Category Archives: Cultural

Pre-Order and DLC Culture: Solved!

One of the biggest problems in gaming is the culture that has developed surrounding downloadable content and pre-ordering video games. It’s gotten completely out of hand. These problem are actually two entirely separate issues, that have some significant overlap. The reason I am looping them together is because they both have the same solution, which I will get into later.

Let’s start with pre-ordering. The problem with it is that you are paying money before you receive a product. It’s an insane concept. You have no idea of knowing what the quality of the product might be. Have you ever played a game that was absolutely garbage? If you haven’t, I wish I were you. Can we switch lives? This has nothing to do with this article, I just hate my life. Anyways, I have played truly awful games before. The first “Two Worlds,” and “Cabela’s Big Game Hunter” both unfortunately come to mind. Both were pieces of absolute garbage. Now imagine waiting in line for two hours in the cold waiting for a game you’ve already waited for a year and half. You paid 65-ish dollars for this game with money you worked your ass off for. You followed the news of this game from day one. You were absolutely gutted to hear it was delayed by six months. You’re super pumped and you drive home. You took the next day off even though you know you need the money, just so you can play all day with a much needed day off. You put the game in, and let it install. It does its thing and you boot it up. Hmm, that’s weird… this doesn’t look like it did with the previews. You controls are a bit weird. A couple hours later and you’re furious. The game isn’t just bad, it’s boring. It’s uninteresting, and bland. It’s missions are weird, the revolutionary gameplay aspects are just gimmicks. The story they touted as engaging is awful. The main character has personality of a plank of wood. The game I am describing is the disappointment of 2014 known as Watchdogs. I was excited for this game for the longest time. I bought a PS4 to play this game. This was the best case for the next gen console. The poster child of why you should upgrade your consoles. I was basically tripping over myself to give my money to the game developers and publishers. And then it came out. Then all the controversy happened. It turns out the game we were shown at the E3, or electronic entertainment expo for those who don’t know, was running on a very high end PC. The game we got looked like that game but put through the world’s worst Instagram filters.

This showcases the problem. The textures are muddier. The lighting is noticeably less real. The shadows are less dynamic. If you look at the lights above the main character’s head in the E3 version the look like they have real depth, on the PC release they look blurry and painted on by the world’s laziest artist. And that’s the PC! It’s running at maximum graphics, all features enabled. I was playing on a console, which wouldn’t even look this good. I might as well have been playing the game with my dad’s glasses on, or playing a different game entirely. I would sue these guys for false advertising if I knew what that meant.

Seriously though, we were promised the game would look like the one on the left, and that it would run on consoles. Let’s relate this back to pre-ordering. You went into the store in let’s say May. The game comes out in November. That’s six months of which they have your money, and you haven’t even received a product. Why in the world would a company have the desire to back up their claims of graphics, game play, story, or even just technical competence if you’ve already given them your money. They know that if you had waited to see reviews of this game before it came out you would have hopefully saved your money for food and water for your starving children. So what do they do? They offer you a crap tier consolation prize in the form of pre-order bonuses. Oh boy, a skin for a gun, an exclusive pet, oh boy a DLC level that’s just made up of already made assets. These bonuses are there to trick you into giving up your money, with little to no effort from the publisher or developer in order to give you anything worth while. It’s a cheap con to make sure that you’re in their pocket before they even have to provide you with anything. It’s seriously a stupid concept. There is one pre-order concept that especially pisses me off.

I am a huge “Mass Effect” fan. If you ask any of my friends, they will ask you what my favorite things are, It goes “Mass Effect”, food and “Mass Effect.” In that order. However, when “Mass Effect 3” was being released they announced a pre-order bonus. A brand new whole mission that would add about 30 minutes of game play to the game, as well as a new character to talk to. The best part was that you got it for free just for pre-ordering! That’s amazing! However, as the game got closer to release it was found out that the pre-order bonus downloadable content (or DLC for short) was already on the discs that were being shipped. That meant that it was already on the game you just bought. The DLC you just bought was essentially a piece of code that allowed you access that part of the game. On the game you just bought for full retail price. That really angered me. That is actively trying to screw over the consumer. It is truly an anti-consumer policy. The concept of pre-ordering as a way to get access to a game you already paid for should be unthinkable, but instead it became rather common, and this the phrase “Day one DLC” was coined. This leads me really well into my second problem that needs solving: DLC.

It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I am disappointed

I remember when DLC was really expensive, but really worth it. Back then it was called “Expansion Packs” Look at “Dragon Age: Origins.” “Dragon Age: Awakening” was a 30 hour full on game pretty much that you paid a lot of money for, 40 dollars. However, you got a lot more for your money. Fast forward to the current game in the series, “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” where you pay 15 bucks (or there about) for about 3 hours of game play. There were 3 big DLC’s so that means you spend 45 dollars for 9 hours of game play. That’s a clear loss for the consumer. The worst part? Dragon Age is an example of DLC done correctly. Call of Duty has been charging 15 dollars for map packs for several years now. Several of those maps are just recycled maps from previous games. So they literally just conned you into buying the same thing twice! How crazy is that?!

So here’s the solution: Stop. Just Stop. Stop pre-ordering. Stop buying crap DLC’s. Stop buying products before you read a review. Hell, that last bit of advice applies to everything not just video games. Please, be wise with your money. At the end of the day, money is a physical manifestation of time you’ve spent. If you don’t value your money, surely you value your time. If we stop letting developers and publishers take advantage of us, if stop giving them money for services not received, if stop buying cosmetic items for too much money, then surely they will listen to us. That’s the only time they will listen to us. When we say enough is enough! We will not be taken advantage of. You need us, we do not need you. We have to hit them where it hurts: their wallets.

Cultural Fit – The Rise And Fall Of The “Traditional” Interview

You have reviewed the resume, the candidate has all of the proper qualifications and experience, you bring them in for an interview and ask all of the traditional questions, give them a psychometric test, and possibly even test their actual skills. A month goes by and THEN THE TRUTH COMES OUT. They are not even nearly performing at your expectation. And worse, they are bringing others in the team down too. You’ve already invested in their orientation training, possibly even housing, so what now, fire them and start over? If this cultural incompatibility is not caught in the interview, after they are hired you might as well burn money and more importantly – time.

People lie, sometimes even to themselves which makes them even more convincing that, “they”, as a new employee, will truly add value to, and even be happy working in, your organisation. So what questions would you ask to identify the right people?

If you type the phrase “most asked interview questions” in Google, you will get over 4.4M results that help others in preparing to win you over. Others don’t bother, they have been on so many interviews, they just know what you are looking for, and tell you.

And what about psychometric tests? Well, anyone (well anyone reasonably intelligent) that has taken one before will be able to skew the results to suit the job description. So are there interview questions or tests that can give you greater insights into the real performance of an individual once he/she gets into your organisation?

Well, NO!

But the quest to find the “right” employee with the right is not lost. The real question is not what to ask in an interview, but what to ask before the selection process even begins so you know what to really look for in the interview. Getting the right employee for your organisation goes beyond job description and skill, and even “personality”, it comes down to the very essence of your organisation and its culture. It is a candidates “Cultural Fit”

To identify Cultural fit, three questions should be asked: “What type of culture does your organisation want to have?”, “What type of culture doe it actually have?”, and “What are the values, communication processes, and emotional drives a new employee should have to fit in the culture and help it to Evolve?”

With this in mind the interviewer is more prepared to identify the nuances of an employee’s “Cultural Fit”. Each individual introduced into an organisation reacts to its culture. Those reactions will perpetuate it, decline it, or possibly evolve it. So it become essential to understand your organisation’s culture before you even begin.

Culture can be summed up as a recipe for the way your organisation functions. Some recipes create lots of volume but have little taste, others may be too spicy, and yet others may taste good but be tough and difficult to chew. And still, many recipes may have the same ingredients but in different measures. Some of the key factors in an organisation’s recipe are: measure of innovation, measure of blame, measure of empowerment, measure of structure, measure of cooperation and measure of personal development within the organisation.

The CCEE (Corporate Culture Evolution Evaluation), a free tool provided by Directive Communication International, can assist in discovering the current level of culture evolution an organisation is at.

So let’s say you already have an idea of what recipe your organisation has, and let’s say you even know what ingredients would make it better. So now you are better equipped to make better hiring choices. But you still need to get passed the BS that candidates will feed you.

So what do you really need to know? Well of course the first thing will be if they actually possess enough of the specific hard skill required to do the job. That’s the easy part. The rest requires a bit more interpretation on the part of the interviewer. You need to know how that person will fit into your corporate culture and their specific job, how they will react to the people they work with and make them feel, how the people they work with will react to them and how that will affect their personal performance, what will motivate them and what will cause them to lose interest, how they process information and how that will complement or hinder effectiveness with the people they work with, how they will react to pressure within the cultural mechanism and how they will demonstrate leadership.

But this article is not about the questions, it is about the interpretation on an individual and how they will affect your organisation, and we don’t even think that you should ask questions, well, not the traditional ones anyway to find the truth. We think you should play games instead!

Interviewers who are aware of Directive Communication Psychology, use a specially designed picture deck called Colored Brain Communication cards for one of 3 games they play with potential candidates. The cards are designed to elicit subconscious thoughts, emotions and even lost memories associated with a particular topic, the trick, is not using a topic that is typically associated with a job. For example, one of the scenarios often presented is that the candidate has just won US$5,000,000. They are then asked to choose 5 cards that best represent what they would do with the money. When they look through the cards, the interviewer notices some of the communication processes unique to that individual (this is known as the Colored Brain model) which also identify possible work processes. The types of cards that are chosen, also cross referenced with the process of choosing the cards, identify perception and communication processes which also indicate who they will work well with and who they will have conflict with, and finally the explanations of what each card means identifies the emotional drives and motivations of a candidate as well as the type of job they would excel in and the type of job that they would underperform in. And all this in about 5 minutes.

According to Ong Hong Him, HR expert and certified Directive Communication psychology practitioner in Singapore, “While this is only one component of this new method in interview techniques, it demonstrates the trend away from the “traditional” interview. Why? Because “cultural fit” is the new revolution in selecting the right employee. And there are even self contained kits for any interviewer to effectively learn from which makes it easy to know your candidate in ways never realized before.”

Ong is not alone, many organisations like MayBank, Petronas, American Express, Royal Bank of Saudi Arabia, Samsung, and the State of Nevada Police force are already using this method to improve their corporate culture from its very roots, selection.