By BigLemon 36 Comments
With the recent release of details on Rockstar's upcoming crime epic L.A. Noire, the omnipresent video game trope of having retailer-specific pre-order bonuses has far outgrown the stage of "irksome." If you haven't seen the list, go check out Brad Nicholson's article here. Basically, it is grossly disproportionate. Once again (as Brad points out), Gamestop has drawn the big straw and has a pretty substantial pre-order bonus, including several game-changing elements. Retailers like Target and Best Buy, on the other side of the spectrum, have been relegated t-shirts and in-game outfits, respectively. This is just getting out of hand. This trend is not only over-stayed its welcome, it is now alienating large portions of the video-game playing universe. It doesn't just suck, it is fundamentally wrong. I understand that these retailers are in business to make money, and that if they can entice you over to their store and get a few extra sales out of it, that's great. But when these practices result in stores offering the same game that have relatively different experiences coupled with them, that is bad. Retailer-exclusive missions? Collectibles? I know this may seem small, but the principle of the matter remains the same. And I am angry. And I am sure I am not alone. But, now the question:
To whom do we point the finger? Who is to blame here? Is it the retailers pushing the developers/publishers for exclusive content to inflate sales numbers? Is it developers parsing out this content to select stores in order to collect compensation? Or is it, as is likely, a combination of the two?
One thing is for sure: these companies profit, and we, the consumers, are punished.