Principles vs the Need for Entertainment
The other day there was a small discussion over on Google+ concerning Orson Scott Card, his homophobia, and the question of whether or not one should still buy the books even if one has a great distaste for the author. This extends to other products, including games as well. Me, I might seem torn on the issue. I have bought books by OSC since I know his views on homosexuality but on the other hand I’ll refuse to buy Apple products because I don’t like the company.
In the case of the books I argued that whether or not OSC is a bigot doesn’t have any influence on the quality of the books (except for the ones in which he lets his views show. Luckily, those are far and in between.) I still believe that to be true, but one could of course argue that I’m supporting his bigotry by buying his books. I find that connection to be rather thin though, whether or not people buy his books will have no influence on him being a bigot.
In the case of Apple, the connection is much more direct. By buying their products I’m showing them that their marketing strategies are working and fine and directly telling them to continue their business practices. That is something I’m not willing to do, hence no Apple products. (Well, kinda. I do use an Apple Keyboard at work and I’m still not 100% convinced I won’t cave in and get an iPad.)
What does this mean for games though? It is rather obvious that we will buy future games made by companies who made good games in the past. That’s why I’ll pretty much blindly buy each and every Bioware game released. This is directly related to product quality though and not really the issue I’m trying to address.
Ubisoft might be a better example. I detest their DRM policy and therefore don’t buy their games. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything though, since I don’t lose anything by disregarding Ubisoft games – they don’t interest me anyway. Maybe Stardock works here? I used to buy Stardock games not because I believed in their power to make really good games, but rather because I like the company.
Talking about Stardock, Impulse has been bought by Gamestop (indicating dark days ahead for digital distribution.) I don’t like Gamestop, should I therefore refuse to buy games on Impulse from now on? What if their deal is better than what I would get elsewhere?
What about you, do you boycott companies that do something wrong (in your eyes)? And does their misbehavior have to be directly connected to the product or service you are trying to buy? Are you still buying books by OSC? At which point does your entertainment need outweigh the evil of the entertainer?