Entitled fans can be the worst. It’s absolutely fine to have a passion for the things you love, but to feel like the people making those things owe you something outside the product itself for your hard-earned money is insanity. Yet, this kind of thing happens all the time, especially in the wonderful world of video games.
Recently, BioWare has come under fire from their fans for multiple reasons. Firstly, a legion of diehard Mass Effect fans are very upset that BioWare released Day-1 downloadable content for Mass Effect 3, claiming the company is trying to nickel and dime the very people that have supported them and made them rich over the years. But as we point out on the Next Gen News podcast, there are many things factoring into when extra content is released for a title. And it doesn’t seem like a lot of the rapid BioWare fans understand that.
Secondly, the same legion of BioWare fans are upset at the endings of Mass Effect 3 -- all 16 of them! Apparently, they don’t live up the the standards set by BioWare’s previous work on the epic sci-fi trilogy, with some vocal fans demanding BioWare create and release new endings that will satiate the BioWare faithful who feel the current endings don’t justify the hundreds of hours logged into the series.
If you’re doing a hard facepalm right now, we’re right there with you. This sense of entitlement from the fans is obnoxious and is doing nothing but hurting the image of gamers as it makes us look like whiny little brats. With that in mind, we’re going to lay out some of the worst cases of gamer entitlement we’ve ever seen. Prepare yourself to get upset.
Valve fans demand info about the future of Half-Life.
Valve fans, like BioWare fans, can be unrelenting bunch. Back in January, a group of Steam gamers formed a group and drafted up a petition to get Valve to be more transparent with the development of future Half-Life titles, be it HL2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 proper.
Mind you, they stressed that they didn’t want development of the game rushed, but instead just wanted Valve to communicate where they’re at with the franchise. While I fully understand the group’s desire to know the status of their favorite gaming franchise considering a new title in the series hasn’t released since 2007, the fact of the matter is that Valve doesn’t owe the fans any sense of transparency at all. If they choose to do so, fine, but it’s not a requirement.
In fact, why would Valve want to pull back the curtain before they’re ready to show off the next Half-Life game to the world? In the grand scheme of things, this Steam group makes up a small minority of Half-Life gamers, and while they might be some of the most dedicated Valve fans around, appeasing them would probably do more damage than good for Valve. And lastly, I’d rather be completely in the dark about the next Half-Life title and be blown away when it is revealed than be told it’s coming and have to wait another five years while Valve slowly chips away at it.
PSN users demanding compensation following hack.
And you thought we wouldn’t have to talk about the PlayStation Network hack ever again, didn’t you? Well, sorry, I’m dredging this story right back up. I even wrote an editorial back when it happened about this same sense of entitlement, so feel free to read that over as a companion piece to this one.
Back in April of 2011, the PlayStation Network was hacked and taken down by Sony for roughly a month. During that time of sussing out the issue and making sure no sensitive data was compromised, PlayStation Network users grew restless at Sony’s efforts to restore their precious online gaming network. It didn’t help that Sony didn’t do such a hot job communicating the severity of the situation with its userbase, leading to a lot of confusion and hysteria. But eventually Sony got their network stabilized and secure and then offered up a bevy of free shit to their users as an apology and token of their gratitude. And guess what, people freakin’ found a way to complain about that too!
For the PlayStation Plus subscribers out there, the people who pay a yearly premium for the Sony’s online service, their demand for compensation was justified. They technically paid for a month of PSN access they couldn’t take advantage of. But for normal PSN users who coast by on the free version of Sony’s online service, Sony didn’t owe you shit, quite honestly. Sony could have just said, “Hey, sorry about that outage, things are now restored and you can go back to enjoying your Call of Duty.” Would that have left a lot of PSN users frustrated? Sure, but Sony didn’t have to give out any freebies to the normies. They owed them nothing. Yet they still gave out a bunch of free games and a free month’s subscription to PS Plus to every gamer who uses the free iteration of Sony’s service. Sony paid their debt in full and yet people still bitched. Unbelievable.
The lambasting of BioWare’s Jennifer Hepler.
BioWare fans strike once again, with this instance of gamer entitlement coming just a few weeks before all the Mass Effect 3 hullabaloo. As the story goes, back in 2006 BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler (Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic) admitted that her least favorite thing about writing for games is actually playing the games. As Hepler put it, she lacks the hand-eye coordination to effectively play and she honestly just doesn’t have the time seeing as she’s a wife and mother. In her eyes, gaming could reach a wider audience if it was possible to actually skip gameplay, allowing those short on time to still enjoy the story. In a nutshell, it’s a lot like what Team Bondi did with L.A. Noire, letting you skip difficult shootout segments so you could continue to enjoy the game’s yarn.
But gamers everywhere, not solely BioWare fans (although they were a big part of this "movement"), lashed out at Hepler, verbally pummeling her for something she said in 2006. Hepler was labeled “the cancer that’s killing BioWare.” And that’s honestly not the worst thing that was said about her. Things got so bad that she had to delete her Twitter account due to constant hate-filled messages. Even BioWare’s higher-ups had to step in and stand up for Hepler, some going as far as telling their fans to f*ck off while BioWare CEO and co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka donated $1,000 to “Bullying Canada” in Hepler’s name. The whole debacle wasn’t pretty and served as a stark reminder that gamers can sometimes get a little bit too invested in the properties they love.
The only good things to come out of this situation, in this writer's humble opinion, was GameSpot’s “The Dangers of Gamer Entitlement” article. If you have some time, give it a read, and then stop being an entitled asshole if you were one to begin with (if you weren’t, you’re cool). These game developers are pouring their blood, sweat and tears into making products for you to enjoy while sitting on your couch scratching yourself. The least you could do is show them some god damn respect.