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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Stop discouraging game purchases!
While reading a recent issue of Edge magazine I wondered why I didn't buy as many games as I used to, and I think the answer is that most console manufacturers actively discourage me from doing so.  Never mind that I'm not interested in Realistic First Person Shooter Vol. 9, the actual mechanics of game purchasing has changed, and even when I see something I do want to exchange my money for, it's a pain in the ass.

1. I'm a multi-country kind of guy.  I'm from Canada, my wife's Japanese, we live in Australia.  I like games in English, she in Japanese.  From where should we buy our console?  If I buy in Australia I pay a lot more for the system and get fewer games to choose from in the shops.  If I buy from Canada or Japan I can't get it repaired easily, which is a serious issue with an Xbox 360.  So I bought it in Japan, quite cheaply, and happily many games are playable even when purchased here in Australia.  But not all - every time I think I'll impulse-buy a title in a store I have to think about compatibility, and by the time I've gone online to see if it'll work on my JP console (it usually won't) I've lost interest, and they've lost a sale. 

2. I like convenience.  Who the hell uses pre-packaged media these days?  How fucking archaic is it that I'm leaving the house to buy media?  This isn't 1985 anymore, dammit!  And why, after installing the game on my system, do I have to insert the CD to play it?  So sure, I can buy my games online, downloadable content is great, but that brings me to my next point:

3. Impermanence is stupid.  When I buy something I buy it.  I didn't rent it, I didn't license it for a period of time.  Publishers may think it's awesome to tie one purchase to one console, but when that console dies more than once for a vast majority of owners, it's a massive pain in the ass.  When Steam shuts down, or when Microsoft turns off the servers, I've got until my console dies again to enjoy my games, and then that's it.  Lights out.  We live in an unfortunate era of temporary pleasure.

4. I like collecting things.  Most people do.  I don't want another 50kg box of CD jewel cases, like the ones holding my treasures for Dreamcast, Playstation and PC Engine, but I wouldn't mind a wallet full of brightly-coloured plastic cards as tangible proof I gave some ungrateful dickhead my hard-earned cash.  I gave you thirty bucks for this downloadable bauble, is it so much to ask I get a goddamned receipt!?

Here's what I propose:

Give me a permanent, irrevocable copy of the game I gave you money for.  Let me back it up, let me gaze upon the shiny credit-card-sized proof of purchase/receipt/tangible object, and let me play it on this xbox and the next and when you're all out of business and I'm buying my 8th replacement console at a flea market, let me play it there too.  Stop treating me like a criminal, stop treating me like one more sucker who'll be tricked into paying for your Ferrari.  You make games, I buy games.  Simple.  Stop screwing it up.
BLEARGH
Author name #2
Member since Sep 2008 · 5 posts · Location: Munich, Germany
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Totally agreed!

I have to admit that I like buying physical copies of games though. Of course I order them online (what the hell could  I possibly buy here in Germany), but I like to put the physical copy onto my shelf. The publishers should introduce a parallel online registration for games to get rid of the need to keep the CD in the drive.

I don't want to rely on publishers to offer games for download for the next decades, so I like the idea of physical media. What we also need is the possibilty to BACKUP DRM-content or game patches. Just as you said: with dying systems all around and the download servers being shut down at SOME point in the future, we need some assurance that we can still play the updated versions of our games.

The idea with credit-card-sized plastic cards is nice, reminds me my Hucard collection, but in this case we'd need the possibility to backup the game data as well. I would even go so far to ask publishers for free sharing of the games, DRM-content and patches. All this needs is a bullet-proof online registration and validation. I could easily imagine the next generation of consoles without any optical drives. I just don't like my content to be locked inside the system. It has to be portable to other consoles. And we need the right to transfer ownerships. I want to be able to sell crappy games and buy games on an aftermarket. Microsoft's license migration tool is a nice approach and I don't get why licenses can't be transfered to other accounts....
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