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An Open Letter To Fanboys

Dear Fanboy

There’s a giant string of changes coming forth within the heart of the gaming community. For over a few years now, our very establishment as an art form has blossomed into something beautiful. We can change lives. We can move mountains, make people cry and possibly change the world as we know it. We’ve come far, we’ve done so much and yet on the flipside; we have so much more to do. We’ve got an obsession with violence and killing, which is depriving our field of variety; we’ve got the plague of multiplayer popularization (when its importance is outweighing single-player) and a horde of other problems. What I’m going to say today is not giant flame-bait or a call to action for flogging me over the internet.

I’m here to change your life.

One small thing at a time.

Over the decades of gaming, technology has shifted our culture forward faster and faster. We’ve discovered HD gaming, masses of new interfaces and within the next ten years; we will be playing with something completely different. One thing has stayed the same; gamers get angry. I get angry too, but I think it all goes to show how passionate we are about our industry. Whenever a developer steps out of line, we all rage about it on forums, it changes something within the game (possibly) and within the community. We have a relationship with developers such as Valve, wherein they publically announce an email address that anyone can send messages to. ‘What’s your favourite colour’, ‘Why did you give Gordon a crowbar and not a warhammer’, ‘When is Episode 3 coming out’, ‘WHEN IS EPISODE 3 COMING OUT?!’

It’s too bad we don’t have this same kind of relationship with the most important group of people in the industry, the manufacturers; Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and (maybe) Apple. I’m not asking it for change, I’m asking you to just look at your relationship with these groups and consider what you’re doing with it.  For over fifteen years, they have waged console war. It’s been blissful, exciting and scary to see what they do to 1UP each other. Microsoft pioneered the next-generation of consoles with the first announcement of HD gaming, Nintendo invented a whole new market with the DS and Wii. Sony has continued their high quality first-party exclusives and investment into new technologies. Apple is new on the field, possibly just dodging the shots with Nintendo and the new social market.

So why do we have to defend these giants?

I’m not complaining about too much passion, I’m not even complaining about your support of these companies. I’ve seen, in my gaming lifetime, people just swear out with the other that one format is better than the other. Actually, to be totally honest, I’ve done it too. It’s not a nice thing. It has zero benefit except your own little personal victory. Who are you defending? A billion-dollar corporation. Who are you attacking? A billion-dollar corporation. It doesn’t add up. Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and Apple don’t seem care about your support; they care about your investment. I will say that the big four probably do care at least a little about the consumer. They do care about investing into new technologies. What they don’t care about is you bickering with the ‘other side’ about which one is better. It’s all ‘My Dad is bigger than your Dad’ and at the end of the day, your Dad really doesn’t give a crap.

I got nowhere with my complaint about all the gaming populace being stupid in their choices and commentary; and it definitely hurt my credibility a bit. So, let’s just generalise here but in a decent manner. Let’s say every single gaming fanboy has the capacity to be literate and intelligent. Maybe they’re already this. Hell, maybe even Stephen Hawking is a Nintendo fanboy (irony), so maybe I can talk to them directly. In fact, you just there, with your 360 branded hat and giant poster of Marcus Fenix above your bed; aside from a possible over-obsession, you don’t have anything wrong with you.

Let’s pull up some chairs. Want some coffee? Oh wait, this is a letter. My bad!

Let’s discuss a few things. You probably have played a console other than the 360, maybe not but the general statistic says you have. You probably didn’t like it. You probably didn’t have fun with it.

That’s all fine.

But, I get this with my friends. I did this; everybody did it as some point in their life. Everybody has busted this cherry many times over, hell maybe even you did it better than me. You might’ve done more formats than me, which is near impossible. Your argument may be longer than mine and may even be louder.

Commentary.

When you blatantly say that one format is inferior to the other; you’re killing a part of yourself. You’re becoming more selfish, more prudent and more self-asserting than anything else. Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Apple (MASN) will lead you with supporting propaganda. Buy our products, champion the cause, and support us. I don’t think they outright say “Don’t hurt people’s feelings.”

I’m generalising again. Nathan Hardisty is at it again, trying to convince the gaming populace that they’re in the wrong and he’s always right. I’m not. I know I’m not, I’ll always be wrong to someone, but today I would like to be right. Not every fanboy is out to hurt people’s feelings. Some people just say “Console X is better than Console Y.”, not everybody adds “And you’re a homosexual reptilian.”

I’ve had first-hand experience of arguing for Sony. I was a PS3 fanboy, through and through, and it probably made me a better person. Not through actually arguing, but through finally figuring out what I had done wrong. I hadn’t concentrated on debating real issues; how we can improve our public image, what dictates a good expression of humanity within interactive entertainment. Instead, I was throwing the same few facts around; mudslinging to put it simple. I went on various message boards, threw a few links at people, waited for their response and did it all again to zero result. No gain, nothing. All I did was make people angry, and belittled their own personal opinion.

So, fanboy, here’s my life. Here’s what I’ve done, here’s what you can be. Right now, our industry is in massive flux over issues I raised in the introduction. More than likely, you have the capacity to just let go of your hard facts and opinion, and come join us critics. Come join us at the round table; all gamers welcome.

I’m more than happy to welcome personal console preference. I’m ecstatic about the opportunity where we can all get along no matter what device we game on. PC gaming with its content delivery and ever-climbing threshold of quality, console gaming with its mass appeal; we can create something utterly beautiful if we only stop bickering among ourselves. We’re all brothers, not blood-related, but we need to stop pushing people’s opinions down and ignoring the full issues that plague our little culture.

Now, there’s always going to be personal preference. As I’ve gone through fanboyism and back, I’ve changed in more than a few ways. If you don’t have a little personal preference or lean to one console, you start to view things different. The social category the Wii falls into is a bridge between social and dedicated gamers; they can so easily be transferred. These changes can be made in just a few years; more than likely we’ll have your grandma going from Wii Sports to Metal Gear Solid in no time. Accessibility is improving, masses are shifting and it’s all rather nice. The disease of fanboyism is something I want to get rid of; and put in place a dictatorship of debate. How can we make these changes? Which games are facilitating social gamer accessibility? What’s after this? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions I’d like us debate instead of ‘Which console is the best?’

It can safely be said that the games industry is similar in its position to a real-world war economy. Third-party exclusives come and go multiplatform like the wind; and they’re not good for consumers. They serve no benefit other than to the manufacturers, and the group I’ve come to persuade. Fanboys use them as mudpies to throw at each other; I’ve already outlined why it’s bad and why we should stop. So, why don’t we send a message? Actually, we’ve already sent a message.

Insomniac recently announced they were going multiplatform. Hundreds of 360 fanboys joyously exclaimed into the sky ‘VICTORY, VICTORY, VICTORY’. Sony fanboys cried into their hands.

What did I do?

I jumped for joy.

No, I’m not a 360 fanboy. I’m not a giant critic of videogame expression; all I am is a little gamer without personal preference. Multiplatform games allow us all to collaborate and discuss our opinions on the game. No matter which platform we come from, we can all talk about it. Third-party exclusive DLC is pretty much a dying form of consumer persuasion, and yet we’re still raging like fanboys. Red Dead PS3 has no HD support, so what? Metal Gear Rising will have PS3 as the lead developer format, so what?

Multiplatform is a good thing.

First-party exclusives, in my opinion, have to be put in place. I would argue they’re not used as fuel for fanboys as much. Developers such as Naughty Dog have a substantial pedigree with Sony, and I think it should stay the same. These developers use the tech to its full potential, and push the boundaries on what can exist within the format. Every single format has something that can be expressed which can’t be expressed on the other. Sometimes, it’s obvious with games such as Mario Galaxy. You can see it playing out on a PS3 but not being as good. As I said with Naughty Dog, it’s not hard to picture Uncharted on the 360 either. Don’t you fanboys rant on to me about it being technically impossible. It just doesn’t fit in my mind. I don’t expect to see Halo making its return on a Sony platform either, it doesn’t fit its image.

Maybe it’s because they’re established brands/characters, but maybe it’s because it just wouldn’t make sense. At the end of the day, you buy a console to play games on it. I bought a PS3 for Uncharted, a Wii for Mario Galaxy and a 360 for the all round multiplayer experience. This is a war economy, a good economy, a very strong one and it should stay like that forever. Instead of screaming ‘VICTORY!’ when a third party developer goes exclusive on a certain console, you should be complaining. You should rage that the only people who are benefitting are the manufacturers. When a first-party developer goes multiplatform or a third-party developer goes multiplatform I say Good-o’. I’m already salivating on what to expect from the likes of Insomniac. It’s good for business, good for gamers; and apparently, bad for fanboys.

So here’s my closing statement. If you have a personal preference for a console, and don’t argue or spoil other people’s fun, stay who you are. I invite you to the round table to discuss new issues surrounding our evolution as an artistic expression. If you’re a fanboy, and you ruin people’s fun and argue and just spread your “facts” around and just generally ignore the bigger picture, come join us anyway. Put down your 360 hat, your PS3 branded soft-drink, your Wii remote and let’s all come together. Let’s make real debate. Let’s make progress.

Special thanks to Chris Forbis for proofreading this to a fine pulp. The first draft looked like a poet had just been sick all over a N64 cartridge. Post a comment below or mail me at [email protected] if you want to call me a homosexual quicker.

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  • M

    You sound like a fake PS3 fanboy… Judging from your writing it has the style of a XBox fanboy…

    • ChrisW

      Because… it seems to have been written on an high academic level???

      • Boldguy

        It’s proofread, I think that’s about the only thing what sets it apart from your standard fanboy rant.

  • M

    You know the Halo games could be easily done on the PS3, nothing from a technical perspective makes it special. Mario Galaxy could be done on the PS3 as well technically through Playstation Move.

    Uncharted 2 could be done on the XBox 360, but not in the same quality. Textures and audio could be done spanning multiple discs, however Uncharted 2 does FP16 HDR, AA in 720p, no 360 game of this sort does that, that only regards the rendering, the PS3 is more powerful in terms of normal processing as well.

    Please stop this fanboyism.

  • Brock

    I would like to agree with you. Really I would. I know good game’s come out on other consoles. Thing that sticks in my craw though is that all exclusives are of a higher quality than multi platform games.
    Actually I can only really speak for ps3 exclusives as that’s all I own but I’m very certain that most ps3 exclusives had they been multi platform would have suffered in the graphics department. Which as far as gameplay itself is the golden egg the ps3’s claim to fame is power and graphics. Which is exactly what it produces, any company can have AAA gameplay.
    We all know that the game’s on any other console could be brought to the ps3 from a technical sense, and vice versa with the necessary drop in graphics.
    Generally though for no other reason than quality I tend to buy more exclusive games, I’m sure it would be the same if I owned an xbox. The idea looming in my head is that multi platform games are generally, generally I say plagued by more glitches and bugs. Or rushed out quickly with less time spent making the games run equally on the systems involved.
    Like I said I would like to agree with you, but as things are or have been developers don’t put the level of work into multi platform games. There are obviously exceptions to this but they are few and far between.

    • saimir

      i agree with you Brock

  • You sound like a fake PS3 fanboy… Judging from your writing it has the style of a XBox fanboy…

  • Mehdi Missous

    And here we go! Congratulations ps3 fanboys, you just proved his point, did any of you actually read the article? I simply cannot believe the first comment, about uncharted and mario galaxy, what relevance does that have on the subject as a whole? Some fanboys will ALWAYS be fanboys, no changing that. Ugh, well I thought it was a fantastic article, and I thoroughly agree with everything said. *joins round table*

    • Nathan Hardisty

      You’re more than welcome to the round table.

      No need to defend me, but thank you for the comments.

    • saimir

      im a ps3 owner and I agree too with almost all the article.im not a fanboy never was.ive been gaming since 1990 but this generation of consoles has gone out of hands,and we know whos fault…

  • Mehdi Missous

    I meant 2nd comment. First comment is utterly ridiculous too. I think you struck a nerve and revealed some of these fanboys Nathan.

  • Chris Forbis (mensadad)

    Thanks for the mention. Well done! Does this make you a multi-platform fanboy or the John Lennon of digital debauchery? Only time will tell.

  • pp

    The Xbox 360 has terrible, last – gen graphics, no exclusive games and a pathetic, laggy online that you’d have to be STOOPID to pay good money for.

    Xbox LIVE is such a rip – off, PSN does the same thing for free and does it miles better.

    Xbox 360 constantly finishes last in worldwide hardware sales, it has done every single month since September 2009. Also, Natal will flop because Sony’s MOVE does the same thing and does it better.

    How do you like them apples, 360 fangirls? Hahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahaha. LAFF!!!

    • saimir

      hey pp u make me ps3 owner look bad .how old r u?why would you care if xbox360 will finish last u have ps3 like me enjoy it.i miss the old days when we were like a family no matter which console we owned

      • Boldguy

        samir, it does not look like the PS3 end last this gen.

        The 360 had a 1 year headstart for the US and Japan and more so in PAL/Europe (2 extra holiday seasons). Despite this the gap between the PS3 and XBox 360 was only 4.47 million last quarter! PS3 sales went up rapidly last year while XBox 360 sales declined. Sony expect to sell 15 million PS3s this fiscal year and if the 360 sell the same as last year the PS3 will have outsold the cheaper 360 by then.

        Also despite the small headstart gap in installbase the PS3 also sold way more software than XBox 3PS3 sold 115.6 million units software units and the XBox 360 sold 103.1 million units 360 games were sold.

        A summary of all the destroyed fanboys arguments.

        – PS3 has no games and sells no games => In reality PS3 games greatly outsold 360 games last year despite a small install base advantage for the XBox 360.

        – XBox 360 reliability is well within industry standards. In reality Microsoft in reply to lawsuits had to admit to its shareholders reliability was way beyond industry accepted standards.

        – Blu-Ray format is doomed, HD DVD will rule supreme. In reality HD DVD lost the battle and Blu-Ray movie sales have become more massive each year.

        I could go on for a while, but my point is that the fanboy arguments are dying out at a quick rate.

  • Saumer

    Good article. I own a PS3 and an Xbox 360. Before this generation I only had a playstation. I was happy that this generation I could afford both consoles and not miss any good games. Hope fully we’ll see more multi plat games so that next generation I can go back to one console and not miss anything.

    I like having both, but switching controllers a lot is harder than I thought it would be 😛

  • faghref

    PS3: Console for gamers looking for something new.

    360: Console for new generation gamers (play anything having something to do with a gun set in either the future or the present as long as it has multiplayer)

    PC: Old new generation gamers

  • Hey! Author?

    PS3 Fans fight Viral Teams of paid Microsoft Trolls & websites. We fcked them up bad & thier websites with the truth.

    You are most definatly a reformed xbox 360 fanboy. The writing style is classic “can we call a truce” ? So you can stealth troll your preference of relying on sales & over hyping Baby Games.

    You must of got tired of counting NPD & being a non paid troll without the CEO board meetings & health care benefits. What’s the matter? Looking at natal got you exausted? Another round of halo, gears & call of duty simplicity has already reserved your boredom?

    Ready for that Killzone 3 & Socom 4 now huh?

  • Danny

    What a fantastic article. Nathan, you’re wasting your time. The ignorance and narrowmindedness of the Fanboy is sad and pathetic. I applaud your intent, but it looks like it’ll fall on deaf ears.

    Too bad too. This could have started a common sense revolution…

    • Boldguy

      Misinformation is not revolution.

  • Benx

    Its a great article Nathan, its just sad reading all this negative comments.

  • Shyguy

    Mr. Hardisty,

    First and foremost I hope you enjoy constructive criticism. Secondly, I thought your article was horrible. There is only one reason fanboys exist in the gaming community. This reason happens to be the catalyst for a person in a religious community to become a christian. It can even determine who a person is, was, or will become. As gamers however, an aspiration we have is simply to play games.

    Ever since I can remember( around the age of three) I have played games. As far as video games are concerned, I started on an Atari of some sort, an Apple 2, and a Nintendo. The next gen I had a SNES that treated me great and after that came my favorite generation. Playstation and Nintendo 64, hell yeah! There were so many games, so many exclusives, so many new experiences but most importantly, I could afford them.

    Affordability is the reason we have fanboys in the gaming community today. We should all be so lucky to have all three consoles, both handhelds, a personally built PC, a mac, and god damn IPAD. As a gamer I feel incredibly lucky to have a majority of these devices and time to play them. If money was no issue and someone tells you they would not buy a gaming device due to loyalty, their priority lies elsewhere and thus could not afford it in their life.

    The reason I do not have all of the above mentioned devices is simply because I have some other priorities, requiring my financial wages, that rank above a few of the devices. Also I thought the Wii was going to have some phenomenal software. However, out of all the devices my last purchase would be the XBox 360. This is my personal opinion which I’m entitled to and so is everyone else for good reason.

    As humans we created culture to communicate and express our feelings and ideas. For me to want another individual to experience an event with me or similar to mine is only natural. If that is a little to complicated to understand or empathize with, realize some people prefer one console over the others because of the gui. If I were to want an individual to understand an experience I had, I’m sure as hell going to try and convince her/him to come as close to that as possible.

    Please sir, look at these fanboys in a new way and give them your hopes. Let them do what they do and encourage them to do more and more. Even if they just poop, ask for increased amounts of poop or louder POOP! Discussion of anything will always involve personal opinion so let it go. Thank you for your time Nathan, I hope you will give me a dignified response and also hope you caught all my humor.

    -Shyguy

    P.S. Games on multiple platforms have ruined the industry for gamers, the XBox 360 has a more powerful gpu than the ps3 though you can hardly tell due to PS3 individual roaming particle count, and I love games. I’m out!!!

  • Boldguy

    Shyguy, even the 360 GPU isn’t more powerful. In full spec the RSX is actually more powerful.

    It’s just that the RSX GPU was designed to take advantage of the Cell thus it’s direct link to the Cell. The RSX for example can perform more shader ops per clock and has 8 more texture units and each with twice as much texture memory.

    The problem is various 360/PC developers are not treating the RSX GPU as intended and let it perform tasks which are much better suited for the flexible Cell processor. It’s not for nothing why PS3 exclusives sport far more impressive rendering techniques than the XBox 360 exclusives despite the 360 having had a headstart.

    To quote a multi-platform developer:

    “Writing code optimized for the PS3 and using threading policies that are suited the SPUs is a given, because not doing so would not be acceptable at all. All our multithreading is done on PS3 first without exception, and other platforms emulate SPURS.”

    “Secondly, the matters of multithreading policies, the whole job queue architecture, encapsulation of jobs and their corresponding data packets, etc. that work on the PS3 are indeed more than applicable of the 360/PC. And as I’ve mentioned before, they work better than anything and everything that Microsoft recommends (so far without exception for us). The problems lie in the fact that that work is an absolute necessity on the PS3, whereas they’re not entirely necessary on any other platform.”

    If you understand what is written above and understand the differences between the PS3 and 360 architecture you will understand why there can be issues with porting.

    Let’s steer clear of fanboyism like this. The PS3 is more powerful, it’s also costs more if you don’t like all its extra, like free online gaming for you and online buddies, built-in WiFi, Blu-Ray movie playback (format also allows for far more storage for games than on 6.8 GB capacity 360 discs), default harddrive, BlueTooth, etc.

    The RSX together with the Cell is far more powerful than the Xenos with a Xenon processor if developed for properly like in God of War, Uncharted, Killzone, etc.

    • Shyguy

      Boldguy, even you are not realizing what you had written was your own opinion. More shader ops per clock,8 more texture units and twice as much texture memory is a more powerful gpu, for you. If you cannot find the humor in what you just read you need to read all of what you and me wrote, again.

      • Boldguy

        Shyguy, in any case one should not single out a component like the GPU. If something is designed specifically to work together with something else like the RSX is a great fit for the Cell technically I think it has to be looked at as a package.

        What’s a pen without ink, what’s a car without wheels, what’s tea without water, etc. The GPU needs a CPU and the PS3’s GPU was designed and specced to be a great fit for linking directly with the Cell with enormous bandwidth for a reason.

        • Shyguy

          What are you without me? Not to mention, individual roaming particle count. If your going to do your research, dig a little deeper.

  • Boldguy

    It’s good that you care so much about insomniac, but why not write about Bungie instead?

    This Macintosh classic which Microsoft boughtout made XBox big, they are moving on to multi-platform development as well.

  • Boldguy

    > Red Dead PS3 has no HD support, so what?

    Highlights like this makes your fanboyism shine through. The game does not render in high definition on the PS3, but the assets aren’t that high anyway to mater enough. The game however does support high definition, please don’t spread misinformation.

    You could also have highlighted high budget XBox 360 exclusives not rendering in high definiton such as Halo 3 (also lacking AA) or the recently released Alan Wake which has been under development for so many years.

    If you want to see what the PS3 is capable of technically, look at upcoming games like Gran Turismo 5, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Killzone 3. Not at the micro differences of multi-platform games due to hardware differences. Red Dead will provide you just as much joy on the PS3 as on the 360s if you like this sort of game, it’s graphically a little worse if you run them side-by-side but why would you do that? It’s not like it looks like a Wii or PS2 game on the PS3.

    The first thing you need to understand when writing articles such as this is to understand you own clear biases and agendas, else it will be a massive fail like this article.

    • Boldguy

      Also Final Fantasy XIII renders in SubHD on the XBox 360, which is a more important game than Red Dead.

      Not that it matters much as the 360 version’s assets have been downgraded significantly to not span many more discs.

      But it could have been mentioned instead.

  • Neil

    I got half way through and couldn’t be bothered, checked the comments and just laughed, despite the natural of the article the PS3 nerds instantly start defending it, it’s just a piece of plastic with some fancy hardware boys, no need to start crying about it.

    Being a multi-platform sort of person I really couldn’t care less what console can do what better, if I want a PS3 game I’ll go get it, same if I want one for the 360 or Wii, the time you fanboys spend whining over what console is better could be better spent working, buying all 3 then having nothing to complain about.

    My xbox gets far more use than my PS3 does, why? Because the games are better.
    I’m sorry if I “struck a nerve” in your sad little brains that send you into some sort of rabid fit but the PS3 is only sitting on my shelf for one reason – Exclusives.

    Even then the only ones I bothered picking up were Infamous and LittleBigPlanet.

    Not going to waste any more time posting this, chances are it’ll either be ignored or fanboys from every corner of the globe will cry and start moaning like little babies.

    • Boldguy

      Haven’t read about nobody crying. Not agreeing is something else. You should learn to notice the difference.

      Thus I think statements like: “cry and start moaning like little babies” in reply to mostly well thought out and written comments make you one of the worse posters in this thread.

      • Neil

        Sorry to “insult your intelligence” but instead of cutting it out maybe you should read that whole section?

        “Not going to waste any more time posting this, chances are it’ll either be ignored or fanboys from every corner of the globe will cry and start moaning like little babies.”

        I wasn’t saying that previous posters will cry and start moaning, I said the people who sit and defend against my post will.

        • Boldguy

          The first paragraph starts with:

          “PS3 nerds”

          “no need to start crying about it.”

          For me it sounds like an agressive attitude in that post. Not a healthy attitude with regard to gaming, gaming is supposed to be entertaining, there are more pressing topics to cry about.