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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Opinion

Video game quality decline due to workplace misconduct, more


Video game quality decline due to workplace misconduct, rushed development and loot boxes

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Recently video games have been showing a decline, such as having technical issues or just a general drop in good gameplay. This drop in quality is due to workplace sexual misconduct, rushed game development and loot box systems in games. 

Popular studio Activision Blizzard has been under fire over sexual misconduct since the summer. The studio was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing back in July 2021 following several reports of sexual misconduct in the workplace, including the exploitation and suicide of a female employee who was assaulted by her supervisor.

CEO Bobby Kotick was proven to have known about what was happening in the workplace and even swept many of these allegations under the rug.  

This unprofessionalism and discrimination lead to unproductive work hours that affect the studio’s final products due to a work overload being placed on the employees already struggling with a bad work environment.

While sexual misconduct has been a prominent and important issue brought to light these past months, employee abuse is just one of the many reasons the quality of video games has been on a steady decline. Rushed game development is another reason.

Games like Cyberpunk 2077, Fallout 76 and No Man’s Sky were rushed to come out before they were ready, which resulted in having a lot of technical issues, making it less pleasant for the players.

Game studios pressure developers to finish before the games are actually ready to go on sale, resulting in lesser video game quality.

Loot box systems are also a reason for the decline in video game quality. In 2017, game studio Electronic Arts launched Star Wars Battlefront II which included a loot box system, where players could play for hours in order to attain power-up items or skip the grind and obtain these items by buying loot boxes.

This gives wealthy gamers a significant advantage over players who cannot afford loot boxes. Loot box systems also ignore the point of video games which is to work to achieve something in the game, rather than pay for it with real currency. 

Following the backlash, EA quickly removed the loot box system from the game, but the damage is done in that these loot box systems are found in popular games like Genshin Impact, Fortnite and Overwatch

All of these factors ruining video games stem from corporate greed. Executives don’t want to spend the time and money to fix the sexual harassment in their workplace, so they ignore it and sweep it under the rug. 

Companies also do not want to extend deadlines for the sake of game quality so that they can keep churning out games every year for profit. Studios, of course, want to keep loot box systems as that generates lots of profit as well. 

If games want to return to a point where it feels complete at launch and also rewards the people behind the development, studios need to fix many of the systematic issues at the heart of big game companies. 

Companies need to improve the way they treat the workers by fixing the ongoing issue of sexual harassment in the industry. Companies also need to not rush development. If that means having a game come out a year later, so be it. That’s better than having a poor game experience for customers.

To top it all off, game companies need to quit the loot box systems. If the gaming industry wants to put out good video game quality and keep its customers, it needs to start changing. 

JJ Caceres is a political science freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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