Different Ways Gamers Can Impact The Video Game Industry
Gamers want to have a voice in the development of games and expect developers to listen and make games based on it. No other entertainment medium has a relationship quite like it. You don’t see people demanding specific film techniques from TV shows. Readers aren’t posting on Reddit requesting plotlines from their favorite novelists. Fans don’t pester their favorite bands to include a new instrument just because they prefer the sound.
No other media is quite like this. It might be because of the interactive nature of video games and how players take an active part of their entertainment. Regardless of why, it’s the nature of the beast.
Gamers want a voice in the future of the video game industry, and there are multiple ways they can. Here are some of the best ways you can get your voice heard and ensure the industry moves in the right direction.
The Power Of Your Wallet
Video game developers are businesses looking to earn a living. Many choices are made simply to get them more sales.
So, if you want to send a message to game developers, start with your money. You might feel like a small fish in a giant ocean, but if enough people buy the games they think are going the right way, while not supporting games they disagree with, developers will get the message.
Let’s look at two major examples of this. The first is the Witcher 3. Gamers loved many of the different elements introduced and refined in this game, resulting in high sales. In turn, many other developers are looking at this game as an example of what to do. If sales of the game had been poor, or even average, both the industry and developer would have re-examined what they did and not continue on it.
The other example is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. When the reveal trailer was released, they received tons of negative feedback, but that wasn’t new for the more recent installments of the series. It wasn’t until the game was released and received poor sales that the developer decided to reconsider the direction of the series.
Money talks, so if you like what a game series is doing, consider buying it new so they get as much money from the purchase as possible. Show your support so they can continue doing good work, and the rest of the industry will follow.
Kickstarting and Backing Games You Like
Money can do more than support developers after the game is released. Many developers are turning to crowdfunding options like Kickstarter to get the funds needed to turn their ideas into reality.
While most games made in Kickstarter don’t make a huge splash, occasionally one or two make a huge difference. Undertale is the ultimate example of a Kickstarter going big and having an impact on the industry. If it hadn’t been kickstarted, we never would have gotten it, and the industry wouldn’t see this overwhelming example of creative gameplay trumping graphics.
The Power of Social Media
Social media can be a force for change. Remember a few years ago when the Ice Bucket Challenge was huge and brought tons of awareness to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS?
Similarly, gamers with social media can bring about change in the industry if enough of them become passionate about it. A great example of this is when Microsoft was revealing the Xbox One and announced several features players didn’t like. Many turned to social media to complain, and the resulting backlash had Microsoft backpedaling.
Now, not every gaming issue that crops up is fixed through social media. It requires a lot of people banding together for an extended period of time to truly get a message across.
Many companies capture informative data through social media to gauge gamers’ reactions. Often, it’s not a matter of having a persuasive argument or thoughtful post on why what they are doing is wrong. It’s a numbers game. If enough people complain on social media and it becomes a real risk, then the game developer might reconsider their decision. Additionally, if enough people talk about wanting a sequel and show real interest, it could persuade a developer to consider it.
Making Your Own Gaming Site
The real power of gamers is in our numbers. In reality, we control what gets produced, what sells well, and what series end. Something might be an instant classic, but if people don’t know about it, they can’t buy it and it will fail, never to receive the sequel it deserves.
With gaming sites everywhere, many build at least a small following. That gives them a small sphere of influence, but it also helps build your credibility. As you review more games, produce more articles, and grow, you can even submit your scores and reviews to larger sites like Metacritic to influence overall scores.
There are so many tools to help build a site that nearly anybody can do it. The important part is to share your honest opinion, build a following, and be a force for good.
If you would rather not build a site, but still want to get involved, many sites (like this one you’re on) look for writers to help produce articles for them. Or, if you have a silky smooth voice and some recording equipment, you could start a Youtube channel to share your thoughts.
Start Making Games
Be the change you want to see in the gaming world. The gaming industry always looks for qualified workers, and gamers want new and innovative games to play. It might seem daunting even thinking about it, but learning to make a game can be fun, challenging, and rewarding.
You might not produce the next Undertale or get picked up by a AAA game studio, but indie game developers are growing faster than ever. Both with the rising trend of mobile gaming and the attention larger companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Steam give independent developers, it’s becoming more possible to gain exposure and a following.
What changes would you like to see in the gaming industry? How are you making your voice heard? Is there a particular practice in the industry you want to see go away? Let us know in the comments below.