Entitled. It's a very dirty word right now. In the wake of recent controversies, gamers across the globe have thrown up their hands in horror and mobilised against the evils they perceive to be eeking out of the games industry like inky blood from a rotting octopus. Meanwhile, internet dwellers of a different mindset observe these events from afar. Many don't care and read some other news story. Many might leave one comment voicing their apathetic opinion. But some jump in with both feet, and throw in that dirtiest of words; "entitled". And people don't like that.
So what do they mean exactly? My guess for the most part is they believe those who cry foul on such controversies are arguing for something with an air of deservedness. "I paid �40/$60/$3000 Australian for this game, and it is not as good as I expected in some way or other. I want the stuff I wanted!" Generally, looking at the quality of many of these comments, it can be quite hard to not share this view unless you are one of those who agree with the agrieved, but that's not to say there is some worth in the criticism they air. For example, the Mass Effect 3 ending thing, or "Retakegate" as myself and my mate call it, could have been so much more than it was. Players could have taken, en masse, to the Bioware forums, and laid out their criticisms of briefness, the anti-climax, or general plot holes right on the table for Bioware to see. Instead, it all seemed just a bit too sleazy to me. Starting a mass charity contribution as a way of drawing attention to your cause might be fine in the real world, but when your motives are to change the end of an otherwise very good computer game, the whole thing just seems ghastly. It seemed to me that the charity front was a shield from criticism, where those who pointed out that demanding a new ending for a computer game was slightly redundant would be hit back with "At least we're doing some good in the world. What have you done with your Tuesday, Troll!?!"
This post isn't really supposed to be about Mass Effect 3. I haven't played it yet, and am now planning on buying it when the new improved ending comes out so I can just treat that like the final product. I also support Bioware in their decision to act on feedback, and disagree that it ruins the integrity of the game as a "work of art". I also agree that people should be able to give feedback in a product, and suggest ideas for improvement. However, the point is that 99% of such forum posts, news comments and the like were attacking Bioware, and gave the idea that they were demanding something they were entitled to. They may not even have explicitly said so, but for the most part, you get a good feeling of such a view. �They say when you see it, it hits you with the force of three Mega-Hitlers�.
The thing that spurred this post into existence is the news that only a day or two after the long awaited announcement of Dark Souls for PC, PC gamers have flocked to the internet to growl and spit about the use of the Games for Windows Live service within the game. For those who are not familiar with this service, it operates like a simplified version of the Xbox 360 user interface whilst in-game. You can unlock and browse your achievements and gamerscore, which can be shared with the same account on an existing Xbox 360 account. You can message friends on PC and 360, voice chat, and find friends to play with. Currently, the service is used widely on games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, the DiRT series and the F1 series, as well as several other high profile titles. In my opinion, it is not a very invasive service, and I appreciate the link between the PC and 360 (even if the potential for cross-platform play has not really been harnessed since the rather crappy remake of Shadowrun). There is also an additional client called "Games for Windows Marketplace" which allows the purchase and downloading of a limited number of games when compared to Steam and even Origin. It is not really competitive when compared to those latter two clients, but it does it's job okay. However, this client is not part of the obligatory client that will be included as part of Dark Souls. All you will get is achievement and online support through it. Which isn't too bad. Plus, updates and patches will be automatically available as they come, so there will be no need to hunt down patches like you would with a non-"DRM" supported game.
But this is beside the point. The point is that no sooner have PC gamers received what they wanted, they start picking holes in it. It's like wishing for a pi�ata for your birthday party, bashing it open and complaining that the sweets inside are Quality Street as opposed to Celebrations. Well done guys, way to spit in the face of a developer who's taking a very big risk by providing you with a game they originally had no intention of giving you. It is my belief they have chosen GFWL as the coding for network support is not too dissimilar from that of the Xbox 360 version, thus allowing an easier port. But you guys didn't really think of that did you?
Besides, I'm pretty sure the game will be available on Steam anyway, and complaints about two clients running simultaneously slowing down the game are ridiculous. If your PC can't handle two extra small tasks, then I don't know what little RAM you have, but son, it might be time to upgrade. And for those claiming that DRM should not be included at all, I'll say this; From Software are taking a bit of a risk here, releasing a game on a platform they've had no interaction with in forever, so try not to complain too much if they're trying to take all the precautions they can in making sure Dark Souls doesn't shoot straight to the top of The Pirate Bay's top downloaded games.
(I just want to point out at this point that this isn't an attack on PC gamers, as I am a proud PC gamer, despite being platform neutral and owning freaking everything and being awesome.) Oh, the horror!
These are but two examples, but I feel it is a trend which will rapidly grow. From being about something fairly righteous, progressing on to knit-picking at anything announced, thus giving the developer more reason to develop a game without you and your kind in mind. A games developer owes nothing to its customers bar what the back of the box and the press release says will be on the disc you just paid $60 for. After that, you're on your own. That's just the way the world works. By all means, voice an opinion, and tell the developers where you feel they went wrong. But don't go about claiming to be hard done by, or you become the very example of a "First World Crisis". At least you have electricity, food, a lack of plague and a decent PC to play the game on.
Also, fight the right fight! People are too easily allowing publishers to carefully cut away at their consumer rights. You're no longer allowed to sue Sony or the Playstation brand. You soon won't be able to preowned games, or any discs at all for that matter! Gaming as a physical entity which can be preserved for future gamer generations is falling through our finger tips, and you're more worried about Dante's hair colour? Ask the wrong sort of people, and they�ll tell you this is worse than famine
To summarise, I believe people should be able to voice criticism and disappointment. I believe developers and publishers should take this criticism on board, and preferably, act on it. But I believe that some people just don't have a clue about how whiny and entitled they sound. No other industry in the world has to put up with the amount of whining that the games industry has to put up with, and whilst I feel that the industry is big enough and ugly enough to look after itself, it needs to hear from you about the true evils it plans to commit, and that in no uncertain terms will they be supported should they cross certain thresholds. Let's have more articles about gamers who really took a stand against the kind of crap that the likes of EA and Capcom get up to (with holding already completed content to they can sell it to you later springs to mind), not about a guy who baked cupcakes and sent them to Bioware, because the bastards probably just ate them.
LOOK WHO CAME: