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#1 Posted by fullthrottle49 (30 posts) -

With the recent news of Battlefront 2 hitting us today, and the following storm that followed. Has there ever been a successful boycott of a game, or even developer? For some reason I can't think of any example. Define success as developers willing to change, or poor sales.

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#2 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

The closest thing I can think to this would be review bombing on Steam, but then those are generally by people who already own the game.

The thing is it's impossible to tell the difference between an unsold copy of a game that is unsold because of a boycott or unsold because of other lack of interest.

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#3 Posted by liquiddragon (3270 posts) -

What is the recent Battlefront 2 news? The game is not on my radar.

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#4 Edited by BoOzak (2494 posts) -

Not really, most of the time when I think of people boycotting stuff it's because some japanese game got censored in some way in the west. I cant think of instances where the developer uncensored it or enough people didnt buy it to make an impact. The recent loot box epidemic will result in me buying less games but I dont think it will actually make a difference sales wise, it just means I have more time for better games and eventually these pay to win games will get cheaper.

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#5 Posted by KingBonesaw (1342 posts) -

There was the whole Modern Warfare 2/Steam fiasco but other than that I can't think of anything.

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#6 Posted by Rebel_Scum (1438 posts) -

Nope, don't think so. Gearbox is still ticking along even after Aliens Colonial Marines for example.

But this whole boycotting publisher/developers thing is over the top imo. No good can come out of it. Don't want it, fine don't buy it. Write your criticisms, sure no problem. But ditch the vindictiveness please.

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#7 Posted by fullthrottle49 (30 posts) -

@liquiddragon: Basically the game is pay to win with loot boxes, and some hero characters are locked from the get go. In order to unlock them you need to play an obscene amount of time before you can get one, but you can skip that by paying for them with in game credits. Also EA's PR team screwed up bad with trying to calm people down about it.

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#8 Posted by Goboard (290 posts) -

@kingbonesaw: In the end that didn't work out because people compared the steam group that claimed to boycott it and who was playing only to find out that a large portion of those claiming to boycott the game ended up buying it.

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#9 Posted by hans_maulwurf (631 posts) -

The closest I can think of is when Infinite Warfare made headlines last year when its trailer got heavily downvoted on youtube and presumably IW then turned out to actually not have sold as well as is expected for a cod title. The internet outrage there seemed to be at least somewhat indicative of the games relative lack of success. Though it would probably still be quite a stretch to assume this was an actual boycott instead of just a sign of waning interest for a tired franchise. The opposite example and what I fear will happen with battlefront 2 would be the mw2 pc "boycott".

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#10 Posted by TurtleFish (228 posts) -

There are also the people who yell and scream that they're going to boycott a game, and end up playing it anyway. I vaguely remember a story about either Patrick or Jeff seeing a bunch of people who complained bitterly about a CoD game, said they were going to boycott it -- and then ended up buying it anyway.

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#11 Posted by BladedEdge (1310 posts) -

No, there has not.

There have been enough complaints by people that have caused studios to change direction before. Valve has changed policy a few times, Bethesda dropped their first stab at payed mods. Most famously I think, the Xbox 1 is not an always-online disk-less system.

But a boycott on a game? No. As much play as that kinda thing gets on certain forums (reddit) and sub groups (hard core gamers) the general public doesn't follow through. This latest star wars game is gonna sell gang-busters, way and above anything people who might care to boycott it might be able to change.

You might (might) find an example for an extremely small/niche game. I am sure there are some games on steam where the >5000 people who would have bought it became >500 due to very bad word of mouth..but is that really what was being asked?

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#12 Posted by disco_drew22 (67 posts) -

Like most people said, no. There are very well-documented incidents (Left 4 Dead 2, Modern Warfare 2, etc.) where these loud groups bought and played the games they were boycotting anyways.

Aside from that, a large-scale boycott is so hard. People on places like Reddit get so caught up in the idea that their community is a reflection of the greater gaming community when they are really just a vocal minority that follows the industry extremely closely. Most people probably don't know the extent of BF2 micro-transactions; they just know there is a Star Wars thing coming out and they will be more than happy to unconsciously support EA.

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#13 Posted by acertaindeath (42 posts) -

The way I see it, a boycott of BF2 could be just as bad. This is EA we are talking about. The game doesn't make a profit = the developers are the problem, close the studio (i.e. Maxis or even EA Black Box).

There is no escape from the Electronic Arts grip. They are literally a black hole.

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#14 Edited by sikdude (113 posts) -

I'm boycotting WWE games until they vastly improve. Fire Pro makes this much easier.

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#15 Posted by acertaindeath (42 posts) -

@sikdude In a perfect world, that would be the ONLY thing to make the devs of those game care about their product.

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#16 Posted by BradBrains (2256 posts) -

Mass Effect Andromeda maybe? The reaction to that game basically killed the trilogy and its sequels most likely

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#17 Posted by sikdude (113 posts) -

This game (BF2) will still probably sell well what with the movie coming out in December. The first one made money IIRC but everyone put it down after a week (myself included) due to lack of content. Hopefully the same happens with the sequel as no one wants to drop an extra hundo on loot crates or play the game 24/7 obsessively to unlock them. We shall see.

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#18 Posted by geirr (3725 posts) -

I have had personal successes in boycotting various companies.
Like I boycotted EA way back (2012-2013) but I don't care if others do or not.

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#19 Edited by Ares42 (4239 posts) -

The vast vast majority of the audience for any mass market game has never read a single forum thread on a gaming website. And if you start to look at games with micro-transactions and account for money distribution it's even more imbalanced. Even if someone managed to pull off some sort of organized boycott it wouldn't be more than a small dent in the sales numbers.

The only thing that can "sink" a game these days is failure to grab attention. If Destiny came out and none of the "core gamers" out there got their friends to check it out, or told them about this new "halo" game etc etc then it could've possibly tanked. But for BF2, as long as the commercials keep churning out and people see Star Wars, FPS and piloting Tie Fighters it's gonna sell.

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#20 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

It's not a game dev, but if I'm remember right, when they announced the Xbox One, they said it would be always online, and everyone got really upset and they reversed that.
I think someone maybe even got fired over it? Memories fuzzy.

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#21 Posted by DonChipotle (3521 posts) -

@sikdude said:

This game (BF2) will still probably sell well what with the movie coming out in December. The first one made money IIRC but everyone put it down after a week (myself included) due to lack of content. Hopefully the same happens with the sequel as no one wants to drop an extra hundo on loot crates or play the game 24/7 obsessively to unlock them. We shall see.

BF2 already has more content in its base than the first did, and that's without even going into the plans they have for December with its like weekly content updates all for the price of free. People who will play and like the game are bound to find there's more stuff to keep them going; and with the reduction in hero cost there's probably enough there for people to play for like...two...three weeks tops.

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#22 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5984 posts) -

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective) if you lumped together every known population of (and I'm throwing up in my mouth as I write this) "core gamers" who are "plugged in" to the industry you really only get a fraction of the major population, especially when you consider the entire core presents a mishmash of game fans / players. So, the idea that one group could organize a boycott large enough to affect the sales of AAA game is, I dunno, unlikely? I'm scratching my head thinking of a time that happened. This is not to say that the volume generated from such a boycott might not affect sales / outside perception of the game, but that seems like a long-tail sort of thing.

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#23 Edited by Thursday1977 (117 posts) -

@zolroyce said:

It's not a game dev, but if I'm remember right, when they announced the Xbox One, they said it would be always online, and everyone got really upset and they reversed that.

That was less a boycott and more a situation where people didn't like a feature and it was abundantly clear that it was going to negatively impact sales, especially as Sony was extremely quick to respond with their subsequent presentations pertaining to the PS4. Which is, in fact, exactly how that's supposed to work. Folks express dismay, company responds.

Cuphead was a somewhat similar (though by no means identical) scenario: many liked the art style, but when it was initially made clear that it would be a boss rush, the result that a general loss of interest in the game. The art style was still applauded, but interest in playing the game diminished. Along came the run & gun levels.

No dramatics of attempting a boycott (and to be fair, a LOT of people that call for a boycott are using that word incorrectly), nor was any of the immature/self serving review bombing especially widespread, Just "hey, this isn't something that I want to buy." That's what's supposed to happen, that's the way it should work.

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#24 Posted by FinalDasa (3163 posts) -

If by boycotting you mean people not buying a game, then totally. Every developer, publisher, and PR company follows the sales of their games. Even further those games keep metrics of how you and I interact and use their game. Buy a lot of loot boxes? They know. Download DLC? They know. Skip the campaign and only play multiplayer? They know.

So your purchase says something to them. If consumers decide to skip a game, they'll notice. Ubisoft noticed slipping Assassin's Creed sales, and lower review scores, and decided to give the franchise a break.

It's not as clear cut or organized as a boycott, but neither are boycotts. No game boycott will escape the Modern Warfare 2 boycott group on Steam that, on launch day, were all playing the game.

It's best to vote with your dollars, wait for reviews, and don't get caught up in hype.

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#25 Posted by Marcsman (3823 posts) -

Boycotting is too strong of a word. I am not going to protest games who business practice I find shady. I'm not going to buy them plain and simple.

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#26 Edited by billsteve (13 posts) -
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#27 Posted by MeierTheRed (5860 posts) -

@marcsman said:

Boycotting is too strong of a word. I am not going to protest games who business practice I find shady. I'm not going to buy them plain and simple.

Same here, as a consumer i find that is the one thing i can actually do and make my self feel good about it. Just not supporting these things.

The problem with all the people who carry their torches and pitchforks to these boycotts is that probably over half of them have jelly for spines and end up buying the product they have so much against. It's laughable and pathetic.

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#28 Posted by ThePanzini (722 posts) -

There has never been a successful boycott of a game and there never will be, most folks are not glued into the industry and these controversies will pass unnoticed by the vast majority.

I'm not sure what good would ever come from boycotting the only lesson the publisher would learn is we don't want said game and if boycotting did work it would take a massive PR effort to turn around public perception.

Publisher care very what people think especially so with regards to critics and reviews metacritic is still used as a metric for developer bonuses, there's much better ways to enact change with negative fan feedback proven to be very effective working many times and with sequels dev's often refer to lessons learnt from the previous entry.

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#29 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3759 posts) -

There was the whole Modern Warfare 2/Steam fiasco but other than that I can't think of anything.

Do you mean this boycott?

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#30 Posted by viking_funeral (2881 posts) -

Sales fall for poorly made games. I don't think that's necessarily due to 'boycotting,' but just general word of mouth and apprehension.

Dragon Age: Origins sold more during week 4 than week 1, an oddity in the industry, and had long legs. Word of mouth built that game up. Dragon Age II surpassed DA:O in sales for week 1... then dived off a cliff to never recover. It ended up only selling around 50% of DA:O by week 10, and I imagine the lifelong sales didn't improve that figure. However, was that due to boycotting or people just avoiding the game?

I guess a lot of it comes down to how you want to define the term 'boycott.' If you have to inform people of a boycott, then I think you are trying to do something that won't happen naturally. If the press and word of mouth are bad enough, then I'm not sure a boycott is necessary.

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#31 Posted by Splodge (2729 posts) -
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#32 Posted by jaycrockett (855 posts) -

I'm not sure a consumer boycott has worked for anything, ever.

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#33 Posted by Wolfstein_3D (269 posts) -

I don't boycott games in an attempt to make a statement, but I tend to pass on games that promote loot boxes heavily or place (core) story content behind dlc paywalls (like the Mass Effect 3 Prothean DLC).

Tweaking progression in a way to actively promote taking the short cut via box purchases like Battlefront 2 puts games more or less by default in the "don't bother" category.

There are simply still too many games out there (and on my personal pile of shame) that allow me to enjoy my hobby without dealing with that stuff.

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#34 Posted by dstopia (350 posts) -

The concept of boycotting a game defeats itself when the people boycotting have a deep personal interest in the game itself.

The only way it works if you actually stop caring, instead of organizing child-like tantrums over the internet. But no, some people just cannot live with the idea that something they really wanted is bad, so they must absolutely tell everyone about it, and harass a bunch of innocent people in the process. It's so fucking dumb.

In a perfect world people would just shrug and move the fuck on over something as silly as a new Star Wars-themed Battlefield game.

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#35 Posted by TurtleFish (228 posts) -

@jaycrockett said:

I'm not sure a consumer boycott has worked for anything, ever.

If we define a boycott as a "loud protest about something you're really interested in, but you're willing to forgo to make a point", the only consumer grassroots boycott that I can think of that actually worked is new Coke vs. classic Coke. There have been a lot of things I can think of that have made a lot of noise (especially in the Internet era), and things that have forced major companies to make small concessions, but, something that has forced a major company to radically change direction? That doesn't happen, if the product/service was decent enough in the first place. Otherwise the signal gets lost in the noise - as other people have noted, did people not buy something because of the 'boycott', or because the product itself sucked?

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#36 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7433 posts) -

Games certainly change because of what their communities do.

In some cases MMOs often go from on sales model to another almost immediately, I think if they do that six or eight months later that might not really be a boycott ro user revolt, but withing a wee or a month...yeah that was a successful user movement. And, Evolve certainly scrambled within the first two weeks to save its user base. Battlefield and other games have changed drop rates on loot as another instance of a boycott of some type. And, without a doubt, Mass Effect Andromeda sold far less that what it woudl have, even if that "less" was still a sizable number of sales. The boycott might have had a let start, but I think that was definitely people telling other people to not bother buying it.

I don't think you will ever see a boycott that makes people stay totally away or make a game that woudl have sold 2 million sell only 20K copies. So you will never see super dramatic instances of a boycott working totally.

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#37 Edited by bhlaab (334 posts) -

What gamers don't seem to understand is that grudgingly buying a product isn't a boycott

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#38 Edited by Shindig (4813 posts) -

Yup. "I've just traded it in after a day." That'll show 'em. The smart consumer is a myth.

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#39 Posted by sikdude (113 posts) -

@sikdude said:

This game (BF2) will still probably sell well what with the movie coming out in December. The first one made money IIRC but everyone put it down after a week (myself included) due to lack of content. Hopefully the same happens with the sequel as no one wants to drop an extra hundo on loot crates or play the game 24/7 obsessively to unlock them. We shall see.

BF2 already has more content in its base than the first did, and that's without even going into the plans they have for December with its like weekly content updates all for the price of free. People who will play and like the game are bound to find there's more stuff to keep them going; and with the reduction in hero cost there's probably enough there for people to play for like...two...three weeks tops.

I wasn't implying that lack of content was going to hurt this iteration rather that the "pay to win" mechanics will possibly turn off most early adopters of the game.

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#40 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6354 posts) -

@splodge said:

@jesus_phish: @ghoti221: One of my fav pics. The fickleness of Gamerz.

One of the best ways to discredit any sort of petition is to sign that petition with a sarcastic or anti-petition message. Once enough people have done so, it becomes impossible to tell how many signatures are genuine. I always assumed there was some of that going on with that image, so it's pretty annoying to see it presented year after year as some sort of smoking gun in regard to boycotts.

Also, as I'm sure has been said before, boycott is just the wrong word here. You boycott a company because they have ties to child labor, or because they insulted a large group of their customers, or because of some other ethical or personal reason that doesn't have to do with the quality of their product. To put that another way, if you don't buy Battlefront because of loot boxes, that's not a boycott. If you don't buy ANY games published by EA because of Battlefront loot boxes, including games that don't even have loot boxes, that would be a boycott.

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#41 Posted by AdamALC (274 posts) -

No, boycotts have not worked, developers instead relying on the whining quivering mass that is the internet to steer itself. People are all talk when it comes to boycotts, just like everything else.

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#42 Posted by isomeri (3106 posts) -

I have friends who boycott games sold on the Windows Store, like Forza and Gears, because they have this vague aversion to everything Microsoft.

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#43 Edited by hermes (2578 posts) -

Yes, occasionally. It depends of how you see "boycott" but backlash from the public to a company for poor products or politics has worked before. That is what got Burton replaced in Batman, what made FF14 being basically redone, and what make WB pause their DLC plans for Arkham Knight on PC, for example. However, bad word of mouth is far more effective than Internet news, forums or petitions.

The other problem with boycotts is that some groups are more fiddle than others, and despite what you see in Internet forums, gamers in general are very fast to create (but also to forget) "offenses", and are very hard to organize and easy to manipulate. It comes in part due to average age, to games being (even single player ones) a social experience, and to availability (boycotting a game is different than boycotting a car maker, in one case you can get a product from the competition that is virtually identical). In most cases, if someone "really wants a game" and "all his friends are playing it", they are likely to swallow up their pride due to social pressure and just give in, which is why negative word of mouth is more effective than organized movements, at least when it comes to games.

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#44 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3759 posts) -

@splodge said:

@jesus_phish: @ghoti221: One of my fav pics. The fickleness of Gamerz.

One of the best ways to discredit any sort of petition is to sign that petition with a sarcastic or anti-petition message. Once enough people have done so, it becomes impossible to tell how many signatures are genuine. I always assumed there was some of that going on with that image, so it's pretty annoying to see it presented year after year as some sort of smoking gun in regard to boycotts.

Also, as I'm sure has been said before, boycott is just the wrong word here. You boycott a company because they have ties to child labor, or because they insulted a large group of their customers, or because of some other ethical or personal reason that doesn't have to do with the quality of their product. To put that another way, if you don't buy Battlefront because of loot boxes, that's not a boycott. If you don't buy ANY games published by EA because of Battlefront loot boxes, including games that don't even have loot boxes, that would be a boycott.

Not related to boycotts, but regarding signing petitions as a joke...

Also yes, boycott is absolutely the wrong word here.

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#45 Edited by ripelivejam (13074 posts) -

@jesus_phish: I think we're overlooking the true crisis here. Those IG fucks have got to go.

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#46 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

@zolroyce said:

It's not a game dev, but if I'm remember right, when they announced the Xbox One, they said it would be always online, and everyone got really upset and they reversed that.

That was less a boycott and more a situation where people didn't like a feature and it was abundantly clear that it was going to negatively impact sales, especially as Sony was extremely quick to respond with their subsequent presentations pertaining to the PS4. Which is, in fact, exactly how that's supposed to work. Folks express dismay, company responds.

Cuphead was a somewhat similar (though by no means identical) scenario: many liked the art style, but when it was initially made clear that it would be a boss rush, the result that a general loss of interest in the game. The art style was still applauded, but interest in playing the game diminished. Along came the run & gun levels.

No dramatics of attempting a boycott (and to be fair, a LOT of people that call for a boycott are using that word incorrectly), nor was any of the immature/self serving review bombing especially widespread, Just "hey, this isn't something that I want to buy." That's what's supposed to happen, that's the way it should work.

That makes sense, I guess it's kind of like the word 'irony' people use it in the wrong context a lot because it may share similarities to what they mean.
So I guess if something isn't even out yet, you can hardly even boycott it, and it's more drastic then "hey, I don't want thing, if thing was different, I might want thing."

Also I did a double check on the guy who got fired, and it wasn't because of the always online aspect the xbox was going to have, just that he had himself a little twitter tirade going after people for being upset about it. So no one got fired over it, they just got fired over self imposed unprofessional behaviour.

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#47 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4109 posts) -

@zolroyce: Is that like rain on your wedding day?

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#48 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

@zolroyce: Is that like rain on your wedding day?

At the very least it's like a free ride when you're already late.