By now it is not a surprise to hear a gamer talk about disliking the Xbox One. Even with the changes made to the console’s DRM policies it still left a bad taste in the mouths of many gamers that will not just go away with a bit of backpedaling. Perhaps no where has this dislike for the console been shown more clearly than it was at EVO this year, where Double Helix was booed on stage while talking about the new Killer Instinct when they mentioned Xbox One.
EVO (the Evolution Championship Series) is a huge event. It is generally acknowledged as the largest (or at least most important) event for fighting game enthusiasts and competitors in the world, and is one of the few events a person can genuinely feel justified in calling themselves the best for having won.
When Double Helix and Mad Catz spoke, the crowd was generally positive, right up until they reminded the gamers who make up EVO’s attendance that Killer Instinct is an Xbox One exclusive. The reaction was immediate, with booing rising from the crowd sufficient to actually silence the speakers from Mad Catz and Double Helix into nervous laughter.
So what? It’s just one event, right?
EVO is a big deal. Hundreds of people spend thousands of dollars just to attend, nevermind the actual professional gamers who go to compete. Gamers train all year long for the opportunity to compete at EVO, while enthusiasts treat it with a similar reverence to how America views the NFL Superbowl. It brings together the entire fighting game community, not a small number of people, for one massive celebration of who they are and what they love.
The people at EVO are gamers. Not the gamer who calls themself a nerd for playing Call of Duty, not the gamer who got their start with Angry Birds, not the gamer who has not been paying attention to the upcoming next-gen console war. These are the gamers who go out and spend $100-$400 on a single controller. These are the gamers who regularly spend entire days traveling to compete, or even just to watch their closest local tournaments.
Look at that hype!
These gamers are the fans, the ones who get genuinely excited about new games and consoles. These gamers are the ones who pre-order games solely for the random DLC costumes they can get with them, or who will pay upwards of $100 for them later. They, we, matter.
No, having EVO hate your upcoming console will not instantly sink it. It is, ultimately, just one subset of the overall gaming world and fanbase. It is, however, a significant one both in terms of monetary potential and in terms of publicity. It means a lot of lost money to have these gamers dislike a console enough to actively boo it in public. These are very vocal people, as anyone who has watched an EVO stream can attest.
And as Double Helix and Mad Catz found out, much to their own embarrassment.