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 Arkham City 's Catwoman Content Tied To Online Pass
Arkham City's Catwoman Content Tied To Online Pass
October 13, 2011 | By Tom Curtis

October 13, 2011 | By Tom Curtis
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Following a trend set by other major publishers, Warner Bros has revealed that every new copy of Batman: Arkham City will come bundled with a VIP online pass, which will serve as the only means of accessing the game's playable Catwoman content, reports Eurogamer.

With the pass, players will gain access to four story scenes that feature Catwoman, and will be able to play as the comic book femme fatale in the game's challenge mode. Without the pass, the character will appear in the game's campaign, though she will not be playable.

For those who buy the game second-hand, the VIP pass will be available to purchase for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live or $10 on PlayStation Network.

"Playing as Catwoman is not required to complete the game," a Warner Bros. representative told Eurogamer.

A number of other titles have used similar tactics to dissuade used game sales, including Ubisoft's Driver: San Francisco, THQ's Homefront, and a number of first-party Sony titles.

[UPDATE: An internal memo obtained by Kotaku confirms that major retailer Gamestop will be offering Catwoman DLC codes to used Arkham City purchasers.]


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Comments


John McMahon
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So they announce this content during E3, it's their big reveal and they say it's 10% of the game you still play as Batman. Now days before release, no you have to pay to get this content that we originally said (or implied) would come with the game on release. Pssh.



For the Arkham series of games, Warner Bros doesn't need to trick people to buy it new.



Edit: Thanks Joe

Joe Wreschnig
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"Now days before release, no you have to pay to get this content."



This may surprise you, but you have to pay to get the other 90% of the content too.



Do you mean, "you have to pay more"? That's a more accurate statement, but the whole story is, you have to pay more to play this if you payed less for the rest of the game.

Tom Baird
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For every game copy in circulation somebody didn't have to pay more for the Catwoman content. You too can be part of that exclusive club, by not buying used.

John McMahon
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@Tom Why the heck wouldn't I get it new? That's as soon as I am ever going to get it legally.



As I stated, Arkham Asylum is a great game and there's a lot of confidence that Rocksteady will continue that quality just like the CoD, Halo, and Mass Effect games. They have a strong tradition (albeit Arkham doesn't) of quality game experiences. Microsoft doesn't have to plead for people to buy Halo games nor does Activision.



Warner Bros should have to do that for the Arkham games. That is what I was saying. I've had the game preordered since January, I want this game and I will get it. But not so I can get the Catwoman content, I'll get it because it is a quality game that is worth the price.

Cody Scott
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its not pleading for the to buy the game, its to encourage the game being bought new, and not used.

Michael G
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What an amazing, unhackable solution to the piracy problem. Oh wait, Ubisoft already tried it.

Enrique Hernandez
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But this has nothing to do with piracy, this is so they can still get a cut of second hand sales.

Jonathan Osment
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Used games and the industry it is made up of make up roughly 75% of the profit loss a publisher will face. Pirates really have never been the problem, though they are demonized quite a bit, most of the times they cant even be counted as consumers or potential customers. Used game buyers on the other hand are potential customers. So those who buy games used in regards to current and last gen games are worse than pirates given that fact.



This is purely aimed at "de-incentivizing" second hand sales, which is a good thing. Too bad that update shows that GS has a free pas.

Michael Yochum
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I love this idea to keep making money off a product after it has left the show room floor! I really can't wait to see car manufacturers open their eyes and take up on this business model some how.



Games should have all content when they come out and stop promoting pre-order or buy it here dlc! Later developed and released dlc is one thing, but not getting to play everything on the disk with out a code is out right evil. I know Rage just did it because one of the code's downloads was supposed to contain extra vehicles. The download was only 1 kb!



Here is a real solution that stops making the gaming industry so money hungry. The government or other organisation needs to step in and control used game sales in the same manor as pre-purchased event tickets are sold and bought. Manage Gamestop's margin of profit from used game purchases and sales with restrictions.

John Martins
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I'm already hearing people crying about "corporate greed". Who's really the greedy one here? The hardworking developer who slaved hour after hour for two years to bring us the game, or the lazy gamer who contributed nothing and thinks he's entitled to the result at a fraction of the price? I'm not against used game sales in theory (or practise really), but I'm not against developers being paid for their work either.

Brandon Karratti
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I'm glad that someone else sees the same thing. Gamers, for some reason or another, just always seem to think that they're entitled to everything, ever, and shouldn't have to pay for things.



And for those responses that think otherwise, the thing is, you're not paying EXTRA. If you buy the game new, then you're getting everything included in a new game. You're not paying more. They just want you to buy new, not used. I really don't see what the big deal is.

Russell Watson
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@Brandon



I've noticed a common opinion amongst gamers on a few big and small game sites, mostly expressed around the arrival of project 10 dollar. That is they think they are entitled to any content that was created during the development process. If content made during the dev process is offered after for an additional fee, then they are being 'conned'.



Off the top of my head I can't think of any other market where consumers think they are entitled to any work done, that contributed to getting a product to market, *before* that product hit the market. They have no problem with buying director's cuts of films however.



It baffles me.

Maurício Gomes
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I understand them perfectly...



It is because films, Director Cuts are made LATER.



When you have to pay extra, for stuff that sometimes is ALREADY ON THE DISK (Burnout Paradise I am looking to you), people feel conned, because gamers buy what is in the box, ALL of it, the concept of buying "half" of the contents of the box, and then paying more, is like if you bought a car, but need to pay more to sit on the seats (they are already there, only you are not allowed to sit on them... it may sound silly, it is because IT IS silly).







Seriously, I see people throwing the word "entitlement" around, just to accuse others of being greedy while being greedy themselves.



You must understand, that although you are working for pay because you need the money, that will not work without your costumers, being inimical to them is foolish, believing that they are "wrong" is a good way to eventually get bankrupt.



Gamers want the entire game, once, no surprise payments, including those that buy from bargain bins, or sell to them, plainly because that way they can buy more games. If you screw them, they will screw you back, be it not buying, or pirating, or never buying a new game, or only playing games borrowed from friends, or rented, etc...

Joe Wreschnig
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@Mauricio,



Director's Cuts are released later, but made with material that existed long before the theatrical and original DVD cuts were made.



An analogous position in game development would be to have the content not on the disk, still charge the $10 for it, and then also require the player to download the data. How is that better? It's more wasted time for the player, it's bandwidth costs for the publisher.



These addons are made and the development is budgeted based on receiving $X extra for the content. That it's "on the disc" is irrelevant - it is on there because the game cost $60 rather than $50, so demanding to get it for $50 because "it's already on there" is nonsense.



This charge is transparent to users, and while I'm generally not a strong believer in "market forces", this is a pretty straightforward force to drive the price of used games down by $10.



(Edit: According to http://kotaku.com/5849828/dont-fret-used-gamers-gamestop-has-catw
oman-codes-for-preowned-arkham-city-purchasers it's already happened. GameStop is eating the difference and buying codes, presumably at a discount, and attaching them to used sales of the games. Gamers pay the same as usual for a used copy. Distributors/publishers (and so hopefully also developers) get more money. GameStop makes less ridiculous margins on used sales.)



Saying this is "screwing customers" is ignorant. It's screwing GameStop, and it's screwing customers to the extent GameStop is a customer of publishers (which they are). People buying the game used are not Warner Bros. customers. People buying it new are getting screwed to the extent some of the game is now locked to some online account, but Steam's success makes it clear most people don't view that as screwing. (I actually do think this is pretty terrible, but as long as people cast the disagreement as you do, as "I want the content on the disc even if I didn't pay for it" rather than "I want the content I paid for forever", no progress can be made.)

John McMahon
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@Maurício I agree. Resident Evil 5 did it with the vs mode (I think) that people had to pay for post-launch.



The reasoning, if it is already on the disc that was at retail, why is it treated as different content?



DLC like costumes I don't see value in, but missions or new stories that may have been started at prior to launch is fine as long as it's nothing like Deus Ex: HR's Missing Link where not only is the content "filling in" time "lost" in the game, but isn't even integrated within the structure of the game.



Was that originally in the game? Doubt it if it couldn't be integrated, but the story elements most likely were there. That doesn't mean it came with the game, unless Montreal did out it on the disc and simply didn't take the time to integrate it.



Concerning entitlement, I do feel entitled to learn about the game's surprises and story beats while playing the game, not months before the game is released when I have no way to independently experience it. However, that just stems from a lack of control over filtering spoilerish articles on news sites and not blaming the developers.

Sylvester O'Connor
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I also agree with you Mauricio. I find it so funny that people are so quick to point out how developers are losing money on used games. I especially get upset with content that is already on the disc. Last generation, you never heard any complaints because the technology wasn't there. This is nothing more than companies finding other ways to get paid using the used game markets as an excuse. Show me some numbers from Call of Duty that involved them losing on sales because of people buying it used.



Personally, I buy new games at discounted prices because that is how I show my thanks for them making what they make. But I do not support charging people extra for on disc content. I have seen this argument made on this site more than one time and I know people won't agree with me that see otherwise, however, name me a product where they charge you for usage of additional things that come with the item. A friend of mine bought a new Chevy Malibu. He bought the standard model of the car which does not include Sirrius Radio or OnStar. There is no LCD in the front panel of the car. Now if he purchased the car and it came with the LCD display and OnStar already activated and they told him he can't use it without paying extra, that is a different story. You get what you pay for.



Might not like the example, but please. I support our friends in the developing community as I along with several others actually work in this industry developing. But I am also aware of how Publishers are trying hard to squeeze out every cent that they can when a game is first release because they believe that after the first 2 weeks, they lose out on money because people usually that didn't like the game sell it used. I wish people would remember the interest of the people that they make games for so that gamers can show their appreciation by supporting those that make great games.

A W
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Paying extra to unlock content already placed on a disc is not comparative to a Director's Cut. A Director's Cut is noting more than a DVD re-cut of film you already saw at the movies.

Joe Wreschnig
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Apparently (according to the latest reports), the content is not on the disc. So Mauricio, Sylvester, does that change your position at all? If it doesn't, can you please drop the crap about "it's on the disc so I deserve it" and bring up the points you actually care about?

Sylvester O'Connor
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Certainly Joe. I didn't know that it wasn't on the disc. Previous reports said that it was. If not, then fine I don't mind. Just like with Fallout, DLC is DLC and I am personally a fan of extra content that extends the life of a game that I purchase.



My issue is that it is only now during this generation that people choose to be divided about this issue of whether or not content already on the disc should be included in the initial purchase of the game or unlocked later on by some kind of charge. It wasn't an issue last generation but all of a sudden it is now? I do play some PC games but have always been a console gamer in case the point might be made of it existing prior to now. Should I understand that now it is available for me to be charged for this so that makes it okay.



Help me understand why it is wrong for me to have the opinion that I do.

Joe Wreschnig
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@Sylvester,



My question is, why does it matter if it's on the disc? The situation is *functionally* identical except if it's on the disc you don't have to spend time to download it. So not having it on the disc seems wholly worse to me. So complaining about on the disc vs. not on the disc seems entirely artificial to me. The whole notion is based on the idea that informational goods should behave exactly like physical goods. I think that's totally wrong, and I don't think that's an anti-player position - for example, I also support unlimited time/format shifting rights.



My real concern would be things like, are they actually selling me only a partial game? (Can you even measure that?) Is the product advertising and labeling clear that I'm not getting it? If I do pay for the unlock, will I be able to play it seamlessly five years from now? Can I keep it if I switch platforms? But as long as people keep focusing on "I'm owed it because it's on the disc", the actual discussions that need to happen don't happen.



Content for plenty of things you never got to do has been on the disc or in the ROM for most console versions (not so much NES and Gameboy, because there wasn't a lot of space to waste). For example, Shadow of the Colossus contains a huge area you cannot reach, on the disc. The only difference now is that companies can increase budgets and afford to finish those areas by charging you more.

matt landi
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@Mauricio

In Burnout Paradise what additional content was on disc that had to be purchased to unlock? The car packs, cops & robbers pack & big surf island were all DLC.

Maurício Gomes
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matt landi I am mentioning the version a friend had for PC, that was sold in a premium box or something, that version you could even find hacks on internet that unlocked the "DLC" without paying.

Sylvester O'Connor
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Ok Joe. Very well explained. I can see your point of view. While I still hold my opinion, I also see what your saying and I have to say that I also agree with the questions that you raise as well. Such an example of a partial game actually was THQ''s ATV game that they released I believe last year. And please correct me if I am wrong, but I didn't mind the model that they chose.



The game came out with whatever was on the disc. However, if you wanted to increase your playability, You could get more of the DLC that they offered online for more tracks, cars, and skins. I mean as long as it is not something there that they withold for you to purchase to enjoy, I don't really have a problem with it. But thanks. I think it is a very interesting topic that I keep seeing popping up in the industry. Thanks for the feedback.

Michael Yochum
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I absolutely agree with Mauricio, it is not greedy to want a my used game to have all the content that came when it was new!!! It is not greedy to want both Catwoman and Robin instead of being limited to one depending on where I purchase the game. DLC is for items developed after the game. If you want to coin your fanbase then move over to some type of free to play model. DEVELOPERS, PROGRAMMERS, and every body else gets paid by the publisher. Its their banks that get bloated by this crap. You barely receive an indirect effect of this when the publishers pay for your next game. I am sick of every one in the industry thinking that once you have gone GOLD you still own the PRODUCT being sold! It is not yours, hence you SOLD IT. Don't sell the game if you still want ownership of it! Duh... Common sense!



This poor desire for publishers to milk used game consumers and hurt illegitimate companies like Gamestop needs to stop. This practice didn't exist back when the gaming industry was something to be proud of. Publishers don't like Gamestop? Stop selling your games to them! you will change their practices.



I am so tired of fellow programmers bitching about their pay. We all know that gaming is not about money. You don't like your job, go over to Oracle or Sun.

Gonzalo Daniel
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So another case where the pirate version is better than the original? Spore much?

Adam Bishop
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No, the original still comes with all the content. This is about used games. Fun fact - a developer makes an identical amount of money from a pirated game as they make from a used game.

E Zachary Knight
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Adam,



Incorrect. A pirated game is an unauthorized copy of the game. It was never in the hands of a paying customer.There could be an infinite number of copies available this way none of which are paid for.



A used game however was paid for by a customer at some point. It is just the ownership of the game that has transferred.



If a developer sells 10 million new games, there will never be more than 10 million total games, used or new, in circulation. All of which have been paid for at some point.

Adam Bishop
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I'm confused E, in what way do you believe a publisher makes money from a used copy of a game? Let's look at it this way:



10 million new copies of Game A are sold. 20 million people also pirate the game. How much money does the publisher make? Their cut of the game's price x10,000,000.



Here's an alternate scenario - 10 million new copies of Game A are sold. 10 million people also pirate the game. Instead of pirating the game, 10 million people buy the game used. How much money does the publisher make? Their cut of the game's price x10,000,000.



It doesn't matter to the publisher how many of those 20 million non-new purchasers buy the game used or pirate the game, their bottom line is still only affected by the new game. So there's no particularly good reason for a publisher to try to make a used game better than a pirated game, because they both affect the publisher in the same way.

Jonathan Osment
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Hardly. Lets face one big reality, used games and the industry that supplies them does more damage than piracy every will. If someone is going to spend money on a game, thereby making them a potential customer (something a pirate is not always going to be), then the money they do spend should go to the publish/developer. Publishers are looking for fair and well non alienating ways to dissuade the purchase of a used game. With holding content is pretty much a bad practice, but so is buying used. Its quite rational to reward those who buy new (in which profit for product, and software license use, goes to those who make it). Verner vs Autodesk has shown that end user license agreements can be enforced, therefore I would rather see a stronger push to limit via legal means the ability to sell used games. On the flip side I would hope developers get paid more for their work.

E Zachary Knight
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Adam,



With piracy - 10 million people buy. 20 million people pirate. That is 30 million people playing the game at the cost of 10 million games.



With used games - 10 million people buy new. 10 million people hand off the game by either giving it away or selling it forward. Three is never more than 10 million people playing. So at all times there are 10 million people playing at the cost of 10 million games.



With piracy it is always +++++ Players are added with no players leaving to counter act the growth.



With used games it is +-+-+- With used games players are leaving and new ones replacing them. But there are never more owners than copies of the game. Thus there is no money lost.

Joe Wreschnig
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@Adam,



The difference is limited supply. Without piracy, if X people want the game but only Y used copies are available, only Y people can get it without giving the publisher money and X-Y will have to buy it new. With piracy, Y grows unbounded.



If you're a beancounter, you can work from some assumptions like N% of players will sell games and they'll be bought used; N% of those people will sell it; eventually you have a stable result for how many times copies are resold, and it's not totally inaccurate to say you got 10 sales at $6 instead of 1 sale at $60. Which is an extremely useful number to have if you're trying to figure out how much DLC or IAP you can sell, or how many games to manufacture in the first place.



Piracy offers you no such model. There's N% of players who will pay $0, and no limit to the growth of N.

E Zachary Knight
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Anthony,



I would argue that many used buyers wouldn't by new if there was no used option.



Used games act as a check on game prices. Without used games to drive the retail price down, there would be no incentive for publishers to reduce the price of new over time.

Jonathan Osment
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E Zachary,



The fallacy in your logic is that used games, by taking much needed revenue from the publishers, INCREASES costs for new games. In the past DLC was typically free as content patches. The used game market paved the way for new content to be bought as opposed to given away, furthermore now its promoting the with holding of content ala Mass Effect 2.



To those who only buy used games, it shows a false sense of entitlement. They hurt the industry of that which they demand more of. There is no logical or rational excuse for it.



Furthermore do you think people should follow the EULA (end user license agreement)? By supporting used games you essentially back the idea of ignoring a user license agreement.



As cost of production goes up, more revenue is needed. This revenue can be gained by keeping the same prices but increasing the number of sales. That number is severely hurt by adding a used game market, one which often sells for nearly new prices.



There is no good competition or price balancing coming from this market. Used game markets are the same as leeching off of anothers work, its non competitive with the actual content creator. The leeches will compete with one another, not the host, which suffers more and more from it.

Tom Baird
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One major different hinted at here between pirates and used game purchasers is that a used game purchaser has admitted a willingness to spend money on the product.



You can't count a pirate as a lost sale, and you can argue ad infinitum as to how many pirates would have been customers, but with regards to used game purchasers they all would have purchased it at the correct price. What that price is depends on the customer, but considering a lot of used games are only $5-$10 cheaper it's hard to argue that most would not have bought the game if it was lacking a used copy discount.



You can say that New games wouldn't decrease in price, but that ignores the fact that stores/publisher warehouses don't have infinite space. You have to sell off the old to make space for the new. Also, if those used customers wouldn't have paid the higher price, but will the lower one, that's plenty of incentive to gradually decrease the price of new games over time.

Jamie Mann
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"This is about used games. Fun fact - a developer makes an identical amount of money from a pirated game as they make from a used game. "



This is only true insofar as the developer receives no direct revenue from "used sales" of their title. However, they do get the following:

1) Indirect revenue: at least some people will have traded in an old game to buy their game

2) Advertising: people who bought the used title may choose to buy the developer's next game



Unfortunately, the number of people who trade in an old game to buy a new game is something which is only known to game retailers such as Gamestop. However, I've done some simple guesstimates based on Gamestop's reported revenues; it's not unrealistic to estimate that 10% of new-game revenue comes directly from traded-in games (based on just 50% of the returned value being spent on new games).



(I need to sit down and finish the Gamasutra article I was writing about used-game sales; it's been on the back burner for a month or so, due to my getting a new job. You can see the numbers in question however, by looking at the following graph: http://www.xboxindiegames.co.uk/tmp/used_sales_new_price_funding1
.png)



As for 2); I'm an anecdotal example - I bought Arkham Asylum used after hearing good things about it (I've generally been wary of licenced media ever since the appalling Predator and Transformer games back in the 1980s ;) ), and found it good enough to justify picking up the sequel at launch.



Ignoring the indirect benefits of the used-game market is disingenious at best and downright dangerous at worst. Fundamentally, eliminating the used-game market will reduce the overall amount of money in the games "economy", which in turn will reduce the sales of new games.



Interestingly, there is at least one publisher who recognises that this is a concern - Gabe Newell is on record as saying that they're looking into enabling used-game sames on Valve...

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-08-25-valves-gabe-newell-i
nterview?page=3

Alan Rimkeit
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So I will wait for the Game of the Year edition with all content included when the game has hit the Greatest Hits list and will cost me only $30 new. Sure I buy new, just on the cheap. ;) That is what I did for the first Arkham game.

Gregory Kinneman
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Buying the game new (even at retail once it's marked down) gives me 100% of the content? Sweet!

Matt Coohill
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As pointed out in the article, this only effects consumers who buy used and want the additional material. And they can pay the money they've saved via XBL and PSN to get that content. Or, say they borrow the game from a friend, then they're only paying $10 for the full experience.



As everyone points out, it's a chicken and egg issue. Games are too expensive and thus drive the used game market. Top that off with the fact that not everyone has their console connected to the IntarWebZ (especially the less-hard core) and you have a big problem without an easy solution (Direct To Consumer).



Trust me, the moment Nintendo, SONY, Microsoft and anyone else can, they drop physical media and destroy the rental and brick & mortar markets.



At which those entities will create a more dynamic pricing strategies for consumers and thereby make money over longer periods of time. Steam's the obvious example of this, across time the pricing evolves. Want it when it releases? Pay up. Can you afford to wait a month or two for a sale? Nice. Want to buy a whole series in a bundle? Great.



Though some may view this as a wrong turn, I am optimistic that things are going to get better over time.



PS-including all current gen DLC working on next gen boxes. Fingers crossed.

Sylvester O'Connor
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Love the point of view. As a sidenote, there are people speculating that either in the next 2 or 3 cycles of consoles, they might be all digital. But again, I really agree with your point.

Luis Guimaraes
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People don't really read EULAs.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_sale_doctrine#Computer_softwar
e

John McMahon
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All that shows is that the first-sale doctrine is still being applied by consumers and challenged by publishers.



Whether something is in an EULA does not make it right. People always have the right to challenge them.

Jacob Barlaam
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Seems like their cut from second hand sales will be less since they made a deal with Gamestop so that Catwoman is included with a used copy

Joe Wreschnig
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On the contrary, the publisher's cut is probably more now. Previously they were guaranteed $10 (and really probably more like $8 after processing crap) for the set of people that bought used *and* bothered to get the DLC. Now they're getting $X for every used sale via GS. I'm sure they have plenty of statistics from previous games to set X to a value that's going to get them the same amount of money or better.

james sadler
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I really don't have a problem with this. I think it was wrong on WB to show people the catwoman stuff at E3 and then make a quick change to say that it is now an added feature, but the whole idea of charging for content on used games in ok with me. My friend let me borrow his copy of Mass Effect 2 about a year ago. I thought about all the added stuff they game the "new" buyers and if it was worth it to pay the cost for me to play that content. Nope. Its just one of those things where people have to take stock in what they're buying. More often then not the cost of a used game through the usual channels is not that different from a new copy. Personally I would pay the extra cost for knowing that the copy I buy in new condition (though I can't say how much it has been pissing me off that I buy a new game at gamestop and they've opened it) and now there is the additional benefit of having additional content.



Granted in 2-3 years from now when they aren't selling really any new copies of the game they should get rid of the "pass" thing as it would only prevent anyone from buying it at that point. If the game is costing $5-10 bucks in the bargain bin why would anyone want to pay the additional $10?

Kenneth Wesley
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You know who doesn't use online passes? Nintendo.

Maurício Gomes
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@Anthony



I think the point is: Look at nintendo profits (some billion... now that they are having "trouble", when they are alright, it is some billions... And I am talking about PROFIT)

matt landi
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Nintendo's online functionality isn't exactly intuitive for most Wii users

Cordero W
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It's mainly because Nintendo is making a statement that local multiplayer still exists as much as online multiplayer. Mario Party and mario Kart are examples of games that are just more fun playing in a room with friends. Same with Street Fighter, which is a heavily community-based game. The latency online makes some tactics nonviable, so having a local group of friends is a much better experience.



In fact, online is only used mostly for multiplayer by the AAA fps games currently out, and exclusively is a feature for PC games. But it isn't a necessity.

Nou Phabmixay
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It looks like having DLC on disc is too confusing for consumers. Content costs money to make before or after the game ships. But if you make that content before release, it's expected to be included without further purchase. As if it was cheaper to do before the release.



Oh and I'm glad there was a car analogy in there somewhere.

Miles Robson
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Wait, if this content isn't on the disc, how are people who are unable to access Live/PSN going to get it? They just...aren't gonna get 10% of the game?

John McMahon
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Yep, seems so.



But generally, that's what happens for anyone that got Fallout 3 or any other game that came with DLC. Very rarely is the game re-released with the content ala Fallout 3. Mass Effect 2's content is still only accessible from the XBox Live, PSN, or other online services.


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