Let’s Talk About Internet Pressure

Sony PSXThis week I’ve actually been paying a little attention to the Sony hack, since the group allegedly has threatened the opening day showing of the new Seth Rogen movie, The Interview. Today most major national theater chains pulled support for the movie, saying they won’t show the movie. Whether or not the threat was ever legitimate isn’t the point anymore – it worked. And while this isn’t directly related to gaming, it does get me thinking about similar situations in our world.

Mass Effect

The first example I always go to is the Mass Effect 3 ending situation. I never understood the complaints for the ending – it was open ended on purpose to make the player think about just what the ending entailed. But because it wasn’t a clearly defined ending, a large number of players took umbrage with it and pestered BioWare to the point where they had to address it. Which I thought set an incredibly dangerous precedent. Game developers lost a lot of control of their story direction, because if the internet fan uproar is enough, they’ll have to address it, potentially even changing it.

Halo Master Chief Collection

The other major example that I’ve been keeping my eyes on lately has been the fan reactions to Destiny and Master Chief Collection. In particular, I’ve seen a pretty common thread with Halo players wherein they say that the best course of action moving forward is to boycott 343’s Halo 5 when it comes out next year. While boycotting might actually serve a purpose detailing unhappy fans, the likelihood of it actually happening on that scale is slim. The same sort of sentiment is pretty prevalent within Destiny discussions – complaining that Activision made Bungie pull major sections of the game to sell later as DLC; which, while there’s absolutely no evidence to support that, isn’t outside the realm of possibility. A good chunk of the DLC lives on the disc right now, so I don’t see it being crazy to think a lot of that was originally set to appear at launch. Whether any sort of boycott response to DLC or future Destiny games would change anything is ultimately a moot point. Activision and EA, both seen as the evil corporations in gaming, have a pretty decent track record of not bowing to fan pressure, generally. Activision in particular is used to hearing this thanks to Call of Duty.

Ultimately, I know that this sort of reaction is not going anywhere – it’s a part of the anonymous web culture. For better or worse, the power of the web allows this – the strength in the communities, the websites that let us share our thoughts about the games are also places for dissent. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it either – I’m not saying that. I’m saying that we need to be more responsible with it. I don’t think at all that the Sony hackers are in the right here – exposing controversial private emails is one thing – threatening public terror attacks is on a whole different level. I just wish that people would use a little more common sense with these sorts of things.