‘Finally, someone said it’
By Jake Wray, News Editor
EA, Ubisoft, Activision, and other video game giants are promising to make significant changes to their business practices after a YouTuber criticized the gaming industry in a video uploaded Monday.
The video, titled “10 problems with gaming right now,” gained 876 million views in two hours and sparked widespread public outrage about dirty capitalistic practices in the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. The video is “a wholly original criticism,” and “long overdue,” according to an editorial published by gaming “journalism” site IGN.
Gaming companies are “totally being unnecessarily greedy,” the video alleges, when they siphon off game content to be sold as DLC or add loot boxes to games. The three-hour and 20-minute video is narrated by the still-cracking voice of the video’s creator, 19-year-old Connor Austin, known on YouTube as FART_SMACK. The video is produced in classic YouTube style as the narration begins with FART_SMACK saying, “What up, guys.” Other classic production techniques include gratuitous jump cuts that make this reporter’s teeth hurt, and a loud dinging sound each time FART_SMACK makes a point he considers particularly salient.
FART_SMACK was inspired to make his video because Destiny 2 “isn’t as good as it should be,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Other Press.
“I just want to sit back and play that game with my friends without feeling like I need to spend all this extra money,” he said, before admitting he pre-ordered the digital deluxe edition of Destiny 2. “I really can’t afford to keep hemorrhaging money on games like this. I have to save up for the Xbox One X, and a 4K TV.”
Tim Wong, a spokesperson representing a consortium of gaming corporations including EA, Ubisoft, and Activision, said at a press conference Monday evening that the companies hear the public outrage, and they will change at once.
“If only we had known sooner that our business tactics were upsetting people,” he told reporters. “Forget economics. We’re going to do the right thing from now on.”
Gabe Newell, president of the Valve corporation, said the company still plans to include micro-transactions in Half Life 3, despite the controversy.
“Just be glad you’re getting the game at all,” Newell said in a phone interview with the Other Press.
Lyle Muhammed, a sociology professor at UBC, said FART_SMACK’s video shows that YouTubers have the potential to become leaders of intellectual discourse.
“When I saw the video, I thought ‘finally, someone said it.’ I think YouTubers are going to elicit this reaction in other areas as well,” he said. “The film industry, the environment, politics—these are all areas that could use the thoughtful, sharp criticism offered by YouTube.”