While visiting Ubisoft Montreal for the Ubisoft Developer Conference earlier this year, I heard a lot about the team's live ops efforts for games like For Honor and Rainbow 6: Siege. Unsurprisingly, all the developers spoke about how essential the players were to their efforts. The For Honor team in particular has top players give early feedback on new content and make regular visits to the studio to discuss the issue with developers.
I don't want to pick on Ubisoft specifically here, because Rocket League Prices aren't the only publisher I've heard touting such player feedback programs, but given the players' specialized knowledge, the significant time and travel commitment of such studio visits, and how crucial the developers claim they are to the process, I wondered why they aren't paid as consultants. Clearly they're providing great value with their feedback above and beyond what they bring to each game's competitive scene; surely that's worth compensation of some kind?
When I asked a few of the publisher's live services executives about why they aren't doing this, I was told, "It changes the relationship. If you're a player and you're engaged and you want to participate with the game you enjoy playing... And it's not necessarily an every month thing, or an every season thing. On Siege, we try to www.lolga.com rotate [players]. And we do it with the pro players, so as a definition I guess they are getting paid. It's their job. But to me, I believe there's a difference. If you do something because you enjoy it and you want to be part of something as a one-time thing, or if you decide that you're a consultant and you join the game industry."