Entitlement: It’s not a nice sounding word, but it’s certainly an easy one to define. That’s why, despite my initial desire to defend my hobby and the people within it, it is difficult when people make the claim that gamers are an entitled group of people. The best I can say is something like “not all gamers,” but that goes without saying. The undeniable truth is that a very loud portion of us steal the spotlight in online discussions and act like we deserve everything we want from the people who make our games.
The most recent issue that springs to mind centers on the company that makes the Diablo series of video games. Blizzard has long been producing these loot-filled dungeon crawlers and, as a fan, I have to say that the company has done a very good job. Blizzard, for the most part, knows what it is doing. And, as a result, I’d like as much Diablo as humanly possible. I’m even curious about the upcoming mobile game, Diablo Immortal, because I’ve seen some seriously good mobile games lately in the form of titles like Dragalia Lost and Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opera Omnia. I understand fans who are hesitant about a mobile title, but what I can’t understand is the fan reaction to Blizzard’s announcement of the game. Immediately after the reveal, a fan asked if the announcement was an “out of season April Fools’ joke.” People cheered. The trolls came out. How dare Blizzard not make the exact game they wanted?
On one hand, it’s been six years since Diablo III came out. On the other, the game has seen extra content, ports, and a very recently released version for the Nintendo Switch. It isn’t as though there is a total lack of support for the franchise. In fact, more announcements for the franchise are expected for 2019. A mobile game seems like a good way to make the franchise more accessible and might even invite new gamers to support Diablo. But, since it’s on mobile, I guess those aren’t real gamers anyway?
Where does the anger come from? What is the reason for taking personal offense when a game is made for someone other than you? A similar thing happened with Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! These are two games that are, in many ways, similar to the iconic game, Pokemon Yellow. They do, however, incorporate mechanics from the mobile title, Pokemon GO. Some saw this as a betrayal, as though Nintendo was betraying the hardcore demographic. Ignoring the fact that Pokemon Yellow is an easy game in itself and these games are, in a lot of ways, better and more streamlined, there is no reason to be upset that games you don’t like exist. Especially when Pokemon has always had a younger audience in mind.
There is a degree to which frustration is justifiable. I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games and, time and time again, I religiously purchase new titles from Square Enix. Overall, these games aren’t of the same quality as the ones that I grew up loving. They are also usually released after a lot of build up, delays, and hypes so their disappointing performance stings a bit. But I have the ability to be an informed consumer. If I don’t like the games, I can simply stop purchasing them at any time. But at no point do I have a right to claim that the developers owe me the games I want; they are free to make the games they think are a good fit for today’s market regardless of what I, a longtime fan, thinks.
The game industry is full of people and they deserve respect. The mature reaction is to reject the games we don’t like and hope that we can influence development by voting with our wallets. But it is a business and publishers are going to take many factors into consideration when they are deciding which games get made. That means they’ll make accessible games for phones. That means they’ll experiment with beloved franchises. We don’t have to like it, but we have to accept it because what is owed to us beyond the product we purchase? Nothing.