Former Creative Director Says The Xbox One U-Turn Is Bad For Consumers

Former People Can Fly creative director Adrian Chmielarz posted an article, over at Edge, explaining why he feels the Xbox One U-turn isn’t all good for consumers. Although seemingly controversial the article is sure to spark debate.

In an attempt to praise Microsoft’s vision of a digital future with the Xbox One, and to weigh in on the on-going used game debate, he takes his time to explain why practically everything about modern video gaming was born.

DLC, to artificial extenders and micro-transactions, are all by-products of publishers and developers ideas to counter used game sales. As Chmielarz says;  “a mantra was born: ‘…so they keep the disc in the tray’.”

DLC follows this trajectory. With the cost of each pack priced at up to 25% of the original purchase, but containing a far less proportion in content, Chmielarz explains “It was often enough to cover the perceived loss from used game sales”.

He also goes on to criticise Far Cry 3 for using “filler content” to boost the length of the game. “Far Cry 3 is not a better game because you need two boar hides to craft a simple rucksack item, but it certainly is longer”. He makes a valid point, although some are sure to argue.

He adds further, “The hardest difficulty is inaccessible on your first play-through… It’s so you replay the game at least one more time.”

So where does all this fit in with the Xbox One? He believes that Microsoft had a “great idea”, one to “accelerate the death” of the retail box. A digital future so to speak.

He goes on to say that developers don’t like adding in DLC, or micro-transactions, in fact they feel “dirty” about using them to lure gamers into keeping their game in their console. If the box doesn’t die quickly then these “psychological tricks” wont anytime either.

So where does this leave us gamers? Are you ready to shun the pre-owned market? At the moment digital games are priced in a horrifying fashion, that’s not to mention what the omission of pre-owned sales would have on the industry, and the fact boradband speeds aren’t ready.

I’d say we are still a long way from saying goodbye to the “box”.

For the full article head here.

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29 Comments

  1. The counterpoint is however that the used game market is the only true outlet for a lot of gamers with less cash. I buy used a lot, because as a student without a job it’s kinda hard to scrape together £40 per game. The cost of games wouldn’t decrease under the Microsoft regime, so why exactly would their digital future benefit myself and millions of others?

    • I never understand when people say this? Where are you getting pre-owned games from? Because I only ever see them for literally 3 quid cheaper than buying new. In fact around xmas when there are lots of promotions, games are cheaper new on the day of release than they are pre-owned 6 months down the line.

      • I buy used a lot as well. I would never buy used from a store – I go to Amazon. If a game is more than a year old then it is usually around $15 while the stores still sell them for $60. That’s a lot of savings.

      • I have a library used of games (particularly 360 games) that cost no more than £5 a game. Just check hotukdeals and you’ll find them. Example being halo 3 for £2 or mass effect was £3. Makes a big difference over a long time.

    • I never really understand people when like yourself say that ,it doesn’t matter if you are working/student or benefits. Its about being smart with your money and searching out good deals. Here is two sites I use
      http://Www.savygamer.co.uk and simplygames.com .the first is run by a guy who makes is living off finding cheap game the second is a new company which when mortal kombat psvita came out was £40 in hmv and game simplygames and it for £21 new . So what am saying like games be smart with your money used should be you last option.

      Sorry about grammar typing on bus to work

    • If you’re a student without a job or benefit (just like me) and need to scrap cash for games, maybe gaming is not the hobby for you.
      It’s all about how you use your money. Some collegues of mine spend on the nightlife, I spend it on gaming, among other tings

  2. It’s true- there’s plenty of reason to let go of the physical product.

    Unfortunately, there are reasons not to as well, such as broadband infrastructure and plain mistrust of certain companies.

    Eventually we will migrate to digital only I believe. But it should be a gentle and graceful movement, not a sudden shock like Microsoft attempted.

    On PS Vita for example, I have a lot of games. But only one left is a physical game. The rest are games I downloaded because the PSN version is priced aggressively cheaper for many titles, or picked up via PS+. The way to move us on is through competition.
    Make the digital game cheaper, and make every game available to download regardless of whether it is available in a retail store or not.

    Make the download store a nice place to visit for a bargain, where it’s release day or 6 months later. Update the prices after a few months. Cut out the middlemen of the retailers, the packaging and shipping to pass the savings on to the customer. Make it worth our while to choose the download option with a great store.

    If you build it, we will come.

    • Agreed It does need to be cheaper. I have mainly bought my Vita games digitally because their with me most the time but when I mainly buy for Ps3 it’s disc because I can get some money back sooner or later, but since PS+ I’m starting to prefer digital on PS3 too as I’m more likely to play the game.

    • That’s a good point. I shun away from digital versions of retail games as the price is always ridiculous, but thinking about it I have quite a few digital Vita games.

      It is definitely the competitive pricing, and without disk based versions there would be nothing to compete with.

  3. I personally prefer to have a physical copy of my games, so I’d say to hell with their desire of “killing the box” and a purely digital future. If there’s a game I want really to play, I’d rather go to a store, buy my copy, put the disc into my console, and start playing. I do not want to waste hours waiting for the download to complete. Besides, not everybody has fast and reliable internet. Haven’t they heard gamers saying that for years??!

  4. Maybe rip-off DLC, filler and micro-transactions came about because of pre-owned, but is this guy saying if pre-owned was abolished, rip-off DLC, filler and micro-transactions wouldn’t exist anymore?!

    • Yeah, he is basically saying they wouldn’t need it anymore because they wouldn’t have to make up for perceived lost sales from the used game market but the truth is, publishers would still demand DLC to milk the customer even more.

      I really don’t understand how these people fail to see our main problem with the digital console market. If I can buy a new PS3 game on Amazon UK for roughly 50€, I’m sure as hell not going to buy it digitally for 60€+.
      It’s even worse for games that have been out for a few weeks. You can get such games for 30-40€ after a short period of time while the digital download still costs 60€.
      Hell, if we das Steam-esque Summer Sales on consoles where full games or publisher packs are discounted by up to 75% I’d gladly give up my right to resell games.
      No, they want to take our rights and still demand the highest possible price and that is not acceptable.

    • I’m sure Activision wouldn’t sell anymore CoD DLC, after all its not like Activision makes any money from CoD DLC, they just do it to combat used sales (lol) ;P

      You hit the nail on the head. Nobody releases DLC to extend a games life and prevent used trade-ins, they release DLC to extend a games profitability. The only reason we have DLC, and IAPs are because some games make a shitload of money from them and brain dead publishers will copy anything that makes extra money. As long as someone is making money from DLC and IAPs someone else is going to copy the business model.

  5. He believes that Microsoft had a “great idea”, one to “accelerate the death” of the retail box.
    So they mean no more consoles, you would just connect to their streaming game service with any tablet/pc/streaming box? That’s not something i would be remotely interested in as a game consumer. I’ll always want the most powerful beast available sitting under my tv, not some drone-box which can’t function independantly or offline.
    It would also mean the end for game retailers..
    Am i right in thinking ..”Microsoft… you bastards”..? :/

  6. I’d argue the Far Cry 3 point, maybe the game would still be great without the hunting but why criticise it for making hunting a requirement? Monkey Island made going back and forth across town a requirement, so you could call any slightly superfluous feature ‘padding’. Apart from that point, he has some other good ones.

  7. Developers might not like the idea of DLC, but publishers it seems sure as hell do.Lost count of how many publishers put up details of DLC for a game before it’s even hit retail, plus i recal when MS closed Ensemble (Halo Wars) studio, they kept enough staff back to work on the DLC.

    I use Amazon for all my physical purchases, be it new (at very reduced prices) or used.Long gone are my day 1 purchases or pre-orders and they won’t be coming back.

    As for extending life of a game, been common practice in games to add back tracking to extend life of a game, still crops up more often than not.I did’nt buy Far Cry 3 despite owning Far Cry on PC and the 2 Xbox Original Far Cry games, not because of any DLC or the like issues, but because after buying Far Cry 2, i hated what they’d done to the game.

    If you make a game an enjoyable exp.i’ll buy it and if the DLC adds to that enjoyment, i’ll buy that too, but the DLC is the only digital content i want.No physical media? no sale.

  8. I don’t get why they are so adamant to push this “digital only” future. It sounds all clean and shiny on paper, but I honestly hate the idea. For example, take a system like Steam.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I use steam quite often, but it is the biggest source of downloadable games, and therefore the best to make an example of. The biggest problem with digital games, at least on a platform like that, is that if you can’t connect to the internet, you have zero access to your account or those games, meaning it may have been £10 cheaper to buy, but if you can’t use it, what difference would it make. That is why I will always prefer a physical copy. If I can hold it in my hands, I know that it still exists and that I still have access to it.

    Next, and most glaringly, the question about DLC. Tell me, if DLC was created for the sole purpose of making profit that was lost in pre-owned sales, why do reasonable large companies, with digital only games on Steam, still produce numerous quantities of DLC for prices sometimes upwards of £5?

    Finally, to comment on a quote directly from the original article,
    “The truth is, no one really gives a crap about ‘the right of first sale’ or ‘sharing with friends’ if the price is low. Unless a movie is bad, no one complains they pay ten bucks to see it, and no one complains they can only see it once for that price.”
    This guy is clearly a deluded arse if he thinks this is truly the case.

    O.K, rant over. Sorry about the wall of text everyone, but I hate people who try to defend a bad idea with flawed and obnoxious reasoning.

    • Steam does have an offline mode, it’s a bit flaky at times, but it works.. Agree with you about the DLC tho.

  9. Everyone’s got there own preference regarding digital or physical copies of games but I guarantee that more people will download and therefore be buying new if the prices where reasonable. They need to be 25 to 30% cheaper than the shops rrp, which should be easily manageable if you take into account the physical product, the distribution and the shops cut. Basically sell the games at wholesale price plus a little bit for bandwidth. Then a few months down the line review the price of it. This has been said a thousand times before though.

    I’m hoping to go digital only next gen but it all depends on the price.

    I am also looking at getting a vita soon and I’ve been looking at the price of fifa 13 which is still £40 on the store or £12 second hand. If doesn’t make sense to buy new. I can get it new on pc for £15.

  10. It’s a nice scapegoat to blame used game sales for seemingly money-grabbing antics, but surely the same ideas would have come about from the mantra “How can we make more money?” which is essentially the root meaning of “…so they keep the disk in the tray”.

    The best way to keep the disk in the tray is to create an experience that either keeps people playing for a prolonged period through sheer enjoyment, or create an experience that the player loves too much to part with.

    Dress DLC up how you want, an opportunity was seen to open more options for revenue. Whether those opportunities create a diluted final product not-bolstered with said DLC is up to the decision-makers, and no amount of passing the buck on to used games will change that.

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