I really have a long fuse, but one thing reliably annoys me within seconds: Schadenfreude. I just don’t want to get into my head how you can make fun of other people’s bad things.
An extra portion of malice and glee is currently being poured out via CD Projekt. The developers of The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 fell victim to a hacking attack. In a blackmail letter, the alleged perpetrators threaten to publish the stolen data. In the meantime, the data is allegedly being auctioned for huge sums on the Internet.
What a feast for the cynical part of the internet! Starting with more or less insensitive gags (yes, hacking mini-game by Cyberpunk – I got it!), To sardonic “karma” slogans to wild conspiracy theories that this was all just a fake PR campaign by CD Projekt. Not only on social media but also with us in the comments.
And how did CD Projekt earn this malice? With the messed up release of a game. Yes, even for Cyberpunk 2077: It’s just a game!
Disappointment should never turn into hate
We still stand by the fact that we consider the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 to be a very good role-playing game with an outstanding story. But I can understand everyone who is disappointed with CD Projekt because Cyberpunk does not meet personal expectations or even causes technical problems.
And I understand when consequences are drawn from this: Wait until the game is error-free before buying. Request a refund of the purchase price. Maybe never buy a game from CD Projekt again. Everything is legitimate. Just like the disappointment of the console fans about the indisputable last-gen versions. Criticism has to be visible if it is to be effective.
What I don’t understand, on the other hand, is when disappointment with an entertainment product turns into completely irrational hatred and malice for its creator. It would be like being happy about my baker’s car accident because he once sold me bad bread.
Hundreds of people have worked on Cyberpunk 2077 for years, who can do little or nothing for the release fiasco on the consoles. Who now fear for the security of personal, sensitive data. Maybe even the job, in case the hack really threatens CD Projekt’s very existence.
“Good developers can easily find a new job, then maybe with an employer without a crunch,” I read from the cynics. Sure, because the search for a new job, including the likely move, is also great fun, especially with family and during a pandemic.
Anyone telling these people that the hack was karma, fair, or expected should please look in the mirror and wonder how fair he or she would find it to be threatened with death for their employer’s mistakes and personal safety Having to fear data.
The cynics’ mistake in thinking
Another argument of the Schadenfroh group: this is the only way companies would learn. A way of thinking that is as dangerous as it is selfish. Because I have been wronged, do I want other people to suffer? How do I come to see the disappointment in an entertainment product as a legitimate reason for committing a crime?
Passion for computer games is basically something great, but when it turns toxic as in this case, it endangers what we love. Because what will the game developers learn from the drama of Cyberpunk 2077: How to present their games earlier or later? More or less communication with the community? Dare to innovate or play it safe?
The answers will not be in our favor. In conversations with publishers, I already regularly hear cyberpunk as an argument why they withhold announcements and information about new games. As a consequence, we will see more and more titles that are only announced three to six months before release – just for fear of shit storms if everything doesn’t go according to plan. And fear is the worst advisor to bold, innovative games. Constructive community feedback would be a far better one.
Why you give me the courage
Much worse, more and more often I notice that talented game developers are thinking about leaving the industry because they no longer want to expose themselves to toxic comments. Yes, it goes without saying that companies are also responsible here to protect their employees or preventing them from getting into such situations through better planning and communication.
But if something doesn’t change quickly, I fear a huge creative bloodletting in game development. And that’s only because a few have forgotten how to criticize constructively and treat other people with respect.
All the more encouraging I find what I have read in the vast majority of the comments on nintendosmash,com: Compassion and respect for the game manufacturers – incomprehension and contra for those who justify a crime and become insulting just because they have been disappointed by a game. You are the ones who give me hope that the toxic minority of the gaming community won’t prevail. We are more! Let’s show it!