“Fanboyism” Needs to Stop

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“I don’t like Grand Theft Auto.”

I saw at least 4 separate arguments erupt this past week over these words. Arguments that quickly devolved into curse words and mudslinging. Among all the hate was the repeated use of the word “fanboy”.

“Fanboy” is usually used to describe someone with blind faith in or love for a corporation (in this case a developer/publisher). To be clear, calling someone a “fanboy” is also mudslinging and as such I’ll be using “overly passionate fan” in its place unless the word “fanboy” is necessary.

GTAs “overly passionate fans” just can’t fathom the idea that anyone could possibly dislike one of their most beloved franchises. They lash out against anyone with an opinion that might lead people to believe that GTA is not for everyone. They call these people stupid and uneducated or insinuate that the people who don’t like GTA simply don’t understand it. The worst thing is this isn’t exclusive to GTA, it happens with a lot of popular video games and video game products. Of course this problem isn’t exclusive to video game fans, but it’s certainly more prevalent in this industry, and it needs to stop.

Most people have an innate need to be validated. They want people to like the things they like and to agree with their opinions. This leads far too many people to aggressively disagree with anything that doesn’t validate them. Sony’s, Microsoft’s, and Nintendo’s “overly passionate fans” are a classic example. Almost every article about the Xbox One on any video game news website has one or more people who say they’re excited for the Xbox One. Those people are instantly inundated with an onslaught of insults from Sony’s “overly passionate fans” because to them, the PS4 is clearly the better console and there’s no room for anyone to disagree.

But it doesn’t stop at baseline insults, the word “fanboy” is often brought out as though only someone who follows Microsoft unquestioningly would buy the Xbox One. The same often happens to those excited for the PS4, or those who think there’s still hope for the Wii U.

So let me make it explicitly clear: liking a product does not make you a “fanboy” and disliking a product does not make you wrong or stupid.

Gamers need to learn to embrace differing opinions. I love to hear counter-arguments to my opinions. It’s always exciting to get a bit of debate going on a topic. But think before you write; make your points clear and allow both sides of the argument to take shape. Don’t use the word “fanboy” because it’s as disrespectful as calling someone stupid (don’t call people that either). If we can all learn to have respectful debates and agree to disagree sometimes instead of having childish fights the video game industry will be a better place for everyone.