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innocuousremark avatar 10:06 AM on 10.22.2011  (server time)
Online Passes: Jim Sterling Doesn't Get It

I'm going to get right to the point: video game developers owe us nothing.

The word "capitalism" is getting used a lot in this conversation, often by people who, in its use, are revealing their ignorance of its meaning. Whenever one makes a purchase in a capitalist system, a voluntary agreement is being made. One party has something to offer, so does the other, an exchange is made, and each one walks away with something worth more to them (at the point of sale) than they gave up. That's how it works.

If you buy a game for $60, then complain that it's not worth $60 because of an online pass, then you are a hypocrite. When you paid the $60, you were stating in unclear terms that you thought it was worth it. You can regret the decision later, sure. But not retroactively.

Are online passes "bad for the industry?" Maybe; I'm not sure what that means exactly. Will they make games -which would otherwise be worthwhile- into purchases that aren't worth it? Definitely, for some people. Is anyone moved by complaints by industry giants about needing to pay for this or that with extra fees? Not many, I think. But all of this is totally irrelevant.

They've got something to offer, and we can take it or leave it. We can take it and say it was a stretch. We can leave it and complain the product was ruined by fees. What we can't do without being complete assholes is demand a product from an industry which owes us nothing, and take a self-righteous tone as we insolently whine when that exact product isn't delivered to us just how we like it for the price we require.

I can hear some of you saying it now: "but they owe us their existence!" No. We've all made purchases, and those exchanges are complete. It's over. They owed us the games we bought, and we got them. You aren't buying a vested interest in the future of the gaming industry when you buy a game. Those are called stocks, and when Jim complains about online passes ruining the industry, he sounds more like a stockholder should than a gamer should.

Jim, you're a smart guy, and a great writer and speaker. But you don't get it.

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