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Sweeney criticizes "customer adversarial" industry tactics

Epic CEO condemns privacy invasion, pay-to-win, and loot boxes, calls for companies to "divorce ourselves from politics"

Tim Sweeney delivered the opening keynote at the DICE Summit this morning, and according to a Hollywood Reporter write-up, the Epic Games CEO used part of his time to criticize the "customer adversarial model" that some in the industry have adopted.

"We have businesses that profit by doing their customers harm," Sweeney said. "Facebook and Google have been one of the leaders in this... They provide free services then make you pay for their service in loss of privacy and loss of freedom."

He also took aim at business models that relied on pay-to-win game design or loot boxes, saying, "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."

As he wrapped up his presentation, Sweeney turned to the contentious issue of how to handle contentious issues.

"We should get the marketing departments out of politics," Sweeney told the audience. "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."

While he specified that employees and customers should be free to express themselves, "We as companies need to divorce ourselves from politics ... platforms should be neutral."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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