Sgt. Johnson here has a few tips to include all your players
We fully believe there are much better ways to encourage gamers to purchase games new:
Releasing demos long before the game is released - if people know what they're getting in to, they're much more likely to hype themselves up after playing a clean sample of what is being sold. Also, saying "to hell" with the deadlines of games; a lot of the best titles are delayed, and come out with much more polish than the ones that are rushed. We'd rather see something good, than something immediate. And finally, stop pushing garbage. I have a hard time believing any quality control went in to games like Two Worlds, which was marketed as a mash-up between Fable and Oblivion, but came out nowhere near the quality of either title.
This quality concern can be applied to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, which unfortunately did not live up to the original. Even a predecessor of the same title can't dictate the quality of the game; Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 was approximately 7 hours in length from start to finish, where the first was 20-30 hours for the average player. Gamers hoping to get long hours of four player co-op play with their friends found a planned weekend of MUA 2 cut abruptly short. Even our own editor's 8 year old son stated as the credits rolled - "That's it, Dad?" Does a small piece of exclusive DLC make up for 20 hours less gameplay?
This tactic of luring gamers to their poverty with incentives that may change, or even ruin a games experience if not obtained is not appreciated. I'd like to see all "exclusive content" made available after a period of time, for purchase through DLC as a secondary incentive to get the games sales moving again. Excluding those of us that have a limited gaming budget up front, isn't going to fix the situation of used games. If anything it encourages it.
After a disheartening conversation where my friend would not be able to play as his favorite Marvel character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 due to limited funds (as many gamers experience,) he wrote a (private) blog ranting on the topic. He gave me permission to post a short excerpt to help get the point across.
"Confectioners have been making new flavors of candy available for pre-order for some time, to make sure there's a market for this new flavor and to help those after this particular flavor guarantee their hold on it when it becomes available, this isn't new. Special wrapping or a book on how these sweets were made is also a concept that's become popular these days, though not originating in them. What is new though is the fact that these candy makers are now going straight to the men on the street and telling them, "Look. I know you sell our candy second-hand. There's no way we're going to be able to stop that, even if we filed some law suit against you, you'd still either win, or sell anyway. But because you're such a big name on the streets, I'll tell you what we'll do. If instead of pre-ordering our candy with the stores we typically sell it in, if they pre-order it with you, man-on-the-street, we'll give them special wrappings drawn by Amano Yoshitaka that they can't get anywhere else. Sure, they can get a crummy sampler CD if they order through one of our main online stores, or a crummier-still calendar if they order from one of the biggest chain stores we deal in. But you, you'll get what the kids really want." This isn't so bad, really.. I mean, yeah, it sucks that the used candy store gets the best pre-order premium but it's not the only game in town. Now this is what irks me. This is what gets my goat. This is the thing I hate:
Gamestop, one of if not the biggest secondary market video game chains is cornering the market for exclusive pre-order premiums and specialty bundles. The secondary market is the 'cancer that's killing video game production' yet only GameStop sells the PlayStationPortable's Final Fantasy Dissidia pack. GameStop is the ONLY way that you can get special levels in video games such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine or Batman: Arkham Asylum. And GameStop is the ONLY way you could get The Juggernaut as a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance II. And this makes absolutely no sense to me."
The question we're now left with is: Do we spend the additional money (full price) on a pre-ordered item to get the full experience and risk wasting a hefty chunk of change, or wait to see what reviewers and friends say about the same title and make your decision accordingly - potentially saving the money but losing that chance at playing the entire game. The question I leave you with is this: Do you feel cheated out of content when you don't have access to these pre-order goodies, or does it not bother you?