24

I’m Canceled

November 6, 2019 by Tim

I have this feeling, and I’ve had it for a while now, that people are finding less and less joy in gaming.

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I’m growing weary of this culture of outrage that we’re living in, where it seems like the only thing people enjoy anymore is being mad at shit. Recently it feels like every month we’re boycotting some new game developer for some new thing they did or said.

I’m not arguing that we, as a community of gamers, shouldn’t be speaking up about things; quite the opposite. Being vocal with our opinions is an important tool to communicate where the perceived boundaries of our customer loyalties lie (second only to voting with our wallets). An example I could readily point to would be Battlefront 2, where the discussion over how far EA could push microtransactions finally came to a head, and the outcry/negative PR was so cacophonous that not only EA, but many other developers were forced to step back and reevaluate the financial benefit of pushing that business model.

It has certainly seemed to me that, in the years since, many developers have been very gun shy or cautious in regards to microtransactions and loot boxes. Microtransactions might not be extinct, but I would argue there has been a definitive trend towards developers being explicit that they either don’t have microtransaction, or that the microtransactions are strictly cosmetic in nature.

Likewise, I’m not arguing that we should ignore it when a developer does something shitty, such as Blizzard’s heavy-handed reaction towards Blitzchung’s political statements on their stream. I think most of us would agree that China is hot garbage, an oppressive-regime front. Given their human rights violations and tendency to silence dissension, it’s natural to be less than thrilled at the prospect of a US game developer bending over backwards to appease them.

Whether Blizzard has the right to sanction/moderate player comments on their stream isn’t really at issue there; it’s not a free speech issue because it’s a privately-owned venue, and I have little doubt that if a Hearthstone player started chanting “Trump 2020”, there’d be a lot of complaints stateside about letting a gaming tournament get political. So I think most gamers understand the concept of Blizzard wanting to keep a gaming stream to, primarily, games.

But, the severity of Blizzard’s initial punishment, in the face of an infraction that should have warranted at most a warning or short-term ban from tournament play, makes it impossible not to view the punishment as Blizzard’s overall genuflection to China’s purse strings.

Through the press and public outrage that followed, I think it’s now been made clear to Blizzard (and in the process any other developers wrapped up in Chinese money) that even the appearance of allowing foreign money to dictate policy and procedure is going to be met with pushback. While their phoned-in apology at Blizzcon may not entirely reflect it, it would be naive to assume this will not inform the company decision-making process in the future.

All of this is to say that, speaking up and voicing opinion and, yes, even outrage can all serve a very valid purpose and bring about change. Which brings me to the primary point I wanted to make here, and that is this: Amidst all of the speaking out, and being upset, and righting perceived injustices… don’t let it drown out the concept of forgiveness.

I know that sounds super Jesus-y and shit, and I’m not trying to get preachy here, but bear with me a moment. Sometimes in reading comments, discussing these things with people across the internet, etc, I get the impression that some people are so invested, so addicted to the grudges they hold against developers, that they reach a place where absolutely no amount of apology, or reversal, or amends is going to ever be good enough.  And I’m not trying to tell you that sometimes reaching that place isn’t justified, or that you should be willing to fork over cash to a company that keeps making decisions you don’t agree with.

But I do worry that we’re reaching a point (as a whole also, not strictly related to the gaming community) where nobody has a tolerance for mistakes anymore and we’re not giving each other a chance to grow. Get it right the first time, or you’re written off forever (a standard we only hold others to, of course, never ourselves). People make mistakes, and companies, as much as we’d like to envision them as just a board room of old white guys in suits twirling their mustaches, are made of people. Sometimes those people make decisions that are, in fact, simply from a place of “how can we fuck more money out of them” greed. But sometimes the mistakes are more complex than that.

Take No Man’s Sky, for example. Sean Murray famously overhyped and overpromised on that game’s premise, and as we all know, at launch it was about as fun and fully formed as diarrhea. It sucks that we all bought a game thinking it was one thing, and it wasn’t that thing. We had a right to be upset. But I don’t believe that the overhyping and overpromising came from any sort of malicious place; Sean was naive, and perhaps just  overly excited about the game he envisioned, and his eyes got bigger than his development window.

This belief of mine is backed up by the fact that, despite the incredibly negative PR shitstorm surrounding the game’s launch, Hello Games put their heads down, got to work, and continued to try and meet the lofty goals everyone had for the game. They worked for years after the fact to add and expand the game for free, and have turned No Man’s Sky around. It is now an honest-to-goodness game, bigger and better than it was at launch.

Yet, a few months ago when I mentioned that NMS had made such an impressive comeback, I saw a lot of comments basically maintaining that Sean Murray should never be allowed to work in games again, before also dying slowly in a fire. In the face of the updates made to the game, “that’s not special, he should have finished it before launching in the first place” was a common sentiment. And… I agree, that is a valid argument. However, it’s not an argument that leaves any room for someone wanting to fix their mistakes, that wants to learn and be better moving forward.

I’m sure at this point some of you think I’m here with the goal of defending video game developers. To a point, perhaps. I do believe that if you’re going to voice dissatisfaction with a company/product, it should be with the goal of giving them a chance to improve and change. Because if it’s merely a matter of not liking  a company’s game(s), the simplest and most effective answer is to not buy them. It doesn’t require a single word to be spoken. But if you’re posting rants and vocalizing outrage over something a company did wrong while also setting the bar for amends impossibly high, then you don’t care if anything changes; you’re just invested the act of being outraged over something.

So when I say “consider forgiveness”, it’s not with developers in mind but gamers and the community we’re all a part of. I think we could all stand to be less angry about this stuff, in the grand scheme of things. And if forgiveness doesn’t fit the bill, then at the very least the act of letting some stuff go could probably serve to make a lot of us happier. Spending less time clinging to past grievances. Like, yes, perhaps EA has pulled so many shitty little moves over the years that at this point it is justifiably impossible to give them the benefit of the doubt… that doesn’t mean you need to carry that frustration around with you all the time. It’s not doing you any good, especially if it’s souring your outlook on other games.

A couple of weeks ago when I was talking about being excited for the release of The Outer Worlds, some of the immediate discussion revolved around the bugginess of some of Obsidian’s earlier games, and how Outer Worlds would probably bomb and there’s no point in getting excited for games because they might suck.

“If you don’t let yourself get your hopes up, you won’t end up being disappointed.”

I just find that to be a terribly depressing viewpoint to walk around with, especially for a hobby that is basically a luxury. For me, video games have always been a source of fun and joy, and I do still get excited about game announcements and trailers, the same way I did pouring over the latest issue of EGM or GameSpot when I was a kid. Sure, that means that sometimes I’m let down when a game doesn’t deliver, but the world keeps on spinning and there are always new games on the horizon if the last one isn’t great. I’d still rather approach games with excitement and anticipation, and maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’d love to see more of that enthusiasm in the community like we used to, instead of so much constant negativity.

This post won’t effect any sweeping changes in attitude. It probably fell on a lot of deaf ears the moment I suggested “don’t get so angry”, and I don’t have so wide a reach I can convince anyone to reconsider the way they carry their frustrations (or enough time and patience to address every single “But what about when THIS developer did THIS?!” variable I’ll likely see in the comments).

I wanted to say it, though, because I often make jokes about these “controversies” in gaming, but upon discussing them I guess I don’t come across as legitimately angry over them as some people feel I should be. And it’s because I just can’t walk around outraged all the time. At least not about this stuff. I don’t like when a game pushes microtransactions; it does feel greedy to me, and I won’t support it with my cash. But I can’t get mad about it in the same way I can get mad when I hear a pharmaceutical company is charging $1000 a pill for medicine people need or whatever.

And so I guess TL;DR… try to have some perspective on stuff, in the grand scheme of things. Outrage should be a tool, not the endgame. And try to let some things go. Life’s too short.

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JFD
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JFD

Some people do seem to find any reasons to be up in arms about just about anything online nowadays. Hate and SJW crusades are fashionable. Not to mention trolling.

Offline, however, people still very much like fun and games 🙂

Jéquiyot
Guest
Jéquiyot

To add to the offline, I saw a comment on Reddit recently where someone said that they only really start disliking things in a game once they’ve gone online and seen other people complaining. Otherwise, most things aren’t an issue.

Sanquin
Guest
Sanquin

Yes, this. Some people like saying all publicity is good publicity, but really it isn’t. Seeing tons of people write about how a game is bad has an effect on your own view, be it a little bit or a lot. This is why I always ignore such posts/reviews entirely. I look up gameplay videos and a few sources that I trust won’t just bash or praise a game but actually give a decent review/opinion. And like 70% of my decision is based on the former, and 30% on the latter.

The rAt
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The rAt

I wish I could agree with that last sentence, but I’m personally starting to see this bleed into offline life, too. I think the sad fact is that in general people, even good people, want to hate someone (or at least some thing). Sure, it mainly comes out in socially acceptable contexts (see: The Internet), but deep down we want to see the people they disagree with as “The Enemy”, instead of just people, because there’s nothing more simple and easy to process than “Us vs. Them”. Admittedly, I don’t care for sports – but it’s the best microcosm of… Read more »

Tom B
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Tom B

It’s easy to hate for most folks. That hate is corrosive and it poisons us in turn and seeps into all the aspects of our life which is a tragedy. If you hate someone and tell them so, it hurts both of you (them more obviously, but you inexorably). I honestly never think of being a jerk to others (well, unless they’ve been jerks to me or someone else I’ve seen them be jerks to, and even then I 99% of the time won’t give in to that twinge of sticking them with their own spear). Of my own devices,… Read more »

The rAt
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The rAt

That’s an interesting take on things, and I relate to a lot of it. While I am not an engineer, I also put a lot of energy into a pragmatic/utilitarian viewpoint of identifying the best use of resources and what will actually improve the situation – and I also relate to your first instinct being not to sabotage anyone who hasn’t personally harmed you, and fighting the urge to retaliate against those that do, but… I think what this comic may/may not be getting at, and what I’m noticing is the shift in perception on the category of “People who… Read more »

Doc Mesa
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Doc Mesa

Damn straight. That time you spend making bitchy comments online could be better spent having fun and winding down on video games.

As someone living in the UK, it feels like hateful “with us or against us” thinking is all we even do anymore, thanks to the whole Brexit thing.

John
Member
John

It does often feel like “Us vs Them” is the language of the world these days doesn’t it

Stantasio
Guest
Stantasio

Honestly it’s the same way in America right now, your either with us or inferior and should be cast down and out unless you want to convert.
I think at some point our leaders decided/realized it was easier to rally people in anger then it was to truly inspire them to action. Not to mention social media becoming insanely hostile during and since the 2016 elections.

Tom B
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Tom B

If you look back, ancient Greeks and Romans have been talking about demagogues and the harm of governance and law being driven by emotion rather than good sense and rationale balancing of various factors. The only new twist now is the impact botnets and influencers can have via social media which makes social media a bit of a Sword of Damocles over democracies.

This 2016 thing is just where it accelerated. This sort of stuff has been going on (and being warned about) since we first had any form of elected government.

Sanquin
Guest
Sanquin

The whole with us or against us mentality has been around longer than brexit. At the VERY least since new age and extremist feminism became a thing. Probably a bit before that as well.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

Much, much *much* longer.

Like the 80s.

80 BC.

Merendel
Guest
Merendel

Second verse, same as the first. Folks have been fighting the “Other” for as long as there have been groups large enough to have a divergence in the population. Nothing unifies a population like an outsider to fight and leaders have always arisen to exploit that fact. The names and faces change but its all the same song and dance.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

It’s kind of what made Alexander the Great and Rome so effective at becoming widespread rather than just centralized.

“We aren’t fighting you because you’re different, just because we want to include you into our empire against your will. Other than that, you do you. You’re different and we *love us some of that*, but you gotta be under us”

wkz
Guest
wkz

@Kaitensatsuma: and then someone shouted “FREEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMM!!” and everything after went to hell in a handbasket…

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

And if you dig into how Rome did over the long haul with an eye to how they treated people they vanguished/invaded/integrated, you find something interesting: When Rome kicked out and existing government, replaced it with a fairly orderly Roman government that mostly worked on codified law, and weren’t too punitive with taxes and didn’t hammer respected personages of the vanquished people too hard, they had vast success in either directly integrating peoples into the Roman Empire (hey, it was kind of cool to be a part of) or at least making good friends and lasting allies. When they came… Read more »

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I chimed in on a Trending tag yesterday, “What Triggers Liberals”

Very Simply: Watching Democracy Crumble under Populist Demagoguery like it’s 122BC.

The Apothecary
Guest
The Apothecary

Thank you man. I am so glad someone finally has said it. Watching youtube video’s on gaming and companies is such a downer right now. It all seems as you say to be about “boycott” this and ” no forgiveness” that, just a world of absolute hatred. I was really annoyed after watching one popular youtubers video about blizzcon. He literally had nothing but negative things to say about all of the games they announced and showed stuff for. And it was SO obvious that he was not judging the games off the games themselves, but rather his hatred for… Read more »

Jake Salthouse
Guest
Jake Salthouse

Man, you should write speeches for the president.
I also completely agree with you. I have been in that circle of outrage before and can understand how people can get so passionate about this kind of stuff but there has to be a line.
Anyway, keep up the great work!
You are by far the mist detailed and most reliable webcomic there is!

Razardos
Guest
Razardos

The GIFT still holds true, unfortunately. But, ignoring that for a moment, the world could use a little less anger in general, not just when it comes to gaming. Forgiveness, or at least letting things go, does indeed seem to be something too many people have forgotten how to do. Everyone makes mistakes, including game devs, and if we don’t let them learn and grow from it – what does that say about us as people, really? Are there devs/companies I really dislike and disagree with? Yes. Do I buy their products at the moment? Not if I have a… Read more »

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

As far as games go yeah.

As far as politics and the world go, how many times can you “forgive” and then not see any change whatsoever?

Vandril
Guest
Vandril

There’s a difference between stopping being outraged and forgiving. Just don’t forgive until change is seen, and you’ll never run into that problem. Second chances need to be tempered by attempt to change, and if there is no change, then no forgiveness should be given. Of course, this only applies if the wrong is something worth keeping a grudge over. If some non-habitual, incredibly minor wrong was done, then “forgive and forget” is exactly what you should do. If you spend all your time being mad over tiny wrongs, then you have no time left to do anything else. Not… Read more »

Lani
Guest
Lani

Very interesting read. Entirely agree with you.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I think the world hasnt changed as much, the anger has always been there. It is changing how and where it shows itself.

Could be new generation, could be different kind of concerns.
But overall angry people will be angry and I feel sorry for them

Qmer Kacha
Guest
Qmer Kacha

If there will be a next generation.

SimplyMonk
Guest
SimplyMonk

What has changed it the propagation of information. 95% of the gaming news now you’d of never heard about because Nintendo Power/PC Gamer/Newspapers wouldn’t of printed anything about it.

Now you can deep dive into the lives of every single member of a design or production team and at the same time share that information instantly with everyone else.

We now know, or at least think we know, everything now.

jatenk
Guest

Hot take: Or people are more and more vocal about problems in the community and the industry.

Mattikus
Guest
Mattikus

Agree. Being able to voice or start concerted discussion in the community is important, which is why the severity and specificity of the offense is so concerning.

GamerLEN
Guest
GamerLEN

Indeed. Starting a discussion is good, but what I tend to see on Twitter isn’t a discussion, its screaming incoherently at each other.

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

Twitter’s a shithole that’s pretty much designed to be nothing more than screaming incoherently at each other. Even after they doubled the character limit, it’s still too short to put out a good opinion. Even trying to condense Tim’s post into a thread of tweets would force him to cut out a lot of the things he wanted to say. And when you reply to somebody, you don’t get that + button like when you start a thread from scratch. So you get ONE reply and if you need to say more, you have to hope you can write quickly… Read more »

Cyrad
Guest
Cyrad

Agreed. I just get annoyed when people get super vocal about a cause only to immediately compromise it or forget about it when it becomes boring or inconvenient for them.

ThePointOfItAll
Guest
ThePointOfItAll

Hot take: I think you may be missing his point. It’s not about people being MORE vocal (which we can thanks to technology and social media, which he clearly points out as a good thing), it’s about WHAT they’re vocalizing, and HOW. Calling out bad behavior, not staying silent when we see something wrong, and having a platform to confront people and organizations we see committing wrongs is not a bad thing. The issue is that being vocal about problems anywhere needs to have a POINT. The POINT should be changing their perspective, helping them see what they are doing… Read more »

Twilight Faze
Guest

Not game-related but I had an exchange with someone like that over Disney+. I only use Netflix and am not interested in the other streaming services. I also grew up on Disney so it’s got a warm place in my childhood nostalgia, Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut I had to deal with an asshat who was very anti-Disney because of some controversy the live-actress for Mulan made. Because of said controversy, he did some completely unnecessary research and painted them to be…well, read the last panel. It’s the same sentiment. Got no time for hate in my life. If you can’t go about your… Read more »

GamerLEN
Guest
GamerLEN

Hear hear. Whenever I’m angry enough to start shouting at some rando guy online, I always tell myself “Do I want to scream at this joker, or do I want to push the button that makes them VANISH FOREVER from my perspective?”

And then I pusha da button! 😀

Foxhood
Guest
Foxhood

I’m always hesitant about utilizing the almighty block button.

There are plenty of times i ended up in severe disagreement and just walked away, but i would not block them without due cause* cause the more i censor parts i don’t like the more i fear getting disconnected with how grey reality often is. I find it healthy to sometimes disagree with others.

*A cause for block by me is dangerous extremism. Like supporting domestic terrorism. I don’t mind see tones of Grey, but Vantablack…no thank you! <.<

LemonHouse
Guest
LemonHouse

you are going to be such a great dad you know that? Not being sarcastic, I mean that. I majored in communications, and from what I have seen about the world and advancing technologies is that most people on a small scale platform, communities namely, tend to see the world as a small affair the can interact with, and when we get so much noise from so many new sources, we kind of lose ourselves. As time has moved forward, it’s not that there is more sentiment into one realm of emotions, it’s that the people whom did not have… Read more »

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

This was lovely to read, thank you! 🙂

John
Member
John

The worst part of all this to me is that the real people who suffer from all this outrage are not the executives making the bad moves. its the programmers, artists, developers, etc who just want to share their artform.

Acher4
Guest
Acher4

I feel that way for long now, and it kind of scares me a bit – all this negativity. I have reached the conclution, that some people (due to age or inexperience or just plain malice) just really need to hate on things, and then make others hate on things to make their hate logical(?) in their minds, probably. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to “hate” sometimes on things. But mostly comically. Like Twilight or the same. But I don’t dwell on it, nor I ever tried to bring down the people that really liked those things. Sometimes… Read more »

Michiel
Guest
Michiel

Do you meet many people like that in real life? I get the feeling most of this kind of thing happens online, where anonymity allows people to say anything consequence-free. And even there the problem may seem worse than it really is, because in my experience this sort of thing tends originate from a loud minority, and people can’t resist feeding the trolls. That doesn’t mean it can’t be toxic, of course, but it may grant some perspective. Or am I just terribly naive? I don’t hang out much in gaming communities, but I’ve waded through my fair share of… Read more »

Vandril
Guest
Vandril

If the consequence-free nature of anonymity inspires people to act this way, it is because people are this way and only act otherwise due to social constraints. Having no consequences for actions doesn’t make people do things that are against their nature, it allows people to do things that are part of their nature. The internet is a window into the human psyche. How people act on the internet is how they really are, deep down.

The only reason you don’t meet many people like this in real life is because real life has consequences and a lack of anonymity.

Philippe
Guest
Philippe

Yeah, exactly. This also can tell a bit a bout why some people need religion, groups or whatever external factors to walk the line and stay good. You should do good because you want to do good, not because anyone else tells you to or because doing otherwise would punish you.

clideb50
Guest
clideb50

The scary part is that this attitude is starting to bleed into reality in addition to online. I forget the name, but I recall some politician had a bunch of people wearing his face on paper masks knock on his door, and try to break in. Not to mention people outright attacking others, simply for having a different opinion. I’m worried that between the anonymity of online combined with the massive us vs them mentality that’s escalated out of control recently is making for a very volatile mix.

RblDiver
Guest
RblDiver

I think the only company I’m basically this way with is Blizzard after their recent snafu. The only other one that comes close is EA, but there it’s more of a “I’m going to be wary of their products until they prove otherwise.”

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

I so want the Command and Conquer Remaster to be good. But I so don’t trust EA. This game is going to have to be out for like, 6 months without any controversy before I can finally trust “Okay, I guess EA isn’t going to fuck this one” and buy it. They even promised no microtransactions, but so many companies have lied about that, and so many companies have patched them in a few months later to avoid having microtransactions mentioned in reviews and on the ESRB patch in stores, that I don’t even believe them when they claim no… Read more »

Joseph C
Guest
Joseph C

I just want to add that I have found myself enjoying video games less and less over the past several years, and this culture (for lack of a better term) of outrage is a large part of it. At the end of the day, I play games to have fun and unwind. I want to leave the BS of real life behind for a few hours and just have a good time with friends. As you said, egregious behavior should be called out, but this rage over everything just grinds me down. I think the community at large learning to… Read more »

Jus Sayin
Guest
Jus Sayin

Ok Boomer

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

OK zoomer

Burning Batsu
Guest
Burning Batsu

Gotta love it when someone jumps on the insult bandwagon without realising what said insult even refers to. ‘Boomer’ in this case refers to ‘Baby-Boomer’ – someone that was born between 1946 and 1964 – so someone that is around 55-73 years old. If Tim is that old, he looks damn good for his age 😛

Realistically though, I’d say Tim would more be considered Gen Y (someone born 1980-2000), maybe Gen X if I’m mistaken and he was born pre-1980.

ShadOtrett
Guest
ShadOtrett

I was a little taken-aback after I read the first few paragraphs at how long you went on this, but after reading, I feel like it comes from the heart. So I wanted to let ya know that it was appreciated before I said anything else. I’ve come to notice that a lot of the time in my line of work (hospitality), that people don’t want to be satisfied after they’ve reached a certain point. They want to be *mad*. After a certain threshold, which differs from person-to-person, obviously, nothing will be good enough anymore. You could give them a… Read more »

Jaq
Guest
Jaq

I’ve noticed this a lot. People that should be enjoying a holiday [or a game] just looking for a way to point out flaws so they can take onto themselves the ‘Victim Mantle’, then cry havoc and loose the bellows of anger. It seems such a painful way to live.

ShadOtrett
Guest
ShadOtrett

You’re not wrong. I wonder if it’s purely defensive. Some get so used to working (being responsible) that the act of letting go and spending money for no ‘productive’ reason just triggers a kind of fight of flight reaction. Fight for every discount to lessen the loss, or find reasons why the vacation should be avoided in the future to avoid disappointment. Looked at that way, it’s a rough way to live, like you said. Still stands though: If you want to find something to be angry about, you probably won’t have much trouble! If you want to find things… Read more »

Mattikus
Guest
Mattikus

Forgiveness has to be earned. Blizz hasn’t done anything significant to earn it. It doesn’t matter what representation they put in their games or how much they return one franchise to a more accurate theme, if the issue goes unaddressed then nothing has been done to even ask for pardon. The issue goes beyond Blitzchung and Blizz has only said their decision was not motivated by Chinese business interests, yet in other interviews where other political messages not related to China saw no penalty. So yes, someone chanting “Trump 2020” likely would have flown under the radar before this incident.… Read more »

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

👆☝⬆🔝🆙🔼 This!

TexMechsRobot
Guest
TexMechsRobot

I don’t think that forgiveness has to be earned. I also know that my opinion isn’t a popular one. I’m careful to express it as opinion and not fact so that there’s clear room to disagree with me. That said, I try to live by the principle that if I wait for someone to earn my forgiveness, I’m going to be left holding grudges and bitterness long after they’ve even forgotten the grievance. And in some cases, they may not even know they offended me. Probably not the case with a major games publisher/developer that got hit with the outrage… Read more »

Merendel
Guest
Merendel

IMO earning forgiveness mostly comes down to acknowledging that you did wrong and attempting to do better in the future. The first incident or two the bar for forgiveness is quite low. However when its a pattern, when no effort to change is made then that bar starts going up. If the actions continue or worse the offender doubles down and does even worse things and only acknowledge the fact that they got caught and someone is unhappy with them? Ya at that point we’ve gone beyond forgiveness and into washing your hands of the other party. holding onto that… Read more »

Ashi
Guest
Ashi

You say “Forgiveness has to be earned.” Perhaps so. But I think the point to be made is that the same people saying “It has to be earned” have set the bar so high that earning it is literally impossible. “NOT UNTIL HONG KONG IS FREE!!!” What do they want, Blizzard to send in a Blackwatch strike team?

Makabriel
Guest
Makabriel

Precisely. I commented on one poster whining about the President of Blizz apologizing, saying it was not enough. “I guess they left their ritual swords at the office, so they couldn’t commit seppuku on stage. Because that’s what it would take, right?”

They laughed, saying that would be too far, but people -do- want them to commit financial seppuku by denouncing China.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

“So yes, someone chanting “Trump 2020” likely would have flown under the radar before this incident.” No way, looking at how bitter and divisive modern American politics has become I don’t believe that for a minute. I mean think about it, if Blizzard DIDN’T punish somebody who said made a statement like that broadcast live on television and the internet to millions of viewers, one half of the country would think Blizzard is tacitly supporting the kind of hateful ideologies and rhetoric people associate with Trump, whereas if Blizzard DID punish that person then another half of the country would… Read more »

Mattikus
Guest
Mattikus

As I said, they had a number of times in the past allowed people’s personal politics to be aired through their public channels, with no repercussions. Make no mistake, Blitzchung happened because he expressed the opinion that does not sit well with one of their part owners, Tencent, a Chinese tech company with direct ties to China’s government.

Blizzard is only using legalism to hide the impetus for their reaction.

nealithi
Guest
nealithi

I am not the writer you are sir. So I ask you not to take umbrage at my short reply.

This is an interesting read, and it gives me much to think about.
Thank you.

Phil
Guest

Well said man. Blizzard isn’t a company you’d expect to do something like this, and while they’ve made a pretty major mistake and haven’t gone about fixing it the right way, they aren’t irredeemable as a company. To me reinstating Blitzchung’s winnings was in itself at least a pretty good step, yeah I think they were still too harsh with the ban-hammer but dude got his $10k+ in winnings back, which isn’t nothing. I’m super happy for Obsidian’s success and I’ve loved the developers there since many of them were a part of Black Isle studios, and they continue to… Read more »

Lilitha
Guest
Lilitha

I wonder how much of this is just complaining online though. Do these people that swear off a company because they hate them, actually follow through with their words? Or do they just hate on the company, then go buy their stuff later on anyway? My gut feeling is that you put out a good game and it will sell, even if it is from a shitty company. I don’t feel like the complaining really hurts the long term sales of these companies. I don’t have the actual sales figures and stuff to back that up though, so I am… Read more »

Mattikus
Guest
Mattikus

I dont think you could really get an accurate survey of who does and does not follow through with such boycotts. Nor for the perseverance of the former. I’d say there are just as many that make good on their claim as those that don’t. It’s the same with any principle– some hold to it and others are just virtue signaling. Assuming there are not a significant number of earnest folks holding to such expressed values does a disservice to everyone debating the subject, as there would be no point of discussion. I think it can be just as much… Read more »

foducool
Guest
foducool

pft who cares about that? all I care about is how much of a disappointment they were the few games before so I’m holding my horses until I see actual results XD

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

I couldn’t agree more. Just like there seem to be a unwarranted sense of entitlement in the younger generation. There is also an almost pathological need to find things to be offended about. Point in fact, The blackface “incident” of Justin Trudeau from almost 20 years ago. Yes, it is considered racism and condescending *today*, but was that also the case 29 years ago? Was it maybe not intended as such, but *just* a costume at a party? That he is forced for apologize for that is just ridiculous. And that just *one* example of people being offended by something… Read more »

Phil
Guest

Blackface was definitely racist 20 years ago, it was racist 50 years ago. Ignorance to racism doesn’t make racist or bigoted acts less racist or bigoted.

I don’t think Tim is conflating this with so-called “entitlement” in us younger generations, and I feel like you missed the point of his post entirely and tried to make it about something else.

Philippe
Guest
Philippe

Sure it was racist but the social norm wasn’t as strict as today. It erodes slowly. It also changes when you get older. Being a kid vs a 40 year old man, changes your values. At the time he didn’t give 2 shits about it. Now he probably wouldn’t do it if he went to the same party because 1 society is a lot more vocal about it and 2 he should be wiser as he is older. That’s the point of Thomas, I think.

Applying the meta of sociaty to a society 20+ years ago isnt fair to anyone.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Exactly!

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Older generations can be just as entitled as the younger generations. I.E. I’ve seen old people pretty much behaving like dicks and expecting everyone to treat them with respect. You get respect based on how you behave, not because you are old or in a position of power. Treat people like how you want to be treated is the way to live by.

Also, Blackface has pretty much always been racist from what I’ve seen and I’m 37. So Justin Trudeau being forced to apologize isn’t ridiculous in my opinion.

MiguelMysterio
Guest
MiguelMysterio

This has to be one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.
I really like your more positive outlook on things.
Yes it’s important to let developers know that they messed up, but as a community we should be helping them fix their mistakes so that the next generation of games provide even more fun and pleasure.
Life is just more enjoyable when we help each other rather than breaking each other down.

Thanks so much for writing this, it’s good to see there are more people who just want to enjoy games and not bitch around all day.

GamerLEN
Guest
GamerLEN

Mm, yeah. I mean I got ticked at Blizz when they screwed up the response to Blitzchung’s statement, but they did eventually turn it around and gave him his prize money back as well as cutting the ban and I’d imagine the backlash and protests and such are something they’re going to remember long term. You don’t forget your major event of the year having people outside screaming “Free Hong Kong!” anytime soon. At the same time, I tend to avoid Ubisoft and EA games, but those companies have a proven track record of ticking me off. Blizzard had its… Read more »

Justin Horner
Guest
Justin Horner

Not going to read the other comments in case they are a shitstorm, but I want to say that I appreciate the time and thought that went into writing this.

Pjs
Guest
Pjs

I don’t think I ever dropped a reply on any of your comics despite the many years reading them. And I came here to post that I fully agree and applaud you for publically saying so. It was like the reaction Critical Role had for taking a Wendy’s sponsorship and people all get “THEY CAN NEVER BE FORGIVEN!” and I am just like…wow…didn’t even know there was a risk there but ok. I am tired of all the hate I feel like no one is allowed to enjoy anything anymore. Or like you said make one mistake and its “Never… Read more »

FMan
Guest
FMan

I don’t think “supporting a literal dictatorial regime’s policy of delegitimizing and repressing an entire people and their culture” is really comparable to lying about the contents of your game or even predatory business practices.

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

Blizzard never “supported a literal dictatorial regime’s policy of delegitimizing and repressing an entire people and their culture”. What kind of exaggeration is that? They punished Blitzchung for breaking his contract. Period. Heck, the punishments were handed down by Blizzard Taiwan, and Taiwan has a violent history of civil war with mainland communist China not to mention openly supports the Hong Kong Revolution. Blitzchungs actions despite being noble were also pretty reckless considering he was speaking on Blizzard’s live broadcast to an audience of millions of Chinese in the middle of a violent revolution, not just in terms of personal… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

The thing about anger is that it’s contagious. If one person expresses it to a mass of people over something, it’s going to spread. I agree with letting it go, instead. There’s not much to get and stay angry at video game wise. Developers are like everyone else. They put their pants on one leg at a time, unless they’re in a rush and then they just crash around the room into things struggling and making a process take longer than if they just did or normal. They rush because they want to share their excitement, or they’re trying to… Read more »

Scott
Guest
Scott

I am finding myself increasingly disheartened and jaded with general online communities and the Internet as a whole. The more I play games online or join in in online forums and discussions the more I am being exposed to a non-stop stream of toxicity, bad behaviour and general lack of decency to other human beings. It is starting to ruin games that I love and regularly enjoyed. I have all but given up on WoW due to how awful the community appears to be, I am struggling to enjoy Smash Ultimate online when every single match has toxic people rage… Read more »

Villainous_Muse
Guest

I think people are so ready to be angry at video games because publishers have spent the last decade sucking the joy out of them and trying to figure out a way to get us to pay for that joy on top of paying for the opportunity to pay for that privilege. The self styled “Triple A” doesn’t view its consumers as people who pay for a product, they see the consumers as sheep to be sheared and the investors as their customers. As someone with an incredibly limited income, I don’t appreciate EA, Ubisoft, Activision and Bethesda eyeing the… Read more »

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

The thing about forgiveness, though, is it has to be earned. It’s not something merely given because Blizzard does a speech that says they’re sorry (while not acknowledging what they’re sorry for, and not putting a stop to the thing we know they’re claiming to be sorry for even though they won’t acknowledge what they’re sorry for). Blizzard needed to prove with actions that they’re sorry, and their actions say that they’re not. Their actions say that they’re only sorry they got caught. I have no forgiveness for Blizzard because they’ve yet to do anything that is worthy of forgiveness.… Read more »

Erica Heathrow
Guest
Erica Heathrow

Personally, I’m not angry about an issue like this – mostly just disappointed. Games as we know them are an interactive art form that revolves in large part around creative expression in one form or another, and that’s what’s wonderful about it. It’s great to be excited for new games, to experience them, and to share thee with other people, and it’s great to support the people that work hard to bring those things to us… but there is still principle involved. At a personal level, I’m not angry – I’m just not going to support a corporation that demonstrates… Read more »

Stantasio
Guest
Stantasio

You know, at a certain point it felt like you were talking more about society then the gaming community, it’s refreshing to see you can be level headed and not caught up in blind zealotry for bandwagon hate.

Cyrad
Guest
Cyrad

Caring about the game industry *sometimes* means caring about things in the industry other than games.

It’s a double-edged sword.

FITCamaro
Guest
FITCamaro

Well said Tim.

Jake
Guest
Jake

I couldn’t agree more, Tim! People conflate cynicism with a kind of jaded wisdom, and in a sense they’re right. But there’s a huge downside to it: It makes you bitter and angry all the time, when that’s often not warranted. Carl Jung argued that cynicism and nihilism were the consequence of initial minimum consciousness after we emerged from millennia of unconsciousness. But the antidote to that isn’t a return to the unconscious; it’s to achieve a more discerning, complete level of consciousness mediated by the capital-S Self. It’s also funny you mention the pharmaceutical issue as an example of… Read more »

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Thanks to people that have to throw their politics into everything. Do I think the idiot gamer who went political at a gaming event was wrong? Yup. Do I think Blizzard had every right to punish the guy based ont he rules the guy agreed to? Yup Do I think the punishment fit the “crime” – eh, maybe not. Do I think the vocal people who complained about Blizzard had the right to complain? Sure. In the end, Hong Kong belongs to China. Period. If Hong Kong wants to be free, that’s fine – they get to fight for their… Read more »

Him.
Guest
Him.

Hong Kong’s relation to China has absolutely nothing to do with this, with the MOST TANGENTIAL connection on account of one of the recent upsets being because of it.
Don’t fuss about people putting politics into stuff and then go on to yammer about politics.

Jay
Guest
Jay

“If you don’t let yourself get your hopes up, you won’t end up being disappointed.” Thanks for saying so much, Tim! When did we reach the point where a hobby–a casual hobby, that you dont need to participate in and aren’t required to be a part of–is treated with the same cynicism that we use for politics? If you’re so unhappy with it all, if you literally go into every video game expecting disappointment (and because of that, finding it everywhere you look) then why are you part of the hobby? It *is* a hobby. Can it be an obsessive… Read more »

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I mean we were children at one point whose greatest concern was not fulfilling the prophecy of “Oh my God I showed up at School and its Test Day and OH MY GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS” We’re adults now. We have concerns beyond who Sally like, *like-likes*. Sure, some people take it overboard, there are *always* people like our old friend Jack Thompson, just under different pseudonyms and allegiances, whether it’s “Million Moms” boycotting a developer for presenting a Homosexual relationship or overly left Liberal Try Hards boycotting Modern Warfare for daring to feature guns. Should we be concerned… Read more »

Fledge
Guest
Fledge

“Should we be concerned that Blizzard copped out to an extremely oppressive foreign regime?” See this is the wrong way of looking at it. Blitzchung dragged Blizzard into the controversy of an ongoing violent revolution between China and Hong Kong, not only threatening their getting banned in the country and having to let go of hundreds of employees and drop service to millions of gamers but ALSO putting their Shanghai employees in danger of criminal detention by the government. People say “wow Blitzchung was brave, he took a great risk” well yeah, but he did it on someone else’s platform… Read more »

Flarecrow
Guest
Flarecrow

Gee, I sure don’t see Blizzard cutting ties with those partners or trying to remove those employees they’re apparently responsible for from harm’s way…

Fuck Blizzard, they’re ignoring an evil authoritarian government’s actions in the name of profit. It’s really that simple.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

So is that it? “Get that Son of a Bitch off the Field” is the way things go? The way we want to let things go? I’ll admit a liberal bias happily and easily, but where the fuck *else* is someone who is *known as a gamer* supposed to take a vocal stand? Especially during a pivotal moment in their country’s existence? I’ve been open about my mixed feelings about Hong Kong in general, it’s history as a Smugglers Den, then Opium Runner Cove, then General-Place-Western-Powers-Undermined-China-From is no mystery, but the approach China is taking is also in the wrong.… Read more »

destino
Guest
destino

the term “cancel culture” is a trend so terrible that Barack Obama has made a speech about it last week, calling for people to stop it. Nice to see you aboard this Tim.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I felt like he was talking more about the political sphere at, y’know which point I’ll argue that we aren’t really in a position right now with the way things are going to just sit down and stay quiet.

Amith Somasekharan
Guest
Amith Somasekharan

Nicely written! I agree completely. Just recently i was telling someone how i was super excited about Star Wars Fallen Order and couldn’t wait for release, that i was just spending time on YouTube watching and rewatching previews and such, and all they had to say was that I’m an idiot cuz the game is going to bomb hard. And why? Cuz EA. That’s their whole justification.
Didn’t feel like interacting with them after that.

J Ince
Guest
J Ince

Well said. Gamer hate is why I am getting dissatisfied with gaming in general.

Makabriel
Guest
Makabriel

First time commentor here, but you touched upon something my friends and I have been noticing for years now, and has been constant water cooler talk. Why is it that gamers have come to hate their hobby? Because that’s all we see these days. A constant, unending litany of hate. There’s almost no place you can go now that isn’t tainted by streams of anti-game developer hatred… from the very people that buy the games. It’s maddening. This Blizzard thing has become the peak of it for me and last week I spent almost a full 2 days of seriously… Read more »

clideb50
Guest
clideb50

Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only sick of non-stop “woke”, and “you should be ashamed of yourself” blah blah blah. I get it they did a bad thing, we all have. Sometimes I feel like people don’t actually care about the core issue. They just want to be made about some outrage to just have the moral high ground. Blizzard made a mistake. They issued an apology, and made amends for it. Not perfect amends as some people have demanded, but middle ground amends in an attempt make everyone happy more or less. That’s life. It’s give and… Read more »

Mel
Guest
Mel

I approve this message. It is really hard to put something like this up. I’m glad that you did so.

We should all spend more time happy, and less time otherwise.
Video games (and sports, television, movies, etc) are something that is supposed to help us be happy. If it is failing for you, stop doing it.

Save the outrage for politics and business decisions that effect you or your family, of which the blizzard hearthstone thing is one, but bethesda shipping buggy games is not.

Bob, LordofEvil
Guest
Bob, LordofEvil

I usually do not post AND don’t plan on reading the comments today, but I wanted to say “Ditto.” On the whole rant, “Ditto.”

Stefan
Guest
Stefan

totally agree on this, let’s enjoy more!

Liam
Guest
Liam

Excellent discussion point. That was the problem I used to have reading the forums for WoW. It was as if they all believed that bitching would resolve everything. The whole time WoW kept saying constructive feedback helps us improve the game. There is nothing wrong with having a complaint about a game you enjoy playing, but if you can’t give constructive feedback, you are part of the problem. NMS was disappointing to me and I have never gone back to it. After reading that you thought they had improved the product, I was surprised to even know it still existed.… Read more »

Nethan
Guest
Nethan

You can be constructive and still see no improvment in the game. See EVE Online for exemple. A DECADE of constructive feedback but CCP (the developers) didn’t care/read, making the players more aggressive with time. Recently, CCP admitted that they don’t play their own game and even said that they don’t have any clues of what to do, despite said feedback. They just have to read their own forums but it seems that it is too hard to launch Firefox… Still, in July CCP made their ultimate mistake : they removed the “local comm channel”. I won’t explain here what… Read more »