Editorial: Does 'Supporting The Devs' Matter To You?
It sure is slowing down for the summer isn't it?
While that does count for fewer comments online where we gaming types very much enjoy plying our trade, it does make for less distractionary times in which to converse with dedicated gamers such as yourselves.
Just the other day I got onto a point with a regular member about supporting favored developers who aren't as big as the big guys. If you frequent gaming sites and have a pulse you've probably seen countless comments on the same subject.
“Day 1 purchase, I want to support these devs!” some will sale, or “I'm voting with my wallet, I can't support this monkey business,” another might say after being incensed an a horrifyingly unnecessary change to an established franchise. As I ponder these statements I imagine how ridiculous it may sounds to average gamers who don't know Naughty Dog from Square Enix. “If you want the game, buy it, if you don't then don't” such persons might say.
Would that it were so easy! It's an exceedingly expensive hobby we have, and one without endless means needs to be choosy. There is more to it than that though. As devoted fans of certain properties we like to think that we can have some effect on the direction of things. That includes who succeeds and who fails. For instance the new Devil May Cry, DmC, may have been well received by critics (I certainly loved it) but the franchise fans didn't go in for the changes. This resulted in miserable sales which may or may not force the franchise to try something else to survive going forward.
I was pleased to review Mars: War Logs some time back and while most critics panned it I felt like I saw a glimmer of greatness in Spiders effort and hoped they would survive this cutthroat business long enough to make another game. When I saw what they had in Bound By Flame I decided to get right on board to “support the devs” as it were. I knew full well the game wouldn't be AAA quality but I also knew Spiders could do better than War Logs. And they did. BBF also got some overlooking, but some sites including PSXE saw the same things that made me enjoy the game enough to want to be a part of things. Now, I know that my $50 alone isn't going to make or break Spiders, but I do at least feel like I'm being a good cog in the giant gaming machine as I support who I see to be on the right track.
The more I partake in purchases of the dev supporting kind the less I feel the need to put my money behind gigantic mainstream releases close to their release. Also I find myself enjoying a very different experience overall. People are always complaining that there isn't enough innovation; that's only true if you restrict yourself to the so-called “best of the best” at all times. Not that supporting the established crews is wrong. I definitely wanted teams like the late Irrational Games, Bethesda Softworks, and Quantic Dream to take my money and run with it. Honestly though, surefire hits that I can wait for mean I'll have more money to put towards experimental projects like Dishonored, which I believed in from day one, and Bound By Flame, which I believed would be a worthy production.
This topic also brings used games back into the fore. Some feel no personal responsibility at all to the makers of video games and always buy from used stores or sites. Others avoid used sales specifically for this reason. If one chose they could only buy new from developers they felt needed the sale, reserving all others for used purchases. I remember stating in fit of great displeasure that I specifically didn't want my money getting into anybody's hands for making Lightning Returns even though I planned to play it for story closure.
One gamer's decisions may not make the difference, but as consumers some of us do tend to feel a certain something when spending towards things we believe in or withholding money from things that we either don't believe in or don't deem worthy of a full price for reasons other than quality. Does “supporting the devs” matter to you or do you think we are all just fooling ourselves?
6/1/2014 David D. Nelson