Monday, November 10, 2008

More evil plans. . .

Sorry for three Orwellian posts in a row, but this scary stuff is all around. This one from Kotaku is just as evil but far more trivial in its application:
Downloadable content as a weapon against second-hand resales is, nothing new, but Epic's Mike Capps has heard other ideas for how it can be used with devastating effect. If you hated the idea of DLC weapons in Bad Company, well, you're really going to hate this.

“I’ve talked to some developers who are saying ‘If you want to fight the final boss you go online and pay USD 20, but if you bought the retail version you got it for free’. We don’t make any money when someone rents it, and we don’t make any money when someone buys it used - way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it.”

Any such game would ship as an incomplete copy, forcing you to download a crucial part of the experience online, essentially screwing over anybody who doesn't buy a new copy. So why not sell a record that forces you to give a license code and download the last four tracks online? Why not sell a textbook whose glossary is restricted to an approved download?

Rather than reiterate my old arguments I'll just link them here and summarize my main point, not that I know anything:
Whaddya think? It seems to me that the give-and-take of the market takes care of any issues that secondhand sales create. For example, if Halo was only worth $30 to a consumer but retails for $50, then that individual might buy it and later resell it after getting their money's worth of playtime. The buyer understands that the game is a used copy and pays less than they might for one from the factory. It's a central principle of capitalism.And do I have to mention that every used copy that somebody buys creates one less used copy, forcing somebody who might have bought a used copy to buy the game new?

But that's not even the main issue at hand: Mere "lost sales" (of new products) cannot be equivocated with theft or ripping off creators. Whenever an individual buys something other than Halo, they're spending money that might have been given to Bungie's developers. That doesn't mean that anything needs to change. Every time something perfectly natural happens that's good for consumers but less-than-optimal for creators and publishers of material, industry heads bitch and whine about lost profits. Who cares? Why must the advantage fall by default to suppliers and not to consumers? Maximizing profits by butting into the rights of others is inexcusable. I hope that for every higher-up who sweats over every lost opportunity there's somebody who respects consumer rights.

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