As I reflect on the headlines in gaming news over the past few weeks, there is a question that springs to mind, because I seem to notice a lot of lies and half truths coming from the mouths of major companies such as EA, Blizzard and Nintendo. My question is one which is easily asked, but harder to explain: Should we, the gaming community, be bothered when developers lie through their teeth at us, or should we simply not care so long as they continue to make good games? I have heard of companies playing the fool in order to keep angry reactions from their community to a minimum, but sometimes you have to question how you feel about it when the lies come in such quick succession. Suddenly, the small amount of bullshit that was mixed into your breakfast becomes significantly harder to ignore as more and more of the foul substance is shoveled in with every bite.
First, we have EA and Blizzard trying to tell us that they are surprised that gamers would be upset about the fact that we will have to maintain a constant Internet connection in order to play games such as Driver: San Fransisco or Diablo III. Electronics Arts then goes on to pull their games from Steam (Dragon Age 2 and Battlefield 3. You could also throw in Star Wars The Old Republic while you’re at it.) for illegitimate reasons, such as ‘restrictive terms of service and DLC options.’ Apparently, EA was hoping that gamers simply forgot about the fact that they just recently launched their own virtual marketplace, Origin, and that we will never be able to connect the dots.
Finally, we have Nintendo cutting the price of the 3DS by $80, but never once even hinting that the reason for the drop goes beyond low sales. In truth, I can’t really blame Nintendo for telling this little ‘half truth,’ because the alternative would have meant admitting that it isn’t just the price of the system that is making people hesitant to buy. Satoru Iwata, of Nintendo, tells us: “If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity.” That is some careful wording there, but do you really think that lowering the price will convince developers that the 3DS is a worthy successor in terms of the hardware?
He is of course referring to straight numbers and sales over hardware, and failing to discuss how good their actual system is. Sadly, this seems to be Nintendo’s outlook now days; seeking high sales numbers over lasting customer satisfaction (Wii *cough cough*). But still, I have seen cell phones with better hardware capabilities than the 3DS, and lowering the price doesn’t seem to be making anyone more inclined to buy a system they didn’t want in the first place.
Understand, if you will, that I have no delusions about the impact this article will have. I know fully well that John Riccitello, CEO of Electroncs Arts, will never read these words and think: “this man is a God damned genius!” That is hardly my intention, I assure you. No, instead, this article is meant for you, the gaming community. I am asking you, the passive reader who never comments, or tends to disagree with what they hear in gaming news: do these little white lies and half truths bother you or is it something you have simply grown to accept?
I agree, there are some things you simply can’t change in this world. For example, I can no longer buy a legal copy of the original Star Wars trilogy in stores that is free of CGI, and that is simply the way it is. Bullshit is something we see and hear every day, but have we grown so accustomed to the taste that it no longer upsets our stomach? At the very least, I suppose we should be thankful that game developers have the good sense to be courteous when they shovel this shit onto our plate.
What do you think?