5/366 – The Lazy Misnomer In GameDev

5630d9b077a9248cea64205eab75bec1I feel like my first four posts in this post-a-day-for-a-year challenge have been a bit…longer than I’d intended (but have been really great for creative exercise), so today I’m going to attempt to be brief.

As someone who does work in the games industry and who has had the privilege to observe or see many game studios run their ships, there’s definitely a piece of feedback from players that always tends to be wrong from a definition standpoint. It’s a misnomer that, as a Community Management person, is a bit of a trigger word, and not because of that semi-snarky “triggered” meme that people use as an insult but more as an immediate reaction to being utterly and completely wrong 90% of the time.

I’m referring to the fact that players tend to call developers “lazy”.

Software_developers_working_computer_thumb800The reason I feel like most of the time this is wrong is that typically when I hear someone accuse a studio or a developer or designer of being lazy, it’s usually after knowing for a fact that said studio, developer, or designer probably:

  • Went through a crunch of a week to two weeks leading up to patching or milestoning, which included work beyond normal hours
  • Worked hours with QA so that they could ensure that whatever it is passed any internal testing or met the standard for production release
  • Probably, if there was a showstopper that could prevent a patch or hotfix, sat in a chatroom or a skype call or other communication medium into the wee hours trying to fix it.

These are not the hallmarks of laziness. Lazy would be not bothering to do the work til the last minute. Lazy would be messing about during the work day on non-related places in an excessive manner. Lazy would be completely unwilling to put in the energy or effort to even test, crunch or work beyond 5pm. By pure dictionary definition, developers, most of the time, are not lazy.

Now, this isn’t to say that I’m being an apologist for developers. Developers are human and make mistakes. They have oversights and inefficiencies and blatant mistakes sometimes in their work. Despite best effort sometimes even they sometimes can’t prevent a patch that goes wrong and it’s certainly their responsibility if that happens. But if these things happen, it is certainly not because of the fact that they’ve been lazy. After about a decade of being around or working for developers in some capacity, I have yet to meet one that met the definition of lazy.

When a player says a developer is lazy, I know what they really mean to do and where their priorities lie, and it is certainly not on helping the game or product they’re giving feedback on get better, but rather on using a pejorative as a means of relieving frustration or worse, getting in a dig at the developer. Hint: It doesn’t make them listen to it any better.

Community people like me want to hear criticism. We need to hear what is wrong with a game or a product. But whatever it is, it needs to be done in a way that at least acknowledges the common sense idea that developers treat their job like someone who doesn’t work in that field treats theirs, especially when they’ve spent time responding to or otherwise acknowledging what people are saying.

In other words, the feedback shouldn’t be as lazy as the developers supposedly are.

One thought on “5/366 – The Lazy Misnomer In GameDev”

  1. Teresa says:

    Nicely put. Lazy is a lazy word for what people really should express about their dissatisfaction. Respect. That’s another interesting word that maybe you can explore in a future blog 😉

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