Perception is Reality

For most people, truth is irrelevant. Perception is their reality, no matter how distorted.

I see a lot of devs get hung up on this. Reality is ultimately irrelevant when it comes to the public face of your development company or your game. It is extremely frustrating to be receive unduly harsh reactions from the community for minor issues or business decisions that affect your livelihood: But this is the nature of running a game development business. Here’s a few perceptions you must constantly fight or risk suffering reputational damage:

Game Devs are Greedy: I’ll admit, even I was amazed at some of the backlash against companies like Team 17 for moving upcoming titles off of Steam to the new Epic store. Steam has long been a pain in the butt for many devs, but that didn’t stop a lot of extremely negative comments from gamers claiming corporate greed from a company that has no history of such. Be careful with these situations. A better move would have been for Team 17 to release on Epic and Steam concurrently, but price the title 10% lower on Epic. Gamers could still buy the game on Steam, or they could get it cheaper on Epic, while Team 17 would still make more for sales on the Epic store. This would have sent the message that lower fees can be better for everyone.

Game Devs are Lazy: Gamers often accuse devs of laziness for design decisions, but often there are many complex reasons why certain decisions were made. As a dev, it is important not to take these criticisms personally. You can respond by highlighting some of the difficulties that led to a specific decision, but keep your cool and always be professional.

Game Development is Easy: A lot of gamers think developing games is an easy job that is filled with endless days of happiness and laughter. They don’t understand the constant stress, crunch and grind that go into many great games. Again, when you encounter these opinions, stay professional. You can try to educate, but I suggest you stay neutral. No-one wants to see how the sausage is made.