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Why Videogame Gatekeeping Is Always Ridiculous 

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This is probably going to be controversial, so let us first start by saying we are basing our comments from a totally neutral and objective position. As videogame journalists we are just messengers, people who analyse news and information then distribute it without deliberate bias. Although as humans, perhaps not free from some societal or personal bias. All journalists are aware their work may frustrate those who disagree, especially if they feel something they love is under attack. It may be. But that doesn’t mean it’s an attack on your personal taste or you, we probably love your favourite games console as much as you do. But opinions don’t change facts, gaming is an art form but it’s also a business and there are always winners and losers in business.

But it is important to recognise that regardless of which games console is winning the ‘console war’ it’s possible to still enjoy the winners and the losers equally. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have all made miscalculations in their time, but they’ve all also created some rip-roaring successes which their detractors cannot argue with.

We don’t want to insult your intelligence here, yes we are occasionally guilty of some fanboyism from time to time. We don’t apologise for it; games make us excited and we’ll tell you why:

We are Nintendo fans.

We are PlayStation fans.

We are Xbox fans.

We’re also PC and portable fans too.

Our point is we love games and consoles, we simply are videogame fans. It’s why we do what we do. Now that we’ve assured you of our neutrality, here comes the bit that will ruffle some gatekeeper feathers.

What is ‘Gatekeeping’? Traditionally the term means ‘standing in the way of a chosen path’. When applied to videogames, particularly console wars, it means the deliberate devaluing of another’s opinion or chosen path because it reflects the opposite path to the one we selected. Knowing people were faced with the same choice we did but chose to act differently is frightening to the gatekeeper. It suggests they may have made a mistake or that their choice may not be as popular as they thought. They then internalise these feelings, convince themselves they are right and attempt to expel the negative feelings and justify their own, by attacking those who chose a different path. Its blatant nastiness fuelled by insecurity.

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It also completely lacks sense too. Those who buy an Xbox and feel the need to attack those who bought a PS4 or a Switch instead (or vice versa) must know on some level what they are doing is pathetic and pointless. Are they so arrogant that they believe they will somehow stop the churn of gigantic corporations like Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo with a few derogatory Tweets? Or do they believe if they lend their voice to the ‘movement’ it will work eventually? Why does it matter that much anyway?

It doesn’t just happen with videogames either. Marvel vs DC is another one where gatekeepers come out to play. Those of us who grew up reading Marvel and DC comics are equally excited by either Spiderman or Batman’s latest outing, but apparently, we can’t be true fans unless we pick a side. Which means loving one and hating another. Since when was that the rule? And if it’s only enforceable via Facebook comment, then where’s our motivation to obey it? It seems to us that there are absolutely no ramifications if we choose to ignore it, so why don’t more people?

PowerUpGaming is comprised of a group of gamers who usually laugh at those indulging in ‘console war’ based arguments. Genuinely, we don’t get it. We’re just as likely to go home and play Gears as we are to play Uncharted or Zelda. We love them all, why is this a problem? It’s our job to experience and write about the whole industry is it not? We’re called PowerUpGaming, not PowerUpPlaystion/Xbox/Switch/PC/Potato.

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It may sound harsh, but we don’t care about console wars and find the people who argue with each other online about it small minded. We don’t see how owning a PS4 means we’re somehow unable to go out and buy an Xbox One. Is someone going to stop us buying it? If so who and how? Will there be by some kind of cosmic intervention? Or will the cashier say, “Sorry sir, word is you’re a Sony fan-boy. This is not for you so sayeth the Internet.”

Imagine we somehow manage to get our new Xbox One home and … gasp… sit it next to our PS4. Could it be we’re somehow infected by our love of another console to the point we can’t enjoy the new one? What’s the science behind this? Or is it a question of loyalty, are we bad people for purchasing a rival console? Have we somehow enabled an enemy? Why are they the enemy? So many questions. I only wanted to try Forza because I love Gran Turismo so much, jeez.

We see people on social media all the time bravely weigh into these debates with “I enjoy PS4 and Xbox One” only for both sides to turn their vitriol on that person. Sometimes they’re accused of being a liar or a troll, suggesting it’s not possible for such a person to exist. Sometimes it stops the argument dead in its tracks, silencing those who now feel a little bit silly for engaging in it to begin with since Captain Obvious came along and blew their minds.

Other times the person who likes both is attacked from a social-economic standpoint. Accused of wasting their money or showing off. Or accused of believing they’re ‘better than everyone else’ as others bleat on saying things like, “not all of us can afford more than one consoles you know!” That’s fair enough, some of us can and some of us can’t, but only owning one console doesn’t provide a God-given right to attack someone who owns two. Or owns the one they don’t.

It may provide a reason as to why they don’t own a second console, but it doesn’t explain why they’re gatekeeping. Some of us only own one home, it doesn’t mean we feel the need to attack those who own two on social media. It’s an excuse, it’s also saying “I’d own both if I could but until then I’m mad at those who already do”. Doesn’t that invalidate their argument anyway? Or is it they genuinely never considered it was possible to like both until someone pointed it out? Could that be why it shuts down so many arguments when that person appears? It often appears that that person is a bigger enemy than the person who only likes the opposite of what we like. We get the feeling envy plays a role here.

Why is this the concept of loving more than one games console so mind-blowing for some people? We think we know why, its simple tribalism fuelled by a collective narcissism, it’s “my console’s the best because it’s the one I picked, those who disagree are the enemy.”

It’s incredibly sad in both meanings of the word. It’s also unnecessary and benefits nobody. If you’re guilty of it, next time you frantically bash you’re keyboard to attack another gamer, ask yourself why you feel to need to do it. We are all one community; competition is good between the companies. Success breeds success. A games console that does well only inspires others to do better and as a result we all win. We get better games too! Stop tearing down when you can build up.

Until then we’re off to play some Forza Horizon 4, or maybe we’ll pick Gran Turismo Sport. We’ve not decided yet, they’re both so good.

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