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Apparently, EA gave an interview to MCV lamenting how they are so reviled by the gaming community. Comments and forum posts often mention obligations to shareholders. I once made a thread before about this topic, but it best stay buried due to age. So yeah, should shareholders of a major videogame company also be fans and customers of the company? If so, how does one enforce that rule?
Always watching, never seen
I think it would be difficult to enforce that rule in any official capacity, and would carry its own share of issues. Fans being shareholders means that fans have the ability to direct the company, which could easily result in fans making corporate decisions as to where the art should go. That is a crapshoot that can go very well or very poorly. It's also worth noting that a very small percentage of people have the kind of money to buy a significant number of shares which, coupled with the small percentage of fans that would be passionate enough to buy stock in the company, means that the future of a corporation can end up placed on the shoulders of just a select few wealthy, passionate fans. Really, I think this is better as a social rule than anything else, and I mean that on both sides. If you're going to spend huge amount of money investing in the future of a company, get invested in what that company actually does. If what the company does is art, pay attention to the art. Don't just throw money at it and walk away, feeling safe in your future financial success; make an effort to become educated in whatever it is that company is involved in doing. Whether it's television, soda, bottle rockets, whatever the company does, if you don't care about the product, then why are you here? The same goes for the fans. If this is something you're passionate about, make an effort to get involved. That doesn't just mean becoming a shareholder; try to get a job at the company, and make your own art. If you love fantasy space operas, then get into college and look into making more fantasy space operas. If you love Mass Effect, specifically, and want to see more Mass Effect, then invest in Mass Effect's future by becoming a shareholder for the company and always, ALWAYS purchase the products you love and wish to see more of, because the fact is that piracy hurts everyone.
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Is it possible to hand out shares to specific hand picked fans like at a convention? That is one way of controlling who gets a say in the company's decisions.
I'm in the "not sure this is a good idea" camp. Game companies that have stock are first and foremost businesses. They're in this to make money. If they make art at the same time? Great. But it better make money. That is ultimately what every decision is towards, even if a lot of us sit back and go, "DUDE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING." Now what would be good is if majority shareholders had a better understanding of the video game economy and their consumer base as a whole. It's been shown many times that some large companies are wildly out of touch about what the people who buy their products would think is a good idea and are generally pretty bad at generating consumer good will. TL;DR, good fans aren't necessarily good at business. And this is a business. I own some Activision-Blizzard stock, though. It's finally gotten back to the point where if I sell it I'll have a profit. The last few years have suuuuuuuucked.
edited 30th Nov '13 10:19:37 AM by Bur
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^^ Until they sell it because of a bad case of the munchies and they're short on free cash. Honestly, I don't think requiring fandom for holding shares is at all a good idea. Not enforceable in any practical sense, and I'm exceedingly skeptical that fans actually know what's good for a company or a game, vice what they think is good. I give you 90 percent of all fanfics out there, especially crossover fics, as Exhibit A. (I know I've occasionally looked back at some early, unpublished fanfics I wrote in the past and facepalmed at how shitty they really were.)
Ok maybe I should ask just what does a shareholder influence? Can they really sway the creative process, not just the resource allocation of the company?
What I think is, shareholders, or whoever these companies have obligations to appease, should be gamers themselves. Or at least have an idea of what the gaming community likes and doesn't like. It seems like the biggest problem with the gaming industry is that the corporations are out of touch with what gamers want, and are just putting out what they THINK will sell, then act surprised when it doesn't. Never mind all the DRM and locked-on-disc content they throw in, or oft-protested mechanics that they never get rid of but add in just because another high-selling game does it. I'm quite sure that the biggest reason for all of this is because the people in charge of game studios aren't gamers themselves, and thus have no idea about what exactly makes a good game. They just think "Can this make money?" or "Did this make money for someone else?" and boom, they do that.
edited 30th Nov '13 10:42:04 AM by MrPoly
Individual shareholders really have very little influence over the direction a company goes in, and even less over the products it makes. And that goes for pretty much all publically-held companies. The reason is that about all the shareholders have any say on is who sits on the board of directors. And the BOD of a large company is not very involved in the day-to-day activities. They're the top-level overseers, not the management and marketing and design guys. They make decisions like where to locate the new factory, not which game to make or who to hire to do the artwork. Even shareholders who own large blocks of stock don't have much say in the lower level and day-to-day decisions. They have more say on who's on the board, and that can affect those lower-level decisions, but actual influence? not much.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
This reminds me of a reflection I had about Microsoft's commercial suicide with the Xbox One (quickly followed with an Author's Saving Throw that as far as I'm concerned, rolled a 2): It seemed to be that they had forgotten whom they were selling the console to. They were marketing the console to publishers, forgetting that it's gamers who buy them.
edited 30th Nov '13 11:23:37 AM by Medinoc
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Was that on a d6 or a d20? Given that, then the answer would be "No, and it's a good thing not. Let the money changers give unto Caesar while the fans should do all the 'real work'." Of course, now the question becomes "Should the mid/upper-level managers be from the 'gamer community'?" A related question is "are said managers raised internally (i.e. from the programmers, artists, etc) or externally (i.e. from 'business colleges')?" This is, in my mind, one of the problems of modern corporate-capitalism: too much detachment from the actual capital -usage and -generation process.
edited 30th Nov '13 1:18:15 PM by DonaldthePotholer
Well in 40 years the upper management would probably have grown up having played at least one game memorably.
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Is it possible to hand out shares to specific hand picked fans like at a convention?Worlder, do you know what shares and shareholders are? Shareholders are part owners of a company. They own a share of it. Just handing out shares to fans means reducing the value of the shares that existing shareholders own, since they now own a smaller part of the company. The reason CE Os are legally obligated to serve their shareholders is because the shareholders have hired the CEO to take their money and make a profit with it. And, no, setting rules about shareholders needing to be gamers is a terrible idea. It drastically reduces the pool of people who can buy your shares, thus drastically reducing their value. You'd need to scrounge up enough gamers with money to spare to buy out all of the existing shareholders, and if any of the existing shareholders disagree then you'll be getting a massive lawsuit on your hands.
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