Well, it's obvious than fandoms aren't all fun and games, but Peter Parrish warns that fanaticism could be downright dangerous for the industry at large — just imagine a world where unchecked fandom desires dictate how future games are going to play out. Using the example of the apparently large and vociferous Sonic fandom, Parrish points towards what he sees as a devolving series based on the whims of the 'fan-artist' and 'fan-author.' Oh, but it doesn't stop there:
You may not particularly care about Sonic, but the problem reaches beyond a solitary blue hedgehog. Visible pockets of fans can easily be mistaken for commercial opportunities, and developers are always under pressure to follow the money. Consider a future where Valve paid heed to the most unbalanced aspects of fandom. In this grim world, the Portal sequel is 12 hours of twee comedy songs played by a sexualised companion cube - where the end of every torturous utterance rhymes with "cake" or "triumph." Half-Life 2: Episode 3 becomes an extended anime-style romance between Gordon and Alyx (while her creepy dad watches), and Left 4 Dead is a tale of four hardy neck-beards battling a legion of flying ninja-monkey-zombie-pirate-samurai.
My first instinct is to say 'Oh, come on' — of course passionate fanbases with money to spend may have some sway, but I have a hard time seeing developers trawling through hundreds of pages of badly written fanfiction in order to cater to the whims of excitable fans. We could also argue about what constitutes the 'most unbalanced aspects' of fandom. Fanaticism doesn't appeal to all of us, but I really think there are bigger fish to fry in the industry than fanatics who have access to a tablet and a word processor.
Fast-Track to Fanaticism [The Escapist]