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.


  1. Hell yeah Heartless well put. I have hated EA for years now ever since my douche bag friends back home started buying every goddamn Madden title that came out. I kept saying IT'S THE SAME DAMN GAME!. As long as some people are retards and they continue to shell out their loot, games will suck.

    You were right about another point, and that is how game manufacturers don't give a rats ass about our blogs, rants, or problems, all they care about is making a game that inspires enough 10 year old children to bug their parents til they pony up the dough.

    I haven't bought many games over the past year because like you, I think most of them belong riding down the drain with yesterdays oatmeal. However the copies I have bought, grabbed my attention and provided some great laughs and challenges. World of Warcraft has kept me happy for awhile but as of about a month ago, the magic with WOW is rapidly diminishing. The wife is talking about scoring me an x-box 360 but with oblivion being the only game I want to play, I'm not sure that is such a good idea.

    Perhaps I will just take a break from gaming in general for a year. I did that 2 years ago, and when I did come back, I found a few games that were awesome. Maybe I just need to game 1 year and then take 2 years off, rinse, repeat.

  2. And thats the highlight of the problem. The core audience is just going to stop buying games. Before long the idiots that buy all these games will be either bored with the same old stuff or they will finally buy a game that is so broken they open their eyes. Thats bad news for everyone involved.

    And Xbox 360 has some good things going for it, but I just feel dirty knowing that it lets Microsoft into my living room. I have a great gaming PC... and I have never been great with controllers. So I am sticking with PC gaming.

    I do plan on getting a Nintendo Wii, but thats because I know it is something that my wife can enjoy also. Something that has casual gamers in mind :) I don't have any illusions of forcing MMORPGs or PC gaming on my wife... I know it is not her thing. However, I do know she loves Nintendogs and Kirby :P

    Anyways... just watch out. After Napster shut down I said to myself "ahh I'll just give up new music for a year or so." I haven't bought a new CD or song download since and don't plan to.

  3. Anonymous12:13 AM

    I agree but on a different level.

    Recent WoW decided to nerf some crucial intelligent coding to their open source GL. As a Priest in that game, this goes live the day the expansion TBC does.

    I do mostly Battlegrounds in Warcraft and there's just no way I'm going to sit there and scan, point, click or any other ridiculous combo-clicks to get the spammed sludge off my group hours at a time. I think it's crappy Blizz bundled the nerf with their long-awaited expansion and I'm just tired of the nerfs in general.

    The game is no fun anymore and it's definitely not going to be any more fun after this.

    So yeah, I'll agree. I'm not buying their expansion and I'm losing interest at the prospect of this change every passing day.

    It's ironic, because I left EQ2 with a bad taste in my mouth for the same reason. A year+ later, I feel I'm doing the same with WoW.

    But I'm not going to pay them simply because I have no trust in games that operate this way and I never go back to the companies once I've realized that.

    Oh well. That's what choices are for I guess. I'm looking towards Warhammer Online now. Maybe NCSoft has a better attitude.

  4. NCSoft has nothing to do with Warhammer Online... if that is what you were trying to get at with your last sentence.

    Good for you though. If you didn't like the changes then voting with your wallet is the best thing to do. Too many people just say "well everyone else will just pay them so I mine as well too." Just like real life voters say "well a lot of other people don't vote so what does my one vote matter?"

    The WoW UI changes are coming with the expansion because they are updating the scripting language being used. I forget the exact version numbers of LUA that will be used, but when TBC launches 100% of all UI mods will need to be rewritten.

    Personally I am glad for the decursive changes. I hate decursive and any mod that auto targets for you. Hopefully with the changes Blizzard will make encounters that spam curses and debuffs a whole lot less. Decursive was just an answer to a problem with Blizzard's designs. Anyways I'm glad to see it gone even if it makes Warlcoks that much more powerful in PvP :(

  5. Nice post HL and I agree. I was on the fence about 2142 after the demo came out and now with news of the spyware crap I won't be buying it unless it's removed. Still I don't know that it will do much good, the problem is these little protest rarely have any effect on the companys they are intended to hurt. And in our case here (PC Gamers) if we were to stop buying a lot of PC games then the publishers would say to themselves the PC game is dead and only do console instead of looking internally and saying we screwed up.

  6. Thats exactly my point Dizz :) Eventually we are going to say enough is enough and give up on the market. It happened back in the days of the Atari 2600 and it is going to happen again. Except this time there is a lot more investment in the market! We're talking hardware side and software side.

    And I totally agree that little protests like these mean nothing. Afterall thats what I started off the post stating :P However, it is just my statement to say... hey I'm not buying your bullshit anymore.

  7. Anonymous9:38 AM

    i'll keep it simple, EA sucks.
    I recently bought three EA games, i really was astonished at the easyness of these games, finished all three in two weeks and didnt enjoy them at all.
    The next time im going to buy an EA game, i am going to do fifty years of research on how fun the game is.

  8. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Recently I've had a discussion with a developer about games piracy.

    This be just yet another reason for why to pirate.
    Fact is, as dubious and ironic as it may sound, a release from a cracker group (at least back in the day) is less likely to contain maleware and screw your machine than today's companies are looking to do.

    Also, those brainless who keep buying the same shit year after year are not deserved to be called gamers, I'm sorry.
    Not everyone can be a game designer and true enough that different things be fun for different people, but some level of intelligence be required.
    Paying for crappy games repeatetively or for MMOGs which retail be really a renamed beta revision disqualifies anyone in my oppinion from counting as a gamer.

    If you're really itching for that sucky game...get it from a pirate.
    Or get some skills and crack it yourself.
    Or, if you're really that talented, make your own game, one which won't suck, so you can stop playing sucky games and crying about the piss poor shit we're being fed with.

    Yeah indie isn't all that great and fun and glorified, but we're here to play games not become millionaire rock stars, this is what it's about really in the end.
    The great fun of playing great entertaining games.
    And if you don't connect for that, then maybe you would do better applying to a VC and 'playing' with someone else's money instead, or apply to a PR job and go brown nose people.


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