Friday, July 15, 2011

Gaming Biases

Speaking as someone from North America, something which has amazed me over the years is how we gamers here in the West take such a narrow-minded view of the world, the internet, politics and finance and how they relate to the world of online gaming. We tend to think that we here in the West all feel pretty much the same about such matters as payment plans for the games we play. We make broad statements such as "if a game is F2P then it sucks because if it were any good then it wouldn't be free". We go to websites and forums and leave comments as if we were looking at something that only we here in North America can see, as if the entire audience is made up entirely of Westerners from North America - we forget that there is an entire planet made up of worldwide gamers that can access the very same websites that we do. The internet is worldwide. With a very few exceptions anyone from anywhere can access the same sites we do. The only real barrier is that of language and being able to speak or read English, and of course many sites have several options which eliminate that barrier.

So why do we make statements such as "as soon as someone makes a F2P game that is actually good and successful, then maybe I'll try it out". Why do we seem to not understand that there are hundreds of great successful F2p games that have been around for years with huge dedicated fanbases of worldwide players? Why do we not join that vast universe of F2P games, or even acknowledge that they exist? Why must our narrow view of the world exclude the majority of online gamers as we embrace such a comparably tiny market comprised only of games created by Western developers?

There are many answers to these questions most of which are fairly obvious. This is not about the answers however but rather the question itself. Why are so so biased that we don't even ask ourselves these questions? It would be as if a gamer who only ever owned an Xbox and who had only ever accessed online gaming through the Xbox LIVE! network thought that's all there was and that no other gaming options even existed. Sure there are plenty of games for Xbox but it is just a tiny portion of everything else out there that exists. Only accessing content through Xbox LIVE may be enough for some people (and it IS actually) but for those of us who are more than simply casual gamers we need more. Much much more than a single platform could even hope to provide.

The online games created by Western developers for a Western audience of gamers might be enough for some, and apparently it MUST be as our myopic view of the world seems to exclude all else from our realm of thought. We'll just keep playing our Xbox or our subscription-based MMOs and ignore everything else and keep believing that everyone else does the same as we do. If somehow the news of something outside our simple view of the gaming world does happen to make it through to our attention we'll just dismiss it as something made by those "crazy Koreans and their grindfest mmo's" and go back to playing WoW or Rift or Eve or whatever the current Star Wars game is in fashion this year.

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