Welcome back! Long time no see, eh? Before we jump in let’s catch up. College is over, I’m free to relax, blog a little and generally get ready for the mammoth that is university, which I will defeat starting in September. Anyway, in the mean time, I can write more posts on this blog, and I’ve even written a guest piece for the blog buythatgame.wordpress.com and plan to do a few more. It’s a site that reviews games that you can buy on a budget. Right, now let’s get to the juicy topic of this week’s blog.
Y’ALL NEED TO LEARN SOME ECONOMICS
I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding the Wii motion plus device. My friend, who in the interest of anonymity we shall not call Leah but instead Scott, was complaining that something like that should either have been part of the original hardware or not used at all. Scott clearly doesn’t understand economic rivalry. Basically, in the conversation, I explained that Nintendo could have easily released the hardware built in, but it would have delayed the release date and that would have had disastrous consequences on sales. Then Scott mentioned that xbox have free updates and that lead to DLC, and how DLC is basically the same thing as hardware add-ons. This got me thinking. Why are so many people adverse to paying for extras, and why do many companies still not take the time and effort to fix bugs regularly?
Bug fixes are easy, so let’s start with those. Developers don’t generally get paid to make good games, they get paid to make games that look good, so that they sell a lot of units. Publishers just suck as much money out of a game as possible then make the developer make a sequel. Keeping a game running is expensive, but the long-term profit is small, so publishers have resorted to cut-and-run tactics. The industry is suffering artistically because of it, but that’s for another blog post. The other problem is logistical. If you’ve got the same game spanning a number of platforms, you want to keep them all consistent, but consoles are harder to apply game updates to because most of the game data is on a disc.
There are several mentalities regarding DLC. I’m just going to say DLC, but the same applies to hardware and micro-transaction. First off, we have the ‘against’ argument, or what I like to call the ‘cheapskate argument’. It is similar to Scott’s argument, and usually goes along the lines of “I paid for the game, so why should I have to pay more for all this stuff?” Next, we have what I call the ‘money-bags argument’ which is simply “you don’t HAVE to buy the stuff, so what harm is it doing?” Finally, there is the developer/publisher view. Creating DLC means you can squeeze even more money from the game, which pays for those pesky updates, thus keeping players around for longer and get even more sales! Cheapskates, you’re out of luck I’m afraid. DLC is here to stay, and all the whining in the world won’t change that. Still, do comment below on your thoughts about DLC.
As a last note, since writing this, I noticed Extra Credits’ new video. I covers micro-transactions in games and, as always, it’s good stuff. Check it out. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/3689-Microtransactions
Aah, it’s good to be back! Come back soon for the next one, and don’t forget to check out bythatgame.wordpress.com!