Lest week we covered some of the underhanded, shady, and unacceptable practices that are all too common in the gaming world. Today we round out our list of things that we have to continue to expose and reject. Let’s jump right in.
Thou Shalt Not Force Bad DRM On Paying Customers
DRM (Digital Rights Management) as defined by Wikipedia is:
A set of access control technologies for restricting the use of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works. DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.
In games, DRM is generally used to combat piracy, which is a legitimately justified step for game makers to take. Unfortunately, like so many other things, the games industry has taken it to ludicrous extremes that not only fail to stop pirates but also damage the customers experience. From always on requirements to performance killing programs like Denuvo, there are just so many instances of these steps only harming the people who actually paid for the game.
EA’s Origin service once locked out the entire country of Mayanmar from playing any games they had purchased due to trade embargoes from the U.S.. These weren’t all online games. Some of them were single player games that had absolutely no need to connect to the internet except for those built in by EA to verify the license.
This can also prevent the selling of games from the original purchaser to another individual, even if it is a physical copy of the game.
The biggest issue here is that these programs do very little to stop pirates. Most major game releases are available to pirates within days of the launch. Sometimes even before the launch. Copyright holders should protect their property. They should not, however, do so in a way that places all the burden on those who actually paid for the products. If a company cannot balance those two things effectively, they dont need to use DRM at all.
Thou Shalt Not Cut Content For Resale
The connected world we live in has opened up a massive amount of possibilities for gaming. From online play, digital download games, patches, and more it has revolutionized the industry. Unfortunately it has also revolutionized greed.
Game publishers now have the ability to sell us more content for games post launch in a variety of forms and while that would see to be a good thing it has led to a series of increasingly shady marketing practices. Games will be released with entire sections cut out of the original product to be sold later as an add on. This is,unfortunately, one of the trickiest things to catch from the consumer side. The company can simply say that it was always intended to be an add on. Without someone from the company denying that there is very little to stand on.
There are several practices that we can oppose that show clear intentions of squeezing money out of customers any way they can. Day one DLC is the most glaring example. Its already done. Why is it not in the game I’m paying for.Exclusive pre order content is a terrible practice. They are effectively telling customers that unless they preorder from certain retailers they dont get everything. That’s garbage. Paywalling content behind a season pass that has to be bought with the DLC not even named is telling players that they have to trust the publisher with their money or theyll miss out. If a company cannot create quality content after the initial launch then they dont need to be in the business of selling extra content.
Thos Shalt Not Stick To Arbitrary Price Points
So this one is going to be controversial but hear me out because I’m really smart. The $60 standard price point for a major release needs to go away. It needs to go away for two reasons. Firstly, it artificially inflates the cost of some games that are in no way worth that much but because they’re from a major company they get away with it. Secondly, it is part of why these companies do so much of the other shady shit they do. Making a game costs way more than it used to (for both legitimate and stupid reasons) and selling a game for $60 because that’s what they have charged for so long is ridiculous.
The flip side is that game companies could potentially charge more for games and keep going with their bullshit but consumers have something on their side: the free market. If game companies over charge for things less people will buy them and they will have to lower prices. If two similar titles release around the same time competition will drive them to undercut one another to get sales. If a company can’t adapt to that they will go out of business.
Thou Shalt Not Tie Progression To Payments
This should really go without saying and I’ve ranted about this plenty of times so I’ll make this brief.
If you charge money for a game and either balance a game to make payments all but neccessary, or if you flat out force players to pay to move forward, you are a piss poor game company and you need to fuck right off.
Thou Shalt Admit Mistakes And Then Fix Them
People screw up. It happens. That is not always a big issue. The problem comes when someone refuses to admit that ig was a mistake and is compounded when they dont do anything about it.
If a game launches with a problem, the people responsible need to say so. They need to apologize and let the consumer know what they’re doing to correct it. Too many companies currently work on the assumption that if they ignore the problem it will go away. The worst offenders actively lie and say it wasn’t their fault or flatly deny there is a problem. Part of maintaining a healthy company is accountability. From top to bottom, every game company has to be held responsible for their actions, both good and bad. If they cant do that, they dont need to be in business.
So there you have it. Ten Commandments that if followed would correct the majority of problems facing the modern gaming community. Now it’s up to us, the players, to hold these companies to a standard that respects us and the entertainment medium we love. Because if we don’t it’s clear that they won’t do it themselves.
Call it out, be loud, and don’t take any shit from these people.