However, not all gamers feel like using their powers for good – there are many, many more who feel their energies are better channeled down other paths. Dark paths paved with tears, internet flames and lots and lots of butthurt.
By now, I’m sure you’ve all been made aware of the backlash over Valve’s announcement of Left 4 Dead 2 at E3 2009. A vocal group of Steam users have formed a petition, wanting to block the release of L4D2 by claiming that Valve is just looking for a quick money grab by releasing a sequel only one year after the first entry. Despite assurances from Valve’s Chet Faliszek that they still plan to support the first L4D with updates (one of the chief complaints from the boycott group) the protestors continue to claim that Valve is somehow the puppy-raping, mother-kicking Anti-christ.
If you just want the news, there you go. If you want to hear a rather angry, semi-editorial rant, head under the cut. You’ve been warned.
Now while I don’t mean to sound like I’m taking someone’s righteous anger and belittling it, I should….okay, you’re right. I totally am. Forgive me for being a bit angry in my own right at what I see as another case of entitlement syndrome gone horribly wrong. People have gotten very used to Valve doing two things: 1) giving them free content and 2) taking for-freaking-ever to release new games. This announcement violates both of those assumptions and, thusly, fanboys rage and fetch the torches and pitchforks. Did you complain because you didn’t get Half-Life: Episodes 1 & 2 for free as well?
You already claim you don’t believe Valve when they say that the changes and upgrades to the engine, along with the amount of new material, made this more than could be pushed into the old game as a downloadable update. That’s fine – you don’t have to believe anything anyone tells you. But we’d respect you a lot more if you were just transparent and were honest about your intentions. Valve has at least addressed your primary complaint about L4D2 – the original will still be getting update love. Everything else after that just smacks to me of spoiled children who think they are entitled to have the new Battle Damage Armor He-Man for free just because they already purchased an older version.
Guess what – developers don’t have to give you any content for free. They never have. They do it because they like their fans and want them to keep buying their products. The fact that Valve has done this for so long is one of the reasons fans are so passionate about them – why they evangelize their friends and gaming buddies over to Valve’s products, getting more people onto Steam, etc.
But the second they “take away” free gifts, you turn and bite the hand that feeds. Very noble.
The first Left 4 Dead turned 2.5+ million copies at retail – Xbox 360 and PC combined. This is not taking Steam sales into account at all; we’re only talking boxed retail copies. If you add the Steam numbers in, which Valve has always kept close to their chests, I’m sure it reaches a far more staggering total. Do you seriously think that fans of the franchise who pick up L4D2 are going to cause a “fracturing” of the online community? You think the L4D servers are going to become virtual ghost towns overnight?
Are you crazy? Or just stupid?
If you want to boycott L4D2, you are perfectly within your rights to do so; this is a free country, after all. However, do so with your dollars and your word of mouth. Don’t buy the game and if you feel so inclined, encourage your friends not to do so either. But do so for the right reasons – of the three “requests” your manifesto is centered on, you’ve already been given one of them (promise of continued support). The other two – having it released for free as an add-on and/or should it end up being paid content, giving L4D owners a discount – just further what I’ve already said: you feel “entitled” to something that was never promised you to begin with.
This is why we can’t have nice things…