By CupofCocoa 14 Comments
Read today at Destructoid that a PR rep from Activision thinks that their current alignment in the eyes of gamers as "Chaotic Evil" or "Lawful Evil" (which is a debate in it self) is unjust and fleeting. This is ordinary, it's PR after all, however what some of the comments said made me a bit sad:
Let's look at two arguments, the first one we can call the "making-money-is-a-goal-duh" argument. The second we will call the "I-don't-care-I-buy games-regardless-of-where-they-come-from."
The latter one we can more or less dissmiss since it is a statment about preferens or personal shopping habits - which is can be challenged by other issues however, the first argument can be a game ender in the eyes of some:
It is true, a corporation is a entity that aims to make money for its shareholders. It's also true that this statment is redudant. We have many examples of corporations that actively earn money, develop expensive and great games and also hold great respect in the communties that flurish around them. What people essentially forget is that gaming, as business mind you, is very much embedded in the culture that also (forgive the following word) consumes it. You can, and some do, make extremly medicore or bland games that make some profit, but the great games that both become legend and make shareholders cum are products of this relationship.
Mind you, this is not an absolut rule or something like that. This is merley a finger pointed at something people forget, both gamers and developers. It is a mutual relationship: don't take gamers as idiots and for gamers: support the people that make the games you love.
Blink, and you might say this is some "doe-eyes bullshit" but think: games have interesting place in culture. They are unlike movies, music, books, theater and art - each that in it self has a very specific culture that nurtures, produces and feedback on it self to make new things. The diffrence, however is that gaming culture is so very closley connected, both historicly and presently, to the production of games.
This is why Activision's activties and statements, as a large publisher and owner of studios, are hurtful. It damages this relationship. It is fine to state that it is their mission to make as much money as they can and they a free to do so, but to state that this is somehow the very essence of the problem? That is plainly wrong. They have gone against whatever "bounds" or rules the relationship, the embedded culture, have. Utltimatley if this will define their bid for redemption or the change in gaming culture, I can not know.
If this is hard to understand, there are many likewise "unstated" rules in other cultural settings:
Just because you can smoke at bus stop doesn't mean you should.
Just because you can wear a dress of pink, stuffed animals on the streets of Paris, doesn't mean you should.