Gaming is in an odd place right now. As with anything electronic or digital, the changing trends tend to vastly outpace the world’s ability to change with them. Digital distribution, DLC, hot fixes, patches, and so many other changes have become ingrained in the medium as high speed internet connectivity has become more and more accessible. On the surface this seems as if it could only benefit gamers and the industry as a whole. Truthfully it has in a lot of ways. But, like many things, it is a great idea until people got involved.
Greedy publishers and unscrupulous developers have used the digital distribution concept to prop up crappy business practices. Content that would have been included in games before the advent of connected consoles is now cut out for dlc. What was cheat codes are now micro transactions. And, as evidenced by the latest few hype train wrecks, games can be released as a broken or incomplete mess under the umbrella of “live and evolving games with regular content updates to come”. Yes I’m looking at you No Man’s Sky, The Division, and Destiny 2.
A lot of people, many of whom are smarter and have better insights than me, have talked about this at length about the causes, effects, and potential solutions but one thing I’ve seen a lot of people gloss over is one of biggest mistakes that gamers make that feeds into this: believing the hype.
We are living in the age of broken promises. As games get bigger and graphical fidelity improves it’s harder for new games to stand out in the market. While some have stuck to crazy plans like making games with new and interesting mechanics or telling and engaging story many others have taken the low road of lying their faces off. And if we’re being honest with ourselves it’s a good plan. We keep giving them our money and they keep giving us the middle finger. Yes I’m looking at you EA.
We fall for the hype time after time. We listen to the pitchmen tell us exactly what we want to hear and shout down the skeptics. We line up to preorder Call of Modern Battlefield 3: Cyborg Ninja Sniper Advanced Complete Game of the Year Edition. We line up at GameStop for a midnight release, rush home, and as soon as we log in we discover that modes that came in the last game are now locked behind a paywall we jump on Facebook and Reddit and bemoan the treachery of an industry that has spent this entire console generation giving us the business like it should surprise us.
Now, before someone accuses me of victim blaming, the people behind these shady business models are the real bad guys. They should look in their mirrors and weep at the wretched monsters they’ve become and flee the despairing cries of their mothers as they lament of how far their children have fallen from what God intended for humanity.
But we keep giving them money! We are the enablers of loot chests, pay to win economies, and all the other garbage clogging up the modern gaming industry. Every time we buy one of these games or shell out money for the convenience of skipping a ridiculous grind that they put in place to encourage us to spend more we are giving them a reason to keep doing it.
We have to take the first steps. We have to stop buying into the hype and ordering games a year before release based on a prerendered demo. We have to stop buying season passes before we’ve played the game. We have to say no to companies that have fleeced their customers over and over when they embargo reviews until launch day.
I’ll admit I’ve been as much of the problem as anyone else. I pre-ordered FFXV, No Man’s Sky, and others. Sometimes I’ve gambled on the season pass and came up short. Yes I’m looking at you Borderlands: The Pre Sequel.
But today I say to you potential audience no more! Today we stand together as one and refuse to suffer any longer under the harsh taskmaster of pointless grinds that push us to micro transactions. We must rise up against the corporate overlords that seek to manipulate us through psychological abuse. And we begin by being aware. Not everyone has time to look into all the gaming news that comes out but if you spend money on any kind of game it pays to do some research and find out what you’re getting. Find a few commentators or pundits you feel you can trust and follow them. Find sites, this one or others, that strive to make the community a better place and put gamers first to read when you can. Engage others in the community and make friends that can help you as you help them. Together we can vote with our voices and our wallets to make the hobby we love better for everyone.
Viva la revolution!
The Revolution is a weekly series from Bro Seriously highlighting the shenanigans of the game industry and how consumers can fight back. Join us every Monday to go once more into the breach and change the world one game at a time.