Up For Debate - Publishers Charging More For Players To Access Games Earlier

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, May 1, 2016 4:00 PM
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During the week it emerged that Microsoft and The Coalition are going to release a $99.99 Ultimate Edition of the upcoming Xbox One exclusive Gears of War 4. No great surprise there, it includes the base game and the £40 / $50 Season Pass, pretty much what we expect from a AAA multiplayer title these days. Where things get far more contentious however is Microsoft throwing a sweetener into the mix - buy the Ultimate Edition and gain access to Gears of War 4 four days earlier than everyone else.

That’s an entirely new precedent, eclipsing even the four-day early release for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided if enough pre-order cash was laid down. This never materialised of course, and the game was eventually delayed six months.

This is a new system which rewards those who are willing to blindly pay more. It preys on hype and you can bet your bottom dollar that thousands upon thousands will cave in and pick it up four days prior to launch, particularly once those who are playing start chattering. It’s all well and good selling a season pass bundle basically, but it’s an entirely different matter to withhold a finished game from your fans in a form of ransom.

To be clear I'm not disputing the value of the $99.99 Ultimate Edition. It comes with 24 DLC maps so I'm sure it's great value for money, but this is more the issue of punishing those who pay 'just' $60 for the base game.

I’m personally not at all fussed about Gears of War 4 but if 2K came along and said I could play Mafia III a week early if I throw £80 their way I’d be both tempted and pretty peeved off.

Where do you stand on this, is this a fair deal rewarding those who are willing to commit to the game early and for the long term? Or could this worryingly be the start of publishers holding gamers to ransom for release dates?

Would you pay more to access some games earlier?

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15:37 May-02-2016

I guess this isn't the same as a normal pre-order, but still: I (and A LOT of other people) won't pre-order games anymore because we just can't trust developers anymore to deliver what they promised. If I pay €60+ for a game that is completely different than what the devs told me, than they just ripped me off.

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12:03 May-02-2016

It's always fair. This is a discretionary item. They can price it however they want.
This is just an extreme version of buying a game upon release instead of waiting for them to go on sale.

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08:00 May-02-2016

NOPE

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07:45 May-02-2016

gamers need to have patience. i have never in my life bought a game on day one, no matter how much i want it. i wait a few weeks for a game i really want.

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09:27 May-02-2016

lol, i've stopped buying games on d1 too, it's too expensive. And i think to wait 1 year for some price drops. Im waiting FC, TR, NFS, Mafia 3. :D

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06:24 May-02-2016

the big developers are innovative if it comes about getting money out of my pockets why don't they have the same for there games

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01:47 May-02-2016

I'm getting tired of these disgusting business practices

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06:24 May-02-2016

Marketing... The new generation's sickness.

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00:28 May-02-2016

Triple A developers have shown great creativity and fortitude when it come to succeeding in this business. It astonishes me how these revolutionary ideas are thought up so quickly in relation to each other, often times revolutionizing the way we play games. It truly is progress at work... in terms of conning us out of our hard earned cash.

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23:19 May-01-2016

At the current sorry state of games when they are released- they will be lucky to ever get my money. I'm looking at getting out of gaming entirely I'm so finished with these pathetic losers. These people can't put anything together or do anything right.

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02:38 May-02-2016

Then BYE - seriously insulting them is soooo much better - go if you dont like gaming anymore - no one cares

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15:08 May-02-2016

So if you believe that why don't you show them how it is done instead of complaining about it cause you call them losers but really you talk like it is something so easy to do.

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04:04 May-07-2016

You're asking me why I don't make a startup? I'd be a fool. These people are chasing the fast easy dollar, and they're all failing with flying colors.


I'm just the messenger. I'm sorry you're upset by my comments but in all honesty if you're happy playing **** games you're being sold for the absurd price you're buying them for I thank you. I always appreciate a fool parting with his dollars.

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23:00 May-01-2016

I pre ordered Homefront just because i know what is added in will become like a 10$ - 20$ DLC later on.

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21:22 May-01-2016

I'm already sick of pre-order bonuses. This is like releasing the game twice with different prices. Simply stupid from consumer point of view. This would clearly prove which developer is for the money and which are for the fans. I bet anyone anything EA would be one of the first to join this club of nasties. xD

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20:32 May-01-2016

I think it's stupid, period. That being said, i'd still rather they block something off for a few days instead using deluxe editions to lock entire sections of content behind a $90+ paywall Still rather this not be a thing though in genral

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20:07 May-01-2016

Scummy and greedy as fak. If the game is ready for earlier release date , just release it then for everyone.

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19:48 May-01-2016

This is one of those times the gaming community has to step up, be smart and vote with their wallets. Anybody who gets to play it 4 days early gets nothing more than just bragging rights, which isn't much. And reviewers get thir copies much earlier so I don't see the point and value in this "Early Access."

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19:04 May-01-2016

early access with 30£ is a shame for gaming industry! never pay for an unfinished game!

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18:50 May-01-2016

The release date of a game is when the developer and publisher are happy for the game to be released for purchase to the general public. This means that the Ultimate Edition buyers aren't getting in early; the base game buyers are being forced to wait four days after release.


And to continue on from what @RealMTL said - you can only get the game on the first release date by paying around £80 or exactly £0 as a pirate. If you only want the base game, can't afford the Ultimate Edition or don't wish to stoop into the immorality of piracy then you will get the game at a later release date.

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18:36 May-01-2016

All it does is increase piracy imo especially when they add special dlc when you get the early access.

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18:23 May-01-2016

I haven't time to waste, so I see zero advantage of wasting money to play some mediocre game earlier :P

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17:47 May-01-2016

Theres always a high risk of not liking the game and paying more for it just to get dissapointed isnt a good idea.

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17:26 May-01-2016

And Microsoft is baffled as to why their console and windows store are doing so poorly!

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17:20 May-01-2016

That's ridiculous its extortion not everybody is rich I like the game but I won't pay that much for it even If it's great

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