Now before I feel the need to put flameshields up, let me make one thing clear. I, just like a small percent of people currently, have a job. Most gamers state in articles just like this say, “If you do not have the money then get a new hobby.” Here lies the problem; unlike movies, TV shows, sports, and reading this is the only hobby that I and many others like me hold near and dear. Most of us have been playing video games ever since we were two years old. Many gamers, myself included, are now getting fed up of industry’s decisions as of late, and are tired of paying full price for many games because it’s becoming too expensive due to accessories, games, and everything else required to play.
An article right here on BagoGames mentions the PSVita being able to rise and succeed in where the PSP failed. Now right on IGN, they covered an article stating how PSP’s have been selling more in Japan than the Vita. With the cost of the Vita, who can really blame consumers? The Vita costs just as much as a PS3 at $ 300 if you get the 3G one; though if you get the WiFi you would still be paying for a memory card which raises the price back to what the 3G costed. This doesn’t even include games, and even the screen protector you WILL need if you want to keep fingerprints off your new tech. You can download PSP games onto your Vita, but if you already own a PSP there is no point to downloading those games considering its more expensive to buy them on the PSN. If one were to search on Google right now, you can see that Sony has not stated any program to compensate for those who paid for the UMDs of the same games on the PSN for the PSPs and want to transfer them over to the new device. Also if you search Google, you must go through hoops to transfer your save data from one to the other. The signs of greed do not stop there though, there are also developer scandals.
Developer scandals aren’t new to the video game industry; in fact it’s been here since DLC was introduced and hidden on disc content advertised as DLC. Many have complained about the Mass Effect 3 day-one DLC. BioWare, under the guise of EA, has even already announced a new ending in response to their customers’ complaints, but can one really tell if they responded accordingly towards costumer conserns or did they plan this? As Capcom and EA continue to give their customers the short end of the stick, their competitor at Neatherrealm Studios gave their customers a great game out of the box with all the features needed for a modern fighter without the need of DLC. When DLC is implemented right it doesn’t feel as if the customers are getting shafted and more like an effort is being made on the developers’ end, which leads into the next topic at hand, the battle against used games.
The battle against the used video game market is a very controversial topic; many believe in supporting developers who have spent all their time and effort into making the game you paid for by buying new games. Others believe that during times of crisis, such as the one we are in now, video games aren’t worth a full tag price because of many of these new strategies implemented by the gaming industry in this article. Now for those who believe in paying full tag price is it fair that some of these publishers, like EA, require you to input an online pass just so you can play online? Is it fair that some video games, like Kingdoms of Alumar, require an online pass that will effect offline content somewhat? The answer for both of these questions are no we should not have to. I am not saying that I should not pay for DLC, but if a game is used and requires an online pass for twenty dollars would that not just mean I paid almost retail price? Does that mean if I rent a game from Blockbuster or Redbox and want to try online I have to pay for the pass anyway? When I buy a game, do I own it or do the companies that made it own it? That is the essential debate that circles the industry as a whole, which results in Microsoft and other companies withholding many announcements regarding new hardware for home consoles. Though many believe when you download content it cuts out the middle man (the retailer) and gives it to the developers since they own it, but does that really explain why all developers are copying one another and possibly over saturating the market?
What is meant by over-saturation is how video games have become stagnant and how publishers make up excuses to compensate for any bad decisions made in developing their games. These games are mainly sequels to previous installments, or are inspired by games that have achieved much success (i.e.: Metal of Honor Reboot, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, & Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition). Capcom has made virtually the same fighting game over and over since Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES. Some of Capcom’s excuses were that they were missing components of multi-player, and wanted to add a mode and some characters. Though some critics believe that might be an excuse for laziness when competitors, like those mentioned previously, patch everything in really cheap DLCs. The same goes with Call of Duty, and every other shooter or game released after the death of cartridges. What is the cause of all this? People tend not to buy new IP, or if they do wait till it goes down in price so they don’t regret buying a terrible experience for full retail price. Another problem also includes ever since the introduction to the internet, many developers disregard single player in hopes of selling more copies of their games. Is that really fair? Wii might have outsold in the hardware department, but Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and 3 and Call of Duty: World at War all won the Guinness Book of World records for most purchased games in their respective years due to their online play. Halo 3 and ODST, Battlefield 3 and Fallout 3 all FPSes sold more copies then what Wii had to offer for its software. Some game journalists believed the Wii was the beginning of video games’ attempt to bring back community, when in reality what sold more were games aimed for the hardcore gamer.
If you’ve gotten this far and haven’t thought, “Too long, didn’t read…don’t care, you’re just complaining,” this is what all this rambling is about. I want developers, publishers, and gamers all to be on the same page for once and look at all these problems objectively. These are problems that can’t be ignored, especially now that mobile devices like the iPhone and Android powered phones seem to have the upper hand over home consoles in sales (at least for now). In addition to mobile devices winning over all market sales there are rumors about next gen consoles being restricted to only play new games. In the end, this is a media problem, but there should be a line drawn between consumers and publishers on how games are priced and what content should be considered DLC and what should be sold out of box. I am not saying that all games should be 99 cents like downloadable apps on iPhone, Window Mobile Devices, and Android Mobile Devices. I believe that video games should cost what you earn in entertainment, because the average consumer (parents, and other casual video gamers) aren’t willing to pay fifty dollars for a game that would cost seventy dollars by including DLC.