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Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, Delivers Strong Thoughts for the Industry

  • Keynote at DICE has ruffled some feathers in the field.
  • Delivers further commentary following some outlets twisting his words.
  • Love him or hate him, is he on point this time?

Tim Sweeney has been a figure of controversy in the gaming world, to say the least. Since the Epic Games Store made its initial premiere and turned into a juggernaut to rival Steam, many of hailed him as a mover and a shaker in the industry, while many more have expressed concern and anger with many of the moves made by the company. Whether you see him as an arbiter of competition or an executioner of player choice within the wide world of videogames, his impact is undeniable. So to many, it wasn’t a surprise that he’d be taking the stage as the keynote speaker for the DICE Summit in Las Vegas.

As covered by The Hollywood Reporter, Sweeney had some strong words for the gaming industry as a whole as he took shots in particular at some of the new norms within it. In particular, he took time to call out crazes such as loot boxes as well as how politics are being used not for substance but for quick marketing wins:

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of precedents announced as ground rules of the industry. We need to step back and take stock of them. Over the next decade, we’ll see the continuing trend of gaming becoming first-class social activity. Games are as much a communication platform as an entertainment experience.

On the subject of loot box mechanics:

We have to ask ourselves, as an industry, what we want to be when we grow up. Do we want to be like Las Vegas, with slot machines, or do we want to be widely respected as creators of products that customers can trust? I think we will see more and more publishers move away from loot boxes.

We should be very reticent of creating an experience where the outcome can be influenced by spending money. Loot boxes play on all the mechanics of gambling except for the ability to get more money out in the end.

I suspect the only people who would disagree with such a sentiment are those who directly benefit from such mechanics. Outside of those companies, it seems like gamers, gaming outlets, and game developers alike can come together and agree on that sentiment.

 

The keynote address was a relatively strong performance as mentioned by many, but Tim Sweeney came under fire by the usual suspects when he gave his views on politics in the world of gaming:

We should get the marketing departments out of politics. We live in a world where your political affiliation determines what chicken restaurant you go to. There’s no reason to drag divisive topics like that into gaming.

We need to create a very clear separation between church and state. Employees, customers and everyone else should be able to express themselves. We as companies need to divorce ourselves from politics. Platforms should be neutral.

This would lead some outlets to put words in his mouth. Pushback was seen throughout social media, including commentary by Colin Moriarty against the spin IGN placed on Sweeney’s address.

After articles like IGN’s went live, Tim Sweeny would later clarify his stance for those that were seemingly mincing his words for clicks.

 

His views were pretty clear even without clarification. He wants companies themselves to be a neutral party. He never said he was against political themes in games, despite what his detractors have stated, but rather divisive rhetoric and lecturing. What do you think of Tim Sweeney’s views on loot boxes and company neutrality? Has your opinion of Tim improved or lessened following this address and what words would you offer him towards his own company?