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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

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

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 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?

  • by BPPG ( 1181851 ) <> on Saturday October 04, 2008 @08:45PM (#25260229)

    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.

  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @09:34PM (#25260479)

    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 get a useless stub of a game, practically just a demo, when you buy, the rest unlocked only for the initial purchaser.

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @10:13PM (#25260669)

    in that case I'd like my Murky please.

  • by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott DOT lovenberg AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 04, 2008 @10:32PM (#25260783)
    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 with the manual) so I can't play it.

    I just found out that they had a Linux version that you could download and integrate your Windows versions' data files. Perhaps it's better to be nostalgic about it than hunt down a copy and realize that it wasn't as good as I remember it being. Then again, I thought the same thing about Railroad Tycoon II and happened to hunt down a copy... it was every bit as good as I remembered it being.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?