Players Mass Review-Bomb Subverse on Steam due to Localization Issues
I’d covered Subverse at several points during its development. I thought it looked kinda cool. Definitely appealed to a lot of our viewers. You know.. cause you’re all a bunch of degenerates.
The game had some issues, but eventually it launched. And to surprisingly decent reviews, as well.
Then something happened. Something that angered thousands, tens of thousands of potential players. In fact, they were so triggered, that they gathered together, pitchforks in hand, and took to review-bombing the game with thousands of negative reviews on Steam over a period of several days.
I know! Who would do such a SHOCKING thing, right? That’s not what the internet does!
So here’s the situation. You can, theoretically, purchase Subverse from within mainland China. However, according to the developers, the game goes against Chinese law, thus is actually restricted from being listed locally.
This means Chinese players are required to purchase the international version of the game, which has no support for their language. So kinda what we do with Eastern MMOs and Eastern games. We download and play them with no knowledge of what’s going on half the time.
Chinese players petitioned the developers to localize the game into their native language for them. An understandable request. But not one that warrants fulfilling, right?
The developers responded to this by stating that since Subverse is against the law in China, they are not interested in translating it into simplified Chinese, which most players were asking for, rather, traditional Chinese, as it’s the safest route for them to take.
This… this did not sit well. Imagine telling a group of angry gamers that they’re not getting what they want. It’s like telling a child you’re not going to the candy store. Or a group that you’re new to a raid. The looks of contempt you’d receive. Man.
So, angry gamers were angry. But then a comment was made… This comment was so unprofessional, that they addressed it in their official Steam community post:
“go check the data,how much percent of donation and pre-order are contributed by chinese?then you wont talk like this(also,they know in which market sells better ,more than you do,lol)“
Yup, they legitimately went on to state “your region doesn’t spend much on the game, so you’re insignificant.”
I actually blinked several times when I read that comment. Thousands of players have since begun to review-bomb the game – all leaving negative ratings, comments. So many in fact, that once again, the devs went on to address this publicly.
The community post opens by claiming that Chinese players are “very, very important for us. We want to make all of you happy.”
Good start, good start. Appeal to their humanity. Tell them they’re important to you.
Then they went on to elaborate on why they opted to provide localization in the way they have: This game features a type of content that is illegal in Mainland China.
And as such, they’ve opted to localize the game in a way that they believe will work the best for them and their game. Doing it this way will provide them the lowest chance of significant legal repercussions.
Makes sense. It’s better to be able to play the game than not to be able to, right?
Then comes the comment made pertaining to Chinese players and how little impact they have on the game. The devs went on to state that it is unclear specifically how many Chinese players there are, where they originate from, and subsequently, how much spent is from Chinese players. But they are, nevertheless, grateful for their support.
BUT! According to stats, which is always useful to utilize in situations like this, there is no traffic whatsoever coming from Mainland China. Traffic, and therefore sales, come from Hong Kong and Taiwan. And this is why they cannot, and will not provide the game in Simplified Chinese.
Honestly, that makes complete sense to me. Why bother localizing the game, wasting time, resources, and effort to localize a game for a region that cannot actually play it?
To close the discussion off, they ask players to upvote the game because the mass influx of negative reviews are doing a lot of damage to not only the game’s reputation, but also to its future. As people will see how poorly it’s rated, and opt to avoid it.
To me, this is all just… kinda silly.
I get that Chinese players want the game in their language. I do. But as a Western gamer that plays games in English – like, I cannot understand other languages. I can’t. I understand that if a developer doesn’t want to localize a game into English, then that’s on them.
They’re going to limit the potential success of the game, sure, but at the end of the day there are so many other games out there to play that this is going to make a negligible impact on my mood.
There is no way I would get angry enough to join together with thousands of other people and review-bomb a game. Sure, I’d voice my displeasure via a platform I’m active on. That’s what they’re there for, right? But this.. come on.
But I mean that’s just me. Maybe I’m weird. A lot of people take offense to a lot of topics these days and get angry over very minor things. I don’t, so I can’t really relate.
What do you guys think?