Recently, Jeff Vogel of indie developer Spiderweb Software blogged that game developers should never read their forums. J.E. Sawyer, Fallout: New Vegas lead designer, who is widely known for his feedback to fan questions, disagrees in his newly started blog.
If You Can't Take the Heat, GTFO
Many creators make products to sell to people. It's our job. Well over a million people just paid around $50-$60 USD for something I helped make. If it doesn't work right or if they feel the product was misrepresented, it makes sense that they would be upset. The extent to which their reaction is justifiable or reasonable depends on what's going on, but sometimes, we actually did do something really bad. Sometimes, we can step back and realize that if we experienced the same problem on our own, we would kick our own (collective) asses.
We have to accept that we make mistakes and we have to understand that it can really ruin someone's day. What we make is entertainment, but it's entertainment that can just as easily generate crushing lows as euphoric highs. A while ago, one of my co-workers received an e-mail from a gamer saying that she credits one of our games with saving her life. It shocked my co-worker. I've received similar e-mails in the past, going all the way back to to my early days at Black Isle. It shocks me every time it happens as well. I make video games, most of which I don't even think are anything to get excited about one way or another. Sometimes it's hard to accept how much what we make can impact people, positively and negatively, but this goes back to what I wrote above: reality is still out there. Sometimes we make people really happy. Sometimes we really upset them. Most people have no strong feelings about what we make. They look at it, poke at it, get bored, and move on. That's life. It's important to accept and understand these things.”