10 Nov 2015 saw the much awaited launch of ‘Fallout 4’, made by Bethesda Softworks.
Awaited, as in….
1. It raked in $750 mn on the first day of its launch (12 million copies @US $60). In comparison, the biggest opening day movie grosser ‘ever’ was Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows II @US $91 mn). The ‘gaming’ industry is considerably BIGGER than the movie industry, this would suggest.
2. Its psuedo-counterpart (in terms of target audience, distribution), the porn industry reported a 10% drop in traffic on launch-day.
3. Big dividends for the game console industry, valued at upward of $25 bn (in the US alone). Compare this to the ‘mobile gaming’ industry valued at $30 bn worldwide. In fact, it’s mobile app, Fallout Pip-Boy, became the No. 1 game on the iTunes App Store.
4. It became the No. 1 game played on ‘Steam’, an online game platform – with more than 470,000 concurrent players. This pits people against each other, facilitates exchanges of money, encourages online social aggregation (imagine half-a-million people of similar tastes/ages..congregating at a single place at the same time).
1. Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating: M for MATURE (blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, use of drugs), meaning that it is ‘recommended’ for ages 17 and over. There is no caveat against ‘selling’. (that requires an ‘AO or Adults Only’ rating)
2. Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 4 out of 5
3. Positive messages: 1 out of 5
4. Positive role models: 1 out of 5
5. Language: 0 out of 5
6. Violence: 5 out of 5
7. Sex: 1 out of 5 (helps in obtaining a universal ‘ESRB’ rating like ‘M’. Also, explicit content, per se, may not provide any added attractiveness – explicit sexual content targets similar ‘neural centers’ as extreme violence does).
A few more attributes, of my choosing:
8. Addiction: 5 out of 5
Since there is much to discover and explore in the world-within-a-world, developers of this game are said to have played ‘400’ hours without discovering all that there is to find out. ‘Peer pressure’ on the online network encourages such behaviour.
9. A not-so-subtle introduction to emotional bi-polarity (real world vs gaming world): 5 out of 5
Role-playing necessitates ‘developing a personality’ for the character in question, one that involves internalising the game attributes – making it an embarrassingly involving experience. It has ’emotional moments’ by the bucketful, which non-gamers may find difficult to comprehend. It is basically ‘melodrama’ of the movies, upped many notches and considerably sophisticated (think $750 mn vs $91 mn). Consider the following:
“It’s the first taste of freedom you get after coming from a location (the real world) with so many rules. You don’t have to care about anything but your personal needs. How you survive is all up to your own wit and skill… No one is looking over your shoulder but you. While you have to drink water out of a bottle, because the rest of it isn’t safe, and shooting on sight is sometimes your only option, there’s an attraction to it. It’s not safe, it’s not fair, but it is free, and people crave that independence. Instead of dread, the player feels somewhat elated, with a sense of uninhibited opportunity….In a world of technological comfort and the unimportant making headline news, it’s a liberating feeling to be put in a place where your only goal is to survive and rise.”
10. Associative ‘coolness’ factor (attractiveness of the medium to non-gamers / groups / agencies): 5 out of 5
1. Two days after the release of the game, the American Chemical Society already released a video discussing the impact of a nuclear holocaust. Convergence of the gaming industry and an academic/professional agency indicates a strange kind of pull that the gaming industry is able to generate over the larger non-gaming world.
2. While it was INCORRECTLY reported by the international media that the Paris attackers communicated using PS4 gaming consoles (citing a statement made by the Belgian Home Minister three days prior to the attacks), this concept of gaming involvement in terrorist attacks follows revelations by Edward Snowden – that the NSA and CIA actually embedded themselves in games like World of Warcraft to infiltrate virtual terrorist meet-ups.
MMPORPG (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) represent an alternative reality that is surely taking over the world…a world blind-sided to non-gamers and a whole generation of adults, gaming consoles and games for their wards, thinking they’re merely satisfying an innocent urge…
This world is addictive, exhibits considerable peer pressure, enables a covert ecosystem – by way of fund transfers, communications, etc. and which converges diverse agenda into a single medium – enabling terrorists to interact with children, with child offenders to track targets…and so on.
Hopefully the above revelations should help break down ‘gaming’ barriers most of us have built around ourselves. The next time you choose to buy that PS4 game for your child, take a pause, at least.