Microsoft’s European Director of Xbox and Entertainment, Stephen McGill, has expressed a belief that we’ll see a sales increase in copies of Halo: ODST right around the time of the May 3rd beta launch for Halo: Reach. That would, of course, be down to the pack-in code supplied with new copies of ODST which allows access into said Reach beta. This probably surprises nobody, as I’m sure we all know that guy who would really like to play Reach but only rented ODST.
The whole thing makes me uncomfortable, if I can be honest for a moment. I can see the desire for and ease of creating brand loyalty to a product by supplying access to portions of a future product for customers who choose to buy new at retail. At the same time — no slight towards the Halo franchise, which I admire but choose not to play — promotions like these only serve to remind me that the entire industry is driven by sequels and derivative products, which makes the kid in me who grew up fascinated and full of wonder die a little bit.
It also reminds me of how the baby boomers mortgaged (are now defaulting on) my generation’s future. But that’s just me being cranky at old, rich people again.