I recently saw a web comic which illustrated how every bad practice in gaming was born. This brought to my attention how certain companies these days are literally holding gamers at ransom. How they do this varies from company to company, but in the end it’s all the same. The franchises we know and love are all at the mercy of the sales from the latest iteration. Early releases and pre-alpha builds plague the video game market. The Kickstarter campaigns which yielded products such as Mighty No.9 and Broken Age both fell victim to mismanagement for distinct reasons. Companies release day one DLC content with the knowledge that gamers will buy it regardless. Regardless of how we view it, companies are taking advantage of gamers!
Brand loyalty has been an important key in marketing since it began. Gamers especially have been notorious for displaying bouts of loyalty to their favorite companies and consoles. But, it’s this very loyalty which has caused them to lose sight of what’s important. At the end of the day most of the corporations only care about their bottom line. It doesn’t matter if an unfinished or buggy product is released because games like Assassins Creed Unity still manage to sell over 5 million copies. But, on the other hand if gamers rebel and decide to not purchase a game then franchises end up in the guillotine. EA for example has threatened their Sims fan base in the past if sales don’t meet expectations. Nintendo for example has not produced a Metroid title since the failure of Metroid: Other M flopped.
These examples are of two very beloved franchises, yet how are gamers responsible for the mistakes of the developers? It doesn’t make sense for gamers to never see a sequel if one of them was subpar. Sims 4 had a huge list of problems when it released and still managed to be the best selling game in the franchise. Metroid: Other M had a weak characterization for its protagonist Samus despite solid gameplay and sold like crap. These examples are important because fans have been clamoring for a better sequel for Metroid and more complete base game for The Sims franchise. But, none of this will ever happen because companies don’t take our feelings into consideration.
We need to realize that we don’t owe these companies anything. Franchises will die and others will take their place; it’s simply the natural state of life. We as a community need to realize that even if we never see our favorite characters again, we will find new ones to love. Being loyal to one company alone is ridiculous at this point since most games will receive several ports. Even games that released on the Wii only a few years ago have seen PC releases. Companies need to realize that it is not all right to take our money without truly deserving it. Bad marketing practices only hurt creativity. The fact that we have allowed them to come this far is really our fault. We should have put an end to it from the moment it began.
But, instead we allowed their money-grubbing ways to flourish and take advantage of us. This will continue until the community finally decides to put a stop to it with their wallets. I’ve spoken about it at lengths in the past, but there is never a consensus. Do we want the days of complete experiences in games back, or is this the future of gaming? Only we can decide.