Rockstar announced yesterday several pre-order editions of the much anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, and I’m so frustrated.
Pre-order bonuses are an exploitative method of profiting from fandom. Usually limited to small trinkets and cosmetic items, these bonuses are (unfortunately) generally accepted by gamers as the norm from major publishers. Rockstar however, is no average game developer, and Take-Two Interactive is no average publisher. GTAV is now the highest-grossing singular entertainment property of all time; what are they doing with their hands out, asking for coins?!
Video games are a strange medium, and the financial models used don’t compare well to other forms of entertainment. Because of this, major publishers’ share holders are pushing for new ways to exploit a demographic that has consistently coughed up over the years. Over the past decade, we have had publishers charging for online passes, season passes, additional maps, additional weapons, additional characters, additional customisation options, additional experience, one-time boosts, card packs, loot boxes and now it seems they want to charge (in advance!?!) for additional missions.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for paying for additional game content developed after a game’s release, but charging for something that is included from day-one is sinister. And this isn’t a ‘freemium‘ game that needs to find revenue from micro-transactions; Rockstar will likely sell well over 20 million copies of Red Dead Redemption 2!
This is even more a shame when you consider how much free content was added to GTAV over the past 5 years; they built up so much good will! I know this is a pedantic post about what is likely a very average bit of content – an hour or two of gameplay perhaps – but it just sends my alarm bells off when I see the most cash-rich developers digging for more.
I would happily pay over £100 for RDR2 when it launches later this year. I genuinely would. If that is what they deem their game is worth, then fine. But I resent the growing culture of money-grabbing that is seeping into the games industry. Sell a product for a one-off price. If there is an ongoing service being provided, charge for it. If there is additional content, charge for it. If you want to make more money, charge more. Please just stop flogging crap for coin.
Best wishes y’all.
My Two Bottle Caps