The saying goes that you should hate the game, not the player. While "hate" is not a word I would use for my feelings towards a vast majority of the modern gaming community, "disappointment" and "frustration" definitely hit close to home. Why? Because we've let ourselves down.
There's another saying very fitting to the occasion: No one can help you, if you can't help yourself. It is the sentence that makes it so hard to hate the game instead of the players, because it is the latter that enables the former to be as it is.
A recent publication of ours spoke of how Cyberpunk 2077 exploited nearly every ill-mannered AAA tactic over the course of its development, release and early post-release days. Mind you, this was before the whole blackmail fiasco.
Can't say that it surprised me much, but a lot of people jumped in defense of Cyberpunk 2077 and publisher CD Projekt. "It's not that bad", "they'll fix it", "EA & Activision are so much worse", "leave CDPR alooone", etc. We respect everyone's right to disagree with an opinion. Just making that clear. However, this 'could be worse' mentality is why we're getting sh*ttier products as the years roll.
If you have no problem with throwing $60 (soon to be $70) at something that's broken on the day of release and takes months (sometimes years, sometimes never) to become functional, that's fine. If you have no problem with developers working 80-hour weeks for months at a time to meet a deadline set by someone else, that's fine. If you have no problem with publishers blatantly lying about their product, then denying their own lies, then lying a little more, that's fine. If you have no problem with in-game betting for children (the only vice Cyberpunk 2077 is not guilty of...yet), that's fine.
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It's fine. For you. This is not about you though. It's not about me either. It's about us. It's about them. Us - the helpless consumers, and them - the burnt out developers. None of us are getting a good deal out of this. The only ones that do are the millionaire, billionaire CEOs and investors of these massive companies.
CDPR isn't you friend. Neither are the rest of them rascals - EA, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, 2K Games. All of them are in it for one thing - our money. Which doesn't make them the devil, it's how capitalism works. They have a product, we want that product. We pay up. But god damn it, man, at least have some standards. Have some demands. Value yourself. Value your money.
I can't do it for you. No one can. And if you keep being fine with everything publishers do, what incentive do they have to better themselves? Answer that question before defending the next AAA publisher that tries to F us over.