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Rule #1 of game design: Don’t listen to your customers

By on April 12, 2010

A video has been going round YouTube called “A message to Infinity Ward”. It’s six minutes long from a gamer who says he is an experienced, comitted player who has “played for 17 days”.

He points out a broken perk (I think he has a point on this one, based purely on the video) and then bewails Infinity Ward’s lack of response to its customers.

He asks "Do you have any respect for your fanbase or are you too busy counting your money?" He ends by saying "Fix this or fuck you."

Don’t listen to him.

Don’t listen to the fanboys who think they are so important.

Don’t respond to emotional pleas from a small coterie of self-appointed experts.

Don’t care that a handful of high-ranking players have quit in disgust.


your stats back them up.

Check your server logs and your analytics packages. See if these issues are affecting a tiny vocal minority or are widespread. Scrub the data, again and again, until you can find out what is happening to the whole community, not just to a few loudmouths.

The loudmouths might be your most important customers. They might be your own yellow canaries in the mine of your game, dying in their cages to warn you that your oxygen, your lifeblood, your audience, is running out.

Or they might just be loudmouths.

Without the data you won’t know which.

So go find out.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: