Gamers have to pay to play

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Gamers have to pay to play

Cody boland courier staff

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Ihave been a passionate connoisseur of the video game industry for over a decade.

I’ve owned almost every console produced since 1996, bought every triple-A release — many of them at full price — and have always defended my passion to non-gamers who have never experienced a few minutes in front of a screen morphing into hours of persistence and pleasure at the hands of their favorite game. Because of this, it cuts me deeply to admit

that the gaming industry has been changing for the worse.

As is usually the case in life, the reason is because of money.

Developers have realized that the old way of marketing games — selling a complete 12-30 hour experience for one large payment — is not as profitable as infinitely bilking much smaller amounts out of their customers for as long as they play the game. In some cases this is done with a subscription, but the far more sinister business tactic in use is the micro-transaction.

Now, instead of producing an encapsulated experience for a single purchase price, gamers are getting nickel-and-dimed a dozen times over.

Here’s an anecdote from my gaming life: one time I was zoning out while playing Fable 3, and I wound up on the wrong menu screen while pressing the A button too many times.In the process, I accidentally spent a real-life dollar to turn my character’s pet dog into a fluffy pink poodle. Annoying — but what was even more annoying was the fact that this happened instantaneously without a single file being downloaded. Turns out that the pink poodle had been on the game disk from day one, but was only unlocked after taking even more of my money.

Game companies are increasingly charging extra for things that should have been part of the experience in the first place. I bought Dragon Age 2 the day it came out, and was not pleased that there was already an additional character that I could only use if I shelled out another $10.

Frustrating for me, but it seems to have worked for Bioware’s finances, because Mass Effect 3 continued this trend. One of the worst offenders is, oddly enough, LittleBigPlanet 2, a game that is supposed to be all about user created content. If gamers were to buy all of the extra costumes and designs, they would shell out over $370.

To be fair, having to pay for additional levels or character models annoys me because I’m broke.

Gaming is already a highly expensive hobby without each major title shaking its cup of change in front of my face, asking for another handout from my empty pockets. I want to be supportive of my favorite companies, but if the gaming industry is planning to become a black hole for my Benjamins, I think I can finally justify turning to torrents for a far cheaper solution.