Monday, July 29, 2013

Reasons Why the Gaming Industry Is Still Ripe for Ridicule

If you've read SuperPhillip Central in the past, you know our opinion of the gaming industry. It deserves all of the ridicule it receives by those on the outside and also those of us on the inside, like gamers, bloggers, journalists, etc. We're a young industry, and we haven't yet completed our growing pains. Take a look at a message board or comment section on a site. Part of the problem presents itself then and there. This opinion piece suggests three ways (there are more, but we don't want to overload you) that we think the gaming industry deserves to be made fun of.

Game journalism is still an absolute joke.

One time we posted a very popular article on the video game news aggregate site N4G, and when it was getting ready to leave the front page's top headlines, it was removed by an administrator. Why it was done then instead of after it gave us thousands of page views is beyond us. The reason? "Only industry professionals can post blogs."

What does an "industry professional" even mean? Does that mean SuperPhillip Central's staff should act like typical game journalists and constantly provide articles for the sole purpose of clickbaiting? Should we get into Twitter battles with indie developers that make someone leave the industry because we feel entitled to an answer or sound byte? Should we give games like Call of Duty: Ghosts high scores so Activision will continue putting ads on our site to give us revenue? Should we shamelessly get invited to all-expenses paid EA-sponsored parties on the other side of the world to pimp up games like Battlefield 4? Should we throw softball questions to the companies that we like best and incinerate the companies we don't with hardball questions? Should we hype up a game with a partnership between us, Doritos and Mountain Dew? Should we just write tabloid-esque articles like Kotaku?

Because that's all we think of when we think of most game journalists, and it sucks because there's many in the industry who do their jobs well. They do hard-hitting investigative journalism, do fair and balanced reviews and give us intriguing interviews without the self-indulging "how awesome is your game?" bullshit.

An industry professional is just another word for someone on a big site like IGN or Gamespot who gets free review copies, trips to fancy parties and events for free and then bitches about their audience being the entitled ones. It certainly couldn't be the folks on this and many other independent gaming sites that don't let the industry's bull pass by us. It couldn't be the folks who generally have to buy their own games and not just get them handed to them with promises of good scores for more ad revenue. It couldn't be the folks who don't have to worry about pissing off a big developer so they don't invite us to their swanky parties or give us free gaming systems that we lick on camera anymore.

And no, we're not saying all game journalists and sites are like that, so please don't get us wrong. We're just sad that this is how our opinion of most game journalists has been shaped because of their actions in the past by places like IGN, Gamespot, Game Informer and Gametrailers.

Gamers still seem to enjoy failure in the industry.

We'll use the Wii U for this one, because it's a system that is down on its luck severely and has been kicked while it's down more times than... uh... something that has been kicked a lot while it's down. Somebody out there give us a better analogy, please!

Anyway, there seems to be a fair amount of people enjoying the failure of the Wii U. This is the exact kind of console zealot behavior that isn't doing anyone any favors. The thing is, when someone is loving a console not doing well, it sort of tells us that they don't respect the video game industry. A platform failing helps no one. No doubt jobs would be lost. Significant amounts of money would be lost. Only a sociopath would enjoy such a thing, and it sadly seems like many gamers fit that title perfectly.

When gamers don't even respect the industry, why in the world should anyone else? Wanting a console or developer to fail because you have some irrational hatred for it or them is not good for the industry. There are honest to goodness people who are loving that these platforms are failing, especially the Wii U. It's like all of the pent up frustration that the Wii beat our their favorite consoles' for five years has finally come to a head.

The Wii U failing is not good. It doesn't make the industry a better place. It's a major platform that is suffering, so instead of saying something absolutely stupid like "Nintendo is getting what it deserves, mwahaha", we should actually want the system to do better. It makes the entire industry a better, more successful place. It gives Nintendo the opportunity to pull off more risks, make money to invest in better games, perhaps make bigger budget games and maybe not rely on their usual franchises as much. Isn't that something we, as gamers who are supposed to love our hobby and want our industry to do well, should want? We aren't too hip right now on the Xbox One, but that doesn't mean we want it to fail. It's just not for us. How hard is it to instead of trolling every Xbox One article or message board topic we find to simply keep it to ourselves or speak of our disinterest in a productive way?

The best discussion forum we have is NeoGAF.

NeoGAF pounds its chest as a preeminent place for video game discussion, yet you take a look at a topic like this, and you see that full blown trolling is not only allowed it seems to be encouraged. And console wars? What topic is complete without a nice unhealthy helping of it? It's the same type of garbage you see on a site like GameFAQs. We're sorry. We just undeservedly insulted GameFAQs. At least GameFAQs has helpful FAQs and cheat codes. It is also sans the superiority complex.

The fact of the matter is if NeoGAF is the best place we have for video game discussion, this industry deserves to be made fun of. NeoGAF is elitist garbage with as many trolls, fanboys, console zealots and hypocrisy as all of the sites their members make fun of combined. It's trash. Plain and simple. Just look at these wonderful quotes full of kneejerk reactions, hyperbole and trolling from various members. These are examples of the types of reasons we have been talking about as to why the gaming industry is still ripe for ridicule.

THIS is the best we can do?! These posts could be transplanted to GameFAQs or a YouTube comments section and one would not be able to tell the difference. You need not think we're cherry picking either. Just enter any Wii U topic, even the ones with a positive message. Those eventually turn negative, too. Enter a Phil Fish topic where internet tough guys want to punch the man in the face. Enter a PS4 RAM topic. Enter an Xbox One 180 topic. Enter any next-gen discussion topic. Enter... etc. The fact of the matter is that NeoGAF is just another site with the types of gamers that embarrass us and our hobby. We need something better than this. When your industry's best site for gaming discussion is just console wars covered up with a superiority complex, then your industry has a severe problem.

And that's what makes being a fan of the industry so maddening. I want the industry to start being taken seriously by people other than gamers, and hell, even gamers don't seem to take it seriously. If things continue, we'll always be the target of ridicule by the masses. The constant infighting, console wars and trolling does little to help our cause. And if, somehow, after all of this you think the industry is perfect as it is, you really need to wake up and realize that you might be part of the problem. Sitting there doing nothing or even engaging in the types of behavior listed is not helping the industry. We need to collectively grow up, wish systems to do well so our industry does well, and have a more respectful discourse with one another about our console choices.

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