Josh Olin, Community Manager at Call of Duty: Black Ops developers Treyarch, thinks that "pundits" and "angry entitled fans" are ruining creativity in video games. They're not.
In an interview with NowGamer, Olin - who admittedly must wade knee-deep through stupid questions from assholes as part of his job - says the following:
Personally, as a community manager who lives in the media or social media world every day, I think the social culture of video games is moving in a more negative direction as technology and social media continues to grow. Rather than growing with it, the trend seems to be devolving. More and more gamers seem to forget what this industry is all about.
It's a creative industry – the most creative form of entertainment in existence. Too many developers who try new things are getting burned by "pundits" and angry entitled fans who look to be contrarian, sometimes simply for the sake of being contrarian. The only thing this attitude aims to achieve is stunt that creativity and innovation even further, which is something that no rational gamer looking to be entertained would want to do.
He's right about the sentiment that's out there. The kind of people who actively comment as part of a video game community are, sadly, often prone to focus on the negatives, and can often be quite rude when doing so. It's enough to get a man down and make him think the world is out to get him.
But to say that's the reason creativity is being stunted? Come on. Haters Gonna Hate, Josh! If a video game developer designs its games according to the whims of the squeaky wheels, then it deserves to have its creativity stunted, because true innovation takes guts.
The audience doesn't know what it wants before it has it. It never asked for Ico, or Katamari Damacy, or Deus Ex, or BioShock ahead of time. Those games were dropped on them, from creative developers who weren't afraid to roll the dice and take a few risks, and became much-loved classics because of that.
If developers listened to only the whiniest, most vocal fans barraging them with ideas, our video games would look like the car Homer Simpson designed: perfect in that amateur's mind, but a monstrosity for everyone else.
So Josh, let the complainers complain! They're not the ones designing video games for a living.