"Except people don't say that (well, the ones that do are few and far between, and idiots)."
That might be true, but idiots always make the most noise. Likewise, with this "Tomodachi" thing, this was the opening sentence of Nintendo's statement: "We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life." Not "we apologize for saying the words 'social commentary'". The game didn't have same sex relationships, and instead of people just saying "well then I'm not gonna buy it", they took to the internet to complain and call Nintendo bigots (an article on this website used that very word). So ok, it might only be a handful of people, but when you scream that loud you tend to drown out the sensible folks.
I don't think the idiots are making more noise, I just think you're mistaking people with legitimate criticisms for idiots. You're heard one or two dumb arguments so you assume all similar arguments are just as dumb, which isn't the case.
Nintendo's apology was a step in the right direction, and pledging to include same-sex couples in future installments shows that they don't think same-sex relationships have no place in their wacky world (or are at least listening to criticism, which is also good). That's why most people were satisfied with the apology.
Again, people were throwing around the "bigot" label because Nintendo removed
same-sex couples - not because they failed to include them (yes, I know this isn't what actually happened and I don't defend those that went in guns blazing without doing any research themselves, but patching out inclusivity begs the question why).
As for the marketing part, this was mostly in response to this argument, which I've seen a dozen times on this website:
Person 1: "Companies should make more games with _____________ (insert minority group here) characters."
Person 2: "Why?"
1: "Because there are a lot of people who want more ____________ characters."
2: "Don't you think if there really was this huge untapped market of people who want more ___________ characters, these billion dollar companies who exist primarily to turn a profit would realize they could make a lot of money implementing this?"
1: "Clearly they don't get it/they are _________-ist/it's all the COD players fault/etc.
This is ridiculous for 4 main reasons
The first being that it's a pretty big strawman.
People are pushing for better representation in the triple A market not because they see a huge market and want publishers to make more money, but to make gaming and gaming culture more mature, get some more diversity in the triple A market and hopefully see some more games that don't
insult them. There is a HUGE bigotry problem amongst gamers and people are crying out to other gamers to recognise it, and crying out to developers to not reinforce that. It's a push to better ourselves, not a push to further line the pockets of publishers. Now, I still firmly believe that publishers can
make more money through inclusivity, but that's not why people are pushing for it.
1: It assumes that these multi-billion dollar companies haven't figured this out yet, but you, random internet poster person, have.
2: These companies have access to far more research data than you do.
3: Sure, people are fallible and make mistakes, but that means you do too.
4: It's not YOUR money or job on the line. If EA pumps $500 million into some new IP starring a black lesbian woman, even though their market research showed that the game would likely be much more successful with another cookie-cutter brown hair 30-something white guy protagonist, and the game is a complete flop, your life doesn't change in the slightest, not so much for EA employees and investors.
Those four points can be boiled down to one thing: big companies want to play it safe. And no, I don't blame them for that at all, but the thinking of modern big-budget publishers is out of whack. By focusing only
on big-budget, high risk games they're FORCING themselves to play it safe, which is why we end up with so many generic military shooters all trying to out-CoD CoD. Rather than focusing on refining new and interesting mechanics their approach is "People liked it in CoD, so we should do it like that." Yes it's less risky to do that, but you ultimately end up as a stale company rehashing the same bullshit time and time again because that's what worked in the past. What EA should do instead
of sticking a black lesbian protagonist into their new $500 million IP is stick a black lesbian protagonist into their new $10 million IP. If you're sinking a ton of money into titles of course I understand you need to play it safe, but the solution isn't to ONLY play it safe, the solution is to not ONLY focus on big-budget titles. Spread some focus to smaller, innovative, niche market titles, and if you happen to strike gold with one of them you can move onto something bigger (and if it tanks people aren't out of a job). Take Portal as an example - it was a small game road-testing an innovative mechanic, people loved it, and that allowed Valve to expand it into the big-budget Portal 2 with far less risk.
But on top of that there's a crapton of little things companies can do to increase inclusivity without hurting their bottom dollar. Did Minecraft's sales take a plunge when they replaced the masculine grunts with gender-neutral bone-snapping sounds? Do you think Brink would have been less
popular if they included female avatars? Would Mass Effect 4 be more popular if they ditched Femshep?
Nobody is expecting EA to stick a black lesbian into a new big-budget IP, because in all likelihood it's not going to sell as well as it would with a white, brown-haired man. People get that, and that's not what we're asking for. We're just asking for little things that won't
hurt publishers, like gender-neutral sound effects or avatars for both genders or gay/female characters that aren't offensive. Nobody is going to say "I would
buy this game, but its gays aren't mincing enough, God damn it!" And maybe experiment a bit with lower-budget stuff - let's have a black lesbian protagonist and see what the public reaction is. If people like it then why not
give that black lesbian a big-budget game?