What The Sims Community Exposed About Gaming Journalism
In case you haven't heard, fans of The Sims 4 are livid. And if you haven't heard, it isn't your fault - but you may want to reevaluate the gaming journalism sites you frequent.
In brief, The Sims 4 players are furious over a new trailer that EA revealed at Gamescom. The trailer showed details of a new game pack titled "Star Wars: Journey to Batuu." It seems as though EA expected the addition to be a slam dunk - after all, the Star Wars franchise has proven itself to be immensely profitable. However, fans of The Sims 4 swiftly voiced their outrage across several social media platforms. The collective sentiment seems to be, "We never asked for this." Their complaint may seem like an overreaction if you aren't an active member of the Sims community, but it becomes more understandable when you account for the fact that players have overwhelmingly requested other features for a long time. EA's choice to release the Star Wars pack underlines an uncomfortable (but obvious) truth - EA cares far more about making money than it does about creating a pleasurable experience for its fans.
The Media Coverage
As EA finds itself in the midst of a new wave of fury from fans, I noticed a separate trend regarding the coverage of the issue. When I sought out media created by Sims fans, the focus, unsurprisingly, largely remained on EA's blunder and fan outrage. But when I read articles from some of the Internet's largest gaming journalism sites, I was astounded by the stark disparities in the nature of the coverage. About half of the sites mentioned the angry response from fans (the fans' displeasure was referenced in several of the article titles). The other half made no mention of the fans' frustrations over the pack. In fact, the articles that omitted the fan response focused primarily on EA and its "creativity," and some articles even went as far as praising the pack. I find the dichotomy a bit suspicious, and I have some theories about why so many articles chose to bend over backwards for EA:
a) The individuals who wrote the articles in question are not Sims fans and therefore did not consider the benefits of gauging Sims fans' reactions before publishing.
b) This is a simple case of lazy journalism.
c) EA paid many of the sites to publish favorable articles about the new pack.
d) The gaming journalism sites in question have an ongoing relationship with EA and are afraid of damaging it.
Keep in mind: ALL of these are theories, and I'm not accusing anyone of anything. But it seems a little odd that the nature and content of the coverage changes so dramatically from one site to the next. I don't think it's far-fetched to imagine that these articles may have been sponsored, since many of them read like ads. Not only did many of the articles fail to address the most recent rift between fans and EA, they also neglected to mention the backlash over lack of inclusive skin tones and hairstyles. This is a bad look for EA, and we may begin to see gamers boycotting the company in droves.
Be cautious about which gaming journalism sites you choose to trust, and be wary of companies that act money-hungry. Of course companies will (almost) always prioritize profits ahead of customer satisfaction, but EA has been so blatant about it that I'm turned off from buying their games in the future.
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