Its not unusual to hear the complaint that games are getting worse, and I can’t say I disagree with it. Some games released that are so bad and buggy it would make early NES games blush, yet no one seems to question if it’s the consumers who are the cause of this. What if its the game enthusiast, the kind of people who must have every title day one, who are sending the wrong signals to these publishing giants and making games worse. Today, I want to present the ways the gaming enthusiast may be ruining videogames.
As you may be able to tell from this site, I am a big fan of Nintendo’s games; however, I often find myself at odds with Nintendo fans. Nintendo fans often see the company as doing no wrong and will defend Nintendo’s poor decisions. When it was revealed that the 3DS game Metroid Samus Returns would have hard mode locked behind amiibo, some fans rushed to Nintendo defense. Let’s not kid ourselves; Nintendo’s practice of using amiibo of locking features behind amiibo is scummy. Nevertheless, Nintendo fans defend this action and say you can’t criticize it. “It’s just extra content.” “You don’t have to buy it.” They never question if its OK for Nintendo to lock features that are already in the game behind dumb toys. Nintendo can do no wrong.
And I’ve seen other attacked as well. For instance, if you complain about Nintendo’s bizarre features, such a Splatoon limiting map to specific times, fans will circle the wagon to defend a multibillion dollar company. It’s a “design choice,” they’ll claim. Yes, these odd quirks Nintendo puts in are intentionally, but that doesn’t mean they are good. I’m sure if these guys bought an empty box with Mario on it, they’d call it a design choice and tell me how it’s definitely worth $60. Sony and Microsoft have their own cult that defends everything the company does. Who cares if Playstation Plus is more expensive. Who cares if it’s a cheap cash grab. Who cares that Sony is making you pay for what use to be free. It’s worth it.
Day One Purchases
The trend nowaday is to rush out and buy a game the second it’s out. Now, I have bought games day 1 two, but by doing so, we are telling these company what they are making is good when we know no better. Take Mass Effect Andromeda. The game was universally panned by fans for it’s numerous flaws, not least of which is the stunted and awkward animations. But if you look at the NPD charts, the game actually sold really well. In the month of March, the game was the third best selling games for the month and seventh the month after. The game eventually fell off the charts, but was the damage already done? I’m sure the game’s quality hurt long term sales, but will EA look at the game as a success because of early adopters who bought the game before these problems were evident.
By buying every game that comes out day one, companies are encouraged to continue the same practices. Enthusiast, by buying every game, tell companies that what they are doing is great. Why should the companies improve when, to them, consumers liked the product.
That said, the companies aren’t entirely blameless in this regard, especially with this influx of preorder bonuses. Sometimes it’s a pointless trinket, but other time its content in the game that you have to preorder to get. Regardless, companies are trying to find more and more way to sucker you into making a purchase rather than waiting to see if the game is even worth it. Yet enthusiast buy it hook line and sinker. Can you blame companies for doing this when consumers with more sense than money lap it up?
One of the biggest scams in gaming that is being ignored is the collector’s edition. Rather than selling you a game at $60, now the company can sell you the game. Sure, you’ll get a trinket they are selling cost far less than the inflated price, but it’s worth it I’m sure. Collector’s editions are even more devious than DLC because they seek to extract more money from the most dedicated consumers. It also creates a sort of scarcity that makes it seem like the product has more value when in actuality what you are getting is worthless. The best part for the company is no one is criticizing it like they are with DLC. Why do you think almost every game nowaday has one? It will only get worse.
Another thing that has never made sense to me is this idea of a “backlog.” That you have all these games you own but haven’t played. Perhaps I’m just cheap, but why buy a game when you can’t play it? And you send the same message to the company through your purchase. Alternatively, you could not buy the game, wait for impressions, and they make a decision when you can play it. Instead, the enthusiast has to gobble up every game that comes out. As a result these companies know they can continue the same poor practices and not improve the quality of the product because enthusiast will buy the game up like hotcakes.
In essence, what these companies are doing is rather than make products reach a wider audience, they are milking more money out of the enthusiast. These companies love your backlog. They love when you buy a game the first day. They love when you buy a collector’s edition for $40 bucks more than the MSRP. And the more enthusiast buy into these practices, the more these companies do it. And I can’t say I’m totally blameless. Lord knows I’ve committed these sins as well. But the longer we play ignorant and ignore these issues, the more developers and publishers will employ on these loathsome practices.
The moral of the story is that if you want better games, you need higher standards. Maybe we shouldn’t be buying games day one. Maybe we shouldn’t be putting money down on DLC. Maybe we should take more of a hardline approach with this games and demand higher quality. Gamers always want to complain about the actions of these companies, but we never think about what message we are sending with your purchase. The point is that if we want better games, we shouldn’t be buying everything that comes out. We shouldn’t be buying it the first day. And we sure as hell shouldn’t be buying collector’s editions.
If you want better games, make better purchases.