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Hrothmund's random ramblings.

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Author: Hrothmund

The large corporations do not care about us, what can we do about it?

Posted by Hrothmund Monday August 11 2008 at 2:30PM
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I am tired of hearing the continuous cries of injustice every time a game is released a few weeks or months ahead in one region of the world when compared to another. This happens; we are talking about for-profit companies trying to generate revenue here, not game creators bowing down in front of their public to earn a few pats on the back. The people behind their screens writing angry messages to game publisher for not launching at the same time in their country when compared to another are missing the big picture. MMORPGs are not worth crying over, big business does not care about MMORPG customers, they care about the bottom line. Caring about the bottom line means catering to the US first, or whatever market they project will grant them the largest amount of revenue or profits.


The American market is still the number one retail market for most consumer products, so until we Euros start spending some major €€€, we should not complain about 'being left behind'. Then again a hyper-consumer market like the US spreading globally is not a very good thing for the planet, so I am not about to urge my fellow Europeans to consume more. Waiting a few months for a game is not the end of the world. Consuming the same amount of fossil fuel per capita as the US does is. The benefits of such a short-term profit seeking and consumer driven market are most probably very short-lived. I love America, the freedoms it provides to its citizens, the natural beauty of the country and most of all, its people. This does not mean I agree with every aspect of the American lifestyle. I am very munch against instant gratification, the lifestyle American media is promoting at the moment.


There are many short-term benefits for a consumer based society like the US(Like lower prices for everyday items, more diverse product availability, and better rights and services for consumers.), but is instant gratification really worth changing this planet, and I don't mean ecologically either. What I mean are strip malls, frivolous lawsuits and the same US based brands spreading throughout the world. Do we really want to get to a point where after paying tens of thousands of dollars or Euros for an exotic holiday, we find out that the destination looks exactly the same as home sweet home? I don't. Unfortunately, this is already happening and in the worst cases has already happened. I am native Finn who has lived in both the US and Ireland and sadly, the large indoor shopping centers and strip malls of all three countries sport so many of the same outlets and products that when you are in one, it is very difficult to know which country you are in fact in. (Well the daft Irish do drive on the wrong side of the road.)


Now don't perceive this as an anti-American rant, it isn't. I don't like Nokia, Sony, Toyota, DHL, Virgin or any other mega conglomerate buying out companies globally and sticking their ugly logos everywhere. Note, the companies I just listed are all non-American. Things will change; it could be in twenty years we will go buy our home appliances at Gome, a highly successful Chinese home appliances outlet. Why exactly is this bad? If we globalize to the point where all economies are extremely similar and the same companies service every part of the world, the economy will become extremely homogeneous. This, inadvertently will lead to monopolies being formed and placing the consumer at the whim of these mega companies.


Now, the tone of my post may look like it is written by a communist hippie who is planning a firebomb attack on the nearest McDonalds, but it isn't. I just ate at McDonalds a few hours back, I own a luxury sedan, live in an apartment much too big for my needs and buy every stupid gadget that gets my nerd-genes whizzing, and that would be most of them. I do feel this way, because I believe the global economy is becoming too uniform, many large 'competing' mega corporations own large chunks of each other already. Corporate acquisitions and large-scale mergers are becoming more and more commonplace.

I firmly believe that in twenty or thirty years we will see the forming of fewer than ten or so titanic corporate clusters that will control the economy more or less as they wish. As these remaining corporate giants 'battle it out', I project only two or three will be left standing in fifty or so years. Once these last 'competitors' are forged into one global entity, what the corporate system has produced is something very unlikely, a system more akin to communism than capitalism.


Now the above may be more fiction than fact and more science fiction than fiction, but then again, not completely impossible. I want to see more small businesses, favoring of local products and less profiteering and selling out. Is this impossible?

Money is hard to resist, but is it really that important? We are a generation that needs to make very important decisions, do we want to make our lives easier and more convenient at the expense of the planet and future generations, or will we make a stand and try to carve out a different future for human kind? Now, before commenting on my opinions, please put some thought into this stuff, most people don't, they just drone on with their lives.

zymurgeist writes:

What does this have to do with MMORPGs?

Mon Aug 11 2008 3:32PM Report
Hrothmund writes:

Well, it more or less has to do with everything. The point was to illustrate how small woes about a game releasing here or there or bad customer service, etc, really is. Most of the stuff people whine about here is completely meaningless.

Mon Aug 11 2008 4:17PM Report
Amarsir writes: [quote]If we globalize to the point where all economies are extremely similar and the same companies service every part of the world, the economy will become extremely homogeneous. This, inadvertently will lead to monopolies[/quote] Come again? Allow me to break out your point: "If all people have access to the same choices, then they might all choose the same one. (That causing a monopoly.) Thus to prevent that we should prefer that not everyone has the same choices, so they can't support a monopoly. That's silly. A monopoly exists when no one else can offer a viable choice. And if what you predict were to happen, it could just as easily happen separately in different regions. The flatter world allows *more* competition, not less. You never get a more balanced or fair economy by denying people the choice they would want. Mergers and aquisitions are no more common now than they have been. They exist because of the business life cycle, which is why your prediction is as false now as it was a hundred years ago when people were making similar predictions. Bigger businesses are, by their nature, less able to innovate. So they use the cash they have to acquire smaller more inventive businesses that have shown success. To tie that back in to games, consider NeoPets. It was created by a "small businesses." Then Viacom needed something profitable to do with it's cash, so it purchased the rights. (For $160 million!) Viacom is a big company. But they didn't suppress the small Neopets (as if they could). On the contrary, they benefitted from the creativity of that small startup. The creaters profited immensely. And players of Neopets are supported not an independant (and therefore less reliable) small team, but by the backing of a major corporation. It's win/win/win, and it happens because corporations love creativity, it helps them grow. But the larger they grow, the less able they are to try risky things (or else they risky damaging their successful products). And that's why the increased competition of a flatter world is a good thing. It will only turn sour when people stop trying to innovate. Mon Aug 11 2008 4:48PM Report
Hrothmund writes:


Many monopolies also exist due to corporate mergers and acquisitions, choice is being taken away from us.

To say they are no more common could be correct, however, they are much more large scale than in the last 20-30 years. Giants are being born currently and that is necessarily not a good thing.

There are many markets where you can not simply break in as a new player, unless you have hundreds of millions, if not billions in capital funding. Look around the world, unique societies and economies are being changed into the same global gray pulp. You may think this is a win/win, but I disagree.

I don't like driving to my summer cottage and seeing a McDonalds or Starbucks just a few kilometers away. Is this really choice, or is this just an effect of today's drone economy.

Feel as you wish, but I do not think we are looking at sustainable growth here, neither economically or financially.

Mon Aug 11 2008 5:14PM Report
_Seeker writes:

Very strange. You pose a question. Then give no answers.

Mon Aug 11 2008 8:55PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

Corperations have never cared about us, you the customer isjust a carrying case for money.

If you believe the company cares about you, then you are a fool. All the major companies do the bare minium to keep in line with the law.

Mon Aug 11 2008 10:40PM Report
aleos writes:

Honestly the only thing we could do would be to bind together as one! and make our own mmorpg. Oh yeah and stop responding to polls.

Mon Aug 11 2008 10:52PM Report
Hrothmund writes:

Well there is one thing we can all do. Spend our money on local produce and avoid catering to big business. It is only a matter of time before we hit an other global recession. The winner coming out from that recession will most probably be China and the developing markets in the East.

Tue Aug 12 2008 7:41AM Report writes:
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