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The Cancer of the Video Game Industry: The Case of Sweet Baby Inc.


A picture showing the Steam group to display the video games in which Sweet Baby Inc. was involved.

In the video game industry, some companies have sparked controversy due to practices that affect both players and workers. For players, criticism often focuses on business decisions that prioritize profit over gaming experience, such as aggressive microtransactions or releasing incomplete games that require multiple updates to be complete. On the other hand, workers often face poor working conditions, including long hours, excessive pressure, and lack of recognition or adequate compensation for their work. This combination of issues has led to increased awareness of business ethics in the video game industry and has prompted calls for greater transparency and accountability from companies.


At times, these issues seem to be the norm rather than the exception, as the video game industry has a long history of such problems, and unfortunately, Sweet Baby Inc. does not seem to be an exception. However, before jumping to conclusions, it's important to understand what this company is and what it has done.


What is Sweet Baby Inc. and what does it do exactly?


In simple terms, Sweet Baby Inc. is a Canadian consulting company focused on narrative for video games. These companies are hired to analyze the story, dialogue, and other narrative elements to determine their quality, if they meet the team's objectives, and how they could be improved. In essence, they function as a sort of editor for these companies.


What is the controversy and how did it start?


In late January 2024, a Steam user created a curation list called 'Sweet Baby Inc. detected (sbi-detected)' and began including all games associated with that company to mark them as 'not recommended'. This was done to warn other players about which games this company was involved in. Notable titles on the list include Sable, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and the game that triggered this whole scandal: Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, which is the most important to mention later in detail.

By late February, an employee of Sweet Baby Inc. discovered the list and asked their followers to help report it. However, this backfired as it suffered the "Streisand Effect" (meaning their attempt at censorship failed or even, in this case, was counterproductive). Some YouTubers noticed this and made the group go viral. It amassed over 100,000 followers, and its Steam group quickly attracted over 50,000 members.

Since going viral, discussions in the group have turned into a witch hunt. There are several topics dedicated to identifying SBI employees, reviewing years of social media presence, and searching for any comments or videos that could be considered negative regardless of context.

The creator of the curation list and group insists that they only want to inform gamers. They claim the group is not meant to be offensive toward the company in any way and does not seek its closure, although it seems that group members have set that as their goal.


The Suicide Squad Case


Most of the weight of the movement against Sweet Baby Inc. and narrative consulting companies falls on Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League.

This game was a failure in every sense of the word and for many reasons. The main reasons include the rejection by part of the gaming community of AAA titles that present themselves as "service games," their high price, and their proximity to the release of phenomena like Palworld and Helldivers 2, which were very well received by gamers.

This is just the most blatant work they've been involved in, as they delved deep into the development of the game's story. Many believe that Sweet Baby Inc.'s intervention was the reason for this failure, although that is not entirely true. It did worsen the gaming experience and the only thing they do is force their ideology into the game. Additionally, those who work at this company have a very questionable morality, as it is believed that they force companies to hire them or they'll report them as racists, although this is probably an exaggeration, it's possible given what they do. Not just because of the failed censorship attempt but also due to one of their employees mocking Akira Toriyama after his death.


The Cowardly Mockery of Akira Toriyama


On March 8, it was made public worldwide the tragic death of the famous and recognized mangaka "Akira Toriyama," creator of Dragon Ball. Fans around the world were saddened to learn of this sudden event, to the point that a large number of people around the world raised their hands to the sky for the "Genkidama" as a way of saying goodbye and thank you to this author. But in the midst of this tragedy, an employee of Sweet Baby named "Chris Kindred" could not stay silent about this, and instead of giving Akira a respectful farewell, he chose to mock him on "X" (or Twitter) and call him racist after his death. Fans did not take this well, not at all.

The post on "X" (or Twitter) by Chris Kindred mocking Akira.

Conclusion


Without a doubt, this company has done very questionable things throughout its existence, and looking at its current direction, and especially the kind of people who work there, it would not be surprising if in the not too distant future, it ceases to exist. Everything points to this being the case. Hopefully, in the future, there won't be these kinds of companies, and they'll stop forcing ideologies into video games, so players can play games peacefully without being lectured blatantly repeatedly.

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