Former Blizzard Head Has Cool And Normal Idea For You To Pay Even More For AAA Games

Former Blizzard Head Has Cool And Normal Idea For You To Pay Even More For AAA Games

Former Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra wishes there was an option to tip developers after finishing their games. In particular, games that set players back $100 AUD from the get go.

The recently-departed (as of the end of January) Blizzard boss has been “diving into single player lately” with his newfound spare time. Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Ybarra shared his thoughts on the topic. He says he’s “often thought” that he wishes he could tip “another $10 or $20, because it was worth more than my initial $70 [USD].” 

“I’ve thought about this idea for a while, as a player, since I’ve been diving into single player games lately,” he said. “When I beat a game, there are some that just leave me in awe of how amazing the experience was. At the end of the game, I’ve often thought “I wish I could give these folks another $10 or $20 because it was worth more than my initial $70 and they didn’t try to nickel and dime me every second”.”

Included in his post are examples of titles he feels would be worth his tips, including Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Read Dead Redemption 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Elden Ring (just to name a few). “I know $70 is already a lot, but it’s an option at the end of the game I wish I had at times. Some games are that special,” he says.

Clearly aware of the certain disdain many (especially non-American) users have for tipping culture, Ybarra added that he knows “most will dislike” the idea. “I realise we are tired of “tipping” in everything else – but I view this different from a pressure to tip type scenario many face and give feedback on.”

Ybarra’s post’s comments were pretty quickly filled with responses from users who did, in fact, dislike the idea. The general consensus seems to be a distrust that tipping AAA studios for their titles would actually go to the developers that worked on the games in any meaningful way (or amount), not even taking into account the sheer size of the teams that work on any given major game. $10 or $20 USD between teams of hundreds or more amounts to a solid few cents each, after all. 

It’s also worth noting that $70 USD for a game comes out to about $107 AUD (exchange rate depending), with a $20 USD tip averaging out to $30 Aussie dollarydoos. At a time when game prices continue to creep up, tipping a major AAA game is probably at the back of the minds of many gamers. 

As many pointed out, though, there is an argument to be made for tipping the developers of indie games, who often create whole products on shoestring budgets (or no budget at all) with small teams or solo. These developers often release titles for much cheaper (if not free in some cases). Platforms like already offer the option to pay as you feel for many of the diverse games available on there, serving as a kind of tip-like feature. Of course, there are also sites like Kofi that some devs include in their profiles for those who really liked their work to go a bit further.

Whatever the case may be, a former president of a major company like Blizzard can probably afford to chuck a tenner at whatever he pleases in a way the average person can’t do as easily these days. 

It doesn’t look like Ybarra’s tipping idea will be gaining any traction for AAA titles any time soon, and probably for good reason – the folks who worked on the bits that make the game particularly enjoyable for each individual just probably wouldn’t see enough of that tip. Boss makes a dollar, employee makes a dime, etc, etc. On top of that, many larger studios already release paid DLC that boosts earnings that may not feel like players are being “nickel and dime[d]” but is nonetheless an additional bit of cash people are shelling out to support titles they’ve already enjoyed. 

What’s your take on the idea of tipping developers for a game well done, particularly in the instance of big-name titles? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Blizzard, skodonnell via iStock, Kotaku Australia

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