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The Customer Is Always Wrong

Posted on December 8, 2011 AT 02:55pm

Unreleased games and day-one DLC? It’s all because they love us!

It’s been an interesting few months for videogame consumers—and the ongoing larger debate regarding how much power and respect we should expect and deserve from publishers and developers. When I originally mentioned the Mercenaries 3D save-file situation as a sidebar in an EGM print issue—essentially, the game restricts players from resetting game progress and unlockables—I never thought it would become such a huge story. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, the lack of a means to delete a save file isn’t a game-breaking decision. But the question’s really one of respect for the end user: Why would a company take that option away from consumers who legitimately purchased their game?

But that was nothing compared to what really got my blood boiling this year: Microsoft’s NUads, revealed at E3. The premise: Using Kinect, you’ll interact with advertisements served up through your Xbox 360 via voice and body commands. Microsoft’s trying to find innovative ways to present advertising to consumers, and many in the marketing business hail the idea as revolutionary.

There’s just one problem: I don’t want new and innovative ways to interact with advertising, because I don’t want that advertising, period. Why is it that the only platform to charge me for a basic online multiplayer experience is then also the only console to feature advertising directly embedded into its user interface? Let me reiterate that: The one console I’m subjected to ads on is also the one where I’m forced to pay for what others offer for free.

Why are Xbox 360 owners not storming the gates of Microsoft—pitchforks in hand—over the thought of more advertising options instead of less? They—and we—go online, post on message forums or Twitter, and vent our mouth-foaming rage. And then what happens? We go back to our consoles and back to playing games, and our crusade amounts to little more than a few choice words muttered under our breath.

In a previous column, I actually spoke about this very subject in regards to my deceased PlayStation 3; I wrote about the fact that it bugged me that we gamers just go out and buy a new machine when our old ones die before their time. Want to know what I’ve done in the time since I wrote that article? You guessed it: I went and picked up a new PS3 Slim.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got started via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as can realistically be crammed in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk Eric on Twitter: @Eric_EGM. Meet the rest of the crew.

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