July 2018

People like to be fooled

In the past I always thought people really mean it seriously, if they complain about bad products or shady business practices from companies and therefore want improvement of the situation. I don't want to go into detail about those shady practices, since there are a lot of them, but in its core it is all about milking as much money from the customer while at the same time spending as little as possible into the development, this results in never fixing issues with the game or just abandoning it straight after it was released and those games that do not get abandoned get filled with microtransactions which results in the game experience being destroyed, since it is no longer a fair game which makes it meaningless to play on a competitive level. Most peopel probably know the problems very well, since they complain about them and even make documentaries explaining all in detail whats wrong.

I watched it for a long time and noticed nothing ever changes, so I decided to take things into my own hands and solve the issue, at least in the small niche I was interested in. My idea was, that if there are so many people who are unsatisfied with the situation on the games market, that at least some will join and make it better, you know, supply and demand logic. Then the most amazing reaction happened after I released my first prototypes and tried to find a team that would help me developing the game further and the thing that happened was absolutely nothing. So either the supply and demand logic is wrong, or there is no demand and people are just dishonest about what they want.

So let's compare the supply in the games industry, on the one hand you have honest companies trying to make good games for a fair price and on the other hand you have companies that are dishonest and only make the games as good as they need to be and then use shady methods to milk as much money out of the customers as possible. Basically the customer has the choice between companies that fool them and companies that are honest to them and it looks like most customers are chosing to be fooled, therefore giving money to those companies and making the bad companies more powerful so they can produce even better methods to fool people and people chose them again and so on.

This is not just theoretical, since there are indeed cases where companies provably fooled people, for example one famous case I will not name promised in alpha access that they will not add microtransactions to their (full price) game and when the game then got released they immediately filled it to the brim with super expensive microtransactions and people loved it. So you may think that straightforward lying to customers is bad publicity and will reflect in loss of sales, but in reality it did not have any negative impact. It is almost as, if people like to be fooled, they may not admit it, but indirectly they like it, additionally they then have a reason to complain and hate on someone else, which seems to give their life meaning and distracts from their own problems.

Psychologically this is a very weird phenomenon and I have not fully figured it out yet, but the facts are pretty clear, people like to be fooled, just the "why" and "how" is not that easily explainable. My main theory for that is the ego-theory, people have an ego and the ego does not like to be wrong, so when an ego driven person is fooled, he will not admit he has been fooled, but then just ignore the fact that he has been fooled and/or rationalize that there is no problem and they wanted it that way anyway. Additionally the ego likes to be flattered, so you can gain ego driven peoples favor, by just making impossible promises (lying) to them that no honest company can compete with and they will like it, they think if they buy the superior product, it makes them also better and the previous explained mechanism will prevent them from realizing they have been fooled. After that there is a longer list of other psychological phenomenons, for example a famous and important one here is probably the sunken cost fallacy. For example if someone paid a lot of money for a product, in this example a video game, he will stick to it and never admit that he may have been fooled and paid all that money for nothing or for an inferior product and again here comes the ego mechanism to back it up since the ego can never be wrong and in ego logic the more money or energy has been dumped into something, the more value it has.

Well these are some of my attempts to figure this out and often when I think about those topics I remember my father always saying to me as a child: "Son, people like to be fooled", when I asked why things are the way they are in this world. So theoretically I knew this fact for almost all of my life already, but often I was in denial about this, because I could not believe it, but now after so many time and life experienced I see it confirmed over and over again and I'm finding more and more proofs for it.

So people like to be fooled, just the question why is more complicated and no I will not fool people just so they like me, since being fooled is stupid and I do not like having stupid people around me.

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