My Apology to CSM

Just a quick post, I had promised myself to stay out of the most recent CCP debacle but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do that.

Just as background, CCP laid off more employees in Iceland, that in itself is not note-worthy. They do this after shutting down World of Darkness, and announcing that they will be removing DUST as we know it and replacing it with a brand new game. Oh, and they will be adding an Occulus Rift game.

Some details can be found in a Guardian article, more can be found on EVE’s own Fox news.

Ok, so what?  A game company that takes risks, explores opportunities and gambles for greatness should be applauded, not harangued.  Too many tech companies rest on their laurels and get blown away by the next competitor that comes along with a better product.   CCP is taking massive risks and I envy them for the patience of their shareholders.

But if you read a touch deeper, you see that CCP is a terribly managed company without clear strategic vision, or rather, they have a strategic vision.  In fact, they have several and those change every year, means the guys who actually hit the keyboards are constantly exposed to a shift in their priorities.  If you read the Guardian article, you can see what I mean.

Most of the sources spoken to for this piece identified the same problematic CCP manager, who had little vision for what the finished game would look like.

“Not once could he answer any question about moment-to-moment gameplay or areas of focus,” says one source. “Instead, he preferred to deliver buzzword-laden rambles… It was not uncommon for him to communicate in onomatopoeia.

“I once saw him looking over the shoulder of a programmer at some bit of User Interface the poor guy had hacked together. He straightened up, put fingers to lips and said, ‘No, this isn’t it at all. Make it more… psssshhhh’ He hissed on his fucking fingertips, like the air coming out of a bicycle tire, and then just walked away.”


So what?

Well, in my real life, I am a manager in a technology company. I have daily conversations with our development team what needs to be built, how it should look and how it should work.  My job is to translate what the customers want into features that the development guys can put into place.  Its a 50+ h / week job and it carries responsibility.  When the product flops, there is an even chance that it does so because I screwed up.  Screw-ups come in different sizes, small ones, we can paper over, large ones can bring a company down.  There is a responsibility of the team (yes, including managers) to every employee’s wellbeing, financial and professional.  If management fails and developers are fired, this is as inexcusable as when a developer writes crappy code.

Well, enough about me.  Just to set the scene, I had read the Guardian article and I was fuming.  Then I read Funkybacon’s post and felt compelled to reply to Poetic’s comment.  I feel myself agreeing with Poetic these days, I think I need therapy.



Following this little note, I was convo-ed by a CSM member who I highly respect.  This CSM member asked me whether I really think that the all-out assault that Funky did in this post was the way to manage the relationship with CCP.  I must admit, I was surprised by this, I did not know that my off-hand comment at TMC would spawn any form of response.

And my comment was really dumb.  It was at the same low level a the #FireHilmar comments that permeate the post or worse.  It insults not only CCP but als0 my peers, our CSM who are working extremely hard to keep the game running so that we may enjoy it.

For this, I want to apologize.

It was not my intent to insult CSM 9.  I have nothing but respect for the function and my occasional sarcasm is meant tongue-in-cheek.  My one criticism on CSM 8 was that they were too tame.  Several CSM 8 members came across as if their primary role is to defend CCP.  I wrote about this here.  But I also wrote that CSM 9 has the opportunity to add podcasters Funkybacon and Xander Phoena as “bullhorns”.  Sometimes, subtlety doesn’t get you the attention an issue needs.  Screaming by itself doesn’t fix anything but it can generate the urgency to address an issue.  Funky has done just that.  Others now need to sit down and solve things, we have several very capable CSM members who I trust to represent the players and work through the issues.

So, closing this post down, I did not want to write this but my loose lips got me in trouble again. I hope I have cleared this up and wish the CSM nothing but the very best.

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