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Content Locking

Articles / Personal Stuff/Random News
Date: Jan 30, 2012 - 08:14 AM
HotHardware looks at the brouhaha over Kingdoms of Amalur's content lock.

Essentially, if you bought a new copy, you get some "free stuff" that may or may not already be on the disc. If you buy used, you have to pay EXTRA money to unlock a part of the single-player game.

A number of people have declared this to be simple greed, but the situation isn't that simple. Consider this: When you buy a game from Gamestop, the studio gets nothing. Buying a used game and pirating the game outright are identical as far as their impact on the studio's revenue. That's inherently frustrating for developers, and the problem is made substantially worse by Gamestop itself.

The problem, after all, isn't the fact that a used games market exists, but that the used games market is dominated by a single enormous company. Gamestop's monopoly on the used game market gives it the ability to set prices on what a used game should sell for, and the resulting sale is 100% profit for the company. Unlike the MPAA, which prohibits selling new and used games side-by-side, there's no such restriction at GS.
I'm not the world's biggest Gamestop fan, but really, the used games market exists like a used market exists for just about every other product in the world. PC gamers don't get much of a used games market these days thanks to the Steam DRM lock, and it really annoys people and hurts the industry by making people less willing to buy a game that they may finish and want to give away to a friend. And the move to items you can't sell without breaking them hasn't come with decreasing prices, so consumers are even more leery of purchasing.

I don't like the idea of the death of the used games market, which is definitely what the game publishers want to see happen. It's bad enough knowing that there are a set of games from my Xbox Live Marketplace downloads that, once the Xbox dies or Xbox360 is deprecated from Live (just like they did to the original Xbox and its DLC packs), the content is almost impossible to see again.

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