I think it's time we have a good long talk about the gaming industry's problems as a whole and the worst pitfalls it's given consumers over the past few years. Let's agree right now, that this isn't a direct attack on any one publisher or developer, although, I will be using some as an example. Some of these publishers/developers have been doing these things (listed below) more than others, but who's screwing who more isn't the point of this blog. What is the point is that the gaming industry has been doing more and more things to try and bilk money out of consumers. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Developers and Publishers should get full pay for full work, but beyond that is a bit shady.
South Park put it best when promoting the Stick of Truth. "You know what you get from preorders? A big fat dick in your face." Your basically paying money for something that isn't finished yet. Without reviews, you can not know if the game you've just paid for is any good and are giving full faith to the developers skills that the game will be an enjoyable one. Preorders often entice the consumer to buy with preorder exclusives that usually get released 3 to 6 months after the game is released. Now... Usually exclusive (in this case) means that it won't get released unless you buy the preorder, but this is rarely the case as Developers will sell these AFTER the hype has died down in 3 to 6 months.
I'd say Preorders had a purpose a long time ago, when SNES JRPG giants such as Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Ogre Battle, Breath of Fire, ect. Were released and it was hard to get a copy from the first shipment unless you preordered. Ogre Battle, alone was impossible to find after it's initial release. Now, they're used to trick consumers into buying something that has yet to be finished and properly reviewed. The only way Preorders are acceptable, is that you were going to buy the game at launch, and you really wanted the cosmetic treat that the Dev's were 'exclusively' going to give out 3 months before anyone else.
Another thing plaguing the industry, Early Access. Which is okay if you want to support the developer, BUT IS NOT OKAY FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT. Why, because the game isn't finished, it may never be finished, and it bypasses the fact that it may be crap by simply stating, that it's not finished yet. Reviewers find it impossible to review Early Access because, if a game isn't completed, it can't be reviewed properly unless it's in a final form. The main problem is that it's possible to never complete a title in Early Access, there is no 'end date'. The developers can take as much time as they need, apparently, (and I just looked this one up) infinity is a very long time.
The game 'Towns' is a prime example of what can go wrong if you never finish a product and you've already paid for it. The game is no longer being developed, those that bought the game are left with an unfinished mess which they wasted money on. Early Access is a way for Developers to gain quick cash during development, that's all it is. Do yourself a favor and wait for it to release.
MMO Beta Cash Shops
Personal favorite one, I really hate this. If your MMO isn't finished than why is there a cash shop? ITS NOT FINISHED YET, DONT FUDGING CHARGE PEOPLE UNTIL IT IS! At that point, if you have a cash shop open, then it's no longer beta. Think of it as a temporary exclusive, early access game. These TEEAG's, as I like to call them, (not really) allow a select number of individuals to play their game before release. It's not beta, don't call it beta, not when your charging people in a cash shop.
My problem is with the latest culprit of this crime, Star Citizen. I have no problem with the game itself, but sololy with pre-kickstarter reward alpha. If you have a cash shop, and you have 50 million dollars that you've already acquired, and you still need more cash, than get a damn publisher. If you have a publisher already, and you have 50 million in start up cash, than you don't need more money, because the publisher will give you what you need at that point.
Publishers! YES, I SAID PUBLISHERS!!!
Day one DLC, always online DRM, dumbing down graphics for a PC version so the console version looks better, ect. The list goes on, these are mearly a few things Publishers do to screw the consumer to gain either security, or money. I can't stand it, and fortunately few of us put up with it. The fight with Publishers (Notably EA) and consumers has been waging since they directly screw with the consumer, where as the one's I've listed before are indirect and are optional to the consumer.
DLC in general is grievously atrocious in that it forces consumers to pay installments for the full game. You could argue that the developers just didn't have enough time and added these late. That's all well and fine, but then why didn't they charge me one lump some instead of dolling it out over 5 to 15 installments over the course of a year? What ever happened to the classic expansion pack where you got everything in one pack, they charged $20 to $30 for, and everyone was happy? Now it's in 5 to 15 installments and they charge anywhere from $10 to $30 per DLC. Pain in my A$$!
I've merely scratched the surface of why all of these are bad for the consumer, but fortunately, most, are optional. Which means we have the power to make them stop if we just don't buy into the Early Access, Preorders, or the MMO Beta Cash Shops. We just don't give in, we wait, we be patient until the game is released, and reviews published. Granted, I don't demand or even expect any or all to do this, as this is simply my two cents, which is what it's worth, two cents.
LOOK WHO CAME: