Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Power of Your Purchases

You might be hearing rumblings of the famous Hideo Kojima being out at Konami after Metal Gear Solid 5. This is a huge surprise for a lot of people, as Metal Gear has generally been one of the more successful game series out there. The idea that this might literally be the last game in the series is hard to imagine. However, the series has not sold as well as you might think, and there are a number of reasons Kojima may have turned off his core audience stateside and frankly, he’s not the only one who has.

   The top selling entry in the Metal Gear Solid Series was Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which sold some 7 million units. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes bombed, completely. Metal Gear Solid 3 sold some three million units, and four sold some four million units. Let’s focus on two and four. At the current rate of $60 a piece, seven million units sold would mean the game brought Konami some 420, 000,000 or four hundred and twenty million dollars. If the game cost One Hundred Million Dollars to make, that’s quite a return on the investment. But Metal Gear Sold 4’s 4 million units only brings in about two hundred and forty million dollars, right? Suddenly the return on investment starts to looks a little shaky. Not at first, sure, but consider that the game took 7 years to make. At a return of almost half a billion dollars, a game taking seven years to develop is worthwhile, but it’s harder to justify if you’re only doubling your investment.

   Then look at the declining value of the franchise. The growing list of consumer complaints. The
fact that Hideo Kojima games are less and less access accessible to the mainstream, containing stories which get more and more convoluted, even for fans of the series. I mean, seven years between games means a lot of forgotten details, so when something happens in the new game, even longtime fans can still get confused…. And these are just the issues they are willing to discuss in the press. Bottom line, Konami is looking at the franchises’ long term prospects, and are concerned the game may not garner the sort of interest it has in the past. Say the game sells only one or two million copies, a common problem these days, would they make back their $150 million dollar plus investment? I mean they went all out this time, firing long time voice for Snake David Hayter, and bringing in Keifer Southerland! But if the sales prospects are not that great, you can understand why Konami is now saying, after this, it’s over.

   It’s odd that no one has stopped to ask why MGS has not been selling as well these days. Most chalk it up to the increasingly convoluted story line. However, that is an over simplification of the problem. The story isn’t really that hard to follow, it’s just that it’s Communist Propaganda, it just wasn’t all that clear until more recently. But now that it is, how many of us want to play it? I mean, there were some things in previous titles that raised eyebrows, but it was generally so subtle that we just ignored it and played on. After Peace Walker’s brazen bashing of America, and worship of mass murderers like Che Guevara it was no longer possible to ignore the more annoying politics of the series.

   Things have only gotten worse. Ground Zeroes has you infiltrating Guantanamo Bay, and portrays it much the same way the news media does, as this awful and retched place where evil Americans engage in all kinds of horrible atrocities against innocent prisoners held captive for no reason. In reality, it's not so bad as the media makes it out to be. Most prisoners are very well cared for, and very few have been tortured, and even when they were, it was just having water poured on their heads. I can think of a lot worse the enemy does to our guys... like beheadings... The game pits you directly against American Marines, and in all honesty, I could not stomach it. Also, the random and nonsensical attacks on Capitalism was a bit much. I mean to say it was over the top is an understatement. Capitalism literally has nothing to do with the events of the game, but they bash it anyway… not unlike real communists blaming capitalism for stuff that it has nothing to do with. It’s annoying, but as a capitalist, I have to ask, why should I use capitalism to buy a product that bashes capitalism?

   MGS isn't the only game series that has been successful that is suddenly drying out. Amazingly, the popular Bioshock series probably won’t see another entry. The most recent title, Infinite, had a great sci-fi story which delved deeply into quantum theory, and multi-dimensions, and even time travel. However, the interesting stuff is buried underneath a heated political debate. The racist evil Christian Comstock, versus the poor, oppressed Vox Populi minorities and women, and women minorities. The Vox Populi go on a mass murder spree, and commit horrible acts, but the way the story goes, we’re supposed to believe that that racism is worse than mass murder… And also, based on the comments of head designer Kevin Levine, it’s pretty clear that he envisioned the evil horrible racist Comstock and his evil Christian minions as being the Tea Party… Idiot. Did I pay money for this? Nope. Thanks to my PS Plus subscription, I didn't have to. The series jumped the shark for me with the first one’s willfully ignorant attack on Ayn Rand, which I have refuted previously in this blog… But needless to say, this game cost over $100 million dollars to make, and sold slightly less than four million copies. The end result was that the studio had to close.

   Is there a trend here? I’ve written several times about the ridiculous killing and replacing iconic
heroes with more Liberal friendly versions going on at Marvel Comics. How are those books selling? Well, not great. Miles Morales Spider-Man only sells about 30,000-40,000 copies per issue, and while he has a small, but loyal fan base (mostly very liberal journalists) Morales has simply pissed off most Spider-Man fans. The same seems to be true with most of these PC comics coming out of Marvel. Some point to the female Thor as a success, but it’s still a relatively new book, and some people are still just checking out the change. Still, the sales have already begun to taper, falling below 70,000 copies per month, mostly because the new Lady Thor seems to spend more time on feminist rants than entertaining its reader. No one reads comic books to be lectured. While Thor still lands in the top ten (barely), neither Miles Morales Spider-Man, or Sam Wilson Captain America land in the top 25, and Miles Morales doesn't even reach the top 50. Yet Marvel is still continuing down this path. They killed Wolverine, are going to kill Deadpool, and are going to kill off Tony Stark to replace him with Pepper Potts, who on her own is not a very interesting character. Comic sales on the whole are up 4%, but the books that are selling, in general, are the ones that are still centered on the more iconic characters.

   Then there’s all the bombs that have come out of Hollywood. People are not going to movies as often as they used to. Hollywood wants to blame the fading 3D fad, but could it be all the anti-American and anti-religious tripe we find there too? What about the movies that have been successful? The Hobbit? Many scholars debate Tolkein’s connections with Christianity, but more and more, these days, his Christianity is being accepted, and the Christian themes of his writings are no longer being contested. There are Christian themes, even pro-western values all over these films. Ironically, Marvel’s movies (in contrast to their comics) have taken a decidedly pro- American tone. It’s also been friendly toward the religious. Captain America’s line that “there’s only one God… and he doesn't dress like that,” drew a standing ovation from the theater I was in on opening night. Then there’s the media’s shock and horror that one of the most successful films of 2015 was, in fact, a film about that “evil Right-wing Christian,” Chris Kyle, American Sniper. Meanwhile movies like the Hurt Locker, and TV shows like The New Normal have all failed spectacularly. Even CNN and MSNBC have had very serious declines in viewership. So severe, in fact, that their futures as news agencies are in question. Meanwhile, right leaning news outlets are exploding in popularity, especially Fox. 

   Something miraculous is happening. Media with an anti-American and anti-Christian tilt seems to be drying up, and yet there is no conscious or organized boycotts at all. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and it’s about time. The media deserves to lose their megaphone. I’m tired of paying for radical leftists to lecture me or beat me over the head with their dribble, and there is soooooo much of it out there. These recent developments are strong indicators that what you do with your money matters. Perhaps if we redirect our money toward products that are friendly to our values, the situation in the media will improve.

   In summary, we don’t have to take the abuse we’ve been taking from the left. We don’t have to watch their shows, read their books, or play their games where we are portrayed as racist, bigoted freaks while our religion, values and ideals are trashed, belittled and berated. We don't have to put up with their lectures, and selective "tolerance". Just as we should do all we can to keep
our money out of the hands of politicians who do not live up to their promises (#defundgop), we aught to keep our money out of the pockets of the people who have made a living off mongering hatred toward us. Why should we pay them for disseminating misinformation, fear and hate? That makes no sense.

   The only complication is Marvel. Marvel can afford to have its comics selling poorly. They used to sell by the millions, but these days cracking 100,000 copies is difficult, and they do not have the incentive to really figure out why. You see, they have Disney money to hide behind, which is why the movies embrace traditional American values, even as their comic counterparts belittle them. With Marvel, and perhaps some other companies, we need to instead buy the older books. My wife and I have the Marvel Comics app, and we have been making an effort to spend $10.00 a month buying old X-Men, She Hulk, and Spider-Man comics to show the Comics side of the business what we want. The older comics are also a lot cheaper than the newer books, but if these older books sell, while the newer books continue to decline, eventually the people in charge are going to have to investigate why, and maybe, just maybe they will start to create comics again reflective of American society, and not Progressive wet dreams. 

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