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THQ Punishes Used Game Buyers

In what will probably be the latest big gaming controversy, publisher THQ decided to hamper their used games via one-time codes that unlock online functionality.

After THQ’s announced plans to hamper their used games by including a single-use code that allows online play in their upcoming Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, the publisher’s creative director Corey Ledesma made some rather controversial statements to CVG regarding the move:

“I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything. So if used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them.
That’s a little blunt but we hope it doesn’t disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated.
I don’t think anyone wants that so in order for us to make strong, high-quality WWE games we need loyal fans that are interested in purchasing the game. We want to award those fans with additional content.”
However, a day later, core games boss Danny Bilson came out to hopefully quash the negative press and told Eurogamer:
“What I care about the most is building great games people are excited to buy.
If all of that revenue is going outside of the people who are making the games, it’s really tough for us to fund them. It’s that simple.
But we also don’t want to punish the used gamer.
So one of the things you’re going to see us do, in addition to what is called the online lockout, which sounds a little punishing, is we’re also going to be giving some downloadable content with that card.
For instance, on our next WWE title, if you buy it used and there’s a $10 fee to unlock all the online. It also unlocks the first DLC pack. So the used consumer feels they’re getting something for their money, not just a getting out of jail card.”
Danny Bilson doesn’t address a few key issues, however. For instance, how will used game buyers feel when they don’t get the premium DLC on top of not getting the online features? Doesn’t that simply exacerbate the situation? How will THQ address the pricing issue? In the case of recently released titles, the price drop associated with used games can be as little as $5. So, if Danny Bilson’s hypothetical pricing of $10 becomes official, couldn’t used game buyers actually be paying more for the used game if they want the online functionality?
With Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft and now THQ attempting to curb the sale of used games, a royal rumble between used game retailers like GameStop, pricing structures, publishers and consumers may well be looming over the horizon.

(via CVG and Eurogamer)

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