For the longest while, I have been wondering what Derek Smart’s problem is. Derek Smart is an outspoken critic of Star Citizen. Being a critic is fine, but Smart has a passionate zeal about it. Everyday, it is more anti-Star Citizen stuff. If Star Citizen doesn’t come out as backers want, there, of course, will be a reckoning against Chris Roberts. However, if it does, Chris Roberts gets his statue. But even if Smart is correct, no one will build a statue to him. No one cares. There are no statues to doubting thomases. The doubting thomas is always remembered as the fool, as if history threw up this caricature to say, “Cannot work,” only to contrast when it does work.
What is Smart’s issue? Was it jealously? Is it something else? I finally figured it out when I listened to a twitch stream interview with him. It isn’t about Roberts. It is about the gamers that are backing it. The ‘shitizens’ as he says.
We keep hearing terms being tossed around like casual gamers or hardcore gamers but really there is such a thing of Quality Gamers. Like any other entertainment field, there are different levels of quality. It is not entirely subjective.
The best selling video games are, indeed, inclusive, easy to understand, hard to master, games. But the best selling video games are also almost always high quality games with high degrees of craftsmanship.
“But Malstrom, how do you know this?”
Remember the 1983 crash? We don’t want crappy games.
Gamers do not exit the market just because games get ‘too complicated’ or ‘too time consuming’. We exit the market because the games become too ‘low quality’. Derek Smart started ranting that all these people are buying into Star Citizen but are not giving all the numerous other space games a chance. Of course not. Those space games are shitty. Chris Roberts games (Wing Commander, Privateer, Freelancer, etc.) have always been high quality experiences. People are willing to pay more for a high quality experience. This also explains why there is no backlash with Star Citizen taking so long.
Quality is a hard thing for game developers to understand because ‘all their babies are beautiful’. A better word would be craftsmanship. Quality games have a high degree of craftsmanship.
Chrono Trigger is a high craftsmanship RPG game. No one will deny that. I think there are many RPG players out there, but they desire a certain level of craftsmanship in order to enter the market. I would love a game with the craftsmanship of an Ultima for example.
There exists in the market a type of ‘high craftsmanship’ type market. If any game is below that certain craftsmanship threshold, they see the game as a ‘waste of time’. This market is also plugged into the game industry news cycles as they are on the look out for high craftsmanship games. This is why the game market has an avalanche effect. Once a game is considered high craftsmanship, everyone rushes to buy it.
Instead of a market flooded with games, it is actually a market starving for high craftsmanship games. It explains why some games like Minecraft and Stardew Valley can just explode. Marketers and developers sense this is the case and try to ‘pump up’ the high craftsmanship signals with using hype.
Malstrom is, of course, a high craftsmanship gamer. I only like games that have high craftsmanship. If the game becomes unplayable within twenty years, I do not want it.
When it comes to Star Citizen’s mysterious insane funding, it is clear that it isn’t the game that people are funding. What they are funding is the high craftsmanship.