I’ve been in a decent amount of discussion with people over Ubisoft’s plan to have fans submit art assets to their game, select what they want, pay a bit of money to the creator and then “feature” them in the game.
What’s your take on it?
For me-- as a musician, filmmaker, someone who did a lot of freelance video work in the past-- this is another step in the wrong direction for the creative community and, seriously, our economic outlook as a country in general.
Ubisoft made… was it 2 Billion last year? How is it not exploitative for them to ask professional quality work (it HAS to be pro level work or it will stick out like a sore thumb in a AAA game) from their fans, not pay them for their time and even if it IS selected, give them peanuts? No matter what they say, they are saving money by doing this-- they are having the fans supplement the company’s payroll by doing professional work without getting a fare wage or compensation for it.
I think one of the real problems lies in the fact that many are assuming the HitRECord model is somehow infinitely scale-able-- there is a huge difference between a low budget passion project where everyone is collaborating for the art of the thing with little to no compensation vs the same model after we introduce a hugely profitable corporation that is going to take your work and make it part of a project they will most likely make millions off of.
Finally, I also hear the old mantra of “Well, if you don’t like it, don’t do it. No one is forcing you to”. You can argue that all you want, the onus of the morality in this situation doesn’t lie with those who get exploited, even if they do it willingly. It’s a separate issue to look at the exploitative practices of the powerful and rich corporation and decide if it is moral. Just because people willingly work for Walmart doesn’t mean the company and its practices are any less karmically bankrupt.