Gaming is a Business – A Short Discussion

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Once again, the gaming community has thrown up their arms in protest over a recent decision in which Spider-Man will be exclusive to Sony’s consoles for the upcoming Avenger’s game.  While I understand that exclusive content can be viewed as anti-consumer and this can be frustrating, its time for people to realize that the gaming industry operates like every other highly competitive industry.  Doing so may help quell all the unnecessary discourse that tends to appear whenever these decisions are made.

If you don’t believe that other industries do not operate in this manner, its because it all depends on your level of attachment.  Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc., are always looking to increase their consumer base by negotiating for exclusive content.  They also work diligently in regards to their pricing structure by pushing for bundles because this helps sweeten the deal for consumers.  While there are moments where people will voice their frustrations, see all Marvel content migrating to Disney+ for example, it is never as intense in comparison to the gaming industry.

Any time there is an announcement in which a game has exclusive content to a platform, there is a loud and angry response from the community at large.  It’s disheartening to see a community that is constantly bickering over business practices that is commonplace in other industries.  Major publishers only care about increasing their revenue and will do so through any means possible, even if it comes at the expense of the consumer.  These practices will continue to go on as long as they continue to pay dividends for these organizations.  Spoiler alert, this practice is never going to stop.

The “console wars”, whether you like them or not, act as free marketing for these publishers.  It shows consumer engagement and they don’t even have to lift a finger.  We as consumers play directly into these organization’s hands because of our attachment to their products and services.  This is a simple but effective strategy, there are always going to be individuals who are overly vocal in regards to how things are operating, just take a look at all the YouTube channels or social media accounts dedicated to one platform.  They cater to a certain community and have no direct affiliation with the organizations themselves.  These individuals will always find a way to put a positive spin on a contentious decision this in turn will work to influence those individuals sitting on the fence to come to their side.

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This image accurately depicts the gaming community when discourse arises. 

Right now, the gaming industry is on a steady incline and due to its global nature, this won’t stop anytime soon.  Decisions are always going to be made by executives to ensure that their product or service remain relevant.  Without breaking down every single decisions, the community needs to understand that this will continue to happen to happen, every consumer should expect to see exclusive content because the positives tend to outweigh the negatives.  There have been multiple protests in the past regarding similar decisions made by publishers and instead of endangering financial projections, it instead helps these products because the community works past these issues.

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are in their respective positions because of their overall experience and knowledge.  We are talking about industry giants that are practically too big to fail.  What’s important to remember is that while these negotiations take place behind close doors, the outcome is always going to be public.  All of this information is eventually pushed to the community and that transparency helps us accept these decisions.  Sure, the community is upset, but these organization aren’t hiding anything from us.  All of these organizations know that consistent social engagement is key because the internet keeps receipts.  If someone messes up, you can be damn sure that there is an individual out there who is working to throw this information back in their face and ensure they are held accountable, see EA and their egregious attempts to monetize damn near every game they publish.

While I understand that there are rational individuals within the gaming community who see this as humorous and childish, the unnecessary discourse isn’t healthy and does nothing to help the community at large.  Regardless of all of the advancements that have been made in the past decade, the gaming industry is constantly being viewed under a negative lens and the reactions of the community directly contribute to that image.  Fandom is a double-edged sword, on one side, fans help these publishers and developers create the best content possible because of their support.  On the other side, it can be toxic and mentally draining, with the community practically flaming one another over a decision they had no control over in the first place.  Gaming has been around for decades and the sooner people accept the fact that it is a business and will continue to operate as such, the better off they are going to be.  There is no need to attack one another because you’re upset at a business decision, that can be classified friendly fire and doesn’t help anybody.

 

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