This response basically summed up my feeling from reading Patrick’s article.
I know it doesn’t feel like an individual boycott makes a difference. I know that my minor quibbles with Chick Fil-A and the Salvation Army don’t directly affect those companies. But they have caused a few people in my circle to listen to how I feel and helped form their opinions. Then those people get some in their inner circle to listen, and it moves.
As people reading Waypoint and writing on a video game forum, I feel like most of us here are considered experts in video games by some of our friends, family, social media followers. So if we mention that we aren’t buying RDR2 and explain why, that won’t change everyone’s mind (obviously). But it will get a few people to pay attention, like cousin Shirley. And then when Shirley’s spouse talks about RDR2, Shirley will be like “Is that the game where the employees were treated terribly?” And it might not change that purchase, but it will be noted and remembered.
Like @Bachaconne said, “There are irreducible aspects like movement building, community empowerment, raising awareness, etc… , which are obfuscated by speaking of “personal lines” and focusing on the individual.” As someone who interacts with a majority of people who don’t follow gaming press, I personally think I can make some modicum of a difference.
Also, the games industry and field of games journalism are surprisingly small. Our voices here matter more than we’ve probably convinced ourselves. After following games journalism for 20+ years, it’s amazing to see where people have moved and how things have changed (and how some sides have unfortunately led to the rise of things like the Alt-Right). So I may be a little overly optimistic, but I don’t think any of us are as invisible as we probably think or that our words and actions don’t matter, because they definitely cause ripples. Hopefully, we can make those waves productive instead of destructive.