Over the last week I’ve been approached by three different people about starting some sort of gaming social movement, similar to #PS4NoDRM, to let the industry know that we won’t stand for having our games ruined by microtransactions. I am obviously very honored and humbled that people think that I could have a positive effect on gaming but I don’t think this is a spam-twitter kind of issue. I also am moving across the country in a couple of months and am too busy to lead something like this as it takes far more time to keep momentum going than it seems.
I do have advice for anyone who wants to take up the mantle. First off you need to realize that you are dealing with human beings and not soulless corporations. If you do send tweets to higher-ups at Sony/Microsoft/EA/Activision/Etc you need to be polite. Think about your own time on twitter or any internet forum… if someone opens the conversation with “listen you goddamn greedy asshole” are you likely to even finish reading what that person has to say? Are you going to empathize with them? Of course not. Kill them with kindness.
I also personally believe the “spam twitter with a hashtag” well has dried up. It’s been attempted many times since #PS4NoDRM and has not had any success. Nintendo didn’t give a crap about the region lock twitter movement, for instance. So if you are going to get their attention on this issue, social media needs to be apart of it, of course, but not the entire thing. There are many forces in gaming right now that don’t even realize they are a force. I talk to people in development nearly everyday and they are acutely aware of what is being said about their games’ on NeoGAF/Reddit/N4G/Gamefaqs/4chan/etc. So keeping the topic of microtransactions going at these places is of utmost importance to getting through to them that they are harming their games.
The main reason why the #PS4NoDRM movement was so successful was because the media picked it up. Spamming the hashtag definitely got their attention but we ended up getting covered on over 200 websites and I was even interviewed in the Wall Street Journal. This is exactly the type of bad press that they don’t want – even if I was incredibily polite. Especially because I was so incredibly polite. So getting the media involved is important… and right now they do care and you need to reward them. When Kotaku or Joystiq or whoever posts an article that is critical of microtransactions don’t just read the excerpts on GAF or Reddit – CLICK ON THE SITE! These sites want clicks, if you give them clicks on certain topics they will keep going back to that topic until the clicks dry up. This is the easiest way to encourage the press to keep covering this topic. Likewise, many gaming personalities like Jim Sterling, Boogie, and Adam Sessler have been speaking about this topic quite a bit lately. Even if you don’t like these guys usually give them the clicks, send them some tweets of encouragement, try to get them to keep the fight up. Youtubers like Angry Joe were *VERY* instrumental in the #NoDRM thing. These guys have influence.
If someone comes along and makes a website and starts working on contacting the media – awesome, that will help. It’s a lot of work but extremely rewarding. Me and about 10 guys spent almost two weeks using every spare second we had in our day reaching out to the media to talk about #NoDRM. If this infrastructure doesn’t arise that doesn’t mean the fight is lost though. Keep talking about it on forums. As each new game comes out with microtransactions make posts about how they ruin the game. Drop the system wars… I know Forza vs Gran Turismo is bloodsport for some of you… but if you love Gran Turismo and microtransactions are ruining the game you need to be honest about it and make your voice heard. Politely.
Be persistent. Get the press involved. The more these companies are shamed (politely!!!) about their policies the more likely they will be to change them. And, of course, vote with your wallet.