Former Blizzard president suggests you should be able to leave a $10 or $20 tip for the devs because 'some games are that special'

First reported by VG247, Former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra took to Twitter a few days ago to suggest a new form of showing developer appreciation: having the option to leave a $10 or $20 tip on a game you love. You know, I guess I like the sentiment at least.

"When I beat a game, there are some that just leave me in awe of how amazing the experience was," Ybarra wrote. "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 for every second.'"

Ybarra cited games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Elden Ring, and Baldur's Gate 3 as examples of games worth tipping. "I know $70 is already a lot," Ybarra added, "But it's just an option at the end of the game I wish I had at times. Some games are that special."

As I'm sure you can imagine, most of the commenters (as well as VG247 writer Oisin Kuhnke) weren't exactly thrilled with Ybarra's idea⁠—to be clear, neither am I. Leaving aside the fact that most of us probably already spend too much money on this hobby, there's the question of whose pockets a theoretical tip would wind up in. 

Having it go into a big pool that's split up as bonuses for the dev team sounds great to me, but I'm the sort of guy who likes the idea of residuals for developers and performers, avoiding laying off half your staff to appease shareholders, not buying Gearbox for $1.3 billion then selling it for less than half that just three years later⁠—you know, wacky bleeding heart idealism that's just out of fashion with the captains of this industry.

I feel like this sort of thing would just get swept up into a game's general revenue⁠—am I tipping EA here, or Ubisoft? It reminds me of that old Achewood comic with an accountant asking why Ray Smuckles made a check for $10,000 to "Oreos." I just wanted Sony Interactive Entertainment to have some walkin' around money!

The idea makes a bit more sense for small indie developers, but you can kinda already tip them if you really want. I challenge you to show me a bedroom programmer making a boomer shooter or metroidvania who doesn't have a Patreon or Ko-Fi or something. You can't.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.