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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Game Devs Using One-Time Bonuses to Fight Used Game Sales 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-so-much dept.
ShackNews reports on an emerging trend which sees game publishers offer one-time bonus codes to unlock extra content for certain titles. Rock Band 2, for example, comes with a code which will allow free 20-song download, but is only usable once. NBA Live '09 has functionality to update team rosters on a daily basis, but will only do so for the original owner. "'This information and data is very valuable and it wasn't free for us,' an EA representative explained on Operation Sports. 'T-Mobile is paying for it this year for all users who buy the game new. This is a very expensive tool to use, and if you don't buy it new, then you'll have to pay for this. It isn't greed at all.'"
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Game Devs Using One-Time Bonuses to Fight Used Game Sales

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  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:02PM (#25259899)

    This is not only aimed at the used game market, but pirates as well. Personally I'd rather see this approach than a root kit and a limited number of installations.

    • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:05PM (#25259925) Journal

      Agreed. Incentives to encourage the desired behavior are much better than punishments based on the assumption that all of your customers are hostile.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        How is it? Think of how this work with a game? For example, you buy the game and get, say, one limited edition weapon with the code, your computer crashes, and that weapon is lost unless you buy the game again. Sure, the game is still playable, but you still lost something when your computer crashed (other than your saved game of course). Then the problem would be worse for MMORPGs where, if you got a limited edition item for using the thing on your own computer, and that computer crashed, it could severely
        • by retchdog (1319261) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:40PM (#25260201) Journal

          The chances are pretty high that by the time your computer crashes, the items will all be packaged into a bargain-priced Game of the Year edition or whatever, or even a free download. If not, you can probably get customer service to help you out once or twice if you have the serial #.

          For an mmorpg, your inventory is stored on a remote server anyway, so...

        • by EvilRyry (1025309) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:54PM (#25260291) Journal

          Ever pull the Atari/Vectrex/Nintendo out of the basement to relive some memories?

          Not to mention if the game happens to be for your XBox360 you could find yourself missing that first owner bonus sooner than you think!

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Your problem is easily solved by accounts.

          I install the game, activate it to my account, register my code to my account, then any time I reinstall as long as I re-use the same credentials everything stays unlocked.

          Granted once you start tying things to accounts you get into a whole different can of worms of resale prevention, but theres no reason you cant allow disk re-use.

          Really I wish more things were stored based on accounts. A good example of failure there would be Call of Duty 4. In that game you have

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dahamma (304068)

          How is this an insightful post? Honestly it would have ALMOST had a point if the examples weren't COMPLETELY incorrect.

          1) the used game market is about 98% used CONSOLE games. The only way that they can even enforce this on a console game is when the console has an online component like XBox Live. XBox Live stores your account information on their servers, so if your XBox dies, you can restore your bonus "stuff" on the new console.

          2) MMORPGs are an even worse example. Both of your points are wrong. a) E

        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          These offers, and MMORPGs, are tied to an online persona like an XBox Live account. Your computer could crash, burn, and be rebuilt a hundred times over and it has absolutely nothing to do with your access to whatever content is tied to you account. If the game servers go down you're hosed anyway because you probably wouldn't be able to get any downloads, any updates, or in the case of MMORPGs, play the game.
      • by ccguy (1116865) *
        If only they took this approach with porn...
      • The only problem here is that the desired behavior is that we dont redistribute our games, even the copies that we paid for and own (FUCK EULAs, the courts have decided that the first sale doctrine prevails!). You have every right to sell or give away your copy of the game when you get bored of it. You still can't do this and keep the proper functionality intact.

    • by narcberry (1328009) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:41PM (#25260209) Journal

      These incentives don't work.

      1. Good boys and girls get a bonus for being good.
      2. Bad boys and girls figure out how to also benefit from these bonuses.
      3. Devs panic and institute some ridiculous mechanism that typically only hinders the good boys and girls.

      Example:
      1. Everyone that purchases a new copy of a game at release will get a bonus 5 maps.
      2. These maps are quickly torrented and now everyone has them.
      3. Devs ban these 5 bonus maps from play with a game update. Only players that download and install a EULA-breaking crack will still be able to play these maps.

      • disincentives don't work either. at least this won't alienate customers if it doesn't work. also, the end of your example demonstrates the problem with the disincentive-based approach, not with the positive incentive-based approach.

        i'd much rather developers take this tact than to make it illegal to sell used games/CDs/DVDs. at least this doesn't encroach on fair use rights and doesn't take an anti-consumer attitude.

        • It is absolutely anti-customer.

          1. Customers lose value of their purchased assets. (ie, this specifically attempts to reduce resale value)

          2. It increases costs. Great, I just wanted a game and I ended up buying 100 songs too? (Don't lie to me like the retail packaging and pretend it was free)

          These aren't incentives to buy a product. They are incentives to buy it new vs. used.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by KDR_11k (778916)

            2 is bullshit, the games are not priced according to the cost to make them but the price they're expected to fetch. It won't ever cost you more because if they think they can get away with a higher price they'd increase the price, new songs or not so the new songs don't matter at all. Also keep in mind that higher price does not equal higher profit, there's an optimum price where any increases end up decreasing profits because noone will buy the product and something like software has a fixed optimum price

        • > i'd much rather developers take this tact than to make it illegal to sell used games/CDs/DVDs.

          It is not illegal (in the US) to sell used games/CDs/DVDs though it may under some circumstance be breach of contract.

          > ...at least this doesn't encroach on fair use rights...

          Fair use has nothing to do with selling used games/CDs/DVDs.

          > ...and doesn't take an anti-consumer attitude.

          "Anti-consumer"? No, no. They _want_ you to consume. It's your failure to do so to which they object. _Consume_ that gam

          • "fair use" probably wasn't the right phrase to use there. i mean consumer rights in general.

            and anti-consumer isn't the same as anti-consumerism. anti-consumer means placing the interests of businesses/sellers above consumers/buyers.

            and while it's currently not illegal to sell used games/CDs/DVDs at the moment, we are headed in that direction [slashdot.org].

            • by Artifakt (700173)

              You probably meant a specific right "Right of First Sale" if you're talking US law. Right of first sale is a pretty well defined area of law, and better, one of the pivotal early cases actually involved resale of used books so the distinction between purchasing the abstract speech and the physical medium was addressed by the court.
              I've seen right of first sale included in discussions of fair use by real copyright lawyers, so maybe you were actually technically right the first time, but it isn't what most pe

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RogueyWon (735973) *

        Remember, we're talking almost entirely about console games here. PC games have a long tradition of free downloadable post-release content (I remember waiting for my weekly Total Annihilation unit to be released) and it's never really been seen as an anti-piracy or anti-resale measure there. To be blunt, PC piracy is so wide-spread that something like this as an anti-piracy measure would feature pretty highly on the King Canute scale of futility.

        Over on the consoles (where around 99% of used-games sales tak

      • These incentives don't work.

        1. Good boys and girls get a bonus for being good.
        2. Bad boys and girls figure out how to also benefit from these bonuses.
        3. Devs panic and institute some ridiculous mechanism that typically only hinders the good boys and girls.

        Example:
        1. Everyone that purchases a new copy of a game at release will get a bonus 5 maps.
        2. These maps are quickly torrented and now everyone has them.
        3. Devs ban these 5 bonus maps from play with a game update. Only players that download and install a EULA-breaking crack will still be able to play these maps.

        That's all fine and dandy for PC games, but what about consoles? Wouldn't it take quite a bit of effort, at least in a mass-market sense, to go through all that for an XBOX 360 game? I mean, the example they gave was for Rock Band 2.

    • by Anenome (1250374) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @09:41PM (#25260513)
      Problem with this is rooted in a basic economic error. The value of an item also, in part, is due to its resale value. The more publishers degrade the resale value the less the item is worth upfront. This is why attempts to outlaw used game sales, or demonize outlets that resale games don't have a leg to stand on. This method of devaluing only the resale value to the secondary market will still have an impact on the upfront price. Games will be worth less to buyers because of a move like this. Therefore, games will sell less than ever. Which will create a vicious cycle because publishers will likely conclude that they need to take even stricter measures against piracy, when the truth is they simply devalued their own product and would see more sales without the restrictions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)

        The more publishers degrade the resale value the less the item is worth upfront.

        Yup. This is why people are far more willing to plunk down $24,000 for a Toyota than $21,000 for a Ford 6000-SUX, because they know that in 2-3 years, the used Toyota will fetch $5000 more than the Ford.

        • by Malevolyn (776946)
          Well that depends heavily on the car. Not a lot of 12 year old cars will sell for nearly as much as my 96 Ford. But now we're getting off topic, here, and my car kind of has an unfair advantage. Just ignore me.
      • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @10:48PM (#25260855) Homepage

        what you're saying makes sense, but it's more complicated than that. i mean, resale value is a huge factor when it comes to cars, homes, and other large items that people frequently resale and also put a lot more thought into purchasing (and negotiating the purchase).

        with gaming, it's almost an inelastic demand. if you want a particular game, there's only one publisher. you can't substitute a competing product for it. and all mainstream game publishers pretty much have the same general anti-consumer attitude. so it's not the same as buying an Honda/Toyota instead of a Ford/GM because imports have much higher resale values than domestics. that kind of decision-making process doesn't factor into game purchases. there's also less of a market for used games, and this is due to cultural as well as legal factors.

        think about diamonds and engagement rings. the De Beers cartel has launched one of the most successful (and insidious) marketing/advertising campaigns in the history of consumerism. not only did they inject their product into our cultural institutions and traditions (diamond engagement rings are a relatively new phenomenon in the history of human marriage), but they have also gone as far as to manipulate our cultural values to suit their business model.

        the whole "a diamond is forever" commercial campaign was tied into a much larger marketing campaign aimed at stopping the resale of diamonds. De Beers works very hard to control the global supply of diamonds to create an artificial scarcity which drives prices up, but that would be undermined if the market were flooded with second-hand diamonds. so in order to combat this, they came up with the "a diamond is forever" slogan to discourage people from buying or selling "used" diamonds. so instead of mothers passing their diamonds down to their daughter, or to their son to give to his fiancée, men and women are encouraged to purchase brand new diamonds as a symbol of their "eternal" love for one another.

        the result of this marketing campaign is that used or second-hand diamonds have very low resale value. consumers don't want to buy used rings or jewelry. because of the lack of demand for them, De Beers is able to purchase up all of these second-hand diamonds, re-polish and re-set them, and then sell them as brand new diamonds at the artificially inflated prices. so in the end, this intentionally reduction of resale value add huge profits to the cartel's monopoly.

        with games, it's not quite so extreme, but there's still a socialized reluctance to purchase used games. i mean, everyone wants the latest and greatest gaming title. no one even wants to buy a 2-year-old unused game from the bargain bin. except for legacy systems and hardcore gamers, there's very little demand for refurbished games. it's just not even a notion gamers are accustomed to. most people aren't in the habit of shopping for used games the way that people shop for used cars. so in the end, the negative impact this one-time bonus policy might have on resale value won't really make much of an impact on market demand.

        • by Dwedit (232252)

          But didn't Grandmothers end up passing on the diamond rings to their granddaughters?

        • by Travoltus (110240)

          with gaming, it's almost an inelastic demand. if you want a particular game, there's only one publisher. you can't substitute a competing product for it. and all mainstream game publishers pretty much have the same general anti-consumer attitude. so it's not the same as buying an Honda/Toyota instead of a Ford/GM because imports have much higher resale values than domestics. that kind of decision-making process doesn't factor into game purchases. there's also less of a market for used games, and this is due

          • what major retail chain carries used games? i know there are a few popular record stores around here that sell used CDs, DVDs, and vinyls, but even such music stores are few and far between.

            not being able to find a used copy of a particular game doesn't really mean anything. that could be the result of the story simply not having a supply of that title because few owners are reselling it. that could also be the result of the game being inherently rare.

            granted, i live in an upper-middle class suburb, but i'v

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Neoprofin (871029)
              Gamestop\EB\Babbages\Suncoast

              And they are highly profitable. You can buy back a brand new title that's selling for $59.99 for $20 a week after it's released and then sell it to the next consumer for $50. You just made $30 profit for a little bit of overhead and two consumers just got their fix a little bit cheaper. Everyone except the publishers win.

              Legacy titles are a bonus, but the money is all in new releases.
        • Diamonds are very different. The main appeal of diamonds as jewelry is that they are expensive. If a diamond mine is suddenly discovered in Greenland and it has 10 times the supply of the rest of the world combined, and DeBeers didn't manage to get hold of it, the price would plummet and women wouldn't want them in engagement rings.

          But games and DVDs aren't purchased because of status and being in short supply. The resale value of games and DVDs certainly props up the purchase price. I buy and sell DVDs

      • The value of an item also, in part, is due to its resale value.

        I often read that the value of digital data is zero under classical economic theory, as the cost to create new copies is effectively nil. I tend not to agree with that, but the debate is never really resolved.

        Perhaps economic theory hasn't really sorted out how to price digital assets yet. Until we have a solid idea of how to do that, how can we argue about resale value? Especially in a world where we can see pirated, identical versions of a ga

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Artifakt (700173)

          I don't think we are really to zero just yet. I'm even a little piqued at all the people who are arguing that most people will pirate because the goods are effectively free, and free always beats any other price. What I'm seeing is people buying 500 Gb. hard drives to hold that 'free' content, plus commercial disk burning and processing software, tons of blank DVDs, monthly paid Usenet access, and other costs for this 'free' stuff. I'm also seeing people spend a lot of time learning esoteric software just t

      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @05:24AM (#25262317)

        Problem with this is rooted in a basic economic error. The value of an item also, in part, is due to its resale value. The more publishers degrade the resale value the less the item is worth upfront. This is why attempts to outlaw used game sales, or demonize outlets that resale games don't have a leg to stand on. This method of devaluing only the resale value to the secondary market will still have an impact on the upfront price. Games will be worth less to buyers because of a move like this. Therefore, games will sell less than ever. Which will create a vicious cycle because publishers will likely conclude that they need to take even stricter measures against piracy, when the truth is they simply devalued their own product and would see more sales without the restrictions.

        I've said before that EA's making a bad move in forcing their potential customers to look more carefully at what you are and aren't allowed to do with your purchase. Games are impulse purchases. Take away the impulse, and just like you're saying, they'll eat away at their own market. You'd think Nintendo's "it prints money!!11!" successes with the DS and the Wii would have hit that point home already.

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        What proportion of people actually re-sell their games, though? I know I've certainly never bothered. The value of a game to me is the entertainment it provides, full stop, and once I've had that entertainment I don't expect to get any of the money back -- any more than I expect to be able to re-sell my tickets after I've watched a movie, or re-sell my holiday when I get back home.

        • What proportion of people actually re-sell their games, though? I know I've certainly never bothered. The value of a game to me is the entertainment it provides, full stop, and once I've had that entertainment I don't expect to get any of the money back -- any more than I expect to be able to re-sell my tickets after I've watched a movie, or re-sell my holiday when I get back home.

          It's more like reselling your DVD after you've watched a movie, not the tickets. I don't sell many of my games, but I've bought a lot of used games. Sure, there's some used games that are beat up and not worth it, but it's not that difficult to find games in good condition, no scratches, with the instruction book, etc. Since I don't find it especially exciting to pull off the scrink wrap, I choose the cheaper option.

    • So instead of your car being secretly bugged by the manufacturer, the glove compartment simply wont open once you sell?

      I agree, this will prevent car thieves from getting paid as much.
  • by azuredrake (1069906) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:04PM (#25259921)

    Is in the upcoming Gears of War 2 - there will be four maps available for download for multiplayer free on the day the game launches, but only if you buy it new.

    This is the right strategy for publishers to take - add value to incentivize purchase, instead of making your brand new version worse than a used/stolen version.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:12PM (#25259983)

      This is the right strategy for publishers to take - add value to incentivize purchase

      They are not adding value. They are removing value and then adding it back with restrictions designed to devalue the game on the used market.

      This in not the right strategy this is greed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JPLemme (106723)

        By your logic, if a restaurant gives free appetizers to their best customers then they're "removing value" from the meals of all of their other customers. If a casino comps a high roller they're "removing value" from everyone else who visits the casino.

        Rewarding customers who give you money is a better system than punishing all customers regardless. Maybe if the used-game retailers want to share the money they make on used games with the publishers they can come to some sort of a deal so that used-game buye

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @09:22PM (#25260425)

          By your logic, if a restaurant gives free appetizers to their best customers then they're "removing value" from the meals of all of their other customers.

          Food is not resold so its hardly the same.

          If a casino comps a high roller they're "removing value" from everyone else who visits the casino.

          Again, wagers in a casino are not resold.

          It would be more like Ford selling you a car that comes with free wheels as a bonus but prevented you from selling the car with those wheels.

          Maybe if the used-game retailers want to share the money they make on used games with the publishers they can come to some sort of a deal so that used-game buyers get some bonus material, too. But not offering merchandise to people who aren't paying you for it is hardly "greed".

          Thats not a very good idea. Next Ford will want a percentage of the sale price of a used car.

          Rewarding customers who give you money is a better system than punishing all customers regardless.

          Yes the second part is right but the first part is hardly relevant. The game has been paid for, they made a sale. Nobody is not paying for the game. If the games became cheaper as a result of this then it might make a difference. They just want more money. Its pure greed.

          • Everyone's getting all worked up over "free tank of gas with every purchase".

          • It would be more like Ford selling you a car that comes with free wheels as a bonus but prevented you from selling the car with those wheels.

            Considering that the games work without the incentives, this car analogy (argh!) breaks down. Maybe if you had said the car came with a stereo that only responds to the original purchaser's fingerprint or something.

            They just want more money. Its pure greed.

            Well duh. They make money on the original sale, not on the used sale. (Well... actually I think that's questionable if you consider all the game sequels out there, but generally speaking this is probably an okay point to make.) So they want to increase excitement about the game's initial rele

          • GPS data is probably a better car analogy than wheels. Some cars, when you buy them, come with updates to the sat-nav system's mapping data for a year after purchase. This is equivalent to the car company stopping those updates from working if you sell the car.

            I don't really have a problem with it. It means that the game (or car) has a lower resale value. This is a small factor when considering how much I am willing to pay for it, with the largest being the amount of enjoyment I expect to get from it

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          I don't think it is so much the used game market angle that is pissing people off,it is all this "limited activation" crap they have been trying to shovel on us. You want to give us a bonus for buying it new? Then fine,make it like Steam where I can get my stuff back if my PC takes a crap. But of course in all likelihood it'll be "Oh your PC took a crap? Well whip out your CC buddy,because we just screwed you REAL good!" and THAT is the problem.

          And as for "sharing the used game money with the publishers"

        • by WDot (1286728) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @09:45PM (#25260547)
          15 years from now, when people are picking up the "classics" from this generation, they won't get the full experience that people today got because the game may not be being sold new.

          I like this analogy better: It's like you buy an album, and you get a free downloadable track that's a super awesome track. You got it because you bought the album new. Somehow, the RIAA comes up with a magic uncrackable un-analog-recordable DRM that means this bonus track never finds its way to torrent sites. Now 15 years later the original album goes out of print, but it's a bit of a "cult classic." People download the CD from torrent sites or iTunes and enjoy it, but nobody at the label ever bothered to put the "super awesome track" in the iTunes version of the album. Well sure, you have all the tracks from the OFFICIAL album tracklist, but that super awesome free track that everybody raved about 15 years ago is lost in time and space, unless somebody at the label decides to confer the priviledge of hearing that track again to you.

          Until all game distribution goes digital (and even when it does), I believe some of these little extra bits will get lost. Personally I'd prefer it if the game came with a really nice poster or plastic figure or something in the REGULAR version of the game. Not the $100 "Collector's Edition," I mean the $60 regular shmuck's copy. It's a nice incentive for customers who buy it new (who's going to sell it to a used game store along with the plastic figure?), and it doesn't take away from the game experience if you don't.

          If you look at the average anime rack in DVD stores, new releases are packed with toys and art books and soundtracks and all kinds of stuff to convince you to pay $30 for 4 25-minute episodes. That's the way to do it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Gazzonyx (982402)
            Forget the posters and such... just give me a full manual like they used to. I remember when computer games always came with a honkin' big manual that covered every aspect of the game and even gave you some tips. A PDF on a CD doesn't even compare to having a spiral bound book with cheat sheets, stats and even a section in the back for notes. I guess I'm all nostalgic after coming across my old Neverwinter Nights manual the other day; ironically, I lost 1 of the 2 disks (although I found my old receipt w
            • by WDot (1286728)
              Heh, indeed. I remember the Mechwarrior II manual was positively fat and had a title like "Code of the Warrior Caste" to make it seem like a standard-issue guide to cadet pilots. It wasn't just a really detailed manual, it was part of the immersion. Six years old and I was already swearing loyalty to Jade Falcon, vowing to attain the rank of Khan! Plus, it made for good reading while mom and dad dragged me through their shopping trip.

              I purchased Neverwinter Nights Diamond, which seems to have been de
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Maserati (8679)

              Damn you for mentioning RT II, I had Steam open. Now I'm out 5 bucks.

              • Actually, I think you're out 5 bucks and 20 hours of otherwise productive time this week :)

                I didn't know it's on Steam... what's the deal, one time fee of $5? If that's the case, I'll sign up for an account. By my calculations, that's like a good 100 hours or so of very enjoyable gaming for a fiver!
                • by Maserati (8679)

                  A sawbuck for the Platinum edition, or more for bundles. Steam has an appalling variety of games these days.

          • by Neoprofin (871029)
            Sometimes things get lost to the ages.

            How many live performances are out there that no one who wasn't there will ever hear?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TehZorroness (1104427)

          No. There is no sence in selling already-eaten food. There is a market for used games. What game developers aught to be doing is giving their games a longer term value. I still play doom because it has no DRM which prevents me from doing so. (hey, every time I want to play I pirate it, but I had bought and lost/destroyed two copies back in the day so I beleive I am rightfully entitled) There are still all sorts of interesting single player levels being made, and there are all sorts of interesting peopl

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BPPG (1181851)

        I agree, the game industry is becoming more and more unaccomodating to the used and rental game retailers. I could totally see EA or similar releasing games that are effectively demos unless you had bought it brand new. How successful that would be is another story.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by samkass (174571)

        This in not the right strategy this is greed.

        It's neither. It's business. If something costs too much to sustain it given the game turnover and the fact that the publishers only make money on the original sale, they have to find some other way to get paid for it. Subscription could work, but it's a hassle and most people won't subscribe to more than a few services. This seems like a pretty reasonable way to be compensated for valuable content to me.

      • It's a positive reinforcement for the behaviour they want to drive. It won't satisfy everyone, but it's a lot better than more punitive DRM as a means of driving behaviour.

        Step back a moment: if you were a game developer who receives money only from first sales of your games, how would you try to drive those numbers up for a game about to be released?

      • by cliffski (65094)

        Pretty much any technique designed to make money, when discussed on slashdot is equated to 'GREED'.
        This is bullshit.
        maybe next time you are in a performance review asking for a raise, your boss should say "this is just greed isn't it bob?"

        Companies try to make money. news at 11.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As long as they don't start making the one time bonuses something important to the main game, like downloadable endings or downloadable entire second half of the game.

    • by narcberry (1328009) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:33PM (#25260139) Journal

      What good are multiplayer maps that other players don't have access to? Isn't the point to play with others?

  • EA as usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:06PM (#25259933) Journal
    So consumers get jerked around when they rent a game from EA? That's been true for a long time, EA pretty much sucks when it comes to respecting the customer. Don't buy EA games, even under the Maxis title. If you do, then expect to be treated like a chump.
  • by Quila (201335) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:13PM (#25259989)

    An option to buy the extra content if you are a second-hand owner would be nice. They get the money, the buyer gets the content, everybody's happy.

    Doing that would show an honest monetary interest in the extra content rather than a plain desire to kill the secondary market.

    • by JPLemme (106723)

      Fair, reasonable, and seemingly easy to implement. I wonder how the content-owners would manage to f**k it up if they tried it.

    • by alexmogil (442209)

      Apparently EA is allowing you to buy the content for $20 for NBA Live. This is a highly touted feature of the game and is most useful at the beginning of a season. If the original owner sells the game back to Gamestop soon after release, Gamestop is going to charge $54.99 for it. So the full version of the game is now $74.99.

      What bothers me most about this is eBay sellers. These people can open boxes and take codes and sell the games as new. Additionally some poor sucker who buys a game from an eBay seller

    • by iocat (572367)
      That would be nice, which is why EA is offering it. This EA thing and the Rock Band thing are ways to give spiffs to the first purchaser, in an effort to get more people to be first purchasers, similar to the way Infocom used to package in feelies to encourage people to purchase thier easily pirated games.

      Bitching about this seems a lot like complaining that a used car doesn't come with the free key fobs, or the new car smell.

      • by Quila (201335)

        Copyright holders have been trying to destroy the secondary market for decades. They've used various tactics, but if that is the goal this one is the most benign tactic I've seen.

        Like I said, if a secondary market purchaser can buy the extras I'll be convinced this is not about destroying the secondary market. If not, I can see the slippery slope where eventually the game will be practically useless to the secondary market purchaser as most of the game is now for primary market buyers only. In the end you g

  • by telchine (719345) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:14PM (#25259999)

    This is interesting. My first thought for this is that if I've purchased a game second hand, and by some defectivebydesign defect, I can't access the bonus content, I'll get a pirate copy of that content. Surely by buying something second hand, I've paid for the same rights as that bestowed on the previous owner, so would a judge back me?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know. What major publishing/media company do you own? The answer generally seems to depend on such trivial things.

    • If you didn't torrent it, the judge would almost certainly back you. It's called the right of first sale - basically, if you buy a copy of a copyrighted work, the holder loses all say as to who or how you can sell that.

      The game companies, of course, are trying to have their cake and eat it. They claim that the 'sale' was in fact a license, but that this license conferrs none of the benefits of a license like the ethereal nature of the purchase making the actual media cheap/free, or re-downloading your 'lice

    • I'm not sure why you argue that if you buy something second hand you've paid for the same rights as if you bought it first hand.

      Suppose I sold person A car, and threw in a year's worth of free carwashes. You come along and buy the car from Person A, and claim your one year of free car-washes.

      I made no agreement with you for provision of car washes. You may have bought the car, but unless the agreement I made with A specifically mentions the fact that A can transfer his entitlement to those services or that

  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:17PM (#25260025)

    I know the desire to promote the sales of their products but I get the feeling this sort of promo that applies only to the original purchaser of the game may run afoul of the First Sale doctrine [wikipedia.org] of the US copyright law.

    I personally like "physical" promo bonuses, such as a free copy of another (older) game...or a limited edition widget/whachamacallits, etc.
    Or even a game poster.

  • This makes me think of textbooks that come with CD's and online help, so that it encourages people to buy the book new(for like $150), also international editions usually have the problem numbers messed up and is a slight pain for Americans who buy them. Its a money grabbing move, but its much much better than DRM or anything like that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by compro01 (777531)

      If you think they're going to get rid of DRM in favour of this, I've got a bridge to sell you. Betting odds say we'll have both DRM and this.

      • If you think they're going to get rid of DRM in favour of this, I've got a bridge to sell you. Betting odds say we'll have both DRM and this.

        Though I agree, I have to say I'm quite impressed with the backlash over Spore. Over 2,500 people went to the Amazon review of the game and give it a 1-star rating complaining about their restrictions. True, EA's concessions were small, but man, I've never seen a mobilization like that with video games. I'm curious to see what'll happen if their potential customers continue to fight back like that. If the party gets big enough, who knows, maybe eventually DRM won't be part of gaming anymore.

        Well, I can

    • Completely off-topic, but do lecturers are reputable universities in the USA really set problems from their textbooks, rather than writing their own? Since the publisher will sell the answers cheaply and they are pretty easy to pirate, this seems particularly stupid (as well as lazy). Or are they unassessed, in which case does it really matter if they're different?
  • I wonder if the idea of 100 people legally passing the game around after each person beats it keeps them from sleeping at night...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it's tied to one console with DRM and you can't bring it to a friend's house, it takes away a lot of the fun of the game. It also takes away a lot of the value if I can't sell it used, if I don't like the game it's a lot harder for me to get rid of it because my friends would rather buy the one with the bonus content if they like it, and it's probably more of a ripoff for me if I take it to a used game store. I'd rather just have the content on the disc.
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:12AM (#25261307)
    It is kind of funny to me that with our tech prowess we have somehow figured out a way to create products that will be lost to the sands of time long before they become useless. I can still enjoy my 80's NES games. What about my Gears of War 2 "bonus" maps? Or my DRMed music tracks? Nope those will be gone in 10 years. This is not progression folks! In 500 years our ancestors will have quite a job cut out for them figuring out how we ticked, based solely on the greed of some companies. Art will be lost in a way that is inexcusable in our modern world. Fuck you greedy bastards.
    • by cliffski (65094)

      how dare companies try to make money!
      its not the mortgage sellers that were greedy, nosiree, those bastards who made games are the worst excesses of modern evil surely!!!!111

      • how dare companies try to make money!
        its not the mortgage sellers that were greedy, nosiree, those bastards who made games are the worst excesses of modern evil surely!!!!111
        --
        Try some DRM-free indie games for the PC and Mac that make you think: http://www.positech.co.uk/ [positech.co.uk]

        I find it mildly amusing that you're fighting the 'greed' term with your sig advertising your DRM-free games appearing right below it. As if it'd be a selling point otherwise. ;)

  • The two examples given are totally different. NBA Live gives you essentially a free subscription-based service, which will create continued overheads for them into the future.
    This is different from Rock Band 2, where the incentive could easily have been included with the game, or on a supplemental disc.

    The idea behind NBA Live's incentive will work better too. To 'crack' those features would require regular work to update the rosters and release patches.

    The idea of one time codes also raises the one-time-in

  • Seriously, if Publishers want no used games sold in place of new ones, they could simply insist that they sell them only with distributors of new games. If they all did this, Gamestop / EB would have to make the choice to stop acting like crummy pawnshops.

    Sooner or later it won't matter anyway, digital distribution and all. Frankly, as a customer, I'm tired of lame selection of new games on the shelf while the used shelves are full of overpriced resales.

  • This is the same garbage that textbook publishers have foisted on college students.

    At first, it was a code that let you onto a website with homework help and hints.

    Then, they made it really super easy for professors to give you homework via their site (which is only accessible via the one-time code, or $20-$40). By super easy, I mean it's the same problems as in the book, but the computer grades your answers. They then email a list of grades to your professor.

    They'll surely do the same thing with video game

  • I'm sorry -- justify it all you like. We all have bills to pay.

    But to say this wasn't financially motivated is a baldfaced lie.

    And to say it "isn't greed" is stupid, on top of that -- because the first time you say that, people will make the connection, and think "You know what? Those asshats really are greedy! I never thought of it that way before!"

    • by cliffski (65094)

      so financially motivated == greed?

      Wow.

      So when you go to work each day, you are just being greedy right?

  • "It isn't greed at all."

    Thou doth protest too much...........

  • Honestly, this really just seems like an extension of micro-transaction systems we're already seeing cropping up in the industry. While it might be an immediate annoyance to some, it would not surprise me if much of this exclusive content is eventually made available to anyone who wants it six months down the road.

    In the meanwhile, there are other options publishers could pursue if they wanted to limit the resale of new titles. One in particular is to have the publisher themselves offer to buy the game back

  • This is just a test case to see if people will accept it, before they require this one-time code to be entered and then lock the game to that specific console.

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