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Monday, November 9, 2015

The Effect of Fan Influence

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Does the organisation even want your influence?

Some guy named Unknown had this request for me:
"write about ringabel brave and influence of him (and the rest of your fans) on koopatv over the years"

Um... Well while I'm not going to speak to the influence of a specific fan (who apparently has an on-again off-again relationship with KoopaTV, and regularly trash-posts his and my Google+ accounts — though he's free to correct the record in the comments section), I will say that our fans are very important to us. I don't know if I can point to a specific thing, but fans have made a multitude of requested articles happen that wouldn't exist otherwise as you can see from the comments of the requested articles article.

And if you haven't seen Friday's Feedback Form Part I yet, you should. We're actively looking over your responses, and if you give something substantive to discuss we'll even engage in a conversation with you. Isn't that nice?

Unfortunately, not every company is nice. If a company won't even bother to have decent customer service, the likelihood they'll give a crap about what fans want is pretty low. Customer service reps are a company's first line of interaction between the company and the fans. They're out there in their cubicles every day being fed a wealth of information about the needs and troubles of their customers, and if the company doesn't invest in 'em, then the company is losing out on all that and doesn't give a shit.

When a company fails in that regard and fans get angry, they resort to useless "petitions" that no one cares about. These petitions may be things that should happen, or they might be a series of bad ideas and the company really does know what's better for the fan than the fan does.

If it gets so bad, the fans will outright literally declare a "war" on the company, or "boycott" them. These are drastic measures done for show, usually by zealots or people who aren't really fans to begin with and would be happy to help sabotage the company with bad publicity.

So in order to have fan influence, there needs to be at least two conditions:
  1. The company is equipped with the infrastructure to collect fan input, with the empowerment to utilise it
  2. The company actually wants to use fan input
The company needs to tear down walls separating them and the fans (less so literal ones, but ones placed by company culture/attitude) and needs to have both the capability and the want to be influenced. They could otherwise sit in their towers and just push things out with their ears shut.

Electronic Arts EA does not listen to fans
Uh... this is an Electronic Arts guy pushing out bad things.
Their E3 2013 sucked, and they just kept going and going with the suckage.

Important fact that is good to repeat: Fans are often wrong and have no idea what the hell they want. The company pleased them the first time without their input, and fans frequently have incomplete information as to why, how, and what was put into pleasuring them. For example, apparently fans didn't like Super Paper Mario's story so we got the garbage known as Paper Mario: Sticker Star as a result. That may also be a result of the company totally misinterpreting their fan input infrastructure. Which is probably why Nintendo closed Club Nintendo, because their surveys gave inaccurate information that leads to bad decisions like making an RPG without a story. With Nintendo, because they have so many fans and fans that conflict with one another, they would be totally confused if they listened to fans.

Fortunately, at least KoopaTV isn't Nintendo's size. We can still have an intimately close relationship with y'all and be honest and transparent about your influence to us. And we'd be happy to.

The recourse for companies that are just behaving irresponsibly? The free market. Don't financially support 'em, and they'll get the message. Or die first. Either way.

Ludwig hastily drew that picture because he didn't know what picture to put as the article, so why not make an incoherent scribble that somehow bashes EA simultaneously? If you really want to influence KoopaTV, you can join KoopaTV and transform it from the inside. You can start by being on KoopaTV's graphics team so you can help make better photos than the scribble you see above.

In case it wasn't obvious, we love when you use our Requests page.
Four years later, Ludwig expanded on his points made here.


  1. By the way, of actual relevance: Don't forget that Republican Debate Night 4 is on Fox Business Network at 7 PM and 9 PM Eastern.
    Watch it for free without a cable subscription (supposedly) here:

  2. Where do you think the line is between companies responsibly listening to fans, and irresponsibly letting fans decide their actions? For example, there's the Sticker Star disaster (though they couldn't have been listening to the right fans or interpreting feedback right), but some people also got upset with the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut and said the writers should have stuck with their original "vision" even if it was a rushed, plothole-filled mess.

    Some fans are also angry with Tabata for holding a vote on whether or not Moogles should be in FFXV, because they want the development to stay true to the original vision (though I think the greater concern here is what stage of development are they in that they can just add a new race now).

    1. I agree that the writers for Mass Effect 3 should've stuck with their original vision if they believed in that. I think I've consistently sided with original creative vision. And that includes Sticker Star where the vision was The Thousand-Year Door 2. Then some other force (SHIGERU MIYAMOTO) went in and trashed that.

      So when is the appropriate time to listen to the fans?

      Probably when the writers don't have any ideas.

    2. Do you believe the original ending to ME3 was the writers' vision? Have you heard the rumors that they had a different ending planned out, but it was leaked, so they hastily switched it to something else?

    3. I have no idea what they were thinking. I haven't heard those rumours, but I'm not going to have my beliefs changed based on rumours.

      I don't like the idea of being afraid of fan leaks so you change stuff. That's apparently why we don't have a story mode in Smash 4.

    4. Yes, I think that's what I was asking, in a roundabout sort of way. xD

  3. Then there is the effect of relying on fan influence too much. Isn't that right Mega Man Legends 3 and the apparent lack of interest Capcom assumed when not too many fans were participating in "creating" the game for the developers?

    1. That's what happens when the fans care more than the developers.


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