Being paid to play video games is the dream of many individuals struggling to make ends meet in the booming economy of the video game industry. I’m sure even you as a reader of this article can understand the temptation. Who wouldn’t want to be paid to play video games? But with the rise of Youtube Influencers and affiliated individuals we as the consumer need to take a step back. Understand that we as the consumer should be wary of influencers who are paid by companies to speak positively regarding companies and games that could potentially be deserving of criticism. But that does not excuse behavior that is unbecoming of video gamers as a whole.
Recently moderator of Apex Legends Reddit forum Tal Tallon stepped down as moderator after users reported he had been a known influencer of EA since Titanfall.
And in all respects this was the correct move by Tal Tallon. While he was critical of Titanfall and positive of Apex Legends it is hard for most gamers to seem him as a moderator without bias on a video game he clearly had economic ties. It can even be observed on his Twitter platform where he has received various swag and apparel from the team at Respawn. What is not okay however is to personally attack an individual for being an influencer. In an open letter to Reddit Tal Tallon admits that he and his family has been attacked.
In the past 14 hours, I’ve had over a thousand death threats, and been doxed as well as my Wife and Child threatened. This is not on in any capacity and the people doing this are absolute scumTal Tallon
The gaming community is better than that and we should be better than that. This behavior isn’t new behavior either. So many developers, producers, and writers of video games have received death threats, threats of violence, and calls for dismissal by the growing fans of gaming culture.
The nature of influencers is not a new concept. It is however quickly becoming synonymous with that of a sellout. The user /r/Gallowboob is one known influencer in the Reddit sphere who helps to propel certain brands and names to the top of social media. Zach King of Instagram is another influencer who turned a hobby of creating videos for social media into a paid career.
Understand that people who choose to be an influencer for any brand or company should be held to a hearty amount of skepticism when it comes to the products and companies they are influencing for. That said we as consumers and more focally we as gamers should understand the reasoning behind those decisions. While from a distance many would state they would never take money from big corporations those same people would take that money at the drop of a hat. The reason we can say that we would never ‘sellout’ is that we have never been offered that option in the first place. But once that option is given to us and a path towards being paid to play video games becomes a reality I know many would take that choice.
I’m not advocating for influencers to exist or for influencers to keep out of my video gaming habits. I am advocating understanding. You treat influencers like foreign bodies and against the interest of the consumer. And sometimes that may seem like the case if you have a set of personal biases against a product. Take the case of Fallout 76 where influencers received a canvas bag compared to the normal consumer.
But influencers are people like you or me. Sometimes they ARE truly passionate about a product that you abhorrently despise. I personally hated Fallout 76 but I can understand the enthusiasm and passion for the game in some niche circles on the web. It shouldn’t be hard to believe that some influencers truly love the product that they are selling. And influencers are inherently forced to rave about a product at all times.
I did not have good things to say about Titanfall 2. Mainly the slowdown in movement, turd person animations, lack of dedicated servers etc, but to my surprise I was invited out again. Strange considering I was so negative about the game, but apparently this is something EA and Respawn wanted.Tal Tallon
Influencers still have an opinion that can be taken as genuine and true if you are willing to give them that benefit of doubt. They are all not shills that are attempting to sell you a product that sucks or is questionable.
Are there influencers out there that do sell you terrible products? Absolutely and we should be wary of those individuals if they are unwilling to be critical about the product and company they are preaching for. But understand that the perks of being an influencer and affiliated consumer is sometimes greater than the resolve of being an unbiased consumer.
For the Tal Tallon situation all I have to say is that this never should have escalated this far. An influencer should have never been a mod in the first place if a conflict of interest was noted. Tal Tallon should have stepped down much sooner. And the Apex Legends community should not have to be told not to send death threats to a private individual. It is a messy situation that should not have this much drama behind it.
I understand where the influencer mindset comes from. If offered to play video games for money and swag I would assuredly accept such an offer. And we as the gaming community should be more mindful about the influencer mindset and where they are coming from as well.