This happens in other areas of life too of course, but for some reason computer game players seem to get particularly passionately attached to their games of choice, and can sometimes react unexpectedly strongly to the most minor things. I've read feedback reports from my own game where people have said they're quitting the game over ridiculously tiny things - to give one example, because we changed the little picture that appeared on the coins in our game (graphics only even visible a tiny portion of the time). I've read submitted feedback that compared the developers on my game to pedophiles, Saddam Hussein-followers, and much worse language too. A week often doesn't go by without seeing someone in the feedback saying that at least some of us should be fired, are incompetent, could be replaced by a 3 year old, or clearly have no brains/sense/right to life. And you need only stop by the discussion forums of pretty much any MMO to see similar passion is alive and well in discussions of most games.
I don't agree this is right, and although I understand how someone who loves a game can be so passionate about it, I think it's a misguided sense of entitlement that leads people to cross the line between politely stating an opinion or objection, and personal insults or even threats. Happily, the majority of people who play the game I work on are generally polite and sane, despite a few apparent exceptions. However, I read an article on Kotaku today that made me really fume about the misplaced sense of entitlement that some groups of gamers can develop, and somehow manage to justify:
Minecraft Apparently Under Siege
The gist of the article is that a group of players are disappointed at how slowly developer Notch is putting out updates to the small independent game Minecraft, and have decided to try to "force" him to work faster by launching a DDOS attack on the Minecraft servers. Their thinking, apparently, is that if they prevent ANYBODY from playing Minecraft then Notch will lose money and have to do what they want.
From the article above, a post purportedly from the people responsible for the attack:
"It's purpose is to send Notch a clear message of how the future of minecraft will turn out unless he gets to work, namely by influencing the amount of sales taking place, due to the attacks.
Start providing your customers with the updates that you promise them.
We have roughly 83,000 bots available, and preserved for this seizure, we could if we wanted to keep this going for weeks, however we have decided to give it a week, and see whether or not your attitude, and commitment will change, we believe it will when money stops rolling in for the time being..."
I just haven't got the words for my disgust at this behaviour. As a human being and democratic citizen, I resent some other group of people impinging upon my freedom of choice by deciding for me what I can and can't play and what I do and do not want. As a gamer who happens to be enjoying Minecraft, I am perfectly happy with the level of updates in Minecraft and I don't appreciate someone else telling me I should not be, let alone attempting to prevent my playing it. And as a game developer, I am disgusted by the damage that this group is trying to do to a small, dedicated independent developer. From what I've read, Notch is a very smart and talented programmer who has managed to create a really captivating game pretty much all on his own, and is trying to continue its development independently. This is an accomplishment that many game designers can only dream of: the freedom to work for yourself, and do exactly what you want to create what you believe is the best game you can, without having to operate within the confines of a big corporate structure or team. Notch has that dream within reach, he may become that one in a million game designer who is really able to be independent -- and a small, selfish group of individuals are trying to bring him down, just because as an independent developer he's not able to work as fast as they want him to? Sickening.
The guys who are launching this attack have spent as much as anyone on Minecraft: 10 Euros (about US$13). That's the cost of going to see a movie in the theatre ... less than you'd pay for a nice meal at a restaurant. If they are that passionate about the game, then they've clearly already played it for many, many hours longer than a movie or a nice meal would have lasted. There is no possible way they can justify their feeling of "entitlement" to more than they've already had. They paid a very tiny price for days of enjoyment of an excellent game that they are well aware is still in alpha stage -- not even in beta. This isn't the way to express their disappointment that updates aren't forthcoming as fast as they would want. This is outright bullying, and it's inexcusable. It's also illegal, and I hope they get their pathetic selves thrown in jail for it.
Acts like these make me lose faith in computer gamers. :(
Edit to add: another great post on the topic, from @LivingWorlds. In which he uses rather stronger language and discussion than I was comfortable using, but quite agree with.