a petition like this they are merely opinions without proper base. Then again, the author concentrates on racism to such extent he completely seems to miss his own racism and bigotry by excluding white people from his rant. It would be more apt for him to complain how people are not equally killed in the game.

But the thing that gets my blood boil is the question What made you think this was ok? If people indeed want to take games-are-art as serious argument, then games like Hatred should not be demonised because of their subject; on the contrary, it should be celebrated for bringing such matter in front of people and make of it what they will. Art across ages has been there to be enjoyed for sure, but it has also been there to challenge with uncomfortable images and themes. Within the last thirty decades, there has been only a handful of games that concentrate on the gameplay element and bring up issues people do not want to assess. Software like Depression Quest and Gone Home may have issues worth of discussion for sure, but they’re incredibly bad games. Not only they hold the users’ hand like they’re bunch of morons but also lack any sort of replay value. Hell, Gone Home could’ve been a point-n-click adventure where the player is the kid he is reading of for some reason. THAT would have been something to note, as the player would have been put into the shoes a closet gay character and taken through the events and life the game tries to convey. Hatred, on the other hand, puts the player in control of the antagonist and asks the player to ponder why this sort events take place at time to time. As certain sources have said, games don’t need to be comfortable and should touch on difficult subjects. Hatred does this in a very visceral and brutal way to go directly to the point and its unapologetic method is very something to admire.

After all, games are all about the gameplay. We have made objects that are humans in their look in order to reflect reality to them, and perhaps this sort of unreality is the only place we can handle certain aspects of ourselves. In games, everybody and anything is idolised and perfected, much like in classical depictions of mankind.

So I have to ask, if games are art, why is the idolised depiction of things in form of actual objects something that is objected? This makes even less if you take art from the equation, as we all know entertainment should hit the notes the customers wish to hear. In either cases there exist numerous products in films, books, movies and to lesser extent, in games that handle horrible subjects directly. Only games are able to give the player the full fledged control and control the player character through those horrible deeds.

All that said, why the hell would you want to force a developer shut down their project? The developers of Hatred really do acknowledge what they’re doing, and whatever they’re stating officially is straightforward. They have something to say, and silencing them by forcing to shut down the project would be nothing less of censorship and detracting the value of game as a medium overall.

Shit, I need to drink less beer while writing rant articles.

Cookies, tomato sauce and fictional character personalities

When you go visit your local groceries store next time, check out the cookies section. I want you to notice all the different sort of cookies there are, from salty to tasteless and all the way to the most sweetest thing imaginable. Check the amount of flavours they have and how many of the cookies have a varying degree of chocolate. Some have huge chunks, some have small bits spread everywhere and some just have top of solid sweet chocolate. Naturally you’ll also find immense amounts of cookies that have no chocolate at all. Some may have strawberry bits, some may have blueberry bits and some may have bits of Love inside of them. I mean Blackcurrant.

Move to the sauce section, and pay attention to the amount of different consistency in e.g. Dolmio sauces. You got different consistencies in one flavour alone, from runny to very chunky. In the basic tomato sauce there should be around five levels of chunkiness, and one of the levels without a doubt is the one you personally prefer over any other.

There are numerous different variations of one thing because consumers do not have one thing they love. There is no best, only bests.

This applies to electronic games just as much as it does apply groceries. You have numerous different First Person Shooting games varying from runny to chunky in order to appease different sub-sect inside the customer group. Just like there are people who dislike tomato sauce, there are people who can’t get into FPS games and will opt for something else. Same with Role Playing Games, where you have the solid, crunchy chocolate ones in form of Final Fantasy, and then the foamy ones with chocolate bits thrown in there randomly in form of Dragon Quest. It is not uncommon to find people who prefer multiple options, but there are usually few options they’d always prefer over the many others.

Just like Muv-Luv has different routes for different girls, the reader selects those routes first he finds most preferable. There is no worse or best route when it comes to personal selection, but depending how well the route is written can be reviewed as per literary standards.

Certain things can be quantified and observed to see what is, purely objectively speaking, better over another. It’s not uncommon to see people claiming one thing being horrible and mass having shit taste because they prefer one thing over the other. That’s the immature way of taking it, and because we can only argue over our preferences and not facts, this happen every time a solid, positive experience is involved. I have observed arguments over the smallest things being better over another, like between two brands of ketchup, but we all know that such things are moot.

To some extent.

The ketchup that sells the most is most preferable, the best out there. However, there are numerous different ketchups that sell around equal numbers. The aforementioned bests. This is a highly interesting thing when you begin to look into this, because it’s not apparent at first. Actually, the whole multiple types of sauces thing is relatively new thing overall, as for the longest time the market people saw the best thing being what was stereotypically seen as the best, the most classic of tomato sauces. Nowadays it would feel weird not to have large selection one thing in different flavours.

When it comes to electronic games, the term experience with them is thrown out far too many times. The problem with a claim of a game being an extraordinary experience is that the claim is based on either marketing quip or a personal experience, thus lacking proper validity. It’s an opinion.

What constitutes as a part of the game experience is rather vague, and once again, up to individuals to determine. For some the experience itself is only the game’s play itself. In cinema terms, it’s watching the movie. Other people on the other hand may see the game experience as something a bit larger, starting from unwrapping/ unboxing the game to putting the game inside the machine and everything that surrounds this. Some dislike this whole physical thing just like some people have moved into having only digital game libraries on their consoles.

This entry actually got its start from a small discussion whether or not emulators offered a better experience than physical consoles. Emulator enthusiasts are ready to claim their side as the victor, and they’d be incorrect. However, before the physical folks start to grin, they’re the same. If we are to use the term subject, we have to keep in mind that it is a person’s subjective, personal reality over a thing. That can’t be denied by anything, and claiming that this person is wrong in his opinion or experience would invalidate the claimer’s own doings just as much.

We all know that emulators allow all sorts of interesting things that the physical consoles don’t, like upscaling, filters, further colour options, save states and so on. That can’t be disagreed with and these can be left alone if one chooses to do so. With emulators we have the issue of emulation and that is a quantifiable and we can compare the function of the emulator over the physical console. An emulator like ZSNES that runs on hacks and plugins with inaccurate timings, causing the game being played inaccurately. An emulator is supposed to emulate, and we can argue with a solid base that an emulator should be able to emulate the console perfectly in order to be considered to convey the same experience of the game. Then again, if you consider the physicality, then even the very notion of running an emulator throws this out of the window. You also have the number of people who don’t care about the accuracy of the emulators and concern themselves only over how well the emulator is able to run. With a real console you wouldn’t have compatibility issues, and that if anything we all can agree is a detriment on the emulators.

With emulation and physical consoles we need to remember that it is the console that is emulated, not the game. While there is an attitude that a console is not able to run a game properly due to the console being too weak, we need to remember that the game is made for the console. There are clear limitations given both in software and in hardware. Most of the hardware is set in stone, and the things like the controller sets certain limits. A NES controller can’t have the amount of functions that a SNES controller has, but that it not detrimental to the game itself.

In overall terms console games are programmed to their respective consoles and blaming the console for the slowdowns and such in the game is largely misplaced. As console games are made for a console, it is up to the game developer to see that the game is able to run on the given console. There are numerous way a skilled developer is able to get around the limitations a console offers, and with all and any console generations we’ve seen numerous ways how numerous limitations have been defeated in a way or another. If a developer finds a console too powerless for their designed game, they are always free to move to PC platform, which relatively speaking has no real limits. Then again, the PC platform then brings in the numerous different configurations it can have and is completely different can of worms. Or used to be, seeing how this and last generation of game console are dumbed down PCs.

Nevertheless, as a game is intended to be run on certain hardware and is designed to solely run on that hardware, emulation must reflect this. However, the older the console, the more tricks you will find, like developers using CRT televisions’ Rainbow Banding to make create effects in-game or have memory buffer zones in the overscan area. Some games are known to use the hardware’s limitations for the benefit of the game. Space Invaders is a well known title that abused the hardware’s incapability to play at best speed initially, but as the aliens die out the hardware is able to handle the game better, thus the faster movement of the aliens toward the end of the round. An emulator would accurately need to emulate the cycles and timings in the hardware, as well as their limitations, in order to create an accurate representation of the game and the hardware.

However, in reality most people don’t care about the accuracy or how well the emulator itself emulates the console as long as the game is playable. That is a preference just as any, and does not constitute as a valid argument in a proper discussion on the things despite many arguing otherwise.

As you’ve figured out, the people offering any product needs think of the multiple customers within the a group of customers. This seems evident in itself, but we all know that people mainly see their opinions and preferences over other’s. This doesn’t work when you’re trying to make a living. While you may be able to sell one type of product for some time enough to make a living, it is imperative to broaden the selection and your own horizons in order to expand the market and avoid oversaturation. Rarely it is the case of one person doing one product to a market for too long. Everybody will buy one sauce if only one variety is offered. You would find a sweet spot for selling a more chunky variation of that sauce.

The experiences and the preferences that go with them are individual. You’ll find people who share your preferences and have completely different ones. As they are subjective, neither is better over the other, and perhaps it would be best if we’d try to understand where they come from their stand. Of course, it goes both ways, and if the other guy calls your waifu a shit, be sure to respectively disagree.

Then you can tell him to go step unto cat shit.

Steam tags going haywire, or showing proper characteristics?

Valve has allowed interesting transparency with Steam with the use of user generated tags with the software their system provides. This gives a lot of freedom to the customer to voice their mind to the publishers through the tags. Unsurprisingly, these tags have become abused as of late. Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4 have been tagged with some seriously harsh tags, such as Don’t Preorder, remember watchdogs and Uplay warning. I understand the last of these, as nobody wants to use Uplay. Then again, it’s just another layer of DRM on top of Steam itself, so it can be argued that the point is moot. I don’t really know who would want to preorder digital games, it’s not like it is possible to run out of digital goods. Artificially limiting the amount the distributor is willing to give out in digital products nothing short of stupid and strange. Watch-underscore-dogs is understandable, as the whole issue of keeping the better looks stashed away shows how little the industry thinks of PC nowadays and further shows how forcefully mixed and confused PC and console markets are.

Of course, the tags contain childish additions to boot. Tags like peasantry, casual and Kawaii are the closest thing you get of useless shit throw on the Internet for the mentioned games. They don’t support the claim the PC games should have; furthermore they undermine the little weight the developers put on negative customer feedback nowadays.

While the users, yours include, have an issue with modern Ubisoft titles and their forced Uplay, the way this dissatisfaction should be brought out in a far more constructive manner rather slamming stupid shit in the tags. As always, hitting Ubisoft where it hurts most is most effective. Refusal to purchase their products and spreading the information around is the best way to tackle their current game handling.

Granted, the whole tag function appears to be in some sort of beta stage and not wholly finished, and this sort of event just shows how a freeform system needs certain level of administration to weed out all the bullshit tags out. I am sure things will be changed when the final version of the tag system rolls out, but part of me does enjoy seeing things going like this to rather large extent. If Valve would care about the users, they would find a golden middle between the demands of the developers and the customers.

I wouldn’t mind if they’d favour the customer a bit more in their choice, whatever it is in the end.

It’s a good question whether or not PC is seen as a worthwhile system by Ubisoft. The thing is, both Assassin’s Creed Unity and far Cry 4 are, at their very core, PC games. If PC was the platform they would develop these games from the ground up, and only for PC, these products would eclipse their brethren. Of course, when console games are developed with the same mindset and the machines’ strengths are played out, the results should be something akin to the first Rayman in both success and popularity. Then again, perhaps Rayman is not the best example, as it was developed for Atari Jaguar.

I don’t really remember a time when Ubisoft’s PC games were not panned. It’s expected from Ubisoft to have a horrible PC port of their PC game on a console.

The current state of Steam tags is really interesting in another way as well. At this moment, they allow the users to add the very things they see describing the games most accurately in both negative and positive tones. A negative tag for one can be a positive to another, like No multiplayer.

It is expected that the developers want to control the tags they’re given. This is very foolish, in a manner of speaking, as it would also mean that honest interaction between the customers as well as the developers would be prevented. Tagging a game with something like Low FPS might be seen as a negative tag from the developers’ perspective, but it’s their damn fault such that tag is related to their games. Tags could be seen as one of the methods to do slightly invasive customer research, as the companies would see what sort of tags the customers value over others if done well.

It would be highly damaging if Ubisoft would come out and claim that these tags damage the image of their product. The thing is that of course it does; the customer decide the image of your product in the long run. Customers are fickle beings, especially on the Internet, especially in a place like Steam, and putting extra effort to meet their wants and needs are things that would need some attention.

In a perfect world, a good game would receive no bad tags but we know that’s not going to happen. We should also question if the tag system would need more emphasize on adding positive or negative views. For example, a tag could have plus and minus relations to a game. How this system would work in all actuality is a whole another issue, but it’s an interesting thing that might work if well designed. Could be a training exercise for future, I guess.

It will be interesting to see how Ubisoft will reply to these user made tags. I doubt that they will make any official statements and almost everything will be done behind the scenes. While I support the curtain between the provider and the customer, Valve’s transparency with the tags will pose some problems to the developers rather than Valve itself. It’s an interesting, and most likely unintentional, feature which can either give the developers a lot possibilities or fire back like as it has with Ubisoft.

Actually, screw that. Allow the users to put whatever tags they want and vote which tags describe the games most. Have few thousand people voting on Awful controls for a game as the most appropriate tag and let the developer sweat a bit. Perhaps this way the customer could put some pressure on the developers.