In times like these it's easy to lose perspective; it's not always about you.
I suppose there’s only one thing to talk about this week.
Sony Online Entertainment broke away from its parent company to become Daybreak Game Company, thanks to investment from Columbus Nova.
As is the all too common and incredibly unfortunate nature of deals like these, the company had to let some people go. When costs are too high for projected revenue, tough decisions have to be made. The important thing to remember in times like these is that it’s people making these decisions, and these decisions affect people.
For all that we care about the games (which is less than the current and former employees of Daybreak, by the way), what this means to us as players is insignificant compared to what it means to the people whose lives were affected.
I want to take a moment to state that I am in full support of the talented, passionate people still at Daybreak, their amazing work continues to inspire me, and I have complete faith they will continue to blow us away.
I will also share my sympathies with the people who were let go; it’s a horrible thing to go through and it’s totally unfair. I want to thank them for everything they’ve done. I look forward to finding out which companies were lucky enough to bag their awesome talent and I wish them the best of luck on their next adventures.
So now we, as the game community, feel a little lost, upset and maybe even let down. This is normal; we’ve invested a lot in these games (though again, barely a fraction compared to the developers) and this announcement is awful news.
We talk endlessly about how we want our choices to matter in games, now we have a choice in how we react to something real.
Change is hard, and for some people it just won’t feel the same. They’ll leave, and the rest of us will miss them. Hopefully they’ll be back.
For those that choose to stick around and see it through, we can choose to continue to support each other the way we have been. We can choose to show respect to all the people that have worked on these games by continuing to celebrate their achievements.
If my word means anything to you, I can guarantee that they are serious when they say they want making these games to be a collaborative process. They took a big gamble when they decided this, and we haven’t let them down so far.
Some members of the community, a very small number whom I won’t name despite the sadistic tickle in my stomach, have chosen to express their feelings by lashing out at the people who these events actually affected.
One Daybreak developer showed enormous strength of character by offering some words of comfort to the players, on the day people were being laid off, and was immediately jumped on by people who decided that a slight on their own feelings about a game they theoretically like meant they were owed some manner of assurance or contrition. Usually I put some kind of lame joke after I make a comment about players acting horribly to take the edge off, but in this case you can just read it again.
Imagine being that kind of person. You don’t have to be, it’s a choice, and since I like this column to have a little takeaway value, here is a handy guide on how not to make this mistake.
I want to be clear—I’m not saying we need to swear blind allegiance and accept any decision without question. What I am saying is that it’s time to remember it’s people who are affected by this, and we have a chance to give a little back to the people who have given us so much.
Since this isn’t about me, I’ll leave the final words to the former Director of Development for the EverQuest franchise, a man who made it so easy to believe in the crazy dream and was instrumental in making it a reality, Dave Georgeson:
“Don't stop loving the games folks. These are your homes and worlds. Make 'em real. I want to play too.”