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Five Reasons To Avoid Fanboy-ism In Gaming

A new console generation has truly begun which means thousands of gamers worldwide will again pick sides.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 places the primary focus on gaming. ©Evan Amos

With the Wii U continuing to sit in the background, the biggest consoles appear to be PS4 and Xbox One. The battle between Microsoft and Sony (and the legions of so called ‘’Xbots’’ and ‘’Sony Ponies’’) has been an ugly one at times. Arguably, ever since Xbox 360 and PS3 there have been loyalists ready to defend their system and its respective company to the end. However, some of these people have taken this to the extreme, trashing every related article and disliking every related YouTube video. I am talking about gaming fanboys; an aspect of the gaming community who seem to have multiplied dramatically with the advent of the eighth generation of gaming consoles. It’s been going on for many years and to me it shouldn’t be such a big part of the games industry. Here’s why…

1. It can fuel aggression and ultimately can make people very bad-tempered and unlikeable: What separates the fanboy from the unbiased opinion is the violent manner in which they defend their brand; their comments are often made up of a lot of capitalised speech and exclamation marks. This is especially dangerous as there is often no one around, nor a system in place to prevent them from posting such comments. Sometimes behaviour online can grow so bad it transfers into the real world where the person will likely get quite the rude awakening from family, friends and work. As long as the angry comments continue unchallenged, the person posting them may well be led to believe that this kind of behaviour won’t be punished, whether online or not.

2. It is often foul-mouthed and rude trolling rather than actual justification: Fanboys turn a blind eye to the positives of the system they don’t own and they instead turn to overwhelming their opponents with gratuitous swearing in an effort to win the argument. In reality however, they’re only digging themselves a deeper hole, for this method only serves to highlight a fanboy’s inability to offer a constructive argument to their fellow gamer.

The Xbox One aims to be an all-in-one entertainment system. ©Major Nelson

3. The facts are often unknown or completely overlooked: I’m not sure what causes this but it seems that whenever someone’s eyes are fixed on an internet page, they sometimes become fixated on a particular comment rather than what that person was commenting on. Fanboys are no strangers to this and their first instinct is not to read through the article above to counter someone’s argument effectively; instead they click on the reply button straight away and jump into trashing the person who insulted the system they are loyal to, without any regard for their opinion or whether what they are saying may well be true. This only makes their violent arguing redundant and lacking in substance.

4. It disrespects and insults the opinions of others: Fanboyism in gaming is often not limited to which system is the best but it often spreads to other outlets, especially reviews. Everyone on Gamespot probably knows about the amount of hatred staff member Tom McShea and Carolyn Petit got and are still receiving for their reviews of Grand Theft Auto 5Batman Arkham OriginsThe Last of UsFable: The Journey, and Zelda: Skyward Sword. A lot of people did strongly disagree with their judgement on these games, but was it really worth yelling at them through the comments section, insulting them as professional critics and labelling them as wrong and unintelligent? Apparently a large amount of fanboys thought so, and the obscene comments continue to pour in, demanding that one person’s opinion be the same as theirs and some other websites. Multiple opinions are a GOOD thing. If everyone thought the same,  there wouldn’t be any point to reviews in the first place. Opinions serve as a guide but it is up to the consumer to make their own judgement.

5. It hurts the image of gamers as a whole: The press coverage of the gaming industry has always focused on the negative aspects, blaming and stereotyping it for criminal acts, laziness and unproductivity in the world because of a minority of misguided individuals who set a bad example. Fanboys are no different, leading the media to spread the word that all gamers are juvenile, inconsiderate and foul-mouthed. Fanboyist comments and attitudes only distract from the more civil conversations on the web that could be better highlighted, were it not for a small minority that wrong the overall gaming community.

People may argue that diversity is important - which it is - but when it comes down to it, fanboyism takes this to substantial levels of bitterness and rage. If everyone acted with an unbiased viewpoint, browsing through most gaming websites would be far more civil and pleasant. Almost anyone who owns one gaming system and not the other may be guilty of fanboyist comments at some point or another: the ultimate solution is to think before typing and considering the positives (and negatives) of both the systems you own and the systems you don’t. Indeed this could be applied to any brand war but it seems that gaming has become the most intense today, and in my opinion it needs to stop.