So, here we are. The video game industry. The most cynical bullshit I've ever seen. Streaming services, removal of physical copies, senate committees. The only priority, it seems, is increasing numbers. So many numbers, money, stocks, percentages. I know the desire to increase these numbers as well. These numbers are the reason I work a dull job that goes directly against everything I enjoy. Not a bad job, just one I find hard because my brain is constantly moving.
So at this paint-drying boring job, (Bagging some groceries for angry rednecks) I hear an exchange. This four-year-old whose grumpy, NRA dad I just bagged for asks for a gumball. This gumball is 25 cents, and considering this dad just spent a ton of money on food, not to mention having a bunch of fancy bling he surely thought made him look cool, it's certainly not a matter of money. Instead, the dad says "No" instead of blowing 25 whole cents on a gumball for his kid. Dejected, the kid asks "Why?" and the dad goes "You don't get things for free. Nothing is ever free. Money is everything." The kid just asks "Why?" again, and the dad drags him out.
My first thought is, "Wow! What a shit thing to tell your four-year-old. What's he supposed to do, get a fucking job at age four?" But then my brain went on several hours of running D&D with my significant other, and I had a realization as she tried to seduce a giant undead snake.
Chances are, if you live on the planet and maybe if you play video games, you've heard of Battlefront II. Infamously, EA fucked this game over so hard via their greed that it became an icon for scum and villainy in gaming. Why? They wanted to increase a number. Of course they did, because it's all about this number.
But that kid asked an important question: Why is it all about this number? That father didn't want to buy his child a gumball, which is kind of a minor thing, but his philosophy is the same one of the game industry: A philosophy of cynicism and constant desire for more and more money, and consumers in general are that kid. Look at Epic Games, a company that is deliberately hunting down exclusives and essentially bribing developers to avoid legitimate competition. Look at how many games nowadays have "RPG elements" which really amount to forcing a grind so as to force more money out of players. The potentially awesome Red Dead Online mode becoming a facility to drag money out of consumers.
Why? These companies are already rich, yet they mistreat their workers, all for this "money-is-everything" attitude. Mass layoffs, crunch time, abuse, scummy scheming, all to get a line graph bigger. I'm sure to some of you, hell, and to all game executives, it's easy to look at that kid asking "Why?" as a sign of youthful innocence, or, if you're an utter prick, "stupidity". Despite that, I was so busy pretending I wasn't angry at this father that I never stopped to ask "Why"?
The answer's obvious now, as it's greed to funnel even more money into these executives' pockets, but I just found it funny that this kid, via a simple question, managed to break the mentality of an entire industry. Not really a scathing criticism, just a thing that happened a couple days ago and some incoherent ramblings I found fun.