Abyssal Pixels: Gamers Should Be In Charge
It was a very busy time in the gaming industry these past few weeks with all the announcements, console reveals, policy changes and just various other events that took place. For me personally it was quite the experience, especially with the Xbox One policy ordeal which I was extremely vocal about. As all these things happened and while I was churning out hate article after hate article, I found myself detaching from games somewhat. My Xbox 360 didn’t receive any game time because I was upset about the policies and also it was test week. For a good while I didn’t even play a single game.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. I’m very passionate about why games are important and whenever I get the opportunity to praise gaming and emphasise my passion for the hobby, I do. And with all these controversies, I somehow just forgot about all that. It was all about business stuff that don’t even matter at all because it has nothing to do with games. This sparked something in my head. Because the gaming industry has grown substantially over the years it became more and more focused on profit margins and bottomlines than providing consumers with substantial entertainment.
This can not be more prominent than with mainstream publishers. They are so focused on getting their profits and their capital that they forget how to provide actual entertainment. Just look at how EA has done it over the years. Online Passes, microtransactions, always-online DRM and all those horrible and disgusting practices. The effects can be dire to the games that use those things. Dead Space 3 was peppered by angry consumers over the microtransaction debacle and the developers even had to go as far as to change the mechanics in the game to make way for them. This arguably made the game worse for it because it took away things that fans of the series would sorely miss.
SimCity is also a massive example. The game itself is great and people enjoy it, but because of the always-online aspect it was completely tarnished and was subsequently dismissed by gamers. Even long-time SimCity fans decided that they could not take it anymore and just gave up on the franchise entirely. Now, here’s where my biggest problem lies. SimCity was a great game before a multi-million dollar corporation decided “hey let’s fuck everything up because more money lol.” That should not be allowed to happen. At all.
Gaming relies too much on the whims of overweight men in mustard stained suits that sit in a boardroom filled with sexually exploited secretaries and an unhealthy amount of pie charts. I think these businessmen haven’t even picked up a game controller in their entire lives. If you think about it, almost everything that all gamers, regardless of platform choice or preference, hate comes from corporations trying to implement designs that were made to make sure their customers spend as much money as humanly possible. Nobody wanted DRM. Nobody wanted Online Passes. Nobody certainly wanted games that rely on a bunch of servers to play.
I think everything can be solved if the business side of things in gaming were run by actual gamers. Not guys that play Angry Birds on the crapper, but actual gamers that passionately play games. Business guys know nothing about why we gamers play games, thus they’re incapable of making decisions for us. It’s like your grandmother doing a full review of BioShock Infinite. It just doesn’t work. Sure, my expectations are a little irrational, but I thoroughly believe that the gaming world would be a much better place if gamers were in charge.
Publishers always go on about how they’re losing profit on their games because of piracy and used games, but they don’t realise that sometimes those games are just a bit shit. If they saw it from a gamers perspective they would understand why the game is not selling as well as they would have expected. Maybe the game just isn’t that good. Maybe the fanbase isn’t as large as they expected. They would rather impose restrictions and have money hungry practices than making sure that their games are high quality. They would rather impose deadlines on developers that hinder their vision for a certain game and have it coming out crap than giving creative freedom to make a game that gamers would love. It’s really a sad state of affairs.
This mindset that I have that if gamers were in charge then our games would be better for it, is already being utilized by the indie community. People that love gaming make games that gamers love. We have been getting some utterly fantastic games from the indie community in the recent years and it looks like it will go on for many years to come as more people become more capable and familiar with game designing. This is what happens when we have gamers in charge. Better games and more amazing experiences.
EA, Activision, Capcom and all those places need to understand that their audience isn’t just a static number on a chart. They are human beings that have opinions, concerns, hopes, passions and expectations. They are not mindless sheep that you can just exploit and throw some grass to every once in awhile to make sure that they get fat and get you as much money as possible at the meat market. They won’t just hold their mouths when you kick them like a dog. They will fucking bite you. I think Microsoft got some first hand experience with this.
Let’s hope that publishers and corporations get their shit together at some point. That they start thinking like gamers and not businessmen. Where we get better experiences and get treated like actual people and not just a flock of cattle. Let’s make our voices heard and let the suit wearing assholes in boardrooms know that gamers do not take any shit.