AHHHHH! AHHHHH! PANIC! CONTROVERSY! THE WORLD IS ENDING! AHHHHH! AHHHHH!
Well, congratulations Gamergate.
I am of course saying that with some dry veneer of sarcasm, because when it comes to what happened last week, it’s hard to not roll your eyes and find something almost comical about the whole situation. For a vociferous portion of the market, turns out Gamergate supporters are perhaps just as quick to fall into the same traps that Social Justice Warriors do. And believe me, Dead or Alive Extreme 3 – and the ‘controversy’ that surrounds it – was a trap that caught both sides. An obvious trap that everyone dived into head-first!
Here’s the context; Dead or Alive Extreme 3 is the third entry in the Extreme Beach Volleyball branch of fighting game series Dead or Alive – a series that has never exactly been a shrinking violet in terms of busty boobage. A gimmick in the original PSX version, that overly exaggerated the bounce of ladies funbags became arguably one of the more defining features of the whole series – a shame, because Dead or Alive also happens to be a very good fighting game in its own right, but we rarely discuss Dead or Alive on its own merits because the first and most obvious thing you have to address are the decorative jugs of jello that cannot seem to be avoided.
Koei-Tecmo decided not to release #3 over here; the second was hardly a success, and also not very good if we’re being honest about it. It was probably a mixture of easily-outraged Western groups and the cost of selling a small portion of copies overseas that ended up with it not coming here – but of course, also because “SJW’s” might have been rather angsty about the release, which is the reason Koei-Tecmo went public with.
A sensible decision, you might argue. The risks just seemed too excessive.
Of course, Play-Asia had a brilliant idea; you see, Extreme 3 is a PS4 game – and the PS4 is region-free, meaning a Japanese game can be played on European consoles. Even better for Play-Asia, a growing trend for English options in Japanese games meant that the whole game could be played – and understood – in English, by anyone. So it kicked off a promotional stunt so brilliant, that future generations will be in stunned awe of it. Okay, I am being facetious.
Play-Asia decided… to sell Dead or Alive: Extreme 3, and export/import it to the US and Europe. All Play-Asia had to do was sit back… and wait for the inevitable to happen.
Predictably, Social Justice Warriors were “outraged” that Play-Asia would sell a game which “objectified” women (when frankly I’ve seen worse examples of this in SJW-approved games). This led to a feeble attempt to start a boycott, urging people who probably would never usually import such games (I find it rather difficult to believe your average Social Justice Drone would import naughty Japanese videogames) to spread the word about the “evil” and “sexist” import retailer, Play-Asia.
More predictably, where SJW Outrage starts, Gamergaters follow. In order to “stick it” to the SJW’s, many supporters of Gamergate did the obvious thing; they bought the game! At considerably more expense than simply pressuring Koei-Tecmo to do a Western release, they bought from Play-Asia, who more than doubled their social-media following overnight in the process!
Now stop. Breathe. I have no dog in this fight. I support neither side… but come on, you ALL fell for the most obvious marketing ploy in the known universe! Sex sells, of course. But in the enlightened 21st Century, nothing sells better than outrage. Play-Asia knew that Social Justice Warriors would bust a clot over Dead or Alive Extreme 3. And by token, it knew Gamergaters – the market that arguably is willing to part with money to buy actual video games – would buy anything if it meant giving the ol’ USS SJW a healthy poke in the eye. And they did, in the droves from what I have heard, making Play-Asia a fairly obscene amount of money.
Now, truth be told, I think Extreme 3 looks a little peurile. I’m no prude – I have a wardrobe of questionable devices and I’m no stranger to their usage – but I’m also not so easily sold on a pair of fake tits either – you can thank Fear Effect 2 for that particular revelation back in the day, where I suddenly realised, “Damn, naked lesbian relationships don’t always make things better…”
And as much as I personally find Social Justice types to be bullies and cowards of the highest order, I certainly find myself also laughing at those supporting Gamergate. All that fuss about business and journalism and ethics – yet you muppets fell for the most obvious marketing push in the known universe! No doubt the Play-Asia employee/s that came up with this are likely to see some pretty awesome Christmas bonuses, but that’s the thing. Gamergate still fell hook, line and sinker for marketing. You were manipulated. You were switched onto a game which, in most circumstances, would have come and gone with barely a whimper. And I’d wager the vast majority of you are ONLY buying it to spite Social Justice types, not because the game is any good.
Which, to echo my take on Hatred from earlier in the year, is part of the problem; the outrage happens long before we even know if a game is worth the £20-£80 that it will be costing us! We’re cajoled, nudged and led to buy games more on impulse than on reasoned choice. The games industry depends on this very fact; look around, fellow gamers. See the market, and the technically bankrupt industry that wheels out broken, maliciously-priced and insidious software designed to rinse you of all your money. If a company knows a game isn’t likely to be even decent, they’ll much rather sell on name, hype or – yes – outrage, because they’re easy to quantify for most people.
For a game like Extreme 3, the best – and most obvious – way to push the impulse is to just make some gamers feel that by buying it, they’re flipping the finger to Social Justice Warriors. And they are, I suppose. But the SJW’s are just as much victims of the marketing machine too – had Play-Asia simply stayed quiet, I don’t think anyone would have known or cared about Extreme 3 in the same way we didn’t really care about #2. The winners? Play-Asia, by a country freaking mile.
So when Gamergate swaggers about to claim this as a “victory” for freedom of expression – just give them a wry smile. They got to spend a large chunk of money on a game which may or may not be any good in the grand scheme of things, just to spite a bunch of whiny immature crybabies on the Internet who will throw a tantrum over the smallest of issues in the name of fighting something, anything, no matter how insignificant! A bunch of people who are largely becoming irrelevant because they’re making themselves irrelevant. Their triggers are multiplying and eventually they’ll be too triggered to leave the house – in the olden days, we called that Agoraphobia and it is treatable! Honest!
I have to applaud Play-Asia, of course. Blinding bit of marketing. Top-notch, even. Set two Internet groups on a collision course and reap the proceeds – and, from what I hear, it’s quite the windfall.
Still, it’s clear that for Gamergate, any victory is good enough. And sure, I’d wager Koei-Tecmo are looking at Play-Asia right now and wondering why the balls they didn’t go straight for this particular jugular (it’s okay, KT, we all miss the obvious solutions from time to time). But Gamergate, for me at least, as a force has nothing to be proud of here. It fell for an obvious marketing strategy, without so much as questioning if the game was worth it.
Still, makes my neutral stance so much easier. It’s highly amusing to just sit on the fence and watch the two sides make massive tits of themselves. Bigger tits than anything yet seen in Dead or Alive to date.
Amazing that is possible, really, but then. I thought I’d seen the depths of human stupidity. Turns out, I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg…