Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why Gamers Are Absolutely in the Right to Show Dissent to Certain Games Journalists

Two topics that continue to fester in my mind in regards to the games industry are gaming culture and games journalism. You might have noticed in the past that we at SuperPhillip Central have written scathing articles in the past talking about how gaming culture and journalism are very poor. However, we try to always preface our rantings and ramblings about gamers and journalists by saying certain gamers and certain journalists and not generalize the whole community. When we don't, we try to apologize, and we then admit we were wrong in doing what we did.

This is where a lot of "professional" gaming journalists have failed in the past year. We saw sites and writers actively insult their own audience beginning with the Mass Effect 3 ending scandal. Some sites called dissenters "entitled", while one writer called the complainers something along the lines of souls living in their parents' basement with Cheeto-covered fingers. Did they apologize? No. They simply added to the fire with subsequent controversies, throwing in more and more insults and how gamers were "wrong" and "ignorant" and companies were in the "right." This has now reached inferno levels due to Adam Sessler's recent Twitter outburst, comparing gamers to chemical weapons dealers (false equivalency, yes?), and most importantly various journalists downplaying the flaws of the Xbox One.

I find it disingenuous when the media downplays the weakness of the Xbox One when compared to the PlayStation 4. Unlike some journalists in the industry who happily receive review copies and free systems (ironically, some of them feel entitled to receive them), the consumers and gamers who read their articles and pieces have to be careful with their money and want the best product possible for the money they worked hard for. They expect the truth. By downplaying one system over another by not revealing all of the facts, the journalists who do this are essentially lying to their readers, destroying any trust they once had (if they ever had any to begin with) with their readers.

I know that if I bought a $500 system and was believing the words and stories told by various journalists, only to find out that a $400 system was actually the more capable system all along, I'd be rather peeved. I believe this is the crux of why so many gamers are angry right now, and rightfully so. It's not about system wars. It's about a fundamental flaw with industry's means of reporting and gathering news.

What we're seeing is that a vocal group of journalists is not respecting their readers. They have next to no respect for their gaming audience, and it's really saddening. We've never seen it this bad before. They show, as Mr. Sessler has revealed, absolute contempt for gamers. While some of the contempt is much deserved, (just look at reactions to review scores for much hyped games, the death threats the director of Bayonetta 2 received for making the game for Wii U, etc.), a lot of it isn't.

Some journalists seem to be painting all gamers with a broad brush. Being 27, I would not like to be put in the same category as a ravenous 12-year-old just because I demand not to be lied to and/or misled. I'm not raising a stink due to system wars. I just want my hard-earned money (being a college student is rough in the States, you know) to go the farthest. Saying "don'r worry about the lower resolution and lower FPS-- it's all about the games" is, again, disingenuous to me. When the multi-platform games generally run better on the cheaper system, I get a little vexed when I'm told to ignore it and get the $500 system.

I feel that the most vocal and angriest of gamers are the ones who have soured so many games journalists' opinions on gamers as a whole. People like me are guilty by association. I'm a gamer. These fanboys (as much as I find that word to be idiotic and juvenile), trolls, and haters are gamers, too, so we must be one in the same. That obviously isn't how it works.

Instead of admitting he was wrong and letting him and everyone else move on, Adam Sessler doubled down on his anger with gamers. Other journalists continue throwing softballs to the Xbox One, as if it's the perfect machine and the differences between it and the PS4 are negligible (besides the price, of course), luring unsuspecting gamers and consumers into purchasing the more expensive option. On the other side of the proverbial fence, gamers seem to be getting more and more aggravated with the journalists who are supposed to honestly cover their loved hobby and industry. With the way things are going, someone is going to have to back down, and something tells me it is not going to be gamers, the side with much greater numbers.

What do you think about this situation? Note that we at SuperPhillip Central are not interested in either eighth generation platform at the moment. Regardless, do you think something's got to give in this entire situation?

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