When the Steam store updated its weekly deals before last weekend, I’ll admit I wasn’t surprised to see Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s price slashed by 34% just a month after launch. It’s the Square Enix way, to be honest. Anyone looking to save their pennies will be all too aware that waiting just a few weeks could net a significant discount, and if you wait a year you’ll probably be able to buy a complete edition for 20 bucks.
It’s very short-termist of a publisher though. Do it enough and it sets a precedent; fewer and fewer people will be willing to pay full price when they know a discount is almost certainly right around the corner.
That’s kind of by-the-by, a discount is a discount, and those paying full price should only have paid full price if they believed they were getting their money’s worth. The review bombing that’s occurred on Steam due to the sale price seems a little out of whack, you pay more for getting something earlier than anyone else, that’s generally how these things work.
However, the 34% discount on the Season Pass and the 47% discount on the Croft Edition are different matters entirely. The Shadow of the Tomb Raider Croft Edition is now available for less than the standard selling price of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, effectively giving away the Season Pass content for free.
There’s nothing really out of the ordinary here on its own, but what’s particularly egregious is not one single bit of Tomb Raider Season Pass content has actually been released yet.
Taken on its own then, Square Enix has sold a Season Pass for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, priced at £22.99, released absolutely nothing so far and then dropped the price 34% to £15.17. Those who committed to the game and stumped up the cash at launch will get the exact same content at the exact same time, only they’ll have paid £8 more for it. To say this is treating your biggest fans like doormats is an understatement. It’s a betrayal of the implicit trust between customer and provider, and all it serves to do is line Square Enix’s pocket in the short term while pissing off a whole fanbase for the long-term.
Now, Shadow of the Tomb Raider isn’t alone in this approach. Telltale games have been notorious for this over the years, but we’ve rarely seen Season Pass content receive a steep discount when literally none of it is even out yet.
The flip-side to all of this is that review bombing a game because it’s now available for a cheaper price is, logically, churlish in the extreme. The game isn’t any worse just because someone’s paid less than you for it. That removes the human element though, and Square Enix should be all too aware of how this looks and more importantly feels to its fanbase.
How do you feel about game discounts then, do you feel short-changed if a game goes on sale after you buy it? Would you prefer the price stayed higher for longer? Is it all just nonsense? Let us know!