"Some People Are Sadists," Gearbox CEO Says About Facing Criticism

"There is always the person who's got to stand on the sandcastle, they must crush it."


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During a keynote address today at the Develop Conference, Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford discussed how he handles criticism from gamers. This is something he no doubt knows well, as Gearbox faced an avalanche of criticism over its 2011 sci-fi shooter Aliens: Colonial Marines.

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He started off by saying every creative undertaking that's seen by a wide audience is likely to face some kind of backlash from a percentage of fans.

Video games are no different.

“If you're making entertainment on a grand scale, if you're reaching millions, there will be tens of thousands of people who absolutely hate us, and some percentage of those will take it upon themselves to let us known how they feel," Pitchford said, as reported by The Guardian.

But the gaming executive doesn't necessarily see this as a bad thing.

“I read it in this way: we moved those people, we touched them--even the person who hates [your game] so much, you've affected them," he explained. "That's why we fight, we're creating emotion and experience--and some people thrive on that type of feeling, some people are sadists."

During his talk, Pitchford made an analogy to sandcastles on the beach. Some may simply walk by and admire or criticize the creation, while others might be eager to destroy it. This analogy applies to all mainstream entertainment, he said.

"There is always the person who's got to stand on the sandcastle, they must crush it," Pitchford said. "That's their way of relating to that. It's typically a less sophisticated mind. There's a dark part of us all that likes the idea of crushing a sandcastle, but most of us will respect it and let it be. That's why we like playing video games where we can blow stuff up and no one gets hurt."

Read the full story at The Guardian to hear more about Pitchford's thoughts on gamer criticism and more.

What do you make of Pitchford's comments? Let us know in the comments below.

Also today at the Develop Conference, Pitchford announced that Gearbox has begun development on the next Duke Nukem game.

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