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Game companies need us more than we need them. So why don't we act like it?
This generation was been quite a ride for the most part. As games grew in size and scope, so did their problems. For every good step forward, a misstep followed. And it's a trend that will continue unless we as gamers step forward and stop it. The strife between gamers and publishers has been well documented over the past six years in particular. Let's take a look at some of the main gripes gamers have had.
Download Content is one of those problems that could have very easily to nullified very early on in its inception. Initially, downloadable content was a method used to extend a game past what its original game play was. However, various abuses came with it. As developers began to pinch their pennies, they began to have less and less of the game's actual content available upon release. And to make a little extra money off of the customers, they usually took that same content and sold it as download content. And some of the worst offenders have had content already on the game disc, just to lock it up and sell an "unlock" key in order to use it.
This is a developer basically making you pay extra for something you already paid for in the first place. Because if content is already in the game, that means they were already paid for creating it. So these unlock keys they pass off as download content is their way of abusing the customer and double dipping.
Online Passes and DRM
They say the cost of development is high. Which admittedly and apparently is quite true. Online passes and DRM are a mixed bag for the most part. On one side, these are made as a way to deter people away from buying used games by making used game buyers pay extra if they plan on using their games online. Thus, making actually buying the used versions virtually useless. But times are tough and not everyone can afford to buy games new all the time. So in the end, online passes and DRM potentially cut the user base of online games. But this is an attack more on the game stores like Gamestop and Game than it is the customer.
Gamestop and Game both have a habit of selling used games at very minimal prices under the new version prices. But when you sell games back to them, they take it off your hands for the cheapest price possible. And because of this, these stores make a profit of $35 or more dollars. They are the middle man. Their method cheats both the customer and game companies at the same time.
DRM is exactly why these stores stopped carrying hard copy of computer games. So you can see the imminent threat that DRM and online passes pose to them if home systems have something similar in place.
There is both good and bad in this. Unfortunately, there is probably more of the bad than there is good once all is said and done.
Paying to play online
This is one there is no excuse for. Paying to play anything online in this day and age is extremely bad taste. With free 2 play on the rise and most places allowing free game play in the first place, pay to play subscriptions and services need to die off. Unfortunately, this is where customer mentality comes into play. This is the kind of thing companies get away with because they know people are mindless slaves to whatever product they're offering. From a company standpoint, if I knew people were foolish enough to buy my product knowing they can get it free elsewhere, I'd sell it to them too. So I can't blame companies for that. Customer foolishness is more the culprit here.
We already pay for online access to begin with. Why would anyone in their right mind pay a second time?
So with all of this said and all the arguments that swirl around the gaming industry of customer dissatisfaction, a question looms. And it's a question that all of us as gamers and customers need to ask ourselves. Just who has the power here? The gamers or the companies.
Because as far as I can remember, game companies need OUR money to stay afloat. We pay them for a luxury, not a necessity. We don't need them to survive, they need us. So if we as gamers have the power to make our voices heard on these various gripes, why aren't we using it?