Massive Poll: Catwoman Pass

Holy PR disaster Batman! After months of teasing us with the frisky feline Catwoman, Warner Brothers have added a pass system that will lock her out of the game for those who buy a pre-owned copy and, more importantly, anyone who does not have their Xbox or PS3 connected to the Internet.

Until now publishers have always used the argument that online passes are there to support server costs. Batman Arkham City has no online element so the pass confirms what we’ve known all along – it’s to stop gamers reselling or buying a pre-owned copy.

Those who do buy a pre-owned copy and wish to play as Catwoman will have to pay £7.99 for a pass.

Rocksteady have repeatedly stated that the Catwoman missions represent about ten percent of the game and you can play her character in the challenge rooms (but there are no Catwoman specific rooms). Batman Arkham City has a RRP of £49.99, ten percent of that is £4.99 – rather ironic that Warner Brothers making you pay extra for a character who is a thief.

It’s time to get clicking and let us know what you think of this new tactic. You have until midnight Sunday to vote and the results will be published on Monday.

 

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131 Comments

  1. Dear games industry,

    I love my games but my life isn’t all about games. Please, please don’t punish the gamer with tactics similar to the ones we’re seeing today. You will only punish yourself in the long-term.

    Yours sincerely,

    The consumer.

    • Seconded.

      And now I’m going Kayaking, which at this rate, I’ll be doing a lot bloody more of!

  2. The way I see it, games are one of the things that tend not to degrade over time (within the time frame you would expect the game to last).
    most other second hand markets you buy second hand at a cost, (no warranty, wear and tear) which justifies the lower cost. It is then upto the buyer if its worth buying the new shiny item or the reduced cost of a used one.
    This way i think is a compromise of allowing the buying and selling of second hand games but introducing extra incentive to buy new which is fine by me, you can usually buy online for the price of a used copy more or less anyway.

    • CDs or DVD/Blurays are the most obvious comparative point with single player games, as in all cases, the product is a box, and a disc with information on it. In none of those other cases do the producers (as a blanket expression) benefit from secondary sales, so why should the greedy old games industry be any different?

      • music artists make money from sales as well as gigs and air play

        movies make sales from box office sales as well as disc sales

        games only make sales from disc sales

      • I think what’s happening is retailers are buying less games from publishers, because they know they’ll sell each game twice more or something. And they sell the second hand game at only €2 or €3 less, which is a stupid high price.
        As customers, we’re not getting the benefits of buying second-hand, both in terms of paying ‘new game’ prices, and seeing that as publisher’s and developer’s profits fall, so will innovation.

        It’s obviously impacted publisher’s profits, at a time when the cost of making a game is at an all-time high.
        The cost of making music or a film hasn’t really gone up too much, has it?
        I bet that Elder Scrolls V is a bit more expensive to produce than Elder Scrolls I though…

      • Thing is I don’t see pre-owned CD’s/DVD’s/Blurays as a similar situation to games.
        Yes they’re both disk based media, hence why people like comparing them however the used market for these media are on completely different playing fields.
        When I walk into a Game or Gamestation the secondhand shelves always far outweigh the new shelves. CEX is a chain that had thrived and grown dealing almost exclusively with the second hand gaming market. And each of those stores, when you go in to buy, the salespeople actively push second hand copies over new.

        Now compare that to CD’s/DVD’s/Blurays. HMV is pretty much the only specialist high street retailer left for disk based media. Go into one of their stores, do you see a massive pre-owned section in their music department? How about a massive pre-owned dvd/bluray section? Are the salespeople in the CD/DVD/bluray section actively trying to get you to buy pre-owned? The answer is no on all fronts.
        However in the SAME HMV store go into the game department and there’s reams of second hand games, far outweighing the new games. And the people there actively try to get you to buy pre-owned (higher margins).
        And that’s in the same store.
        There’s no CEX equivalent dealing almost exclusively in CD’s/DVD’s/games, there just isn’t enough of a market to make it viable.

        Just because the media are all disc based does not make them comparable, I’m yet to walk into a high-street store where there is ANY pre-owned CD/DVD/blu-ray section at all … apart from very very small sections in the places that are thriving from second hand games, being Game/Gamestation/CEX. Sure there’s places online like musicmagpie however even that just goes to show the market isn’t big or lucrative enough to support high street stores as they are online only.

        I’ll consider them comparable when everywhere that sells those media can be compared to all the places that sell games, as in massive pre-owned sections far larger than the new section and staff actively promoting pre-owned over new. Until the the media of games vs CD/DVD/bluray is incomparable as there are clearly massive variations in the viablity of the markets for pre-owned copies of the differing areas.
        Just because they all come on disks does not make them directly comparable in regards to the pre-owned market.

      • Not trying to argue a point here, but i just wanted to add that my local CEX trade DVD’s & CD’s as well as games.

      • Fatty – Interesting points though I largely disagree. A gigging musician is working and thusly getting paid for that extra work if I went to a concert and there was just a CD player on stage I’d likely be rather miffed.

        The royalties point is more valid, though it will be interesting to see how and if OnLive begins to change this in the games industry. Also the rental industry buys its games at a much higher price due to their usage as rentals, afaik and in an arrangement negotiated with the publishers – Need to verify this though as I’m not 100%

        With movies, both of the examples you mention are that medias point of sale, so my comparison stands.

        Colm, depends on the movie and depends on the game, though I would be interested to see a comparison of development costs for a triple A movie (Avatar for instance) and a triple A game release. If customers are willing to pay just a few euros or pounds less for a 2nd hand product then that is the nature of retail. Supply and Demand dictates prices, if people will pay it it will sell at that price.

        Scythe, your point refers to the retailers not the product and while I acknowledge that they don’t have even close to the high st presence of 2nd hand games stores, there are a tonne of 2nd hand, book and music shops, with the majority of large towns will have at least one decent one. Again though, you’re talking about the retail method not the product.

      • Perfectly good point Forrest, mine also stocks phones and laptops etc, for which neither Nokia nor Dell etc will see a penny.

      • You can’t use extremes to produce a valid argument.
        Avatar is not representative of even an average blockbuster’s budget, never mind an normally funded movie.
        They also charged extra to watch it.
        I couldn’t say all movies were budgeted like El Mariachi (£4,400) or Paranormal Activity (£9,500), could I?
        The movie industry is so big, the average production cost of a movie are smaller than the average cost of a console game.

      • I’m not using extremes, I’m using a film of comparative profile to the videogame which has caused this kerfuffle. It was genuinely just something that occured to me whilst thinking about this that made me curious. Averages are also hugely unhelpful though, whilst we’re on it.

      • really fatty?
        not from books, comics, toys, clothing, movies, music, and all the myriad other forms of merchandising almost every game has these days.
        and that’s without the ubiquitous dlc.
        do you still want to say games never have any subsidiary revenue streams?

        and yeah, there are more places that trade games than there are movies and music or any other media.
        but remember, games became bigger than those other media, with the preowned market for most of it’s life.
        it’s debatable, but i doubt the games industry would be the behemoth it is if it wasn’t for the preowned market.
        i bet most people have traded in old games to buy new ones.

        TC, that could be a good subject for a future poll.
        find out how many people have used trade ins to fund new game purchases.

      • Hazelam: for the last time, they’re NOT banning trade-ins, they’re looking for a slice of the profits.
        A BIG difference there.

      • firstly, they are trying to destroy the preowned market.
        and secondly even if they were only trying to profit from it, they have no right to.
        it’s not their property any more.

  3. Well, if i don’t get to play the full experience i probably won’t be interested in any sequels thereafter.

  4. The way I see it, the gamer is in a lose lose situation here. We either put up with this system or the publishers only distribute their games digitaly which means that there isn’t anything physical to sell on or buy pre-owned (which is coming like it or not). I have BAC pre-ordered myself and will not be selling on but that doesn’t mean I agree with this. I just know we’re already bent over that barrel and have been for some time now! It’s not going to get any better from here on.

  5. Well done TC, the first person I’ve seen on TSA to spot and point out irony correctly.

  6. If I bought a second hand car (tired analogy, I know) the origional manufacturer can’t tell me I’m not allowed to drive down cetrain roads.

    If I bought a second hand home, the origional builder has no say in what rooms a can and can’t use.

    If I buy second hand clothes, the origional designer can’t deny me the use of all the zips and pockets.

    Why does the gaming industry get a say in what content I can and can’t use?

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully support developers, and always buy new anyway. But I can’t condone this action by WB. So this has gone from a first day purchase, to a do not buy under any circumstances.

    Echoing a post I made in the “1st purchaser” article here. But I’m sure other publishers will be paying close attention to this, and I don’t want to give them the impression that I’m indifferent.

    • If you bought a second hand car you are forced to maintain it, this will be via maintenance. You will have to purchase spare parts and that is where motor companies make the most money. Fail to do this your car will fail MOT and will be impounded. Thus the purchase of the car leads to more money going into the motor industry.

      If you bought a second hand home you will have to maintain it, this will generally involve anything from roofers to plumbers to electricians. If you don’t the home will become uninhabitable. Thus the purchase of the home will result in more money going into the housing industry.

      If you buy used clothes they will wear out at some point and you will have to purchase replacement clothes. Thus the purchase of an item that is “perishable” will lead to further money going into the clothing industry.

      Where, exactly, are the equivalent forced maintenance costs for games vs cars/houses?
      Where, exactly, is the wear and tear and eventual forced replacement on a game vs clothes?
      If you purchase a second hand game what forced future expenditure related to that game purchase will go into the gaming industry?

      • Whilst I agree that the motoring analogy is innacurate, plenty of people buy only 2nd hand clothing and fair play to them.

        Also, house maintenance is not generally carried out by the construction company, but rather by electricians and plumbers etc which is not the same industry.

  7. I don’t have a problem with it, probably because it won’t affect me this time around. Even so I’d still pay for online pass, I have done with FIFA 12 since I’ve borrowed it.

    However, the way it’s all unfolded in this case leaves a lot to desire from the PR people. Not a good look!

  8. The UK Government has to make this illegal. It’s a dirty cheap tactic which should not be allowed. Basically the developers can make extra money of one copy of the game.

    Looks like I will pick this game up when it’s £20.00 or less brand new. It’s not COD so no way it can stay at RRP for more than a few months.

  9. I never buy preowned but I don’t really mind it in online games as it’s never really effected me. but this is just shocking

  10. Option B for me.
    I find it incredibly annoying when I open a new game to have to type in a code to play it.
    But I accept it is necessary.
    Pre-owned stuff is fair enough, it’s not a new market or idea and was always working quite well.
    But it’s been exploited too much, retailers are profiteering to a ridiculous extent, and something has to give.

    • You fail.
      Retailers buy MY GAME and then they sell it off, they can sell it off whoever they want to and whatever price they want too. So no, something doesn’t have to give. Everyone wins this way, the retailer and so do I but getting it cheaper if I want the preowned version.

      As soon as I buy the game, its out of the developers hand, they have no say in what I do with the game and this new tactics of codes is stupid and its gonna hurt retailers and the gamers, us.

      • You say that when studios are closing down all over the world?
        When it’s regular for a retailer to have more pre-owned games than new ones? And selling them on the same level of prices as a new game?
        There’s no other industry in the world abusing second-hand sales like this.
        I remember there used to be a rule of thumb regarding buying anything second-hand- seller gets 50% of the price of a new copy of the game/ book/ cd etc, and retailer sells it at 60% of new copy.
        It’d be a lot better than the current model if it went back to this standard, shops should prioritise selling new copies, not pre-owned, and THAT would benefit everyone.

      • Awayze, I’m in no way saying you are right or wrong, just interested to see if you (and others) for that matter have thought of the following scenario. And remember, I’m literally making these figures up.

        I buy a game full RRP £50 from GAME. GAME get £10 of that lets say. Rest goes to publisher etc.
        I then sell back to GAME for £25. GAME are now down by £15. Game put this on the shelf for £40.
        Awayze walks in. Wants to buy the game brand new which is still £50. But sees my old copy for £10 cheaper and sensibly picks it up.
        Now GAME are up £25 from ONE copy of the GAME having sold it twice. Company that made it however have only sold one copy, because technically persuaded Awayze to not buy their game new.

        I realise this isn’t the best example and that is far from being the rule of thumb, but this has to be a real pain in the arse for companies.

        Just a thought, and wanted to see what you thought really.

      • businesses are closing down in every sector, but we don’t subsidise those that are too inefficient in any other industry.
        except of course public service industries, which gaming isn’t.
        and banks, apparently.

        you know one of the reasons why new and preowned prices are so close at launch?
        because they can afford to sell for less than the rrp because of the profits from preowned games, which contrary to industry propaganda is not pure profit, they have to buy the games first.

        that’s not the only reason, but that’s an important one.

      • Well its something you got to live with. As soon as I buy the game brand new, its my game, I can sell it back to the retailer who can do whatever they want with it as now its their game. As soon as that wrapper comes of, its not the developers game anymore or their property so I or the retailer can do whatever we want with the game.

        Besides the price difference between a preowned game and new game is like £2-£5. I realise GAME are trying to profit as much as they can but technically it is their game now as they bought it 2nd hand of me and besides with that little price difference, you would just buy it new anyway.

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