A reader is unsurprised that fan outrage over Pokémon Sword and Shield didn’t create a dent in sales and tells Blizzard not to worry either.
It was only a week or so ago that everyone was complaining about Pokémon Shield and Shield being a disgrace to fans and threatening boycotts to punish Game Freak for letting everyone down. Fast forward a few days and we find out that the games are not only quite well reviewed, with nobody suggesting they’re terrible, but that they’re the fastest selling Switch games ever.
This should not have come as a surprise.
There was a very good Reader’s Feature a few weeks back about how gamers are the worst thing about video games and I agree with him. Although I say that because in my experience the only people that actually call themselves ‘gamers’ are the angry, antisocial lunatics that go on about boycotts and death threats and as much negativity as they can manage without giving any indication that they actually like games or even really play them that much.
In all walks of life the loudest voices are usually the minority, for good or ill, and Sword and Shield are just the latest examples of the main narrative about a game having nothing whatsoever to do with the reality for most people. In general terms, nobody cared about Dexit, nobody cared about the graphics, and nobody cared that maybe the game wasn’t all it could be. What they cared about was whether it was fun in the moment and that it continued a franchise they liked.
Nothing else matters to most normal people, who can take a mild disappointment without claiming it’s the end of the world, and indeed even most hardcore fans will take the rough with the smooth and won’t start pretending that they’ve been personally betrayed by a developer they’ve never met, making games for a predominately child audience.
All of which brings me to my other big example of the last couple of months: Blizzard. Now, don’t get me wrong. The situation in Hong Kong is awful and I fully support the brave protestors there. I also think the way Blizzard handled the banning of Blitzchung was dreadful and showed them up to be the money-grabbing corporate weasels that they and, let’s be honest, every other profit-making company in the world are.
However, I refuse to believe the majority of people insisting they’re going to boycott Blizzard as a result of their actions had any intention of doing so, and just wanted a new excuse to be angry on the Internet. And we saw exactly how long this fake outrage lasted: less than a week. As soon as Blizzard got to Blizzcon and unveiled Diablo 4, which specifically pandered to all the grimdark tryhards who complained when the third game had more than two colours in it.
All of a sudden the boycott (which obviously would never have lasted anyway) was lifted and all was forgiven. Which is awful not just in terms of the fake outrage but because it makes a mockery of the people that were genuinely upset and started to campaign against Blizzard and the Hong Kong situation.
It may only be the minority, but self-confessed gamers really are the worst. And at some point all the death threats, petitions, review-bombings, and general Internet abuse are going to get me down to such a degree I’ll just give up on gaming. In the meantime though I have good news for publishers: if someone says they’re going to boycott your game they’re not only almost certainly lying but it probably means it’s going to be an even bigger hit than you hoped.
By reader Dempen
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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