Disclaimer: The views in this piece may not reflect the views of TSS or other writers on the staff team. The intention of The Spin is to promote debate and discussion of an issue or something that’s happening in the fandom or the world of Sonic.
So an interesting thing happened the other day which got a few people talking and I would suggest probably inspired one or two topics on our own forums as well as a few splinter groups to rally their own members if the fate of the future of the franchise was at risk.
What happened? TSSZ ran a poll about gameplay styles, and Adventure won.
Now before some of the staff over at TSSZ read this and think ‘is he having a bash at us for doing a poll?’ Nope, polls are fun to do and a nice break from things, the issue is more of the reaction from it and how some people are trying to use it to say ‘this is what we want Sega, look at at the demand from fans!’ which is showing a huge sign of short sightedness at best, or at worst if you are actually aware or in tune with the wider fanbase, even to a small degree and not just the places you visit it’s arrogance.
According to some, the results of this poll is absolute proof that the Sonic fanbase wants an adventure style game, even though a whole 427 number of people voted for that option and if we actually look at the poll in detail, whilst it was the single most largest choice, over half of people don’t want that gameplay style.
So am I really writing about one poll result which is such an easy and open goal for critics of this article to turn around to say ‘well you’re just bitter’ or ‘your option didn’t win’. Excuse me whilst I laugh in your face, whoops sorry got a bit of spit on you there, I’ve not commented on the quality of either styles of gameplay, nor will this article do anything of the sort.
No, the reason for this is how so many are saying we should take this as proof of what fans want…. yet somehow avoiding this fact. Another Sonic fansite, also ran a poll at about the same time and duration as TSSZ’s had a completely different result.
Brazilian fansite Planeta Sonic, also ran a poll which was very similar to that of TSSZ’s in which the result was completely different. What won? See for yourself
In fact, nearly double of those who voted in TSSZ’s poll for the adventure game play, voted for boost. Even more significant is that unlike TSSZ’s poll the winner in this poll was the runaway winner, add up the number of votes in the other categories, they’re clearly in the minority.
More interesting is that they also had another couple of poll, the results of which show a clear trend, that fans do not want an adventure era game.
Look at the numbers, 821 of people said they preferred the boost, and in another poll 770 people preferred games from the Xbox 360/PS3 era of games… So why are some people saying ‘fans want an adventure era game?’ when we have another poll here clearly showing that fans don’t want that at all?
Why are we not saying “This is the direction that the fans want?”
We have all these fans who like this thing, and we have all these fans who like this thing? Lets pretend we live in that world where polls like this are paid attention to by Sega, which one do they take as being right… or legitimate, which are monitored and we can say without question it was one man one vote. Which one should they claim isn’t valid? Well… both and neither, the fact is, both are equally valid and both are equally easy to discredit.
Why? Well, for one thing, it’s very easy to take the troll approach and point at a poll and claim that they’re not real fans, but come off it, if you’re a regular of this site, you know about Summer of Sonic, you know about the Sonic Boom events, you know about all the various events and things fans have done and made.
For Brazilian sonic fans, they’re equally as passionate, hell here is a photo from the 2014 Rio Carnival in which thousands were dressed as Sonic!
You think this was a one off? Nope, here are a bunch of other people also dressed up as Sonic for the party.
So we can easily say that both sides of the language/region barrier are equally as passionate, but honestly, we can’t take these polls too seriously just from a numbers a numbers perspective.
Even if you take Sonic Boom’s combined Wii U & 3DS sales total, which were around 620K the total number of people who took part in these votes was around 1000 per site, and that is assuming some people didn’t cheat to vote multiple times, which lets be honest, we all know they did.
So that alone means you can’t take stuff like this too seriously or proclaim that Sega should ‘take these things seriously/listen to the fans’ because the number polled was so small compared to both game sales and number of active fans on on the websites which hosted them.
Imagine for a moment that we here at TSS ran a poll similar to both Planeta Sonic and TSSZ, we get 1000 total votes, the winner is ASRT game play by 49%. That’s impressive, but our total forum user-list is at 7000 at the time of writing, only 14% of total site members voted, and on the grand scale of things, total fans around the world? Probably looking at a figure below 10% at the most generous.
For one poll this cross section of people is far too small, add onto it you have a near equal number saying the exact opposite you can’t take it too seriously at all, you certainly can’t blame Sega or have a go at them for ignoring polls like this since to equally valid polls give two complete different and even results.
So we shouldn’t do these polls? Of course you can! They’re a fun break from things and good to see what your local user base wants, they’re fun for a small distraction, but that said, that’s all they are. They really shouldn’t be used in arguments or by campaigners too seriously try and rally support because it’s simply laughable. The response number is too small, it’s too open to abuse and a poll is nice, but a pitch/proposal which has had effort put into it is always better.