If reaction to my article last week told me anything, it’s that many, many of you share my sentiments. It’s simultaneously surprising and extremely comforting to learn that I am not alone with my concerns. I take solace in that fact that indeed, the single-player solo-minded players are not so few in numbers – nor are we willing to simply accept what is presented to us without pushback. In the end, it is we consumers who must determine whether or not ZOS is worthy of our hard-earned money.
It is with this reflection that I approach this piece. Admittedly, the words that continue to form on this page are doing so under their own accord, for I have neither a central theme upon which to ground this piece, nor the foresight to determine its outcome. I am – for all intents and purposes – vamping.
However, I believe that such an impromptu brief bears scribing simply due to the fact that I was and continue to be genuinely surprised by the outpouring of support I received. I fully expected an onslaught of derision, vitriol, and diatribe that has traditionally accompanied such pieces. That I was as wrong as I was is a true testament to the passion of gamers.
That is – if gamers are displeased with something, they will show it.
Perhaps, this is the anchor of this piece. Perhaps then, instead of postulating over why I received the support that I did, the more relevant – if not entirely obvious – action I must take is to simply accept that support.
A curious conclusion indeed.
It can be argued that the passion of gamers may be ipso facto the industry itself. As convoluted and perhaps perversely contrived as this notion may be, it may not necessarily be as anomalous as it appears.
The industry is comprised of certain finite variables – the most obvious and coincidentally most influential of which are the developers, the hardware manufacturers (henceforth, “the manufacturers”), and the consumers. While other forces do indeed exist that make up our industry, it is these three that bear greatest relevance to this argument and consequently, this piece.
The manufacturers provide a product upon which the developers create experiences. These experiences are then passed onto the consumers who – for lack of better word – consume those experiences. As grossly oversimplified as this explanation may be, let us accept this as true for the time being.
If this assumption is true, then several implications can be drawn. For one, the consumers are not the only customer party to this cycle. Indeed, the developers themselves are consumers in their own right. The manufacturers must convince these developers of their hardware, else face a platform devoid of any software. One cannot help but look to the Wii U in this regard.
However, it can be argued that the end user, that is, the user who eventually receives all this created content, is the consumer – the gamer. For without the gamer, there would be no need to create hardware nor software.
Without the gamer, the industry collapses.
It is this very real truth that has proven its existence time and time again, perhaps never more than in 2013. The most obvious example of the sheer power of the gamer is Microsoft’s reversal of policy in June of this year. Closely following their extremely divisive console reveal, Microsoft devoted the entirety of their E3 press conference to show off games. Curiously though, it was a combination of their lack of addressing the concerns surrounding their product and Sony’s successive punches to their groin in the conference that followed which resulted in such a reversal of policy.
The driving force behind this was the gamers. The gamers let it be known just how much they appreciated Sony’s consumer-focused policies, and this had a very real impact on Microsoft’s decision in the weeks that followed. Eventually, Microsoft did reverse policy and dispelled with it many previously held fears.
Of course, that is only a single example of many that can be addressed, but the greater argument remains. Gamers are, and always will be, the driving force of the industry.
It is this simple and powerful truth that the industry at large must be forever cognizant of. Losing sight of this fact will result in stagnation, backlash, and eventually, regression. That simply cannot happen for that stifles progress, innovation, and perhaps most importantly, fun.
So I tip my hat to you, the gamers. Our passion is the crux of our beloved industry. If ever there is something that upsets you, let your voice be known in a respectful forum. We are reminded of the true power we possess – and we must bear it responsibly. For if we lose sight of that for even a second, we all lose.