Video Games. Digital interactive entertainment. Once a pastime enjoyed on a rainy day video gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry that is now competing with established entertainment industries such as TV, music and movies. The widespread availability of broadband and fibre-optic internet connectivity has, in recent years helped to make video games the second most lucrative entertainment industry worlwide, surpassing TV and music as our preferred free time eater.
With internet connectivity becoming so widespread, features such as DLC, microtransanctions and season/expansion passes are becoming more commonplace, pushing up the price of videogaming past the standard set by Sony during their dominance of the industry in the late 1990's. With customers having to delve deeper into their pockets, it has become increasingly important for developers to create enjoyable and challenging video games, with many games catering to long term customers with scheduled additions and increasing multiplayer options to encourge the longetivity of the products presence in the market.
Sony's Playstation set console game prices at £40/$60!
Despite very little moderation and legislation the self managed indusrty of video games usually gets it right, with many titles selling at appropriate prices given their content, of which is usually developed to a professional standard with many game developers frequently releasing patches to further increase the stability of their product.
So it comes as no surprise that when things go wrong they don't do so quietly. Up until recently the only real crime in the video game industry was that of the "online pass", which required players of pre-owned console games to purchase a digital pass that would allow them to play said video game online. Because these "online passes" were not implemented by all developers the validity of their use was called into question, and gradually they have been removed from circulation.
Game Over Man, Game Over!
Another faux pas was that of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Published by SEGA and developed by Gearbox Software the game was promoted extensively before its launch in February 2013 to be of a set visual and content quality (see comparison to final, launch product above). Yet when the game was released millions of players were shocked to learn that they had been purposefully lied to by Gearbox Software, whom, it was later revealed had removed key personnel from the games development, prioritizing their internal title "Borderlands" over their contractual obligation to SEGA and Aliens: Colonial Marines.
After Gearbox Software recieved such a public beating (though legal proceedings amounted to nothing) many would have believed that developers would be adamant to ensure that their customers would never face such a level of disrespect and abuse, and that future releases would strive to offer value for money and high quality content as shown by recent titles such as Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Yet one game has again found itself in hot water with gamers.
Destiny promised a new experience for console gamers!
Leaving Microsoft and the Halo franchise behind Bungie, in September 2014 released their next major title. Destiny was billed as a MMO First Person Shooter in which players could play through the game alone or with friends alongside or against other players. A communial experience, Destiny grew in popularity despite the hefty price of its expansion pass, available to purchase at launch for the same price as the game itself and which would allow instant access to the games two planned expansions, when released (The Dark Below and The House of Wolves). When compared to competitor Gears of War 3's season pass which gave players access to four planned expansions for half the price, some players felt Bungie a tad greedy. That was until September 2015.
Update: The pricing information below has been updated, revealing a more biased extortion of its loyal fanbase from Bungie.
A whole year after its initial release Destiny was re-released as the "Legendary Edition", which includes the main game, the content from the aforementioned expansions, and the all new "The Taken King" expansion, which adds a plethora of new content, options and abilities that keen-eyed gamers will have noticed was actually devised before the games release. A perfect package for newcomers to Destiny, the "Legendary Edition" retails for £40 in the UK and $40 in the US (aprroximately £28), and seems like the epitome of value for money. That is unless you already own the game.
The Taken King - Taking Destiny veterans for fools!
Players whom already purchased Destiny and the expansion pass in September 2014, for double the price of the "Legendary Edition" re-release have two options available to them if they wish to continue playing the game they help make so successful. Option one is to purchase the "Legendary Edition" of the game to get access to "The Taken King" content, though this also means purchased, again, content they already have. The second option is to download "The Taken King". Unfortunately both options are retailing at the same price meaning that for original Destiny players in the UK to have the most up-to-date version of the game they will have had to spend three times that of UK newcomers and a jaw dropping six times that of US newcomers, whereas US veterans will have had to spend four times that of fellow US newcomers and six times that of UK newcomers.
To clarify; I purchased Destiny and the expansion pass upon its release for £80 (thats $120), to get The Taken King either as a digital download or as part of the "Legendary Edition" will cost me another £40 ($60), bring my total cost up to £120 (thats $180). If I go for the latter I get a useless second copy of Destiny and the Expansion Pass content. However our founder Chris did not buy the game at launch so is free to just buy the "Legendary Edition" for a mere $40. Destiny newcomer Chris would pay $40, Destiny veteran me would pay $180!
Why Bungie are you forcing your established fan base whom bought your game at launch to ultimately pay triple the price of newcomers to play your all new content, which was developed and devised before the games launch back in September 2014. Surely having supported and played the game since launch Destiny veterans deserve "The Taken King" for a hefty discount, or as some are petitioning, for free.