• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hi Guest. We've rebooted and consolidated our Communities section, so be sure to check it out and subscribe to some threads. Thanks!

John Walker's anti-BS SimCity news articles.

unbias

Member
Oct 31, 2012
3,941
0
0
Michigan
(03/20/2013) - Excellent blog post by Al Byrne that sums up everything that has happened, while doing it in a very entertaining and poetic way, click on the link to read it, here is some excerpts FTA:

It seems like people—for some reason—were waiting on Polygon to call the industry out on its crap. Polygon, that Microsoft-sponsored, humourless, 70s prog rock supergroup of games journalism. Expecting any kind of populist uproar from Polygon is like expecting One Direction to vilify the X Factor culture that spawned them – they’re entirely within the system, with no interest in existing outside of it. Probably the only thing you needed to know in order to be sure that Polygon was never going to change the world of games journalism was that they could afford to make a multi-part documentary trumpeting all the ways they were going to change the world of games journalism.

As the fine folks at NeoGaf tirelessly collated, Polygon’s reviews editor Arthur Gies scoffed at Walker’s inside source, insisting that the always-online battle was one the publishers had already won, and pooh-poohing the suggestion that the game could be workable offline. Until—no! But yes!—Polygon newsy guy Brian Crecente threw up an interview with the modder who’d tweaked the game to work offline, neglecting to mention that his mag had loudly refused to believe anything about such a tweak despite John’s publishing a very similar interview with that selfsame modder days previously. Crecente even went so far as to deny seeing that interview, which was fine until it was awkwardly pointed out that he’d actually tweeted about seeing it shortly after it was lobbed online. In essence he went back in time to shoot himself in the foot, somehow managing to be impressively unimpressive.

So: Polygon and their ilk will continue with their nonsense, proudly accepting always-on DRM, or microtransactions, or day-one DLC, or whatever new and harmful gimmick the increasingly obsolete publishers wheel out, as the inevitable industry norm. They will continue to award 9.5 to broken or unworthy games, and then point out the fact that people buy those games as an infallible sign that they were right, as if completely oblivious to the part their exclusive reviews play in that. Because they don’t have the will or the courage or the drunken recklessness to opt out of the loop.
http://ridiculoushuman.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/pure-folly-miss-polygon/

A lot more in the link, very funny and good read.

(03/19/2013) Twitter Battle updates at the end of the RPS articles.

Any specific details that lead to this or the flak John got from these news articles can be found after all the RPS stuff(including twitter and PR timelines).



Anyone who has been following the SimCity debacle probably knows about John Walkers fight for consumers, and the damaging policy of the always online drm, starting with this article:

SimCity Is Inherently Broken, Let’s Not Let This Go


FTA:

EA reports that SimCity is slowly getting into a state where it’s playable. Many of the launch issues are getting sorted, and soon it may well be in such a place that it becomes functional. So we should forgive and forget, right? Wrong.

Claiming SimCity fixed, by removing the server queues, random crashes, lost cities, server drops, and the artificial restrictions placed on the game just to make it run, is like claiming a broken leg fixed because you’ve mended the crutches. The game, by its very design, is hideously broken, and like Diablo III before it, it has only served to scream a complete disregard for sense and a massive disregard for customers. So what we mustn’t do now is say, “Well, teething problems.”

These aren’t teething problems. These are continuous deep-running flaws designed to cripple the game for you as a player, simply to serve some nebulous notion of protecting the game against piracy.


From there he started digging into the BS PR comments of the community managers, over at EA's forums and the "media defense force", that came out talking about how the problem wasn't the always online DRM, but that it just wasn't done good enough.

Awhile after this, Walker got a hold of a source that indicated to him that the actual things the servers are doing, for the game, is less then 1% of the total computation of the sims, with this article:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/12/simcity-server-not-necessary/

“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”

After posting this article, our great hero Arthur Giess did his best to dismiss his source, to help defend the narrative of EA, which resulted in a bit of a twitter battle. If you want to see what transpired from the arguement you can click here, also if you want to follow him on twitter: John Walker's Twitter.

So his last article he just posted has just been amazing:

SimCity Boss’s “Straight Answers” Seem Pretty Wiggly


With some pretty great information and quotes.

My personal favorite's, FTA:

Repeated emails to EA have resulted in no response since, and the whole situation has become more muddy with each day. It’s since been revealed that population numbers are nonsense, even down to leaked Javascript code featuring “simcity.GetFudgedPopulation” as a function. We’ve learned that city size limits are arbitrary, pathfinding is rudimentary at best, and Eurogamer’s absolutely superb review lists many more bugs, broken features, disappearing pretend-money and never-arriving resources.

So it’s all the more odd to see Maxis head Lucy Bradshaw acting as if none of this is happening, and instead just carefully rewording her mantra of how SimCity is only supposed to be played online, but this time leaving out the bit about server-side computations for local play.

Bradshaw’s post, which appears to be some sort of attempt at damage limitation – without actually ever addressing the issues raised – re-emphasises the point that they wanted it to be always online because of how they designed the game. She then lists the functions those server sums supply. And they’re what we already knew – they let the social game be social. This list that is basically just “the game has co-operative multiplayer” eight times seems to be an attempt to reveal just how grand this aspect is, how intrinsic it is to… something. It doesn’t manage this. What we’re learning from the many players posting videos, and the reviewers who actually played the game properly before smothering it with rosettes, is that those regional functions don’t work very well either.


So it looks like we at least have one games media website that is clearly on our side, but I just thought since the article has pretty much the whole ordeal in it, it deserved its own topic.

New info from the modder who went offline with SimCity(3/16/2013):

SimCity Modder Tells Us Offline Regional Play Easily Done


FTA:

So how simple does Azzer think getting an offline version going might be? “They could make an entire region single player offline with absolute ease. It would be as simple as coding in a switch saying, ‘Is this person playing single player? Take the power values of each city from local memory instead of ask for it from the server instead.’ The only thing missing is saving to local hard drive – but let’s be real, the code for saving your city already exists, I can’t imagine even that would take more than an hour to put into the client (and it probably already exists in the client for development builds), plus a little bit of time for the UI elements for Save/Load.”

“For an offline mode,” he continues, “instead of asking EA servers how much power is available from a fellow city in the region, it will simply have it in memory, as a small handful of values from another city. No live calculations done on them. Just raw values, all the EA servers send anyway. And as you’ll only be playing/simulating one city at a time in offline mode (cities you don’t play are “frozen in time”) – those values of how much spare power, resources, etc. other cities have won’t even need updating, until you change cities.”


New Article about the free games offered(03/18/2013)

A Sorry Tale: EA Offering SimCity 4 To SimCity 5 Buyers!


FTA - More in the link:

If you want to gouge them for the maximum amount, Dead Space 3 still costs £40 on Origin. And you’d be mad to opt for Plants Vs. Zombies, which is only £7. Well, unless you want it, and this isn’t just about the graph EA execs will have to look at in a month’s time.

But best of all is the SimCity 4 Deluxe edition, usually £20, that offers a fantastically detailed city building sim, along with an option for an offline regional game, where you can build multiple cities into one region, and have them share resources. The Deluxe version includes the Rush Hour expansion, and both let you terraform the land, design your own building types, and all sorts of other excellent features that you’d expect to find in a modern city-building simulation.



RPS - John Walkers take on CEO John Riccitiello stepping down(03/18/2013)

Offline: EA CEO John Riccitiello Has Stepped Down

FTA:
Well another person has learned: you don’t mess with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It seems our coverage of the SimCity… no, not really. The rather more unfortunate reason for EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello’s stepping down is due to the publisher’s struggles to turn a profit, alongside warnings that the next quarter’s targets won’t be met...In saying so, this looks very much like one of those falling-on-a-sword moments, to stave off investor unrest when yet another set of pointy-down graphs are released.
Twitter Battles
The Tweet that started it all:



After Walker posted his secret source article, our great hero Arthur Giess did his best to dismiss his source, to help defend the narrative of EA, which resulted in a bit of a twitter battle. If you want to see what transpired from the argument you can click here, also if you want to follow him on twitter: John Walker's Twitter. The arguement is too big to fill the OP, so instead click on the link to read the fight.


Thanks to DaBuddaDa for pointing out more of his rant, since getting into a twitter battle with John Walker, you follow the full twitter conversation here.


I thought this was a fun little snippet from this week's Rebel FM:

http://youtu.be/MO688ZIfLHE
What he says is that always online wont effect his review, unless it is broke... So he doesnt care about the use and function of the always online DRM, all he cares about is if it effects him from doing his review. This is him essentially saying, I dont give a fuck if always online DRM is bad for you, I will only care if it becomes a hindrance to me. With that said, always online is not always bad, but in this case, it servers very little purpose, which was Johns argument, which started all this. This also helps explain why he was so ready to take the EA stance and dismiss Walkers inside source.



Between this, Walker noticed something from another "fellow journalist" where he noticed an CVG article that was...less then helpful to consumers, by Rob Crossley:

You can find the, since edited, article here

As you can see another great "game journalist" addition to the industry cause, also, decided to chime in and talk about how horrible Walker is: the great Mr. Ben Parfitt.

Polygon is now at it again! YAY(damnit)!(03/19/2013)

-
-
If this is your 1st visit, welcome to Polygon.


Here is all the PR BS that had John fact checking what they were saying. All of this is in the SimCity Boss’s “Straight Answers” Seem Pretty Wiggly RPS article.

Starting with the original article that made us love what was coming down the pipe.

December 2012 Bradshaw Blog - The Original PR-BS
9th of March - Polygon(MICHAEL MCWHERTOR) interview with Bradshaw, the beginning of the un-challenging of our games media:

12th of March - Kotaku(Stephen Totilo) interview with Bradshaw - Finally more pointed questions from the games media:
15th of March - More Blog BS from Bradshaw:
EA censors its own support number on its forums - shinobi602 has a great find which shows an even more insane PR blunder - check his thread for details and discussion.
 

Guess Who

Banned
Oct 21, 2012
10,414
1
0
And John Walker continues to illustrate why he's basically the best guy in the whole games journalism industry.
 

erpg

GAF parliamentarian
May 10, 2009
15,207
1
0
Ottawa, Canada
I'm glad someone out there is taking the incestuous, horrifyingly banal American games journalism circles to task.

They'll just flock to twitter and bitch for support from their PR followers for self esteem though. Nothing gets through.
 

Dibbz

Member
Oct 6, 2007
8,836
0
0
Good on RPS and John Walker telling it like it is. Gaming companies should be worried about the press but so many of them are so afraid to damage relations *cough* polygon, they butter games up with lies.

Always online makes no sense to me at all. There is no benefit to the player. If I want online shit fed through a drip I'll sign in. If not leave me the fuck alone and let me play offline.
 

Sinatar

Official GAF Bottom Feeder
Jun 7, 2004
36,860
0
1,745
Edmonton
John Walker is fucking awesome. I know GAF isn't a very PC centric community, but RPS is worth reading regardless of the fact that it is a PC Gaming site.
 

Uthred

Member
Nov 24, 2011
5,894
0
440
Ireland
Johns stuff is good when he's "on" e.g. most of the stuff in this thread. But I think he's gotten caught up in his online persona, before hand his stuff could be strident but generally a decent read but over the last few months a lot of it has turned into biased rants where he'll interpret games or events in extremely questionable ways simply so he has something to rail against. A number of the other authors on the site have followed suit and I think its lead to a decrease in quality for the site overall.
 

DTKT

Member
Apr 1, 2011
6,379
0
570
Johns stuff is good when he's "on" e.g. most of the stuff in this thread. But I think he's gotten caught up in his online persona, before hand his stuff could be strident but generally a decent read but over the last few months a lot of it has turned into biased rants where he'll interpret games or events in extremely questionable ways simply so he has something to rail against. A number of the other authors on the site have followed suit and I think its lead to a decrease in quality for the site overall.
Can you please provide some examples of that?
 

unbias

Member
Oct 31, 2012
3,941
0
0
Michigan
Johns stuff is good when he's "on" e.g. most of the stuff in this thread. But I think he's gotten caught up in his online persona, before hand his stuff could be strident but generally a decent read but over the last few months a lot of it has turned into biased rants where he'll interpret games or events in extremely questionable ways simply so he has something to rail against. A number of the other authors on the site have followed suit and I think its lead to a decrease in quality for the site overall.
Either that or he has noticed the tide in the games media, where there is just about no consumer advocate, and he is picking up that mantle. Whether he is always doing it 100% perfect, it is still better then anything out there, in terms of the goal of protecting and fighting for what is best for the consumer, and not the publishers or developers.

I'm not saying he is perfect, but who is? I mean even if I agree'd 100% with what you said(which I dont) that would still put him a cut above the rest.
 

Uthred

Member
Nov 24, 2011
5,894
0
440
Ireland
Either that or he has noticed the tide in the games media, where there is just about no consumer advocate, and he is picking up that mantle. Whether he is always doing it 100% perfect, it is still better then anything out there, in terms of the goal of protecting and fighting for what is best for the consumer, and not the publishers or developers.

I'm not saying he is perfect, but who is? I mean even if I agree'd 100% with what you said(which I dont) that would still put him a cut above the rest.
I thought RPS was doing a pretty good job at that before they got all super angry post "Doritosgate" (my fucking brain cringes just typing that). What they post about hasnt really changed, but how they post about it has. Often at the risk of obscuring their message. John himself has acknowledged it a few times in the comments and such that hes more interested in shouting about stuff than talking about it.
 

unbias

Member
Oct 31, 2012
3,941
0
0
Michigan
I thought RPS was doing a pretty good job at that before they got all super angry post "Doritosgate" (my fucking brain cringes just typing that). What they post about hasnt really changed, but how they post about it has. Often at the risk of obscuring their message. John himself has acknowledged it a few times in the comments and such that hes more interested in shouting about stuff than talking about it.
Sure, he was doing a good job before, but imo, he is even better at it, now. The games media doesn't want to talk about it, they just want to defend, so why bother with talks among his peers? Even still, I have not read anything where I thought it was out of left field or factually wrong, in the scope of how it effects the consumer. Generalities of why you don't like his reporting style is great, but to reiterate, he still is the best. He has the best games media website in terms of pro consumer news, outside of perhaps Giantbomb, but they don't really fight for consumer rights, they ignore all that and just focus on games(which is also needed and a good thing).
 

JDSN

Banned
Sep 13, 2006
23,949
0
0
Johns stuff is good when he's "on" e.g. most of the stuff in this thread. But I think he's gotten caught up in his online persona, before hand his stuff could be strident but generally a decent read but over the last few months a lot of it has turned into biased rants where he'll interpret games or events in extremely questionable ways simply so he has something to rail against. A number of the other authors on the site have followed suit and I think its lead to a decrease in quality for the site overall.
I see where you are coming from, his tone on some of his articles changed a lot, specially after the Wainwright thing. Some people think he is biased and extra snarky toward big developers but I think its justified on all the ill-will they have generated. He obviously disliked the direction SE is taking with their reboots of Hitman and Tomb Raider, but it has become more prominent because most journalist of UK are terrible PR whores and he has knack for pointing it out.

And to be fair, people wanted him to be the spokesman of ethics after his readership unfairly called him out for not using his site as a soapbox for Dorite-gate. Shame that like all great game journalists, he will probably "move up in" a couple of years like the future community managers that he loathes so much strive for every day. I think he is already doing some writing for the new Dreamfall.
 

MarkusRJR

Member
Aug 13, 2007
8,616
0
930
www.geocities.com
I think the funniest part of this is how juvenile Arthus Gies has been regarding this and shilling EA. Games journalism sure is shit.

Thankfully places like RPS exist.
 

Delusibeta

Banned
Feb 18, 2012
10,875
0
0
delusibeta.tumblr.com
Shame that like all great game journalists, he will probably "move up in" a couple of years like the future community managers that he loathes so much strive for every day. I think he is already doing some writing for the new Dreamfall.
Eh, I'll be hesitant to say that. Sure, Quinns went into a gaming PR role (for Paradox), but the (arguably as legendary) Kieron Gillen went into writing for Marvel, and from what I've heard is doing quite well over there.
 

CheesecakeRecipe

Stormy Grey
Mar 27, 2012
11,636
0
0
John Walker being what every other Journalist should be right now, absolutely fucking sick of this shit. No one should be putting up with such blatent lying from any company, least of all EA.
 

HoosTrax

Member
Nov 15, 2011
6,885
0
0
steamcommunity.com
One other thing that's kind of interesting to note is comparing the content of RPS and PCGamer (the other of the two main PC-only gaming review sites). RPS gives pretty equal billing to just about everything, no matter how big or small. Whereas PCG gives a disproportionate amount of space to AAA stuff, especially EA coverage. During the whole SimCity fiasco, there was barely a whisper about it on PCG, and they were playing up their little celebrity Sim towns event instead.
 

RedNumberFive

Banned
Oct 6, 2006
9,556
0
0
Chicagoland
All of this shameless behavior should surprise me, but then I remember this is EA we're dealing with, a company that is systematically destroying our favorite hobby.
 

JDSN

Banned
Sep 13, 2006
23,949
0
0
Eh, I'll be hesitant to say that. Sure, Quinns went into a gaming PR role (for Paradox), but the (arguably as legendary) Kieron Gillen went into writing for Marvel, and from what I've heard is doing quite well over there.
Oh, im not saying he will be a community manager, im saying thats the position most of those jokes are qualified to go to, I think he would go for a producer role or level designer. Or go for novel writing which I think is one of his dreams.
 

Jackpot

Banned
Nov 8, 2011
11,466
0
0
Man, it must eat Ben Parfitt up to know he's seen as bottom of a very scummy pile whilst Walker is praised.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
44,017
0
0
The funny thing is, he's not really doing anything special.

He's just putting together the obvious from the last couple of weeks, and acting like a normal human being who understands what logic and contradictions are.

Unfortunately, that seems to be well beyond what the majority of the PR mouthpieces we call games journalists can handle.

The whole system is broken. The game publishers, PR and games journalists are all in this together, with the reader as the enemy.

You read some of these articles, press releases and twitter posts, and you can feel the distaste they have for the consumer dripping from every disgusting word.
 

Retne

Member
Feb 25, 2012
543
0
0
I think he is already doing some writing for the new Dreamfall.
Really? I hope not. I like his reporting but I'm not sure I'd like his writing in a fictional setting. Also I thought the writing in both Dreamfall and TLJ were great on their own.

Anyways all I can say is RPS is pretty much the only site outside of forums that I get gaming news from. I tend to read it like a newspaper but all the same it's earned a place in my daily routine. Well worth checking the site on the regular if you play PC games.
 

RedNumberFive

Banned
Oct 6, 2006
9,556
0
0
Chicagoland
The funny thing is, he's not really doing anything special.

He's just putting together the obvious from the last couple of weeks, and acting like a normal human being who understands what logic and contradictions are.

Unfortunately, that seems to be well beyond what the majority of the PR mouthpieces we call games journalists can handle.

The whole system is broken. The game publishers, PR and games journalists are all inn this together, with the reader as the enemy.

You read some of these articles, press releases and twitter posts, and you can feel the distaste they have for the consumer dripping from every disgusting word.
Perfectly stated. You couldn't be more on the nose. Consider yourself one of my favorite GAFfers.
 

Yagharek

Member
Mar 3, 2007
22,786
0
0
.

The whole system is broken. The game publishers, PR and games journalists are all inn this together, with the reader as the enemy.

You read some of these articles, press releases and twitter posts, and you can feel the distaste they have for the consumer dripping from every disgusting word.
Nailed it completely. The games industry at large seems to hold consumers with withering contempt and disdain, as if they are entitled to millions of sales just for releasing any old shit.

They hate informed customers, hence the increasing hostility from media, publisher and PR towards gaming sites like this.
 

Jake Tower

Banned
Jan 2, 2012
5,907
1
0
The funny thing is, he's not really doing anything special.

He's just putting together the obvious from the last couple of weeks, and acting like a normal human being who understands what logic and contradictions are.

Unfortunately, that seems to be well beyond what the majority of the PR mouthpieces we call games journalists can handle.

The whole system is broken. The game publishers, PR and games journalists are all in this together, with the reader as the enemy.

You read some of these articles, press releases and twitter posts, and you can feel the distaste they have for the consumer dripping from every disgusting word.
Well said.
 

Dibbz

Member
Oct 6, 2007
8,836
0
0
Why does the gaming press generally bend over to big publishers? Press have the power, it's not the other way around.

You give a game a shit score, people will avoid the game. You get blacklisted they give your company bad press. It's lose lose for game companies but somehow they have come up with a system that makes it seem they have all the power.
 

rabhw

Member
Oct 12, 2006
1,114
0
0
Finally pushed me over the edge to subscribe to RPS. I wonder how many subscribers they really have? Hopefully enough :)
 

inky

Member
Dec 20, 2010
23,493
0
0
(*< - - - - - -
steamcommunity.com
She said it pretty clear in that [suspiciously] leaked internal memo. They were taking measures and working "1-on-1" to "manage" the situation with the game media.

That means feeding them PR material to diffuse the situation. Of course, sites like Polygon happily oblige and just quote them and eat everything up without doing anything to question the official statement. Then they wash their hands by claiming they are just "showing" EA's side of the story, when in reality they are serving as a megaphone that regurgitates whatever message EA wants out, with no criticism or analysis. Pretty disgusting.

It's nice at least to see some sites are having none of it.
 

HoosTrax

Member
Nov 15, 2011
6,885
0
0
steamcommunity.com
Why does the gaming press generally bend over to big publishers? Press have the power, it's not the other way around.
They need access to the game content, otherwise they would have to wait until after release like your average joe. That is the leverage publishers have, along with granting exclusives. Pre-release content and exclusives gets you the readers and page impressions you need to keep the site running.

RPS is focused purely on PC and they don't have a huge staff.