Brenda Brathwaite, co-founder of social game developer Loot Drop, pleaded with her audience at GDC yesterday to not tar all social game firms with the same brush.
Referencing past controversies facing the industry, including the Mass Effect “Sex-Box” incident and the outcry over Satanic messages in Wizardry, in which she was personally involved, Brathwaite said: “We stood together, you and me, because we love games. And then we came to Facebook.
“I have seen the strip miners make their entry into games. I have seen them exploit technology and new platforms. Not for the purpose of crafting beautiful creative works, but for the purpose of taking the audience for all they can get.
“They are not one of us, nor are they from us. Rather, they are from another space. These people do not care about gameplay, they do not care about games, they do not care about players. They do not care about fun.”
“The game developers on this stage are not like those people," she added. "They do not come from their world. Like you we want good play, we want compelling experiences. We are absolutely not the ones making what some of you call ‘evil games’. We are the first wave – the marines storming the beach to take our culture and our medium back. I hope that you will someday be the occupying force.”
This year’s GDC has been typified by angst at the rise of smartphone and social games. In his keynote address on Wednesday Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said of such developers: “For them, content is something created by someone else. Their goal is to gather as much software as possible: quantity is what drives their profit. Quality does not matter to them.”
Iwata’s comments followed Tuesday’s session, Are Social Games Legitimate, in which Daniel James of Three Rings compared social games to gambling machines, saying many of their typical mechanics “open up some very real concern, and push up against my comfort zone. It is up to all of us developers to make ethical decisions regarding our creative output.