Indie Game Developer Plans to Profit From Controversy

Published: June 1, 2015 1:00 PM /


streisand effect controversy

Disclaimer: Obviously, this is satirical. 

As E3 approaches, many developers are prepping for the big event. Demos are created, trailers are polished, and release dates are teased on blogs and publications. It's a hive of planning and preparation for developers, saturated with the thrill of competition.


There's still one aspect, however, that has many developers puzzled. As one indie developer, Jeff Instep, plans for trailer releases and press announcements, he's still mulling over which controversy to capitalize on.

"We've had extensive team meetings about how we want to profit from doing something outlandish," he said in an interview. "Our experts are tasked to bring in hate speech and labels to use to really get our name out there, but there's just so many buttons to push it's hard to narrow it down to an action that will make us money."

The experts Instep are referring to are known as Rabbel-Rousers. They’re tasked with keeping track of labels and perceptions that generate clicks on all platforms, including Twitch, Reddit, Twitter, StumbleUpon and many others.

Kathy Greg has been a part of the expert team for years, having started out as a video game critic for many video game sites before switching her given expertise to make her LinkedIn profile seem more unique. She says that it's not about how much anger one can stir up at a given time. Rather, it's about which type of anger fuels the market.

"There are small things you can do to boost sales and then there are bigger things you can do to boost sales. It's like the government. We need to make sure we do enough things, good or bad, that will bring us the big rewards that benefit us as a company." She also illustrated that capitalizing on controversial subject matter is profitable, but it's not enough to sustain sales.

"If you look at the human brain," she says, "no matter how much intelligence one has, our instincts are to have very strong feelings about things, and we want to feel validated. First though, people have to share the item to others. I have to take those concepts and report on how they can make us money, then act upon irrationality."


Greg has a Google spreadsheet that details avenues the company can take broken down into terms of anger. There's a list of long term things the company can do, such as align with PETA at random times, say something about how video games are killing animals, then aligning themselves with a hate group a month later.

Short term actions include posting racially offensive hash tags such as kill all white men, or stopdisabledgaming, while attacking those with minimal reading comprehension ability with detailed videos, illustrating their idiocy publicly for the world to see.


"There's a formula to it," Instep pointed out in an interview. "Once you get the fire going, people and trolls will fuel it for us, which will land us more clicks and money."

Last year, Instep and his team placed all controversial energy into their game design, creating a game called Animal Rescue which was a game about slaughtering animals. With a misleading press release to invoke the Streisand affect, they tripled sales in a week. This year is more challenging because of logical people who understand what they are doing.

"They have always been a thorn in our side," Instep said. "They are always spinning logic on things and not sharing our efforts or videos and using ad blockers. We just have to defeat logic, is all."

Greg says it can be done, however, and it can be done with emotion.

"It's a challenge, definitely, but that just means we have to say some tripe on Twitter that panders to more emotions or censor someone, or pay our disabled workers less to get clicks," she said. "Where there's a will, there's a way, and our department will achieve it."



Gaming Quiz