This week, for the Ducky Obrien show, I’m going to focus on one topic that really got my attention and pondering the current direction that humanity is heading towards for this article.
Imagine, if you will, the near future where all automobiles are fully automated, self driving vehicles. Whenever you want a ride, you simply open the smart car app, enter a destination, and a self driving car from a faceless corporation makes its merry way over to you in a timely fashion. While this may seem like an ideal future, there’s just one small problem.
The concept of private ownership has vanished. Now, when you compare the hassle, expense, and maintenance woes of owning a vehicle, it may seem worth your while to trade ownership for convenience. The problem arises however, and it is quite the problem, when the people who do own the smart cars decide to cut off access to this service for any reason.
Now I know what most people are thinking, there’s no way this will happen. But this is actually what happened earlier this week when Activision pulled their titles from the GeForce Now streaming service. GeForce Now is a streaming service where consumers can purchase titles to own not only on that service but on another platform as well, such as Steam. This is a very consumer friendly mindset that will enable the consumer to keep owning and playing the titles in question if GeForce Now stops existing or players simply want to run the games locally.
However this affects consumers who primarily picked up the titles to stream because, while they have a robust internet connection, they lack the physical hardware required to run the games on their own machines. The removal of the titles from the service effectually removes their ability to play the games.
We have been trading ownership for convenience for years now in almost every area of our lives (not just in gaming) and now we are paying the cost.
When private ownership of goods have been transferred over to corporations in the guise of turning them into services, we as consumers lose our rights to said goods. We lose the right of owning anything. We are at the mercy of these larger entities to provide us access to the goods we are now paying a subscription for, instead of paying an one time fee.
People may call it paranoia but it’s not hard to foresee this kind of situation arising considering the profit first, consumer last mentality of modern corporations. Private ownership protects consumers. If you own something, you determine how and when you use it. When ownership is transferred to corporations, they determine how and when you use it. This applies to everything, from our personal data that is being mined constantly, to video games that are now more of a service than physical good.
It may seem daunting to change anything but we as consumers have a powerful voice when it comes to choosing where to spend our money. By collectively refusing to buy goods and services from corporations that don’t protect consumers to a reasonable degree, they will be forced to make changes because corporations can not do anything without you spending money on them.
Will we keep heading on this course where corporations control access to every aspect of our lives or will we take back power through ownership? We have the power to decide the future. The future of ownership and access lies in your hands and dollars.