Saturday, 7 April 2012

Attachment to Objects

It's been a while since I last did a blog post but now I'm back and I have an interesting subject that I want to talk about. It comes after Instagram, the popular photo sharing network on iPhone, launched on rival Android smartphones earlier this week and many iPhone owning Instagram users were rather "ew" about it. It got me thinking, why are people so bothered that a popular service or product can be accessed by a larger number of people than before. Of course, this isn't the first time a group of people have become irrationally annoyed at the prospect of  other people enjoying something that was previously exclusive to them.

The Profile screen on Instagram (Android left, iPhone right)

Back in 2008 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, Microsoft and Square-Enix announced that highly anticipated RPG Final Fantasy XIII would be released on the Xbox 360. Previously, Square-Enix had said that the game would only be released on the PlayStation 3. Why the uproar? Well Square-Enix maintained for some time that Final Fantasy XIII would be exclusive to the PS3 and going back on that was seen as a kind of betrayal.

However, many forgot that Final Fantasy wasn't always exclusive to the PlayStation. From its inception, Final Fantasy was exclusive to Nintendo platforms and Final  Fantasy VII itself was in development for the Super Nintendo and then the Nintendo 64. It was only when Nintendo decided that the N64 would be using cartridges instead of CD-ROM that Squaresoft (this was before Squaresoft merged with fellow Japanese developer Enix) decided that the game would be better suited to Sony's PlayStation and on the 12th January 1996 Square officially announced Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation.

Why bring this up? Well, many Nintendo fans felt that Square betrayed them when Final Fantasy went to the PlayStation and then went onto the PC in 1998. Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation propelled the Final Fantasy name, as well as the Japanese Role Plating Game genre into the mainstream, as FFVII sold over 10 million copies and remains the best selling Final Fantasy game to this day. FFXIII however, was met with much criticism from fans of the series, with some blaming Square-Enix's decision to put the game on the Xbox 360, though I believe the game would be no different either way, I'm not a fan, I haven't been a fan of Final Fantasy anyway truth be told. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what platform a game is on, if you want to play it, then get a platform that it's on. So why get so attached to one console then? I think it's because of the time invested with that product or company, that you feel compelled to support and in order to validate the support, they try to downplay the efforts of the opposition.

This brings me back to the beginning, why are people so attached to certain products? Also, why be so disgusted if a certain product or service is opened up to more people? In the case of Instagram, I think it was kind of a elitist thing that it was only available on iPhone's and it gave the users a reason as to why to support Apple and the iPhone. The same as Final Fantasy was for Nintendo and PlayStation fans respectively.

The fact is, the reason Instagram exists is because iOS doesn't give the user the custom filters Instagram does as well as a way to share them with ease. The creators of Instagram saw this and catered to a market. Android on the other hand, you can share a photo from most Android devices without installing a single app to: Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Picasa and Gmail, as well via a message, bluetooth or email. The latest version of Android, 4.0, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, has some filters similar to the ones Instagram has built in to the camera app. There are also third party apps that give you that functionality, and there has been for some time. On an iPhone, it's only Twitter, message, bluetooth or email. I don't want to turn this into an iPhone vs Android debate so I won't I'm just making a point. The point I'm trying to make is that Instagram exists because of iOS's shortcomings but people don't see that. Instead, they try to make out that Android is cheap and inferior when infact, when it comes to sharing photos, it's much the superior way to do so.

Same with Final Fantasy VII, Nintendo fans turned to Square and called them traitors when really they should have looked at Nintendo and the N64's shortcomings. As for Final Fantasy XIII, well I think that was down to money, Microsoft probably paid them a nice sum. It didn't hurt PS3 users anyway, since they could still play it, unlike N64 users with FFVII, unless they bought a PlayStation or had a PC capable in 1998.

Ultimately, people convince themselves that the products they buy are the best and do everything they can to try and find a way to convince themselves that they've made the right decision and feel "elitist".

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