Author Topic: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)  (Read 6771 times)

Ampithere

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A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« on: September 20, 2012, 06:45:45 PM »
Greetings CoHers! I just want to get across a fairly critical point to address a disturbing trend I've seen developing these past few days.

The trend: A number of posts here and elsewhere by our community have started to become, as the news media would say, "racially charged". There seems to be some small percentage of our community, whether they are working with our movement or not, that blame the shutdown wholly or partially on the "fact" that the NCSoft executives that made it are South Koreans that don't care about American employees or consumers. This post is directed mainly towards the people who hold to that belief, but also to everyone else. After all, it's best to be properly armed when you go to calm everyone down with your flame retardant gloves of moderation +5.

The point:

First and foremost, there is no such thing as race. A number of the posts I'm referring to use the term, but the generally uneducated nature of those posts means it's somewhat expected. The problem is that most of the people that step in to correct theses posts also use the term "race". It's important to understand that the term "race" refers to an old and outdated concept that was formed by Europeans at the height of imperialism and served as a convenient "proof" of their right, and often duty, to colonize. It's a ridiculous notion that modern science has conclusively refuted. There is very little genetic variation between different populations of humans, and in any case genes appear to play no significant role in our actions as individuals. Because of the meanings of the term "race" it's best to avoid its use altogether. A much useful concept is that of cultural groups.

You might ask how that makes a difference. Well, let me explain it in a very clear way. The cultural context in which the decision was made to shut down City of Heroes was that of a corporate boardroom. That culture is the one that most heavily influenced that choice. Can you guess where that culture originated? It wasn't South Korea. It was late 19th and early 20th century America. In the same situation that NCSoft was in, any major corporation would have made the same decision - regardless of global location. The fact is that corporate culture is very much the same worldwide. I've seen complaints that NCSoft and other Asian/Korean companies don't handle customer service very well etc. But the fact is nobody does. City of Heroes, most would agree, had one of the most responsive and generally good customer support services I've encountered in the industry. Those were NCSoft employees operating under NCSoft guidelines and procedures. The only other game company I've experienced having this level of support is Blizzard. And it's tough to compete with them on any metric for a variety of reasons. Most notably the more or less bottomless well of money they have access to.

"But..but Ampithere you're one of the ones saying things about the Asian vs. American market!" Yes, that's true. South Korean and Japanese consumer culture is highly similar to, and heavily influenced by, American consumer culture. Economy there, as here, is driven by supply and demand. The difference is they demand different things. NCSoft choosing to back a game like Blade and Soul over CoH makes perfect sense. Any other company would have made the same decision if their major presence was in the same market as NCSoft. Superheroes don't sell there. Just look at City of Hero - it didn't make it. It's no different from having different markets within America. For example, Starbucks is all over the place in the city. It's pretty rare in the country. Why? Because there's more demand for Starbucks in the city.

tl;dr This decision is entirely motivated by economic and business logic. The fact that NCSoft is in Korea only matters in the sense that their market has different demands than the American market. Nobody should be making this into a cultural issue.

Rant over, resume saving CoH. *Raises torch*
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Moonfyire101

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 06:55:09 PM »
wow, i didn't even know this was going on. I saw something about how they were done with the western market and moving everything back to Korea but i didn't see anything yet that severe or racist. Thanks for pointing it out, we all need to be reminded sometimes about how we portray ourselves. We're hurt and sometimes we say things we don't mean out of anger and frustration. Thanks.

Segev

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 06:59:14 PM »
Even where factually accurate (culture > race in terms of decisions like these), the points in this are largely irrelevant. The decision was made to focus more on an Asian market because NCSoft feels that's where their energy and money are best spent, and things which do not make money in Asia are not of use to their corporate goals. This is not a bad thing, inherently; it has led to this crisis for CoH, so is bad for this community, but it is not mean-spirited or evil or anything of the sort.

"Race" is a concept that has existed ever since one tribe looked at another and saw differences in how they looked. It's nice when we can ignore it. I generally don't CARE about it. I don't think it enters in to this; culture and cultural preferences in style of game do.

This is WHY convincing NCSoft to sell the property en toto is the best solution for all involved; it reduces or eliminates their losses from sunk costs in Paragon Studios, lets them follow their leaner business model, and keeps a game that can self-sustain running for its employees and fans. Bringing up "you realize Europeans are evil imperialists and American business practices are causing this" is not only overly simplistic to the point of being basically wrong, but extremely distracting and needlessly hostile.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 07:01:03 PM »
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Paragon City and its ideals transcend borders. The only reason the head of NCSoft's location in South Korea matters is because that's where their market is, and that market wants different things. Is it true that they don't "get" American culture and what it wants, as a market? Reports from former employees, market research, etc, would indicate that, yeah, they don't "get" it, but that's because they're part of a different culture, not because of which culture they're a part of. The reverse is also true. Those of us in the American market probably don't have one little clue about how to cater to the Korean markets. Again, this isn't a matter of a specific culture group being ignorant, it's only about two separate culture groups having very different values on very different things.

City of Heroes is comprised of men and women, sons and daughters, fathers and others, brothers and sisters, of all different creeds, all different faiths, all different beliefs, and all different cultures. Let's continue to act accordingly, and embrace all of our brothers and sisters in arms by not attacking these different cultures, but instead trying to understand them.
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emu265

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 07:02:51 PM »
wow, i didn't even know this was going on. I saw something about how they were done with the western market and moving everything back to Korea but i didn't see anything yet that severe or racist. Thanks for pointing it out, we all need to be reminded sometimes about how we portray ourselves. We're hurt and sometimes we say things we don't mean out of anger and frustration. Thanks.

Part of the problem isn't overt racism, it's the assumption that a Korean corporation would run things much differently because they're Korean.  Not to mention sentiments like "damn Koreans", or "of course it's the Koreans" etc etc just make people look like idiots.  It doesn't seem all that bad when you hear it, but when you think about it these individuals are completely missing the point.  A large corporation like NCsoft is channeling more Western culture than anything else by virtue of simply being a large corporation.  The only way Korea or Koreans are really relevant is that NCsoft may or may not want to focus on the Asian marketplace.  And we don't even know that.

Ozmosis

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 07:08:16 PM »
I saw something on the net today (of course now i cant remember actually where I saw it) that made reference to something along these lines.

The article itself did not mention CoH, nor did it mention NCSoft. However, the title of the article was something along the lines of "Do you trust Korean gaming compnanies". I just thought it was a really odd topic to start, and I was really hoping no one had commented on there regarding our campaign.

In anycase, I'll see if I can't trace it down.

Luna Eclypse

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 07:12:53 PM »
You can read realistic views of this topic at glassdoor.com from current and former Western employees on NCsoft's page. It's not a racist thing in the least, it's a cultural thing. Asian business culture is very different from Western business. The two don't always intermingle well in a corporate environment. The HQ in Korea is only guilty of trying to micromanage their other branches too much. They don't allow regional office to be autonomous and work within the structure of their specific market.
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chaparralshrub

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 07:14:49 PM »
Well, the Asian market and the American markets are different, and that's a fact. Cultures are cultures, and languages are languages. NCSoft may have decided that they are going to focus on one market to the exclusion of the other just because they don't feel they have the time to devote to having, for example, two different groups of language porters. It could be entirely a business decision and have nothing to do with race. Also, keep in mind that legal practices and whatnot may be different over there, as well.


Mantic

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 07:20:30 PM »
 :-\

I haven't seen "race" mentioned, but I have seen mention of NCSoft being focused on the Asian markets, and dealing poorly with their US branch employees. If some take racism from that, then it seems the charge would be made against the company, if at all, and that is not our problem. Western stockholders may rightly want to see NCSoft defend their handling of Western markets.

Of course, we know it is not about race, or even nationalism. Not even entirely about culture, beyond how that bears on the Eastern and Western markets.

Real problem, though.



Regarding one of your points: NCSoft customer service has been AWESOME with me. There seems to be a bit of bureaucracy to their system, but I've always been treated respectfully, with honest efforts to solve my problems or negotiate grievances.

You want truly terrible, disrespectful and dismissive customer service? Try the ever popular folks at Steam.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 07:33:34 PM by Mantic »

ohms

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 07:42:00 PM »
I saw something on the net today (of course now i cant remember actually where I saw it) that made reference to something along these lines.

The article itself did not mention CoH, nor did it mention NCSoft. However, the title of the article was something along the lines of "Do you trust Korean gaming compnanies". I just thought it was a really odd topic to start, and I was really hoping no one had commented on there regarding our campaign.

In anycase, I'll see if I can't trace it down.

This one?

http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/09/20/the-daily-grind-do-you-pre-judge-korean-mmos/

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012, 08:17:10 PM »
While it may not be a racial issue, it could still certainly be connected to nationality. Only not for any bigoted reason. This has been playing on my mind a lot lately. It's quite possible that the closure is due to not a lack of confidence in the IP, but in the Western economy. Indeed, how many CoH players are out there right now who have wanted to pay for VIP, or wanted things from the store, but have been forced to be thrifty because of hard times? Who can take a guess at that? It's possible this is the same thing that led to CoX Freedom in the first place.

Segev

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 08:37:51 PM »
That would hopefully play into our favor in convincing NCSoft to sell the IP rather than close-and-sit-on-it. After all, if they just want out, being paid as they pull out is better than not!

ukaserex

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2012, 08:45:18 PM »
Another thing that may have been a factor - the strength - or weakness of our U.S. dollar.
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StarRanger4

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2012, 10:19:58 PM »
Counter Rant.

I am sick and tired of being labed a racist every time I point out the nationalities involved and how what they view is important is different from what I think is important.


dwturducken

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2012, 11:01:13 PM »
I think there is definitely merit to this rant.  Being a middle-class white guy from the Midwest, I am less sensitive to subtle acts of discrimination going on around me.

That said, the general feel that I was getting was disgruntlement at the provinciality of NCSoft's business decisions and the shortsightedness thereof.  I have yet to hear any racist over- or undertones, save for one individual who actually used a racial epithet, and the wrong one, to boot, and was quickly chastised by the community.

If someone feels that there is an objectionable post, there is a method for dealing with those, via the reporting system in place.

But, then again, I am a straight, middle class, white guy who drives a Volvo.  What do I know about discrimination? ;)
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

emu265

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2012, 11:10:57 PM »
I think there is definitely merit to this rant.  Being a middle-class white guy from the Midwest, I am less sensitive to subtle acts of discrimination going on around me.

That said, the general feel that I was getting was disgruntlement at the provinciality of NCSoft's business decisions and the shortsightedness thereof.  I have yet to hear any racist over- or undertones, save for one individual who actually used a racial epithet, and the wrong one, to boot, and was quickly chastised by the community.

If someone feels that there is an objectionable post, there is a method for dealing with those, via the reporting system in place.

But, then again, I am a straight, middle class, white guy who drives a Volvo.  What do I know about discrimination? ;)
Are you referring to Titan Network's board?  I can't think of an instance where I've seen it on here.  But in-game, where the LFG and Help Channels burn with trolls, I have seen quite a bit of it (more covertly than overtly, however). 

And admitting you don't know much about discrimination is a good thing, it helps to understand where you're coming from.  Not many people realize that :)

Burnt Toast

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2012, 11:37:56 PM »

I have yet to see you labeled as a racist. I did comment on you categorizing ALL Koreans in a previous post in a negative light...because I am Korean and didn't appreciate the exclusivity of your comment.


If you don't want people to think you are a racist...simply choose your wording more carefully...just my two cents.



Counter Rant.

I am sick and tired of being labed a racist every time I point out the nationalities involved and how what they view is important is different from what I think is important.

emu265

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2012, 11:51:02 PM »
I have yet to see you labeled as a racist. I did comment on you categorizing ALL Koreans in a previous post in a negative light...because I am Korean and didn't appreciate the exclusivity of your comment.


If you don't want people to think you are a racist...simply choose your wording more carefully...just my two cents.

Being discriminated against isn't a pleasant feeling, and it's even worse when someone tells you to get over because they're frustrated at the inconvenience of needing to choose their words wisely.  If you've never experienced that, I'm a little jealous.  Because it's not fun.

I understand where you're coming from Toast, there seems to be a perpetually invisible line between okay and not okay and those discriminated against don't often get to choose where it lies.

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2012, 11:55:29 PM »
Warning: railroad bridge ahead is washed out.

eabrace

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Re: A Brief Rant (That You Should Read)
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2012, 11:56:12 PM »
Warning: railroad bridge ahead is washed out.
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