Is The Gaming Industry Its Own Worst Enemy?
Admittedly, that title sounds a lot more sensational than I intended, but it does at least serve to tell the story.
With the recent saga over used games on consoles, I’ve been thinking a lot about the preemptive measures that publishers have been taking to ensure that they keep on making money in wads. Then last night while recording our podcast, we got into a discussion on the various wars publishers have created all in the name of the almighty dollar. A long time ago, it was game rentals; publishers then declared war on piracy with SecuROM and other DRM measures; now we have the secondhand sales market which has come under scrutiny.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
Now I’ve discussed some of this in my column on Monday so I won’t rehash most of it, but I just wanted to use this article to share my thoughts regarding something I find to be quite alarming, and that’s quite simply the realisation that publishers seem to be going to extreme lengths to keep you from enjoying an industry which depends on those who will enjoy gaming.
I mean, let’s think about this for a second, regardless of whether or not the used game methods being thrown around right now are necessary, it’s clear that publishers are intent on getting a cut out of the secondhand market. Say what you will about capitalist greed and so on, the fact is that the supporters of games are being inconvenienced, and publishers are going to turn around and expect them to now continue to support them.
I don’t get it.
Why shoot yourself in the foot like that?
I’m not sure if it’s hubris, blind ignorance or just an amazingly gifted marketing troll, who has convinced the entire gaming industry that in order to make more profits, an entire subsection of the gaming crowd needs to be alienated. Having recently studied some aspects of marketing and eCommerce, I now understand that when it comes to introducing a product to the world, there is a two-stage introduction phase before a product can be popular and that’s usually the largest hurdle to climb before profits come along. As an example, Amazon, the online retailer, only began to turn a profit a few years ago, even though it has been around for a long time now.
Now when you introduce systems the likes of online passes, DRM and other such restrictive measures which allow publishers more control over users while inconveniencing paying customers, how are you not significantly increasing that introduction phase’s slope to the point that profits don’t come easy? (Like love.)
Am I missing some important economic concept or discussion which would help me to understand why publishers can be so greedy and still expect to turn over such a profit? I mean, I’m all for growth and one of the reasons the gaming industry has grown over the years is because it was able to, in spite of online passes and DRM. Read: Nothing will stop a gamer from playing games. But then is that what publishers are banking on? Do they think that regardless of what they do, gamers will flock in support?
I’m not sure but I like to think that if a publisher takes it too far, then a gamer will stand up and say enough is enough. They certainly did that with DmC: Devil May Cry, even though it was actually a really great game. Here’s hoping that gamers to stand up for themselves when it gets too much. I don’t think that the used games proposals are too much, just yet, but when it does get too much, you’re going to certainly hear about it from me. Can I count you all in?