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Are We (Gamers) Selfish Bastards?

selfish baby

I’ve long criticised gamers (myself included) as being guilty of getting served big steamy bowls of poop and thanking the people who produced it gratefully.

This column isn’t about that though. I think I’ve talked that particular topic into an early grave, but in my latest, personal feelings of rage on that subject I had an unsettling epiphany.

Gamers only really care about themselves. In fact, I think we might just be selfish assholes.

Another Day, Another Horrible Launch

In case you missed it, the Watch Dogs PC release was kind of a disaster. Aside from Uplay crashing and burning due to day one server load, a big chunk of PC players also experienced all kinds of game-breaking bugs and issues, with some poor bastards not being able to play at all.

One such player was MyGaming editor James Etherington-Smith, who posted a scathing column on Ubisoft’s shoddy treatment of PC gamers (and rightly so), as well as updates on Ubisoft’s handling of the issue.

The articles made me mad – mad that a game that was pushed back, a game that’s supposed to one of the biggest releases of the year, arrived in consumers’ hands broken and unplayable.

The articles made other people mad too – mad at James.

confused cat

Wait, what?

Yup, while there were some like-minded individuals, the lion’s share of the comments section was made up of people complaining about these “whiny” articles and defending Ubisoft.

Why? Because their copies of the game worked, and they didn’t want to hear other people talking smack about their favourite game.

I was massively disappointed – where is the solidarity?

Look I’m not entirely naïve; I realise that gaming is no longer the marginalised subculture it used to be, I realise that the internet is a terrible, terrible place and I realise that in general human beings are self-serving and self-interested.

I know all of that, but still I expected more. Because next time, it could be one of them. Sure today you’re the guy whose Watch Dogs runs perfectly on first install, but come the next big release it could be you whose trolling through forums scouring for something, anything that might get your game past the loading screen.

Those of you reading this who are old enough to have been to a LAN that used coaxial cable instead of Wi-Fi, you’ll remember that every time without fail, one guy’s PC wouldn’t work.

And we’d all spend the obligatory hour or so pretending to care, but then that poor bastard was on his own. You had games to play.

That thing on the left is called a T-piece, and on the right is a terminator. And you were always, ALWAYS one short of one of them.

That thing on the left is called a T-piece, and on the right is a terminator. And you were always, ALWAYS one short of one of them.

That’s pretty much what we have now – as long as my game is working, I don’t care that yours isn’t. The sad thing is, a little reflection had me realising that I’d been guilty of this myself.

Oops.

For example, in the Titanfall subreddit I frequently see posts claiming that Titanfall is “dead on PC” due to excessively long matchmaking queues. These posts are almost exclusively by people who are trying to play on the Australia/SEA servers.

But on Europe? I have no trouble at all, so those posts just annoy me. Don’t badmouth my favourite game you Aussie bastards, Titanfall is awesome!

As usual then, I’m part of the problem. But it isn’t just about us being selfish pricks, there’s a bigger issue here.

As long as we don’t get angry on behalf of the majority, as long as we don’t get mad when our fellow gamers get the short straw – that minority is going to continue to exist. Unlike most minorities, however, it shifts often and easily.

So next time the dice come up snake eyes and our R600 game crashes to desktop, we’ll realise that maybe we do give a shit after all.

Unfortunately, noone else will.

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  • BinaryMind

    Agree fully with whole article. I don’t own Watch underscore Dogs yet because I knew 100% that this would happen and the fact that there are probably going to be millions of DLC packs. I will wait for GOTY edition if it comes out + a Steam 75% off sale :P

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      Agreed. Honestly I’m going to start treating new game releases like new Windows releases – wait till the broken mess is fixed before i buy into it.

  • Matthew Vice

    I know exactly what you mean, dude. I used to be a LAN gamer back in the coax-and-T-piece era, and – just like you said – someone’s PC would always have trouble. Maybe the game we all wanted to play didn’t work with their graphics card – and this was before the time when everybody was able to just hop online and get updated drivers. I always tried to help until the very end though (not trying to sanctify myself or anything, but I usually ended up missing the game too while trying to help the unfortunate oik).

    Largely because of this (and my lack of money), I abandoned PC gaming in the early 2000s until past 2010 in favour of console gaming. I like being able to buy a game and just whack it in, knowing it will work.

    I have a decent(ish) PC now, and while I still usually play the big releases on console, I use my PC mostly for indie gaming and retro gaming. Retro gaming (gog, Steam or dredging up your old CDs) can be problematic. So often I’ve had to hit forums looking for ways to get old games to work – and I’ve seen the exact thing you’re talking about there. Some poor dude looking for help, which some people try to provide – but there’s always some prick out there who tells them to stop whining because “the game works fine for me!”.

    Not helpful at all, but I also have to wonder – what are they even doing on support threads in forums if the game is “working fine for me!”. Just beings pricks. I know this isn’t as high profile as issues with a big new release, but it’s something I see fairly often.

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      Yeah, it’s sad because it’s even worse when the game isn’t a new release with thousands of people trying to solve the same issue.

      If you’re just one guy desperately trying to play, chances of you actually solving the problem are pretty small :(

      Also, good on you for being good-guy-LANner. The issue me and my mates ALWAYS seemed to have was one poor guy inexplicably not being able to find the others.

      I remember the day we discovered changing the ‘Frame Type’ to “Ethernet 802.3″ or whatever it was; that was a glorious day indeed.

  • Squirly

    It really does seem incredibly frustrating. It’s a straight-forward article explaining the issues the writer had, the fact that he’s not alone and the fact that it’s generally shitty methodology that Ubisoft is applying… and then you have bunch of morons calling it a flame thread because they’re fine.

    How mindlessly dumb and and deliberately ignorant do you have to be?

    It’s broken at launch, badly optimized and ported, and there are about 10 different “editions” in order to leech as much money from those poor fools who bought into the hype. Even without the issues that individuals face, what is available for everyone to see is already SHIT.

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      The state that games are being released in in the last few years just really bums me out. Broken, bugged, unplayable sometimes… ugh. It’s pretty disgraceful.

  • FanieNel

    I agree with you completely, people are selfish (most of them). They only care about themselves and not others. There used to be a community that supported each other and companies to get things working, but lately if it is not working for you and woking for me, too bad for you. I hate that this is what has become of the industry.

    Games are supposed to be fun, interactive, and telling good stories. Now it is just unplayable garbage. If you ask for help, you get almost no response or people ike Ubisoft will leave it to others to fix their problems. “Ubisoft isn’t at fault here” is a crap excuse for making a game that doesn’t work when all other games work just fine.

    I am experiencing the same issues and contacted Ubis@#ts customer support. They claim the game is “working just fine” and it is “my computer that is the problem”. BS.
    They just want your money so they can continue to rip people off. 90% of those whose games are working fine are those that are playing it on consoles.

    They really need to wake up, if this trend continues, they will start losing customers fast and they will take the lead in “the most hated company ever”.

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      I don’t think tech support for a game has ever actually helped me fix anything. They always ask you to do the most basic, useless things like changing gfx settings or re-installing.

      Every fix I’ve ever found that’s actually worked has come from a forum – a solution which only exists because someone else had the same problem.

      People are happy to post solutions if they find them and be a hero, but no one is ever going to try and solve a problem that doesn’t affect them, unfortunately.

      The most disgusting part of the Watch Dogs launch was how Ubisoft congratulated themselves on “a great launch”.

      What the hell qualifies as a great launch now? People’s computers didn’t explode? Apparently the fact that the servers were down for 24 hours is no biggie. Assholes.

      • Squirly

        A “great launch” is 4 million copies sold already, that’s what. Doesn’t matter if a bunch of those people are unhappy, or if all of them had issues just installing. They hyped the shit out of it, provided a dozen different editions at stupid prices and they coined it. Success.

        Anyway, speaking of eternally useless tech support, I was actually wondering how much of that is just the publisher paying lip service and having tech support because that’s what you’re supposed to have. I have never, ever, ever, EVER been helped by tech support, whether phone, or online or email or whatever.

        “Update your drivers, launch as administrator, turn down your graphics.”

        Eugh.

        • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

          It’s probably because people like us who know what we’re doing try all the common sense solutions before sending an e-mail.

          Tech support is aimed at the lowest common denominator =/

        • http://mybroadband.co.za/news/author/jan-vermeulen Jan Vermeulen

          Don’t forget my personal favourite: “Have you tried turning off your firewall or anti-virus?”

          No, no I haven’t tried leaving Windows completely open to the marauding [...insert favourite historical conquerors here...] horde of the Internet. And I shouldn’t have to either.

  • Kyle Myburgh

    Gamers make me hate gaming. The gaming community as it stands is just a disgrace and being apart of it is making me more and more negative.

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      It really is nothing like it used to be. The money and popularity of gaming today definitely is a double-edged sword.

      I’m kind of nostalgic for the old-school days of gaming where it was more about passion than money.

      I know I sound like a freakin’ hipster, but some of those most fun I’ve had in gaming were those shitty 4-man co-ax LANs where we’d play Quake 2 and Half-Life 1 mods until our eyes bleed.

      • BinaryMind

        I still LAN Half-Life 1 with friends but on ethernet – never seen a co-ax before. It’s still the best LAN game ever.

        Nothing beats running around in a small house with bazookas and chicken drumsticks (human limbs) bouncing around everywhere. The old graphics just makes it over the top and funny. I literally ROFL with it :D

        • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

          Haha, I’ll be honest I don’t miss the co-ax part too much :D

          Ah man, HL1 was awesome. I remember playing some kind of mod where the guns shot weird projectiles and you had a jetpack so you could fly around the map.

          I think it was called “SUPRISE!” or something haha. Was like a 5mb mod.

          • BinaryMind

            That’s also the nice thing about playing an old game now – 30 second download for a whole mod.

      • Kyle Myburgh

        Yeah LAN’s were by far some of the best times I had playing PC. I use to be that guy that would un-plug my friends peripherals during games (back when the ps2 mice/keyboards required you to restart your pc when you plugged them in to work xD) and we would argue about looking at each others screens and just do stupid things. The biggest difference was that at our LAN’s there was a strong social element. There is no more “fun” in gaming, its all about “winning” and proving you’re the best.

        • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

          Exactly. Starcraft was better with a “no-rushing” rule :D After I spend two hours walling myself in with missile turrets and building seventeen nuke silos, THAT’S when the game starts for realz.

  • Humans are selfish

    I do agree with you on all points. But All humans are selfish, not just gamers.

    Why some games are frustrating
    Now imagine you are the one having trouble and get killed by a guy who is saying “Game is fine, you just suck”. essentially making the game unbalanced and unfair. Do you continue to stand there rubber banding while people drop your K/D ratio which already isn’t as good as it should be(bf4). And when at times i couldn’t play the game at all, i would contact support and they would tell me to reformat and/or re-download the whole game, knowing that i would not be able to contact the same agent but would instead have to explain the whole essay to another agent.. that’s got nothing to do with in game and still made BF4 less enjoyable because i would anticipate issues before even sitting down at my computer.

    Social test
    As a test, be a waiter for a day at an expensive high profile restaurant. Tell the customer it will take 20 minutes to bring the food out. take over half an hour to serve it. make sure its bland and they can only have a mouthful before it needs to go back into the kitchen. Then bring it out again 20 minutes later and let them take another few bites before returning it to the kitchen again.

    In games you get a delayed apology if you google enough. In restaurants you would get the whole meal for free and the manager would personally apologize to you

  • http://mybroadband.co.za/news/author/jan-vermeulen Jan Vermeulen

    Naais one, Chris. That LAN anecdote hit home. It felt like I was always the one who helped other people get into the game, but when something went wrong on my PC I was on my own as soon as there were enough other people to play.

    • http://mygaming.co.za/news James Etherington-Smith

      I can relate to that. Suddenly no one wanted my help after I started charging a standard tech support fee of R500 per hour.

      • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

        Haha, Google is free after all

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      Was the worst feeling hearing everyone have such an awesome time and you were stuck just trying to get in the game :(

  • De4thDr4g0n

    …..Now I feel bad about myself…damnit if I have to feel bad about myself then so does another random guy,to the INTERNET!

  • slhavec

    However I agree with the subject of games not working. Me being in IT always manages to make the game work in a way that I am over satisfied. (maybe some should learn how to handle a pc and software before breaking down a gaming company). BUUUUT the on the other hand this new thing that was started of early alpha access is a real pain in the ass. Why the hell would anyone want to play a game before release date. That only gives them the opportunity to criticise a product that is not yet finished and is suppose to be bugged as it is still being developed. take the old days. Take blizzard. they finish a game and take time on it before launch. and it is fantastic to play those games. STOP whining about none working games and start googling, finding and pointing out your own faults for having a cracked windows/software and all kinds of beta drivers installed over other beta drivers and bunch of shitty unused software that screws up your pc. I bet 99.9% of those people experiencing problems will be able to play that game once a IT technician formats and installs the right software and the right drivers. AND STOP THE F’N TREND OF EARLY ACCESS GAMES> NO ONES CARES ABOUT BUGGED GAMES> RELEASE PROPER GAMES AND THE PUBLIC WILL BE HAPPY>

    • Lycanthrope

      What a preposterously ignorant post. Well done.

  • plaintextman

    Oh yay. Now maybe gamer culture at large will ever so slowly start moving in the right direction. Maybe one day good sportsmanship and even healthy, informed criticism of game quality will become the norm (Ubisoft beware! your sloppy graphics routines non-optimization attrocities will all be exposed!) Maybe the average gamer will even start caring about other gamers’ fun during a match, and even treat new gamers like actual people. Snrk, YEAH RIGHT.

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