Skylanders tech is the second coming of on-disc DLC

The action figure features of new Spyro and Rayman games are charging people for content they've already purchased without offering anything new in return.

Last week, a video of Rayman Legends leaked onto the Internet, showing off how the sequel to Rayman Origins would use the Wii U's tablet controller for some platform-exclusive content. The big new feature for the game on Nintendo's new system is near-field communications (NFC) support, which basically translates to "that thing in Skylanders that lets players put their toys in the game," or as I like to call it, "a completely unnecessary novelty that will only be exploited to terrible ends and should turn gamers' stomachs."

Skylanders toys are like a 108Kb unlock key that can be hoarded by former Beanie Babies speculators.

The last chunk of the Rayman Legends trailer (which Ubisoft is calling "a purely internal demonstrative video") is dedicated to showing off the Wii U controller's NFC capabilities in action. When a couple playing Rayman Legends find themselves in trouble, one of them pulls out a toy heart and places it on the Wii U tablet screen. At that point, real hearts begin to fall in the gameworld, providing a health boost to the beleaguered players. In another example, a boy places one of Ubisoft's Rabbids on the controller, and the level is suddenly overrun with the obnoxious chattering creatures. Finally, the boy reaches for a figure of Ezio from the Assassin's Creed series, and the trailer ends.

I get why people might be excited about this. It's an interesting application of new technology. It's something that makes you say, "I've never seen that before," and, "I would have loved that when I was a kid!" It's another baby step toward the real world directly interacting with the virtual worlds of our entertainment. So I get the perception of this as a cool thing. What I don't get is why there's not more anger over how this commoditizes the game experience without offering more in return to the gamer.

Functionally, there's very little difference between Skylanders-like NFC functionality and on-disc downloadable content, an issue that evokes voluminous vitriol from gamers. In both cases, users are spending money above and beyond the purchase price of the game in order to get access to something that is already included on the original disc. The only difference is that gamers are being made to buy an actual physical product. That means each figure is subject to scarcity, so you can't even rely on being able to purchase the content you want without having to go online and drop a small fortune on eBay.

Having had many collections in my lifetime (games, DVDs, comics, journalism-themed action figures), I can understand the appeal of hunting for these tangible things and gathering them together. But gamers can already do this. There's no shortage of action figures for gaming franchises, and chances are they already exist for your favorite series.

"NFC is another innovation introduced to games not because it makes the experience better, but because it is easy for publishers to monetize."

And it's not like NFC in its current state is really opening much in the way of gameplay possibilities. The game basically just knows if the toy is present or not, so each toy acts as little more than an unlock key and tiny memory card to track things like character progress. It isn't as if the toys' placement and poses are being detected with such accuracy that they could be used to add strategic depth to a game (although it's fun to imagine a tactics-focused Warhammer based around the rules of the actual tabletop game). Like downloadable content and microtransactions, NFC is another innovation introduced to games not because it makes the experience better, but because it is easy for publishers to monetize.

There are some positive uses to NFC technology for gamers, but they would seem to fall more into the realm of convenience. The Wii U's NFC tech might help Nintendo finally clear some of the online interface hurdles it has faced. Any gamer with an NFC-compatible smartphone could store credit card information on it and then simply tap the phone to the Wii U's controller in order to make purchases at the system's online storefront. Alternatively, NFC could greatly simplify the process of binding new controllers and accessories to the Wii U (touch them to the controller and they'll bind automatically). However, these uses don't actually make the game experience itself any better.

Ultimately, schemes like those of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, the Wii U version of Rayman Legends, and the seemingly inevitable Pokemon NFC game are bad for games, and bad for gamers. NFC toys will only push developers further down the path of designing games not to maximize the quality of the user experience, but to maximize profit. Whatever messages developers might attempt to convey with these games, they will be tough to hear over the underlying motto, "He who dies with the most toys, wins."

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190 comments
onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

id imagine nobody is making a fuss about it because its embarrassing to all parties involved and seems like another poor attempt to exploit a child's lack of judgment and a parent's lack of parenting. if this actually does end up making them a lot of money... well, then the business probably isnt the problem. if this does become a serious thing that gets put in a bunch of AAA games, then there really is nothing we can do. it would take a real economic depression that leaves millions poor and thousands starving before humanity remembers the value of things at that point.

 

so, any nietzschean supervillians out there, get cracking!

Deinbeck
Deinbeck

Dude, paying for a stupid figurine in some crappy collector focused game beats the hell out of paying for a goddamn map pack in an FPS that gets "sequeled" every 2 years.  DLC, what a scam.

Scholar_Of_Time
Scholar_Of_Time

this news...isn't really worth taking seriously anymore...

-Nintendude-
-Nintendude-

This is just another scheme to squeeze more money out of parents. Move along, nothing new to see here.I would only be pissed off if they ruin previously mentioned Pokémon for me with this figure stuff developed for kids.

SLillie
SLillie

The Skylanders NFC allows for cross platform play. I have an Xbox and my girlfriend has an Xbox. Skylanders is a game we can play together no matter where we are. Thats something that makes my gaming experience better.

DaBrainz
DaBrainz

Author takes this too seriously.  Skylanders are for little kids and my kids love it. 

innocent69
innocent69

@Spahettificator our comments got burned in the mass fire :(

CrashOV
CrashOV

I do find the concept interesting. but sadly in execution this is really just a milking process for kids who wanna collect them all. Now if they sold the whole things in 1 box as a full game then I could understand. But these things are how the gaming industry want to destroy gaming. I remember lots of people saying " I'm not paying monthly to play a game I already bought." and yet that has become one of the leading standards now. together with microtransactions and so forth.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

This is just bullsh1t if you ask me,there's no reason for these figures and other objects they will no doubt be releasing,for instance I can fully see publishers putting out figures for weapons,armor and all types of in game goodies just to make that extra buck off hardcore players who need to have everything.

 

This is not a road we wanna go down,do you really wanna have to buy cheap little figures of guns,swords,armor,houses,pets and other in game models just so you feel like you have a full game.

pqwoei
pqwoei

Kinda useless concept if you ask me

otanikun
otanikun

It should be illegal period.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

What the heck happened to all the comments?!

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@ rasputin177 I take it you aren't old enough to understand what it's like to be married and have a kid. Let me warn you now; no matter how much something costs, it's still just a potential toy to a kid, so you might as well get used to it.

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

lets see, western gaming companies produces DLC, capcom is famous for DLC crap for their SF series, square-enix keep releasing DLC crap for their final fantasy. \. if NINTENDO do this same tactic guess ill be quitting gaming lol

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@UniversalCypher (cont) To date, nobody has given me hard proof that the reasons for content being locked are completely malevolent. They could be safeguards in case the companies can't turn a profit from the games. Considering that the VAST majority of games don't turn ANY profit--we're talking $20 million costs on average and around 20% of games making any money--I don't see hard evidence that they are doing it out of "greed" rather than out of necessity. If you wanna argue that they should give us the content at a monetary loss then fine, but the whole reason they MAKE the games is to turn a profit, and without that incentive, there would be a LOT less for consumers to enjoy. In spite of what everyone claims, the industry would not thrive if it was driven solely by people who made games for the sake of making them. They want to be paid and more importantly DESERVE to be paid. When someone gives me hard evidence, I'll admit it's about greed. Until then, "innocent until proven guilty."

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@UniversalCypher "DLC shouldn't exist in the first place." Has NOTHING good ever come from DLC? Cause that's another absolute you just spouted. The whole point was to have smaller games at a smaller cost released more often. With the exception of "released more often," Valve has stuck by that with Half-Life 2. Is anyone complaining about THEIR DLC? Not really. Yes, you can argue that THEIR DLC is not "on-disc," but I don't see why it is that people aren't willing to actually go get some legitimate evidence that this is "ripping off" the customer. It doesn't amount to a rip-off unless the company starts swimming in money from it. What was the budget for these games and what other projects do the developers need to support with the funds? How much of the content is actually ON the disc? All of it or just part, therefore REQUIRING the download to finish it because there wasn't SPACE on the disc? (TBC)

shadow580
shadow580

I think the reason people don't look at the NFC toys in a negative manner is because of the novelty of them. Once the initial impression passes, suddenly tons of games will have them and it will truly be as big of a problem as on disk DLCs. I do admit, I find the idea cool but it's still in it's core the same as an on disk DLC, which I despise with all my heart.

DarthLod
DarthLod

@Ink129 : It certainly is a sign of the times. A sign that, just like our governments, that corporations are only driven by greed. Greed is single handedly destroying gaming. Gaming never used to be full of all these rip off, extortionist, nickle and dime driven scams. I refuse to be part of them.

DarthLod
DarthLod

@OHGFawx : Not all the DLC for Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas was worth the price charged. Skyrim is also flat out full of glitches even still after patching, yet they are going to release a DLC for a game full of glitches...instead of fixing what is broken first. So, as much as I personally do like Bethesda, they are still involved in current DLC gestapo. In my opinion, one of the only current gen games that did DLC right was for Borderlands. But, sadly for Borderlands 2 they already have weapon DLC....ugh.

jayd02
jayd02

After reading I understand and agree. I never really thought of it like that.

UniversalCypher
UniversalCypher

@RedLegZeff funny how i made the same analogy and didnt even read your post. just goes to prove how terrible this idea is.. -UC

UniversalCypher
UniversalCypher

@cachinscythe i think you're missing the point entirely. DLC shouldnt exist in the first place - this is why whats discussed in this particular article is an issue. this is like buying a car with the trunk locked until you buy a separate key to open it. you already paid for the car, the car comes with a trunk, but you cant use it. its nickle and dimming at its most devious.. -UC

SciFiCat
SciFiCat

I'm the kind of player that only cares about a game and not any of the merchandise that revolves around it, and for the most part all these kind of extras such as collectible cards, action figures, statues, books, etc. are optional accouterments. But now if developers are going to push this kind of merchandise as part of the game, players like myself are screwed. Also, this destroys the benefits of online distribution to the environment, this is the stuff where retail will find its new revenue and will push to make of this a commonplace practice for most games. Stores like GamesStop are going to become nothing short of toy stores selling this stuff just to remain in business.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@warhawk-geeby Your statement didn't say anything about Skylanders specifically. It was just a general statement implying that all the comapnies are screwing us every way they can. That is an absolute, and absolutes are by their very nature false, as context changes things more often than not. Yes, the content for Skylanders is on the disc. So what? When you purchase the game, you automatically get three figures, and from what I understand that is enough to provide many hours of entertainment. The other figures are a bonus that we can CHOOSE to have if we want. And by the way, when "DLC" is already on the disc, it saves a hell of a lot of hard-drive space, no? Has anybody considered that if we had to download all the stuff they lock on the disc, we'd have run out of free space months ago, and we'd be complaining about THAT? I don't like the practice personally, but it's their right to do it. When your mother tells you that you can come in the house but can't visit the basement or the attic, is it a legitimate gripe to whine about how it's OUR house and we should be able to go where we want? Of course not. The same applies here. It is the property of the developers, and they can lock whatever doors they want. If we don't like it, nobody is keeping us from moving.

rasputin177
rasputin177

It is interesting concept like a game based around " A Song of Ice and Fire" would be pretty cool. I think it will be implemented to make as much cash as possible instead of making it fit into the game as well as possible.

sonicpNiNe9
sonicpNiNe9

I do totally agree with this post. The concept is good, but like communism, it is and will be forever exploited just to get richer. My brother got skylanders back in January, and to I did like the whole place your plastic spyro on the portal piece and poof! It is pretty flashy, but again as mentioned before, the figures are pricey, and I still see my Walmart sold out of them. Perhaps if they made the figures actual toys that you could twist and move and bend, maybe even remove from the green platform (after all that is really the only important part of the "figure"). That way kids could actually play with them like real action figures, and not just look at them standing. My 10 year old brother got bored of it quick, there was tons right off the bat that required different figures to access, too much imo, and nothing there to really compell him to into begging mom for more. This is a concept that can be incorporated beautifully and really make an impact on gaming, but activision is too greedy to care, and ultimately they will fall. People are not stupid, the whole industries reign on screwing people for their bucks will topple eventually. It's just a matter of time

rasputin177
rasputin177

@fallenoneX Are you a child? Because the idea of a grown man "playing" with these action figures really made me laugh. Thank you. This is going to be huge. People are suckers so this is going to be huge just wait and see. I mean NFC not just Raymen Legends.

x-TwilighT-x
x-TwilighT-x

Honestly, I like it, BUT... The obvious factor is pricing... These toys are clearly priced correctly, as they are mass produced it's what you would expect from a "Toy" 10$ not too bad in retrospect but If I bought them all just so I could have the full experience of the game... Well over 300$

Yulaw2000
Yulaw2000

Something tells me that this sort of thing should be a piece of cake to hack, but I Imagine that there will be some people that want the official licensed toys.

Savoritias
Savoritias

Old good games with no dlc and stupid internet connections are over. The new stupid era of gaming is here

Max42
Max42

i agree with you -my parents bought one for my brother i don't think it was a good idea but they haven't spent a lot on the figure -he only got a couple =but i do think its a bad idea=now if it was optional but didn't impact play or used something else as an avatar maybe -personally it would be cool if we could scan a toy we own and use it as an avatar in the game but this entire plot and thats what it is a plot -is designed to take every dollar they can get out of us. I don't like the direction this is going

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

While this does sound offenensive, particulary to the ocd part of my personality which would want everything unlocked in a game I own thus requiring me to buy everything, it seems a bit different then on disc dlc. On disc dlc is basically buying something you already bought. I wouldn't even mind if it wasn't on the disc and you could just download it day one, but on disc...It's like you buy a car, but they won't let you use the trunk unless you pay an extra 5 grand. Or you buy a house, but the bathroom is off limits unless you pay for it a 2nd time. This they're at least selling you a figurine. Like a specialized controller or something. Offensive but not quite the same as selling you something you already bought.

Lims26
Lims26

blah blah blah, what a stupid article....kids like figures and video games...so what! get over it

nate1222
nate1222

All the more reason for me to sinply NOT purchase these games. I enjoyed Spyro for PS1 and GBA. But the 7th gen Spyro games are joining the ranks of industry rackets that are pushing me even further into being a retro-gamer.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

Well done on the article :)

Spahettificator
Spahettificator

@innocent69 Do we want to know what will happen if he puts some of them on the Wii U tablet screen? ;)

Azarend
Azarend

Easy solution to make this trend stop: Boycott the offending games. Done.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

@DarthLod while i definitely agree that nickel and diming is running rampant right now, I just can't cant bring myself to loop Bethesda in with the ones most responsible for trying steal every penny they can with mediocre DLC. Oblivion was an amazing game in its own right and certainly didn't need any expansions to make it better, but the Shivering Isles expansion offered an entire new world to explore and was almost long enough to be its own game (15+ hours easily). The expansions for Fallout 3 were also of very high caliber and length. If its true that 90% of DLC is a scam (and i fear that figure isn't far from the truth), i would definitely put Bethesda in the 10% for offering extremely high quality additional content to their already impressive games. Sometimes DLC is just more of a good thing, and i wish more devs would strive to approach in that way.

megakick
megakick

This has been done before Sony's PS3 Eye of Judgement but Ubisoft marketed the game mechanic to the right people, the KIDS. Once again Sony fails where another company succeeds.

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

@ Fryboy101 I know...I have no issues with digital dostribution. I happy with my steam account and have no issues with it. By DLC I meant additional useless crap like additional costumes and things that in the end add nothing to the game experience and are still charged as if they would make me see the game and it's history/gameplay in a whole different way.

-Nintendude-
-Nintendude-

 @SLillie Ever heard of saving your games on Cloud provided by Xbox Live? I've been playing my home save file of Dark Souls at my parent's place without taking anything else than a game disc with me.

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

are you some kind of amateur PR spokesman in disguise? how the hell do you expect to prove someone's intent one way or the other? if tricking people into paying for things that they already own is a necessity of business, than that business can and should suck and die. why are you treating this like a f**king criminal investigation? business is about supply and demand, and it all boils down to money: if we feel cheated, we dont buy. we dont need any f**king evidence.  its about what the customer wants, not what the customer can prove in a court of law, and if the customer wants their business to be conducted openly with no tricks or lies or manipulation to get more of their money (as they should), then any good company will adapt to that demand.

 

what if a business donated half their profits to charity? would you refuse to buy anything from them until someone proved they did it because theyre just that nice and not because it would make for good PR? do you see how stupid this kind  of judgment is? they are greedy, manipulative pricks because i say they are, and when enough people agree, the business will do what is necessary to stop looking like greedy, manipulative pricks so people will start buying from them  again. games are horribly expensive and generally unprofitable because everyone is trying to copy the success of the major players, the brown, boring shooters that have billion-dollar graphics budgets and take a year to make because they actual game part is shallow and simple to reproduce. publishers lack of creativity and desire to exploit a profitable development model until everyone suffers from it is not my problem. if they cant fix it, then to hell with them: im the customer, and my only role is to decide whether a thing is worth my money or not. they dont need me or you to defend them.

UniversalCypher
UniversalCypher

 @cachinscythe  @UniversalCypher  the strangest thing about this whole discussion is that there is actually somebody here defending the problem. personally, i dont see scrapping every last cent out of the consumer as "necessity". if they're not thinking about ways to maximize profit while at the same time benefiting the consumer, but only ways to maximize profit, then i dont see how their motives dont point towards greed. i agree that the game developers do deserve to get paid, the fact that they work hard to entertain us can not be argued, but gamers dont deserve to have their love of gaming preyed upon simply because they love to game. 

RyanTykwin
RyanTykwin

What about my PS3? And the Wii at my boys Mom's house? And the Wii at there best Friends house?  And the XBox at their cousins? How good does XBox Live Cloud work in all these situations?

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @onewithtoenail7 (NOTE: I'm really sorry this response is so long. I'm very long winded because it's not easy for me to convey my points in short sentences. And I like to address every facet of the arguments from my opponents. I would appreciate it if you'd still read all of this, but I understand if you don't bother.)

First of all I'm not a PR spokesman at all. I'm an intelligent 27-year old college student who--unlike several people on this site, it seems--has actually taken an economics class. Not to say that I know everything or that there's nothing legitimate in the outrage over DLC. Of course there's some legitimacy behind it. And let's also be clear that I'm not trying to say people should just go buy games in spite of how they feel about the practice. That's just silly. If you don't wanna buy a game--regardless of whether the reason is cost, business practices, or just being in a bad mood that day--DON'T BUY IT. To pressure others into buying in spite of that would be preventing the free market from doing what it's supposed to do. So are we clear on that? Thanks.

 

Now let's analyze what you're saying here. First, you've said that I'm treating this like a criminal investigation. Given the enormous amount of rhetoric on this site about how these practices are "criminal" and that companies should be sued in court to accomodate that, is it really all that surprising that I'd treat this LIKE a criminal investigation? Hard as this might be for some people to believe, feeling ripped off is not proof of price gouging. They already tried to get the gasoline companies for that, and guess what? They couldn't find direct instances of the companies actively trying to rip off consumers. I don't honestly know why--and to be fair maybe someone was paid off--but it suggests that the profits aren't nearly as high or significant as rhetoric in the news makes it out to be. (As a side note, did you know that bottled water and apples cost more than gasoline? Makes the price seem smaller, doesn't it?) Plus, your claim that this is "tricking" people into spending extra money is somewhat laughable to me. Yes, there might be some genuine suckers out there, but I'm pretty sure most of us know about the "trick" long before we make the purchase. If you look up the definition of the word "trick," I'm pretty sure this doesn't fit that description. Last I checked, you don't get to blame companies for doing magic tricks that you already know the secrets to. (That's an analogy, just so we're clear.)

 

You also mention that companies will adapt to the demands of the consumers. I don't recall saying otherwise. I'm quite aware that companies will probably move away from on-disc DLC as consumers continue to get upset about it, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all. What I'm saying is that it's kind of hard to move away from a practice that makes you money if your company is having financial troubles, most of which I don't think we're going to hear about in the news. That doesn't necessarily make it okay to continue the practice, but companies have to keep themselves afloat first and foremost. On the surface, it looks like these companies are raking in enough dough to swim in, but I don't hear any thorough factual figures to back this claim up. I'm pretty sure most of the people on here don't run a business, nor do they understand all the costs a company incurs trying to get games developed and onto the market. That's kind of necessary in order to see what "greed" is under these circumstances, wouldn't you say?

 

Third, as I already stated, a consumer's decision whether to buy something is his/her own choice and depends on the utility s/he gets from it. So whether they donate money to charity doesn't enter the equation, though personally I'd be happy to support them in that effort. Personally, I will admit that I'd probably take that claim at face value either because I'm a sucker or an optimist, but something tells me that most of the gaming community would try to discredit that claim any way they could in order to keep it in line with their story of "businesses are evil and greedy." So that seems like a wash to me and I don't see what it's supposed to prove. I DO see how stupid that kind of judgment is, and I don't think for a second it's what I was suggesting. (If I'm wrong then I apologize and would appreciate you showing me where I said that.) (TBC)

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @UniversalCypher I'm not saying I like the practice. I don't. But most of the "evidence" people provide is just rhetoric and vague generalities that don't PROVE anything.

 

Suppose for instance that it was literally impossible--given our crappy economy, the high cost of development, and the need for companies to stay afloat--for a corporation to continue existing without locking content on the discs or providing extra DLC. Again, I don't like that. I think it's unfair to the consumer. But a company cannot just take losses for the "benefit of the consumer." Profit has to come first. Again, I'm not saying that's the case, but the seeming unwillingness for anybody on these forums to do thorough research into how much profit was made, how much was spent, how much is being put away for a rainy day fund, how much the operating costs are, and how much HAS to be paid back to the shareholders--some of which are actually ORDINARY PEOPLE like you and me--how can we prove it's about "greed"? Or at least about the traditional vision we have of greed? (unnecessarily obtaining extra wealth that is not needed) Making profits in and of itself is not "greed." Greed is something along the lines of charging $1,000 for a cup of water. We all know water costs less than that to make. But do any of us really know how much it costs to develop and market a game?

 

Also, though you're correct in saying that it probably isn't a "necessity" to scrape gamers for every last cent because they "love to game," I would turn around and argue that it is not a "necessity" to game in the first place. And that's what most people don't seem to understand. The market is designed so that people exchange money for things they find more valuable than the money they're exchanging it for. Nobody forces them to buy these games with locked DLC, and given how anytime an extra costume is locked on the disc the internet bustles with activity reporting it, the vast majority of the buyers likely already KNOW the content is locked on the disc. Yet they choose to purchase the games anyway. What does that say? It says we still value the games more than the money, even WITH the content locked on the disc. If it really bothered us that much, we'd save our money and go to a movie instead, or heck just go outside and play softball. Nothing FORCES us to spend our money on these games, and if we really want to send a message that on-disc DLC isn't okay, the best way to do that is not to purchase in the first place. How many people on these forums complaining have still gone out and bought the game? IDK the answer, but it's probably more than it should be.

 

Let me reemphasize this because I need to be clear on it: I DON'T LIKE ON-DISC DLC. When DLC in general is being provided, if there's any way to get a Game of the Year Edition, I will wait for that version to come out. But even IF on-disc DLC bothered me so much that I felt the need to come on here and condemn the practice as driven by evil intentions, I like to think I'd still defend it a little, and it's not because I secretly agree with the practice; it's because when an entire mob of people are screaming the exact same thing, somebody has to remind them that the world isn't black and white. Virtually everyone on here--and on this site--tends to have the exact same opinions and the exact same rhetorical outrage. That's not healthy in a society that is supposed to encourage others to think for themselves. In fact, it is generally conducive to shutting people up who don't agree with the majority. There is ALWAYS another side to the story. I'm providing that other side--albeit in a hypothetical manner--because everyone else is just repeating the same ideas.

 

Good discussing this with you. :)

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@onewithtoenail7

Fourth, you've stated the moldy old argument that the reason games are unprofitable and horribly expensive is because the developers just copy what other people did right. I don't know where to begin with this outdated, not-entirely-provable claim. First of all, I question the claims by everyone that games are "horribly expensive." Yes, they cost $60 a pop nowadays when they first release, but within 2-6 months that price is usually cut in half. For gamers to complain about the cost when all it takes is a little patience to get the game at less than half the price--which is what I always do--is blaming a company for your own lack of willpower. And if it happens to be one of those games that DOESN'T go down in price (like Nintendo titles), that just shows that people still value the game enough to pay that higher cost to obtain it. Also, anytime I hear people complaining about how expensive games are, I want to ask them if they've bothered to count how many releases there were 10 years ago when games cost $50 a pop compared to today...when there are roughly half as many releases. For those who can't do math, I'll spell it out: paying $50 a pop for 20 games is MORE EXPENSIVE than paying $60 a pop for 10 games. Granted, companies are compensating for this with DLC, but I doubt it's leading to greater profitability than it did last generation, especially for the heavyweight everyone loves to hate, EA. Count how many yearly releases they had 10 years ago and compare it to their releases today. I can almost guarantee it's a number less than half of what it was. To back up, if for whatever reason someone CAN'T wait to purchase a game, they can A) rent before they buy at a fraction of the cost, B) try out the demo, or C) go to a friend's house who DID buy it. Furthermore, being so lost in gaming that you can't wait a few months for a price drop is indicative of a psychological dependency, and believe it or not game developers are not responsible for fixing that; therapists are.

Second, when companies emulate what others do right, there's a pretty good chance it's because THAT'S WHAT CONSUMERS WANT. Imagine if Goldeneye had been released and companies making shooters had responded by just continuing to make their games just like Doom. Would gamers praise them for not copying Goldeneye? I highly doubt it. In fact, I'm almost certain they'd be complaining they WEREN'T copying Goldeneye. And that's the problem with this claim that everyone copies everyone else. WHY is it being done? Is it because developers are just lazy? Or could it be because that's what the gamers WANT? Or better yet, is it being copied because it's just a better way to do things? "But why copy the other guys instead of innovating?" Because believe it or not innovation doesn't just grow on trees. To create truly innovative titles takes a lot of time and money, and the reason for that is innovation by it's nature is EXTREMELY HARD TO COME BY. You can't blame a farmer for continuing to farm the same land when he's already used up all his property. Until he finds a way to purchase additional land from his neighbors or find a fresh patch he didn't think to plant crops on, he's stuck replanting in the same soil.

You might say this is irrelevant to the consumer, and you'd be correct, but given how thin-skinned most gamers are anytime anybody with even Harvard degrees tries to suggest there is even a remote link between games and aggressive behavior, I'd say gamers would handle the insults they dish out to developers MUCH less maturely than the people working in the industry do. That's what I call bullying: a refusal to be considerate of other people's feelings. If I worked for the industry and had to endure being called "lazy, greedy, selfish," and everything in between all the time, I'd probably rage a fair bit, just as most gamers would. Yet they demonstrate that all they really care about is themselves when they STILL insist on throwing out insults without any evidence. If you want to be part of that crowd that decides, "These pricks are evil because I say they are," just remember that you can't get upset when a psychologist turns around and says, "Gamers are aggressive psychopaths because I say they are!" it's hypocritical.

 

Finally, your claim that game companies don't need anyone to defend them is IMO an attempt to turn this situation into a black and white one where you don't have to face the implications of how complex the situation is. I don't care if we're talking about Nazis, the KKK, homosexual rights, abortion, who stole my pizza, or whether DLC is an awful thing: THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY! To try and make me stop defending them by saying they don't need it is trying to get me in line with everyone else so there's no dissent on this comment page. Sorry, but I don't follow the leader; I think for myself. And what I think is that people need to remember that our world isn't simple and straightforward. We as consumers might not like having to give companies a chance to speak--and we may do everything we can to condemn them when they DO speak--but all that shows is that we're closed minded and refuse to listen to others. From what I've seen, there is very little dissension on this page about the practice of DLC; everyone just screams about how awful a practice it is and how companies should be bombed with nukes for it. (Figuratively speaking) That is not conducive to intellectual debate nor to open-mindedness, and telling me to shut up is the OPPOSITE of either of those. If it makes you so angry to read these comments I'm posting, it might be because there's something uncomfortable about what I'm saying that you don't want to consider. Then again, maybe it's because I'm just wrong. But either way, people should hear both sides of the story, and that's what I'm trying to provide here. If it makes you angry, I apologize, as that's not my intent, but I'm not going to stop writing what I right just because it makes a few people angry. In fact, that's arguably an indication that you're on the right track.

 

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my entire comment, and thanks for the reply.