Go on, you know you want to. Look at this demo- See all the fun this player is having? That could be you for the price of just one coin. Look at all the cool moves these characters have. Wouldn't that make you feel great to be able to control such power? Oh, look! Here's the scoreboard. You could do better than those guys couldn't you? Sure you could. You could be on top of the scoreboards for all to see. All you have to do is insert one single coin, and you could live like a king... What's that? Game over already?? I'm going to need you to insert more coins to continue. You can't quit yet, you're only getting started..."
9... 8... 7... 6... 5...
"You'd better hurry up"
... 4... 3... 2...
"Ah, I knew you'd come back. They always do!"
The video game industry was always about grabbing as much cash as possible. This has been happening since day one. In the arcades you'd pump coin after coin into a machine that was designed to kill you with absolutely no mercy. But you'd happily empty your wallet into this mechanical thief in order to improve and become better at the game in question. Gamers and giving up easy never really mixed. We are often a lot more persistent than we are smart. We like to think we can outsmart and outgun the game... Even though we are all too often very wrong indeed. And so the games developers had their wallets stroked.
I'll admit that a huge bulk of my gaming collection is second hand. Why? Because I simply can't afford to cough up €50 for each and every game that looks like I might enjoy it. Hell, I can barely afford half of that for a fair few of my favourite games. Plenty of the games that I've bought second hand wouldn't have been worth full price to begin with. I'd rather not spend a huge amount of cash on a game, bring it home, and find out that it's awful and absolute horse-shite! That's quite a lot of cash to simply flush down the toilet.
Am I to blame for developers striking back at the world's gamers? No! (ok, maybe a little... And then a little more after that…). Their greed is to blame. Most games sell a massive amount in their opening week. After that, just like DVDs and CDs, their sales drop. Regardless of whether or not there's a second hand market, those sales will drop substantially. If those same developers could sell a game to me at twice it's opening week price, they surely would! Yet, their war rages on, and we are the bad guys.
This "war" seems completely unfair to their costumers. Lets take Resident Evil: Mercenaries as an example. This game can only be started once! For your well earned €50 (dollars/pounds/whatever), you can only begin RE: Mercenaries once ever. You could debate that this is an arena-based game where the aim of the game is to beat high scores, therefore you'd never need to start fresh, but my argument is simply why? Why can't I delete my old file and start fresh? Why can't I begin again from scratch and unlock all the items and beat the built in scores again? The answer seems to be to avoid trade-in sales. I don't want to buy a game where I all weapons and characters are already unlocked and waiting for me. A game where I have to attempt to beat the previous owner’s scores. I don't want to play that way because it wouldn't be any fun. Therefore, If I wanted to enjoy this game, I'd have to buy it fresh, yet I could never re-start... The fun would soon fade because I couldn't delete my old file and the game would find itself buried in my collection, gathering dust... But Capcom would already have my money, so why would they care about poor old gamers like us?
I've heard there are also plans to release day-one DLC weapons for some online shooter games. Weapons which (so the rumours claim) will be the best in the game, therefore making it insanely unfair on people who don't buy this game first hand, as they'd be cannon fodder for first hand buyers.
Another example is Alice: Madness Returns. I'm quite a big fan of this game. Fantastic platforming, beautiful visuals, imaginative enemies, and an all in all fantastic game. A great break from the norm in today's market which is severely over-populated with military First Person Shooter games. The problem is, that it again is an attack on those using second hand games. I bought this game first hand, because I really liked what I'd seen of it in trailers. I was quite impressed that they had added the original American McGee's Alice game into the purchase too. If you didn't buy it first hand, then you could pay to buy it online. Sounds reasonable enough, but there are achievements attached to the original game. Therefore if you buy it second hand and decide against paying an extra €12 (Dollars/ Pounds/ Monkey Bollocks/ whatever) or so on the original, then you can never unlock all the achievements. You can never truly complete the game. Never get your 100%, your 1000Gs. This is an incredible sucker-punch those who purchase it second hand. Already paid for the game? Now you've got to pay some more to complete it.
These moves are incredible low, and selfish on the behalf of the developers. For keeping them in business (not just any business, but the biggest media business in the world at the moment. The very same one that makes more money than Hollywood on an annual basis), they repay us by looking down their noses at us and treating us like criminals. I won't be surprised if some day I buy a game, play it to the last level, only to discover that I have to pay to download the last level and finish the game. This makes me concerned as a consumer, downright pissed off and as a gamer, and offended as a life-long fan of the industry. What's more though, it makes me worried about what their next move could be in their war against their own fans...