Today, I want to talk to you all about something known as “‘voting with your wallet.” The concept is simple: if you don’t like something, you don’t buy it; if you do like something, you buy it. This is also known as the ‘competition factor’ in capitalism because it can create competition between shops to make it so that people buy your stuff and not that asshole down the street’s stuff. Maybe you give your customers more for their money or your quality of stock is superior, or maybe you’re offering some sort of buy 1/get 1 free deal . Either way, you’re encouraging people to go to your shop and buy your stuff so that you make money. Delicious, yummy capitalism.
The down side (or up side depending on how much of a soul you have) is that if everyone buys from your shop, the other shops in the area go out of business and the owner’s families starve. It’s harsh, but their stock was poor quality or just didn’t offer the variety that customers wanted. Bad shops go out of business and the successful ones get more successful. It’s the same for online blogs like this one; if you like it, you come back again and again, but if you don’t like it, you leave hurtful comments and we all die a little inside. The area where this is most important (at least in my opinion) is in video games. Why?
Because gamers are complaining pretty much all the damn time.
When it was revealed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 wouldn’t have dedicated servers on the PC, people were pissed. Gaming on the PC has always been about joining a certain community’s server, making new friends and making hideous enemies out of some of the regulars. Matchmaking is often considered some kind of pussy way of gaming that the console-tards have to stick to because their parents won’t buy them a decent PC. So why should we, PC gamers, the gods of the gaming world have to take a step down to their level?*
Players with this mindset did what all angry PC gamers did at that time: they created a boycott group on Steam.** It actually looked like the game was going to bomb on the PC for a while due to the huge numbers of people demanding dedicated servers. Hell, I was expecting Infinity Ward to come out and say “Sorry, we fucked up, here are your dedicated servers” but nope, gamers were stuck with match making. Saying that, take a look at this picture:
That’s from the MW2 boycott group on Steam. Notice something odd? That’s right, nineteen people are playing on MW2 on the first page alone. There are a few explanations for this:
- They didn’t actually care about matchmaking (then why join the group?)
- They got the game as a gift (but why ask for it if you’re boycotting it?)
- They were all playing single player so saw it as OK (that’s not really boycotting)
If you don’t like an idea pitched for a game, be it no dedicated servers or micro-transactions, don’t buy the damn game. If publishers see that a game isn’t making money because of micro-transactions/match making/having to fucking buy black dye to customize your armour, they’ll very quickly learn not to do it again. Why? Because they want to make sure they can feed their families unlike that asshole down the street they bought out five months ago.
*I swear that’s what someone said to me once. I was laughing until I realized they were serious.
**Creating boycott groups for very, very popular franchises like Call of Duty really won’t do anything as people will buy it anyway. It will, however, give you bragging rights to say “I told you so” when your friends complain that it was a waste of money.