Have Boycotts and Petitions EVER worked in the Game Industry?

aozgolo

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I don't mean to be negative to the negativity crowd but I often see these things crop up all the time "Let's petition to get this game company to do this" or "Let's boycott this game company to send a message". I often see this as just people unwilling to accept that there's things they can't really do anything about. It feels good to feel like your opinion matters in regards to driving a positive change for a game you want in a certain way.

The thing is though, I don't think it works, it just doesn't tend to make much sense and while I have heard plenty of devs and publishers "listening to their fans" and "making changes that the consumers asked for" I've never seen these events tied to actual petitions or boycotts.

So what's your opinion on the efficacy of other people's opinions? Do boycotts and petitions even work? Have they ever worked?

More importantly, what are better alternatives?
 

Zeh Don

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Well, people working together to not support the Xbox One, and the combined might of the sheer endless negative PR that was generated by those efforts, forced Microsoft to abandon virtually all of the Xbox One's original design vision. So... yeah, they sometimes do.
 

Casual Shinji

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Petitions seem generated to gather up only the smallest fraction of people, and boycotts are usually geared toward the actions of the company rather the quality of the product, and as long as the product is popular more than enough other people are going to buy it anyway. So in that sense they're not too effective.
Zeh Don said:
Well, people working together to not support the Xbox One, and the combined might of the sheer endless negative PR that was generated by those efforts, forced Microsoft to abandon virtually all of the Xbox One's original design vision. So... yeah, they sometimes do.
To be honest though, the Xbone hadn't come out yet, so at that point it was easy for people to complain and state they weren't going to support it. Had it kept all the DRM bullshit, I'm sure a lot of those figures that complained would've caved by the time it got released and bought one anyway. What really clinched it I think was the PS4 simply not having it. Had the PS4 come out with the same deal, I doubt Microsoft would've actually taken to those complaints to heart.
 

Zeh Don

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Casual Shinji said:
... To be honest though, the Xbone hadn't come out yet, so at that point it was easy for people to complain and state they weren't going to support it. Had it kept all the DRM bullshit, I'm sure a lot of those figures that complained would've caved by the time it got released and bought one anyway ...
A fair point, however it's worth noting that, as evidenced by the available pre-order figures up to the 180 after that year's E3, the Xbone was trailing Microsoft's lowest point projections - well behind both the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Microsoft abandoned ship when gamers around the world refused to budge, or at least that's my take on it.
 

Maximum Bert

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Theres no reason they cant work basically if there is enough outcry on something it will get changed most recent ones I can think of were the Xbox Ones initial horrendous anti consumer plans and the ending to ME3.

Planned ones never tend to work though there has to be some underlying fault(s) that annoys enough people to get angry about it.

I personally have things I wont settle for in games and wont buy them out of principle such as certain types of DLC if I feel it crosses a line I wont get that game until it come with it all included at a knock down price such as with the upcoming MKX game. Im not gonna try and force other people to follow suit but I stick to my guns if what I despise dies out because of it great if it doesnt I will enjoy myself another way.

So in essence I suppose I dont care if a product I deliberately refuse to buy is successful or not at least in a strong sense anyway. I just have what I will and wont put up with, im not gonna boycott a product because of something I dont care about but others tell me I should and vice versa I am not gonna buy a product that does something I despise simply because I am told I cant do anything about that.
 

sanquin

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They can work. But usually gamers aren't 'organized' enough to make them work. Or rather, most gamers seem to be too weak-willed to boycott. Because "shiny new game I really want to get!", being in denial about how bad a game or it's company's practices are.

I personally don't actively join in on boycotts. I just don't buy any game that I think is bad, or that I think has bad DRM/payment models. Which sadly has resulted in me barely buying any games over the past years. But I'd rather buy just a few good games than waste my money on dozens of bad/mediocre games that I'll be done with within a few hours at most.
 

shrekfan246

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I believe that a petition was the central reason Namco Bandai decided to port Dark Souls to the PC.

If you don't want to be highly specific about what you qualify as a "petition" or "boycott", there are also some of the obvious ones like Mass Effect 3 and the Diablo III Real-Money Auction House (though they still have yet to remove the online requirement from the PC version QQ). In some ways I'd say Kickstarter and Early Access could function as a sort of "petition" as well, though in that case it's not really the consumer coming up with the ideas and then lobbying for a company to do it.

I don't know if an actual boycott has ever worked in the gaming community, mostly because the gaming community is so massive now that it's pretty much impossible to actually get hundreds of thousands or even a million+ people to not buy a game you don't like. Maybe every now and then it's worked to the point where a company really felt the sting of reduced sales and had to take a good, long look at themselves, but I'd say that's the exception rather than the rule.
 

nomotog_v1legacy

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They work al.. Well not all the time, but a lot of the time a petition or boycott will work. You know take xbone for example. I think the more formal ones don't work because it's not a list of names that gets attention it's more massive complaining that is effective.
 

MysticSlayer

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There was Operation Rainfall [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rainfall] and its spinoff Operation Moonfall. All the games that were asked for in Operation Rainfall ended up getting over here, but some comments by Reggie fils-Aime seem to indicate that the petition wasn't the reason they decided to localize the three games. Operation Moonfall, on the other hand, both got its way and had some reasonably positive coverage from Nintendo during a couple interviews. However, I'm not entirely sure if Moonfall was the reason we got Majora's Mask on 3DS.

There was also the whole Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco. Fans complained. BioWare listened. BioWare decided that the fans were right, and the ending was changed. I know some consider the new ending to be more of a "lol, fuck you" from BioWare, but it at least seemed to address the biggest complaints at the time.

Microsoft also changed a lot of its policies regarding the Xbox One because gamers decided they didn't like them. I'm sure once the realization that Sony would dominate the generation hit Microsoft, Microsoft decided to change things up. It may not have been an actual boycott, as we were never forced to abstain from the Xbox One, but the threat of boycott at least reached Microsoft.
 

Ryan Hughes

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Yeah, as people have said:

Operation Rainfall
Dark Souls on PC
Suikoden Revival Movement

Those all succeeded, demonstrably. That is there is documented evidence they are the reason their individual goals were met. Circumstantial evidence, but evidence enough in my opinion.

We do not know the circumstances of ME3, unfortunately. For all we know about EA, they intended for that ending in order to sell DLC. Operation Moonfall are nice people, but it is apparent that Nintendo began work on Majora's Mask 3DS almost as soon as 2012. So, there have been many that failed as well.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Ryan Hughes said:
Yeah, as people have said:

Operation Rainfall
Dark Souls on PC
Suikoden Revival Movement

Those all succeeded, demonstrably. That is there is documented evidence they are the reason their individual goals were met. Circumstantial evidence, but evidence enough in my opinion.

We do not know the circumstances of ME3, unfortunately. For all we know about EA, they intended for that ending in order to sell DLC. Operation Moonfall are nice people, but it is apparent that Nintendo began work on Majora's Mask 3DS almost as soon as 2012. So, there have been many that failed as well.
What's come of this Suikoden Revival Movement? I've never even heard of it. Just did a quick search and can't find anything that came as a result of it.


OP: There have been plenty of Petitions that worked in the Gaming Industry. Remember that group of knuckleheads that got GTA V banned from Target Australia.

See? Progess :)
 

Fox12

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They can work if they have enough support. The problem is that they usually get signed over lost causes. A petition won't bring back Mother 3 because copyright issues are presenting it from being rereleased. Nintendo would gladly publish it if they could, but that's just not feasible right now, so a petition is an empty gesture. They also tend to lack the support they need to make a difference. 50 guys signing a petition about Megaman Legends 3 won't make a dent. If 5 million people had signed the petition, then I promise you, we would have had that game by now. The larger the thing being petitioned, the harder it is to get what you want. Asking DC to remove a variant cover, for instance, is far easier then getting them invest hundreds of millions in a sandman movie.

Sometimes there IS enough support, though. The only reason xenoblade, and other games Japanese games, are available in America is because of a fan petition. They show that there's enough financial support to turn a profit.
 

Islandbuffilo

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Sitting here next to my English copies of Xenoblade chronicles and The Last story. I'd say they work from time to time.

sanquin said:
I personally don't actively join in on boycotts. I just don't buy any game that I think is bad, or that I think has bad DRM/payment models. Which sadly has resulted in me barely buying any games over the past years. But I'd rather buy just a few good games than waste my money on dozens of bad/mediocre games that I'll be done with within a few hours at most.
I learned this the hard way when I witnessed the L4D2 boycott basically become the L4D2 fanclub. I think I'm the only person in that boycott that actually boycotted the game.
 

WhiteNachos

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Shaun Kennedy said:
I don't mean to be negative to the negativity crowd but I often see these things crop up all the time "Let's petition to get this game company to do this" or "Let's boycott this game company to send a message". I often see this as just people unwilling to accept that there's things they can't really do anything about. It feels good to feel like your opinion matters in regards to driving a positive change for a game you want in a certain way.

The thing is though, I don't think it works, it just doesn't tend to make much sense and while I have heard plenty of devs and publishers "listening to their fans" and "making changes that the consumers asked for" I've never seen these events tied to actual petitions or boycotts.

So what's your opinion on the efficacy of other people's opinions? Do boycotts and petitions even work? Have they ever worked?

More importantly, what are better alternatives?
Yes they have worked in the past


http://web.archive.org/web/20120730145528/http://sarcasticgamer.com/wp/index.php/2008/04/breaking-news-boycott-successful.html
 

babinro

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There a plenty of people boycotting Nintendo, Sony, Xbox, EA, Blizzard, etc for various reasons. I'm sure you have plenty of Nintendo boycotters going back to the NES days as a result of whatever relevant decisions were made at that time.

Despite this...it 'feels' like there's been no meaningful impact on these companies.
That's large scale boycotting though.

You'll find several examples of small scale backlash/boycotts/feedback leading to change. Mass Effect 3's ending being one such example. I'd argue that this change occurred because of the media attention this uproar caused. If the backlash was localized strictly to forums and therefore kept out of sight of the greater media...I'm confident that ME3's ending would have never been updated.
 

Callate

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They can... But especially in the gaming sphere, you have to have something approaching a unanimous verdict. Someone already brought up the XBox One; unless you were some sort of game-consumer hating hack without integrity and no right to a place in the industry (cough), you weren't about to get behind decimating buyer rights and shutting out everyone with spotty Internet access in the name of corporate overlords making a few more bucks by freezing out used game sales.

But with more contentious and controversial issues backing a boycott or a petition, it seems very much that you'll either not build enough momentum to be taken seriously or build up a backlash that will contest a petition or break a boycott just out of spite.

Sometimes the target may "do the right thing" despite this effect if they can spin it as a PR win, but it's dicey. Positive PR is brief; resentment endures. That's the Internet in the 21st century in a nutshell.