I have recently become more and more aware of the ‘new’ trend in games that means that the player is expected to pay more money for specific features. I say that this is new, but in reality the basic idea of it has been around for a long time, in the form of DLC etc. Now it seems that it is going further into a more worrying area for the game player, I’d say it was a similar place to the dreaded spike pit of doom!
Before I seemed to ignore the idea of DLC, as within the games I play it isn’t exactly thrust into your face, but as I sat down a few months ago to begin playing Rage, a FPS, I was posed with a rather unexpected situation. Practically 20/30 minutes into the game on my way to my first mission, I met an NPC stationed under an abandoned highway. Naturally the inquisitive side of me sought to investigate why there was a man out in the open in Ghost Territory. He gave me the general chit-chat, he has had to stop going into the sewers as it is too dangerous, so he is stuck up on the top. After my chat, I was ready, prepared for what I thought was a side quest, I go over, hit x on the sewer’s door, and instead of a loading screen, I see a box. A box that tells me that I need to purchase some content, talk about in-game advertising!
The above is only one example of how games are changing at the moment. It is no new fact that there is a considerably higher amount of in-game advertising, Rage is but one example. What worries me as a gamer is that DLC and ‘premium’ content is becoming more prominent in games. Both Batman: Arkham City and Dragon Age 2 continually bring up ‘premium’ content when you start-up the game, which no doubt gets very irritating having to click ‘no, I don’t want to purchase the Catwomen DLC, I told you this yesterday!’.
My third and final point on this as a players perspective, is with the issue of Resistance 3. It features online multiplayer that can only be accessed by using a single use redeemable code. This act locks off all of the online content of the game unless you purchase the code, which is pretty strange for a game that contests itself alongside the big FPS. In most of the blockbuster games, they limit the campaign’s playing time to subsidise it with the masses of online content, so surely locking this off from players who have purchased a used version of the game for whichever price is a bit unreasonable? It is the companies way of clamping down on the pre-owned game trade. This is also in development within the Xbox 720(new console) as they are supposedly trying to make it so it won’t play used games.
On the other side, as someone who aims to get into this industry, I do somewhat agree with it. I think that games have become a platform in which there are so many different areas that the companies see it fit to charge the player for more. Where this is going to go in the future I don’t know but at the moment games companies are clamping down on the used game trade. Which in terms of creative licence is perfectly reasonable; the artists and creatives who develop these games should no doubt have a solid copyright on their work. In the film industry, torrents and copies are illegal, but are used games the same as these?