After last week’s Animal Crossing Direct, the internet was buzzing with reactions to Nintendo’s announced price hike on its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. From Twitter to Discord, gamers took up battle positions over the news, decrying Nintendo’s greed or accusing those raising objections of engaging in toxic, joy-killing behavior. The divisiveness is nothing new, however.
The notion that social media inflames tensions and furthers divides is old news. Indeed, one need only to slip into politics Twitter–or anywhere on Facebook–to be reminded of how ugly the internet has become. Gaming is supposed to be different though; at its best, gaming transports us away from the crushing weight of life in the twenty-first century and delivers to us a unifying experience built upon stories and gameplay we all love. Sadly, the gamer-sphere in social media is not immune to the divisiveness currently plaguing the world.
All too often, we feel the need to lash out at those celebrating their favorite console company or its latest big release. We feel the need to gatekeep storied franchises when new fans come around. We mock one another when we have so much to celebrate.
We live in the greatest era in gaming history. Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox are all thriving. PC gaming is better than it’s ever been. Even mobile gaming has exploded, bringing in huge numbers of casual gamers into the community and normalizing a passion that was once marginalized.
No, I can’t say I really expect social media to be any better just because I interact in gaming circles. But here’s the thing–it could be. And honestly, if we can’t come together and celebrate one of the most enjoyable activities in human history, I’m not sure there’s much hope we can do so in anything else.
Tell us what you think? Is social media ruining gaming? Share your reactions below or join the conversation on Boss Rush Discord.