January 31st, 2012

On Buying Used and DLC (and other fun stuff)

@Themiscyra () Posted about piracy and I was on board with her for a while until it got to the #5, the used games. I didn’t exactly see eye to eye on some of the points she made. Here is her piece on used games.

First of all let me say that I DO NOT like DLC. I hate it with a passion. I don’t know what company started it (was it Bethesda?) but it’s been an excuse to sell thin, incomplete games since. Before DLC there were expansion packs, for about $15~$20 you go a shitton of more content for whatever game it was. Like Ultima VII and it’s expansion The Serpent Isle. You got a whole new story! That’s not something you’ll see today. That expansion would be hacked to pieces and portion out to where your spending $60 on just an expansion.

Where this links into used games, is that some games are now coming with online codes for free DLC.. in the box. Which means this bit of the game had to be planned out, hacked out and put in it’s own tupperware container and sold for $10. I think Themiscyra and I agree that selling an incomplete game is utter bunk. This is selling an incomplete game. “But” you say. “You get the complete game with that code!” THAT is where it runs into the used territory. When you buy that used you probably won’t get the code, and if you do, it’s been used up and you have to pay that $10 unlock the rest of the game fee.

This is why to me games will never be art. You certainly don’t go into a library or buy a used book, only to find that you have to pay $10 to get the ending, or get a key character in the book. Even movies aren’t like this (yet). You buy the movie, sit through the 17 minutes of DON’T PIRATE THIS and promos only to see the full movie. Also because it’s the super-awesome-platinum unicorn edition you bought (used) it has all twenty three of the secret endings and the five hundred deleted scenes!

See, where Themiscyra thinks it’s OK to more or less charge some kind of fee to unlock what a new user got, I don’t like this. To me when you buy a used game you already have to put up with having no manual NOR the original box most of the time, if you get both your lucky. YOu also have to put up with the fact the former user may have used the disc as a chew toy for their pet and it only JUST worked to get to the title screen before it was sold to you. Also No refunds and sometimes, no exchanges on used merchandise. I know Gamestop has draconian measures to guarantee the money stays in there system, and here you get it home and BAM all the people that raved about the aspect of the game you bought it for are now laughing at you, because the game now wants to reach into your pocket and take $10 or more monies to unlock it. If it’s a popular title you probably paid too much even used to get it and here you have to pay more!

Now, if you put a discount coupon for the DLC so the new user has to buy that content AS WELL as a used user. Fine. Because used user can wait till DLC discount day and get it for the same price.

Books never ask you to open your wallet to get the rest of the story (unless it’s a series, but you can buy the other books used too). Movies don’t either (yet). So why should games? All other forms of art don’t ask you to open your wallet, so why do games? Because games aren’t art. So now games have a choice, be art or continue to not be art.

Now what EA (and other companies) are doing is CHARGING you to get the content with that games you bought (used). They are forcing you to pay more money to open the gates of Hell. (Literally if you see Tartarus as Hell and Hades as Satan.) With the Cerberus system you have to be a member to get your stuff, and be online…to play that thing you just dropped $60 new and whatever price used + $10. To me, this has taken it too far. You don’t own anything any more and the game companies like it that way. Which is why I can’t cry when they beg for more money. These people aren’t broke here, so I feel that whatever DLC was in the new copy needs to be in the used copy.

This also hurts the people who can’t really afford new games and the only price to pay is an online price, because there is no physical copy. (I’m looking at you Sony >_>) This is what game companies want to get to. A system where you rely solely on them to provide content and pricing. They’ve already taken away your First Sale Law, what other rights do they want.

As it stands now, I mostly buy new games, only I wait until they have gotten to used prices before buying them. I like my full-color manuals and my handy storage cases. I also like the fact I can sell these games to someone else who may be looking for them and don’t have an internet connection.

Used Games

4 responses to “On Buying Used and DLC (and other fun stuff)”

  1. It actually has been done, more than once, to release a book that didn’t include the ending and ask people to either pay more or write to the author in order to receive the last bit.

    Movies ship with extra content on the DVD *all the time*.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to argue that these practices suck, but they aren’t unique to games and they don’t make something art or not art. The argument that only games do this (because they are not art) is factually untrue.

    • Never hard about the first one, I wonder how that worked out and if that book is in any libraries? Also that’s an atypical case for books.

      The thing with the DVD is if you sell the DVD that content goes with the DVD and the next person has access to that content.

      I still stand by this that game are not art, because as I said, things aren’t coming on the disk and DVDs don’t have extra DLC to get the endings. Games have done that, to get the de facto ending in Mass Effect 2 you need to get extra DLC.