The Video Games Industry Needs To Stop Squeezing
Friday, 9th September 2011
With new releases firing over the forty pound mark, with special editions ranging from sixty to over a hundred quid, gamers are definitely being squeezed. In some cases, the title can actually justify the price tag - Modern Warfare 2 was genuinely worth fifty quid with an utterly stunning single player game and world-beating multi-player. The production was a massive two year affair with a cast that could grace the big screen and a plot to match.
The problem is, once one game is considered worth the money, all other games seem to believe they are just as good. Medal Of Honour appeared around the same time as Modern Warfare 2, but featured a woefully short campaign, disappointing multi-player and no other game modes (Special Ops is a great bonus in MW2). Yet they still wanted the same money.
This is only the start of it though. Back in the day, games came with a campaign and some multi-player and cost around forty quid. Now they come with "most" of the campaign and multi-player and cost forty quid with the rest of the content being add-ons that cost another tenner a pop (1,200 Xbox points shows between £8.99 and £11.95 on Google). Black Ops had four add on packs and therefore manage to get a total of eighty golden pounds of your cash.
For those who aren't naive enough to think different, it is reasonably clear that this is not the end of it. With the multi-player mode in Call Of Duty now being described as "free with every copy of Call Of Duty" - it is clear that games will soon ship with an unlock code for online game play. The idea behind this is to undermine the pre-owned market, which doesn't directly benefit the publishers (it does indirectly benefit them because a lot of people are only willing to pay £40 on release day because they know they will get a good trade-in for it later on - or because they are using a trade-in as part-payment).
The issue is that we are getting less and less in the box and that box is costing us more and more. The situation will become unsustainable unless the games industry recognises that our perception of the value of games is being undermined by the trend towards squeezing us for cash at every available junction.
It is reasonable to expect that when you buy a game, the entire campaign is contained in the box. It is also logical that a game with online multi-player or co-op is worth more than a game that only offers a single-player experience. If you want to take elements intrinsic to the value of the product out of the box, and de-value the pre-owned market - people won't be willing to pay the massive prices.
I'm not one to be all talk and no action and it is for these reasons that I am not renewing my gold membership on Xbox live. The countdown to 23rd September 2011 starts here!