A question I end up asking myself a lot these days, is what am I really looking for from games and the games industry? And, I don’t mean that in the microscopic sense of assuming there is any one kind of game or one particular mechanic that I’m looking for, but really in the aggregate larger scale, what would make me happy as a customer, as a consumer and as a player. Regardless of which path you as a developer, studio, publisher or retailer take to get me there, what do I feel is a reasonable request to make on my end?
How I or anyone else might answer may depend on how you currently view the players in the industry. These days, the mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore crowd seems to be steadily growing both in population and volume. Frankly, it’s hard to blame them. After all, we gamers have been both the life-blood and the enemy of the industry for a while now. I genuinely think that if major publishers and game makers could figure out a way to be successful at selling games without actually having gamers as a customer base, they would leap at the opportunity.
However, it’s also hard to blame them. After all, whether as a broad group or a miniscule subset, we were the ones who broke some of the long-standing, basic rules of the transactional relationship. Let’s not lie to ourselves, we gamers pirated games at not an insignificant pace. We gamers abused return policies. We gamers took someone else’s artistic work and altered it to our own likings without asking permission, sometimes releasing that work back into the wild without due respect for the creators. We gamers manipulated, deconstructed, demanded and equivocated with abandon, and you could certainly make the argument that in many of these cases we were well within our rights — whether legally or ethically — to do so.
But, whether for good or ill, right or wrong, it’s hard for me not to think we acted with impunity, and that we were shocked when a growing industry, becoming more a business and less a community every day, did the same back to us. Now we are left in this awkward, uncomfortable and distrustful place where every slight is deeply felt and magnified on both sides.
So, to break it back down a bit, and pull myself out from under the weight of a complicated past, I pose a simple question: What do I reasonably want as a gamer?