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How Fanboys Benefit The Average Consumer

April 8, 2010Written by Mike Hartnett

Over the past twenty years or so, there has been one word that has signaled the presence of vast intelligence as well as utter stupidity. If you’re a part of the gaming industry in any way, shape or form, then you probably already know that that word is, of course, “fanboy.”

The term fanboy has, for the most part, been used to describe a person who is so utterly biased towards one console, game, or company, notoriously known to do almost anything, including refuting obvious facts to demonstrate their allegiance. Whether you realize it or not, these devoted super fans actually serve a greater purpose. All that passion has it’s merits and value.

Fanboys have been vilified as annoying and insanely overzealous regarding whatever it is they’re trying to defend. On the other hand, when it comes to the everyday consumer, fanboys can be an asset and a commodity. I have worked in gaming retail, and witnessed nearly every species of fanboy. Many exhibit a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped. For a moment, let’s consider the intellectual fanboys, those who know what they’re talking about, soup to nuts. What follows is an honest, yet lighthearted look into a few of the positive things the fanboy offers the everyday gamer and consumer.

Fanboys often know everything there is to know regarding their particular console, and they are a fountain of knowledge.

When the average consumer walks into a store looking to purchase a game or game console, one unfortunate event takes place that many have probably experienced. That’s the moment you run into an employee in a video game retail store that knows absolutely NOTHING about games or game consoles.

With any luck you may run into the fanboy — the one person who knows more than they probably should about their favorite game console. On average, a console fanboy tends to know more than company sales reps do and spew this free information whenever there’s an ear to listen. If you come across a console fanboy, look to utilize the opportunity and ask questions. You may enter the conversation a novice, but leave as an expert, along with the satisfaction of knowing what exactly you’re getting for all those hard-earned dollars.

Fanboys can act as the “Consumer Reports” of gaming.

Console fanboys are infamously known for dealing a hefty blow to the competition by pointing out their flaws and shortcomings. Consoles nowadays can experience a wide range of issues, from overheating problems to disc drive failures and more are all the nature of the beast.

The fanboy not only knows what issues might plague his own console, but is meticulous about every little thing that COULD go wrong with the competition. Speaking with opposing fanboys will, in turn, help the average consumer determine which console fits him or her best and what to expect. It’s good to get feedback from all sides so you’ll know just which console is most likely to last the longest.

When some new piece of hardware or new feature is released, you can bet the fanboy will be first in line to take the brunt of the storm, good or bad, before you have to. So just sit tight and wait for the feedback — it’ll be there.

Fanboys often stir up excitement and can get others interested in games they would never have considered playing.

This is where a fanboy really shines, as this eliminates the console bias and helps us to get down to the good stuff — the games. One game comes to mind as the perfect example of the fanboy who positively enlightens others regarding the newest releases that many may not be privy to. That is the unique hit called Heavy Rain. When the average consumer walks into a video game shop, unless they’re up to date with the latest news in the industry, they have no idea what Heavy Rain is or what the game offers.

Fanboys have been around since 1919!

The fanboy knows exactly what this title is and helps usher consumers into an new genre, one that they may not have seen themselves experiencing, had it not been for the fanboy’s excitement. Of course, there are those who resonate the opposite effect and get people hyped for a game that is utterly terrible, but those instances are relatively minor when compared to success stories.  I for one, would have never owned Syphon Filter had it not been for the fanfare of fanboys.

In Closing

A fellow employee at the gaming retailer where I previously worked, had long been a 360 fan. Naturally we would debate whenever a customer asked that dividing question – “Which system is better?” A year later when the price dropped this past September, he purchased a PS3 … and absolutely loves it.

One could easily rebut this with an opposing fanboy article, but give the fanboys a little credit where credit is due. They help rally the gaming community, generate excitement and create controversy. They help rally the gaming community, create controversy, and overall make this industry much more entertaining. As a side note, they do help the rest of us look just that much more sane!

Here’s to you, fanboys!