In the past few years, video game companies have introduced several measures to combat piracy and used game sales. They have stated that these are their biggest obstacles in the marketplace, and now they are taking some dramatic steps to combat them. However, many consumers are frustrated by these (myself included)!
Here are a few measures that video game companies now implement to battle illegal downloading and used game sales:
Digital Download Games: In addition to being offered in the traditional disc format, some games are offered as digital downloads as well. This helps combat both piracy and used game sales, but download-only games have ZERO resale value! I don’t know about you, but this is a major consideration for me when I buy a game. Download-only games can’t be traded in toward the purchase of newer games.
Passwords to Play Online that Cost $10 if You Did Not Purchase the Game New: While this may not seem that unfair upon first glance, it’s confusing to consumers. Some companies charge used-game buyers $10 just for a code to play online. However, gamers who bought the game new have either been confused by the process of entering lengthy codes OR have not seen the code at all and ended up spending extra money just to connect to a game!
Requiring a Constant Internet Connection to Play Your Game: Some game companies require that to play their computer games – even offline – you must have your computer connected to the internet and their servers at all times to authenticate your game. The problem? Servers go down! Internet connections fail! Any connection issues leave a gamer with an unusable $50+ game.
These game companies have blamed piracy and used game sales for the high costs of their games. Well, if they’re introducing all these measures that inconvenience consumers, and sometimes lessen the value of their products, then shouldn’t the games cost less? In the case of digital download games, there is no packaging, disc printing, piracy concerns, or shipping costs to incur. Therefore, there is absolutely NO reason that they can’t lower the price a bit.
There HAS to be a better way to fight piracy than to make games not work at all. No one who legally purchases games should have to deal with these issues. One alternative I’ve seen proposed is that if a game can’t be authenticated (just like your music in iTunes) then there would just be regular 1-2 minute un-skippable ads that the user would have to sit through. Another idea is a cap to the amount of time per hour an un-authenticated game can be played. Inconvenient sure, but it’s a far cry from rendering the expensive game unusable!
And why are video game companies fighting used games sales to begin with? Do they not realize a lot of people get the money to buy their NEW game by selling or trading in used games? Do they not realize that maybe someone who tried their game used (because it was cheap) will love it and go buy the next one at full price on release day?
What do YOU think – does it seem like video game companies are introducing poor business strategies with these restrictions?