The Day One DLC Trap

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Eclectic Dreck:

Yes, that is precisely what I'm saying. I would have assumed it was clear when I ranted at length on this very point. The reason I'm NOT upset is because none of these pieces are important to the game. Were they necessary I would throw a fit just the same as the rest.

There are those who would justifiably argue that the stash is an essential gameplay device and very much a vital part of the game. However, what is vital and what is not vital is more of an opinion so arguing about what is or isn't vital is pointless. Technically, even the hats in TF2 could be argued as being a vital part of the game, just as an example. I have no interest in arguing this point so you can either agree or disagree. You've already agreed that anything vital to a game being used as day one DLC is wrong. Therefore, you've proved my point.

EA has been operating in the red for awhile. Industry rumor mills speculate the company won't survive the year without being acquired. In five years the stock value has dropped from a high in the $70/share to less than $20/share.

What's more, I don't consider, even for a moment, day one DLC to be unethical. In fact, from the standpoint of the very purpose of a public traded corporation, not trying to find a way to profit from used game sales would be unethical given such entities exist to make money for the stockholders.

You have a queer idea of ethics. To attempt to argue that anything about money is even ethical makes me feel ethics is a completely foreign concept to you. You clearly don't seem to understand that greed is not ethical and I'm at a loss for trying to convince you otherwise.

I do love when a person takes the moral high ground in an argument because I know with utter certainty no useful discourse will occur. Your moral high ground involved a sense of entitlement where things ought to be given for free for reasons you've been unable to explictly state. Your argument has become circular one post in and amounts to - they shouldn't do it because it's wrong, it's wrong because it annoys me, I deserve things for free and not giving it to me is wrong.

I said it's unethical to treat customers like morons. Selling a game and then charging people money to download a different colored shirt(reference to EA sports games) is a prime example of greed. Day one DLC is no different than that. If a company wants money, they can get it without resorting to nickel and diming people for useless crap and without tearing out chunks of the original game just to charge extra. If you can't understand that greed is ethically wrong then, you're right, no useful discourse will occur on this particular topic.

You're perfectly free to be annoyed by such a trend and I will grant you having that guy standing around in my camp asking for money does violate immersion. If THIS is the source of your complaint then all is well - an intrusion on your game to ask for money is a perfectly justified reason to be annoyed. I can support such a complaint because there are MANY ways to distribute this DLC that doesn't involve kicking immersion in the head every time I head into my camp.

This is the sole reason I refuse to play Dragon Age. It's not the sole reason I loathe EA. Greed tactics will always be the main reason I loathe EA but ruining immersion in a rpg that could otherwise have been a standout title certainly adds to the list. Greed is the number two thing ruining games these days. The number one thing is the morons who allow greed tactics to work.

Look, I'm a poor gamer, I don't have a current gen console, but I plan to buy one in the future, and I don't have internet, I'm stealing sketchy wi fi from my local phone company. So to me DLC is bull, I don't even have ACCESS to internet to download, and buying second hand makes the games cheaper, sometimes by more than 40%! So to try and make a quick buck off of me trying to be a smart consumer is just satanical, honestly if that's what I'm looking forward to when I buy my ps3 or 360 I might just skip it all together and buy games for the ps2 I haven't played.

I don't mind the "free dlc" as found in Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2. I understand why they're dong it. Its a way to combat piracy without hurting the legal purchaser. Its a WAY better solution than the DRM of Mass Effect 1 (for instance). This is a way so that the purchased copy will be better than the the pirated one, like you always talked about Shamus.

LordZ:
-snip-

The most interesting thing about the assertion that this all boils down to greed is that, for this to be true, EA would have to be raking in the cash as the definition points out it must be an excessive desire for wealth. I hardly think a company who's stock has dropped to 25% of it's five year high is generating serious capital for anybody involved - in fact that's a textbook example of a company that's doing quite poorly in the revenue department.

To the rest I have no response. You have already firmly entrenched yourself on the moral high ground and such there is little reason to argue against your various points. Suffice it to say you still have failed to make a case for why an attempt to make money by a corporation, an entity who's sole purpose for existance is to make money, is wrong.

Eclectic Dreck:
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I don't remember there being a requirement that you have to be successful to be greedy. The fool's that lose money gambling in Vegas couldn't possibly be greedy could they? After all, they lost money gambling. When you take an unreasonable risk in the pursuit of financial gain, you have ventured firmly into the realm of greed. Treating your customers poorly and overpricing your products sure seems like an unreasonable risk to me.

Maybe, I was wrong. Maybe, using greed tactics and treating customers like morons and criminals really does lead you to the poor house. EA has been doing it wrong since day one and they deserve to fold. Sure, there will always be casualties when a business folds but that is how business is supposed to work.

nonroker:
I don't mind the "free dlc" as found in Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2. I understand why they're dong it. Its a way to combat piracy without hurting the legal purchaser. Its a WAY better solution than the DRM of Mass Effect 1 (for instance). This is a way so that the purchased copy will be better than the the pirated one, like you always talked about Shamus.

Don't be fooled. Day one DLC has nothing to do with piracy. The pirates have the day one DLC too. They even have it on day one or even before.

Day one DLC is a punishment to those who buy the game second hand. You get the game but you don't get the DLC.

Oh right, they still use DRM in addition to DLC. You're getting it both ways.

LordZ:

I don't remember there being a requirement that you have to be successful to be greedy. The fool's that lose money gambling in Vegas couldn't possibly be greedy could they? After all, they lost money gambling. When you take an unreasonable risk in the pursuit of financial gain, you have ventured firmly into the realm of greed. Treating your customers poorly and overpricing your products sure seems like an unreasonable risk to me.

Greedy - adj:
excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious

I pulled this straight from dictionary.com and my contribution is placing in bold the two key words you seem to miss. One can desire wealth and profit and not be greedy. Indeed, this is the purpose of any publicly traded corporation being run for profit. When said company is losing money, an attempt to make money cannot, by definition be considered greedy.

LordZ:

Maybe, I was wrong. Maybe, using greed tactics and treating customers like morons and criminals really does lead you to the poor house. EA has been doing it wrong since day one and they deserve to fold. Sure, there will always be casualties when a business folds but that is how business is supposed to work.

Explain to me, very precisely, why any of this treats you as a moron.

Also, I would point out that a company that "does it wrong from day one" does not become a multi-billion dollar entity who's operations span several decades. They have certainly done poorly in recent memory, but recent memory hardly captures the entirety of their existance. As such, if you're going to make an argument about operating practices as justification for your point, avoid hyperbole.

LordZ:

Don't be fooled. Day one DLC has nothing to do with piracy. The pirates have the day one DLC too. They even have it on day one or even before.

Day one DLC is a punishment to those who buy the game second hand. You get the game but you don't get the DLC.

Oh right, they still use DRM in addition to DLC. You're getting it both ways.

And you have yet to make a case for why precisely it is somehow wrong for a company to attempt to make money off a market that legally allows people to play their games when they currently only make revenue on the first sale. Would you rather there be yet another round of debates about your right to resell your product knowing the debate might not end in favor of the consumer this time around?

LordZ:

You have a queer idea of ethics. To attempt to argue that anything about money is even ethical makes me feel ethics is a completely foreign concept to you. You clearly don't seem to understand that greed is not ethical and I'm at a loss for trying to convince you otherwise.

I think this is the fundamental flaw of your argument. Greed is not unethical by itself even though it can certainly drive people to do unethical things in its pursuit.

So even if greed is the motivator, that's not enough to declare their actions unethical. They aren't the only publisher so there is no concern of stifling competition, consumers have no particular entitlement to their products, and they aren't deceiving anyone.

You and EA have conflicting interests, and both of you are going to act in your own self-interests. If EA can make more off a game, it will. If you can get a game for less, you will. Neither of you should cross ethical lines. EA should not deceive you about the product to make you pay more than you would otherwise think it's worth, and you should not pirate it so you can get it for free, but short of doing that, all's fair.

I've bought games from Gamefly before at dramatically reduced costs. I get the game and the developer and publisher get nothing. I served my own interests and I have no regrets. There's nothing wrong with them responding by serving their own interests by offering incentives to buy new. It's not as though they took steps to hide what they were doing. You either consider the incentive compelling enough to buy new or you don't. And maybe without the incentive, you don't even consider the product worth buying used. That's fine. Don't buy it at all.

You also complained about the day one paid DLC, Warden's Keep. In fact, I think that was your larger issue with the game. If they were excising core game elements, like critical main path story or characters, I'd be inclined to agree that that is shady. You have a reasonable expectation that, unless told otherwise on the box, you will receive a complete experience when you purchase a game. If they do not meet that expectation, they are deceiving you, which is unethical. But Dragon Age without Warden's Keep is not incomplete, so I don't see the problem.

IgneusMaeror:
Wait... "Shale and her quest"? her quest? Have I missed on of the subtleties of the English language or does Shale turn out to be ...?

Shale is a chick. She tells you as much in a conversation very early on. And she's voiced by a female

The one thing keeping me from being a Bioware fanatic is how often I get screwed over with their DLC. Tying everything into my account is a hassle, and even though I bought DA:O straight out of the box, it took forever for the game to recognize this, and every login it takes a lengthy battle of will with my account to want to connect me to the Dragon Age servers.

While I agree with most of what you said, I have to applaud Saboteur for their handling of DLC. It provides something pointless and yet oh-so-important, tackling the issue of second-hand purchasing and nudity in one fell swoop. Features like that should be implemented more often.
For instance, customization of armor in ME2 should be restricted to first-time buyers, as well as the ability to standardize your armor and remove those hideous helmets. As you pointed out in Stolen Pixels, the armor looks ridiculous, and many console gamers wanted a way to remove it (unable to mod it like PC gamers). Purely aesthetic things like this are not essential, but can give an incentive to get brand-spanking new. Sure, it isn't as glorious, but it is more honest than removing a large section of the bloody game.

I agree. While I am happy with buying entirely new storylines like The Shivering Isles DLC for Oblivion, I dislike the idea of the devs (or, more likely, the publishers) taking away a game I paid for and offering it back at a cost. It turns me off, and I would rather play an ever-changing game like Team Fortress 2 than one with deleted bits like DA: Origins.

On the other hand, I'm sad that KotOR 2 wasn't made a few years later. If it had, we might actually see the dream realised rather than wait for Team Gizka to not finish it off.

Eclectic Dreck:

Greedy - adj:
excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious

I pulled this straight from dictionary.com and my contribution is placing in bold the two key words you seem to miss. One can desire wealth and profit and not be greedy. Indeed, this is the purpose of any publicly traded corporation being run for profit. When said company is losing money, an attempt to make money cannot, by definition be considered greedy.

So, you wouldn't consider it greedy if they charged $1000 per game and only included a start up screen where you had to buy the game piece by piece at equally ridiculous prices? After all, they're doing it in pursuit of profit. Where you draw the line at greedy is a personal thing. Chopping up a game and selling it piece by piece is pretty damned greedy in my book but if you can't see it as such then feel free to continue to overpay for mediocre games that look pretty.

Even from a business perspective, what they're doing isn't very smart. Most of their games are either mediocre or worse with the occasional slightly above mediocre exception. There's nothing excellent about their games. Taking a game that excels at nothing and then giving it a pricing scheme that is worse than similar or better games that have been available for years is just plain bad business. Only a fool pays more to get less.

Explain to me, very precisely, why any of this treats you as a moron.

Also, I would point out that a company that "does it wrong from day one" does not become a multi-billion dollar entity who's operations span several decades. They have certainly done poorly in recent memory, but recent memory hardly captures the entirety of their existance. As such, if you're going to make an argument about operating practices as justification for your point, avoid hyperbole.

Only a moron would pay more to get less. Overpricing a game that is laced with DRM is just rubbing salt in the wound.

Yet, a business that does it wrong from day one did manage to become a giant corporation. Just because you do something the wrong way doesn't mean you can't profit from it for a while. Also, don't you think saying "several" decades is a bit of an exaggeration? 1982 may seem like a long time ago but it's not even 30 years old yet. It's definitely not on the level of the few corporations that have three digits in their age. While I wasn't aware about their early work in computer games, I haven't seen them make a single noteworthy contribution to the gaming world. However, I've seen them buy up a lot of noteworthy contributions and turn them into crap.

And you have yet to make a case for why precisely it is somehow wrong for a company to attempt to make money off a market that legally allows people to play their games when they currently only make revenue on the first sale. Would you rather there be yet another round of debates about your right to resell your product knowing the debate might not end in favor of the consumer this time around?

You have yet to make a case for why it's right other than "because a business seeks profit" and that's on level with "because I said so" as far as excuses go. First off, anything that takes value away from a product is generally a bad idea. You don't go into a business making an inferior product at a higher price and expect it to sell. Only a moron would buy into that. Yet, there seems to be plenty of morons who do. If EA is failing to survive in spite of having made billions selling over priced crap to morons then they really do deserve to fail. Simply put, there's nothing entitling a business to force customers to never resell something they rightfully bought. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too.

By all means, let's debate the right to resale. I don't see what sense of entitlement a company should have over a product they've already sold. It's like selling a book and then saying, "No, you can't resell it after you've read it." While I believe in supporting a company that produces a worthwhile product and respects their customers, EA does neither of these things.

Labcoat Samurai:

I think this is the fundamental flaw of your argument. Greed is not unethical by itself even though it can certainly drive people to do unethical things in its pursuit.

So even if greed is the motivator, that's not enough to declare their actions unethical. They aren't the only publisher so there is no concern of stifling competition, consumers have no particular entitlement to their products, and they aren't deceiving anyone.

You and EA have conflicting interests, and both of you are going to act in your own self-interests. If EA can make more off a game, it will. If you can get a game for less, you will. Neither of you should cross ethical lines. EA should not deceive you about the product to make you pay more than you would otherwise think it's worth, and you should not pirate it so you can get it for free, but short of doing that, all's fair.

I've bought games from Gamefly before at dramatically reduced costs. I get the game and the developer and publisher get nothing. I served my own interests and I have no regrets. There's nothing wrong with them responding by serving their own interests by offering incentives to buy new. It's not as though they took steps to hide what they were doing. You either consider the incentive compelling enough to buy new or you don't. And maybe without the incentive, you don't even consider the product worth buying used. That's fine. Don't buy it at all.

You also complained about the day one paid DLC, Warden's Keep. In fact, I think that was your larger issue with the game. If they were excising core game elements, like critical main path story or characters, I'd be inclined to agree that that is shady. You have a reasonable expectation that, unless told otherwise on the box, you will receive a complete experience when you purchase a game. If they do not meet that expectation, they are deceiving you, which is unethical. But Dragon Age without Warden's Keep is not incomplete, so I don't see the problem.

Since when is it a conflicting interest for a company to produce a product and a customer to want to buy a product? Oh right, the moment the company throws respect out of the door and treats their customers like criminals(by lacing their products with DRM) and morons(by producing overpriced, butchered, mediocre titles). You conveniently leave the issue of respect out of your equation there and that's why it's a complete failure of logic.

A customer should respect a company enough to want to buy a product new and have some of that money go to the developer, since they should want to have further business with them. A company should want to produce a worthwhile product and respect their customer, so that the customer would want to have further business with them. You see how that works? Without respect, you get the mess we now have.

Yes, they did take steps to hide what they've done. They got man-handled by customers with their outcry of rage. So, they're more open about their underhanded ways by putting positive spins on them. They claim the day one DLC is supposed to be a reward for buying the game new but it's really a punishment for those who buy it used. If the day one DLC was beyond the cost of producing the game, it wouldn't have been included free. A business, especially one like EA, does not give stuff out for free out of kindness. If you believe otherwise, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

LordZ:

So, you wouldn't consider it greedy if they charged $1000 per game and only included a start up screen where you had to buy the game piece by piece at equally ridiculous prices? After all, they're doing it in pursuit of profit. Where you draw the line at greedy is a personal thing. Chopping up a game and selling it piece by piece is pretty damned greedy in my book but if you can't see it as such then feel free to continue to overpay for mediocre games that look pretty.

You have constructed a straw man argument - a classic rhetorical fallacy. I have given my position on possible future infractions of my consumer rights (I am against them) but I noted time and again that such infractions had not take place. You are simply attempting to divert your unsubstantiated argument point to a world where the evils you fear are true.

To put it simply - I draw the line at the moment the intrinsic value of the purchase is less than the price requested. You are free to make your own value judgment here. Thus far, I have seen no example where this has been true.

LordZ:

Only a moron would pay more to get less. Overpricing a game that is laced with DRM is just rubbing salt in the wound.

Yet, a business that does it wrong from day one did manage to become a giant corporation. Just because you do something the wrong way doesn't mean you can't profit from it for a while. Also, don't you think saying "several" decades is a bit of an exaggeration? 1982 may seem like a long time ago but it's not even 30 years old yet. It's definitely not on the level of the few corporations that have three digits in their age. While I wasn't aware about their early work in computer games, I haven't seen them make a single noteworthy contribution to the gaming world. However, I've seen them buy up a lot of noteworthy contributions and turn them into crap.

I paid 60 bucks for Dragon Age: Origins. This is precisely the same price as every other new 360 game on the market. For my dollar, I got a game that, even if I exclude the DLC lasted more than 30 hours on a single play through. In comparision, Games like Halo 3, Modern Warfare 2 and Bayonetta netted only a fraction of the time. Your argument as such lacks any merit - I did not pay more with respect to any competition in recent memory and the product I was given presented content that lasted well beyond the average.

Without clarification of context, this argument point is dead on arrival.

LordZ:

You have yet to make a case for why it's right other than "because a business seeks profit" and that's on level with "because I said so" as far as excuses go. First off, anything that takes value away from a product is generally a bad idea. You don't go into a business making an inferior product at a higher price and expect it to sell. Only a moron would buy into that. Yet, there seems to be plenty of morons who do. If EA is failing to survive in spite of having made billions selling over priced crap to morons then they really do deserve to fail. Simply put, there's nothing entitling a business to force customers to never resell something they rightfully bought. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too.

The purpose of a business is to make money. Both Bioware and Electronic Arts are businesses - therefore it can be said with absolute rigor that their purpose is to generate capital. To that end, they produce an entertainment product for consumer enjoyment. Current retail distribution models only reward first time sales - used sales, rentals and piracy all represent a wash. In short, these factors allow some portion of the population to consume the product produced with the intention of making money off its sale without compensation being delivered to either the developer (Bioware) or the publisher (Electronic Arts) which, in this precise example, is the same entity.

Recognizing that a portion of this population has determined a game is both worthy of playing and paying for (those who rent or purchase used), it seems perfectly reasonable that some attempt ought to be made to draw their business towards channels that offer a portion of the proceeds to those who made and distributed the game (versus simply those who sell the game). Thus, in all instances cited thus far, the determination was made that non-essential "additional" content would be packaged for free with each new copy of the game and made available for purchase by those who choose to purchase the game used down the line.

Under this model, a consumer retains their right to resell the product under their command and those looking to purchase the game recieve an incentive to do so. Thanks to GameStop's current used game sales model, it is more cost effective to purchase the game new than used if one desires all the content.

Without a tangible benefit to a new purchase, many people will ONLY purchase a game used. Given the cost of production and distribution of many modern titles, it can take millions of units moved before the project turns a profit. Since any game will only move a finite number of units of any sort (rental, used, new or pirated) it stands to reason that by channeling as much of this total user base towards the only part of the distribution model that results in income for the developer and publisher, there will be a net gain in profits.

Profits are then used to pay the various investors, expand operations, conduct research and development and a whole host of other things. A company operating at a zero sum profit/loss ratio is ultimately doomed as they have no capacity to advance and no safety net in the case of game failures. You will often see smaller developers fold after a single failure for this very reason - without the cushion of previous profits, a single substantail loss causes the company to close.

If one wants to continue emplying the 500 employees currently working for the various Bioware offices, and wants to see additional games published and developed by EA proper, the company MUST turn a profit - something they have struggled with for several years. They have demonstrated a substantial improvement in the products they offer but in the process have taken heavy losses thanks in large part to losses in legitimate distribution channels. Dead Space netted more than 3 million unique players in it's first year in spite of the fact that only 1.5 million units were actually "sold".

LordZ:

By all means, let's debate the right to resale. I don't see what sense of entitlement a company should have over a product they've already sold. It's like selling a book and then saying, "No, you can't resell it after you've read it." While I believe in supporting a company that produces a worthwhile product and respects their customers, EA does neither of these things.

I believe the consumer has every right to resell and I have never once argued against this right. That said, I also recognize that the developer and publisher only have a vested interest in NEW sales because only NEW sales offer any compensation. As the entity that has invested the most capital and has the most at stake, I support their right to encourage new purchases so long as their actions do not prohibit resell directly or indirectly. Having a game that only works properly (in that it contains an intact, coherent narrative and represents very generally the same game in either a used or new state) in a new state is unacceptable because you have indirectly denied my right of resell.

As I've stated time and again, I have yet to see an instance where the difference between a new and used product express substantial differences. An unnecessary accessory (or accessories) and a character that is less useful and utterly unimportant in every respect does not result in a game with substantial differences, and represent a total expansion of gameplay of perhaps an hour or so. The moment that somebody does attempt to market a game that is broken as I have already described is the moment that I will join your side of the debate. Until then, you are aruging vehmently against a future that has not come to pass rather than the current reality of the situation.

LordZ:

Since when is it a conflicting interest for a company to produce a product and a customer to want to buy a product? Oh right, the moment the company throws respect out of the door and treats their customers like criminals(by lacing their products with DRM) and morons(by producing overpriced, butchered, mediocre titles). You conveniently leave the issue of respect out of your equation there and that's why it's a complete failure of logic.

There is a clear conflict in interest in certain circumstances. In this case, the company making the sale only recieves a tangible reward if the sale is made in a certain channel. The consumer has a vested interest in attaining the lowest cost for the most value. In this very specific circumstance, the company making the sale hopes for a distribution channel that offers the highest cost to the consumer meaning the consumer is naturally going to favor a different channel that offers the same product at a lower cost.

The conflict is clear - the consumer favors a channel that does nothing to further the agenda of the company, and the company favors a channel that costs the consumer more.

Respect only enters into the equation when someone is being mistreated. You advocate a consumer to company abuse model because you favor the consumer being able to get a product that the company spent a great deal of resources to produce for free as far as the company is concerned. The company has conducted no breach of social contract if they attempt to offer an incentive to the consumer to purchase under their favored distribution channel. Indeed, the only way the company will have conducted a breach of social contract (and thus demonstrated a lack of respect) is by outright denying the consumer the right to choose which legal distribution channel they make their purchase in. This has not come to pass.

LordZ:

A customer should respect a company enough to want to buy a product new and have some of that money go to the developer, since they should want to have further business with them. A company should want to produce a worthwhile product and respect their customer, so that the customer would want to have further business with them. You see how that works? Without respect, you get the mess we now have.

Respect rarely enters into the equation with any purchase. In the most general sense, if a consumer is offered a product at a given price point and an identical product at a lower price point, they will purchase the product at the lower price point. It is only when the percieved value of the higher priced item is higher that such a purchase will generally become standard. Some people refuse to purchase a used game on moral principle, but for most the decision is made because the new copy has greater value by virtue of not having be used. When purchasing a used copy, there is a non-zero chance the game will not function properly resulting in, at the very least, the expenditure of additional time required to secure an exchange or a refund.

In the most general sense, a purchase is made on the basis of a value propisition and nothing more. For most people, the value is intrinsic to the product in question and does not rely on intangible factors like corporate culture and activity.

LordZ:

Yes, they did take steps to hide what they've done. They got man-handled by customers with their outcry of rage. So, they're more open about their underhanded ways by putting positive spins on them. They claim the day one DLC is supposed to be a reward for buying the game new but it's really a punishment for those who buy it used. If the day one DLC was beyond the cost of producing the game, it wouldn't have been included free. A business, especially one like EA, does not give stuff out for free out of kindness. If you believe otherwise, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

The interesting thing about your logic in general is that any incentive can be described as a punishment. A car manufacturer may offer an incentive of a free upgrade to a car part, a lump sum cash back bonus or reduced interest rates if you purchase new. They do this because a substantial portion of their profits are found in the first sale of a vehicle. With your logic, these incentives are simply a pumishment should I choose to purchase a car used since the manufacturer rarely (if ever) offers any incentive for a used sale.

If this is the way you choose to view the world, then I wish you luck as you rage against the realities of business. A business that hopes to survive must give you a reason to purchase their product in the most profitable channels. If you want to stand about and rally against their right to stay in business by encouraging (not forcing) a purchase in the only channel in which they see a single cent, feel free. Employees do not accept consumer goodwill in lieu of a paycheck, banks don't accept warm fuzzies to pay off debts.

LordZ:

Since when is it a conflicting interest for a company to produce a product and a customer to want to buy a product? Oh right, the moment the company throws respect out of the door and treats their customers like criminals(by lacing their products with DRM) and morons(by producing overpriced, butchered, mediocre titles). You conveniently leave the issue of respect out of your equation there and that's why it's a complete failure of logic.

Not at all. A company is under no ethical obligation to respect you or show respect for you. Neither are you under any ethical obligation to respect the company or show it respect. Fair is fair. They should be honest, of course, but if they want to put "consumers are mindless jackasses" on the covers of their titles, they're not doing anything ethically wrong. Consider that I can legally insult or disrespect you as much as I like, but if I tell a lie about you that causes you harm, that's slander. Not that the law is always a meaningful barometer of ethics, but I think it is here.

A customer should respect a company enough to want to buy a product new and have some of that money go to the developer, since they should want to have further business with them.

Irrelevant. If a company goes out of business because customers do not purchase games new, that is a consequence that the customers will pay for their decision. Arguably, they were not acting in their best interests (though really they were; compare to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_voting ). Giving money to the developers is not ethically required of them.

A company should want to produce a worthwhile product and respect their customer, so that the customer would want to have further business with them. You see how that works? Without respect, you get the mess we now have.

I emphasize your words "so that the customer would want to have further business with them." You are giving a pragmatic motivation. And you are likely right that showing respect for one's customers is a sound business practice. But it is immaterial to this discussion. You were talking about ethical obligations, not wise business practices, and this has no bearing on that discussion.

Yes, they did take steps to hide what they've done.

Such as?

They got man-handled by customers with their outcry of rage. So, they're more open about their underhanded ways by putting positive spins on them. They claim the day one DLC is supposed to be a reward for buying the game new but it's really a punishment for those who buy it used.

Matter of perspective. Both are correct. And my point is that it is ultimately irrelevant to your fundamental accusation of unethical practice.

If the day one DLC was beyond the cost of producing the game, it wouldn't have been included free. A business, especially one like EA, does not give stuff out for free out of kindness. If you believe otherwise, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

The strange thing about this is that I can't even really label your arguments specious. An argument has to appear compelling on its face in order to get that dubious classification. But your arguments are clearly irrelevant. You don't like their business practices. Fine. Don't buy their games. They have no obligation to you and you have no obligation to them. It is reasonable for you to be disappointed. It is reasonable for them not to care. Part ways. That's all there is to this.

Eclectic Dreck:

I paid 60 bucks for Dragon Age: Origins. This is precisely the same price as every other new 360 game on the market. For my dollar, I got a game that, even if I exclude the DLC lasted more than 30 hours on a single play through. In comparision, Games like Halo 3, Modern Warfare 2 and Bayonetta netted only a fraction of the time. Your argument as such lacks any merit - I did not pay more with respect to any competition in recent memory and the product I was given presented content that lasted well beyond the average.

Without clarification of context, this argument point is dead on arrival.

Here's the problem. I don't limit my choices to just 360 games since I don't even own a 360. I play mainly PC games and can easily find better games at better prices. Not all of the games will look like an interactive movie but the fun exceeds these titles you've mentioned. Also, I don't limit myself to only recent games for comparison. I don't see why anyone would when there's 10+ year old games that still exceed current games in certain respects. PC games, old or not, are not irrelevant, even if this game hadn't come out on PC. I have plenty of games that were made in the '90s that I still use as a measuring bar for judging games. Which is just sad, that I don't have a more current game that exceeds them in every respect.

The purpose of a business is to make money.

I never said it wasn't.

Recognizing that a portion of this population has determined a game is both worthy of playing and paying for (those who rent or purchase used), it seems perfectly reasonable that some attempt ought to be made to draw their business towards channels that offer a portion of the proceeds to those who made and distributed the game (versus simply those who sell the game). Thus, in all instances cited thus far, the determination was made that non-essential "additional" content would be packaged for free with each new copy of the game and made available for purchase by those who choose to purchase the game used down the line.

Yes, they can do this. Customers can also see this as the greedy money grab that it is and want nothing to do with it. Yet, so many buy it anyways which signals to corporations that they can get away with this. This is what I'm strongly against. Both are to blame for this. If EA didn't create this scheme for raising prices and customers didn't buy it, there wouldn't be an issue but both have happened.

Under this model, a consumer retains their right to resell the product under their command and those looking to purchase the game recieve an incentive to do so. Thanks to GameStop's current used game sales model, it is more cost effective to purchase the game new than used if one desires all the content.

It doesn't just punish Gamestop, it punishes anyone who doesn't buy it new. Whether you consider the loss of a storage chest and Shale a punishment or not, it still is. If no one cared about either of those things then no one would feel it is an incentive to buy the game new.

Without a tangible benefit to a new purchase, many people will ONLY purchase a game used.

This is a complete failure of logic. You can't buy used, if no one ever bought it new in the first place. If games weren't so disposable that people wanted to get rid of them the next day, maybe there wouldn't even be a used market but this notion never occurs to them? There's nothing beneficial to the customer if parts of the product only work when it is bought new. This only benefits the corporation making it and is a disservice to any potential customer.

How about, instead of raising prices on games and making them less valuable to resell, why not lower the price to sell more? There's more than one way to eliminate the used market and raising prices is definitely not the right way or even the logical way. Why do you think people buy used? Why are there even used games available to buy? If people enjoyed the game enough to spend more than an afternoon with it they'd be less inclined to resell them. If the price of a new copy wasn't so high, more people could afford it. Punishing people who can't afford $60 for a new game is neither ethical nor practical. It also serves as an insult to those who have enjoyed better games for less.

...I support their right to encourage new purchases so long as their actions do not prohibit resell directly or indirectly.

Yet, that is the entire purpose of day one DLC. Just because it doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of resale, it does diminish it.

As I've stated time and again, I have yet to see an instance where the difference between a new and used product express substantial differences.

You may not but others might and probably do. There are collectors who consider removing plastic wrap a significant loss of value. Your opinion on value is not the end all, be all.

Labcoat Samurai:

...A company is under no ethical obligation to respect you or show respect for you.

The whole purpose of business ethics is to conduct business in way that is ethical. Ethics is strictly about morality. How is it morally responsible to disrespect the people who should be buying your product or service?

Irrelevant.

Since when it ethics irrelevant to running a business? Is it because you find it inconvenient for your argument?

I emphasize your words "so that the customer would want to have further business with them." You are giving a pragmatic motivation. And you are likely right that showing respect for one's customers is a sound business practice. But it is immaterial to this discussion. You were talking about ethical obligations, not wise business practices, and this has no bearing on that discussion.

You believe it's impossible for an ethical decision to also be practical? Come back when you have a basic understanding of ethics.

Yes, they did take steps to hide what they've done.

Such as?

Lacing their software with DRM and never informing customers in any way. There are many titles that fall into this category and I can't be bothered to type "hidden DRM" into google for you.

They claim the day one DLC is supposed to be a reward for buying the game new but it's really a punishment for those who buy it used.

Matter of perspective. Both are correct. And my point is that it is ultimately irrelevant to your fundamental accusation of unethical practice.

How is it irrelevant?

The strange thing about this is that I can't even really label your arguments specious. An argument has to appear compelling on its face in order to get that dubious classification. But your arguments are clearly irrelevant. You don't like their business practices. Fine. Don't buy their games. They have no obligation to you and you have no obligation to them. It is reasonable for you to be disappointed. It is reasonable for them not to care. Part ways. That's all there is to this.

There's so much fail in this paragraph. You didn't have to strain yourself so much just to use the term "specious." Let me guess, it was your word of the day? Taking out of a product to raise its price is against the entire idea of being competitive and is insulting to any potential customer. Saying it is irrelevant to a moral argument when you don't even display a basic understanding of ethics makes your argument entirely irrelevant.

Further, your assertion that going my separate way will solve the problem couldn't be farther from the truth. If my not buying their games was enough to convince them to stop producing over priced, mediocre games and focus on putting more substance into their games and selling at reasonable prices, then it would have already happened.

LordZ:

Here's the problem. I don't limit my choices to just 360 games since I don't even own a 360. I play mainly PC games and can easily find better games at better prices. Not all of the games will look like an interactive movie but the fun exceeds these titles you've mentioned. Also, I don't limit myself to only recent games for comparison. I don't see why anyone would when there's 10+ year old games that still exceed current games in certain respects. PC games, old or not, are not irrelevant, even if this game hadn't come out on PC. I have plenty of games that were made in the '90s that I still use as a measuring bar for judging games. Which is just sad, that I don't have a more current game that exceeds them in every respect.

Splitting a hair such as this only has merit if it changes something. The PC version of Dragon Age Origins is 50 bucks - the same as the bulk of the games sold for the platform. There is a greater degree of variation however thanks to alternate distibution channels and the lack of a need to pay a console manufacturer royalties on the sale of a game.
[Quote "Eclectic Dreck"]
The purpose of a business is to make money.[/quote]

Onyx Oblivion:

I never said it wasn't.

This is why I used this point when demonstrating my own thesis. It can be generally recognized as true by a neutral observer.

LordZ:

Yes, they can do this. Customers can also see this as the greedy money grab that it is and want nothing to do with it. Yet, so many buy it anyways which signals to corporations that they can get away with this. This is what I'm strongly against. Both are to blame for this. If EA didn't create this scheme for raising prices and customers didn't buy it, there wouldn't be an issue but both have happened.

Again and again you keep coming back to greed without demonstrating precisely WHY this activity is greedy. Asserting something is "greedy" does not make your assertion true, and if this is to be the core of you argument then you NEED to support it.

LordZ:

It doesn't just punish Gamestop, it punishes anyone who doesn't buy it new. Whether you consider the loss of a storage chest and Shale a punishment or not, it still is. If no one cared about either of those things then no one would feel it is an incentive to buy the game new.

Again, you fail to demonstrate why this is a punishment. Based on the loose logic you've used thus far any purchase incentive can be viewed as a punishment. If you want this to be a cornerstone of the greed argument once again I'm going to have to ask for support. Since I have already presented an argument for why this is not true, I believe the ball is in your court.

LordZ:

This is a complete failure of logic. You can't buy used, if no one ever bought it new in the first place. If games weren't so disposable that people wanted to get rid of them the next day, maybe there wouldn't even be a used market but this notion never occurs to them? There's nothing beneficial to the customer if parts of the product only work when it is bought new. This only benefits the corporation making it and is a disservice to any potential customer.

It would be a logical failure IF I asserted that "all people" would purchase used. In order to avoid such a glaring error, you'll note I said "many". Interesting note, while the precise value of many is debatable (as in, what percengage of a whole it represents), it can be rigorously asserted that many < all in much the same way that part < whole. People throughout this very post demonstrate the intrinsic truth of my assertion as numerous people have pointed out that they, for whatever reason, habitually purchase games used precisely because of the price difference.

Moreover, you fail to demonstrate precisely why the entity who produces a product is breaking a social pact by attempting to motivate consumers to use the retail channel that benefits them. This product was never made for the sake of charity - it was ALWAYS about making money for the production company. Entities that sell games have the same objective. In both cases, the production and distribution entities exist to make money. If you're going to defend the right of the retailer to cut the manufacturer out of the mix because it's "consumer friendly" and then decry the manufacturer for giving the consumer an incentive to use a distribution channel that benefits the manufacturer (they get paid), the retailor (they also get paid, but less than off a used sale) and the consumer (they get the product everyone is getting paid for).

In spite of your recognition that these entities exist to make money, you seem to constantly ignore this very important fact when making your assertions of moral correctness. Nobody owes the consumer ANYTHING, nor does the consumer owe anyone anything - at least in an intrinsic sense. Instead, the relationship is such that a manufactuer produces a product they believe will sell, and the consumer makes a determination as to the merit of the proposd transaction. In a case as simple as a value judgement of a purchase that represents (in the united states at any rate) one work day for a worker making the lowest legal wage, the consumer may not give the proposed transaction much consideration and may end up unhappy in the end. In this case, where you would assert the consumer has been screwed, I'd simply state that the consumer sabotaged his own purchase decision. The information required to make a proper value judgment exists and can be found easily enough. If someone does not look, if someone ignores the data, if someone ignores the advice of peers with similar status and interest, then the only person to blame here is the consumer.

The consumer in this case has the capacity to know exactly what they will get based on the distribution channel. If this information was made secret and the user later found that the game they purchased used was a drastically different game from the version they may have purchased new, then (and perhaps only then) could I consider you assertion that the consumer has been punished to be true.

LordZ:

How about, instead of raising prices on games and making them less valuable to resell, why not lower the price to sell more? There's more than one way to eliminate the used market and raising prices is definitely not the right way or even the logical way. Why do you think people buy used? Why are there even used games available to buy? If people enjoyed the game enough to spend more than an afternoon with it they'd be less inclined to resell them. If the price of a new copy wasn't so high, more people could afford it. Punishing people who can't afford $60 for a new game is neither ethical nor practical. It also serves as an insult to those who have enjoyed better games for less.

There is certainly merit to your argument here - the generic price points that most games come out at is simply silly. Sure, some games required tens of millions of dollars to produce and as such may merit a particular price tag. Why then does shovelware with a paultry million dollar or so budget cost the same amount?

Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be a consistant answer with why this is true. With PC games it seems that games are released at a price point based on the discretion of the publisher, who's decision is often heavily influenced by the retailor. Shelf space in a retail chain is limited, thus retailors (those that are successful) attempt to keep the shelves stocked with items most likely to sell at the highest profit margin.

On the console side, the console manufacturer seems to have some system in place that ensures the generic $60 price point. If this is explictly mandated or just the result of the various fees required to produce and sell a game for the system I do not know.

LordZ:

You may not but others might and probably do. There are collectors who consider removing plastic wrap a significant loss of value. Your opinion on value is not the end all, be all.

At last, a point that I can agree upon without reservation. As I said, it all comes down to a value judgement, which you freely recognize. The entire premise of my argument is that the actions of those involved that YOU find distasteful others can find perfectly acceptable. Your argument has often attempted to take the moral high ground, which I pointed out was poison to rational discourse. A value judgement is a matter of opinion and perspective, yet by asserting time and again that the actions of EA and Bioware are intrinsically morally WRONG, you have, in effect, asserted that your opinion is correct and anyone who dissents is incorrect.

I feel perfectly fine granting you leave to judge this trend as distasteful and I even wish you well on your campaign to end such things. That said, if you could at least embark upon your crusade without resorting to hyperbole and fallacy, even if I don't agree with what you try to do I could at least applaud the effort.

*edited to resolve quoting errors*

Eclectic Dreck:

LordZ:

Here's the problem. I don't limit my choices to just 360 games since I don't even own a 360. I play mainly PC games and can easily find better games at better prices. Not all of the games will look like an interactive movie but the fun exceeds these titles you've mentioned. Also, I don't limit myself to only recent games for comparison. I don't see why anyone would when there's 10+ year old games that still exceed current games in certain respects. PC games, old or not, are not irrelevant, even if this game hadn't come out on PC. I have plenty of games that were made in the '90s that I still use as a measuring bar for judging games. Which is just sad, that I don't have a more current game that exceeds them in every respect.

Splitting a hair such as this only has merit if it changes something. The PC version of Dragon Age Origins is 50 bucks - the same as the bulk of the games sold for the platform. There is a greater degree of variation however thanks to alternate distibution channels and the lack of a need to pay a console manufacturer royalties on the sale of a game.
[Quote "Eclectic Dreck"]
The purpose of a business is to make money.

Onyx Oblivion:

I never said it wasn't.

This is why I used this point when demonstrating my own thesis. It can be generally recognized as true by a neutral observer.

Onyx Oblivion:

Yes, they can do this. Customers can also see this as the greedy money grab that it is and want nothing to do with it. Yet, so many buy it anyways which signals to corporations that they can get away with this. This is what I'm strongly against. Both are to blame for this. If EA didn't create this scheme for raising prices and customers didn't buy it, there wouldn't be an issue but both have happened.

Again and again you keep coming back to greed without demonstrating precisely WHY this activity is greedy. Asserting something is "greedy" does not make your assertion true, and if this is to be the core of you argument then you NEED to support it.

Onyx Oblivion:

It doesn't just punish Gamestop, it punishes anyone who doesn't buy it new. Whether you consider the loss of a storage chest and Shale a punishment or not, it still is. If no one cared about either of those things then no one would feel it is an incentive to buy the game new.

Again, you fail to demonstrate why this is a punishment. Based on the loose logic you've used thus far any purchase incentive can be viewed as a punishment. If you want this to be a cornerstone of the greed argument once again I'm going to have to ask for support. Since I have already presented an argument for why this is not true, I believe the ball is in your court.

Onyx Oblivion:

This is a complete failure of logic. You can't buy used, if no one ever bought it new in the first place. If games weren't so disposable that people wanted to get rid of them the next day, maybe there wouldn't even be a used market but this notion never occurs to them? There's nothing beneficial to the customer if parts of the product only work when it is bought new. This only benefits the corporation making it and is a disservice to any potential customer.

It would be a logical failure IF I asserted that "all people" would purchase used. In order to avoid such a glaring error, you'll note I said "many". Interesting note, while the precise value of many is debatable (as in, what percengage of a whole it represents), it can be rigorously asserted that many < all in much the same way that part < whole. People throughout this very post demonstrate the intrinsic truth of my assertion as numerous people have pointed out that they, for whatever reason, habitually purchase games used precisely because of the price difference.

Moreover, you fail to demonstrate precisely why the entity who produces a product is breaking a social pact by attempting to motivate consumers to use the retail channel that benefits them. This product was never made for the sake of charity - it was ALWAYS about making money for the production company. Entities that sell games have the same objective. In both cases, the production and distribution entities exist to make money. If you're going to defend the right of the retailer to cut the manufacturer out of the mix because it's "consumer friendly" and then decry the manufacturer for giving the consumer an incentive to use a distribution channel that benefits the manufacturer (they get paid), the retailor (they also get paid, but less than off a used sale) and the consumer (they get the product everyone is getting paid for).

In spite of your recognition that these entities exist to make money, you seem to constantly ignore this very important fact when making your assertions of moral correctness. Nobody owes the consumer ANYTHING, nor does the consumer owe anyone anything - at least in an intrinsic sense. Instead, the relationship is such that a manufactuer produces a product they believe will sell, and the consumer makes a determination as to the merit of the proposd transaction. In a case as simple as a value judgement of a purchase that represents (in the united states at any rate) one work day for a worker making the lowest legal wage, the consumer may not give the proposed transaction much consideration and may end up unhappy in the end. In this case, where you would assert the consumer has been screwed, I'd simply state that the consumer sabotaged his own purchase decision. The information required to make a proper value judgment exists and can be found easily enough. If someone does not look, if someone ignores the data, if someone ignores the advice of peers with similar status and interest, then the only person to blame here is the consumer.

The consumer in this case has the capacity to know exactly what they will get based on the distribution channel. If this information was made secret and the user later found that the game they purchased used was a drastically different game from the version they may have purchased new, then (and perhaps only then) could I consider you assertion that the consumer has been punished to be true.

Onyx Oblivion:

How about, instead of raising prices on games and making them less valuable to resell, why not lower the price to sell more? There's more than one way to eliminate the used market and raising prices is definitely not the right way or even the logical way. Why do you think people buy used? Why are there even used games available to buy? If people enjoyed the game enough to spend more than an afternoon with it they'd be less inclined to resell them. If the price of a new copy wasn't so high, more people could afford it. Punishing people who can't afford $60 for a new game is neither ethical nor practical. It also serves as an insult to those who have enjoyed better games for less.

There is certainly merit to your argument here - the generic price points that most games come out at is simply silly. Sure, some games required tens of millions of dollars to produce and as such may merit a particular price tag. Why then does shovelware with a paultry million dollar or so budget cost the same amount?

Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be a consistant answer with why this is true. With PC games it seems that games are released at a price point based on the discretion of the publisher, who's decision is often heavily influenced by the retailor. Shelf space in a retail chain is limited, thus retailors (those that are successful) attempt to keep the shelves stocked with items most likely to sell at the highest profit margin.

On the console side, the console manufacturer seems to have some system in place that ensures the generic $60 price point. If this is explictly mandated or just the result of the various fees required to produce and sell a game for the system I do not know.

Onyx Oblivion:

You may not but others might and probably do. There are collectors who consider removing plastic wrap a significant loss of value. Your opinion on value is not the end all, be all.

At last, a point that I can agree upon without reservation. As I said, it all comes down to a value judgement, which you freely recognize. The entire premise of my argument is that the actions of those involved that YOU find distasteful others can find perfectly acceptable. Your argument has often attempted to take the moral high ground, which I pointed out was poison to rational discourse. A value judgement is a matter of opinion and perspective, yet by asserting time and again that the actions of EA and Bioware are intrinsically morally WRONG, you have, in effect, asserted that your opinion is correct and anyone who dissents is incorrect.

I feel perfectly fine granting you leave to judge this trend as distasteful and I even wish you well on your campaign to end such things. That said, if you could at least embark upon your crusade without resorting to hyperbole and fallacy, even if I don't agree with what you try to do I could at least applaud the effort.[/quote]

I think you quoted the wrong person...

Eclectic Dreck:

Splitting a hair such as this only has merit if it changes something. The PC version of Dragon Age Origins is 50 bucks - the same as the bulk of the games sold for the platform. There is a greater degree of variation however thanks to alternate distibution channels and the lack of a need to pay a console manufacturer royalties on the sale of a game.

Clearly, you don't play many PC games or only play console ports. There's plenty of games that start at lower price points or start at $50 and quickly drop in price instead of holding at $50 for the next 2+ years before finally ceasing to be sold. If you don't believe me, you can get a good idea by browsing the selection at Steam. The point that they don't have to price the game at $50 stands.

Again and again you keep coming back to greed without demonstrating precisely WHY this activity is greedy. Asserting something is "greedy" does not make your assertion true, and if this is to be the core of you argument then you NEED to support it.

Would you agree that pricing a product higher than similar/better competing products is a greedy move? In an economy where people have less money, does it really make sense to try to raise the price of a product? Instead of outright raising the price, they've lowered the value of the product and kept the price the same. They've not only lowered the resell value but you do realize that when those dlc servers go down that everyone who doesn't have the dlc installed at the time lose all of their dlc too, right? This is not to mention the loss to those without internet. Also, you can't backup the DLC since it requires activation. How is this not greed?

It's like writing a book then yanking out a chapter or two and putting in a download link instead. The chapters may not be necessary to enjoy the book but those web links really don't add as much to the book as the original content did. Most people would rightfully criticize any author for doing a stunt like that. The author claiming that it was free extra content wouldn't exactly ring true in the ears of anyone but a gullible fool. Those words will ring especially empty when you're forced to jump through hoops after visiting the website to get those "extra" chapters without having to pay for it and that anyone without your account would have to pay for those chapters(even if you somehow lost that account). Even if you can't agree that it's greed, anyone with sense would consider it a bad idea.

To take the point further, the whole thing seems completely unnecessary in the PC world since:

1) There is no used market in PC games.
2) DLC is pirated just as much as the game.

Where is the benefit to either side? I just don't see it. You have to sign up for that EA store and then enter codes to download the quests for what purpose? What happens to your DLC when the servers go down or you somehow lose your account info?

Before you try to say that the DLC servers will still be around when no one wants to play it anymore, you don't know that and there's no evidence to prove that it will be. All current evidence would suggest otherwise(take a look at how quickly games lose their support, especially EA games). Especially, with your favorite argument that corporations are only in it for money, why would they waste money on servers after the game has made the bulk of its sales? Simply, they wont.

It's worth noting that anyone without an internet connection and buys it new is completely screwed. I can't be certain but I doubt the box says you need an internet connection and, if it does, it's not advertised in large letters on the front of the box. If it's really a benefit, why not advertise it right on the front of the box?

Again, you fail to demonstrate why this is a punishment. Based on the loose logic you've used thus far any purchase incentive can be viewed as a punishment. If you want this to be a cornerstone of the greed argument once again I'm going to have to ask for support. Since I have already presented an argument for why this is not true, I believe the ball is in your court.

You're getting less game for the usual price. How is that not a punishment? See also above.

In spite of your recognition that these entities exist to make money, you seem to constantly ignore this very important fact when making your assertions of moral correctness. Nobody owes the consumer ANYTHING, nor does the consumer owe anyone anything - at least in an intrinsic sense. Instead, the relationship is such that a manufactuer produces a product they believe will sell, and the consumer makes a determination as to the merit of the proposd transaction.

This is the problem. You assume that respect has nothing to do with business. Respect has everything to do with everything. If you don't respect someone, you wont want to have anything to do with them. Entertainment is not a necessity. People can live without video games. For this reason alone, respect is infinitely more important than with a product you can't live without, food for example. No, you don't have to respect someone to want to do business with them. However, only a fool does business with someone they don't trust, when it isn't necessary. Businesses and customers owe it to themselves to conduct business in a respectful way. Without respect, you have the problems EA has. There are businesses that respect their customers and they thrive because of it. It's what often allows a small business to compete with a chain or corporation. You may get better prices at a chain but, if you get better service at the small business, would it not make sense to buy at the small business instead? I know a lot more people who put a higher value on respect than they do money.

Pulling money grab stunts like EA does where they yank content from a game and use it to try to coerce people to buy new when they wouldn't anyways is pointless and insulting. This doesn't even address the other crap they pull to try to squeeze money out of people.

LordZ:

Clearly, you don't play many PC games or only play console ports. There's plenty of games that start at lower price points or start at $50 and quickly drop in price instead of holding at $50 for the next 2+ years before finally ceasing to be sold. If you don't believe me, you can get a good idea by browsing the selection at Steam. The point that they don't have to price the game at $50 stands.

Major releases from mainstream studios trend towards $50 USD. Lesser known developers often charge less in order to at least compete when they have neither name recognition nor advertising muscle supporting them. As per your assertion regarding experience with games on the platform, you are mistaken. What's more, your silly ad-hom argument fails to such a laughable extent that I'm honestly amused by it.

LordZ:

Would you agree that pricing a product higher than similar/better competing products is a greedy move?

No - this is not a product one is forced to purchase, it is a luxury one may choose to purchase. Were a landlord to suddenly raise the rent prices by 30% then perhaps you would have an instance of greed. Besides, the pricing has not been placed higher so this argument fails by default.

LordZ:

In an economy where people have less money, does it really make sense to try to raise the price of a product?

If this leads to an overall increase in revenue then it makes perfect sense. You, the consumer, only exist to purchase the product (or not). Your arm is not being twisted, no one has threatend your family and there is no gun to your head. If the price point is unsuitable for any reason then do not pay it. If enough people make the same determination, then the price is forced downward. I'm pretty sure they cover this in high-school economics.

LordZ:

Instead of outright raising the price, they've lowered the value of the product and kept the price the same.

They have lowered the value of the product for those who choose to purchase the game through channels that do not benifit the company that invested the resources required to make the product. Do not apply this as a blanket statment when it is an outright falsehood.

LordZ:

They've not only lowered the resell value but you do realize that when those dlc servers go down that everyone who doesn't have the dlc installed at the time lose all of their dlc too, right?

Suppostion without compelling evidence is hardly an argument. There are a lot of things that CAN happen. For example, I can lose a CD key and scratch a disc and then I can't play a game either, and this is an occurance that I have endured dozens of times in my life.

LordZ:

This is not to mention the loss to those without internet. Also, you can't backup the DLC since it requires activation. How is this not greed?

It isn't greed because you aren't being forced to pay for the item, the company in question is not swimming in cash, and they have attempted in the tamest way possible to simply direct purchases made by those who are demonstrably willing to expend cash in order to experience a product towards an avenue where the company makes money. Remember the key word in the definition - it must be EXCESSIVE desire for wealth. Wanting money is hardly greed - that's just how business works.

LordZ:

It's like writing a book then yanking out a chapter or two and putting in a download link instead.

It's more like yanking an appendix, or better still, ommiting the directory commentary from a movie and putting in said link. In your example, distinct portions of the narrative are missing. In my example, the core experience remains intact and one is instead losing out on "bonus features".

LordZ:

The chapters may not be necessary to enjoy the book but those web links really don't add as much to the book as the original content did.

This argument doesn't make sense, I need clarification.

LordZ:

Most people would rightfully criticize any author for doing a stunt like that.

A stunt of this nature is generally a publishers doing, but your point remains valid. If a portion of the BOOK is missing and one is forced to go online thereby leveraging a technlogy utterly unrelated to the intial instance then there might be cause for concern. Even in this instance, I would hardly call such a move "greedy". Misguided perhaps, silly certainly, but hardly greedy.

LordZ:

The author claiming that it was free extra content wouldn't exactly ring true in the ears of anyone but a gullible fool.

This is the danger with a straw man argument such as this. You are attempting to shift the conversation to something else by asserting it is similar, when in fact it is not. Digital distribution is hardly common for most people who read books yet is incredibly common among video games. This distinction alone is important because at this point anyone who has insufficent internet connectivity is well aware of the dangers of purchasing games since they have no way to get updates or additional content.

LordZ:

Those words will ring especially empty when you're forced to jump through hoops after visiting the website to get those "extra" chapters without having to pay for it and that anyone without your account would have to pay for those chapters(even if you somehow lost that account). Even if you can't agree that it's greed, anyone with sense would consider it a bad idea.

YOU can consider it greed all you want; you have yet to deliver a compelling argument as to why I ought to consider it greed. As to if it is a good idea, only time will tell. I personally approve of the move, but it takes more than my personal approval to indicate an idea is good. If the move results in an increase in revenue then it was a good idea. If it does not, then it is clearly a bad idea.

LordZ:

To take the point further, the whole thing seems completely unnecessary in the PC world since:

1) There is no used market in PC games.
2) DLC is pirated just as much as the game.

There are used PC game services (Guzacks for example).

Your second point is all the more disturbing. People are murdered every day, does this mean we should not attempt to enforce law? Every one of us will die at some point, does this mean we shun doctors and medicine? Yes, priacy exists and will almost certainly always exist - this move has less to do with controlling piracy (because they will get the content eventually regardless) and instead is about capturing lost revune from people who make a legal purchase but choose to buy used. The pirate crowd can be considered a lost cause more than anything - they will always offer a flamisy rationalization as to why stealing is perfectly okay, but people who purchase used are pragmatic enough that they may be bargined with. This is the core of the entire thing - enormous numbers of people purchase games legaly each month and developers and publishers don't see a dime. I would certainly rather see publishers offer a carrot (the free dlc) rather than go straight for the stick (another push to outlaw used sales).

LordZ:

Where is the benefit to either side? I just don't see it. You have to sign up for that EA store and then enter codes to download the quests for what purpose? What happens to your DLC when the servers go down or you somehow lose your account info?

The publisher makes more money as does the developer. This keeps the employees in their jobs and lets them continue making games. It also helps offset the costs of a failed game. This means more products available to the consumer at a given moment. The consumer is irrelevent in this picture - either they enjoy the selection or they do not, either they choose to make a purchase or they do not. In general, the more companies offering a competing product, the better the consumer can be considered to have it.

And to your second rhetorical question, I'll simply point you to entire stacks of CDs from the days of DOS, windows 3.1 and Win 95/98 that I have that no longer work due to normal wear and tear. These games did not have a shred of DRM, even a CD key in most cases. There was no DLC, no updates to worry about. Even in this "ideal world" we are supposedly moving away from I find regular instances where my old media no longer functions. Somehow, in the face of actual loss of physical products, I am supposed to quiver at the thought that at some point a company is going to fold (and not be acquired) and thus this content will simply disappear into the mist? This already happens with the products people are supposedly defending as the correct way - I see no difference.

LordZ:

Before you try to say that the DLC servers will still be around when no one wants to play it anymore, you don't know that and there's no evidence to prove that it will be.

It hardly matters. Your argument only has merit if there exists a way to ensure that all my current media can still be played in the future, something that is false. I feel no need to offer any of a dozen reasonably scenarios in which this "doomsday" will not come to pass.

LordZ:

All current evidence would suggest otherwise(take a look at how quickly games lose their support, especially EA games).

First, define support. Second, give context. 15 years ago, the game in the box was ALL you had - there were no updates, bugfixes or DLC to be found. Third, at least point me towards a source with regards to average "support" timeframes for the various publishers and developers. This point is utterly unfounted, unsupported and ultimately damages your position when presented as such. From my persepctive, your grasping at straws. If you can support your statements, then we might have something to work with.

LordZ:

Especially, with your favorite argument that corporations are only in it for money, why would they waste money on servers after the game has made the bulk of its sales? Simply, they wont.

And yet you fail to lament for the hoards of people who never get to purchase a game 20 years after it has been produced. The neat thing is, storage space is CHEAP, adminstrators can manage numerous servers (if they're worth their salary anyway) and you'll find the key cost variable (beyond rental of space, utilities etc) is bandwidth. The servers will exist regardless, and without frequent sales to drive use on the servers, there is no significant increase in cost. That batch of data can be stored for as long as EA wants to keep it, and so long as traffic seeking the content remains low (the scenario you present) they do not face significant costs. Keeping such content online would be a perfectly suitable public relations move - something that is important to EA considering there history of employee mistreatment, shovelware and studio disembowlment.

In fact, there was a time years ago when I would ONLY purchase EA games used. From time to time even when they were at their worst their name would end up stamped on the box of a legitmately good game. Because of their poor public image, I chose to make a legal purcahse while denying them the benifits of the sale.

LordZ:

It's worth noting that anyone without an internet connection and buys it new is completely screwed.

Screwed? Hardly. If they made the purchase without knowing about the DLC in any fashion, then they have cheated themselves. Does one fault a car dealership for selling a person a car with a manual transmission even if they don't know how to operate it? Does one fault the phone company for providing the requested service if the customer doesn't even own a phone?

Consumers have a responsibility to make an informed purchase, because it is only through the power of the purse that companies are significantly influenced.

LordZ:

I can't be certain but I doubt the box says you need an internet connection and, if it does, it's not advertised in large letters on the front of the box. If it's really a benefit, why not advertise it right on the front of the box?

Because the front of the box is covered with graphics? Because no lives hang in the balance? Because the consumer has a duty to know these things? Take your pick.

LordZ:

You're getting less game for the usual price. How is that not a punishment? See also above.

You are not getting less game, you are getting the game. If you purchase it used, you get less game. Nobody forced to to make a purchse used (or indeed at ALL) thus you are not being punished. The moment you give a person the CHOICE it cannot be considered a punishment.

LordZ:

This is the problem. You assume that respect has nothing to do with business.

Respect indeed has nothing to do with it. EA, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Toyota, Ford - none of these places care about you in the slightest. Their entire purpose for existance is to produce a product that you desire enough to purchase.

LordZ:

Respect has everything to do with everything. If you don't respect someone, you wont want to have anything to do with them.

Even in my moral stand it had nothing to do with respect. I was simply not going to reward a company with a history of harming an industry that I loved when they stumbled into success.
EA had never offended me personally or even in an tangential fashion - there was no violation of social conventions. Rather than piss, whine and moan on the internet, I simply decided that until the company consistantly produced products worth playing, they should not be rewarded.

LordZ:

Entertainment is not a necessity. People can live without video games. For this reason alone, respect is infinitely more important than with a product you can't live without, food for example. No, you don't have to respect someone to want to do business with them. However, only a fool does business with someone they don't trust, when it isn't necessary. Businesses and customers owe it to themselves to conduct business in a respectful way. Without respect, you have the problems EA has. There are businesses that respect their customers and they thrive because of it. It's what often allows a small business to compete with a chain or corporation. You may get better prices at a chain but, if you get better service at the small business, would it not make sense to buy at the small business instead? I know a lot more people who put a higher value on respect than they do money.

Finally you come into something I can agree with. Yes, you have a choice in the matter. If you personally think that meaningless gestures and nicities are an important part of the purchase process, by all means use this as a metric. I personally couldn't care less. EA employs thousands of people who I'm certain are all perfectly nice but the public face of the company is simply a logo, an idea and a taxing structure. For me, if they deliver a game worthy of my time at a price I can afford, they have shown me all the respect that I'll ever ask of them.

LordZ:

Pulling money grab stunts like EA does where they yank content from a game and use it to try to coerce people to buy new when they wouldn't anyways is pointless and insulting. This doesn't even address the other crap they pull to try to squeeze money out of people.

And in an instant the entire good vibe I had going has been lost. Again you run right back to the classic line of "We're being cheated". You have still not delivered a compelling argument as to why I ought to change my opinion and I suspect you probably never will at this rate. We can argue at length and never resolve this. As such, barring an amazing counter point, this is my last post to you as we are both better served beating our respective heads against the wall.

For my part, I'll simply close by saying that the moment I feel as though I have been wronged, I'll stand by the rest of you complaining now, but until then I wll not fault a company for trying to make money. Certainly, some people are being left out in the cold but the reality of life and business makes it terribly hard for me to sympathize with those being boned by this. I have yet to see any move by EA with regards to Day one DLC that strikes me as even remotely greedy. I feel no need to maintain a relationship with a corporate entity beyond that of consumer. After all, were I to start desiring such things it's a slippery slope to expecting my phone to compliment my hair and fishing for compliments from my car regarding my posture.

Eclectic Dreck:
Major releases from mainstream studios trend towards $50 USD. Lesser known developers often charge less in order to at least compete when they have neither name recognition nor advertising muscle supporting them. As per your assertion regarding experience with games on the platform, you are mistaken. What's more, your silly ad-hom argument fails to such a laughable extent that I'm honestly amused by it.

It may be the trend but it's not the rule and there are plenty of "mainstream" games that start at lower price points. A game doesn't have to have a multimillion dollar budget to become mainstream. I seriously question how much you actually know about computer games, if you believe that $50 is even the price point followed by anything other than console ports these days. I know plenty of mainstream games with lower price points. A lot of computer games have been coming out at lower price points due to the fact they recognize that people will buy more when you charge less. For someone who claims to understand economics, that's a pretty basic part of it. You can't charge whatever you want for a product and expect people to buy it.

No - this is not a product one is forced to purchase, it is a luxury one may choose to purchase. Were a landlord to suddenly raise the rent prices by 30% then perhaps you would have an instance of greed. Besides, the pricing has not been placed higher so this argument fails by default.

You just shot yourself in the foot with that statement. How is a luxury, as you put it, anything other than excessive greed? You just wrote me a blank check to call anything even related to games as pure greed. I'm starting to wonder if you even understand what excess means. It doesn't have to be gross excess to be excess.

If this leads to an overall increase in revenue then it makes perfect sense. You, the consumer, only exist to purchase the product (or not). Your arm is not being twisted, no one has threatend your family and there is no gun to your head. If the price point is unsuitable for any reason then do not pay it. If enough people make the same determination, then the price is forced downward. I'm pretty sure they cover this in high-school economics.

If you studied basic economics then you'd know that the less money people have, the less they spend. There's no magical well that they can draw money from to pay more for less. I don't see how any legitimate company can expect to make more money lowering the value of a product and keeping the price the same. Just because no one has been forced to buy the product, doesn't mean it's not greedy to cheapen the value of your own product to try to milk customers for more money.

They have lowered the value of the product for those who choose to purchase the game through channels that do not benifit the company that invested the resources required to make the product. Do not apply this as a blanket statment when it is an outright falsehood.

You may not consider the value lowered but having part of the product removed and placed on DLC servers where you have to download, install, activate it to use it is damned well lowering the value of the game. It's not just lowering the value for people who buy used, it's lowering value for everyone. That DLC wont be around forever, just like how the DLC servers wont be around forever.

Suppostion without compelling evidence is hardly an argument. There are a lot of things that CAN happen. For example, I can lose a CD key and scratch a disc and then I can't play a game either, and this is an occurance that I have endured dozens of times in my life.

No evidence? Seriously? Look at how quickly EA has dropped support for games that aren't even a year old and you're going to tell me you expect those dlc servers to be around forever? I'm not going to google it for you, your fingers obviously aren't broken. Also, if you aren't capable of comprehending that the dlc will disappear when the servers do then I have no interest in talking to you.

It isn't greed because you aren't being forced to pay for the item, the company in question is not swimming in cash, and they have attempted in the tamest way possible to simply direct purchases made by those who are demonstrably willing to expend cash in order to experience a product towards an avenue where the company makes money. Remember the key word in the definition - it must be EXCESSIVE desire for wealth. Wanting money is hardly greed - that's just how business works.

Tamest way possible my ass, they could, you know, lower the budget of their games and focus less on dazzling graphics and more on things that actually matter like gameplay, story, or that little thing called fun. They could lower the price instead of lowering the value of the product. If they started the price at $20, $30, $40 or even $50(for the consoles) they'd get significantly more sales. How is a business based on a luxury not excess to begin with? Also, I repeat that gross excess and excess are two different things. You seem to believe that only gross excess makes greed and you are wrong. Any excess at all qualifies as greed. Also, you don't have to be successful to be greedy. Many ventures fail because they got greedy. Again, do you not consider gambling to be greed? Gamblers often lose every penny they have yet because they didn't gain excessive wealth they weren't being greedy? Any excessive risk that doesn't pay off is still greed.

It's more like yanking an appendix, or better still, ommiting the directory commentary from a movie and putting in said link. In your example, distinct portions of the narrative are missing. In my example, the core experience remains intact and one is instead losing out on "bonus features".

I said what I meant and meant what I said. Trying to twist the example still wouldn't change the results.

This argument doesn't make sense, I need clarification.

That's because I'm talking about my example, where chapters (that may not be necessary to the story) were ripped out and not yours. Do try to follow from one sentence to the next.

A stunt of this nature is generally a publishers doing, but your point remains valid. If a portion of the BOOK is missing and one is forced to go online thereby leveraging a technlogy utterly unrelated to the intial instance then there might be cause for concern. Even in this instance, I would hardly call such a move "greedy". Misguided perhaps, silly certainly, but hardly greedy.

Author or publisher doesn't matter, it's an example. You really think the internet has no relation to books? Have you not heard of eReaders? I reiterate, excessive risk is still excessive. Greed is still greed whether you profit excessively or not. It's the excessive pursuit of money not the finding of excessive quantities of it.

This is the danger with a straw man argument such as this. You are attempting to shift the conversation to something else by asserting it is similar, when in fact it is not. Digital distribution is hardly common for most people who read books yet is incredibly common among video games. This distinction alone is important because at this point anyone who has insufficent internet connectivity is well aware of the dangers of purchasing games since they have no way to get updates or additional content.

I used the example to try to simplify. Apparently, that was unsuccessful. My example related completely to the original argument. Online distribution is already common place for books. At least, it's as common place as it is for games. Also, it's dangerous for you to assume that all gamers have internet access because they don't. There's no warning on most games that require online activation to play and PC games can't even be returned. It doesn't get much more shady or greedy than that. They only recently started putting DRM labels on stuff and that was only after lawsuits and protests and you usually have to search the fine print on the box to even find it.

YOU can consider it greed all you want; you have yet to deliver a compelling argument as to why I ought to consider it greed. As to if it is a good idea, only time will tell. I personally approve of the move, but it takes more than my personal approval to indicate an idea is good. If the move results in an increase in revenue then it was a good idea. If it does not, then it is clearly a bad idea.

You may not consider gambling to be greed but there it is, very clearly greed. Your opinion on greed doesn't change it. I've already argued what greed is above. I'm not going to repeat it again. Slave trade used to be a very profitable business(I hear it still is). That doesn't mean it is a good idea.

Your second point is all the more disturbing. People are murdered every day, does this mean we should not attempt to enforce law? Every one of us will die at some point, does this mean we shun doctors and medicine? Yes, priacy exists and will almost certainly always exist - this move has less to do with controlling piracy (because they will get the content eventually regardless) and instead is about capturing lost revune from people who make a legal purchase but choose to buy used. The pirate crowd can be considered a lost cause more than anything - they will always offer a flamisy rationalization as to why stealing is perfectly okay, but people who purchase used are pragmatic enough that they may be bargined with. This is the core of the entire thing - enormous numbers of people purchase games legaly each month and developers and publishers don't see a dime. I would certainly rather see publishers offer a carrot (the free dlc) rather than go straight for the stick (another push to outlaw used sales).

It is not the job of Corporations to enforce the law. It is the job of law enforcement to enforce the law. I thought that should be a simple thing to understand. Whether you are a corporation or an individual, it is not your job to take law enforcement into your own hands.

Their carrot is more like the stick poorly dressed to look like a carrot. They tried the stick and it failed so now they dress it up like the carrot and expect us to bite. I'm not biting.

The publisher makes more money as does the developer. This keeps the employees in their jobs and lets them continue making games. It also helps offset the costs of a failed game. This means more products available to the consumer at a given moment. The consumer is irrelevent in this picture - either they enjoy the selection or they do not, either they choose to make a purchase or they do not. In general, the more companies offering a competing product, the better the consumer can be considered to have it.

Congrats on ignoring the fact that the used PC market is practically non-existent(I forgot there's a few sites where it is allowed). There are people who buy the game and pirate the dlc because the dlc is rightly perceived as an insult. Obvious money grab is obvious. I'm not trying to promote piracy; I'm not saying they're right. I'm just giving the reasoning behind what they do. I can understand feeling insulted by it because it's a useless attempt at squeezing more money. This goes back to the respect thing that you clearly don't understand but that's further down.

And to your second rhetorical question, I'll simply point you to entire stacks of CDs from the days of DOS, windows 3.1 and Win 95/98 that I have that no longer work due to normal wear and tear. These games did not have a shred of DRM, even a CD key in most cases. There was no DLC, no updates to worry about. Even in this "ideal world" we are supposedly moving away from I find regular instances where my old media no longer functions. Somehow, in the face of actual loss of physical products, I am supposed to quiver at the thought that at some point a company is going to fold (and not be acquired) and thus this content will simply disappear into the mist? This already happens with the products people are supposedly defending as the correct way - I see no difference.

You obviously didn't take care of them or back them up. I wouldn't expect CDs or Floppies to last forever. They weren't made to. I know plenty of people(myself included) who continue to enjoy decade+ old games. Also, in case you hadn't noticed, there's a website (gog.com) that has started licensing old titles and bringing them up to speed to work on newer computers and selling them at affordable prices without any shady DRM or greed tactics. GOG is a company that gets it. They respect their customers and share the same love of games that we do. You know what they also get that EA doesn't? They get my money. By the way, I have the original discs to DOS games that still work because I actually took care of them. I know, it's a real shocker that if you take care of something that it'll last but there you go.

It hardly matters. Your argument only has merit if there exists a way to ensure that all my current media can still be played in the future, something that is false. I feel no need to offer any of a dozen reasonably scenarios in which this "doomsday" will not come to pass.

I've already addressed this. Nice job over dramatizing though.

First, define support. Second, give context. 15 years ago, the game in the box was ALL you had - there were no updates, bugfixes or DLC to be found. Third, at least point me towards a source with regards to average "support" timeframes for the various publishers and developers. This point is utterly unfounted, unsupported and ultimately damages your position when presented as such. From my persepctive, your grasping at straws. If you can support your statements, then we might have something to work with.

Discontinued servers and online support for games that they've made a fortune off of. They discontinued support for games that were still being sold new. I'm talking about servers for online play and so on. If you need "proof" feel free to google it. I know google is a daunting beast but I'm sure you'll manage. If you want a specific title look at the online support for their Madden games. They discontinue support for last years game to force people to buy this years game. This should be plenty of evidence that they aren't going to support their dlc any longer than they have to and currently there aren't any laws saying they have to support it beyond the first download, that I know of.

And yet you fail to lament for the hoards of people who never get to purchase a game 20 years after it has been produced. The neat thing is, storage space is CHEAP, adminstrators can manage numerous servers (if they're worth their salary anyway) and you'll find the key cost variable (beyond rental of space, utilities etc) is bandwidth. The servers will exist regardless, and without frequent sales to drive use on the servers, there is no significant increase in cost. That batch of data can be stored for as long as EA wants to keep it, and so long as traffic seeking the content remains low (the scenario you present) they do not face significant costs. Keeping such content online would be a perfectly suitable public relations move - something that is important to EA considering there history of employee mistreatment, shovelware and studio disembowlment.

Yet, you insist that EA is losing money hand over fist and that they're endanger of, oh noes, going under. The very reasoning you give that they can commit robbery for the sake of profit and it not be greed. See also above comment about them dropping support for games that are still being sold new.

In fact, there was a time years ago when I would ONLY purchase EA games used. From time to time even when they were at their worst their name would end up stamped on the box of a legitmately good game. Because of their poor public image, I chose to make a legal purcahse while denying them the benifits of the sale.

You sound so depressed about not giving them your money. Would you like a Kleenex? If you respected them(not saying they deserve it), you would have bought the game new. You don't respect them(and I don't blame you) and this is why EA fails.

Screwed? Hardly. If they made the purchase without knowing about the DLC in any fashion, then they have cheated themselves. Does one fault a car dealership for selling a person a car with a manual transmission even if they don't know how to operate it? Does one fault the phone company for providing the requested service if the customer doesn't even own a phone?

Consumers have a responsibility to make an informed purchase, because it is only through the power of the purse that companies are significantly influenced.

You know how easy it is to buy something without stopping to read the fine print? There's a lot of fine print out there, most of it is meaningless. How is a person supposed to know that this was one of those times that they had to scan every inch of the box for a little fine print? It doesn't help that there was a time when there weren't any warnings at all. Also, your comparisons are poorly crafted. You assume that the requirement for an internet connection is obvious but for a single player game it is certainly not obvious. For many years, the only time you'd even find a warning that an internet connection was required was for a game that was online only. You'd think it is safe to assume that a singe player game would be entirely offline. It's about as natural as wanting to test drive a car before you buy it but, oh right, you can't test drive a game. You could try to research whether it requires an internet connection but even then the information may not be available to you since, you may not have an internet connection. Unless it is explicitly mentioned on the box in a noticeable way, some people have no way to even know.

Because the front of the box is covered with graphics? Because no lives hang in the balance? Because the consumer has a duty to know these things? Take your pick.

I pick because they intentionally want to hide it, the obvious reason. Strange how you failed to pick up on that one.

You are not getting less game, you are getting the game. If you purchase it used, you get less game. Nobody forced to to make a purchse used (or indeed at ALL) thus you are not being punished. The moment you give a person the CHOICE it cannot be considered a punishment.

So, it's perfectly fine if a car manufacturer installs spikes in all of their seats that only poke out after you hit 1000 miles on your odometer and list it in fine print in some pamphlet they hand you with the million other pamphlets they hand you? After all, they chose to not read every detail in their pamphlet before being pressured into the sale. It may not be the exact same thing but your rationale would certainly justify it.

Respect indeed has nothing to do with it. EA, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Toyota, Ford - none of these places care about you in the slightest. Their entire purpose for existance is to produce a product that you desire enough to purchase.

You just trampled on the entire history of business. Clearly, you are a person who cares nothing and understands nothing about respect and since you can't force someone to understand or appreciate it, I'm at a loss for convincing you.

Henry Ford was famous for saying stuff like: "A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." "You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don't seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together."

Henry Ford understood the importance of respect. He understood that a business has to take care of the customer and the customer has to take care of the business. If he were alive today, he'd weep at the state of his legacy. The Ford company that exists today surely does not understand the importance of respect and they are floundering because of it.

Even in my moral stand it had nothing to do with respect. I was simply not going to reward a company with a history of harming an industry that I loved when they stumbled into success.
EA had never offended me personally or even in an tangential fashion - there was no violation of social conventions. Rather than piss, whine and moan on the internet, I simply decided that until the company consistantly produced products worth playing, they should not be rewarded.

Of course, you wouldn't. You only give respect where it has been earned. EA has done nothing to deserve respect and therefore deserve none. They have done a lot to earn ill will and therefore deserve it in return. So, you will remain silent as fools hand over money to a corporation that doesn't deserve it? By choosing to be silent, you condone the actions of EA. You support their efforts be refusing to speak out against them. You don't have to whine and bitch to speak out against something that is wrong.

Finally you come into something I can agree with. Yes, you have a choice in the matter. If you personally think that meaningless gestures and nicities are an important part of the purchase process, by all means use this as a metric. I personally couldn't care less. EA employs thousands of people who I'm certain are all perfectly nice but the public face of the company is simply a logo, an idea and a taxing structure. For me, if they deliver a game worthy of my time at a price I can afford, they have shown me all the respect that I'll ever ask of them.

You clearly don't understand respect. Respect is not a batch of false gestures of caring. It is actually caring about something.

You don't have to flatter a person to treat them with respect. You simply have to conduct yourself in an honest manner. There is nothing honest about ripping content from a game and restraining it with extra drm and putting it back just to claim you're doing it as a kindness. That is a "kindness" I don't need.

And in an instant the entire good vibe I had going has been lost. Again you run right back to the classic line of "We're being cheated". You have still not delivered a compelling argument as to why I ought to change my opinion and I suspect you probably never will at this rate. We can argue at length and never resolve this. As such, barring an amazing counter point, this is my last post to you as we are both better served beating our respective heads against the wall.

For my part, I'll simply close by saying that the moment I feel as though I have been wronged, I'll stand by the rest of you complaining now, but until then I wll not fault a company for trying to make money. Certainly, some people are being left out in the cold but the reality of life and business makes it terribly hard for me to sympathize with those being boned by this. I have yet to see any move by EA with regards to Day one DLC that strikes me as even remotely greedy. I feel no need to maintain a relationship with a corporate entity beyond that of consumer. After all, were I to start desiring such things it's a slippery slope to expecting my phone to compliment my hair and fishing for compliments from my car regarding my posture.

Good luck with that but by the time you "feel wronged" it'll already be too late. You can't turn the tide after it's already rushing the wrong way at full force. At that point, you may as well be pissing into the wind; kind of like what I'm doing now.

One final note, your use of consumer instead of customer clearly shows your disdain for the customer side of it. I never expected you to change your mind.

LordZ:
It may be the trend but it's not the rule and there are plenty of "mainstream" games that start at lower price points. A game doesn't have to have a multimillion dollar budget to become mainstream. I seriously question how much you actually know about computer games, if you believe that $50 is even the price point followed by anything other than console ports these days. I know plenty of mainstream games with lower price points. A lot of computer games have been coming out at lower price points due to the fact they recognize that people will buy more when you charge less. For someone who claims to understand economics, that's a pretty basic part of it. You can't charge whatever you want for a product and expect people to buy it.

I've played computer games regularly since 1993. For most of that time, the PC has been my platform of choice with the exception of the time when deployed when lugging around a gaming PC was hardly worth the trouble. I've played games across all genres, including those born from independent developers. I am well aware of the price gradients in place and the intrinsic variation therein. That said, the bulk of sales on the platform fall into the caterogy of "mainstream" and of these, most of them are released at a $50 USD price tag. There are also Xbox and PS3 games released at variable price points on Arcade and PSN respectively but these rarely even have notable sales numbers. In short, while variation in price exists, the bulk of the money is going towards games comonly classified as mainstream and most of the sales that get tracked by any agency (used sales do not figure into NPD's for example) occur very early in the release cycle of a game while it is still at it's starting price point (USD 50 for PC and Wii, USD 60 for PS3 and 360).

What is interesting is that you choose to argue about the gradients of pricing when the point you are trying to establish is that you are paying MORE and getting LESS. This argument does not further your aims, since to establish you are paying more, you must be comparing it to some reasonable benchmark, and to say you are getting less requires the same. Yes, you are paying more than for say, Plants vs. Zombies, but can you honestly say you are getting less? I mean, I'm certain you can say this but I'd be interested in seeing the sort of defense that can be mustered to this point.

LordZ:

You just shot yourself in the foot with that statement. How is a luxury, as you put it, anything other than excessive greed? You just wrote me a blank check to call anything even related to games as pure greed. I'm starting to wonder if you even understand what excess means. It doesn't have to be gross excess to be excess.

Endless pursuit of ever increasing luxury is indeed a situation where the word "greed" may be applied. That said, I demonstrated greed exists in simple price raising without merit of a necessary product or service. You are trying to say the same is true when the product or service is a luxury in the purest sense. A game is not a necessity but housing of some sort is. You have a choice to purchase a game, but without something to call a home your odds of simple survival drop drastically.

It is simple really - the scenario wherein you see greed is not precisely becuase there is no necessity. The same behavior can be accurately called greed when there is no choice in the matter.

This point is essentially dead because you assert it is greed and offer no support, I assert that it is not and offer an explanation beyond "I just don't feel like it's greed". There will be no furter responses on this point unless you work out of the circular rut you have forced this into.

LordZ:

If you studied basic economics then you'd know that the less money people have, the less they spend. There's no magical well that they can draw money from to pay more for less. I don't see how any legitimate company can expect to make more money lowering the value of a product and keeping the price the same. Just because no one has been forced to buy the product, doesn't mean it's not greedy to cheapen the value of your own product to try to milk customers for more money.

This is the same as the previous point. I have a product I wish to sell. You have a choice to buy it. One of the factors in your decision is obviously your expendible income as this product is not a necessity. You have been given a choice in the matter and if you later come to regret your purchase decision it is not because you have been lied to, cheated, scammed or bilked it is because YOU did not make proper use of the information at hand and made a poor purchase decision. I can charge a thousand dollars for a 30 second video game and this isn't greed its a poor business strategy as I will obviously make no money. I could also produce a 100 epic worthy of acclaim and accolade and give it away for a dollar and this would still classify as a poor business strategy assuming my budget for my epic approached that of Dragon Age Origins.

LordZ:

You may not consider the value lowered but having part of the product removed and placed on DLC servers where you have to download, install, activate it to use it is damned well lowering the value of the game. It's not just lowering the value for people who buy used, it's lowering value for everyone. That DLC wont be around forever, just like how the DLC servers wont be around forever.

I need not speak in the theoritical here. I played the game from start to finish without the content even though I had rights to it. Then, I downloaded the content and played it again. My experience with the game without the content was sufficient that I considered the purchase, based purely on the part of the game that is non negotiable, to be well worth the price I paid. Then, I experienced the additional content. I saw no loss of value because I chose to play the PC version of the game and I purchased it new. Even had I purchased it used, the content delivered was more than sufficient to ensure that my end state opinion on the tranaction was positive.

LordZ:

No evidence? Seriously? Look at how quickly EA has dropped support for games that aren't even a year old and you're going to tell me you expect those dlc servers to be around forever? I'm not going to google it for you, your fingers obviously aren't broken. Also, if you aren't capable of comprehending that the dlc will disappear when the servers do then I have no interest in talking to you.

What games? What support? This is the lack of evidence - you make an assertion then fail to produce the requested support.

I pointed out that I still see a LOSS in the products I have PAID for even when they aren't protected by DRM and DLC. This is the reality you already face and you want me to worry about the theoritical future loss of a game to a company folding without being absorbed without any transition plan for the DLC? I already lose my ability to legally play games thanks to material wear and tear, misplaced discs and keys and the like - I'm not seeing any substantial increase in the danger that I'm going to be unable to play a game in a decade because a company might fold without any transition taking place.

LordZ:

Tamest way possible my ass, they could, you know, lower the budget of their games and focus less on dazzling graphics and more on things that actually matter like gameplay, story, or that little thing called fun. They could lower the price instead of lowering the value of the product. If they started the price at $20, $30, $40 or even $50(for the consoles) they'd get significantly more sales. How is a business based on a luxury not excess to begin with? Also, I repeat that gross excess and excess are two different things. You seem to believe that only gross excess makes greed and you are wrong. Any excess at all qualifies as greed. Also, you don't have to be successful to be greedy. Many ventures fail because they got greedy. Again, do you not consider gambling to be greed? Gamblers often lose every penny they have yet because they didn't gain excessive wealth they weren't being greedy? Any excessive risk that doesn't pay off is still greed.

Your assertion is that they are greedy because they charge money for a product you find unworthy of the value. This is not greed - you have simply exercised your consumer duty of making a value judgement before a purchase. Moreover, while you endlessly assert that their desire for cash is the basis of greed you then state that they could make more money with different price points. You are, in short, actively advocating and encouraging greed!

This simply serves to reinforce any number of points I've already made and a suspcion that I have silently harbored thus far. This has not ever been an argument about greed - thus why you consistantly take the circular path around the moral high ground. This is about YOU wanting more for less and being annoyed that someone has the audacity to try and make money off a product that cost millions of dollars to make and hundreds of man years to produce. You are annoyed by the price point and not knowing what to call it, you pull out the greed card hoping people follow. When that doesn't work you pull out the doomsday scenario card and prop it up with the disenfranchised card.

I can completely understand wanting more for less - if I had less expendible income I may also be annoyed by the very factors that you rally against. Ten bucks here or there is not a quantity of money I have to dwell over much. Were it harder to make rent, pay utilities and cover tuition and books, I too would purchase many of my games used and I would also be mildly annoyed at being denied. This doesn't mean I'd try and rally the masses to my cause however. My not having the money for a product is my concern alone. I may as well start complaining that BMW is being greedy by producing cars that drive from point to point just as well as another that is half the price in the hopes of somehow getting an amazing personal discount.

LordZ:

I said what I meant and meant what I said. Trying to twist the example still wouldn't change the results.

The result is you failed to convince me and your argument lacked rhetorical merit. You erected a straw man and I returned the favor. This is the problem with rhetorical fallacy - it doesn't server to further you point.

LordZ:

That's because I'm talking about my example, where chapters (that may not be necessary to the story) were ripped out and not yours. Do try to follow from one sentence to the next.

And your example lacked coherence and rhetorical merit. I am following you but your path is just a zig-zagging circle and it grows tiresome.

LordZ:

Author or publisher doesn't matter, it's an example. You really think the internet has no relation to books? Have you not heard of eReaders? I reiterate, excessive risk is still excessive. Greed is still greed whether you profit excessively or not. It's the excessive pursuit of money not the finding of excessive quantities of it.

Yes, becuse the person who spent months if not years writing and the entity that wants to make a buck off their efforts are utterly inseperable in this exchange. And authors are never given raw deals by publishers. Look at the battle Bill Watterson (Of Calvin and Hobbes Fame) had to go through to keep his strip from being merchandised to hell and back.

Yes, eReaders exist and they may, at some point, utterly replace the book in terms of importance to sales. This has not yet come to pass.

And again, you bring up greed and again you fail to demonstrate how greed is involved. All I see is pursuit of profit - I see no moral transgression taking place. At worst, I see a poor business decion that will be punished by the market. This is where a key flaw in your argument lies - all business decisions are based around money. In most cases, even those involving the exchange of billions of dollars greed can hardly be considered a factor. Greed is a moral transgression in the purest sense - when one's pursuit of wealth stands in violation of the social contract. Companies who dump toxic waste into a river knowing the damage they do because it's cheap and they don't believe they will be caught is greed. Cooking the books and lying to investors so that key individuals in a corporation make out like bandits is greed. Charging you money for a product and offering an incentive offers no comperable violation of the social contract and thus is simply either a smart business move or a poor one. Greed is a problem that requires an actively sought solution - poor business decisions have a habit of working themselves out when the market rejects them.

LordZ:

I used the example to try to simplify. Apparently, that was unsuccessful. My example related completely to the original argument. Online distribution is already common place for books. At least, it's as common place as it is for games. Also, it's dangerous for you to assume that all gamers have internet access because they don't. There's no warning on most games that require online activation to play and PC games can't even be returned. It doesn't get much more shady or greedy than that. They only recently started putting DRM labels on stuff and that was only after lawsuits and protests and you usually have to search the fine print on the box to even find it.

Believe me, you have made your point quite clearly. I understand that you do not appreciate day one DLC. I can understand that you might feel you are getting screwed. I can sympathize with struggles to pay a given price. I GET all of this. Unfortunately, your overaching argument where you try and convince me that I should be morally outraged is the part I simply find no cause for agreement. You have made your judgement, I have made mine. In spite of an excellent effort, neither of us has suceeed at changing one another's minds. I strongly suspect that even were you to answer all of my concerns in an utterly satisfactory fashion, my opinion would still not change. Both of us are interpreting these events from a particular viewpoint, and all the understanding in the world of the other's perspective will not change our own personal experiences.

LordZ:

You may not consider gambling to be greed but there it is, very clearly greed. Your opinion on greed doesn't change it. I've already argued what greed is above. I'm not going to repeat it again. Slave trade used to be a very profitable business(I hear it still is). That doesn't mean it is a good idea.

Gambling is not intrinsically greedy but it is often pursued to the point of vice in which case, yes it is greed. Unfortunately, since none of us are gifted with the power of prescience, we are forced to make a great many decisions without accurate knowledge of what is best. The same is true in business. Everyone gambles regularly, even if it isn't overt.

And again, you construct a straw man that must be cast aside. In the case of slavery, greed is inerent because in one's pursuit of wealth they have violated the social contract by literally enslaving their fellow man.

LordZ:

It is not the job of Corporations to enforce the law. It is the job of law enforcement to enforce the law. I thought that should be a simple thing to understand. Whether you are a corporation or an individual, it is not your job to take law enforcement into your own hands.

Yes, I am aware of the structuring of the system of government. I am also aware that private entities (corporations, individuals) have the power to force a change in laws. The last DRM case that made it anywhere narrowly sided with the right of the consumer - in a renewd attempt, we might not be so lucky, especially when one consideres the overall court composition.

LordZ:

Their carrot is more like the stick poorly dressed to look like a carrot. They tried the stick and it failed so now they dress it up like the carrot and expect us to bite. I'm not biting.

Again, different interpretations of the same information. When I purchased my car, I recived a total "incentive package" that included 2.4% APR (for someone with no credit to speak of at the time this was a hell of a deal that saved me more than a thousand dollars by the time my car was paid for), $1,500 off the sticker price for the timing of my purchase, and two $500 discounts for being the descendent of an employee and being an actively serving veteran of a foriegn war. Had I purchased a car used, I would have seen none of these benifits. Where I see an incentive to buy new, you see punishment for NOT buying new. A subtle difference, but one that makes all the difference in this argument it seems. Afterall, I am not offended because I do not consider this a punishment, you are offended because you do. If we get past the arguments of definition (the one about greed for example) this is the key component where we differ. Unfortunately, I don't suspect there is any argument either of us will muster that will alter our respective opinions on the subject.

LordZ:

Congrats on ignoring the fact that the used PC market is practically non-existent(I forgot there's a few sites where it is allowed). There are people who buy the game and pirate the dlc because the dlc is rightly perceived as an insult. Obvious money grab is obvious. I'm not trying to promote piracy; I'm not saying they're right. I'm just giving the reasoning behind what they do. I can understand feeling insulted by it because it's a useless attempt at squeezing more money. This goes back to the respect thing that you clearly don't understand but that's further down.

The used PC market does exist, but this is hardly a relevent point. Most game sales these days are made on the consoles where there is a vibrant and thriving used games industry. And in my book, one can rationalize theft all they want - no matter the reasoning behind it piracy is theft. While I might be willing to overlook theft in some circumstances, when the product being stolen is a luxury I offer no sympathy. Indeed, I've been known to smile when pirates are arrested.

LordZ:

You obviously didn't take care of them or back them up.

Optical Media has expected wear and tear. Objects are routinely lost in moves (and I have moved regularly). Magnetic Media has a finite storage life as well. Constant renewal and maintenance of backups of a PC game collection that now spans more than 500 discs is an expense I can do without. Saying that I can solve the problem by expending additional time and money hardly supports your case.

LordZ:

I wouldn't expect CDs or Floppies to last forever. They weren't made to. I know plenty of people(myself included) who continue to enjoy decade+ old games.

The oldest PC Game in my collection is Wolfenstein 3D - purchased in 1993 and spanning several floppy discs. Of my games older than a decade, certain pieces of key software that I deeply loved no longer function thanks to normal wear and tear - Day of the Tentacle, Skynet, Falcon 3.0, Fallout and Icedwind Dale notably. This represents more than 200 dollars worth of product lost to expected wear and tear. Compare that to the zero dollars of loss I have seen from activation servers going offline and you may understand why I am not thus far offended. When weighing the real and document loss, factoring in the theoritical ways I can lose media an exercise in alarmist sillyness.

LordZ:

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, there's a website (gog.com) that has started licensing old titles and bringing them up to speed to work on newer computers and selling them at affordable prices without any shady DRM or greed tactics.

So, you advocate that the best solution to this problem is repurchasing old games? I'm having difficulty determining precisely why being asked to purchase a game twice is an improvement of any sort.

LordZ:

GOG is a company that gets it. They respect their customers and share the same love of games that we do. You know what they also get that EA doesn't? They get my money. By the way, I have the original discs to DOS games that still work because I actually took care of them. I know, it's a real shocker that if you take care of something that it'll last but there you go.

And I'm sure there are thousands of comic book collectors who have managed to hold onto a scrap of paper for decades that feel the same. I'd say considering the fact that my current game collection consists of 65 PS2 and XBOX games, 13 N64 games, 15 SNES games, 12 NES games, 40 360 games, 5 PS3 games, 8 PSP games, 10 DS games, and ~300 PC games, the fact that only ten or so games have been damaged beyond playability demonstrates I take care of my collection. Or perhaps we expected anal-retentive perfection and not simply placing said games into cases as I grow tired of them and retiring them to storage?

LordZ:

Discontinued servers and online support for games that they've made a fortune off of. They discontinued support for games that were still being sold new. I'm talking about servers for online play and so on. If you need "proof" feel free to google it. I know google is a daunting beast but I'm sure you'll manage. If you want a specific title look at the online support for their Madden games. They discontinue support for last years game to force people to buy this years game. This should be plenty of evidence that they aren't going to support their dlc any longer than they have to and currently there aren't any laws saying they have to support it beyond the first download, that I know of.

Not going to work. I can work a search engine - the burden of proof lies with the one making an accusation. Do you own work.

LordZ:

Yet, you insist that EA is losing money hand over fist and that they're endanger of, oh noes, going under. The very reasoning you give that they can commit robbery for the sake of profit and it not be greed. See also above comment about them dropping support for games that are still being sold new.

Look at their five year stock price for my argument

LordZ:
You sound so depressed about not giving them your money. Would you like a Kleenex? If you respected them(not saying they deserve it), you would have bought the game new. You don't respect them(and I don't blame you) and this is why EA fails.

Rhetorical fallcy - ad hominem. No argument delivered and unworthy of further commentary.

LordZ:
You know how easy it is to buy something without stopping to read the fine print?\

Yes, I do. I also know how easy it is to read fine print.

LordZ:
There's a lot of fine print out there, most of it is meaningless. How is a person supposed to know that this was one of those times that they had to scan every inch of the box for a little fine print?

By reading it. The concept blows my mind from time to time.

LordZ:

It doesn't help that there was a time when there weren't any warnings at all.

Warnings of what sort? Requirements have long been a part of packaging - in fact, even when my parents 486 was new the packaging still listed requirements. If a game requires online connectivity I have never seen an instance where it failed to warn me. I'm certain there likely was a time when this was not the case but this would have been at least 20 years ago.

If not requirements, and I assume not ratings, I don't know what you're talking about. Do you advocate that requirements be listed in bold face on the front of the box, e.g. XBOX Live Required or DX 10.0 compatible video card and active high speed interenet connection required? These requirements are posted on the box - ususally in the so called "fine print". I suspect I'm not the only person in the world who looks at this when I pick up a PC game.

LordZ:
Also, your comparisons are poorly crafted. You assume that the requirement for an internet connection is obvious but for a single player game it is certainly not obvious.

It is obvious when the requirements section of the box indicates it is.

I just happen to have my ME2 box right here, and listed on the upper edge of the box are the Mass Effect System Requirements. Clearly noted on this is the statement "An Internet connection is required for online authentication".

LordZ:
For many years, the only time you'd even find a warning that an internet connection was required was for a game that was online only.

I cannot think of an example of a game that REQUIRED online connectivity for a single player experience when the player was not warned. That said, I have not played EVERY game out there so I'm open to pointers as to a title or two to demonstrate this trend.

LordZ:
You'd think it is safe to assume that a singe player game would be entirely offline.

One can make assumptions or informed decisions. Any number of trite maxims will indicate which of the two is the better way to go.

LordZ:

It's about as natural as wanting to test drive a car before you buy it but, oh right, you can't test drive a game.

Yes, because Demo's do not exist. Nor do reviews, previews or word of mouth. The unlucky consumer has no information with which to make an informed purchase decision.

LordZ:
You could try to research whether it requires an internet connection but even then the information may not be available to you since, you may not have an internet connection.

Print media still exists. So do other people who play games. And there are countless ways to surf the internet for free if one is willing to expend a bit of effort. Most public libraries offer free net access for example, and I'm certain in a group of friends beyond a few people one of them is almost certain to be online in the US.

LordZ:
Unless it is explicitly mentioned on the box in a noticeable way, some people have no way to even know.

This is the bit I don't get. It is mentioned on the box right now. Are you simply advocating a larger notifation of some of the less obvious points such as online connectivity required etc? If this is the case, I can get behind this - afterall, even though I am unwilling to entertain an excuse of "I couldn't be bothered to look" I can at least meet you halfway and requies not obvious requirements be listed in a font larger than 5 point.

[/quote]pick because they intentionally want to hide it, the obvious reason. Strange how you failed to pick up on that one.
[/quote]
They aren't hiding it - it is plainly written on the box. As I said, if you simply want the warning to be written bigger then I can support your proposition.

LordZ:
So, it's perfectly fine if a car manufacturer installs spikes in all of their seats that only poke out after you hit 1000 miles on your odometer and list it in fine print in some pamphlet they hand you with the million other pamphlets they hand you? After all, they chose to not read every detail in their pamphlet before being pressured into the sale. It may not be the exact same thing but your rationale would certainly justify it.

First, straw man AND hyperbole in one bit. Well done!

Second, the game is not maiming people - a key difference. Third, you were given the information and the opportunity to make an informed purchase. If you chose not to, I have no sympathy. I read each and every document in it's entirety when I purchased my car. I was being asked to part with more money than anyone had ever asked for in my life - you can be CERTAIN I was willing to take a few hours to determine precisely what I was being asked to buy.

LordZ:
You just trampled on the entire history of business. Clearly, you are a person who cares nothing and understands nothing about respect and since you can't force someone to understand or appreciate it, I'm at a loss for convincing you.

Historically, it is the company that produces a superior product at the lowest price that wins. I do not see where I the respect of an intangible entity ever comes into play. Either they produce a product I want at a price I find reasonable or they do not.

LordZ:

Henry Ford was famous for saying stuff like: "A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." "You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don't seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together."

And yet, ford has long been eclipsed in sales by other companies and their only current accolade is they did not require a bailout to keep making cars. Moreover, a trite statement of respect fails to demonstrate how precisely ford is respecting the consumer. Seems to me, what they have consistantly done is produce a product people want to buy at a price they could afford.

LordZ:

Henry Ford understood the importance of respect. He understood that a business has to take care of the customer and the customer has to take care of the business. If he were alive today, he'd weep at the state of his legacy. The Ford company that exists today surely does not understand the importance of respect and they are floundering because of it.

Yes, it was only his vague assurances of respect that built an empire. It wasn't the assembly line and a whole host of smart business moves that allowed him to sell a high quality car at a price most Americans could afford that did it. Respect in business is important, but not in the business/customer relationship (at least, when the relationship revolves around production and not customer service). A business must respect it's employees if they want them to do good work. No such relationship is required with the consumer - you simply offer a competative product at a reasonable price.

It is only in the service related business that respect becomes important because there is an inherent releationship built in. Where ford has no need to be respectful to the consumer, the dealership lives or dies based on a personal relationship. This is the key difference - respect is only important if the business relies on a continual personal relationship.

Of course, hidden in this argument is a point you may agree with. Respect is unimportant in the most basic sense if the relationship is simply about a product and a sale. However, if the individual places intrinsic value in feeling respected by an entity even when the relationship is simply a transaction, THEN respect matters because it has been assigned a value that affects the end state value proposition. This is most common in service based businesses which include sales. I give most of my game business to a local game store precisely because of my relationship with the proprieter and his employees. My purchase decision is actively influenced by ingangible concepts of respect and friendship. That said, this only affects which retailor my money goes to - I care nothing about the respect of the company that MADE the game - either I find it's entertainment value is equal to or exceeds the requested price and I make a purchase or I don't and I don't pick the game up.

You can place all the emphasis on respect that you want - if you find it adds value then by all means go ahead, I will not fault you for it. For me, respect adds no value to the product, only to the experience I recieve when making the purchase.

LordZ:
Of course, you wouldn't. You only give respect where it has been earned. EA has done nothing to deserve respect and therefore deserve none. They have done a lot to earn ill will and therefore deserve it in return. So, you will remain silent as fools hand over money to a corporation that doesn't deserve it? By choosing to be silent, you condone the actions of EA. You support their efforts be refusing to speak out against them. You don't have to whine and bitch to speak out against something that is wrong.

Since respect is a new benchmark for you, what precisely would make you believe EA, an intangible corpate entity that consists of thousands of individuals, who's public face is a logo and a ticker symbol, could do that would earn respect.

LordZ:
You clearly don't understand respect. Respect is not a batch of false gestures of caring. It is actually caring about something.

Does one not demonstrate care by pouring years of their lives into a product that I'll enjoy experiencing?

LordZ:

You don't have to flatter a person to treat them with respect. You simply have to conduct yourself in an honest manner.

You have not demonstated dishonesty. Nor have you demonstrated that EA has conducted themsleves in a fashion that is utlimately any different than Activision, Zenimax, Square, Microsoft, Nintendo etc. The points you pick where there is a supposed violation of the truth are common trends among all of them.

LordZ:
There is nothing honest about ripping content from a game and restraining it with extra drm and putting it back just to claim you're doing it as a kindness. That is a "kindness" I don't need.

It would only be dishonest if they were lying about it. It is something they do, they have been forthright with the fact that they do it, they have told us why they do it, the list on the box that it is going to happen. You have not been lied to, you simply don't agree with the course. I can understand not supporting the course, but don't try and sway me with assertions of falsehoods.

LordZ:
Good luck with that but by the time you "feel wronged" it'll already be too late. You can't turn the tide after it's already rushing the wrong way at full force. At that point, you may as well be pissing into the wind; kind of like what I'm doing now.

One final note, your use of consumer instead of customer clearly shows your disdain for the customer side of it. I never expected you to change your mind.

Considering I can, at any moment, choose to NOT purchase a game, I'd say I always maintain the power in the relationship. This is the power I as a consumer have over an industry - I can chooe NOT to buy a product just as readily as I can choose to buy one.

And I make a distinction precisely becasue there IS a difference. A customer is a person whom you build a relationship with. As an IT professional, only a part of my job entails resolving technical issues - the rest is about my ability to maintain relationships with the various companies I work for. A consumer on the other hand is a more general term - it refers to the mass of people who may purchase a product. All customers are consumers, not all consumers are customers.

For my part, I would consider myself to be a consumer of most games - there are few entities that have generated a relathionship. Valve, Bethesda and Bioware are three companies who's games I will purchase on the strength of the brand alone. Their long history of producing gaames that I enjoy immensely has earned them that right. Never once have I been contacted by any of them or had any interaction that implied mutual respect beyond the fact that they consistantly gave me games I want to play. This is why I see respect in the stricted sense as having no impact - they built a relationship with consitant quality and did not rely on superflous assertions of fantastically vague notions.

This post is getting crazy long so I'm going to quote as little as possible.

Eclectic Dreck:
What is interesting is that you choose to argue about the gradients of pricing when the point you are trying to establish is that you are paying MORE and getting LESS.

Since you insist on specifics, here's some. Torchlight is a Diablo clone made by the same people who made the original Diablo. I'd consider it fairly mainstream and the beginning price point was $20. It went on sale for $10 and later for $5, for a while, only a week or two after release. As I remember, Torchlight moved a massive number of copies(I don't have exact numbers and don't feel like digging to find them either; you can take my word for it, or not). I personally bought it when it hit the $10 mark because it was too tempting to resist. I did not even feel bad about the drop to $5 a week or two later during the Christmas sale. I didn't originally plan to buy it that early but, as I said, the price was too tempting. There's nothing tempting about the price of Dragon Age: Origins.

There's a lot of definitions for greed. I could pick one specifically tailored to fit me and prove myself correct but it'll be more fun to use the very definition you gave previously.

Greedy - adj:
excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious

They price exceeds the value of the game. They desire more profit per game than they deserve. This makes the price an excessive desire of profit and therefore greedy. Of course, value is a perception and you may perceive it differently. However, that does not change that I correctly perceive it as greedy. There are better or equal games at the same or lower prices. I've listed a comparable game(in both level of fun and being mainstream) at a lower price point. I could list more but one is enough. It may not have moved as many units but I've made my point.

There is nothing theoretical about the future loss of the dlc. If they'll do this then they'll have no problems shutting down the dlc.
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/01/ea-shuts-down-25-game-servers-including-madden-09.ars

My point about the future loss of dlc remains valid in the face of your damaged DOS games because you are responsible for maintaining a working copy. The dlc servers belong to EA/Bioware and neither you nor I have any control over when they go down(and they will). Therefore, your argument that your DOS games are failing because you failed to take care of them carries no weight here. Especially when someone as forgetful and careless as me can keep working copies of games from the mid '80s. I didn't get into computers until the mid '90s(couldn't afford them before that) but I had console games as far back as the launch of the NES. Oh, the fact that EA is losing money so badly only further supports the concern that the dlc will become lost sooner rather than later.

Here is a well composed argument about the very subject of servers shutting down and from this site no less(it's aimed at drm activation but the argument for dlc servers is exactly the same): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/7134-Experienced-Points-Activation-Bomb

The only reason I pointed out gog.com to you is:

1) You were complaining about non-working DOS games and I provided you a legal way to reacquire them.
2) I was giving an example of a business that respects customers.

I personally have only been buying games that I missed the first time around. Seeing as how their games tend to be either $5, $10 or free, it wouldn't break my bank if I re-bought a game that I had lost/damaged over the years. There's the added benefit that some of these games originally had DRM on them and the GOG version doesn't. They also include extras like soundtracks and such. Unlike EA, the extras aren't stuff ripped from the game and laced with extra drm, so no stick dressed as a carrot. They have real carrots.

You admit that respect is important to a service but ignore the importance when applied to a product. This is a mystery to me. Did you even consider the fact that people often buy games directly from publishers? Sure, your relationship with a brick and mortar salesman can be important but not the company that creates the products? This seems extremely shortsighted. Also, a company that creates a product has to maintain a relationship with anyone they do business with. Often, this means resellers or distributors but with people buying direct from the internet this extends directly to the end customer. Can you not buy directly from the EA store? You still think there is no significance over whether you trust EA or not? You would care if EA was breaking laws but care nothing about how they treat customers? They are dealing directly with customers after all. I can't force you to care about the company you buy something from. It's true that many people don't even think about where a product comes from.

I've long heard reports about how poorly EA treats their workers. I've witnessed first hand how they treat their products. The games they put out do not represent a product that was cared for. It represents a commodity that used specifically to generate money in any way the public would let them get away with. Surprisingly, the public has let them get away with a lot of things. In spite of lawsuits, protests and general rage over it, EA continues to use DRM on their products because people buy it. In spite of similar reactions to dlc, they continue to try to push it because people buy it.

I can't be bothered to google all of those stories. I can't remember the details well enough to bring them to the front page of my search attempts. Feel free to either research it or not believe me. I don't even care at this point.

One last thing I'd like to note while I'm still awake enough to be coherent, I don't just hate EA. I'm an equal opportunity hater. I hate Activision for buying up Blizzard. I also hate all of the other corporations that are snatching up good companies and turning their products and business practices to crap. If those corporations were content to simply buy a company and let it to continue operating as it was without imposing limitations or otherwise screwing with them or their products in pursuit of the allmighty dollar, I wouldn't hate them but that's what they do because, as you've stated clearly, all they care about is money.

Edit: I almost forgot this.

On a scale of 1-10 with 5 as average, 1 as worthless trash and 10 as perfection, Dragon Age: Origins only earns a 6. I deducted a whole point for the NPC begging for cash. This puts it about on level with Torchlight which also gets a 6. Torchlight is a solid game that is above par for what it is. That said, it's just a mindless hack and slash dungeon crawl with a decent but forgettable story. Torchlight would have rated a bit higher if it had online content. Torchlight costs less than half of Dragon Age: Origins. Torchlight also didn't rip content out of the game and try to sell it as dlc. Most importantly, there's no NPC in Torchlight that begs you to buy dlc.

It is obvious that care went into the production of both games. However, there are no stains on Torchlight. The game is whole and unmolested by its publisher. In fact, the integration with Steam was nicely done. The same cannot be said for Dragon Age: Origins.

I would easily value Torchlight at or even above the asking price of $20. I cannot say the same for Dragon Age: Origins. Perhaps, if the game had not been tainted by in game begging for money and had not had content removed expressly to lace it with extra drm and to be sold separately, it might have been worth the asking price. I'll never know because I never got past the NPC begging for real world cash. In its current state, I consider it robbery to price Dragon Age: Origins at $50 with or without the dlc. To call it greedy, would be an understatement. I hope EA dies in a fire.

LordZ:
One last thing I'd like to note while I'm still awake enough to be coherent, I don't just hate EA. I'm an equal opportunity hater. I hate Activision for buying up Blizzard. I also hate all of the other corporations that are snatching up good companies and turning their products and business practices to crap. If those corporations were content to simply buy a company and let it to continue operating as it was without imposing limitations or otherwise screwing with them or their products in pursuit of the allmighty dollar, I wouldn't hate them but that's what they do because, as you've stated clearly, all they care about is money.

With the rest, you've made your case as best you can and I applaud it - it is a worthy effort. But at the end of this ordeal, where I invested more time in composing responses than was ever asked when writing any number of essays, no opinions have been altered. Your value judgment is based upon different factors and thus we reach different conclusions. I conceed your judgment is valid for you and my argument has always been that I do not consider such activity to be malicious in the slightest.

As I said, a worthy effort, especially in the end, but finally and at long last we have reached a point where I can agree without caveat. I have no love for EA - even of late. They have time and again pillaged their way through the industry and destroyed much of what I once loved (I'm looking at YOU C&C). Their acquisition of Bioware dealt a blow to me personally it would seem and in spite of this the products Bioware has since delivered (Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect 2) have proven more than worthy of my money even if the DLC (which I find added little value in any case) was denied to me.

Do not take this as a spirited DEFENSE of EA, but rather, an energetic disinterest. I love Bioware games and as such I have a vested interest in seeing them being allowed to continue production - something that will not happen if EA collapses under the weight of a decade of bad decisions. Thus, where you simply see malicious evil, I instead see an utterly pragmatic choice made in desperation by a mega company in peril. I have watched the progress of the various tricks and trends closely. The DRM fiasco alone ensured that I would not purchase Spore, a game I antipiated with great interest. Their violations of worker rights combined with a history of making terrible, terrible games meant that for a time, I only purchsed their games used. My motivations for doing so were the same as is often given by pirates - having been jilted so often I felt little need to reward them for occasionally getting something right. The irony was not lost on me - I abhor piracy because of the contempt on display for the efforts of those involved and then I engaged in an activity that was, as far as those who made the game were concerned, was precisely the same thing.

Eventually however, EA began the arduous climb out of the hole they had so vigorously dug - a process that has cost them MILLIONS over the last few years (Since John Ricatello took over essentially). This eventually lead to a slew of games that were worthy in their attempt, if not of the price being asked (Mirrors Edge, Dead Space for example). Knowing that the content presented was brief (to put it kindly in the case of Mirrors Edge) I waited until the retail price of a new game was slashed and only then did I pick the games up. The overall trend of EA once again made them worthy of my attention and not simply my contempt but the products still were not worth the price being asked.

Then, a pair of long awaited games were released at the usual price and I snapped them up. I purchased the Collector's Edition of DA:O, not because I wanted the DLC package, but because I'm a sucker for trinkets and baubles (like the fabric map and the making of DVD). My rational was simple - I often purchase console games at 60 USD so purchasing the collector's edition for the same price was easily rationalized. Mass Effect 2 I purchased for the PC at USD 50. In both cases I felt that the value of the product I was given was more than sufficient for the price asked. Hell, I would have paid MORE for Mass Effect if they would have let me (There was no trinkets and bauble edition available at the time).

Our stance is not so different in most regards. I have let my own moral outrage manifest itself in purchase decisions the same as you - the only distinction is what precisely has set us on a rage. Thus, where you see a greedy grab for cash and worry about the future santctity of your game collection, I see a pragamtic move designed to bolster a faltering economy.

The trouble I see in general, is while I am outraged every time a beloved developer joins a faceless monolith, I understand why they do it. The cost of producing games these days is astronomical and a single failure can destroy an independent studio. Countless companies have fallen to precisely this - Looking Glass, Grin, Ion Storm and many others. Joining a monolith insulates one from the dangers of failure which is, on the surface good. The trouble is, the very culture that I have pointed out time and again seeks to simply make a buck is anathema to the creative process. Risks are less frequent because moderate sales across the board is more attractive to shareholders than a series of mega-hits and flops. What we gain in safety we often lose in long term creativity. Once a property is snapped up by one of these companies, the IP rapidly descends into derivation and exploitation.

This is the trouble with seeing both sides of the argument - I am unable to muster a compelling reason to root one way or the other. So long as the industry is focused on selling AAA titles, and the consumers consistantly demonstrate a preference for the familair it does not matter how much spittle I direct at such activity - it will continue. The truth is, the only people in a position to take big risks are the small independent developers. For them, there is no margin of error - they either succeed in all regards or they fail and collapse. Just as the studio within a giant corporation endures the paradox of fiscal security and creative stagnation, the indy developer faces their own quandry. They have no security, no safety net, and such desperate circumstances can produce absolutely brilliant products. The industry has long moved out of the garage however, and while this has resulted in amazing titles over the years I'm not convinced it is worth it in the long run. Technology and art direction only take us so far - somebody has to design new and interesting mechanics, somebody needs to bridge the uncanny valley in all respects, and we need people to constantly push what the very nature of games as an interactive medium entail.

*edit* It strikes me as somewhat amusing that our repartee on this last page alone has more words than the rest of the thread and the article combined.

Eclectic Dreck:
-

If you wish to read my ninja edit, you can but it doesn't really do anything other than look directly into my thoughts about how I valued Dragon Age vs Torchlight. It's not an attempt to convince you to agree with me but simply an attempt to add a little depth to my thoughts on value.

I used to be a Bioware fan and generally did not care one way or the other about EA. As far as I was concerned, EA was a fail corporation that cranked out crap titles for people I didn't care about. It was when EA bought up Bioware and they released Mass Effect that I first became poisoned against EA. I expected Baldur's Gate in space but with pretty graphics and got an underwhelming "meh" feeling from the whole thing. The worst mistake I made was watching the interview they did on Scifi about the game and believing their lies. Having a large number of conversation choices that ultimately have no real impact on the story really does not make it an ever changing and evolving world(or galaxy for that matter). It's old news so I'm not going to get into it too deeply. However, this was what spurred my hatred against EA.

That said, Dead Space was a surprise to me. The quality was unusually high for an EA product. Then, I realized how short it was. Further, the port has bugs that should be easy to fix but were never patched(crashes when you have a joystick plugged in). They lifted me up for a brief moment before dropping me into a pit. I don't know what I was more mad about. This disappointment or the fact I didn't see it coming.

Edit: I did read your reply. I just couldn't think of anything to say other than I understand and mostly agree. You already know about the few points I disagree with and why. In a perfect world, EA would be facilitating the release of great products from the companies they buy up instead of stifling them. It's just not a perfect world. At least, there will always be the indie projects. I just wish they'd actually develop their ideas instead of releasing a mini-game that demos their idea, get snatched up by a corp and filed away.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: The Day One DLC Trap

Shamus discusses the muddy waters of DLC.

Read Full Article

Again with this DLC debate...

And again with bringing up Dragon Age.

Users had a choice Pre Order Standard edition (very few extras) or the amazing edition (lots of extra). Of you could just not pre order it at all and get nothing.

All of these extras are in the game already for everyone to make running the game on reciept would be easy, I guess.

So.... Day One DLC, for Dragon Age. The only thing I am focusing on here, I just dont see a problem. You didnt preorder so why in the hell are you getting the bonuses for it? And nothing in the DLC is like a critical part of the story. An extra character, like you dont have a ton already, or a 1 hour long mission, at best, as a bit of lore filler. Again I just dont see the.... oh wait.....

Now I see it... People think they are etitled to this content! Why should THEY be punished for not preordering.

Go back 5 years and you were lucky to EVER see the Pre order bonuses for download or use outside of actually pre ordering. But now there is a trend for Publishers to offer these things as extra. WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY THE CASE WITH DA:O. You can now pick and choose the peices you want and pay the same price as those of us who preordered OR pick and choose the peices you need and pay less.

This whole issue for gamers and DLC just reaks of entitlment to me. So to all you who are blinded by the "Its mine, give it to me!", just step back and do something else for awhile

LordZ:

You believe it's impossible for an ethical decision to also be practical? Come back when you have a basic understanding of ethics.

No, but I believe ethics and pragmatism are orthogonal, so if you argue that they should do something because it is a sound business practice, it isn't relevant to a debate about ethics.

Really, this is fundamental to my argument. If you can't understand it, we can't proceed, and we will have to part ways.

Lacing their software with DRM and never informing customers in any way. There are many titles that fall into this category and I can't be bothered to type "hidden DRM" into google for you.

No no, you have to do that. You can't assert something and then tell someone to look it up themselves. That's not how debate works.

There's so much fail in this paragraph. You didn't have to strain yourself so much just to use the term "specious." Let me guess, it was your word of the day?

Heh, no, it's simpler than that. First, I wrote that your argument was specious. Then I thought about it for a minute, and couldn't think of a single thing about your argument that even seemed deceptively convincing. And I thought that was remarkable enough that I remarked on it.

Saying it is irrelevant to a moral argument when you don't even display a basic understanding of ethics makes your argument entirely irrelevant.

Rather that my notion of ethics differs from yours. I see no evidence that you understand my notion of ethics at all (see earlier), so I don't put much stock in your appraisal here.

The real problem in this argument, and why it is stagnating, is that you think the strength of your argument is self-evident. So you just reassert the same point with a new ad hominem and no meaningful elaboration.

You think it is unethical to insult customers and to offer noncompetitive products, for example. When asked to explain what is unethical about that, you fall back on pragmatism (i.e. that it is unwise as a business practice), but that isn't nearly enough. Not every unwise business practice would be unethical in your mind, so even if you could prove a business practice was unwise, we still could not deductively conclude that it is unethical.

And you can't make an illogical argument valid with insults, so you're going to have to try another tact or I'm finished with you.

Further, your assertion that going my separate way will solve the problem couldn't be farther from the truth.

Oh, I never said it would be an acceptable solution to you. You have wildly unreasonable expectations, an unwavering sense of entitlement, and an inflated sense of your own importance. I wouldn't expect any reasonable recourse to have an acceptable outcome to you.

Labcoat Samurai:
No, but I believe ethics and pragmatism are orthogonal, so if you argue that they should do something because it is a sound business practice, it isn't relevant to a debate about ethics.

Really, this is fundamental to my argument. If you can't understand it, we can't proceed, and we will have to part ways.

If this were a debate strictly about ethics, you may have a point there but the only one here trying to limit the discussion to ethics is you.

No no, you have to do that. You can't assert something and then tell someone to look it up themselves. That's not how debate works.

Are your fingers broken? Saying that I have to provide the proof when you have provided none isn't convincing. Also, this is a discussion on the internet, not a formal debate.

Rather that my notion of ethics differs from yours. I see no evidence that you understand my notion of ethics at all (see earlier), so I don't put much stock in your appraisal here.

If your notion of ethics differs greatly from this then it is wrong:

ethics
[U] the study of what is morally right and what is not
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=26403&dict=CALD

While I'm quoting dictionaries:

respect noun (HONOUR)
[U] politeness, honour and care shown towards someone or something that is considered important
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=67297&dict=CALD&topic=accepting-and-agreeing

It's fair to say that customers are important to a business. It is disrespectful to be impolite to a customer. Treating someone with disrespect without any legitimate reason is morally wrong. Diminishing the value of your product and advertising it as a benefit is dishonest and disrespectful. This should be self evident to anyone with a basic understanding of ethics and respect. You have failed to provide any reason for me to believe otherwise.

You have failed to provide any evidence or anything that even resembles a logical argument.

You have failed to provide any evidence or anything that even resembles a logical argument.

I was writing a response to your post, but then I saw this. This will have to be the end of the argument. I unquestionably have provided a logical argument, so you are (pick one) lying, not paying attention, or incapable of understanding me. Regardless of which one it is, this is no longer worth my time.

I know that technicaly shale is a female but it still seems a bit weird

Money as an object cannot be subjected to ethical debate. It often equates to a measure of time; I do because it takes a time investment for me to make money, so I can spend my other time doing things that matter to me.

Actions of people, on the other hand, can.

The "Greed vs Objective Capitalism" argument is now up there with "God works in mysterious ways" as a copout argument; because while all amounts can be objectified, actions cannot.

It's hard to argue ethics when there is no solid legal precedent. I think it's wrong to include day 1 DLC, but then again, I'm not making money off the game. So it defaults to subjective reasoning.

The simple solution is this: Is this game worth your time/money?
Do you feel that by buying this game, you will be encouraging/discouraging this sort of product in the future?

Answer those questions yourself.

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