Are gamers actually prepared to do something about it?
As most gamers should know, BioWare recently released Mass Effect 3 and less than a week after it’s release, some people found out that BioWare also happened to include some of the Day 1 DLC on the disc. It seems Capcom have also done the same thing, to gamers dismay.
To some this is a massive problem, to others, they just don’t a rats. I lean on one side of the fence, yes, but I have an entirely different problem with gamers rage over these problems.
I’ve never liked Downloadable Content (or DLC for short). It’s not the concept of DLC I don’t like, it’s the lack of quality that is common amongst DLC packs. I consider them nothing more than half-assed expansions that cost roughly the same amount as an expansion did 10 years ago. Some are pretty good quality, for a good price, some are free even (The Witcher 2), but most are just downright horrid.
My take on the “Day 1 DLC” is pretty straight-forward: I don’t really give a hoot. It’s going to come out anyway, so I figure we may as well get it over and done with.
I understand why people don’t like it, though. The idea of paying for something that is already shipped on the disc can be pretty annoying. Why should we pay for something that’s clearly already developed and shipped, even?
I don’t care because chances are, not all the DLC is going to be on the disc. Some of it you will have to download, even if the majority is on the disc. It might not even be in working order!
Videos that have unlocked the BioWare DLC (quite easily, too) state that it’s all in working order, but unless you try it for yourself, you’re never going to actually know that. EA has also responded to the video with their retort and so it ultimately falls up to you, the end-user, to decide who’s side you’re on.
Whether you agree with EA doesn’t matter though, this article is about whether you don’t agree with them and what you’re going to do about.
The biggest thing you can do to get any company to listen to you is to stop giving them your money. I mean it when I say this will work for any company, because companies are nothing without money. Investors will give away so much before they realise that customers clearly don’t like what that business is selling.
This is where boycotts come in. Groups of people who go around refusing to buy any products from a company they don’t like, in this case EA/BioWare or Capcom. It sounds simple enough but is it really? No, it’s not.
Boycotts aren’t just a matter of “stop giving companies your money”, they also require you stop other people from giving their money, then those people have to stop other people, and this goes on endlessly until the company gives in and listens to your feedback. And it doesn’t just require a couple of hundred, it requires a couple of thousand (probably in the tens of thousands) for companies to actually care.
When a company like EA can sell over 3.5 million copies of one game in their first few weeks, you know you’re up for a challenge. When that company can earn hundreds of millions of gross revenue in it’s first week of shipping a game, then you know it’s going to be goddamn hard to get them to listen to your demands. And it is hard. It’s so hard that I’ve never heard of any online boycott succeeding. This doesn’t mean hasn’t happened, just that if it does happen, it happens so rarely that you might as well not do one. And there goes the meat of my point.
The problem with boycotts is not that they don’t have a strong voice or that their points are invalid. Many times I even agree with what they’re trying to prove (as was with the Steam L4D2 Boycott group). The problem is that, like any type of riot, boycotts take time, effort and a lot of patience. Most gamers don’t seem to have that last point, and it’s extremely important.
Most boycotts end pretty horribly. They go well for a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and then their activity dies down to a crawl.
The problem with trying to arrange an online boycott is that after a few weeks, people tend to either forget about the whole ordeal or they just stop caring. The L4D2 boycott was so ridiculously stupid that people who spent half a year bitching about the game actually went out and brought the game they apparently hated so much. That’s the issue.
How do you expect developers and publishers to care if you just buy their shit anyway? If you want these big-name companies to actually listen to you then yes, you have to stop giving them your wallet. But you have to be persistent and confident, you must be adamant and know that, with patience, they will listen. You also need the people, of course, but they honestly don’t mean anything if they’re just going to give up 3 weeks later.