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Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

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Old 08-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #41
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Your argument is deeply flawed for two main reasons: first, while each competitor's quality improving is one argument for competition, it is not the only argument for it and not even the best one. The major argument for competition is not that each individual competitor improves it's quality but that the overall quality improves for the consumer. The point of competition is not for NBA Live to necessarily improve each year but for the quality of the basketball video game market to improve each year. NBA Live may always stink, but the consumer keeps his voice and can go a different direction if he wants.

Second, Your argument assumes that competition is the only factor that drives the improvement of ganes or lack theirof. It is not. In the case of NBA live, it may be an issue of EA's fundamental approach to the game which keeps it's ratings low, or they may have calculated that based on the money it brings in improvement is not worth it financially.

Third, your argument gives a lot of credit to the quality of ratings. First of all, ratings are not done in a vacuum and having something to compare one game to impacts it's ratings dramatically. For example, the Madden series would probably not rate so high if 2K were making a licensed game just as it did not in 2004. Next the ratings tend to be a little suspicious at times any way. They start off high then go down. In part this is due to the fact that people don't have a chance to see the problems in a game before it is rated. This tends to work in favor of graphically excellent but poorly programmed games which in fact is what we see to be the case. Next, since rating services and video game websites rely on the video game companies for advanced game copies and thus for their livelihood, the video game companies have all the leverage and in fact they have threatened to remove advance viewing privaleges from sites that rate them too low when the game is first released. Do a search and you can find several articles about this online.

Finally, your argument assumes that quality is the only benefit of competition. In fact price is typically the biggest benefit. When two companies compete it is true that quality goes up but price almost always goes down. This is not always used as it was with the $20 2K5 in 2004 but it is always an option whereas in a monopoly it is not.

I said two reasons but here are four why your argument doesn't hold water and why you have shown in my opinion a poor understanding of the issues you are trying to discuss. I mean that in the nicest possible way. I apologize for the typos. I hate them but I am on an iPhone at the moment.

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:01 PM   #42
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I think you might have stepped out on a limb trying to make the arguement that competition in sports games does not create better quality games.

Its good to see you back track to a more logical talking point which is "competition is not the only thing that affects a games quality."

I agree with you that development dollars, time for a project and the talent developing that project are most definitely going to have more of an impact on quality rather than soley an environment of competition. That is an obvious point, considering that those are the pillars for creating any $60 worthy game.

Think of it like a race car...........

Development dollars - engine

Time for the project - # laps in the race

Development team - driver

Now lets just assign a letter grade of B- for the quality of my driver, the power of my engine and the length of the race.

If I send my car out on the track and I'm the only one racing, spectaters (reviewers & consumers) might view my car as extremely fast. It would be difficult for them to grade my racing product because the only thing to compare it with would be the slower cars I used in previous years. At that point it would be justified and reasonable for them to give me a B+, A or A+ considering the context of being the only one on the track. Hence unwarranted high review scores for games without competition.

Once you add other cars into the equation, it gives you a context to compare in. Without that context the slowest car in the race on the track by itself might look pretty fast to onlookers. There is no doubt that if you have an awesome engine (dev $,) an awesome driver (dev team) and are comfortable with the length of the race (time to dev) you will most definitley be at advantage.

However, what you are underestimating is what other cars on the track do for onlookers (reviewers & consumers) and the drivers (dev team) of the competing cars. Having that context allows onlookers to compare one racing product against an equal competitor, rather than comparing it to its predessesor. This context creates review scores that can be balanced on market relativity which allows one racing product to truly be # 1 rather than, the only one.

Also, the inclusion of other cars on the track gives the race car drivers (dev teams) new motivation and an actual competitor to compare themself with. At the end of the day you're engine, driver, and level of comfort with the race length will have the most impact on what place you finish, but if all things are equal (as far as the engine, driver, and comfortl level) it will always come down to the quality of the driver and the level of motivation they have to win the race.

Competition, while its not the only factor, definitely has a sizable impact on the outcome of a games development. Having competition creates a motivational push that would not otherwise be there and without it the only motivation these racing products have is money (and that motivation doesn't benefit sports gamers.)

So, while the # ratings you posted might not paint the same picture, competition does make a difference. It creates a different atmopshere for whoever is competiting and although you can't measure its impact with a number it is sorely missed when it is absent.

Unfortunately, we are seeing less and less competition as the years go on and if EA continues to purchase exclusive licenses we might lose the right to choose much like we lost the right to choose what NFL title we prefered. Choice is what allows for greatness. Without choice our sportsgaming dreams are in the hands of a corporation who's main proirity is money, not quality.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:06 PM   #43
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Very shaky argument by the author. I don't think that review scores tell the whole story. Scores are extremely subjective. And who's to say that a particular reviewer truly understands all the nuances of a sport?

Why not go to sites such as Operation Sports to get a general idea of people's attitudes towards these games? Or check user reviews on the websites, which are far more honest and in-depth IMHO.

Last edited by matt8204; 08-28-2009 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:16 PM   #44
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

This thread is awesome!!!!!!!

When I first read this article I was like "Wow" there is going to be some crap flinging going on in this thread. And I was right.
I think that a different title may have helped, and I think that a different approach may also have helped, however, it made its point to me and I do agree that direct competition is not the largest contributing factor in determining af a game is good or bad.

The point that was made about how Ian said they were adding pro-tak because they were tired of hearing how awesome 2K5 was makes little sense to me. What Ian was really saying is that 'madden fans have spoken up and want pro-tak in the game, so we are adding it'. I don't think it was competition, because lets face it, 2k5 is not direct competition for Madden10.
Games are getting better because gamers are forcing them too. The biggest influence on any game is sales and if the sales slow you get 2 different things happen. 1) Games get better ie Tiger Woods vs Hot Shots golf--this drove Tiger to be more Sim and less arcade because Hot Shots was way more fun to play. 2) Games fold and we are left without an option, ie Eastside Hockey Manager.

The people involved in the developement of the game also have a lot to do with how a game improves. Just look at FM, there is zero competition for that game yet it developers keep making it better year after year. Also, look at some of EA's game--David Littman has made the NHL series one of the most popular through his approach of listening to consumers and doing things his way.

Direct competition is not the leading factor in determining if a game will improve, but I do believe it is a factor.

Also, until someone can show another way to compare sports games, then I will just have to accept that a random average of review scores is the best way, although as Chase stated there is some room for question with metacritics scores.

Rememer, as consumers we have the last say about if a sports game needs improvement. We can refuse to give moeny for a game that is below our expectations and force these companies to make games that are better. We could also just be happy with what we've got and let these companies have a 2 year developement cycle instead of forcing them to produce a new game year after year. I mean look at games like HALO or GTA, if those companies were forced to come up with a new game every year, do you think they would have the critical acclaim that they do.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:19 PM   #45
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tpaternitl,

Your post has nothing to do with the points at hand. Your points are good, but they aren't what was being argued in the article, not even close.

I wasn't arguing the case for the consumer, as I am a firm believer in more choices being better for the consumer. I'm not arguing the point of price, as that definitely was the case with more competition. There is no doubt the consumer wins on both of these options when direct sport competition is going on. What I was arguing was the notion that games are automatically made better if two games are made for the same sport. The stats don't back up that notion.

Your second point is right in line with my ultimate conclusion at the end of the article. Direct sport Competition ISN'T the only thing which drives game quality and it definitely isn't the most important.

Your third point is the same thing everyone else is saying. If you don't think aggregate review scores are the best way to measure game quality, then show me another method which is better and is quantifiable. Gut feelings and individual subjective opinions don't count.

The point of the article is discussing the simple fact direct-sport competition (NBA vs. NBA) isn't as big of a factor as many would have you believe in the end product rating. I believe that despite all of the people trying to say otherwise, no one has yet to come up with better evidence to the contrary that direct-sport competition doesn't effect game quality in the way people have assumed.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:20 PM   #46
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Well MMChris,I think you need to edit the title of your original post if possible.What you say in this post versus what you said in your original post title are very different.Most of the people that are disagreeing with you are disagreeing with your original post title,which you have admitted is flawed.

After reading more of you post on this subject,it seems,IMO that you started this debate just for the sake a having a debate and not out of the courage of your convictions.If thats true,it still can make for a good debate but with a disingenuous opening position.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:21 PM   #47
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NavigatorD83,

I challenge you to come up with a better system for showing game quality that proves that direct-sport competition is a huge factor in game quality. The problem is there isn't such a system that would.

Is the system of using aggregate game review scores a perfect way to quantify game quality? No. Is it the best way we have available? I believe so.

Again, if there is a better way which proves otherwise, I'm open to hear it.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:25 PM   #48
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

Quote:
Originally Posted by matt8204
Very shaky argument by the author. I don't think that review scores tell the whole story. Scores are extremely subjective. And who's to say that a particular reviewer truly understands all the nuances of a sport?

Why not go to sites such as Operation Sports to get a general idea of people's attitudes towards these games? Or check user reviews on the websites, which are far more honest and in-depth IMHO.
I agree with this, but the only problem is not everyone says anything. There are how many members at OS that have Madden10 and I would hazard a guess that only a small percentage of them write on these boards. Also, just look at the amount of threads there are about the "bad" things with Madden as opposed to the "good" thing threads.
Generally if people are satisfied with a product they will not say anything, but the people that have problems are the ones that raise awareness of these problems. I mean, when you buy a new item, let's say and XBOX 360, if nothing went wrong with it, would you phone Microsoft and say"I just wanted to let you know that your system us perfect and I am extremely satisfied with my purchase." I doubt it, however, if there was something wrong with it, the first thing you would do is get on the phone and tell someone at microsoft, and probably OS that you have problems.

All I'm saying is that looking at OS or any forums for that matter is going to give as biased an opinion as averaging reviews.
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