Steam Workshop case: the community wins
The paid mod case on Steam Workshop was really interesting to follow. A battle between publisher and community that once again has a clear winner: the community. That’s not the first time. It happened in the recent battle between Microsoft, which wanted to impose hard restrictions on XBox One (such as always-online and used games block) and console users. At the end of the diatribe, users won and Microsoft came out hit hard, so much so that they had to completely change the market strategy and dismiss the culprits of that mediatic disaster (the Don Mattrick case is emblematic).
In the world of gaming these are small isolated victories. Unfortunately too many battles were lost and many other battles still to be fought. The problem is more intricate as it seems on the surface.
“War is changed“, our common friend would say. One day you’re riding high, the next day you’re in the deepest abyss. Valve knows this, Microsoft as well, the news is that even buyers are starting to understand that.
“Capitalism is changed“, and companies investing in technology are the first to feel the effects of this global growing phenomenon, dealing with the extraordinary power of social aggregation that is disrupting the entire modern world.
I don’t think there’s only one small or large company that doesn’t know how important is today the interaction and dialogue with customers on social networks, using facebook pages and websites, focusing on a very well-organized clients support and a friendly and effective communication with the masses.
There wouldn’t be underpaid works if people were full aware of the extraordinary power that they have today in the world of Information Technology. If all the people refuse indecent wages, companies should decide whether fail or if they have to increase salaries and, of course, they would choose the second option. Who believes in his weakness and to not have rights, never fight for them; They need a voice that tells with authority: “Look, you’re strong, you can fight for your rights.”, and just then they try to do something.
That’s the voice of technique guided by modern technology.
“How it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him.”Étienne de La Boétie
New technologies are, not only exponentially increasing the cultural level, but also pushing people to become aware of their power and be part of a powerful community that’s not a local minority, but a global community which has no territorial boundaries defined, that hasn’t rules that cannot be destroyed. A citizen of the web is a citizen of the world.
The Steam Workshop case is only an epiphenomenon. The Arab Spring involving Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and which has seen internet play an important role in the overthrow of regimes and dictators is a case in point. Some european social movements born on internet as 5 Star Movement in Italy and Podemos in Spain are some interesting examples that are confirming this growing global trend.
Today’s time is either maximally interesting and dangerous, because it’s the time where past ruling powers (religion and capitalism) are trying to contain emerging powers (Science, technology and democracy) who want to resize them and establish themselves as new ruling powers. We’re still at the beginning, looking at the first skirmishes, but the conflict is inevitable and it will become more obvious with the passing of decades.
However, after all these serious ramblings on the subject, it’s better to play down!