Apparently one of developers for No Man’s Sky has gotten death threats for delaying the launch of their game. Link to article. This is something that I find somewhat disturbing for hopefully obvious reasons, and also a bit interesting as well. It is interesting that people would be so emotionally invested in the release of a video game that they would go so far as to threaten developers and even the journalist that released the story. This could be a product of mental illness and be left at that, but with death threats around video games being so prevalent, I wonder if there is something else at work here. Of course, I would never dismiss mental illness as a reason, because it exists, but in addition, what other factors could be involved?
As I write this post, I’m reminded of the fact that it could be uncountable factors. Identity politics? Perhaps I should jump on google…
Wow, I just screen captured this. I didn’t know what I was going to end the question with, but google did apparently? Still, a question like this isn’t really hitting on what I am looking for. I want to know why it is not uncommon for people to react in such an emotional way towards a delay in a video game product. They obviously want to play this game and are reacting emotionally to its delay. But why so much emotion over video games? Or are other product developers also on the receiving end of such threats? I guess its something that really isn’t in the scope of a blog at this time before I go off to work. I just happened to see a tweet about it this morning, and happened to wake up extremely early today (some starlings are having a sunrise party outside my window or something).
I suppose if I had to make a hypothesis about death threats and video games I would say that it might have to do with the depth of immersion some video games are able to create for the player. I haven’t read that book yet called “Reality is Broken”, but I have watched a few of Ms. McGonigal’s videos and whether I agree on what reality is, with her, isn’t the point. Others may feel that reality is not home to them and that games will provide safety, beauty, comfort or whatever they are looking for. And if they felt that the game was promised to them, they might have set their hopes of alleviating their life problems on a game and its release date or whatever. In fact, now that I think about it, it might be good to deflate people’s hopes with a release delay because no game will ever be able to solve anybody’s life’s problems and rather than having a bunch of people pissed at one time, just stagger it a bit.
For the record I don’t think reality is what’s wrong, I think that perhaps we aren’t living sustainable social world at the moment. But, reality is more than the human sphere, it’s also the natural world, with which I have no issue with.
I suppose in a way, some of these threats might be the symptom of greater social unrest, after reflecting a bit. I also think that over-hyping games, and certain marketing strategies can fan these flames too high. Of course, no marketing means no business, so it’s a balancing act. A game might really be that interesting, but I’ve never seen a game that lives up to the hype of marketing really. They always have bugs, someone can always exploit them, they aren’t perfect no matter how much we might want to cling to them for hope. They certainly cannot replace reality. I should read that book though before I talk too much about it.
It does do good to ruminate on the fact that people can go overboard with your product. As a video game designer wannabe, I take this trend to heart and will have to come to terms with the fact that if I make a viable product, it could really result in some scary stuff. I’ll have to think on that more.
Edit: So I found an article about this subject that just came out by Devin Faraci:
First off, my question is answered by him and in the comments section that people are hateful all over the place for products and services, big and small, but my question of whether video games are unique in this isn’t yet answered. Anyway, it was really the last paragraph of this
long article that is interesting to me:
“Back in high school I had a great religion teacher. He used to have us bring in quotes from pop culture that could be applied to religion because he wanted us to understand how pervasive religion was to people a thousand years ago, as pervasive as music or movies are to us today. He believed that the future would see people no longer killing each other over interpretations of God but over bands (this was like 1990, so the idea that anybody would still care that much about rock was reasonable yet). I think he was on the right track when it comes to the way pop culture has replaced other things that used to give us meaning, but I don’t think he could have ever guessed it would be comic book characters and Ghostbusters that would motivate the 21st century’s holy popcult warriors. Or that they would be striding into battle clad in the righteous armor of consumerism. Or that the people they would be attacking would be, first and foremost, the people who bring them the stuff that they love.”
There is something else going on and taking it to the level of religion (thus reality) is not a silly jump. But… hmmm. You could say that some spiritual needs that aren’t being met in certain parts of contemporary American society and people are finding them in the strangest of places. Or is it really that strange to get our needs met with pop culture? Should that be a big deal? Is it better to get our needs met through other more “traditional” sources? That’s a different topic I suppose. Anyway, the issue is certainly not cut and dry.