On Being a Former Fanboy

The internet is a funny thing. It’s a great source of knowledge and when you spend your time reading about the latest things, you feel like the go to source for the latest in your chosen subject. For me it was video games for a long time, however the big problem with spending your time on the internet reading about games is, its too easy to pick a side.

When you’re a kid you haven’t got much of a budget so I suppose it often stems from that; you’re forced to pick a console. We often turn to the internet for validation and others who are just as enthusiastic about the product. Sometimes it’s to justify the potential hefty spend on a shiny Xbox 360.

When you’re a kid you haven’t got much of a budget so I suppose it often stems from that; you’re forced to pick a console

As was the case for me, I chose to lean my bias towards the Xbox 360, brandishing the Microsoft flag, because I felt they provided a cheaper and almost “cooler” system due to the shiny new features, as well as the enthusiasm put forward by Major Nelson who’s podcast I was listening to at the time. I had just received an original Xbox due to my sister winning one at work and it also happened at that time that I moved away from my Runescape addiction to catching up with the Xbox’s hits later in the generation.

At the time Sony had a sense of arrogance, due to their prestige and previous success in hardware, but consumers are often fickle and I am probably the most fickle of consumers. I quickly became a fan of the Xbox and when you see so many others getting behind the Microsoft bandwagon and demonizing the competition you feel some obligation to hate that company.

consumers are often fickle and I am probably the most fickle of consumers

I think The Verge made an interesting point that there’s something that’s quite empowering in being united for a cause, even if it seems like a strange thing to get behind. Often it is like rallying behind a football team or a political candidate, but with much less value on how it affects you personally. Some might say that affects the way in which you use technology, but sometimes people place too much value on how others think about tech or gaming.

Sometimes you put too much energy into converting people into believing your bias towards a company and really its unnecessary. I look back at the amount of time i spent rallying about Microsoft and a lot of the reason was because I thought that was the norm. When you check out the Wii60 forums and feel so enthusiastic about a product, you feel like talking about that product and convincing your friends to also buy into the product so they can join in and game with you or get as excited about Halo.

However, I realised I misplaced my original passion for games for a love of games from only one brand and ultimately its damaging. We all have our natural bias’ even if we don’t admit to it, however, it becomes an issue when you can’t listen to someone with an open mind or respect that some people will like a product despite the apparent “glaring faults” you see.

 I realised I cared about playing good games and it shouldn’t matter about the platform.

I found that people didn’t trust my opinion as much and when I took a step back, I realised I cared about playing good games and it shouldn’t matter about the platform. One thing that always stuck in my head from History class was look at the bias of the source. No one trusts a clear bias towards a product unless they harbor some bias themselves. If someone comes to you with an open mind you tend to trust their opinion more and ultimately its much more interesting. You can talk about the industry at large and talk about the strengths of each and what could be done to improve them and what company A can learn from company B and vice versa.

I quite like Paul Thurrott’s opinion of being critical of the product you most like as you want to see the company grow and learn from other platforms. If you turn a blind eye to other people’s criticisms, you might end up supporting flawed design or a less than satisfactory device. It’s important to listen to criticisms within reason as it’s how you question how things can be better in real terms. When you become a Fanboy of something you go into a mode of apologetics and it doesn’t help anyone.

I feel it’s possible to like a company without having to swear allegiance to them as at the end of the day, they are just consumer products and largely, I’d much prefer to be an unbiased source of information so I can keep a level head and have an informed opinion about a topic, without the slander. I feel I repeated my mistakes to a much larger extent with mobile platforms and I feel like that could’ve been more damaging for me as it could have affected my work.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter enough to ruin friendships or make yourself more of a pain to work with.

I say that because in the real world of work you have to get along with others and it works in your interest to not fight about a topic, no matter how passionate you are. Ultimately it doesn’t matter enough to ruin friendships or make yourself more of a pain to work with.

I think personally it’s been better for me as I’ve been able to learn more about other platforms and really find out why people like the fluidity of the iPhone or why someone prefers the games on the PS3. It also helped me understand why I would prefer a particular platform. Its nice knowing what the flaws and benefits of both sides are and I feel like this will make me a more well rounded source of information and hopefully a better person to talk to about technology.

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