Expensive Video Games And When We Don’t Get What We Pay For
The concept of downloadable content and digital era of gaming seemed nice not too long ago. The idea of being able to purchase and download your games online, not to mention get regular updates when they released, was a concept that many people were thankful for. Heck, even preordering became something more common than before, and loads of dedicated gamers were switching to the more affordable, easier method of legally purchasing games.
However, developers have, in a way of odd speech, sort of selfishly exploited the technological luxury at hand. $60 was never too cheap for a game, but we eagerly spent it because it did offer a $60 experience, and the ever-hard working support staff was always there to lend a hand to those facing troubles. Additionally, updates were something we’d expect to receive regularly, and subconsciously we knew that it was regular appreciation for the consumers that was being shown by the developers.
Now, things are different. We buy a $60 game and make a gamble. In fact, publishers have created a strategic method of sapping the money off the consumers. This is evident in DLC packs, which are almost being spammed in the industry by publishers.
How does the strategy work? Developers create a half-baked game and sell it for $60 dollars, after lots of over-advertising and over-marketing to attract adequate attention. Once that bit is done, DLC packs are released, and the naturally unsatisfied consumer is automatically inclined to buy them, otherwise he/she doesn’t even get a fraction of the total experience.
So eventually we end up spending more than what we are getting, and developers are getting much, much more than they deserve. The gaming industry has, more or less, turned into a leaching business model, with money being the primary focus, and the experience and quality being secondary.
Even reliable supports have become crippled. After a few searches on the internet a couple of weeks ago, I came across a hilarious yet sad complaint of an EA Origins member which was seeking help for a certain problem he/she was facing with a game. The female support staff answered with ‘asdasdf’ and then left the support chat, leaving the poor help-seeker baffled.
Another viable source that I have been acquainted to, directly confronted a very, very well-known developing company, regarding concerns about lack of support for an immensely popular multiplayer game. The company straight forwardly answered that it did not care for the older games, regardless of their popularity, and their primary concern was to develop further games and acquire a leading position in the gaming market.
Worst of all, for both gamers and developers/publishers alike, is putting the gamers in doubt about what exactly the motives of the games are. Are gamers no longer valuable customers for the companies, but mere revenue streams whose sole purpose is to be a source from which to drain money? Not to sound blasphemous, but it is a famous saying, particularly among business-folks, that ‘customer is god’. It certainly doesn’t feel that way – not anymore at least.
I suppose awareness of the situation is the first step, and the second would be to make the companies become aware of our awareness of their dehumanizing strategy. It is at times like these when we appreciate indie games so much, for their simplicity and desire to quench the thirst of gamers, not to mention appreciation for those underrated yet bang-for-buck games such as Child of Eden and Rock Band.