See what I'm talking about? This game is possibly the worst thing I have ever seen. It looks like something that was made as a little fun project by a couple of mates, not something that should be sold as finished product. Today I'm not going to touch on Steam allowing something like this to even enter the Greenlight system, and I've made my position on early access games very clear (although this game is not listed as such).
I am however, going to touch on how developers react to criticism from both reviewers and customers. You see, the developers of Air Control have been in full damage control on the Steam forums. And by damage control, I mean they are attacking people leaving bad reviews. Here's some examples taken from Steam users Blancmage, MamCieNaChopsa and 0Bennyman. In case the responses are deleted in the future, here's the quotes from the developers in the order that they are linked there:
- Problem is in your pc, that is why you cannot run the game.
- You cannot run the game cause of problems with your pc. We tested it during a month. This game worked on all the computers of our testers.
- At first, this review was made on weak computer. Secondly I want to say you guys that this guy who recorded review did not read about game controls and that is why airplane fell down in the end.
As someone who writes a lot, and not just on this blog, I totally understand how hard it can be to receive criticism from people, especially when they aren't creative themselves. When you have made the effort to create something for others to enjoy, it hurts when you hear that they didn't. Unlike these developers however, someone not liking my writing style or enjoying my fiction isn't something I can change. I accept that what I write about or how I write is not for everyone.
Honestly, the fact that Killjoy games thinks that responding to criticism in this fashion is acceptable shows that they aren't cut out to develop games that will be released on large distribution platforms like Steam, especially if they are going to only half finish them. The responses range from denial (the problem is your PC not our game), to flat out deflection (We tested it, and it worked fine). At the time of writing on Steam, there are only four positive reviews, and they are either sarcastic or attack all the negative reviews that were posted by people, including this gem:
Very good game 7/10, would be 9/10 with some bug fixes.The worst part of this whole situation is this is the second time this year I know of an indie company responding poorly to criticism. If you watch TotalBiscuit, you probably heard about what happened with his WTF Is... video on Guise of the Wolf, a game developed by FUN Creators. When TotalBiscuit posted a scathing, but fair opinion of their game, FUN Creators responded by placing a copyright claim on his account, denied doing so in a series of emails and then proceeded to joke around on Twitter when evidence was posted by TotalBiscuit there. They even went so far as to claim that TB had used Photoshop to change the body of the emails, and demanding he deletes his channel as they are "a lot bigger than your little YouTube channel."
If you are an American you probably won't enjoy it because your *** is too fat from hamburgers to fit in an airplane seat LOL
Since indie development really took off with the massive success of titles like Minecraft and Day Z, everyone who knows how to code wants to make that next big hit. Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of these people don't understand how PR works, especially on electronic media. Everyone has a forum to express opinions, be that Twitter, Reddit or the Steam forums. The absolute worst thing that anyone can do is respond in a negative way to criticism, as the backlash that is created by this will absolutely kill any hope of the next game you make being taken seriously.
The best advice I can give? Either hire someone to do PR for you if you don't have the necessary skills to do it effectively, or don't respond to criticism if you know you cannot control yourself. If you do respond, keep it civil and be willing to accept that you may be wrong. If someone points out legitimate bugs, don't attack them. Thank them. Most of the time they are doing it because they want to help you achieve your vision of the game because it's something they would enjoy.
And for goodness sake... don't respond like FUN Creators or Killjoy. It's just not worth it.
As always folks,