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Pay To Play: How Greed Will Kill Gaming

Jon Ireson of DualShockers writes, "Recently the readers have asked us to delve into the topic of the new Electronic Arts Online Pass and what it means to video games in the future. Not only does this new “feature” attack used game sales, limit the user’s rights, and generally betray the sacred relationship between gamer and game, but it is also a belligerent act that will put pressure on other publishers big and small. We already pay a hefty fee to pick up a game, now EA has made sure that if you don’t pick up your EA Sports games brand new you will have to pay even more to get it online. This means more than just attacking used games, which is bad enough in itself to most gamers; this is about attacking the entire industry. Allow me to explain how this recent action by EA is a symbol of how greed seeks to destroy gaming as we know it in a very active, calculated, and deceptive manner..."

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Hitman07692720d ago

There is more to the story than there seems. This is going to be a long-term grab at the entire game industry and it is less than healthy for it as a whole!

EA Online Pass is not okay.

animboo2720d ago

No to this type of business practice, i bought it, its mine, i can sell it to whoever i like.

Asuka2720d ago

I shelled out the money, be it new or used. If the game features an online option, then I "should be" entitled to such option as part of my purchase, regardless of whether or not it was bought new or used, and as part of my entitlement, i should be allowed to sell the game to anyone i please.

Honestly though, this whole nonsense of charging more to get games online is just plain stupid and unfair. We are already pay anywhere between $40-$60USD on our games, its like slowly all these publishers are all coming to the conclusion that consumers have an infinite amount of money and will always be willing to shell it out.

RumbleFish2720d ago

This is like when you buy a used car you have to pay the manufacturer to get the engine running again. EA should get their servers running good before thinking about earning even more money. BC2 has incredible lag.

Inside_out2720d ago

I've been ranting on this topic for a while...when I had to " sign in " to play the Battlefield demo...then they said...lets charge them to play a demo...well...It's criminal...Fat greedy pigs...

Any store that deals in used games should post the truth...Give EA ans Ubi-soft there own shelf and say...buyer beware...this game loses 2/3 of it's value as soon as you by it...don't except trades on EA and Ubi-soft games...Watch how fast they change there tune...

Reibooi2720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

While there are certainly companies out there who are greedy one has to keep in mind that many of these compnanies are not and are simply trying to find a way to get around piracy and people buying used games(Remember they see none of the money from a used sale only the new sale gives them profit).

Stuff like the Cerberus network on Mass Effect 2 is in my opinion a good idea. None of the stuff offered in it is game breaking or anything. However it is stuff fans of the game and franchise would like to have so they would spend the extra 5 bucks to get it instead of not.

The online pass while a little extreme is something that WILL make people buy a game new. Something they should do from the start. Honestly if you love a game enough to buy it why not make sure you pay the extra 5 bucks and see that the developer gets that money instead of being stingy and giving all that profit to the most widely hated game related company ever(I.E Gamestop). It really makes no sense to me. I hardly ever buy used games unless it's something that has long since gone out of print(stuff like old PS2 games for example). I don't like gamestop and don't like supporting them by selling back my old games or buying used. I would rather support the devs instead.

I know I'm a rarity and most people don't think the way I do but honestly I will never understand the "Oh they don't have it used not buying it" when it's only a 5 dollar difference.

Enate2720d ago

Mass Effect 2 vs cutting off the online feature on games the heavily depend on it is getting ridiculous. How about me renting the game? now sure that doesn't effect you but I don't have unlimited amounts of cash to throw around. An I for one like to know I'm getting my money's worth before I commit to that full purchase. Also allowing your friends to borrow a game maybe he wants to check out MWII online but wait what's this you've got to pay 10 bucks. An what about a family member or roommate who has a system as well an wants to give it ago another 10 bucks?

Its a seriously bad I idea in so many ways, I know if it took me all of 2mins to think of all those issues. They couldn't have not thought of all of that without thinking pfft more money for us who cares. Activision with their franchise killing and money grubbing tactics, EA with this bull and Capcom putting out day 1 garbage DLC hmph the industry is well on its way to killing itself. An for Companies so afraid of piracy they sure know how to push people toward it.

iceman062720d ago

I was thinking almost exactly what Enate stated. Plus, there is the issue of or the perception of value for a game. For example, there were MANY people that felt that MAG was overvalued at $60 upon it's release because it was online only and with no story. Now that the price is dropping to $29.99 people are willing to give it a try. This extends to the used game market as well. I ALWAYS buy day one for games that I have huge interest in. However, there are also games that I would like to try...or pass on because of a onslaught of games in a certain period of time. I USUALLY try to find the games new and at reduced price BECAUSE the devs deserve some financial credit for their creation. However, there are times where used game stores (not just Game Stop and EB, but Game Fly, Amazon, or even local mom and pop shops) have insane deals to pick up those type titles.
I agree that devs deserve money...I agree that GameStop does influence the end line profits...I just fear that this might be the first step towards a complete MMO type pay structure for all online enabled games...believe me...somebody will do it eventually!

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2720d ago
BeaArthur2720d ago

Not okay but I get it. They're just trying to take back some revenue from the used game market. I don't blame them. If I worked hard on something I would want my money too. On the other hand I do by pre-owned games so as a gamer I hate it.

Hank Hill2720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

Nobody gets money on used sales so why should game developers get money from used sales? Like I said earlier, car companies and the music industry don't get money on used sales and they don't complain. You said cars depreciate but so does games. Bioshock 2 is already down to $34.99. Used sales is a way of life and they should just get over it. So if you built a house and I bought if from you with cash money and then I sell it to someone else are you telling me that want money from the house again that you worked hard to build even though I bought it from you and can sell it to whoever I want? I don't understand why game developers think they deserve money from used sales?

Unicron2720d ago

Hank, you don't turn around and sell your car a week later though, do you?

FantasyStar2720d ago

Unicron, does it matteR?

I can sell my copy of Mass Effect 2 a year later and EA would still b!tch about it. The fact they lump used-games sales, piracy, rentals, and loaners (letting your friend borrow your game) into the same category already shows how black-white publishers see anything that doesn't make them money.

BeaArthur2720d ago

Hank Hill...the music industry complains about free downloading which essentially has the same outcome. Neither industry is getting payed for their work. So you are going to compare home ownership to a $60 game? That is so out of context it almost doesn't make sense. Look, I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with them, all I'm saying is that I see their point.

Unicron2720d ago

Yes it does matter. The rapid turn around that the used game market allows cuts into new game sales heavily. This isn't even about profits. Many games fail to break even, even when they are a success. No revenue, companies go under, no new games for you to play.

I should ask, why are consumers okay with Gamestop getting the profit and essentially screwing consumers by feeding off the work by developers who bust their asses 90 hours a week?

JustTheFactsMr2720d ago

Actually it's more than that.

They are taking something away. Access from multiple consoles by any account on those machines.

With this change only the account that downloads it can log in on-line via the subsequent machine(s).

Basically means paying $10 for every other account times the machines in your house OR they now have to play on the one machine they are allowed to using their own identity OR you hand over your password and let them use your friends list and your identity to play on the additional machine(s) that is now only "licensed" under your account.

Even though you have a physical disc you paid $60 for and can only run in one machine at a time anyway your restricted.

I guess I should launch a class action lawsuit. :)

FragGen2720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

"If I worked hard on something I would want my money too."

It contains a false implicit assumption: EA didn't work hard. They're a publisher. You know, the middleman. Or "the man" for short.

This move is bad for consumers (us, gamers) it limits our rights, if you put up with it and don't at least speak up you're acting against your own best interest.

Top developers get paid just fine. Sales of the best franchises are kicking complete ass even with massive economic headwinds and in spite of used and rental markets existing.

Taking care of the devs business situation is up to the devs themselves and their attorney's who draw up the contracts with the publishers, we're not their babysitter. It's certainly not the consumer's responsibility to worry about it, our responsibility is to stand up for our own rights to keep ourselves from getting screwed. Don't let some misguided sense of gratitude encourage you to take one in the behind.

hazelamy2720d ago

no, unicron you don't trade in a car within a week, but if a car is a piece of shit you can get your money back, you can't do that with games.
when ea start giving refunds on their games maybe this crap will be acceptable.
because as it is, once you've bought the game the developer and publisher is no longer held to account.
they've got your money so they no longer care.

Unicron2720d ago

"Top developers get paid just fine. Sales of the best franchises are kicking complete ass even with massive economic headwinds and in spite of used and rental markets existing."

"Top developers" make up very little of the development world, however.

Drac2720d ago

Hank, the other thing to remember is that the dev company will release upgrades (not patches), and even free DLC. Both of which you don't get in your car, music or house examples.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 2720d ago
Double Toasted2720d ago

Meh, I think if anything, these companies are shooting themselves in the foot.

Godmars2902720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

EA's not seeing any money from re-sales though they're maintaining an ongoing online service.

One real crap point is XBL, with MS not likely to be sharing that money.

This is more about the industry catching up with its technology, online gaming, than greed.

Godmars2902720d ago

Though I do surrender to the BS factor of letting someone borrow your game, taking it to a friend's house or a party, and having to deal with this.

edgeofblade2720d ago

I'll make this really simply for you:

If I find anyone is charging money for anything, I look at the money I have, how much of it they want, what they want to give me in return... and make a decision to buy it or not.

I have to make a decision. With my money. It's not EA sneaking into my room at night and stealing money out of my wallet. I had to fork over the cash, so I'm culpable.

If you want me to point at one thing that is ACTUALLY destroying games, it's that young children are spending their PARENTS money on crap. The kids themselves don't care... and in FAR too many cases, neither do the parents. That, or it's ignorant parents buying their kids "Random Licensed Movie Tie-In Game: The Movie: The Game".

This socialist-driven witch hunt to go after "greed" is horribly misguided and more likely to rip out the very mechanics that make this a working economy. A "baby with the bathwater" situation...

iceman062720d ago

Am I to understand that "greed" is the mechanism behind capitalism? I just wouldn't go so far as to say this is a socialist driven with hunt. I WOULD say that it could possibly be the first step down a slippery slope. I am NOT against making money...or the companies right to make money. I agree that when I make a purchase I should be fully aware and culpable. I just have issues with the control that this will provide the industry in terms of limiting the product value post-purchase. I have the same issue with the housing and vehicle industry as well. As a consumer of said goods, my choices will be further limited IF I choose to purchase at all. +Bubs for the Parents comment...I couldn't agree more!!!

Christopher2720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

How about we put a different spin on it as I play Devil's Advocate?

--- Used Games: How Retail Greed Will Kill Gaming ---

Look at it this way:

Pros for Used Games:
- Cheaper for consumers
- More money for retailers

Cons for Used Games:
- Less potential for profit for multi-million dollar game developers that lead to focus on sequels that sell well and less opportunities for new IP creation

Pros for Pay to Play:
- Development companies ensure income from each player, not just each new game sold, which leads to improved profits that lead to more games and better support.

Cons for Pay to Play:
- Costs a little more for consumers, new or used

---

***The disconnection is from the assumption that if x amount of people buy a game used they would have also bought it new, and thus those potential new sales instead only went to GameStop’s benefit, and not EA’s. I have several problems with this type of thinking including the fact that there is no evidence to support such an assumption.***

Actually, there are more than a billion dollars of profit each year at GameStop to prove how profitable used game sales are. Profits that aren't dependent on reaching a certain amount to cover production costs of the game development. The profit that GameStop makes on used game sales in 2007 alone was more than $650 million, and it has seen a continued explosive growth every year.

Even more, Amazon and BestBuy, the two other major retailers of video games in the U.S., have already stepped into the used games business.

@below: well said

tplarkin72720d ago

It doesn't matter how "greedy" companies get. The consumer ultimately decides what they want.

Besides, it's not "greed", it's "survival". 75% of all businesses fail.

Javert2720d ago

Very nice it's always a good idea to play devils advocate for a better view of the picture. I agree with you on the assumption that people who buy a game used probably wouldn't have bought it new, but your reasoning is slightly flawed. The question isn't would those people have bought that specific game it's would they have bought a new game instead. From a publishers point of view every game that is bought used is a lost potential sale, maybe not of that game but of another new game. They think a gamer who spends x amount of money on used games a year would, if the option to buy used is taken away, spend that money on new games. It doesn't matter what new games are more money flowing into publishers overall will help them due to statistics (their almost guaranteed to get some of that money). The model you were looking at is based on sales of a particular title while publishers are more interested in how their actions would effect the average profit margin for them of games as a whole.

JackBNimble2720d ago

Forget renting games for the week end if publishers get away with this.

Darkstorn2720d ago

All artistic industries have conflicts between creative vision and profit. Gaming is a very high yield industry, so the greedy types tend to get involved in publishing - I suppose the same can be said for banking and hedge fund management.

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Ninferno2720d ago

I thought it was ridiculous when they cut off online play for a majority of their games, but this is going out of hand

BeaArthur2720d ago

I definitely agree with you about shutting down servers on old games. There are plenty of people that probably still like to play the original Bad Company but now they are SOL. It's almost like a competition between Activision and EA to see who can be more hated.

Christopher2720d ago (Edited 2720d ago )

I think it's easy to take that sort of stance as a consumer. If you were put into their place and seeing how much it cost the company to keep servers up for games that they are now only losing money on, though? It's unlikely anyone here wouldn't make the same decision.

This is why alternative P2P game hosting options need to become something that all games implement, so that when the cost of dedicated servers become too expensive and you need to shut them down, your games will still be able to play the game years after it stopped selling.

We're not talking World of Warcraft's daily overhead costs of $140k, of course, but it can cost them a few thousand and more a month to keep them going two to three years after the game was released and only a fraction of the original players are utilizing the servers.

taz80802720d ago

Man I do not like this idea of having to purchase online rights for a used game. Why should I pay for something that someone else traded in, technically does that not get transferred with the trade in as well?

Seems ,like a gimmick to make extra $$$.

Hitman07692720d ago

You're right this is crazy!

IG_DARKSA1NT2720d ago

So your paying twice for a game? No way EA!

Hitman07692720d ago

Between this and Activision's price-increases I can see gaming dwindling down to 20 releases a year in the near future. Watch when all these games of 2010 and 2011 we all have been awaiting flop and the industry goes from an outtie to an innie in a microsecond flat.

BRG90002720d ago

Well, they don't want you to pay twice for it. They want you to pay once. For a new copy.

Asuka2720d ago

They want you buy their games "new" instead of "used" is what they are really getting at. If you buy them used, they are going to penalize you essentially. Really a low blow because some of us can't afford our games new and really depend on used titles. I mean come on, i have bills to pay EA! We all do!!!!!

Myst2720d ago

Personally don't play EA games don't think I have in quite some time, but honestly this move is going to not only hurt the used games sales but also the people who rent [me]. Sister and I were talking yesterday about the exact same thing and how this model is more than likely going to be supported by quite a few developers. It will at least get them money for used game sales, but what about those who are renting? We'd be left out in the cold sadly.

I don't have a problem with developers getting their moneys worth for their hard work but I just don't know about this. Maybe once more is revealed [if so] then perhaps, but as of right now I'm basically teetering a bit on the fence.

Asuka2720d ago

i understand that the whole development and publishing business is nothing to write home about. Infact its probably one of the most intense jobs with strict project dates that cause much stress across the board. However, i do not believe they deserve the extra cash simply put that the price for paying the game is a set price. Meaning, the development team and publisher from the very start will know how much their game will sell for (most cases $60USD) and with that in mind they make projections on how many units sold and thus can come up with a budget to met their needs and turn a profit based on the fact that each and every title will turn $60USD.

They don't need more money, they want more money. Plain and simple.

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