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The Entitlement Generation is Killing Games

Updated Thu, Dec 06, 2012 by ricoxg

Most of the little snot-nosed kids I’m talking about won’t get this reference, but years ago comedian George Carlin introduced a comedy routine about the “pussification of the American male.” It’s funny because it’s true. Carlin goes on about all these iconic images of manhood becoming so commercialized, so accessible, that they begin to lose their meaning. Things like doctors and lawyers, general guppies of all types, were beginning to roll around the streets of Sturgis, South Dakota, where once only the hardest of bikers dared ride. Friends and fellow geeks, there is a similar plague descending on our beloved community and it promises to turn that once noble pastime into a socialist suburbia.

For years, “experts” have been slowly taking competition out of schools and promoting lameness instead. You can’t play dodge-ball because it’s too aggressive, and more passive kids are disadvantaged. You can’t really play T-ball anymore, or at least you can’t keep score, because we don’t want the kids who lose to feel bad. Failing the kids who goof around in class and don’t do their homework? Oh no, can’t have that. It might scar their poor little spoiled psyches. What’s the result of this everybody-wins mentality? Kids who don’t know how to win with class, lose with grace, or put any effort into anything even resembling achievement. The Entitlement Generation is killing our games and we need to wake up!

The Entitlement Generation and the Death of Games
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball, but you can’t dodge the lesson of getting knocked on your butt by life.

Winning is everything, losing is unfair

I’m aware that some folks are out there starting to feel a slight twitch in their lip when they read this. Well, if your feelings are hurt, I’m probably talking about you or your kids. The eventual result of this ridiculous desire to protect kids from feeling bad has resulted in a whole generation of little pricks who say the most disgusting things they can anytime someone else wins. It’s so common that it’s even become a running joke.

There’s not a person reading this who isn’t thinking of the last time they were on Xbox LIVE having to endure a squeaky tirade from some kid who didn’t know the meaning or history behind three-quarters of the words he was using. Raw lack of respect for one’s fellow man has a part to play in it, but so does the inability to handle a loss. Anyone else winning is bad because someone loses, and that’s just not acceptable to kids who never learned how to deal with losing.


I don’t speak German, but I’ve heard this rant online plenty of times in English.

It’s not enough that we endure the spoiled kids in the games we play, we also get to read their whiney diatribe on gaming forums and social media channels. Visit the forums for any game and you’ll see the same thing--post after post where someone claims something else is over-powered, unfair, broken, or that their opponent hacks. Another thing all these posts will have in common is that none of them are well thought out or in any way intelligently written. You won’t find specific examples or testing results, just a badly written bitch session of epic proportions.

There seems to be an unreasonable expectation that everything should be precisely the same, and that any advantage another player can gain over you is patently unfair. If you can’t run right at the other guy shooting and kill him more often than he kills you, then the weapons are unbalanced and need to be fixed. One more example of what happens when you fail to teach kids how to lose well when they’re young.

"Games are fun. Games are also a critical part of learning about life as well, though. Games teach us how to take defeat without being crushed by it and how to learn from failure. The successful man is just one who’s taken more opportunities to fail than those around him. Let’s teach our children that competition is good, that winning is fun, and that fairness does not mean that no one loses."

Although I think that entitlement these days is just awful, I respectfully have to disagree with the above statement(s). Games are NOT a critical part of learning about life. Parents and teachers should teach kids about life and that sometimes you lose and how to deal with it. Games are just the point where you get the experience in doing so.
Also "The successful man is just one who’s taken more opportunities to fail than those around him". Another commonplace that is sadly not always true and also is very dependent on what an individual considers to be successful. And there are plenty of cases where you'd find that this is not always defined by taking more opportunities, but also having an advantage from the start, be it "fair or unfair".
I do agree that kids need to learn to deal with how to lose, but there first needs to be more respect for opponents, and that's where parents and school come in again. But over the last decade competition got so fucked up, it was more about demeaning and foul mouthing th eopponent than anything else.

Whenever I watch an American show like Hell's Kitchen for example (and many others) people are always so full of themselves and think they are the best thing since sliced bread and feel the need to reaffirm that by belittling and even insulting their opponents. And that's where it goes wrong, it no longer is about respect and it starts to look like a war which is totally unnecessary.

For those who can watch it (or perhaps YouTube has them) watch an episode of Masterchef Australia. This still is a competition, but contestants are motivating eachother and even helping them. It's very refreshing seeing that to be honest. It's all about respect in the end, so stop putting down others and know your abilities (instead of being delusional) and use/show them instead of bragging about it.

And do not make everything abou tcompetition but realize that there's more fun to be had doing stuff together than constantly trying to beat someone. And if you win, be respectful and thank your opponent for a good game or whatever, instead of doing a (virtual) victory dance demeaning their effort.

P.S. Sorry for any grammar or spelling errors, English is not my native language.

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I'm a little disappointed.

While I don't disagree with you that games with no challenge have little feeling of accomplishment, I was hoping you would talk about something else.

And thats the little snots who somehow think they are entitled to entertainment without paying for it. In the past few years I have seen the money being driven out of the market by "f2p" schemes and similar formats where income is a fraction of what it would be under traditional models.

And the result will be an industry a fraction of the size and games with a fraction of the ambition.

What people outside the industry forget is that game development is a risky business. As an industry if we don't make enough money on the successes to pay for the success AND the failures, then we die.

It was hard enough talking management into taking risks with new and different concepts, when your net income is a $1/user/year (*cough zynga cough*) its just about impossible to innovate.

You cannot get blood from a stone and you cannot make entertainment for free. Therfore if its going to make little to no money in the aggregate, no one will make it.

Actually the free to play model when a game is well made earns a lot more money over time than even with a up front purchase and subscription model.

The keyword is "microtransactions" by having a bunch of small purchases you end up earning a bunch of money because someone is paying for convenience or a clear edge over other players in a game. So they end up spending 15-20 a month or more. But they're doing it 2-3 bucks at a time and don't realize it. It's exploiting the compulsion for an impulse buy.

The big problem with the industry as a whole right now is that big name publishers see success like world of warcraft, and call of duty/battlefield. They want to get that success and so they emulate. Not realizing that they need to stand out and experiment. It's why you don't see many space sims, RTS, god games, or adventure games anymore. They're "dead genres" because they never got huge payouts on launch days. They can still make money. But when a company is run by a moron (like riticello with EA) they're looking for big payouts and not a steady stream of profitable income. Which is more just a symptom of the ass backwards american corporate culture. (not all corporate culture is bad. It's a greed pretty unique to american companies). So, we end up with mindless rehashes that at best look like shiny painted over versions of other games that have already come out.

Look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. That game had an officially disclosed 200 million sunk into it's development. And now it's F2P as a desperate gambit to make some of the money back. That probably would work. If they remembered that you need to actually have the game be fun without paying money for people to want to put money into it.

YYou give no statistics to back this assertion up.

I WILL give you a statistic.

Zynga, once hailed as the great proof of this model, it turns out at their best generates $1/user/year ion their net revenue. This is all in their S1 filing.

And this is why they are trading at a fraction of their offer price.

I can also tell you, from direct discussion with them, that Arena net expects no where near the return on GuildWars2 that a successful subscription MMO like WOW can generate.

And you are correct, F2P has become the desperate hail-mary gambit to make ANY revenue back from that already sunk into a failed MMMORPG. Because any revenue is better then none. But they wont make back their dev costs, and they only hurt the market for new products this way.

Already the most commonly heard statement on the launch of a new MMORPG now is "ah, Ill wait 'til its free." This is the death knell for such expensive productions.

What a load of opinionated nonsense.

This article seems to forget and totally gloss over several factors about the new "entitlement" generation of games.

Most games can be just as difficult or -more- difficult than games of the past. All you have to do is go to the difficulty setting and turn it up a little higher. It is a rare game that you can't find some challenge in it by doing just that. Even as some hardcore uber gamer. Now if you want to complain about level design being dumbed down, about linearity, about features in the gameplay that make the game too easy on any difficulty level... Then fine. I can see the point.

I think what this article, and a lot of older gamers from my generation mistake is accessibility with difficulty. World of Warcraft is trying to hybrid the idea that everyone should get a shot at the raid, but not everyone can beat it on the hardest settings. The goal is to create equal and open opportunity, not a guarantee at the ending.

Now, as they say in this article not every game does that. And that is an issue. Being basically handheld along til you eventually win sucks, but as long as I can put the difficulty higher, get a challenge, and then win the game feeling satisfied. How does that diminish my enjoyment of the game when someone else can beat it easily? Except to be an elitist dickhead.

Dark souls is another example of a game that hasn't bowed to the trend. It's hard, and part of the game's entire focus is on the difficulty of your fights. As well as the grind of moving around because teleporting between bonfires or dying/resurrecting at one causes monsters (not bosses) to respawn. That game didn't add in an easy mode, because it's focus is the difficulty.

So, while I can see some of the points this article makes. I also think it's glossing over way too much that counters it's argument.

p.s. Oh, and planetside 1? You could reset your certifications every 24 hours. So that "you can't pilot whatever" argument is bullshit. Planetside 2 may let you invest points into everything. But those certification sinks give you some pretty powerful upgrades. 200 certs into a scythe is a lot better than a guy who has no certs in a scythe. And you can never reset those certs. You're stuck with them unless you make a new character.

I don't agree fully. Yes, there should be challenge, but not to the point of taking the fun out of playing, Most of us play for enjoyment, so there should be differing levels of difficulty depending on a gamer's choice. I like GW2 because I can choose solo or joining events for grouping. And then there are many players who just don't have the ability for the harder challenges, but still want the fun of playing the game.

[ADMIN EDIT: Take the political debates and personal attacks elsewhere. We're discussing the gaming and culture, not politics, despite what you may think.]

I agree with this article 100%.

Sick of seeing hardcore games like EVE ONLINE watered down to make kids with entitlement issues feel like they are special too.

And it is sad because when companies try and make an old school hard core game, it doesn't get the sale that another mainstream game would and it fails(sales wise) so they dont take risks.

that is why indie gaming is really coming up.

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well since my last OPINION was removed ironically from the board about OPINIONS. I feel this discussion is being ran by folk who feel entitled to voice their own opinions and silence others who might hold differing views.

I think opinions held by those who are about 40 years old like myself who feel entitled to dictate how young folk should enjoy their games nowadays are the entitled generation. we played games how they were served up to us and had our fun , and young folk should be allowed the same.
It's the older generation that seeks to demonise young folk nowadays for being ENTITLED when very often all the young folk (remember they are our kids) feel entitled to is stuff we had and took for granted.

free university enducation , being able to retire in a measure of comfort before 70 years old, etc . Well the baby boomer generation who are retiring now and our genration to a lesser extent felt ENTITLED to run up massive amounts of dept that we are going to make the young folk now pay back through their entire life, and we have the gall to whine on about them being entitled cos they feel they have less time to enjoy games or anything else for that matter that means they want fun more immediate and in shorter bursts , or whatever .....

every child born now in the UK , USA or any other western country , has about £20000 dept as their share of the national dept that WE have burdened them with due to our ENTITLEMENT to comforts and lifestyle WE as a generation couldn,t afford.

So when i read OPINIONS like this one demonising young folk nowadays cos they choose to enjoy games in other ways than would have been our choosing , I think shame on whoever writes such nonsense.

who is the entitled generation us or them?

PS better read this quick cos it,ll be removed as it would seem you arn't allowed a counter viewpoint to those posted on this site.

You're either missing the point or intentionally ignoring it to blather on about thinly-veiled political rants.

Game is just game .Education should teach them to realize the real world and the gaming world.

every piece ricoxg writes for you is a thinly veiled political rant kitsune, if you don't believe me even a quick read of the titles should be enough to convince you. so you're saying your ok to let him post his thinly disguised political views all over this site but are against anyone replying in kind?

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I would add to this and complain about the fact that besides what you mention, there's also a lot of laziness and it influences modern game design, from things like fast travel, to making everything in the game design function like a carrot and not a stick.

"I don't want to have to take so long to travel, its not fun." "I don't want dungeons to be dark and to have to plan ahead and take torches, its not fun." "I don't want hunger to effect me, its not fun." "I don't want my items to break, its not fun."

Yet years ago games made things difficult for players, the players took these things for granted, and everyone had fun playing them. The fact is the "work" games made you do were just as much a part of the challenge of the game as was the fact that you might lose. "As fun as possible" ends up being translated to "as easy as possible."

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