Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do You Find the Most Irksome?

January 30, 2013 -

If you follow me on Twitter, you're probably aware that I can't stand Activision's Skylanders games or Disney's upcoming Disney Infinity.  Both games require you to buy a bunch of figurines to unlock stuff in the game you already paid full price for.  This is an extension of that "on-disc DLC" stuff that many have been chastising Capcom about and let me tell you, that practice really frosts my cookies (the DLC stuff, not the chastising).

Which got me thinking: video game developers and publishers do a lot of things that get us gamers' undies in a knot.  In addition to on-disc DLC there is the dreaded always-on DRM that forces players to connect to the internet, even if they just want to play a single-player game.  Online Pass schemes (buyers of used games have to pay an extra $10 to play the game online) are something else that makes gamer blood boil.  And really, who likes region locking preventing them from enjoying games from other territories?

So what do you find most vexing?  Vote in the poll and let us know!  Is your particular poison not in the list?  Do you hate all paid DLC with equal passion?  Hit up the comments section of this very article and share your pain.  Alternatively, send us an email at SuperPACPodcast@gmail.com and regale us with your thoughts on the matter.

As always, we'll discuss the results of the poll (which, as I write this, already has 300 votes) on next week's podcast.  It should be a blast!

The complain-y ones usually are!

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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Comments

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

It's a tough call, but I think the worst habit I've encountered is odious terms in EULAs. I am not amused by the current line of thought that says you 'licence' a game, not own it. That is, as Penn would put it, bullshit. And honestly, if I was not very desperate to see more of the story in certain Blizzard games I bought about ten, fifteen years ago, I would not buy their products anymore.

Most DRM schemes beyond CD keys would come in second, for obvious reasons.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

I guess my quick opinion on each for how I currently feel:

Region locking - I don't like it, but I kinda understand some of the reasons. It generally comes down to it not being at the front of my mind because it never affects me since I have access to all the games I want.

On-disc DLC - I have no issue with this. As long as I get the promised value out of my original investment for the base game I'm happy. Anything I pay on top of that is my choice regardless of when it was made or where it's stored. The only on-disc DLC I despise is that which doesn't compliment a finished game, but instead raises the game to a finished state.

Online pass - Ridiculous idea to screw consumers for the (completely fair) practices of retailers. Again doesn't get my pick because it doesn't affect me directly since I play almost exclusively single player. But it almost wins.

Always online DRM - This is my winner. Not because I'm fundamentally against the idea, but because most of the world does not have the infrastructure to support it. Even the companies supplying it cannot guarantee their servers always being up. It's simply too early to expect all your customers to be in a position to have reliable Internet, then on top of that trust you to provide a continuous service at any time the customer wishes to play (or worry about you closing the servers in a couple of years... looking at you EA). I said on some site recently (re SimCity) that if I could afford to gamble with $100 like that I'd spend more time at a casino.

I remember hating Steam when I first bought Half-Life 2. I was stuck with a 56k limited download connection. Not only did it take all night to install the game the day I got it (Steam updates, game verification, game updates) and thus I never got to play it that night, but I had to keep logging in to 'activate' offline mode most times I wanted to because for some reason that would expire after a few days and not let me into the game. Once I moved and broadband became an option it was better. Steam was just ahead of its time for anyone outside of a capital city. It still is to an extent because I'm lucky to have high-speed broadband at the moment. Many in my city (a community of just over 60,000 people) don't have access or are on waiting lists for limited ports on the exchanges. If my unit I'm renting is sold and I'm forced to move I may not have the Internet again for some time.

Going always online simply cuts out a significant chunk of your customer base at this point in time. That's just on a technological level. On top of that you have those who won't buy out of principle. I guess that slice of the pie is smaller than the perceived slice piracy causes.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

A good analogy for locked on-disc content would be like paying the full price for a brand new car only to find you had to fork over an additional amount just to open the glove compartment.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

Bad games.

Online Passes are by far the best present-day, pro-consumer solution for encouraging purchasing new games over used, and 99% of criticism is simply entitlement and histrionics, nothing more- and the same is true of most criticism of DLC.

On-disc DLC is more obviously less acceptable, while the (slightly weak) technical reasons for doing it do stand- particularly with regards to Skylanders and Infinity- a lot of the controvery has been knee-jerk bullshit by people who want to portray the simple act of games industry members wanting to keep a roof over their head and feed their children as some sort of great conspiracy to screw them personally over.

Region locking there are ways around. DRM (always-on or not) there are ways around.

Bad games are just bad games and inherently stay that way.

/b

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

That's funny.  It's actually the baseless chastising that frosts my cookies...  ;)

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

If companies are looking for snuff out their losses from the gaming aftermarket, the best course would be to offer 2 versions of every game.  One would be the main game which would be competitively priced against a used copy, and the second would be a full priced $60 copy with all the bells and whistles.  

Nothing urks me more than dropping $60 on a game only to realize that a sizable chunk of it is going to be sold to me later.  I paid for a full game, and I expect a full game.  

An example of douchy marketing would be Forza Horizon.  They sold the game at full price and a couple months later added on a rally pack which is egregiously expensive.  If I'd bought the game for $30, I might expect to have to pay more to get this feature.  But once you've already paid the full price, there is no real excuse for this.

I should clarify that, I do not consider massive add-ons like Dawnguard or Dragonborn for Skyrim part of the original purchase.  Those add-ons clearly took a lot of time and effort to construct, and add so much content to an already massive game which justifies their added expense.  And when you break down the total cost of a game like that with all it's additional content, you're still only paying pennies/hour of entertainment, and that's an excellent bargain IMHO.

I'm talking about really stupid stuff like additional outfits for DOA5 characters, or horse armor from Oblivion.  And in regard to racing games, if it's on the disc, I paid for it, and I should have access to it.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

Hmm this one should've been broken down into PC and Console separate categories.. The consoles don't so much rely on one of these, and the PC another.

 

On the console side i think online passes are the worst thing, followed by the on disc DLC.

Online passes are just a cash grab, and devalue any game with them right from the get go, and on disc DLC is just pure and total BS.

but on the PC front nothing is more irksome than not being able to play my games on the go with my laptop. I play during breaks/lunch sometimes and with no mobile net connection.. well..  it just can't be done.

GFWL is the worst IMO as it'll let you do pretty much anything you want, but your online profile is always on, and you must have an offline to play offline.  By that i don't mean you can't play with your online profile offline. But rather that if you play with your online profile and have no internet connection, you cannot save your progress.... and offline.. well.. no achievements, no friends, etc.... Its the worst though because it requires the online mode for saving but has no cloud... wtfh would i need to be online to save for if there is no cloud?!

 

 

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

While on-disc DLC and online passes are naked cash grabs, and region locking is a way to make sure people can't import cheaper versions of games, I voted for always-on DRM because that's the only one that can render a product you own non-functional through no fault of your own. I still expect to see a lot of pissed Sim City owners in two years when EA pulls the plug for those servers.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

Region locking. Totally unnecessary and it prevents me from playing games that I would really like to pay good money for.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

Always online or, for that matter, call home to verify DRM take the cake for me. They guarantee that after X amount of time, my game won't be playable. As someone who still plays a lot of snes, pre-Mac OS X and Win 95/98 games, this irks me to no end. It's planned obsolescence and it's disgusting.

Re: Poll: Which Video Game Publisher/Developer Practice Do ...

This by a  long shot. I love to play my old titles rather often, and to the best I can get them going. Tis what i love about the PS2 and Gamecube Emu's i've found. Just load'em up and pop the discs in, then play. Granted some require the disc to be ripped first, but when the console is KIA and no more... what are you going to do? Besides, the Emu's allow for some serious tweaks like higher resolutions and whatnot (and boy howdy.. the RE remake for GC in 1080 is a lovely thing! or my old Macross DYRL PS2 game.. it almost looks like it could've been early PS3 once its cleaned up!) Speaking of the DYRL game.. thats another bonus to emu's, region free gaming :)

Thankfully intrepid PC users are always on the ball with it. And yet they're still considered "illegal hackers" most often when they do fix something thats not even for sale anymore.

You sometimes even see nice things like the revival of Tribes 2. I always remember that when it comes to these always on/call home things... such a terrible fate for a game. One of the first to suffer a horrible death by online required authentication DRM.

 

 
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