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Treating Gamers Like Morons Doesn't Work
Posted on Monday, April 15 2013 @ 15:10:08 PST

In the past few years, the hatred for the video game industry has significantly risen. DLCs were once met with smiles and are now usually met with scorn and anger from gamers and video game reviewers who feel companies are making games half-finished and charging extra for “new” content. Games that were hyped up to be played were sometimes met with outrage and disappointment when it was revealed that game-breaking bugs had to be patched before people could play it.

It seems that more often than not, the higher-ups in major video game companies and publishes have been treating their consumers and related partners as if they wouldn’t know a good game or console if it came up and slapped them in the face. The most recent outrage is rumors of Microsoft making the next Xbox require people to have their internet connection be “always on” (that’s a meme one won’t forget), which could mean people with spotty connections will have a big paperweight. For years, people have put up with all the problems that games have been plagued with and some may even try to justify them, but there has been a rising issue that people aren’t going to take lying down and that is the big guys talking down at them like they are little kids.
Granted, most gamers are a loud and whiny bunch that doesn’t know what they want, but there are just as many gamers who are not spoiled brats and they know when someone is trying to screw them over. Recently, Microsoft’s creative director, Adam Orth, responded to people who heavily disliked the concept of the next Xbox by using troll logic analogies and told everyone to “deal with it”. Adam also included a meme image of Obama with the captions just to rub salt in the wound.

What happened next? Microsoft basically told people to not listen to what Adam said and other people went and made their own memes of Adam overnight. While Adam may not hold a lot of power compared to the others in Microsoft that are his superiors, his condensing attitude hit hard with people that were looking forward to the new Xbox. Thanks to what Adam said and how he said it, many people are now jumping to buy a Playstation 4 instead, not wanting to support a company that has someone who mocks them. It is very likely that Adam believed that the Xbox fan base would simply buy the next Xbox anyway and anyone who dared to complain was just being spoiled children who could not deal with it. With Adam acting like a snob, he just caused many people not to purchase the next Xbox and cost Microsoft future sales. Microsoft apologized for the incident Adam caused and sacked him from the company. Good going, Adam!

Of course, Adam’s shenanigans almost mirrors what Sony did several years ago with the Playstation 3. Sony was riding the high of their sales from the Playstation 2 and Playstation 1 and thought their fan base was loyal enough to buy the Playstation 3 no matter what the price was. Despite tons of people pointing out just how ridiculous a $600 console was, there was a member from Sony’s department who had bragged that their fan base was so loyal that they would work extra hard to save up money to get a Playstation 3. Electronic Gaming Monthly (remember them?) once interviewed someone from Sony about the high price point and low sales of the Playstation 3 and were told that the consoles were flying off the shelves, even though EGM showed them proof that there were many unsold units sitting at the stores. Sony basically thought they were king of games for three generations in a row, but their arrogance and unwillingness to budge over the price point (at first) made Sony look like a group of colossal jackasses that told their fan base that they were going to buy whatever Sony puts out because it’s Sony. Sony’s arrogance and other factors hurt the Playstation 3 for years and would not recover for quite some time.

Remember, Sony; just because you were king for two generations in a row doesn’t mean your fan base is always going to stick by you when there are better deals in the market. Even if some people were going to get the Playstation 3 anyway, despite the price, insulting them isn’t going to make you look good. You don’t see Nintendo bragging that people are going to buy whatever Mario games they make because it’s Mario.
Electronic Arts, voted worst company in the United States twice in a row, hasn’t fared any better either and are probably not going to change anytime soon. Seeing that everyone hates them, EA had weakly attempted to defend itself by saying no matter what gamers say, they are still buying EA’s products; therefore, the gamers are wrong. EA attempted to back up the claim by showing numbers and sales while leaving it at that. EA is basically saying, “Look at the numbers! We can’t be THAT bad if people are still buying our stuff and registering for our services!”

There are many things wrong with that mindset. Firstly, high sales do not equate to happy consumers. All a sale shows is someone brought your product, that’s it. Second, using numbers to prove that you are not a bad company is a piss poor way of doing it. So what if 45 million people registered with the Origin service? Unless you can actually show that people are actually happy with the service, I may as well say that you’re pulling numbers out of your ass. You could have the next Madden sell five million copies in one week, but if the majority of the people who bought the game are complaining about its issues, maybe you should take a listen every once in a while instead of touting at how many people brought your products. Just saying.
And who could forget the letdown that was Duke Nukem Forever? After waiting for over fourteen ball-busting years for the most anticipated game to be released, Duke Nukem Forever was summed up as “meh” by most people on average. Since not many people were impressed by the game while others claimed the game was total garbage, the PR guy, Jim Redner, was less than kind in response. Jim did what any other fanboy would do; he shunned all the reviewers that gave Duke Nukem Forever less than stellar scores and threatened to withhold review copies of future games because apparently, his golden child can only be perfect and he will be damned if anyone tells him otherwise.

Naturally, his responses on Twitter were rectified. Of course, the fiasco didn’t end there. Duke Nukem Forever’s lead developer, George Broussard, vocally attacked a reviewer that gave Halo 4 a score of 70 out of 100 while putting a spin on the “cool story bro” meme in his Twitter post and called the reviewer a retard. Fanboy doesn’t fit what George did, but pot calling kettle black is a more suitable term for a guy who was head of a game that everyone wasn’t too fond of. Threatening to withhold review copies of a game just because people didn’t kiss up and calling game reviewers a retard for not giving someone’s favorite game a high score? If I wanted to see something like that, I’d just go read reviews posted by the community.

Just like how politicians and celebrities have to be extra careful in what they say on the internet, so do people that lead video game companies. It doesn’t matter if you are a lowly game designer or a CEO because once you say something stupid on the internet, the internet never forgets and will kindly remind you of that fact every day. Think you have balls for telling gamers off on what they think? Keep telling yourself that as you try to explain to your boss why you caused the company to lose a ton of money in future sales. Gamers may not always be a smart bunch, but treating them like morons is a quick way to make you look like a bully.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick
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