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Statement: Why FDG stopped Toucharcade Patreon support

01-19-2016, 05:22 AM
#1
Statement: Why FDG stopped Toucharcade Patreon support

Today we decided to stop our Patreon support and we'd like to give a short statement on this.
It was not an easy decision, because Toucharcade is an important site for mobile games coverage and it deserves (and needs) support.

However, we came to the conclusion that it's not a good idea to support a game review oriented site as a developer and publisher. For readers, there'll always be a subtle feel of editors being biased by the fact we are top Patreon supporter.

LONEWOLF, one of our new games was recently chosen as 'Game of the Week' and we've been very happy about it.
Unfortunately, since we've been a Top Patreon supporter, the coverage had to come with a disclaimer explaining this fact, saying that journalism is in no way influenced. For many readers this goes without saying but we also heard multiple doubts and there's always this stale taste when positive news can only come with a disclaimer. In a subtle way it's discrediting our work.

One week later, our new game Venture Kid got a review score of 3.5 stars. Obviously a bad score, because the review didn't come with a disclaimer. So yeah - in this case, it was not necessary. We could go even further and say: this review makes an example that Toucharcade is not biased. And here's the dilemma on a different perspective. We believe Venture Kid is a fine example of a mobile action platformer and delivers a lot of fun at just $.99 . We can't stop but having a stale taste when reading the review. Did it get a worse score to make an example ? Of course not, but we're not having peace in our minds.

We feel that this is not how a relationship between developers and press should work.
Toucharcade Patreon support should solely come from players - readers that are not in the industry. This way the integrity will never be at doubt. In no way.

We prefer to be handled like every other developer, without disclaimers below positive articles. Without stale tastes.

We hope you can understand our position. Readers, please *do* support Toucharcade when you are a returning visitor of this excellent mobile gaming site. If every player would support them with just 1$, the Patreon page would explode! Support unbiased journalism.

FDG Entertainment
Across Age, Banana Kong, Venture Kid, Blosics, Bloody Harry, Blueprint 3D, Blossom Tales, Monster Boy, LONEWOLF, Beyond Ynth, Tower Boxing, Paperama, Car Toons!, Chicken Raid, Clear Vision, Crystal Siege, Tentacle Wars, Expand it!, Captain Antarctica, Cover Orange, Roar Rampage, Slayin, Slide Circus, Oceanhorn, Parachute Panic, Physics Gamebox, Bobby Carrot Series and many more!
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01-19-2016, 11:08 AM
#2
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,607
From $9,000 a month in support in December to (now) barely over $5,000 in February. If this trend continues, the only stale test left will be when we're all sitting around going, "Remember when there were sites like TouchArcade to even review mobile games at all, even if we weren't always happy with the scores?"

Either way, we're appreciative for the support provided by FDG. ...Although it does seem strange that an average review score for a game that's just OK was the straw that broke the camel's back here, particularly after clarifying how our review scale works and emphasizing even having a game review posted on TouchArcade means your game is already better than 99.4% of the games on the App Store.

I just wish this news would've come yesterday before I booked a non-refundable trip to GDC this year based off assumptions that our Patreon wasn't going to continue taking any more significant nose dives. *sigh*

01-19-2016, 12:49 PM
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
... having a game review posted on TouchArcade means your game is already better than 99.4% of the games on the App Store.
so you're telling me that a 1 star review on TA is still better than 99.4% of games out there?

as thomas mentioned, we want and strongly support unbiased journalism and we just didn't feel it's possible being a top patreon.
don't get us wrong, we didn't stop patreon because of a (badly written) 3.5 star review. we would have stopped it with a (perfectly written) 5 star review coming with a disclaimer as well.

if within 2 months TA lost almost 50% of its patreon budget, it's sad of course, but it's not on us to blame. we supported TA for a very long time in different ways (ads, patreon, etc...). if TA loses users, there might be a reason for it. just like us developers and publishers, the press has to adjust to the market as well, conduct research and analysis, etc...

i will be at GDC too and it'd be great if we can sit down sometime with a coffee or a beer and have a chat there about this topic (and others).

FDG Entertainment, home of Banana Kong, Oceanhorn, Blueprint 3d, Cover Orange series , Across Age Series, Parachute Panic, Beyond Ynth, Mahjong Elements, etc...
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01-19-2016, 12:58 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toast View Post
so you're telling me that a 1 star review on TA is still better than 99.4% of games out there?
Yes.
01-19-2016, 01:04 PM
#5
I would like to add that we already had a 3.5 star review during our Patreon support just to underline the fact that this was not the reason. It's just wrong to have a press relationship where only a disclaimer underneath positive articles gives you comfort. Only feeling ok when the article is negative. It's not how it should work.

We continue to support Toucharcade with ads for new releases - a healthy relationship between dev and press. As Philipp says the market is tough for both developer and press and we need to do what is healthy for our business and relationships.

FDG Entertainment
Across Age, Banana Kong, Venture Kid, Blosics, Bloody Harry, Blueprint 3D, Blossom Tales, Monster Boy, LONEWOLF, Beyond Ynth, Tower Boxing, Paperama, Car Toons!, Chicken Raid, Clear Vision, Crystal Siege, Tentacle Wars, Expand it!, Captain Antarctica, Cover Orange, Roar Rampage, Slayin, Slide Circus, Oceanhorn, Parachute Panic, Physics Gamebox, Bobby Carrot Series and many more!
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01-19-2016, 01:08 PM
#6
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,869
So I guess all this stuff written six months ago was just… made up? http://toucharcade.com/2015/07/08/th...g-toucharcade/

I mean, did you not stop to think about the fact that you were helping support a game review site, and that you guys made games yourselves? This just ALL OF A SUDDEN came to you right now?

Let's not beat around the bush, you absolutely stopped funding because of the Venture Kid review. Which is fine, honestly. I would never want anyone to think that their monetary support of this site should ever constitute favorable coverage. It just sucks because I'd expect this from about a million other developers but never FDG. You were one of my favorite developers, both as a gamer and as someone who runs a games website.

But this move and the extremely rude remarks by Thomas in the review comments are just so strikingly unprofessional coming from you guys. I mean come on, you're better than that. At least I thought you were.

We'll of course continue to check out future FDG games and if anyone on our staff chooses to review one they'll of course judge it on its own merits. But for me personally, as a gamer more than anything else, my child-like excitement for whenever you guys would announce a new game has now been replaced by this sickening pit in my stomach that I'm feeling right now.


Oh and P.S. - I was the one who edited and posted the Venture Kid review, and we had discussed previously about putting the disclaimer on the bottom, I just completely forgot it. It's not a case of "good coverage needs a disclaimer, bad coverage doesn't" and I also take great exception to all of your guys' comments about this being a "bad" review.

There is something very, very off about this entire situation. You guys are too personally attached to Venture Kid. I understand that there was a lot of stuff that went on behind the scenes of its development that was very personal to the team, but you can't expect to act like this with future games and not become a laughing stock because of it. Anyway, that's just my perspective as an outsider.

Fondle me on Twitter:@JaredTA
01-19-2016, 01:41 PM
#7
What you're writing just shows that it was a big mistake to even start our Patreon support. It's our fault. We'd have fared much better by just handling it like most other developers. Exiting from such a relationship seems to be so much more damaging than not entering it at all. Earning money on the App Store is a tough business and we've received lots of bad reviews in the past. We can handle it. But we never felt such an off-the-mark wrong relationship when press has to introduce disclaimers to give us a positive article. I'm sad you can't believe our given reason is true.

Besides that: I'm a human and should be allowed to give comments about bad written reviews. We spend a lot of our lifetime creating games and we take all the care to deliver good products. I'm in no way less professional than you with your accusations. Like I said: Look back into the Sketch Breaker review where TA tweeted that a good game gets broken by inapp purchases. And that for a game that never requires a single purchase to play - with a much healthier balance than many other F2P games with high ratings. Business damaging but not our reason to stop Patreon. It started when we understood you're feeling uncomfortable to say positive things about our games without adding a disclaimer. It's not a good relationship.

As for Venture Kid: Yes I was very sad with how Carter reduced our game to shovelware status with his remarks on how generic it is and I understand that you hate us all the more now for complaining. I admit that it was a weak moment in my life as a developer and that I shouldn't have commented it. However the reason I posted here today is true. I will never get friends with Carter who already gave Oceanhorn a 3.5 on 148Apps but I'm sad to read about your feelings, Jared. We respect you the most here, and all the old crew. We'll also keep sending you ad dollars.

FDG Entertainment
Across Age, Banana Kong, Venture Kid, Blosics, Bloody Harry, Blueprint 3D, Blossom Tales, Monster Boy, LONEWOLF, Beyond Ynth, Tower Boxing, Paperama, Car Toons!, Chicken Raid, Clear Vision, Crystal Siege, Tentacle Wars, Expand it!, Captain Antarctica, Cover Orange, Roar Rampage, Slayin, Slide Circus, Oceanhorn, Parachute Panic, Physics Gamebox, Bobby Carrot Series and many more!
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Last edited by Future777; 01-19-2016 at 01:44 PM.
01-19-2016, 02:00 PM
#8
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,607
More than anything else it seems really strange to publicly air all this, it kind of feels like you guys are really trying to go above and beyond to punish us for the Venture Kid review.
01-19-2016, 02:23 PM
#9
Because we need to remove our public 'stigma' of being a Patreon supporter. Your reaction just underlines why such a developer/press relationship is wrong. Nobody seems to be able to stop a mental noise about either actions being a punishment or 'example' to defend integrity.

FDG Entertainment
Across Age, Banana Kong, Venture Kid, Blosics, Bloody Harry, Blueprint 3D, Blossom Tales, Monster Boy, LONEWOLF, Beyond Ynth, Tower Boxing, Paperama, Car Toons!, Chicken Raid, Clear Vision, Crystal Siege, Tentacle Wars, Expand it!, Captain Antarctica, Cover Orange, Roar Rampage, Slayin, Slide Circus, Oceanhorn, Parachute Panic, Physics Gamebox, Bobby Carrot Series and many more!
Follow us on Twitter

Last edited by Future777; 01-19-2016 at 02:42 PM.
01-19-2016, 02:27 PM
#10
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,607
Wow.