Google+

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Don't Feed The Trolls: Why Anti-Gaming Activists Don't Matter

Mention "Jack Thompson" to a group of gamers, and you'll get a couple of different reactions, ranging from mild derision to open hatred. We'll get so worked up when people like him will seek to restrict gaming, and I've finally decided to ask the question that we never really have asked:

Why?

Why should we care if any attention-seeking, grandstanding politician, lawyer or "doctor" decides to put a stop to something that we legitimately enjoy? There are couple of reason not to care about these guys.

One, there will always be something that people will blame societal ills on, whether it's comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, or rap music. Most of the time, those who freak out have never changed their opinion, and they weren't shouted down over time. They kept right on fighting until the grave, and the things they protested against kept right on going. So too, anti-video game activists won't ever stop. They'll keep going well past the point of relevance, and things will continue the same.

That's because of the second reason: The free market. You can complain all you want about games, but when a game sells millions of copies and the industry itself is worth billions of dollars, no one is going to listen to you after a while. Remember all the people who were upset that Elvis moved his hips, or thought that the Beatles were Satanic? Those people didn't stop playing music or making albums. The free market told them to keep on going, and the artists complied. So too, it doesn't matter if people get upset over gaming, since the free market is telling gaming companies to keep on going.

Thirdly, gaming is sliding into the mainstream. It's no longer merely the parlance of 15-year-olds with bad skin and body odor. Those malodorous 15-year-olds grew up, inexplicably mated, and are now raising their own families. They're now in their mid-to-late 30s and slowly becoming the status quo. They don't have negative feelings against gaming. Quite the opposite, actually. They're also slowly encouraging others to play games, including older members of their family who were initially resistant to the idea.

Let's bring this all back home: It doesn't matter how many people freak out over gaming. It doesn't matter if pundits say that Game X is a "virtual rape simulator." (Unless, of course, it actually is. You notice how they never throw hissy-fits over those types of games? Weird, huh?) The free market has already decided that they're wrong, most people are recognizing that video games are not responsible for the Downfall of Western Civilization, and more people are using them and growing up with them.

Those who fight against video games will not have to be shouted down. They'll eventually go out with an unheard whimper.