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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mass Entitlement

Recently, the gamers of the world went after EA and the makers of Mass Effect 3 because they didn’t like the ending. In turn, BioWare is supposedly appeasing fans by providing a better ending.

Can you imagine another instance where the fan base had that much impact or influence on the way a company markets a product? Are customers more savvy? Are they less accepting? Are we too entitled?

I say “Too Entitled” because there was talk of a lawsuit. Really, gamers? Since when did the public get the ability to sue a video entertainment company because it didn’t like the product? Did us 30 year old+ fanboys sue Lucas for the Prequel Trilogy? Did we sue Spielberg for putting Aliens in the last Indiana Jones movie? No on both counts.

I expect value for my money, but at the same time, if I buy something that turns out to be crap… I just don’t buy anything else. I take to the Interwebs and complain like a child. I sell it to Game Stop for something else, recouping a small portion of my money. I don’t SUE THE FREAKING COMPANY?!?!?

With the distance between consumer and company shrinking every day thanks to social media, people tend to feel more entitled to voice their opinion directly at the source of their ire and demand some kind of retribution. It may be the best thing to happen to business by allowing more accountability for crap performance, leading to more quality in the future… or It will continue us on this trend of feeling that the squeaky wheel demands oiling above actually changing the wheel.

I liken it to the shift in the teacher / parent relationship where, when I was growing up and a teacher gave my parents a bad report, I was the one responsible for the problem. Nowadays, parents tend to say their kid is an angelic innocent and it’s the teacher’s fault. Get over it. Not every soccer game ends in a tie. Your kid is the instigator. The game world does not bow to your every whim. I get it, though. EA has a bit of a bad model; price things pretty expensively for a base product and then offer multiple micropayments for more, expanded content.

Still, social media has given the consumer another arm of contact and sometimes, depending on the company, it can yield positive results. But there is a responsibility as a consumer to act in a certain manner and, in turn, the company might do you a solid. Be a pissy customer and the company may just ignore you. Though, judging how BioWare is responding to the Mass Effect 3 issue, get enough pissy customers and you can change the world. But for the better?

Maybe we aren’t ready for this kind of interaction yet. Maybe we have been given the Twitter equivalent of the fire from Mount Olympus. We are still too young to wield it without burning down our village. Think of how well we adapted to QR codes. That was sarcasm. We haven’t. In fact, I saw perhaps the stupidest form of QR code placement.  It was on the back gate of a Tyler Mountain truck, driving on the Parkway East.

That’s safe.

“Hey, buddy, while you’re driving on a highway, tailgate us, whip our your smart phone and line up a camera shot of this small code on the back of our moving truck so you can go to our website… while you’re driving.”

What could possibly go wrong there? Well, maybe if you wreck, you can sue the company or take to social media and bring about restitution for your hardship. Because that’s more important than actually taking steps to prevent something bad from happening.

Here’s another little tip for you. Don’t buy a hotly anticipated game the nanosecond it comes out. Wait a week or two and see what other people have to say about it. You don’t have to be spoiled by others reviews… just cautious of the response. Can we do that?

Now, back to the early planning stages of my massive class action suit against Michael Bay for making the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens.  Gotta get this done before a single shot of movie has been filmed.


Taylor Hamilton said...

I couldn't agree more!! Don't get me wrong, I was a little "meh" at the ending also, but bringing the law into it would be psycho. What grounds would the suit be filed on? What damages could be claimed? Unhappiness with a product is one thing, but it's not like they could claim any damages. Most people legitimately enjoyed the rest of the game, they simply think that the creators chose a poor ending. A game is about gameplay...
And I'm with you on disagreeing with Michael Bay turning TMNT into TANT. :/

Janelle said...

These things are up to the creators. This ain't choose-your-own-adventure.

If this is how we're playing, Stephenie Meyer needs to be doling out reparations for Twilight.

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