We have had many Ops ever since GamerGate started, huh? Maybe too many. We have charities, reporting shady newspapers to the authorities and to their advertisers –send those emails, boys-, and now Operation Winds of Winter.
For the not Op-Savvy, it’s a purchasing boycott. Those who adhere to this are asked to reduce their gaming budgets for the durations of the holiday season in protest for Anti-Consumer practices -a list of which can be found here.-
Now, on one side? I see and understand where this is coming from. After all, #GamerGate started from Journalist Ethics but the more we go on, the more of a scope it gets because of our opposition, and how they treat us. And even before this, we’ve had enough beef with Game Publishers and Developers to make a tower of meatballs.
I will personally never buy a SquareEnix game ever again. If trying to bring to court fan-translators and pulling the plug on fan-projects of franchises they just sit on, localizing Type-0 for PS4 and XboxOne at 59,99 and the quality of their games just getting lower in EVERYTHING except graphics was more than sufficient for me.
There are other companies/developers that I won’t buy from anymore: Ubisoft, Bioware, HareBrained Schemes… A boycott is good. Making it known that it’s happening? Also good. But I’ve noticed more than one person asking for a total boycott of all games, or of everything AAA.
Which is troubling to me, and also poppycock and counterproductive. Let me explain why. Two points.
There are good companies who deserve to be rewarded
There’s a lot of shitty policies that seem to have taken hold of gaming, recently. There’s this toxic -yes, that’s a real toxic culture- of pre-ordering which, I agree with @TotalBiscuit, should die a quick and messy death. There’s microtransactions everywhere, to the point of having gone to substitute what once were cheat codes -looking at you, Assasin’s Creed: Unity-.
There’s disc-based DLC. There’s Day One patches. There’s much much more. But the thing is: not all companies are culprit of that. And a complete boycott of all games or even just all AAA games will hurt some of those companies who instead should be rewarded.
An example. CDProjekt. The creators and developers of The Witcher series. By many intents and purposes, they’re an AAA company. Their games are great. Their policies too, and they learn from their mistakes. Noticed that DRM The Witcher 2 was pirated a lot while not DRM had increased sales? The Witcher 3 will have no DRM whatsoever.
Speaking of The Witcher 3, while it’s been pushed back to February 2015 to be sure it’s ready to be played decently on Day One -aaah, music for my ears-, it was originally set for late 2014. Which means that any person boycotting games in general would have boycotted CDProjekt as well. Which is just wrong.
It sends the wrong kind of message
Showing that we punish and are intolerant of bad policies, shady actions and stupid declarations -either Tim Schafer or Ubisoft have been culprit of all three veeeery recently- is good. But unlike a certain cadre of fighters for the bringing of interactional judgment, if you catch my drift, it’s also important that we show our support too.
We have to show both carrot and stick. The first for those who work and act virtuously, the latter to those who do bad things. If we focus on the latter and that only, we’ll start looking for everything to give us reasons to complain, and from serious matters we’ll start focusing on petty things. And we don’t want that.
I mean, it would be like avoiding to focus on the multicultural team who made an historical achievement in science and space-fare to instead bully a person into tears because of a tacky t-shirt. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.
So, in conclusion, general boycott? Poppycock. Bad idea. Don’t. Bad. My tips? Buy the games you like from people who treat you well. Stop preordering. Use #OpWindsofWinter to let people know who you’re boycotting and why, and who instead you’re supporting.
Personally? I’m seriously pondering buying an used WiiU -because I don’t really like how stagnant Nintendo has become- and Bayonetta 2. If I can find one cheap enough to justify it then becoming a dust-collector like the Wii before it. Because Platinum Games deserves support.
Even if Kamiya can be a douche.