Earlier yesterday, the price that Nintendo will charge for the online component of the Switch was revealed, or at least in Japanese currency. The rough number for the US Dollar is presumed to be between $17-$26, depending on the exchange rate and whatever fluff Nintendo adds on top. This has been met with rejoice, anger, and the obligatory “but it’s free on PC!”
Let’s all take a step back for one moment, because this has been bothering me lately.
I’ve had a lot of discussions recently pertaining to the pros and cons of modern gaming. There are plenty of things about it that I wish I could change, and things are far from perfect and how they were in “the good ol’ days.” Charging for online connectivity and services is a gray area where I generally shake my head and say, “yeah, no thanks.” But we all collectively need to realize something: it’s there because you voted for it.
Anything that any company does that you don’t like is only there because the majority voted for it.
The vast majority voted with their wallet, and said “yes, it is okay to charge me for online play.” This dates way back to Xbox Live, and in fact I recall thinking “why would anyone pay $50 to play games online? I do that on my computer for free.” And that’s back when I was a kid and $50 may as well have been a million. Ya voted for it, guys. Maybe not you personally, dear reader, but let me try to get to my main point here.
If you were to draw a Venn diagram with one side representing gamers who complain about the modern trends of gaming, and the other side with gamers who pay for those same trends, I have a creeping suspicion that there would be a massive overlap between gamers who are vehemently against something, yet pay for it anyway.
In other words, whether we’re talking about day-one DLC, pre-order bonuses, pay to win games, or paid online services, it was communicated to the video game powers that be that we are okay with paying more for the same, because gamers treat games like something we need, and not the hobby that it is. I cannot think of another industry whose consumers are as outspoken and angry and entitled and opinionated as the gaming industry. And yet, we’re perpetually getting shafted by companies because of our own doing. Countless times I see comments raging about having to pay for something, how it’s criminal, yet they spend their hard-earned money on it.
Now, the purpose of this article isn’t to point fingers and say “you did this to yourselves,” no, the point here is to say you still have that power to cast a vote. And that’s what we need to collectively realize. You’re the consumer – you don’t need that game or service to survive. Cast your vote and stop complaining about paying for non-essential things that you volunteered your money for.
The other day I saw a friend online ranting about how expensive concert tickets were. There were dozens of replies of people nodding in support, “that’s ridiculous!” “what a scam!” I advised him to not go to the concert if he thinks they’re too expensive. He responded rather angrily at me, almost insulted that he had to explain how he’d rather pay too much than not go at all. As if the world was going to implode if he didn’t go to the concert. Well, in my opinion, that guy had no right to complain, because his actions acted in direct opposition to his words. If it was truly too expensive, he wouldn’t have bought them. We’re not talking about food, shelter, or clothing here. They were concert tickets. This is what happens when we all act the way we assume everyone else is going to act.
Don’t like having to pay $100 for a new game to “unlock” features that already exist on the disc? Don’t buy it. Don’t want to pay for online multiplayer? Don’t pay for it. Every dollar you spend in contrary to your own judgement is throwing away your right to voice your opinion, and making the industry $17-26 dollars worse. If you want to do it, then do it, but stop acting like it’s mandatory for your survival and pick a damn side. You can just say “no.” I do it all the damn time.
You don’t actually need to play that hot new game. You don’t need an online subscription. You can wait a year and pay probably less than half price. Before you go against your better judgement, we all need to realize: I am voting right now – is it actually worth it? If you determine that it is, great! But stop complaining about things that you are financially supporting.
Personally, I think the price for the Switch online is fair, but only because users will have access to monthly “rentals” of classic games, and that seems like a cool little feature. I don’t generally play online games and I have enough single player games as it is, so I will run out my free trial and decide in the Fall whether or not I still want the feature.
And that’s all folks! Hope that didn’t come across as too repetitive – like many of you who are older gamers, I’m sure you get frustrated seeing the same younger people complaining about $26 who voluntarily sign up for Xbox Live. Wanna vent about it? Leave it in the comments!