Once an ancient Chinese method that allowed emperors to hear the plights of his/her people, now a method to convince Rockstar Games to bring Red Dead Redemption to PC, the petition has gone through some mighty changes as the methods of communication have evolved. It seems that once a petition for something game related gets drawn up, it is meant to signify that gamers mean serious business and are adamant about achieving their goals. But just because you yell loud enough, doesn’t mean gaming companies are going to crumble to your whims and needs.
Here’s why I think the majority of online petitions are simply a ridicule.
I came across the phenomenon of online petitions for games only recently when I was browsing a forum looking for classic PS3 games, in which I hoped to pick out a few titles I had missed in the console’s lifespan. One member of the forum was posting how much she loved the arguably forgettable game Haze, a FPS shooter from Ubisoft and Free Radical Entertainment (who have since been bought by Crytek) and was demanding a sequel. She was quick to draw up a petition that would urge Ubisoft to snap out of what she believed was a “ridiculous (and misguided) love” for The Division or Far Cry 4 and instead to focus on creating a sequel for the game that was once pre-emptively called “a Halo Killer”.
Now, I’m not a guy to put down people or to make fun of people for their love of something, no matter how much indifferent I may feel about it, but this forum poster was being a bit too optimistic to think that: a) Ubisoft would abandon their future projects to make a sequel for a poorly made game; or b) that Ubisoft would abandon their future projects to make said sequel because 12 people signed a petition that said they should do so.
I’ve asked other members of staff for their opinions on this and one such argument was made that, “If they’re not hurting anyone, it shouldn’t matter.” And quite frankly, I’d agree with that statement. However, there are examples further on that show how some petitions are actually created out of spite in a futile effort to stop gamers from enjoying games (more on that later).
Sometimes people are major fans of a mediocre games, I understand that, but you have to realise that sometimes companies need to move on. It’s not you, it’s them. They’ve got bigger projects to undertake and they can’t help leaving those average projects behind if it means a bright and bolder future ahead. To get angry and upset that a company isn’t paying attention to your needs as a fan of a mediocre game is a very mind-boggling attitude, if you ask me. At the end of the day, video game companies exist to create products for high demands and if the demand for a Haze sequel isn’t sky rocketing, should you get mad? We still don’t have hover boards like in Back to the Future 2, but do I get needlessy upset over it? No. I build a bridge and get over it. Sometimes you can’t get what you want and that’s life.
That’s not to say that petitions are totally useless. In fact, Dark Souls was brought to PC thanks to an online petition of 90,000 people and said game brought joy — and frustration — to a whole new platform, which — as a major Dark Souls buff — I’m thrilled about. The more people liking this game, the better. Yet, for every shining example of a petition done right, there’s a multitude of poorly execute and, often times, terrifying petitions billowing in front and those are usually the ones that overshadow everything else.
One such example caught my eye. The rather blunt petition was entitled “Rockstar Games: Don’t Make A PC Version Of GTA V” and astonishingly had gained 13,865 signatures. Thankfully, it was just 1,135 short of the 15,000 required. As you all know, if that minimum requirement had been reached, everyone at Rockstar Games would be legally obligated to flip over their desks, destroy every shred of work on GTA V for PC and just march off into the sunset.
To be serious for a second, the idea behind this petition was that if GTA V came to PC, it would end up being torrented and cause Rockstar to lose a lot of money. That’s right. The scrappy, litter-of-the-run, indie company known as Rockstar Games would be losing their money in force if GTA V came to PC, never mind the 32 and a half million copies that have already been purchased. In all honesty, this was a console gamer who didn’t want GTA V to come to PC because he was creating, as one lovely commenter put it, “a petty attempt to keep a console exclusive for to brag to PC gamers.”
So you can see where I’m coming from when I say that online petitions are just a load of fluff 90% of the time. Yes, sometimes they do work out, but that’s only when there’s a decent argument to them. There’s no real point to them when more often than not the thinking behind them comes from idiotic fan-boyism or the rather juvenile mentality of, “I want something done and someone will do it for me because I said so.” A lot of the time, those issues of wanting X, Y, Z in a game can be solved with a mod if you look hard enough. Console players aren’t so lucky unfortunately.
Finally, there are tons of outlets to express your opinion. Be it on social media or even emailing the developers, your opinion will be heard. It might not cause a revolution, but if you took the time to write it, someone will usually take the time to read it. But the sooner we stop creating thousands of often meaningless petitions asking for such trivial things, the sooner we can build a stronger relationship between gamers and game makers.
This is just one side of the coin and I am eager to hear your opinions on online petitions. Do you agree that most of the time they are not worth the hassle? Or do you disagree with my opinion entirely? Either way, I want to hear your say in the comments below.
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