Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Voting With Your Wallet

I have a big secret for you. No matter how big or little your website is or how many people read your magazine nothing you say/post/write will have any effect on gaming companies. Your opinion is just that... your opinion.

I strongly believe that our opinions have a HUGE place in the gaming market, but it is obvious that gaming companies think otherwise. There is an endless supply of feedback, ideas, and information hiding in the world in regards to gaming. Most companies relegate it as just noise.

Why do most companies pass it all off as senseless mumbo jumbo? Because gamers vote with their wallets. They tell companies that it's all right to launch buggy and incomplete games. They tell companies that Madden 2020 is what they want. They tell companies that 50 Cents : Bullet Proof is the game of the year.

People want to play their games and they want to play the sequels. These people repeatedly buy crappy games because they've bought them before. They don't stop and think at all about what other games are out there because the game companies have marketing departments. Gamers money is as good as gone the second they see that commercial flash across Monday Night Football.

Games are marketing and there is a ton of proven data to back that up. The most innovative games in the world won't sell more than a handful of copies without advertising. This is why the whole idea of a publisher exists. There needs to be a way to get the game on the store shelves and to tell people how great it is.

I honestly feel the gamer crowd is populated by a bunch of idiots that believe the cinematic commercial for Madden 2007 is actually what they will be getting out of their first generation Xbox. These people will buy a game because the marketing is good.

And this leads me to where we are now with Battlefield 2142. EA knows that people are going to buy it. They know that it is going to sell. So why not throw in some dynamic advertising powered by malware/spyware to make an extra buck on the side? EA knows they are going to get away with it because gamers vote with their wallets. Enough idiots have proven them correct in the past. People will buy the crappiest game that EA can make simply because they can push it out the door with a slick marketing slogan or brand name attached.

Here is my point. Start truly voting with your wallet. Don't buy a game if it even hints of crap like what EA is trying to pull with BF2142. An anti-cheat program in World of Warcraft that keeps the playing field level is one thing. A spyware/malware program that feeds advertisements by sifting through my personal surfing habits in Battlefield 2142 (with no cost reduction or free features for me) is wrong. The only way that EA will stop pulling this crap is when gamers vote with their wallets.

I have little faith in that though. I see it with every Madden release and with the new Playstation 3/Xbox 360. Gamers will pony up cash for anything. It is a sad state and anyone thinking that this sort of behavior will not lead to a gaming market crash is blind. It's just like politics. You fuck with your voters one too many times and they just stop coming back to the polls and eventually even the best candidates don't get votes.
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