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Viva La Consumer

Posted on Tuesday, June 11 @ 11:32:07 Eastern by Vince_Ingenito


One for the good guys.

As I finally drifted off to sleep last night, more excited for a coming November than I've been in a decade, I felt something that this business hasn't made me feel in nearly as long: Pride. I went to bed proud of our industry and I have Sony to thank.

Reading that back, I realize how dramatic, perhaps even hyperbolic I sound. A company showed some video games and unveiled a business strategy to counter a competitor. The free market is all that really happened, I guess. At least, it would appear so if you haven't been following the notes the publishers have been playing, and through Microsoft, the odious symphony they've given life to in the ears of consumers.

“Consumers.” We don't like that word, do we? There's a coldness to the way it casts us as absorbers of product rather than the impassioned loyalists we like to see ourselves as. But as the NES generation heads well into its 30s they've begun to care about more than just the next pretty game that's going to light up their retinas. They've started to care about the business practices of the companies they've all-too-willingly thrown their money at for decades. Which is to say they have, at long last, begun to care about the future of their hobby.

And boy, did they care last night. And that was why I was proud. The more cynical among us have posited that anti-user-this and business-ethics-that don't matter enough for gamers to make buying decisions over. Last night, we thunderously applauded Sony's message of consumer respect and the importance of true ownership of what we purchase, proving the cynics and Microsoft wrong. MS presented gamers with a set of shiny, expensive shackles, and instead of doing the safe thing, the easy thing, Sony bet their future on the idea that we prize our rights as consumers enough to put our money on it.

I can't see how this decision will be popular with the publishers, but of course, Sony doesn't work for the publishers, do they? They work for us. And unlike so many dis-affected pundits and CEOs, they didn't need us to “vote with our dollars” to prove what the right thing to do was first. They just knew. They just acted. And we, the consumers, the enthusiasts, recognized it and rose to our feet. On the eve of Day 0, E3 2013 was won. Not by a too-good-to-be-true tech demo or even a bombshell exclusive game reveal, but by an earnest commitment to consumer rights. If that's not reason enough to beam with pride, I don't know what is.


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