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Pitchford dismisses vocal detractors

Gearbox president uses Develop keynote to say some gamers are sadists who thrive on anger, typically have "a less sophisticated mind"

Gearbox Software president and CEO Randy Pitchford doesn't mince words when it comes to his detractors, as he made clear during his keynote speech at the Develop Conference in Brighton. As reported by The Guardian, Pitchford explained his approach toward those who publicly diminished his work, saying some people just want to hate, and to convince others they should be hating, too.

"If you're making entertainment on a grand scale, if you're reaching millions, there will be tens of thousands of people who absolutely hate us, and some percentage of those will take it upon themselves to let us know how they feel," Pitchford said, adding, "I read it in this way: we moved those people, we touched them - even the person who hates [your game] so much, you've affected them. That's why we fight, we're creating emotion and experience - and some people thrive on that type of feeling, some people are sadists."

He later compared it to the way people treat sand castles on the beach. Some appreciate them; others knock them down.

"There is always the person who's got to stand on the sand castle, they must crush it," Pitchford said. "That's their way of relating to that. It's typically a less sophisticated mind. There's a dark part of us all that likes the idea of crushing a sand castle, but most of us will respect it and let it be. That's why we like playing video games where we can blow stuff up and no one gets hurt."

Pitchford has taken a similar tone with people who disliked his games previously. Speaking with last week, he called the class action lawsuit against his company alleging deceptive marketing practices in promoting Aliens Colonial Marines "mafia-style extortion tactics." Gearbox was dismissed from the suit in June, leaving publisher Sega in settlement talks with the plaintiffs.

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Latest comments (8)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
I was going to go all-in on this and give a reasoned argument against everything he says... But y'know what? No.

If the only way you can make yourself relevant (and save face) is to abuse the people who have paid hard-earned money for your (flawed) products, then you don't deserve a reasoned argument. You deserve to be ignored.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
So selling bad and broken games is catering to an audience who like to get angry at being duped? Talk about delusional.
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Jordan Lund Columnist 5 years ago
Someone needs to explain to him that if you discount your users opinions that means you don't get to reap the praise either.

People loved Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and rightly so. People HATED Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines, also rightly so.

If you assume that your users are troglodytes then that burns both positive and negative buzz. You can't have it both ways.
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Show all comments (8)
Caleb Hale Journalist 5 years ago
Never had the urge to kick down a sand castle; also never really enjoyed Borderlands.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany5 years ago
The terms "Less sophisticated mind" (as with "mafia-style extortion tactics") are words that I personally would never use against my costumers when they complained that the game they got had little to do with what they saw in promotional material, but mainly because I would never use footage of features that are not in the game either.
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Nelsun Rivera Mixed Media 5 years ago
You know what they say.. I you don't have anything good to say its best not to say anything at all. Who can muzzle this guy?!?
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus5 years ago
If I were Gearbox, I would hire him a PR team and equip them with tranquilizer darts.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Mr. Pitchford, if your ratio of rational detractors to sadists is higher than average for a mass market entertainment product, you might want to contemplate a little introspection and question why that is.

Displaying some humility will win over some of those detractors. Your delusional act is only gaining you more.
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