Gamer entitlement. It has become the second most common buzzword to hurl at gamers, just after sexist and just before misogynist (some people have a hard time spelling that one).
The idea of “gamer entitlement” has been around for years, but most got their first taste of it with the release of Mass Effect 3. BioWare promised a satisfying conclusion to their excellent Sci-Fi RPG series. They told gamers that all their decisions throughout the series would come together to craft a unique ending for each one of us. They promised that it would not come down to an A, B or C choice and as we all know, BioWare did the exact opposite.
When fans of the series began speaking out on the lackluster wrap up of the Mass Effect mythos, many games media personalities told them their behavior was petulant, whiny, entitled. There were few send-ups of the ending itself, in fact Mass Effect 3 got several game of the year awards and near universal acclaim. The story was not “BioWare fails to deliver as promised” the story was “look how annoying all these gamers are, raising money for charity and such”.
Now we’re seeing this story play out again. Bloodborne released for PS4 this week, and the early reviews are almost overwhelmingly positive. However, not all is sunny for From Software. There is a petition that has reached 17,000 signatures demanding a PC port of Bloodborne. Yes the language is hyperbolic, even stupid when it says From Software has committed a “betrayal”, but really what it is is 17,000+ gamers saying they would like to play this game on their platform of choice. And shocking no one, the cries of “gamer entitlement!” come once again.
Okay, listen. You need to stop complaining about gamer entitlement.
Yes. Gamers are among the most vocal of any consumer base and occasionally their overtures to the industry lack tact but you need to recognize this for what it is. It is a direct expression of consumer demand.
This is 17,000 people saying I will pay 60+ dollars for your game if you release it for this platform. Sure, that might not be enough to justify a PC port (if you assume no other gamers will buy said port) and Sony is not likely to share its IP, but why reject that information? When thousands of gamers told BioWare their ending wasn’t good enough that was people saying “Your market for these games did not enjoy this ending, they are now less likely to recommend it”. What some jaded writers call gamer entitlement is in fact a useful tool for publishers and developers.
Its hard to blame gamers for these demands, as they’ve worked in the past on From Software. The demand for a Dark Souls PC port was overwhelming; From Software’s Tony Shoupinou recommended a petition, one was drafted and then they made a PC port. If your problem is lack of tact and manners that’s fine, but this is hardly a shocking turn of events for a popular From Software game.
Gaming is the only industry that calls this an issue, and I’m certain the only one that complains about it. For movies, books, music, consumer products etc. you don’t have your potential market messaging you saying “I would buy your product if X, Y and Z”. There are surveys and focus testing and entire divisions of companies trying understand why consumers do or don’t buy their products. There are people whose entire career is to learn what gamers are offering for free.
And when it does happen in another industry, nobody chastises their audience, they support them! I’ll give you an example. 20th Century Fox was not going to make a new Deadpool movie. Then when test footage leaked, fans went crazy and clamored for a Deadpool feature; 55,000 people retweeted screenwriter Rhett Reese’s tweet about it and Shazam! There’s a Deadpool movie in production! There were no articles written about “entitlement in moviegoers”, there was no headline “Why film geeks should be content with X-Men films”. Film industry writers celebrated with their audience because awesome! We’re gonna get a Deadpool movie!
And you know what. BioWare responded the right way to their consumers. They didn’t cave to the entitlement of the whiny gamers. They listened to their audience telling them what they messed up and did their best to fix it. Whether that was to help the word of mouth buzz around the game or to reward their audience is irrelevant, because if you make good games, they’ll get purchased. In that sales and pandering are one and the same.
From Software probably can’t make a PC port. I doubt that 17,000 people (a little over 1.3 million dollars in revenue) is enough to justify it, frankly I’m not sure what the associated development cost would be and not to mention, Bloodborne remains Sony intellectual property. So the likelihood of a Bloodborne port is small, yes. But I don’t understand why you would attempt to shout down consumers expressing their desire for a product. If a Change.org petition asking for a PC port makes you this angry, maybe the sacredness of Bloodborne‘s PS4 exclusivity isn’t what you’re angry about.
And if you’re this angry at gamers, maybe you should take a look at who you’re writing for.