When it comes to the relationships between the seller and the consumer, we too many times often forget that as consumers, we have a great deal more power than we would actually consider. How many times do we see consumers repeatedly voicing their complaints about a product or service that a seller provides that is not measuring up to an acceptable standard only to never go beyond just the complaints? Surveying the different message boards and comments on various websites, I see this very often. But what I would like to see from more gamers is courage to take the next step: If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.
The video game developers and publishers run off of money. It is their lifeblood that is supplied en masse by the hard earned money of its consumers. As gamers, we make the purchases that allow these companies to become mega corporations. And when the companies grow from their humble beginnings to having a place on the stock market with investors, a trend that is not uncommon emerges. Damn the quality and care of what is offered, all that matters is if the consumers will still pay for it.
As I listen and read legitimate complaints and concerns from gamers, I notice that so many of them come off as if they are powerless to do anything. It is even bad enough that some gamers will just continue to purchase the very games they don’t like as if under a trance and unable to control forking over their money. But this doesn’t have to be so. Fellow gamer, you have more power than you think. Much, more more.
I’ve gone through the frustrations of not being satisfied with games that I’ve purchased before and then seeing concerns fall on deaf ears. There was a time that I bought Madden NFL football games every single year and was frustrated that in essence I was paying full price every year for a mere roster update. I wasn’t really getting what I wanted yet because I was so used to purchasing Madden each year, out of habit I kept the annual tradition going. The same thing happened with NBA and WWE video games. I started finding that I was not satisfied with the $60 I was spending on each of these games. So what did I do? I stopped spending my money.
The moment that you can do without something becomes the moment that you can have power over it. You need to believe you don’t need that questionable game and then you will find it much easier to resist the urge to purchase it. Next, understand that there are possibly alternatives that would be a much better use of your money that would actually lead to a satisfactory purchase. Are the latest versions of Madden not meeting your expectations? Don’t buy them. Be open to going back in time when you did enjoy Madden and then seeing if anyone has created updated rosters for the version of the game that you loved. Problem solved. I actually play Madden 08 and ESPN NFL 2k5 with updated rosters to this day and I say without hesitation that those two games on my PC blow Madden 20 out of the water. Retro could be a viable option for you.
Another alternative to think of is independent gaming. Indeed the games of the major developers and publishers get much more notoriety so they are easier to know about. But there is a whole other world out there known as indie gaming where you have smaller developers that are really working to bring passion and innovation to the gaming industry. You will find so many great games in indie gaming and many times at a much more reasonable price. The developers listen to feedback more because they are growing companies and they know that how the consumers take to them will determine their future growth. So for instance, Angels Fall First is a great multiplayer first person shooting game that offers tons of features not even in high budget games and also has full AI/bot support. Ravenfield is shooter that pays homage to the classic Battlefield games with a high level of mod support. Chronicon is an action roleplaying, hack and slash looting game that has a plethora of items and skills to explore with different playthroughs every time because of procedural generated dungeons. There are so many games out there other than the mainstream titles like Call of Duty, Fortnite and Halo. Search them out if you’re looking for something different.
I just want to encourage you that how you spend or don’t spend your money in the video game industry is where your true voice lies as a consumer. The video game industry is a business and we must understand that all the products that are created are done so in order to make money. Yes there can be passion, love and creativity behind them but making money is always going to be a top if not the top priority for these companies. So when you need them to listen, it is important to speak their language. The most effective language is money. How you spend and how you don’t spend it is how you give your voice power.
Fellow gamers, here is something to remember. There are two things that even the biggest companies don’t want. First is a lost in revenue. And second is a damaged public reputation that also can lead in a loss of revenue. That is why major companies have public relations divisions that handle how the company is portrayed to the population. So if you want to inspire real change in companies, then speaking with your wallet and putting “your money where your mouth is” is going to be the most effective way to do it. After the harsh reception that WWE 2K20 got because of its terrible flaws, 2K actually scrapped their WWE 2K21 plans. This is the same 2K that had released a WWE simulation game every year since WWE 2K14. But their WWE 2K20 game was a poor effort that actually regressed from WWE 2K19 and there was an outcry from consumers verbally while the game struggled in sales. Remember, when the bottom line is affected and public perception is negative, then companies will start to listen.
In conclusion, what I want us as gamers to do is take a little responsibility in the decisions that we make in gaming. We need to own what we do so that we don’t continue to feed a system that is giving us unsatisfactory products in exchange for our money. None of us would find it acceptable to go to a fine dining restaurant, order a gourmet meal and then being served something of lower fast food quality. Neither should we tolerate it in the gaming industry. Be willing to support your legitimate complaints with effective action.
The rule I want to pass on is very simple: Make sure that you love what you’re buying and do not compromise.