Due to the often whiny nature of boycotters they can be subjected to mass flaming. Walking Target, for example, received as much opposition as support: “There were a fair number of gamers that expressed negative views of the boycott,” he says. “By and large, many people who could be described as vicious were not very well informed as to why we were protesting. We were also frequently covered by online publications who did not do their research and failed to read our reasons as to why we were protesting.”
Above: Assassin's Creed II for the PC irritates with its demand for a constant internet connection
Sensing the aura of fail around boycotts, some protestors attempt different strategies. Lewie Procter, from gaming blogSavygamer.co.uk, recently tried to rally a protest against Ubisoft for their new PC DRM which requires a constant internet connection. He suggested gamers order Ubisoft games en mass, and then return them to retailers in droves. Most respondents, however, considered this was too much effort. It could also backfire, should retailers refuse to give out refunds.
More often than not, boycotts are as ineffective as a two-legged dog. But through strategy and willpower, they can be heard. EA certainly paid attention when consumers launched a class-action lawsuit against them over the use of SecuROM in Spore in 2008. Likewise, Microsoft made Games for Windows – LIVE free after massive online boycotts.
However, boycotts by online retailers are able to change things, reckons Brad Wardell: “I think they have considerable influence on future titles. There’s been a lot of demand for alternatives to Steamworks as well as pressure on Valve to not force the installation of its client and store in order to play a game.”
Above: Spore faced a real threat (class action lawsuit)not just whining
And although boycotts may be a lot of piss and vinegar, they have helped create dialogue: “Myself and other people who were at the heart of the boycott are currently working on ways to communicate better with publishers and developers,” says Walking Target. “The long-term solution is not boycotts and protests, but new ways of communicating between players and the people making games.”
Down with this sort of thing
The e-petitions that went nowhere fast
An honourable sentiment as Dr. Boll is behind such crimes against games and cinema as Postal, Far Cry and House of the Dead. Also a brave one, since he's offered to take on critics in a boxing ring. “We acknowledge that directing is Dr. Boll’s hobby, passion, lifetime ambition and it would not seem proper to force someone to abandon their interests,” says the petitioner, pussy-footing out of harm’s way.
Signatures as of writing: 19
A long-winded rant about how Fallout 3 needs a different name because Fallout Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel were not Fallout 3 and 4 in the series, and Fallout 3 has “radical changes that set it aside from the main Fallout series”. Yawn. “There are further reasons, but we consider them subjective and not necessarily accepted by both old and new Fallout fans.” Good grief.
Signatures as of writing: 155
One last attempt tohave the marines crouching in the new Aliens vs Predator. Sadly, Rebellion turned a blind eye and there is no crouching to be found in the finished game. Maybe they should have said “squat”.
Signatures as of writing:6
Paranoid fear mongering about Blizzard’s World of Warcraft Mouse trying to electrocute the user and being “POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS”. The petitioner also alleges that the mouse is cheaply built and “brakes” [sic] easily. Is he trying to ride it up the M1? “When this reaches 10,000 signatures,” he writes, “we will engage an attorney to mount a class action suit against Activision Blizzard.”
Signatures as of writing:67
Above: The Lamb of God
A polite request to feature Jesus in everyone’s favourite free-roaming sin pit. “We believe that in order to crush all competition, and please the Grand Theft Auto audience, it would be a great idea to include a new character in the franchise – be it through downloadable content or in a possible GTA 5. That character is Jesus Christ.”
Signatures as of writing:12
May 25, 2010
What all developers should learn from EVE Online
When players and devs work together, magic happens
DRM: Necessary evil or consumer insult?
It's not going away, so it needs to get better