31/31 Day 27: Be Careful What You Wish For - Demon Ragnarok Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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31/31 Day 27: Be Careful What You Wish For

I am seeing a recurring trend. More and more on internet forums, I am seeing users wishing for the downfall of one company or another because of their disapproval of a business practice by that company. On more than one occasion I've even seen people wish for another industry crash, because people think that it will somehow set everything back to how they believe it should be. I sometimes have to wonder if people realize just how moronic they sound when saying these things.

First thing I should address is the economics issue, that many people do not seem to understand. While many gamers may disagree with this, video game companies are not greedy. In fact, greed doesn't figure into economics at all. Transactions that businesses choose to make, operate upon the philosophy that you do what is best for yourself. The lack of understanding of this one key principle creates a sort of double standard within consumerism for the industry.

"How dare they make that mode only available with an online pass?" "Why couldn't that DLC have just been part of the game?" These are just a couple of the complaints leveled at the industry when people consider the evil and greedy nature of companies. Yet, the consumer fails to realize that they are in turn seeking what is best for themselves; the opposite side of the relationship. Many fail to recognize that while they accuse the industry of doing less and expecting the consumer to pay more, they are in turn expecting the industry to do more, and to have to pay less for it. Yet, most consumers would never say that they themselves are greedy, that distinction is always reserved for others.

The simple truth is that consumerism is a symbiotic relationship. Ideally, sales are of benefit for both the consumer and the producer.  Yet, many lose sight of this fact. We as consumers have several options before us in terms of what we can spend our money on. So, if we don't feel something is worth the money being asked for it, we can always purchase something else, and come back to it later after a price drop (and I don't mean just the $5 for buying used). There isn't a need for anyone to wish for the failure of a particular business because of this. Rather, I find this to be of a more deviant nature than the business practices of companies.

Many see these companies as singular entities, perhaps with the CEO as the face they associate with that company. Yet, most publishers have upwards of 2,000+ employees, many of which the average consumer will never know the face of. Most complaining and wishing for the downfall of these companies never consider the lives and livelihoods that hang upon the successes of these companies. They simply see an entity that makes money without seeing how that money is then distributed. This is why I say that I have a massive problem with the wishing for the downfall of any company. Speak with your wallet, be a knowledgeable consumer, take a stand against business practices that you feel are overly favorable to one side, but don't wish for the downfall of a company, especially if they happen to have a series that you enjoy playing, as that series may not see the light of day again.

This leads me to the final part of my issue with these complaints and grievances, the wishing for a another crash of the video game industry. Such an occurrence would have far reaching, long lasting effects upon video games, and I don't believe the industry would ever be able to fully recover.

For starters, a crash would likely result in no AAA games being made for consoles, as publishers would likely be the first ones to be effected. From there, consoles manufacturers would likely begin to drop out of the market, as AAA titles are the life blood of consoles. Even services like Steam wouldn't escape the effects, as a lack of strongly anticipated titles would result in a decrease in users and overall generated revenue. However bad these issues are, they pale in comparison those that would be faced with an attempted recovery.

In recovery from such a crash, a handful of things must happen at the same time. First, there would have to be a couple of consoles manufactured. A single manufactured console would not work, as they would own a monopoly of the market and would have price setting capabilities. Multiple consoles would ensure competition and a better product for consumers. The problem is that consoles require a lot of financial backing, especially in the modern era, where costs are much higher. I don't know if we would see companies moving toward releasing new consoles (which despite PCs' capabilities remain the most recognized form of gaming). Finding companies that would earnestly back console manufacturing would be the first and biggest hurdle to recovery.

Next, you would have to have a number of large scale developed games that would be available at the launch of a new console. One game would not cut it to sell the consoles, and one company would not be able to support development of multiple games to support a console. So the second hurdle would have to be developing games that people would want to play and having multiple developers/publishers bringing those games to market. It sounds simplistic, but a crash would have drained most studios and publishers, making funding hard to come by.

Last but not least, you would have to convince consumers to return to playing games, as a crash would only occur if people stopped buying games. How the industry should approach this would depend upon the reasons for a crash in the first place. Addressing the concerns of consumers, and doing so in a manner that is more cost effective would be the only way forward, but is much easier to say than it is to implement. Furthermore, it isn't guaranteed that you'll ever see the number of gamers return that you would need to ensure a healthy industry.

In other words, to wish for another crash, at this point in the industry, is essentially to wish for a possible end to gaming. So, in conclusion, if you feel that a particular business practice is not favorable to you, speak with your wallet, and don't give in on what you believe. Yet, at the same time be aware of how you stand up for your rights as a consumer, and don't wish for something when you might not necessarily like it should it come true.

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