Journos do hold a soft power, and they lack a lot of autonomy because they are debt saddled graduates mostly in which their job's incentive models is that when they happen to write stuff that advertising publishers like, then those publishers continue to pay for exposure. Which means journos self edit and chase a certain flavor of plausible deniability while essentially shilling. It also helps if their taste aligns with what they get to report on anyways. Which is why if a bad review does come out the publishers take the hit to not trigger a Streisand effect, but essentially reach out to reviewers who they anticipate an acceptable review based on their history of opinion.
You'd be surprised how amenable the young population is to popularity trends, especially ones that half-sell what they want but smuggle in the monetary models that make the heaviest demands on the families wallets. There is a reason youth culture dominates in America, they are easy to sell to and their parents cave in. It's less about approval is more about exposure to products and ease of extracting cash. I think we can all despise the roulette racket that is being sold to the world's youth.
Also wage slaves is the term I used to reference to the developers stuck at the mercy of their employer, not the "poor powerless consumer who exert discretion." So that entire first argument of yours is railing against a scenario I never setup in the first place.
On a and b. The fact that people can earn their living doing creative technical work to create luxury entertainment products is a great testament to human progress, and having dedicated themselves to that career path it's helpful that they continue to find employment. Of course one doesn't wish for the employees demise, but also realize a company is not a person and also comes with it's own sins. Good riddance to companies like Exxon, that should be a no brainer. Atari and Old Sega both were rife with their own sorts of malpractice, Konami is another recent example that comes to mind. I certainly don't hope anything bad happens to Obsidian and it's employees, but it's not like we want to bail out EA to save those jobs as some sort of economic crisis response because the thought of letting a bad business contract is too heinous. Saying also this on a game companies forum seems hardly in poor taste, especially when you want to reaffirm the desire that companies find business models that transfer less risk onto the employee. If something bad happens to Obsidian it won't be because of my post or this thread surely. I think you slightly over register rhetorical posturing as being outright bile, of course I think OP is wrong for thinking EA parting with BioWare is the solution when they are really one in the same at this point and all of EA really needs reform, which can happen by a changing of the guard on the board of investors when a new round of capital comes in as the old leaves with their head hung low. Which is just more proof that EA is just a transient shell and not really anything enduring other than it's IP portfolio.