Fanboys; The Industry Speaks – “They’re Basically Idiots”
As you no doubt noticed, we were recently at Edinburgh Interactive. While we were there, we got some developers and industry figures to comment on the issue of fanboys and the tendency they have to froth at the mouth when they see something they don’t like.
From both the people playing games at EI and those there to demonstrate their new wares, there was a mixture of apathy and resentment towards fanboys.
Join us as we have a look at the bane of the industry – fanboys – and laugh at their expense.
Unless you are one, in which case ‘Sony iz teh R0XxorZ”.
We are a fairly level-headed bunch here at Attitude Towers, and we are happy to admit that other consoles are excellent machines with their own merits and particular fortes. Except for Danny_D. You don’t mention the Wii to our Danny…
In saying that, we know all too well what happens when you get involved in an online discussion with a group of gamers about the latest contentious console issue of the hour.
Be it the defection of an exclusive to another system or the decision by a company to alter their business strategy, the debate will be bounding along nicely with people showing intelligence and putting their point across in a civilized manner.
Then in steps Johnny ‘Fanboy’ Doe with some natty witticism such as ‘Phony iz teh suxx0rz, XBox FTW!!!’ or ‘M$ = RROD, lolzerz’.
If rational people react to such prose by explaining their point of view in a remotely constructive manner, they usually get sucked into a personal battle with the fanboy. Once you learn this lesson – usually the hard way – you tend to try and ignore them from then on. The problem is that these pointless comments block the chance for people to have a real debate about the issue at hand.
Not only that, the anonimity granted by the internet has backfired, meaning anyone can spout nonsense and feel vindicated by the fact that they have managed to string a series of drivelous insults together, all the while remaining an elusive online nobody.
Everyone has heard of the scandals seen at sites like Metacritic and N4G, whereby haters and fanboys artificially modify a game score or comment on how awful a title is without any first-hand experience of said game.
So many fanboys refuse to even acknowledge that good games exist on any platform other than their own, or resort to pixel counting to ‘prove’ how bad a game is.
These people who state that ‘Game X’ is automatically worse than ‘Game Y’ because it is not in proper 720p resolution, or that the anti-aliasing of this version of a game is worse than that version by 0.4%, are barking up the wrong tree and missing the point entirely. As if the difference of a few pixels really comes across when you play through a game!
If a game is bad it should be derided for its own reasons, not the number of teeny squares it can push around the screen at any given moment.
It seems that even the Big Companies who design the modern consoles are culprits of ‘flame-baiting’ from time to time. There’s a difference between stating that your system excels at x, y and z, and stating that your system is straight out better than another.
While the Big Companies are somewhat more subtle in their execution, there is no denying that they fan(boy) some of the biggest flames! However, these companies know that any kind of buzz generates heat for their product, so you could say that they have a certain degree of marketing justification for that.
No, the biggest perpetrators of this unfortunate aspect of the industry are the fervent hyper-fans of the ‘one console to rule them all’ vein. Maybe they could only get one console and now hold onto the fact that they must have made the right choice, as admitting anything else would render their purchase a disaster… just look at the GameCube!*
From time to time, this overwhelming sense of desperation somehow translates into the creation of a fanboy; another wimpering, spineless whelp to squeal profanity at another person/group of people because they prefer another console or do not share a particular point of view.
Nobody actually likes fanboys. If you are sitting there saying “Well, I like fanboys”, it means you might well be one. Sorry, man. The honest truth is that no one, but no one, really likes fanboys.
Don’t believe us? We asked some industry bigwigs for their thoughts on fanboys…
Kieran O’Neill – founder of PlayFire
“There are good fanboys and bad fanboys. Where people have followed a console, bought it and become fans of it, but share their thoughts and have an open mind, that’s ok. That’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that.
The problem we have, and one that I think everyone in the industry agrees with, is the one with the fanboys who are idiots. They say ‘aw your console sucks, it has the worst graphics’. You say, ‘well here’s a game with great graphics that is on this system’, then they just swear at you.
They are just basically idiots.”
Nathan Vella – President, Capybara Games
“I think there is a duality to fanboys. There is nothing better for us [developers] to have people really passionate about our stuff, but at the same time, I think that the anonymity of the internet has taken that to the extreme.
I think it’s hilarious. Like, if you take it lightheartedly, it’s really entertaining. I think as long as you take everything with a grain of salt, it’s ok. I don’t quite understand it; personally I just like good games – I don’t care what platform it’s on.”
Grant Tasker – Project Manager, Eidos
“The thing that really annoys me is that whole ‘FIRST’ thing. I don’t think fanboys damage the Industry per se, but it doesn’t improve anyone’s enjoyment of a game to have people swearing or mouthing off about another platform. For whatever reason!”
And it’s not just the developers who feel this way. We had a chat with several of the guys from a few of our favourite sites, too.
Anthony from TPSN had this to say.
“It’s good to see people who have a passion for a certain product or company, but when passion crosses the thin line into fanboyism it becomes annoying and idiotic. I have no problems with passionate fans, but those who spout abuse at the mere mention of their favourite game/console not being “the best” are deluded and a detriment to the videogames industry.”
Still not convinced? Well, our last guest has a special ability. See, he has a knack for saying what the rest of us wouldn’t dare.
“Fanboys are… perplexing. Sure, there are franchises that I really enjoy. But I’d never pretend they were perfect or scream the house down if they made any attempt to evolve. They’re people with so little going on in their own lives that they latch onto the things they enjoy and place them on unfathomable pedestals because it’s the only thing they can find to be passionate about.
I suspect that this is what happens when an entire civilisation has too much time on their hands. That’s the problem – modern society has no real struggle, so importance gets misplaced. Sixty years ago we’d just fool them all into going to get shot by Germans.”
Our conslusion has not been a difficult one to arrive at; with so many ‘regular’ fans angered by pointless flaming and the industry voicing a similar opinion, it must surely be time to let things go? There are great games on all consoles.
Sure, we support the PS3 at Attitude Towers by the very nature of our site – a decision we made because we wanted to focus our time and attention, not because we believe that the PS3 is the only console worth writing about. And we will not lower ourselves to console-bashing or shouting off about a game we have not played simply because it is on another console.
When all is said and done, nobody wins when all you do is shout profanities. It makes a mockery of what the industry strives to achieve and brands all gamers as childish, thanks to the actions of just a few.
Consider the points raised here the next time you’re about to flame. lolz.
*Just kidding – the Gamecube was a decent machine, too! The Dreamcast on the other hand…