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Five New Industry Standards That Shouldn't Be

Updated Fri, Apr 13, 2012 by Stow

Lately I’ve been playing Mass Effect 3. This week we got ourselves a nifty new content patch that enabled a bunch of classes, weapons, and levels in multiplayer, and much to my amazement…. It was all free. Then recently they announced that they’re giving us a new enhanced ending experience… also free.

Did I miss something? Did we secretly return to the world of developers handing us full-fledged patches that don’t require us to drop five bucks every time they add an orange Mohawk to the game? Because this is what I miss more than anything from this generation of console and PC games alike—paying for a game and getting a complete game. That thought made me realize that this generation of game creators, with a few exceptions, has turned the market on its head with all kinds of silly practices.

Time for a rant, and no game type--from single to MOBAs to social--is spared.

Day 1 DLC is bullshit

I really don’t understand how this practice came to be acceptable. Having content that is clearly done and ready for release and then asking for another ten bucks is an insult to preorders and especially in a gaming market where games drop to half price before the six month mark. Laughable. It’s a swift kick to consumers that is undeserved—especially if it’s on the disc/initial install to begin with.

Cash Shops are not a Beta Fundraising Tool

I’ve seen some downright ridiculous pricing in F2P cash shops lately. Even games in beta are charging big dollars for colored pixels, games that may not even make it out the door in a completed state. And apparently some people buy into this crap, because I’ll see players sporting character skins with 80% finished animation sets running around and I’ll weep softly.

Please go appeal to some investors, not to your beta fans.

Gameplay-critical Content should NEVER be Paid Content

In any competitive class-based game, or hero/champion/whatever MOBA-game, available heroes contribute to the meta-game more than anything else, and when everyone isn’t on the same playing field, it just isn’t fair. You can cash shop the shit out of anything cosmetic or even minor/tiny gameplay changers, but things that hard-counter others and are critical for say, flag defense, base construction, or whatever fundamental the game has NEED to be free.

The only time you have to hear about this...is when people flood your Facebook wall with a thousand requests for bricks to build a pyramid in whatever city-builder is all the rage that month.

League of Legends is not the only MOBA cash shop model, guys

Pretty much every F2P of the MOBA/class-based genres has done nothing new except try and imitate the success of Riot Games’ runaway hit. It’s annoying to me because there is content I would pay for, like bulk hero purchases as one time charges rather than multiple $8 transactions… yet none of the current games are trying to break the model.

Social gaming is stupid

Maybe I’m missing something, but I get absolutely nothing out of these turn-based browser games. There’s no competition, there’s no rivalry, there’s no commentary, and the only time you have to hear about this shit is when people flood your Facebook wall with a thousand requests for bricks to build a pyramid in whatever city-builder is all the rage that month. Major studios everywhere are devoting resources to building inane apps that reward you for clicking slot machines of characters or other silly stuff.

Or maybe I’m just an old man with a shotgun yelling at the kids to get off my lawn. Except the shotgun is a NES Zapper, and the kids are the developers messing with the retail and service model in ways that maximize profit, but completely destroy loyalty and balance of their games in the process.

But who cares, they’re free to play probably, so just throw it away and pick out another one from the rapidly growing bin.

I agree completely but then I am a twisted and bitter old man still trying to perfect my over ip force choke.

Right there with you on these items. I think it comes down to companies just wanting to increase there bottom line, so they only see the dollars roll in when using these selling tactics. They are only now coming to realize that it alienates a good portion of their customer base in the long run, once people realize that they have been taken.

If you believe you can make games of equal or better quality at a cheaper price, you'll make a good living for yourself and your coworkers, while providing great value to the gaming public. You don't even have to be a coder or artist, just bring your superior knowledge of how to run the business while paying your talent what they're worth.

-IF NOT- then stop ranting about what other people charge for the things that they have created. There are plenty of things in gaming that I don't think are worth the price. Guess what? I don't buy them and bid the developer a "good day." If cash wrecks game balance, I don't play. If enough people agree with me, the developer changes their ways (or fails, and future developers don't go down that road). If a friend on Facebooks knowingly spams my wall with their idiotic game, then they weren't really a friend. If Guild Wars 2 or Diablo 3 launch at $800 each, I laugh at what I think is a horrible decision and leave them on the shelf.

Believe it or not, I don't stand in front of the Ferrari dealership shaking my fist and shouting "You're charging too much for something that will get me to work and the grocery store the same as a Hyundai would!" I want a Ferrari. I can't afford a Ferrari. Some people can. And that's just fine. I have no rage against the sellers or the buyers that are in a market I don't want to be in. That would have to come from feeling entitled to take away the freedom of someone else, to do what they want with what they made from the sweat of their brows. If you cared about the gaming community more than your personal wants, you'd applaud publishers for trying to find innovative and *optional* ways to get the money they need.

Nice subtle attack there my friend. Free speech don't like it don't read it you have your opinion I have mine. I actually know many of the artist and creators that sweat to make these games. The ones that I know do not like what is happening at the corporate level either. In fact there has been more cutting of jobs and longer hours lower pay for these people (articles on this site about this fact). While stock holder returns increase and executive wages grow as they become more top heavy working on money making then product creation. The largest salaries in the industry are made by people with no involvement in the creation process. From the clear rage in your post you are likely a very angry person hope you can work that out. All the best :)

Hey Stow, GET OFF MY LAWN! :D I couldn't resist man but hey, you know too well how I feel about all this crap...

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