So it seems like this generation "Definitive Editions" of games are going to be the next big thing. What is a "Definitive Edition" of a game? Judging from what has been released so far you can conclude that the so called definitive edition is one that includes the following:
1)A release on any of the modern generation of hardware including: Ps4, Xbox One, PC, or WiiU
2)Higher resolution, higher frame rate, better graphical qualities (including textures, higher poly counts on character models)
3)Use of better processing effects including anti aliasing, ambient occlusion, texture filtering, sometimes tessellation.
4)Possible inclusion of DLC to make it a glorified Game of the Year edition (not always guaranteed)
So all of this seems like a pretty good deal, doesn't it? Considering that some of your favorite games like Watch Dogs, or The Last of Us are being re-released for you to play again! But that's where the issue lies. They're being re-released within such a short time period, and being slapped with the title "DEFINITIVE EDITION" to make it seem like they are putting out these games as a sign of good faith towards the consumer. A practice that in my opinion is not at all consumer friendly.
The games that so far are the 'most guilty' of this practice include the following: Watch Dogs, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, The Last of US, Journey (we'll talk about why Journey and other similar games do it right later), Grand Theft Auto Five and the Metro Series. These games all fall into the category of having a definitive edition released that is harmful towards the consumer in some way. So let's discuss why exactly this is harmful to the consumer.
Many people's responses as to why Definitive Editions are fine is because of the users who made a jump from one camp to another. I recall this being mentioned by one of the developers as to their response regarding why their game was being re-released within such a short time period after its original release. But, that's great, right? People who may have made the jump from one console to another now get to experience that previous generations games! WRONG. Let's use the example of 360 owners who may have gone to Playstation 4 consoles solely this generation. Great, they get to experience whatever game may have re-released (in this case The Last of US). Why exactly couldn't they purchase a Playstation 3 to experience the game? I can see why this a great thing for Sony; they get the sale of a new console and the sale of one of their old games that they had to put in minimal effort into porting. And I guess you can say it's a good thing for them so they don't have to buy another console. What about the other games they they missed experiencing? What about Warhawk? What about Twisted Metal? What about Infamous 1 or 2? What justifies making a definitive edition for owners who jumped ship? The fact that they want to make some more money.And what of the Playstation 3 owners that purchased the Playstation 4? What about the ones that already owned The Last of Us? Suddenly it doesn't seem so nice does it. A game they already paid full price for being made better that they have to pay for again? You can maybe justify this by saying that they included some of the DLC with the package and made it 10 dollars cheaper than it was originally released for. That doesn't negate the fact that the product I just bought is now inferior and to experience the superior version I have to drop another 50 dollars. Possibly 400 if I don't own the Playstation 4. Tomb Raider/Sleeping Dogs/Watch Dogs all fall into this "screw the customer over" category I've just described. You bought these games on the last generation consoles? Well too bad, we just released better ones that you have to buy again. Also, with evidence pointing to Watch Dogs being purposely gimped on PC to push sales of a definitive edition by saying "hey, this one runs better, has more pedestrians, looks better" etc, it's evident that this is very anti consumer.
In this case, I consider Naughty Dog and Sony the worst offender on consoles because they outright lied regarding any sort of Definitive Edition. A quick google search can lead anyone to find an interview on CVG (Computer and Video games) with Eric Monacelli, Naughty Dog's community strategist as saying "We have no plans to do that" in response to questions regarding a Playstation 4 remaster regarding their popular title. Blatant lying just to make a few sales. If I were one of those people who went from 360 to PS4 I would not be inclined to purchase TLOU if the company behind it cannot even be truthful regarding their releases. ---- Rockstar/Grand Theft Auto 5 is also guilty of this with GTAV co writer quoted as as saying "Of course we're interested. But no, not in terms of GTA, because we're always working on the current game."Now look at where we are, TLOU released less than a year later for the Playstation 4, making Playstation 3 versions obviously inferior. Along with a GTAV release date being known coming out later this year, possibly January 2015. Does that lying truly sound like these companies care about their consumers? Sounds like it to me they lied to get as many sales as they could out of their "last generation" releases before they thought about releasing a better version. One could argue that it is an effective strategy to make a lot of money, which I would agree with. But that doesn't make bluntly lying right. It's a very unethical thing to do to squeeze some more milk out of the teet of the cow before sending her off to slaughter and bringing out the new fresh one.
But with something negative we must also cover the positives. The games that are being remade/remastered that are doing it right. The Master Chief Collection, Wind Waker, Journey, Shadow of Colossus HD, God of War Collection, and the Gundam Collection. All these examples spring to mind of re-releasing something for the consumer. Why do I think these examples are good?
1)They're not being re-released within the same year as the old version. Time is a key thing here. Would you be happy buying something and then being told an the exact same thing was being re-released months later, it was just better in every way? No, there has to be a significant amount of time in between the original release date and the re-release to justify purchasing it.
2)For the most part, they're collections. The Master Chief Collection contains 4 games plus the beta to Halo 4. God of War Collection has 2 games with better resolution and some better visuals. The Gundam collection has fan favorites from the Playstation 2 era, some released well over 10 years ago being remastered.
3)They're offered as free. In this case, the only example I can think of is Journey, which is doing what a remaster should be doing. Being re-released onto the Playstation 4. Free for owners of Journey on Playstation 3, but available for purchase by owners of Playstation 4.
4)They're something that fans actually want. Fans have been begging Square Enix for a remake of Final Fantasy 7. Something like that would warrant a re-release. The time is right, the demand is right. SOTC and ICO fall into this category of reasoning. It's something the fans wanted, and also enough time has passed to justify it without making other fans feel like they've been screwed by buying too early.
Personally, I think this definitive edition bs needs to stop. As a consumer, I now fear purchasing a game, simply because I fear that it may be rendered completely inferior to something that may be released a few months down the line. If we take this example into the real world, imagine buying a car. The company tells you they have included everything they wanted to with that car and they have no intentions of doing anything else with it, so you buy it. Four months later, and they just announced they've given it a better engine, put in heated interior and upgraded the radio head for everyone. I don't know about you, but I'd be pissed. And this logic I've applied to definitive editions of video games. Some of which I may have described above may not be definitive but remasters; which I have given enough justification for. Hopefully, we'll see sooner rather than later, the end of Definitive Editions. Otherwise these corporations will keep lying, and they'll keep attempting to bleed dry the last generation of consoles.