This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Since the American Revolution popularized the idea of freedom of speech, many American citizens have embraced that right to not only challenge their government and its leaders, but to also challenge the opinions and beliefs of others. Sadly, many countries do not share this common freedom that we have.
However, with the advent of the Internet, that freedom can be expressed no matter where you hail from (for the most part). Now anyone from anywhere at any time can voice their opinions. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing has yet to be determined, but there’s still a very important part of this that everyone must keep in mind:
Just because you have an opinion, doesn't mean it's the right one.
I see people forgetting this more and more often in video game magazines and on video game websites. The Internet is a great staging area for anyone to voice their opinion about any game, whether they love it or hate it. I tend to feel bad for video game reviewers, because even though many people may agree with their opinions, there will always be a large group that will outright disagree no matter what. Sadly, the ones that agree do not voice their support as often as those who do not.
What video game journalists must understand is that the right given to them to voice and spread their opinions in whatever fashion they choose is also shared by their readers, and while many of them may disagree with a review, their opinions must still be respected (as hard as that may be).
Too often I see video game magazine editors outright bash and humiliate their readers for disagreeing with their reviews, columns, opinion pieces, and so forth. It is not a good way to treat your readers (who, I might add, pay the subscription fees that pay your rent), nor is it a healthy way to defend your opinion or prove your credibility within the journalism field. If big-name magazines like Time, National Geographic, or The New Yorker saw how these opinions were being defended, they would look at us like children fighting on a playground.
If the video game community wants to be respected, it's time for everyone, from all sides, to start acting like adults.
For one, if you're posting your opinions on any open forum for people to read, be prepared to defend your opinion and not just bash someone else’s. Remember that opinions, no matter how stupid, can never be truly wrong (that’s what makes them opinions). Many times your opinion will not be popular, and we all must understand that.
Secondly, if you feed into the childishness of your attacker, you are no better than them. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging their feelings on your opinion and moving on in a mature manner. What will feverishly arguing whether Dragon's Dogma deserved a good score or not accomplish? Nothing.
Battlefield 3 received a lower Metacritic score than Modern Warfare 3, but many argued that it was the better game.
Thirdly, if you feel that a lot of people are attacking the way you present your opinions, then maybe you should change your approach. The magazine PLAY (rest in peace) did away with score-based reviews and instead favored more well-thought-out pieces. Very few games earned highly negative reviews, with the magazine choosing to focus on more particular write-ups that were geared toward a specific type of gamer (role-playing game reviews were written in a way that RPG gamers could relate to, and so on). Sometimes we have to look within ourselves and adjust and improve our own writing skills. No one said we were perfect.
And lastly, to those readers and perusers of the Internet, please understand that one person's opinion does not warrant a childish bash against them if it clashes with your own. Sometimes opening up a dialogue with that person can shed some light on how they feel about something.
Overall, we have to understand that the rights given to us to express and voice our opinions are the same rights given to those who want to attack them. We cannot be the type of people that will attack those that simply disagree with us, we have to try to see their opinion for what it is, and maybe learn and appreciate where it is they are coming from. Also, keep in mind that the self-proclaimed journalists and reviewers are not perfect in the way they present their opinions and could always stand to do a little self-improvement if called for. All in all, if we want to be a respected medium, we must learn to grow up and be mature.