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Gaming companies are a perfect example of the failure of unregulated capitalism.

Forums - Politics Discussion - Gaming companies are a perfect example of the failure of unregulated capitalism.

LuccaCardoso1 said:
DonFerrari said:

I wouldn't even need to read what you write to say failures come from government "regulating" capitalism.

Please explain how LESS regulation would make:

- Corporations respect more their workforce and have smaller payment gaps between CEOs and workers;

Brazil have one of the most protective workers law, 90% of lawsuits from worker-company relationship and like 10x or more unions. Yet the employees in USA receive much higher wages, have a better working environment, etc. That comes from technology development not from law making.

- Corporations stop evading taxes;

If you don't have shit laws you won't have legal tax evasion. Tax evasion is a crime, if you can pay 0 taxes under the law then you aren't evading any taxes.

- Corporations stop exploiting addictive tendencies and psychologically manipulating players, including children, to give them more money.

Let's ban ads as well, let's stop selling what people want to purchase. You want your father to take care of you until you are 80 or do you plan to start being your own man?

DonFerrari said:

After reading your OP I can confirm I totally disagree of your premisses, at most I can agree that corporations only look at profit and that is exactly what they have to look at.

I'd love to know what premises you disagree with.

Subtract the "companies are in for profit" which is what I agree, and I disagree with your other points.

haxxiy said:
DonFerrari said:

I wouldn't even need to read what you write to say failures come from government "regulating" capitalism.

After reading your OP I can confirm I totally disagree of your premisses, at most I can agree that corporations only look at profit and that is exactly what they have to look at.

That's the sort of top-notch, thoughtful discussion I visit VGC for.

"None, you're wrong, I win, bye bye."

To elaborate: imagine being near 2020 and you still believe consumers are enlightened choosers who always make rational choices while corporations are dumb constructs who will never opt for swindling or band together for mutual benefit in detrimental ways to the market.

I rather have customers being dumb by their ownselves than "bright politicians" deciding what I can or shall do with my money.

But please tell me why should I prepare a very well put answer to a poorly though OP? One that basically wants the government to "solve problems" that more likely then not they create or will make worse with their laws.

Do you really think the world got better from the 18 century to today based on laws instead of capitalism?

Or ignore all evidence that the world saw its greatest years, in terms of productivity, per capita growth etc. during the Keynesian politics of the 1930s - 1970s, later for certain places in Europe and Asia but following the same guidelines.

KManX89 said:
thismeintiel said:

We already have a body governing them, us gamers. Whenever someone wants to pull a bullshit move, like MS's DRM fiasco, we rise up with our voices and, more importantly, our wallets.

To be fair, gamers far too often DON'T vote with their wallets, or at least not nearly enough to make a difference. Look at all the bullshit Activi$ion pulls year in and year out with CoD, last year with BO4 being a prime example. They locked all DLC behind a season pass that you could initially only get with a $100 SE with day 1 content and less content than previous passes, threw in an awful tiered battle pass system and rendered all physical editions of the game obsolete with a 50 GB day 1 patch and still managed to sell over 14m copies, and what did they do? They started selling reticles, throttling XP and snuck in loot boxes post-launch. All because people LET them get away with their bullshit.

And now, we have Acti locking PC and XB1 players out of an entire game mode for an entire year (basically the game's whole life span) and throwing in P2W loot boxes containing weapons. You could argue people NOT voting with their wallets caused Acti to get too far ahead of themselves. Activi$ion does this shit because they know Bobby Kotick could literally be caught shooting a guy on tape and they'd still sell tens of millions of copies. And the sad part is, people know what they have to do to get them to stop, yet they refuse to do it.

BFV even after all its controversy and their then-EVP telling people not to buy the game still managed to sell over 7m copies.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, or should I say, Mess Effect: Andromeda still sold 2.5m copies even after hiring a racist shitbird to work on the game and a beta full of glitches.

NBA 2K18 has the worst P2W progression/MTXs system I've ever seen, yet it still sold over 10m copies.

I can list more, but I believe my point is clear.

If customers don't vote with their wallets is because they don't care enough, so why should government get involved? Just so this doesn't get made to please yourself and everyone else that think customers are dumb and need government to take care for the ones that aren't as bright as people in this forum that bad mouth them?



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

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I just don't want the government to control the means of video game production. If that happens we will just be playing old video games.

A couple things though...

Much of our taxes are wasted and whether or not its used for good if debateable.

IF COMPANIES AVOID PAYING TAXES LEGALLY THAN ITS NOT TAX EVASION. The problem isn't capitalism, instead its the laws. If you want to attack Rockstar for not paying taxes, you also have to consider employees pay a fortune in taxes. Always try to remember NYC, a city run by people bordering socialism, was going to give Amazon huge tax breaks for their HQ because the amount in payroll taxes was significantly bigger. Hence, when people say big companies pay no taxes its misleading in the sense that cities do generate tax revenue from those companies and why they desire them.

Why are we trying to legalize/decriminalize drug charges, when they objectively destroy lives and communities. Yet when it comes to microtransactions people are suddenly concerned about a relatively harmless addiction? Are communities crumbling and people dying over them? Its stupid. People who are bad with money are just bad with money.

Most people in the gaming industry are obviously left leaning and politics do enter games because of that. The left is like Islam, everything they touch has their dogma injected.



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Mr Puggsly said:

I just don't want the government to control the means of video game production. If that happens we will just be playing old video games.

A couple things though...

Much of our taxes are wasted and whether or not its used for good if debateable.

IF COMPANIES AVOID PAYING TAXES LEGALLY THAN ITS NOT TAX EVASION. The problem isn't capitalism, instead its the laws. If you want to attack Rockstar for not paying taxes, you also have to consider employees pay a fortune in taxes. Always try to remember NYC, a city run by people bordering socialism, was going to give Amazon huge tax breaks for their HQ because the amount in payroll taxes was significantly bigger. Hence, when people say big companies pay no taxes its misleading in the sense that cities do generate tax revenue from those companies and why they desire them.

Why are we trying to legalize/decriminalize drug charges, when they objectively destroy lives and communities. Yet when it comes to microtransactions people are suddenly concerned about a relatively harmless addiction? Are communities crumbling and people dying over them? Its stupid. People who are bad with money are just bad with money.

Most people in the gaming industry are obviously left leaning and politics do enter games because of that. The left is like Islam, everything they touch has their dogma injected.

Apparently for the "all inside the state" folks MTX is more dangerous to people than cocaine abuse.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

You call these policies "anti-left" but most of these policies are left leaning (neoliberal) policies like open borders (outsourcing jobs and importing low cost H-1B workers) and "workforce diversity" aka the inability to unify with cohesive actions or unions.



Capitalism isn't really a problem for the most part if the masses are well educated.

In politics today, one side tends to favor supplying everybody with everything, and the other wants them to earn it through the free market one way or another. Since schools are doing such a terrible job, quite a few of the free marketers are now trying to teach people critical thinking so they can organize or stand up for themselves or flat out move forward and actually progress with their lives.



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Hmmm...there's a more expansive, well-considered response somewhere in my head that I can't quite seem to find. But that's in part because I do think some credit to the OP is due in laying out some challenging points. For now, I think the two points I'm most at odds with would be tax evasion & politics.

For tax evasion: I mean...I don't think I'm spoiling for any adults here in saying this: turns out a multi-million/billion dollar company isn't keen on relinquishing a modest % of its total earnings on something they made and heavily invested in. But shouldn't these accusations of "tax evasion" (<-this usually carries the assumption of criminal proceedings being underway which I don't think R* North is dealing with) or tax havens be aimed at the government? Avarice is an established assumption we know about, it seems more apropos to take aim at the failures of our lawmakers than an economic system operating WITHIN the given parameters.

For politics: I'm not one to shy away from 'creator cowardice' (actually made a recent blog on here about Ubisoft & David Cage too) but this isn't true across the board. CD Projekt Red has been very adamant about politics being necessary for Cyberpunk 2077. Even in one of their earliest demos it showed how their objective had a deluxe healthcare package. Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann took to twitter to challenge a fan of his about the whole "keep politics out of games" plea. And I think Kojima said Death Stranding touches on politics surrounding Trump's America (but I'm less confident of what he specifically said here). All examples from big AAA companies.

It's funny you should mention the supposed contradictions of the more right-wing, pro-capitalist gamer community with today's game companies. I don't want to say how you rationalized this was "myopic" because that...comes off as harsh--as I do appreciate OP's focus and viewpoint. For me though? I just consider 'games' as a whole today and can clearly see why the (vocal) majority of gamers across communities favor capitalist ideals. Within the span of two decades, the methods & amount of games have grown beyond critical mass. For example:

Storefronts: Steam, itch.io, GOG, EGS, etc. etc. all competing for you

Games: Hundreds of smaller studios who don't rely on micro-transactions, corporate, etc. In respect to politics, there's never been a more exciting time to engage in games with themes of the surveillance state or, funnily enough, the dangers of unregulated capitalism. There's so many of these out that you could dedicate your entire game-playing life and not have touched all of them.

Development: Even making your own games is a lesser burden than before, with companies competing to make the most robust, easy-to-use tools as time goes on.

I suppose that's why it's tough to sympathize with the title. The demand to focus on just THIS part of the games industry to service your argument disregards too many other factors. [I feel like I can improve on this somehow but still can't make the connection so I'll stick with this. lol]

Last edited by coolbeans - on 06 October 2019

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CuCabeludo said:

Again. It is a non issue. Nobody put a gun in their heads and forced them to buy skins in a game. They do it because they want. How people spend their own money is not my concern.

What's next? Let's ban soda and alcohol because there are people spending too much money and getting sick by drinking too much soda and getting diabetic and too much alcohol.

Anything can be addictive. But not everything is inherently or intentionally addictive. A better comparison would be tobacco, recreational drugs in general, or gambling. Tobacco is highly addictive and inherently harmful, and is therefore subject to regulation. There are restrictions on how it can be advertised, warning labels are mandatory, and it's illegal to sell it to minors. Most recreational drugs are highly addictive and extremely harmful, and are flat out banned as a result. Gambling can be psychologically addictive and many games of chance are often deliberately manipulative in nature. And in many jurisdictions gambling is subject to heavy regulation or even banned. Here in my home state of South Carolina, the only legal form of gambling is the lottery. Utah and Hawaii completely ban all gambling. And in nearly every jurisdiction in the U.S. you have to be at least 18 to gamble (21 in some places and with some types).

Also, we do regulate alcohol. You have to be a certain age to buy or consume it legally, there are restrictions on where you can and cannot consume it, and restrictions on what you can or cannot do while intoxicated. Same for jurisdictions where marijuana is legal.

Society does have the power to regulate things and activities that inherently carry heavy social burdens or are potentially dangerous. Certain forms of microtransactions (namely loot boxes) are very similar to gambling, and many monetization systems are inherently manipulative. Such systems prey on minors and people vulnerable to compulsive behavior. There is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that microtransactions ought to be subject to some form of regulation if the gaming industry fails to regulate itself. Again, every regulation we have exists because the market did not self-regulate.



Shadow1980 said:
haxxiy said:
I wonder how much worse they can get in an environment where streaming and digital licensing are the main gaming medium.

It can get a lot worse, and we don't need hypotheticals to prove this, because the future is now. Digital downloads and streaming already exist, and we've already seen what can come of it.

A physical, offline game is a complete product unto itself. And under current U.S. law, any physical console game is the property of the purchaser (same for physical music albums, books, and home video). Those cartridges and discs sitting on my shelves in my living room are my property, and I can sell, lend, gift, or trade them at my own discretion. Meanwhile, digital games are regarded as "licensed, not sold," and are still the property of the publisher and/or platform holder, and you can't do anything with those copies without the express consent of the publisher. But with a digital copy of a game otherwise not dependent on the internet you at least have a local copy saved if you've already downloaded it.

However, even then your local copies may not always be safe. There was at least one game where all local copies everybody had saved were remotely deleted from everyone's Steam libraries by Valve. Similarly, about a decade ago Kindle owners who had bought copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from a vendor that turned out to not be an authorized publisher had their copies remotely deleted from their devices. And there have been several stories of people having entire libraries of digital content nuked by the platform holder because of what were ostensibly TOS violations. These incidents show that it is possible for publishers and distributors to remove your ability to use even local copies, and it's something only possible with digital. You'll never see a book publisher knock on your door and demand you hand over a print copy of a book that turned out to be an unauthorized copy you bought from a flea market, or a brick-and-mortar store confiscating everything you ever bought from them because you broke one of their in-house rules.

But, at least in principle and (for now) in normal practice, you do have a local copy available when you download a title. That's not the case with streaming, which takes all the worst aspects of always-online games and applies them to literally every title. The publisher will literally control every aspect of every game from publication onward. You're no longer buying a product. You're paying for a service. And anyone can be prevented from accessing a service, in part or in whole, for any reason or no reason at all. You own nothing. You control nothing. You are completely at the mercy of the publisher.

Also, countless games have been de-listed from digital storefronts, usually because of some rights issue, with many of them unlikely to ever be available for purchase again. Now imagine if the only way to consume games was through streaming. With a lot of games, namely racing games and anything that had a lot of limited-time music licenses, you better enjoy them while they last, because they'll be pulled at some point, with no way to play them because having a local copy wasn't an option. More broadly, an untold amount of digital content is already lost forever. How many old websites or YouTube videos you used to like are now gone forever with no existing backup copies? While physical copies can be subject to physical destruction, a title only available physically won't cease to exist until all copies are destroyed. With digital media, all it can take is a flip of the switch for something to be eradicated from existence for all time.

If a digital-only future is inevitable, it will by a dystopia of sorts unless some major overhauls are made to current IP law.

DonFerrari said:

I wouldn't even need to read what you write to say failures come from government "regulating" capitalism.

After reading your OP I can confirm I totally disagree of your premisses, at most I can agree that corporations only look at profit and that is exactly what they have to look at.

Nearly every regulation we have today exists because somebody abused their freedom when those regulations didn't exist. Companies were essentially unregulated for much of America's history, and what was the result? We had robber barons paying their employees wages that could barely count as "subsistence," subjecting them to obscenely long hours in unsafe conditions, and often having them live in company towns where they were paid in scrip valid only at the company store and effectively held in debt slavery, and then hiring mercenaries to violently suppress the workers who dared to have the audacity to strike for better wages and conditions. And that's just what they did in America (ever wonder where the phrase "banana republic" comes from?) Eventually it was decided that enough was enough, that the private sector had gone too far, and, thanks largely to the work of the Progressive movement, something was actually done about this.

In America's history we had rivers vastly more polluted than we do today, one even catching fire because of the unchecked pollution (if you want to be pedantic, the river itself didn't catch fire, but rather the crap being dumped into it did, but anybody who actually saw it probably thought "THE FUCKING RIVER IS ON FIRE!", technicalities be damned). We had cities like Los Angeles blanketed under nearly-opaque blankets of smog because of sulfate aerosol emissions from burning fossil fuels, much like what some Chinese cities have suffered from recently. We had lead compounds in gasoline being breathed in by everyone across the nation, leading to increased lead levels in everyone's bodies. We had ozone-depleting chemicals being poured into the atmosphere. And, perhaps most notably, we had the tobacco industry selling highly addictive products that were ultimately lethal to many of their users. These and other environmental and public health concerns led to things like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the formation of the EPA, and ratification of the Montreal Protocol, despite massive denial campaigns being launched by the affected companies.

The Progressive movement of the late 19th century and its modern descendants didn't come about because a bunch of angry Marxists were peeved that people were making money by selling goods and services in an open market. Rather, it and the reforms it successfully pushed for came about because the free market failed to prevent abuses against people or self-correct after producing obvious negative externalities. They weren't out to nationalize the means of production and create a workers' paradise. They simply wanted to reign in the excesses and abuses committed by corporations. Countless companies have shown time and time again that the private sector really, really does not like to self-regulate, especially when it comes to negative externalities. They want to internalize their profits and externalize their costs. Given the opportunity, many of them will choose to lie, cheat, take shortcuts, abuse people, and despoil the environment just to make a buck. We know this because history is rife with well-established examples of private-sector fuckery, which as mentioned included outright murder.

Libertarians and conservatives like to present a false dichotomy of unregulated "laissez faire" capitalism and totalitarian communism, that any sort of restriction on the use of private property by its owner is a heinous, tyrannical, and unforgivable transgression, but that's bullshit. I argue that regulations are not only not inimical to a market economy, but are necessary for it in a civil society. The market is a part of society, and a free market, like a free society, still needs rules of some kind to function. For example, I can't throw my garbage into my neighbor's yard without legal consequences, and neither should a company be able to fill the land, sea, and air with toxic chemicals without legal consequences. A lawless state is incompatible with civilization, and that applies to the market as well. The Gilded Age of the Robber Baron should never and hopefully will never come back.

CuCabeludo said:

Nobody is forced to buy microtransactions. People are just dump and buy anyways. The regulation of capitalism just resulted in the biggest failure of mankind: Central banks, that print money to save zombie companies like general motors, which should be dead along with dozens of companies who died in 2008. And they were saved at the cost of savers and taxpayers.

To add to what I said above, the idea that regulation of capitalism led to central banking is a completely ahistorical idea. Central banks existed long before the modern concept of capitalism did. The Bank of England was founded in 1694, and entities similar to central banks existed even before it. Meanwhile, Adam Smith didn't publish The Wealth of Nations until 1776. Also, the U.S. has had central banks at various points before the Federal Reserve, long before the late 19th-century Progressive Era push to start regulating large corporations.

Also, spare us that "microtransactions are optional" line. I've heard it before from all over the internet. It's always been a bogus argument. People need to stop making excuses for corporations and their bullshit.

This might be one of the best posts I have read on VGC for a loooooooong time. Thank you for the time and effort you've put into this.



Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

I wish this thread discussion went toward the unionisation of game developers. I don't see any industry out there firing hundreds of workers per season like it's normal, especially since they had little benefits in the first place."Crunch" is a prolific industry practice which is not acceptable in the vast majority of industries out there, the only one that comes to mind is another nerd favourite: manga and anime. As people who play and love video games I don't see how there's no wide-spread support for better conditions for developers.



Shadow1980 said:
CuCabeludo said:

Again. It is a non issue. Nobody put a gun in their heads and forced them to buy skins in a game. They do it because they want. How people spend their own money is not my concern.

What's next? Let's ban soda and alcohol because there are people spending too much money and getting sick by drinking too much soda and getting diabetic and too much alcohol.

Anything can be addictive. But not everything is inherently or intentionally addictive. A better comparison would be tobacco, recreational drugs in general, or gambling. Tobacco is highly addictive and inherently harmful, and is therefore subject to regulation. There are restrictions on how it can be advertised, warning labels are mandatory, and it's illegal to sell it to minors. Most recreational drugs are highly addictive and extremely harmful, and are flat out banned as a result. Gambling can be psychologically addictive and many games of chance are often deliberately manipulative in nature. And in many jurisdictions gambling is subject to heavy regulation or even banned. Here in my home state of South Carolina, the only legal form of gambling is the lottery. Utah and Hawaii completely ban all gambling. And in nearly every jurisdiction in the U.S. you have to be at least 18 to gamble (21 in some places and with some types).

Also, we do regulate alcohol. You have to be a certain age to buy or consume it legally, there are restrictions on where you can and cannot consume it, and restrictions on what you can or cannot do while intoxicated. Same for jurisdictions where marijuana is legal.

Society does have the power to regulate things and activities that inherently carry heavy social burdens or are potentially dangerous. Certain forms of microtransactions (namely loot boxes) are very similar to gambling, and many monetization systems are inherently manipulative. Such systems prey on minors and people vulnerable to compulsive behavior. There is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that microtransactions ought to be subject to some form of regulation if the gaming industry fails to regulate itself. Again, every regulation we have exists because the market did not self-regulate.

This. 

Imagine believing that getting sick from drinking too much soda and suffering gambling addiction from loot boxes in games which are MARKETED TO AND RATED APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS (!) are in any way comparable.

Would you look at that! Slot machines, roulette games and pachinko minigames. In a game rated E for everyone. Which the ESRB thinks is appropriate BTW. I get the concern about the government regulating loot boxes, but when the companies responsible for putting their consumers first aren't doing their jobs, then what other choice is there?

Last edited by KManX89 - on 07 October 2019