Taking a note from EA, THQ will now be locking online play for their upcoming (now) yearly edition of their UFC series. Unlike EA, online play will only be $5 for used or rental customers, but apparently does not offer a free seven day “trial” inside the package.
The sheer audacity of these corporate giants to milk gamers for all their worth is ridiculous, and of course, people will pay it. The whining and complaining over used game sales is tiresome and baseless. Do book companies neuter novels which are freely rented out at public libraries? Do movie studios cut part of the film out for Netflix and brick & mortar stores? No, they don’t, because they see the value. Without libraries, book publishers lose revenue from the copies sold. Without Netflix or rental stores, movie companies lose those sales.
One could make the analogy of the movie studios pushing downloadable content, and of course, that is purely in the favor of the corporations, not the consumer. The movie studios want all of the profits, unwilling to share sales of a physical medium with anyone. That is what the gaming industry is beginning to do, and it is little steps like charging $5 or $10 for online play that will get them there.
Xbox Live users already pay for online service. Why are they being charged more? Why is Microsoft so lenient about their own service being degraded by third parties? Why is Gamestop okay with this? Their market share is being eroded, and they must have some interest.
Game companies charge $60 for their product new, a corner they have backed themselves into due to bloated budgets while pushing new technology. Those of us who rent or purchase used still support the industry, something most people have been led to believe otherwise. We keep those middle man companies in business, letting them purchase new product with our funds. In certain cases, those used trade-in are turned into new purchases, and rentals the same way.
The utterly absurd PR campaigns being launched at gamers is a move to increase profits. Companies losing money are doing so with mediocre product that (gasp!) is not worth $60. This is an industry that desperately needs to reinvent the way it handles cash flow, because used sales should not be the hindrance they are, or else book publishers, movie studios, and car dealerships would not be with us anymore either.