Seemingly every few days, I run into threads on ResetEra, Twitter, and other places where gaming conversations take place where gamers ask for help in finding enjoyment in a popular or critically-acclaimed game. While there are rare instances when someone is actually doing something wrong that prevents them from seeing a game in its best light, most of the time it’s simply a matter of taste. When did having a unique perspective become problematic?
I hate the concept of free-to-play games. As someone who has grown up mostly buying boxed copies of video games at the store, I greatly dislike the idea of being given a game for free and then constantly harassed to pay later in exchange for cosmetic items or other things that directly impact my enjoyment of the experience. The fact that these games are wholly designed to maximize profits rather than to fully-realize a great gameplay experience is something I find rather gross.
Having said that, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Video games have always been influenced by the business model behind them. Even if you go back to the arcade days where the monetization of the medium began, there was a business model driving that experience, too.
In the annals of history, we as gamers have used console sales as a measure of success. Oftentimes, we use that as the primary factor in terms of who “won”. These home console winners include the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo, the PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii. Gamers always use sales as the primary measuring stick for why the NES or the PlayStation 2 won their respective generations.
Yet when gamers talk about the Wii/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, the fact that the Wii outsold its competitors by a wide margin no longer matters. All you have to do is scour through one of many online threads about the matter to find all sorts of creative ways that people will spin the situation in Sony and Microsoft’s favour. The ways in which people always move the goal posts in this argument sickens me.