You wanna know whats a sacred cow in video gaming? Something that has been completely and utterly unchangeable ever since Space Invaders? CONFLICT. Games always boil down to "us" versus "them." Even in games where diplomacy is allowed or even encouraged, its always an optional and less developed portion of the game.
Some games have tried to negate conflict as much as possible such as the Diplomacy PC game and the Democracy series, but change "political factions" to "enemy factions" and you're right back to where you've started. The Civilization series's enemy nations, SimCity's rival neighbors, Spore's hostile species, none of these games have truly eliminated conflict. Someone always wins and someone always loses.
Its a very realistic outlook, but you know what? Who cares!? I'm playing a video game! Why do I have to blow the heads off countless people in Call of Duty 4? Is the concept of allowing enemies "surrender" truly that repulsive? Army of Two: The 40th Day will reportedly grant players the ability to choose whether to bind and take enemy forces prisoner or to execute them on the spot. I applaud, no I praise, that ability.
Now I understand that conflict is an easy gameplay mechanic to use. 'Here are your tools, this is your objective, use your tools to achieve your objective." But when did all video game conflicts involve swords, guns and attack magic? Where are the firefighter games where your objective is to save people from a burning building in the least amount of time? Why does the video game community abhor games like Brain Age and the Wii-series games so much?
These are not easy games either. Anyone who has ever worked towards "the perfect race" in Forza or Gran Turismo knows how difficult and nerve wracking it can be just trying to shave a few seconds off. Brain Age and the Wii-series of games have already broken world records in terms of sales despite the fact that they can demand as much dedication as a hardcore MMO.
Conflict has become such a cornerstone of video gaming that to even talk about removing it is met with equal amounts of ridicule and disdain. This is the ultimate sacred cow in video gaming.