The cash-strapped core gamer has found an unexpected ally in the rally against Project $10 – Activision’s Bobby Kotick.
Publishers such as EA, THQ, Microsoft and many more are increasingly choosing to includes DLC codes with their new releases. These can be redeemed against additional in-game content or are sometimes needed to access key features such as online multiplayer. Those who buy the same games second hand must pay a one-off fee to buy a new code from the publisher.
However, Activision boss Bobby Kotick – a man not afraid of riling the gamer community – has criticised the strategy.
“We can do some of these things that EA and others have done, but we actually don’t think its in the best interest of the gamer, and so we’ve chosen not to,” he told Joystiq. “We’re not doing anything to suppress used games today.
“What we’ve tried to do is to really support our audiences and, you know, when you talk to players, they like the idea of having a currency. They like the idea of being able to take a game they no longer want to play and use it to get a credit to buy new games.
“I think we’ve generally tried to do things like encourage our customers to used-game sales, probably more so than our competitors. But you know, we’re very mindful of what’s happening macro-economically and I think that that plays a role when we’re thinking about the price of our content.”
However, you wouldn’t expect a cold-hearted, profit-obsessed, shareholder-loving, seal-clubbing, panda-slaughtering, dolphin-torturing capitalist like Kotick to let retail get away with all those additional sales for nothing, would you?
No. And you’d be right. Kotick goes on to explain that he wants to address the problem by ramping up its digital offering – something that hits retailers where it hurts.
“From a financial perspective you look at it and say ‘OK well the retailer is not paying us anything for the privilege of doing it and you know we invest all this capital in making a game and we are not getting any credit, any return on their resale of the game’,” he added.
“But, you know something? The best way to keep people engaged in your game experience is keep giving them more great content.
“As business models evolve, as the way you distribute content evolves, as the ability to do things online changes in terms of pricing or trial or sample. I think we’ve definitely always been out in front of the rest of our competitors. But I think you always need to be sensitive to that relationship and not crossing the line to a place where the customer feels like they have been taken advantage of.”