Getting late into December always gives us a chance to look back and assess the year that was as part of our GamesBeat Rewind year-end event. In the past, we’ve had the year of the bow-and-arrow or the year of loot boxes in 2016, and now it’s time to pick something new … although I guess we could’ve just done loot boxes again, huh?
2017 was the year of…
Other finalists: Nintendo and the Switch, Bloated single-player games
Listen to us discuss this category in the audio version of the podcast right here:
Gaming has always had angry fans — all hobbies do. Part of creating a successful business is producing passionate customers. And maybe it’s a sign of gaming’s maturity or the new gig economy that this has turned into a group of people finding ways to capitalize financially by stoking the flames of those passions. Content creators on YouTube are making money by precisely targeting an audience of insecure fans who are predisposed to believe that their favorite hobby is under siege from outside influences, whether they be the dreaded social justice warriors, feminists, or yours truly (gaming journalists). Those videos feed into various echo chambers on Reddit and Twitter, which then takes that content, riffs on it endlessly, and then feeds more conspiracies of “attacks on gaming” back to the YouTube creators.
GamesBeat fell directly under the tires of this outrage machine earlier this year because our lead writer, Dean Takahashi, was bad at Cuphead. He had gameplay video of him completely embarrassing himself in the run-and-gun shooter from his visit to the Gamescom fan event in Germany, and we thought it was funny enough to share with everyone else. The reaction to this was disproportionately loud, and I was astounded to see how YouTube creators, neoreactionary opportunists on Twitter, and Reddit posters formed a false narrative that instantly turned into the widely accepted truth. It turns out that Dean is this bad at all games all the time. He also hates games, and he only write about them to push his SJW (pronounced S-JEW) agenda on meager, hard-working gamers who just want to have a good time and threaten him on the internet.
But once you see that pattern, you’ll see it repeated over and over everywhere, and the underlying engine that powers this whole system are the YouTube creators. You see, there’s always money in convincing gamers that they are under assault from people who aren’t 100-percent true gamerz who want to outlaw all existing games and replace them with walking simulators about lesbians and Planned Parenthood.
I mean — take a look at this hunk.
AlphaOmegaSin, one of the top YouTubers in the “yelling loudly to entertain children who lack developed language skills” genre, is so pissed that the SJWs and journalists* (*always say “journalist” with disdain) think this cartoon game is the height of bigotry. He’s clearly found some really damning proof of his claims because he … let me check my notes here … OK, he doesn’t actually have any evidence. Instead, he just found some headlines and seemingly manufactured his rage out of nothing because those stories from Unwinnable, Kotaku, and others never actually call Cuphead racist.
None of this is to say that gamers or even these content creators aren’t truly angry. The point here is just that what they are angry about is often in their imaginations. Reality clearly doesn’t matter, and AlphaOmegaSin and others have learned throughout 2017 that that they can spin up a story about games under attack with or without evidence, and they will get views and engagement from an audience desperate for validation of their rage. And that was the defining trend of the last year.
Thanks to Shaun, a YouTube creator, for his deep explanation of this trend.