Publisher Entitlement Ignored Over Consumer Entitlement In Gaming Media
Author: William Usher
published: 2012-04-20 17:38:54
You know what we never hear about? Corporate entitlement in the video game industry. We never hear about it. We never hear about how it's unnecessary to charge $60 for a re-skin job, or how it's unnecessary to always place the blame on consumers when generic shooter number #734 tanks at retail, or how big publishers abuse DLC with day-one DLC, pre-order DLC, and even disc-locked DLC, in which case the latter doesn't even make sense.
Somehow, in this strange universe gamers are the ones to always blame for the problems in the gaming industry...it's somehow the gamer's fault for wanting to be treated with respect as a consumer.
Forbes recently detailed a breakdown of an article involving the three most severe cases of "gamer entitlement". Boy, if I did an article of the three most severe cases of "publisher entitlement" I'd have a hard time trying to limit it to just three severe cases, but I'm sure Capcom and EA could both fill it out easily.
The original article over at Crave Online lists three examples: Fans pestering Valve over Half-Life 3. Fans pissed at the poor offerings from Sony over the PSN outage. And Mass Effect 3's ending.
Forbes gives a good balance of why all three of those reasons are kind of silly to say that gamers are "entitled", especially the PSN outage where personal credit and account info was leaked out to hackers.
But what's bogus is that Crave doesn't bother giving reasons why these acts of "entitlement" are worse than say, Capcom feeling as if sub-par content in Street Fighter X Tekken was worth $60 with more than 30% of the game's content locked behind a pay wall and advertised features missing. Has any website called EA entitled for wanting more money by enforcing day-one DLC for Mass Effect 3 that any Mass Effect fan would have been crazy not to buy? What about enforcing gamers to pay $6.99 just to find out the true ending to Asura's Wrath?
How come when gamers get fed up with all the hijinks burdened on them by publishers, it's somehow the gamer's fault? The core community has been supporting one publisher after another for years with nary a fuss or complaint. Dumping thousands into beloved franchises while we watched them get turned into nothing more than cash-grabs, annual rashes and sliced DLC microtransactions, and then being belittled for speaking up about the displeasure of these kind of business practices.
The gaming media should have been keeping an eye on the bigger publishers from the get-go. In this regards, there needs to be more transparency with what happens in the industry, much in the same way that Tim Schafer and crew are letting a documentary crew eye their Kickstarter adventure project.
If you know where the money is going, and how development is evolving it's a lot harder to get pissed at the final product when you get an idea of how far along the game is. I'm pretty sure if fans knew that Mass Effect 3 wasn't properly ready to ship and the ending wasn't in place, I can't imagine gamers saying "Ship it anyways!" most people this gen have come to terms with accepting delays if it means a better overall experience and a more polished product. However, big publishers don't ever give us that kind of insight unless the press push for it.
It will be a grand day in video game journalism when news sites keep a close eye on publishers so that it operates as a business that treats its consumers with respect. That's usually where all this "entitlement" talk spawns from, a lack of respect for gamers as consumers. But in the meantime, we'll just have to keep fighting to promote the video game community as a medium that deserves the same kind of treatment that the music and movie industry get.
Because I can tell you right now, if Warner Bros. tried to theater-lock the ending to The Dark Knight Rises and then had ushers come in and say "Yeah, um, we're gonna need $6.99 before you can see the last ten minutes of the movie...it's just extra, you don't need to pay for it, it's optional. But um, yeah, we're gonna need that $6.99, otherwise GTFO!" you can bet your bottom dollar and a Better Business Bureau rating that movie critics, journalists and bloggers alike would royally crucify Warner Bros.
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