I’ve talked in the past about the game industry (and EA in particular) trying to fight back against the used games market; call it a hobby of mine. The newest idea thrown out there comes to us by way of Mike Capps from Epic Games:
“I’ve talked to some developers who are saying, ‘If you want to fight the final boss, you go online and pay USD 20, but if you bought the retail version, you got it for free.’ We don’t make any money when someone rents it, and we don’t make any money when someone buys it used — way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it.”
Honestly, I’m kind of torn on this one. On the one hand, used game sales do eat a significant portion of the profit that might otherwise go to the developer/publisher of a given title. Once again, this is attacking the used game market from the consumer side, dissuading a potential consumer from buying it used because, odds are, the code for the ending has already been redeemed and they don’t want to pay more for it. It’s smart, and the companies do want to cut into GameStop’s huge profit margin somehow.
On the other hand…there are a lot of people that rely on renting or GameFly to play new entries in an increasingly expensive hobby. I know, because I was a broke kid, I rented A Link to the Past three separate times before I got around to owning it back in the day, and that’s one of my favorite games ever. How would I have felt if I had to pay more money because I wanted to know what happens after I beat Ganon? And what about people that play offline? Will they just never get to know what happens?
[[image: ar_111408_dlcend_01.jpg:Watch this for only $19.99!:center:0]]
I honestly don’t think this is a company wanting to nickel and dime us more than they already are. In fact, for many of us, this probably wouldn’t be an issue; if we really want a game, we’ll buy it new, and get the ending for free. This is teetering dangerously close to the edge of saying, “We don’t want poor people to play our games,” though, and I think that’s a misstep. Cutting down on your potential fanbase –- that may very well purchase the game when they have the money -– is a bad thing. And if nothing else, it’s irritating to have to download something that should be a standard part of the package. Harmonix let players download the Rock Band 1 songs into Rock Band 2 for a mere five-dollar licensing fee, simply because it was more convenient for the user. Let’s hope that other companies follow suit and find ways to combat used games without making everyone else jump through hoops.
…Of course, one could always argue that 99.99% (yes, that’s a scientific percentage…shut up) of all game endings aren’t worth downloading anyway, but that’s another discussion entirely.