Jim Sterling assailed provocatively against gaming’s big corporations and their pseudo-apologies and whimsy-focused smiles behind lavish PR responses and insincere, merry-time appeasement after every single incident that occurs where it looks like gamers are getting screwed. I’m glad he did it because it makes my job that much easier to expand on those points, or rather, explain why gamers seem to tolerate it.
So you can check out the latest escapade by Sterling via The Escapist. It’s just six minutes of your life that you won’t fret for wanting to get back (unlike the eight hours of your life poured into a big-budget AAA turd that was churned out of the inner intestines of a corporate machine built on the backs of developers and the hard work of creatively-exploited artists who work tirelessly as a cog in a machine called greed) as it’s well worth the watch. Check it out below.
Those are all excellent points. The thing is, EA and Ubisoft, and Blizzard, and Activision, and every other major corporate player out there can get away with what they do because they’re allowed to.
Unless the BBC or ASA steps in to the chagrin of EA’s higher-ups, forcing them to turn from their ways that gamers deem as evil, it’s not as if the company is going to stop doing what they’re doing, if what they’re doing is making them money.
So the question then becomes: why are they still making money doing the kind of things that most intelligent gamers feel are wrong? Well, because sadly gamers still like games… and companies like EA still manage to back, publish and produce (variably) fun games.
Underneath the poor net-code, the triple lawsuits, the hideous amalgamation of DLC and piss-poor premium tactics, a game like Battlefield 4 is actually pretty awesome. It’s hard to argue that the core game itself isn’t fun, because it is. The problem is all the other fecal-covered drudge surrounding the fun inside, just like a maggot covered ice-cream cone.
Street Fighter x Tekken is an amazing game, but Capcom’s disc-locked content practices [via Venture Beat] made every respectable gamer feel a tight knot in their stomach as they had to weigh whether or not they would buy a game based on brands they love and support the heinous act of on-disc DLC, or if they would hold to their guns and stick out a light form of a boycott.
It’s the same thing with Ubisoft; stripping away the errors and glitches from annualized games like Assassin’s Creed, or getting out from under the tumorous software plague called uPlay, we can’t deny that games like Trials, Far Cry or Trackmania aren’t fun. We can’t say that they aren’t a blast to play, because they are. In fact, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was easily one of my top five games of 2013. Michael Biehn and Power Glove, together. How could that not be awesome?!
The problem is that, in a way, the community is its own biggest hurdle. We love games; we love to support games and we love to embrace interactive entertainment experiences that elevate and evolve game culture. In spite of all the anti-consumer measures that companies like EA, Ubisoft, Capcom and Blizzard have thrown our way over the years, we still support them because at the end of the day they’re still providing entertainment products that we love.
Resident Evil 6 was a trash sequel, but I would be damned if I said that parts of that overwrought mess weren’t fun. And EA will catch flak time-in and time-out for every single feature they remove from a sequel in order to sell it back as an expansion pack, or when they blatantly fabricate false truths and say a feature isn’t possible when, in fact, it is [via Polygon], but at the same time it’s not like you’re going to get another equivalent experience of something like Mass Effect, Battlefield or The Sims from another company.
Sadly, gamers are slaves to this unacceptably abusive relationship that we cycle through with each and every large publisher who decides to push the envelop one lick further than it needs to go, especially when it comes to pilfering the wallets in our pockets.
So how do you change it? How do you stop it? What do we, as gamers, do to end the abhorrent nature of cyclical apologies that proceed some anti-consume measure?
Well, there appears to be two options: The first is to continue to buy the games and complain about them at the top of one’s lungs. It sometimes get things changed, such as Diablo III’s real-money auction house, as noted by The Verge. The other alternative is to stop buying games from these companies altogether. Just leave them alone and let them be. You’ll just have to make due with lesser titles from other publishers. However, I tend to doubt that a large majority of gamers would be willing to give up many of their favorite games, brands and genres for the sake of proving a point.
TL;DR: Gamers are beholden to big publishers because despite the companies’ anti-consumer measures, they make fun games. Hence, gamers either have to stop buying games or support other publishers for the anti-consumer/fake apology cycle to end.
(Updated: 27 July, 2014 @ 16:09:38)