The release of Batman: Arkham City last Friday marks, by all accounts, the arrival of the best game produced for 2011. For retailers, it will be a cash cow. For consumers, a delight to play.
But it also contains the most brazen of publishers’ moves to clamp down on pre-owned. You need a code in the game box to make sure you get the full single-player experience; buy it second-hand, and you need to buy a code to access all the story.
It’s a bold move from Warner. And fitting for a game about a man that has to take justice into his own hands to conquer evil.
Is pre-owned evil? Publishers certainly see it as a corrupt force.Whatever their reasoning, ‘second-user codes’ have been proven as viable and can now be found in the box for pretty much every game worth its salt (and, er, a number that aren’t).
The unfortunate side-effect is that the people most punished by the online codes isn’t the fictitious pre-owned bogeyman, but the real living and breathing customers that buy the games in the first place.
PAINE & GLORY
Congratulations to Nintendo UK’s Dawn Paine who has been promoted to assistant general manager.
Paine’s built a formidable marketing team at Nintendo, which in turn has built and in some cases rebuilt the format holder’s reputation amongst the public. Her canny choices helped the hardware innovations of DS and Wii find a place in people’s hearts. That includes people who never played before and those who had even turned away from games.
Nintendo hasn’t had the easiest ride in 2011, but it’s thanks to people like Dawn Paine that it has been resilient – and why everyone is still hopeful that the Wii U will deliver even in the face of a fast-changing market.
And there’s no one more fast-changing than Mind Candy. The Moshi Monsters firm is having an excellent year. It runs the most successful children’s magazine, the most popular children’s games site, and is responsible for hundreds of millions in merchandising revenue – let alone however much it makes through the Moshi Monsters online portal.
Staff-wise it is growing at such a clip that it will become one of the UK games super-firms, with around 200 employed by the close of next year. That’s more than the number of staff many ‘traditional’ games firms employ in the UK.