- CS:GO developer sheds light on why Valve makes no promises and communicates with the community through updates
- Updates are the surest way to solve issues, believes Gautam Babbar, a senior developer who detailed Valve’s strategy
- Valve doesn’t want to make promises about the future and prefers to work on the issues at hand consistently
At a time when video game publishers are seeking dialogue with communities, Valve prefers to stick to its guns and only deliver updates when it has a solution at hand.
Communication Becomes Key in Game Development
Once upon a time, game developers would not communicate with their communities as much, whether out of arrogance or simply because the means to do so efficiently and on a large scale were limited. Yet, as years have gone by, Reddit AMAs have proliferated, and game communities have grown more unified, clamoring for a direct connection with the people developing the games.
Riot Games and Activision Blizzard have started caving into the pressure and became much more open than their original corporate structures, but if there has been one holdout in the community, that is Valve, which has ruffled fans' feathers for refusing to communicate with the community on a regular basis and has stuck to official channels only.
There have been numerous problems with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), for example, which have irked the community but have been left with little to no immediate response, and in this context, a developer from the CS:GO team, Gautam Babbar, decided to furnish some light on why this is.
Valve Prefers to Deliver Solutions, Not Start Conversations
Babbar simply explained that Valve prefers to stick to game updates when communicating with the community rather than engage in community discussions, which are monitored carefully by the company in the first place, explaining as follows:
“We think CS:GO is better when we get clear, unfiltered customer feedback. We read and analyze our customers’ posts on various online communities. But as they know, we rarely participate in those conversations.
When we participate, they stop talking to each other, and they start talking to us, and the feedback becomes less clear. Occasionally, we weigh in if they seem blocked or we need some more information. But otherwise, we just stay out of it.”CS:GO developer Gautam Babbar
Another point that Babbar raised was how it’s important to give people realistic expectations and not engage them in talks about the future. If the conversation shifts to the future, then people forget how the game is now, he explained, and start thinking about its future, which is not the best way to address an issue, the developer believes.
“Future plans can always change. A bug might require more work than we expected, or a fix may have unexpected consequences. Also, when we make these promises about the future, customers start thinking about the game’s future, and not how it is now,” he argued.
No Promises, But Always Striving for the Best
A clever strategy Valve has been deploying is to avoid making promises, as Babbar now confirmed in his recent update. The company is cognizant of the game’s issues, but rather than post unrealistic schedules, it prefers to work through those issues at a pace that will guarantee lasting improvements for the overall gameplay quality.
Babbar added that from the moment an issue is flagged, the team is already working on it, and engaging in dialogue over it would not expedite its solution. All of this makes sense, but at a time when all major franchises are in constant communication with their communities, rethinking this silent treatment may benefit the community and game.