Negative Fanboyism - time to give it the boot?
It’s human nature to favour the things we admire most in life, whether it’s a particular make of car, a rock band, a certain operating system or a football team. Most of us are fanboys of something or other, even if we don’t always admit it. And there’s nothing really wrong with that. After all, it’s only a positive thing, and something companies fight hardest for - brand loyalty, the holy grail of marketing.
The gaming community has often been the setting for fierce brand loyalty – largely, it has to be said, dictated by sheer economics (let’s be honest, not everyone can afford to own all of the next-gen consoles at the same time). Over recent years, this has turned the market into an increasingly tribal arena, giving birth to what we now see on almost every gaming site you go on, ‘negative fanboyism’.
Where trolling was once an easy-to-spot irritant of community sites, today’s disruptors are somewhat more insidious, sheltering under the guise of ‘genuinely interested’. It may take several posts, but sooner or later, their agenda becomes apparent: to berate a particular system.
Not content with being fans of their preferred system, negative fanboys have an innate desire to continually attack other systems at every given opportunity, albeit under the guise of opinion/concern/interest. Of course by them pretending to be genuinely interested, there’s not much that can be done about it.
Well, not quite. A new generation of gaming websites is beginning to surface, where negative fanboyism is identified, isolated and locked up. This is what I aim to achieve with a new site, www.gamesey.com
The concept is very simple. The site revolves around the idea of clubs, if you’re a fan of a particular system, you join its club. If not, you don’t. This not only helps prevent the crossover from one system’s fans to another, but makes it much easier to spot negative fanboys.
So will we see more sites that take on board these values? Yes and no.
You see, one thing that negative fanboyism is good for is generating traffic and post counts. Loyal fans can’t help but defend their preferred systems, and sometimes inadvertently end up looking like negative fanboys themselves. This leads others who originally stayed off the thread to get involved to defend their system. And so it perpetuates.
Sadly, many webmasters love it. It means more page impressions, which means more ad impressions, which means more revenue! So don’t expect the major players to put their foot down anytime soon. Ironically, those who are funding this negativity are those being hurt by it the most, the industry itself. (Who else advertises on gaming sites?)
Sooner or later, more will join the ranks and say enough’s enough - we’re sorry, but frankly we have better things to do with our time than get caught up in a tirade that leaves us under a cloud. We want to go on gaming sites to feel good about our chosen hobby, not leave frustrated and annoyed because negative fanboys just keep on attacking our choices or keep dragging us down to their level. So we’ll make a statement, by joining communities which are different, and finally get back to what matters most – games. And how much we love them.
By Azz Hassan (Part of the team @ www.gamesey.com)