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Capcom: Used Sales 'Not A Factor' In  The Mercenaries  Save System
Capcom: Used Sales 'Not A Factor' In The Mercenaries Save System
June 28, 2011 | By Kyle Orland, Kris Graft

June 28, 2011 | By Kyle Orland, Kris Graft
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

This week, gamers were grabbing the torches and pitchforks following reports that Capcom's Nintendo 3DS title Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D would not allow users to reset save data.

Tiny wording on the game's cartridge reportedly reads, "Note: Saved data on this software cannot be reset," giving the impression that the original buyer's progress is permanently tied to that copy, rendering it no fun for anyone else who would play it afterwards -- such as a secondhand buyer.

A Capcom rep confirmed to Gamasutra that saves cannot be reset, but he claimed that it was in no way a business decision.

"In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, all mission progress is saved directly to the Nintendo 3DS cartridge, where it cannot be reset," the rep said.

"The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability in order to improve mission scores. In addition, this feature does not remove any content available for users," he added. "Secondhand game sales were not a factor in this development decision, so we hope that all our consumers will be able to enjoy the entirety of the survival-action experiences that the game does offer."

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a third-person shooter that spins off of the "mercenaries" mini-games that were introduced in previous Resident Evil games. Players fight against the clock, defeating as many enemies as possible within a time limit.

Some game publishers and developers have been implementing methods of trying to deter used game sales, as game makers don't receive any cut from the highly profitable secondhand market.

Game companies have tried to add value to copies of new games, such as one-time-use codes for downloadable content -- content that secondhand buyers would have to purchase separately.

[UPDATE: This isn't the first time a Nintendo 3DS game has denied players the ability to delete save data -- Sega's Super Monkey Ball 3D also saves progress permanently.]

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Dr Sleep
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Dictators in the middle-east have better PR than this.

This is like a hearing a man say that the fact that he just dumped a bucket of water over his head had nothing in the world to do with the fact that he was on fire. Asinine. Manufacturers have been coming up with these lame solutions to revenue stream issues for years. However it's not enough that they can't seem to work their way to a model that doesn't somehow screw their customers, then they have to drop these bald-faced lies on us when someone rounds up the cojones to actually confront them about it.

This makes me not want to buy Capcom products, and considering how into Street Fighter I am, that's really saying something.

E Zachary Knight
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This "explanation" makes less sense than the actual "feature" What function does this actual provide? Is there some save limitation on 3DS game cards that did not exist in the last 20 years of handheld game cartridges that prevents save files from being erased? Does Capcom honestly believe that no one will want to play the game from scratch, even first hand buyers? How many saves does the game allow? If it is limited to any number, the game is worthless not just in the used market, but also to any household with more than 1 person sharing a 3DS.

Lo Pan
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Exactly, where is the positive to this decision.

Matthew Mouras
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Agreed. I'd like to hear the explanation for this design decision. This makes me think of choices like the save system in Steel Battalion - except that was a deliberate and interesting mechanic. Capcom's implementation just seems cynical.

Mike Reddy
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Yes, and there's no Eject Button either!

Ben Lippincott
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I was on the fence about this game until I heard this. $40 for a game that you can truly only play once? No thanks Capcom.

Keith Patch
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It's a feature that has no impact on second-hand sales... as nobody will want to buy it in the first place with such a feature.

Michiel Hendriks
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Capcom, welcome to my shitlist of publishers (which only contained ubisoft so far).

I probably wasn't even going to bother with this game, but DRM crap like this will grant you the privilege of not getting my money for any game you put out for as long as you use DRM like this (+an extension of me 'feeling like it').

Jose Talbott
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Witcher 2 is the most "PC friendly game" to come out no DRM, No online activation, ect. and right now on torrents sites it's one of the most pirated games so even making a quality product with user friendly features still get's you screwed in then end.

The faster we go all digital the better : )

Sting Newman
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@Jose talbott

You're an idiot, all good games get pirated that doesn't mean you're getting "punished" the tradition of "try before you buy" has always existed on the PC. The internet now allows you to reward only the best developers instead of devs being able to push and sell junk.

Eric Kwan
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I suppose this could be useful when Gamestop tries to sell you an opened game as "new." If there's save data on there already, you know they lied to you.

Then again, Capcom has already done this with its Phoenix Wright series. After a case is unlocked, it stays unlocked for good, even if you select New Game. It's just that each case plays out the same way every time, so you lose nothing for having the cases unlocked, other than that you can see what their names are before you're supposed to.

Mike Smith
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The denial of it being a business move aside, I think disabling deleting of save games for a game like this is a great idea.

It essentially just keeps your high scores / unlocked content. Why would a person ever want to start over from scratch unless they were purchasing a used copy? I don't see this hurting the principle purchasers experience.

The tying of save games to cartridges is one thing that has helped increase the new game sales of DS titles. This is taking that one step further.

I think this is a brilliant business move. It encourages people to purchase the game new instead of getting it second hand.

Two thumbs up for the brilliance of this business decision.

E Zachary Knight
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Here is one problem with your magical world:

My wife and I both play games and my son is starting to like playing games on his own. That is 3 separate people playing the game.

If I were to buy a game with this "feature" we would not be able to play the full experience on our own.

There are also people who like to play games from the beginning every so often. Or people who start playing but stop for a period of time and then choose to start from the beginning rather than try to figure out where they were and what they were doing in their old save.

Or if I let my brother borrow the game. He would not be able to start over from scratch if he borrowed it. but I guess that is just as evil as piracy according to some publishers.

This is not a useful feature. This is a stupid move. If someone wants to keep a save that has all the scores and content unlocked, that should be their choice and not the game developer.

Biff Bird
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I usually start from scratch if I'm starting a new game, in fact I find it a little hard to imagine why someone wouldn't want to. If everything is already unlocked from the beginning, a large portion of the sense of accomplishment is taken away from the playthrough. Look at the last couple of Call of Duty games. They worked the "start from scratch" idea into the game with prestige mode.

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They should rename this game "Resident Evil: You ran out of ammo, better buy a new copy!" so people know what they're getting into.

Any consumer who assumes this game is anything like any other video game on the market today is purchasing under false pretenses and should sue for false advertising.

Additionally, someone should notify the Department of Toxic Substances Control of this brand new source of E-Waste. Preferably before the game is officially released, to maximize the effectiveness in keeping all this plastic out of landfills and ensure it is made from 100% recyclable cartridges.

Georg Gruber
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Details? What exactly happens here, why would anybody even care for 2nd hand sales?

As long as I can start the game from the beginning (meaning ALL content is available) then I gain even an advantage because when I guy it used then somebody will have saved something on it. No harm for me?

Or do I forget something?

E Zachary Knight
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Well, you won't be able to start fresh even if you wanted to. If you want to loan the game to a friend, sibling, significant other, they cannot start fresh. If you have more than one person who play games in your house, each person would have to buy their own copy of the game rather than all sharing a copy. That seems like a crap move to me.

Dave Voyles
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Wow, this is almost as bad as Sony (Or Quantic Dream, I should say) dropping the ball with Heavy Rain. You cannot move save files as they are locked to that console. Who's bright idea was that?

And who would pay $40 for a port of a mini-game from a 7 year old game? You could buy Mercs on iOS last week for $1.

Jeff Beaudoin
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It sounds to me like this is basically the equivalent of your saved scores on Tetris not resetting.

The type of game has a lot to do with how much affect this actually has on you. If it is basically a time/score attack type of game, then the saved game is irrelevant, because it doesn't actually save anything of consequence.

Chris Proctor
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Portal Co-op did this - you could replay the same content but couldn't do it fresh, and so would miss some of the same content.

I found it annoying.

David Brown
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Is this some sorta desperation move? All I hear now in the headlines is how "in trouble" the game industry is... and then companies go and do something like this?

Time for new blood, new minds, new outlooks. Time for some to retire methinks. Games are supposed to be fun, not work/annoying.

The Witcher 2 might be the most pirated game out there.... but at least people want their hands on it. The first developers who are able to monetize off of piracy will win the day :P

DanielThomas MacInnes
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Haha haha haha....Oh, this is priceless. I'm actually surprised that nobody had thought of this before Capcom. If only game companies had thought of this during the heyday of video rental stores? How many games did I rent from Video Vision or Blockbuster back in the day?

Here's a dumb question: what happens after you've finished the game? Are you supposed to set the cartridge on fire and burn it for kindling? What if I want to play again at a later date? What if someone else in my household wants to play?

This isn't a case of greed as much as desperation. Game companies are desperate to find new revenue streams. I dunno, call me old fashioned, but why can't they just cut production costs? This doesn't fill me with confidence. What happened to Capcom? They used to be cool. Just like Sega, they went to pieces after Dreamcast died.

Ah, well, back to the Sega Genesis for me. I can play my carts whenever I want. Success!