As we’ve discussed, a Sega/Nintendo alliance could seriously threaten any console’s dominance. However, it remains unlikely, at least for now. Greetings, Venters, and welcome once again to The Vent, where discerning gamers have a voice.
Welcome back! Hopefully, everyone got what he or she wanted for the holidays. If not, it may help you to remember that although you can’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. Granted, The Vent can’t vouch for that, but, hey, who’s to argue with the Stones?
Anyhow, if anyone has a great or a tragic holiday story they want to tell (for instance, Mrs. Vent very nearly sold the family PS2 on eBay when she discovered what they were going for. You’ve no idea what a close one that was. Suffice to say, she now has some damn fine new earrings and her very own DVD that she can watch anytime she wishes), The Vent would love to hear it. Oh, and incidentally, in case anyone was wondering, eggnog, when properly prepared, does indeed produce a hangover if one imbibes enough of it. Legally, of course. With no intention of driving home. The law comes first, kids, remember.
This week, The Vent would like to take a look at that mess The New York Times has gotten itself into with the whole “Nintendo is buying Sega” brouhaha. (For those that don’t know about it, please click here for the full news story.) There are several facets of this situation that are possibly fascinating and, at the very least, worth noting.
For one, let’s talk about the validity of news in general. News travels fast these days, with websites, worldwide news channels on TV and radio broadcasts both online and via actual airwaves. It’s getting to the point where, if you don’t hear about something literally as it’s happening, you’re behind the times.
The problem with this is simple. There isn’t time to fact check and verify the authenticity of what is being reported. And it leads to situations like this one, where a highly respected, very widely read newspaper like The Times ends up misreporting the news. Now, we have come to expect this sort of unverifiable content from anonymous chat room loudmouths, supermarket tabloids and bathroom walls, but when you start seeing it in The Times, it’s a problem.
And fallacies like this often have disastrous effects. Why disastrous? Well, because it immediately impacted the stock prices of the companies involved, and it certainly detracts from Sega’s momentum and mindshare. (Yes, this could certainly be considered good for Sega’s competitors, but we’re not going to open that debate at this time. Just let the Vent say “disastrous” for the sake of argument). A retraction may correct the error, but history has taught us that a lie that makes headlines is not easily dispelled by a truth that makes it a nonissue. Jeez, there are still people who swear that little Mikey from the Life cereal commercial died from eating too many Pop Rocks and washing them down with Coke [Ed Note: This is not true, everyone knows it was Pepsi — it’s fizzier].
There’s also another side — What if it’s true? Now, let it be said here and now that The Vent does not currently think that this will come to pass, simply because the companies involved (particularly Sega) are denying it with not just vehemence but venom. Still, if it does prove to be true, how are we supposed to trust the game companies whose products we love (the larger issue of “does it even matter if we trust them?” shall be left alone at this point. Simply put, the Vent just doesn’t have the time, space or philosophical expertise to go there.) Not long ago, The Vent wrote about how an announcement from Sega made absolutely no reference to PS2 development, and, in fact, Sega itself was adamant that it wouldn’t support the PS2 under any circumstances. A short time later, though nothing is official yet, rumors are circulating that, while Sega may not do the coding itself, the announcement that it has sold the PS2 rights to at least one of its titles may not be long in coming. What does this mean to the gamer? Probably nothing, except now we won’t be able to trust anything said by any corporate spokesperson. It shouldn’t affect the games, but it still leaves a bad taste in The Vent’s mouth (as do dishwashing liquid, lemon oil and Armor All, for those keeping score).
Basically, it all boils down to a matter of trust. If we can’t trust the mainstream news (which has apparently crossed over from misrepresenting us and scapegoating us to simply making things up), and we can’t trust the publishers (witness: the bargain game), then who’s left? Each other. We’re all that’s left. The Vent has said it before and will surely say it again, if for no other reason than to hear himself talk. Gamers have got to stick together and take care of one another and our industry. So stop flaming each other in the forums, for heaven’s sake, stop pirating software and let’s band together and try to figure out how to keep our beloved industry from ending up just like the television and music industries. Frankly, the Vent is not ready for videogame versions of the Backstreet Boys or Family Matters.