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Jaffe: "You are worth what you can negotiate"

Jaffe: "You are worth what you can negotiate"

Tue 16 Apr 2013 1:26am GMT / 9:26pm EDT / 6:26pm PDT
PeopleDevelopment

David Jaffe has choice words for devs who say the man is keeping them down

Earlier today, Kotaku ran a guest editorial from an anonymous game developer calling for better game publishers. The editorial decries executives at large publishers who make the decisions, but won't even play the games under their control. It talks of publishers making requests of studios that are wildly expensive to implement. In the end, the editorial describes publishers as chains holding developers back from doing their best.

And that's where outspoken game designer David Jaffe disagrees. In a reaction post on his personal website, Jaffe attacked that line of thought as a "tired accusation."

"You are worth what you can negotiate. Period," stated Jaffe. "Don't like the way a publisher treats you? Don't sign a contract with that particular publisher. Or if you do, make sure you have what you will and won't tolerate written into the contract."

Jaffe feels a great team can find ways to get the contract they want, while other developers are thinking too highly of themselves.

"If your studio is not good enough to demand better deals and is not clever enough to secure alternate forms of financing (thus allowing you to bypass the publishers all together) then you deserve what you get," he wrote.

"You want to be treated better? Sign a contract demanding it. You are not able to get such a contract? Then improve your team until you can demand in the real world what you think you are really worth in your mind. Because at the moment the real world is making something very clear to you. And that is this: you are not as good as you think you are."

"The people who fight against this and complain that the world is not fair are spinning their wheels and wasting their time," he added.

11 Comments

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

453 725 1.6
Popular Comment
As much as I disagree with a lot of what was said in the Kotaku article, I'm not sure "fuck you, I got mine" is much better to the dialogue at large.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

891 1,327 1.5
I utterly agree with David's post. But also agree that it's one of those things that the first guy to say it will be branded a smug twat. :)

Posted:A year ago

#2

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
Popular Comment
Isn't this one of the arguments against the "minimum wage" and various other things? The obvious truth of the matter is that most people in the world (across all job sectors) have zero bargaining power and are viewed as replaceable "meat puppets". You want a job to be able to afford to keep food on the table and even a table at all and you pretty much have to take what businesses offer you. We can't all be the David Jaffe's, Iron Maidens or [insert opinionated movie star here].... we don't all command the same respect or desire from businesses - regardless of if we're presenting the same quality or ideas.

Just because people have little to no bargaining power doesn't mean they're worthless and it doesn't reflect well on you when you fail to be able to empathise with them.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

891 1,327 1.5
I think the difference comes when you stop striving to be.

Posted:A year ago

#4

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
Stop striving to be "what" exactly, Paul? It's a bit unclear.

"Stop striving to be David Jaffe?"

I think I'll pass on that one - as much of a passionate nice guy he appears to be. ;)

Posted:A year ago

#5

Adam Coate CEO & Founder, Coate Games

34 34 1.0
Popular Comment
"Because at the moment the real world is making something very clear to you. And that is this: you are not as good as you think you are."

The real world has made it clear to Jaffe that he isn't as good as he thinks he is. PS3 Twisted Metal sold less than a million units. Now step down from your high horse.

Posted:A year ago

#6

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

359 78 0.2
Both the Kotaku article and the Jaffee piece deal with huge generalities that I don't think are universally true. Do large publishers sometimes interfere with games and decrease their artistic merit? Seems likely. Are some developers simply not good enough to realize their vision regardless of time or freedom? Without a doubt.

What I want to know is what specific game or publisher is being railed on in that original article - that would be more interesting.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

412 981 2.4
and if was so simple and true about simply demanding a better contract/treatment, why are so many great game designers all using kickstarter now to fund their games?

Posted:A year ago

#8

Paul Jace Merchandiser

939 1,420 1.5
@Todd--Why do you ask questions you already know the answers to. Jaffe is wrong.....AGAIN. But you of course already knew that:)

Posted:A year ago

#9

Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer

576 319 0.6
Ah yes.... the status quo defender...

Posted:A year ago

#10

Sandy Lobban Founder and Creative Director, Noise Me Up

315 208 0.7
This all sounds slightly cocky to me. I'd like to correct him and say, "You'll get what you get through building trusted relationships and doing what you say you are going to do". Its not simply down to some self fulfilling negotiating voodoo, regardless of what the less technical industry minds will tell you. You and your team are simply as good as your last contract and/or the products you deliver. Nothing can put you in a better position for the future than that.

Posted:A year ago

#11

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