Video Game Industry: Ripping off Customers Since 2010


Imagine this: you buy a used DVD to save a little money, you get to the special features, but you later find out the special features are locked out by a code that came with the game when it was bought new, and that you have to pay ten dollars to get a new code. Sounds like a big rip off doesn’t? Well that’s what the video game industry is doing now. Several companies have implemented a new thing called “online pass”, which requires players to enter a onetime registration code to access the game’s multiplayer mode. That means if you lend the game to a friend or if someone in your family wants to play it on a different profile, they have to buy a new code.

The video game industry response to this is that used game sales prevent them from making a profit, but what this really is about is just making an extra buck at the expense of the customer. Who are the geniuses behind this? EA games- the creators of popular games such as Battlefield and Dead Space. But are used games really hurting sales? The first Dead Space game sold 1.4 million copies and this was before online pass. In 2009 before online pass, EA’s profits totaled 1.15 billion dollars. So it’s plainly obvious that used game sales are not hurting the industry. Sadly EA isn’t the only company that’s doing this. THQ, Ubisoft, Id software, Warner Brothers, and Sony have also started doing this as well.

Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon defended the practice . I’d just like to ask Boon why he feels the need to punish people who are just trying to save some money. The Mortal Kombat series made Boon a very rich man. What about gamers who want to replace lost, stolen, or broken games– should they have to pay another ten dollars when they bought the game new in the first place and simply want to replace a broken or lost game?

Unfortunately this has also been extended to single player games as well. Last year’s Rage and Batman: Arkham City locked out single player content using online pass. I think this video game store summed it up perfectly right here in this video.

Online pass isn’t the only scam by the video game industry. Now certain companies are charging subscription fees for services that really don’t do much. Two examples of this are EA’s season pass on EA Sports and Activision’s “Call of Duty Elite”. What are these services exactly? Well if you fork over 50 bucks you can get free or reduced downloadable content (DLC). The problem with this is that you would have to buy five or six DLC packs for this cost to even out. Finally, another questionable practice is on disc and day one DLC. I just want to ask any game company executive why I should pay for something that is already on the disc? How is that fair? If the DLC was finished by the time the game was done why wasn’t it included with the game? In the end this is only going to get worse if we don’t stand up and do something, Muzz, the owner of L1 games, summed it up perfectly right here on the state of the industry.


One thought on “Video Game Industry: Ripping off Customers Since 2010”

  1. When you buy a video game you never ‘own’ it. You’re just purchasing the right to play it. Read the service agreement and you’ll see you’re really renting the software and have no right to the game. It’s been this way forever. I don’t see anything wrong with EA’s policy. It costs money to keep a game running online, especially in the case of patches (which cost the developer money in order to get them out to the consumer) therefore I think they deserve $15 from someone who buys a used copy. Otherwise they get nothing for their effort.

    Furthermore, Call of Duty Elite is certainly worth it for anyone who plays Call of Duty year round. These people will have to buy the DLC anyway to keep up with their friends, so why not save a few bucks and get some bonus content as well?

    As for day one DLC, consider this. You go to the store to buy an album and see the regular version and the ‘deluxe version’ with 4 or 5 additional songs. Those songs were ‘finished’ on day one, why aren’t they included in the regular version? It’s because they consider those songs a bonus for hardcore fans. The average person won’t really miss out by not having the extra content, but the dedicated fan wil benefit from it. Day one DLC isn’t for everyone, it’s for the dedicated fan who wants something extra that isn’t necessarily integral to the game’s experience.

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