As humans, it’s natural to feel disappointed, upset or even angry over certain decisions. We’re all guilty of this. However, there is a point where some people take it too far. A rather popular way of voicing your opinion lately is by boycotting a game, meaning not buying it. While game companies do make some questionable decisions at times, the only person you’re harming is yourself.
By not buying the game, you don’t get to enjoy it like the people who didn’t boycott do. You anticipate the game, and wonder what it’s like, while the rest of us play, enjoy discuss and do it all over again.
A popular reason to boycott is the online pass system. If you don’t know, an online pass is a code that comes with all new copies of the game. Inputting this once-only code allows you to access online multiplayer or extra content. The boycott’s happen because people are against the system, so don’t buy the game.
Hold on. You don’t buy the game because of this? Most big fans of a series will pre-order, or buy on launch day. Doing so grants you and online pass anyway, meaning the system doesn’t affect you past when you input the code once and once only. So buy not having any different happen, and you don’t get to play the game.
EA’s Battlefield 3 came with an online pass that granted extra content in Mass Effect 3, as well as early multiplayer access during the demo.
The other major cause of fan outbursts is Origin, EA’s new digital download service. Steam’s loyal fans were disappointed to know that Battlefield 3 would not be available on Steam. Instead, you would either have to buy a copy at retail or download via Origin. People complained about not being able to use Steam, and that they didn’t want to install another client. While I have been accused of being an Origin fanboy, it simply doesn’t bother me. Origin is not broken, merely plain and lacking features. This is much more preferable than a broken product that constantly interfere’s with gameplay.
Complaints like “I need to log in every time a game launches” and “I need to install more software” were thrown around. What people forgot is that Steam requires a log in as well. Last week I downloaded L.A. Noire from Steam and it installed Games for Windows LIVE without asking me. So it’s not just EA who is guilty of making you install more “unnecessary” programs, but Valve as well. I would like to add that Games for Windows required and update immediately- it didn’t even install the latest version!
Another great recent case of boycott’s is Mass Effect 3′s From Ashes launch day content. Fans who bought the N7 Collector’s Edition of ME3 were given free access to this Prothean-based mission. Bioware loyals grabbed their pitch forks and ran for Edmonton, angry over “BiowEAr’s” decision to do this. Rather than, and understandably, not buying the DLC, they simply refused to purchase the game.
Guess what? If you don’t buy the game, you don’t get to play it, DLC or not. So people in flames about a 15 minute mission are now missing out on a 30 hour game. While I understand their decision, low sales figures for From Ashes would indicate to EA that fans are not happy. No statements were made other than “ The content in “From Ashes” was developed by a separate team (after the core game was finished) and not completed until well after the main game went into certification.” (Michael Gamble, Bioware employee via Bioware Social Network). They raise a valid point. The on-disc files were for integration to be seamless into the base game without massive download sizes and were likely not cut from the game. People called this “vital story content that should have been standard with all copies of the game.”
I own the Collector’s Edition. While Javik was interesting, he is not what I consider vital. The vitals are in the game. Judging from Mass Effect 2′s track record, we all know ME3 would get story DLC at some point. Does it really matter when the new content is available? Don’t people want things now, not in six months time? By releasing it now, fans are unhappy. By releasing it later, fans would be unhappy. Just because it’s “day one DLC” people assume it is cut from the game. What happens when the gameplay designers, writers, audio designers and almost everyone except the testers are done with the game? Are they supposed to sit there twiddling their thumbs? No. They saw an opportunity and went for it, to fill in time and to start the ME3 content flow sooner. I would also like to remind people of the, at the time of writing, three FREE multiplayer expansions. And they contain a serious amount of content for a lite download.
Javik: You were interesting, you were also unnecessary.
While fans of Mass Effect missed out, the fans who didn’t let these issues disturb them got one of the best games of this generation, minus the ending, in some people’s opinions anyway. While Battlefield 3 fans missed played a technological revolution disguised as an awesome game, boycotters still sit there, on Steam, waiting for something slightly less impressive. The simple fact is: you boycott, you lose. EA isn’t going to care about that one sale, and they aren’t going to regret you not enjoying yourself even though they provided the means for you to do so. So next time you refuse to buy something, ask yourself, does it really matter?
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