Scandal and controversy are everywhere we turn. Reality TV has now become regular life it seems. Harkening to the age old question, does art imitate life or life art? Chicken or the egg? Video games have never been controversy free. We’ve debated violent video games, exercise, gamergate, and stereotypes (specifically women in video games). The latest controversy is one that strikes close to home for me as a new youtuber and video game player. A popular video game youtube channel, PewDiePie, was dropped from Disney and others because of the content of several of his videos.
I have followed this controversy from afar, with limited interest. After reading a few articles, including a legal discussion and a youtuber behind the scenes, I noticed a key point missing from the discussion. Allow me to elaborate.
In our modern day internet business, clicks and views are the currency of the day. Commenters often lament “clickbait” articles that are just meant to generate revenue by putting up a misleading title or alluring picture. Ads below articles often put up headlines designed to attract a viewer. These tactics are widespread through most internet media.
Regardless of what you think of Trump, the primary campaign he ran was fascinating. He said outlandish and outrageous things. It captured the attention of the media, and soon articles about him and quotes of his began looking like clickbait. The more clicks he drew the more the media published on him. He soon saturated the market and generated money and revenue for the media. In turn the media gave him exposure that he never would have had otherwise. Soon, he became a household name and people only knew him in the lineup of potential candidates.
I bring this up not to begin a political discussion, but to note the way internet media businesses work. This is not news to most people. That said it is not uncommon to have people in the comments section of articles in Polygon or IGN exclaiming that no one cares about (insert topic here). The irony of this is that by clicking on the article, you motivate the company to do more of those articles. To really push back, do not click. If no one clicks review articles of Agents of Shield episodes the company will no longer do them.
This brings me back to the PewDiePie controversy. In reading the articles it is tempting to see what the specific videos were that got him into trouble with Disney. Doing so though boosts the videos, views, and ultimately the revenue. The same goes with internet articles. This is a simple form of protest that can control what is written and promoted. Clicks seem harmless, but the more incendiary and aggressive agendas that get viewed and clicked suddenly become moneymakers. The better response is to boycott and have your voice felt this way. Sadly, on the internet we tend to rubberneck and inadvertently support more hype around things we dislike.
I hope you will join me in using my voice, and clicks, to protest. Commenting and interacting is helpful, but if you want something completely avoided then just do not view or click it. If you do not want to support PewDiePie or videos that are viewed by many as anti-Semitic then do not view them. If you do not want to support a certain political view then do not click. Media is a business and needs to make money. Without views to sell ads or subscriptions then there is no business. As a result, we control the media based on our participation in the system.
Essentially, be conscious about what you are doing. Do not get lulled into the internet’s highway hypnosis. At the very least your computer will thank me with less malware.
The irony does not escape me, that I have written this advice in an internet article. If you will notice though, here at Last Boss Gaming we do not have ads on the side of the page. If you do, all the proceeds are going to wordpress or sites we re-post this on. While we would love to get paid to write about and play video games we are not there yet. If you already clicked this article and hate it, then comment and let me know or avoid articles like it in the future. Seeing only ten reads on an article makes the point to avoid that topic too.