Retailers are getting a little hot under the collar after the recent announcement of EA’s new “incentive program,” dubbed Project Ten Dollar. According to Gamesindustry.biz, the project was created as a means to discourage consumers from purchasing pre-owned video games by offering codes for DLC packaged with new copies of all of their games. Those who buy the game pre-owned will have to pony up the extra money for the DLC.
This news is not all that thrilling to game retailers that make a good portion of their money from pre-owned sales, such as Gamestop and SwapGame.com. Of course, this is money that the game developers never see, and EA hopes to put an end to that.
However, is this going to turn into the proverbial double-edged sword for the game industry? Ask a used game retailer and they will most certainly give you a resounding “yes,” as well as give you a litany of reasons why. In the interview posted on Gamesindustry.biz, Marc Day, CEO of SwapGame.com, lists many ways this could backfire, ranging from retailers dropping certain publishers to consumers becoming wary of publishers collecting their information should the video game business transition into a “download only,” market – a transition that doesn’t seem to be too far off now that this has been announced.
Sony, whether in an attempt to one-up EA or just to make a little more revenue on the side, also announced that online playability in the latest PSP SOCOM title will be locked until the gamer redeems a code that comes with new copies. Those who would prefer to buy the game used will have to pony up an extra $20 for online play to be enabled.
This seems like it could be a good way for these game developers to make an extra buck, but how many loops are gamers going to need to jump through just to play a game that appeals to them? We already have to deal with the pre-order exclusives that accomplany nearly every game these days, and now Sony isn’t going to let you play online – a service that had Xbox Live beat in terms of affordability – unless you pay full price for a new copy or shell out an extra twenty dollars. Mind you, that isn’t twenty dollars for the privledge of using the PlayStation Network, that’s twenty dollars to play a single game on the network.
I’m all for game developers getting their fair share of the loot, but I have a bad feeling about this. As we delve deeper and deeper into this generation of consoles, DLC seems to be quickly changing from harmless and non-essential “bonus content,” to content that should have been in the game in the first place – which leads me to think that if they’re now offering free content to those who pay a full sixty dollars or more as a “reward system,” the time when we’re going to have to pay full price for only part of a game and are required to pay more if we want to see the end is approaching.
So hey, retailers and developers alike – while you’re busy duking it out over our love and affection, don’t forget about us, the consumers. After all, we’re the ones who were responsible for getting both of you where you are today.