Saturday, February 27, 2010

BFBC2 Takes Project 10 Dollar To A Bad Place

Having found success with their Project 10 Dollar initiative, EA seems to be fighting the good fight with every major title they release. Having benefitted from Project 10 Dollar with some neat (free) DLC for Mass Effect 2 myself, I certainly don't mind the extra motivation to buy all of my games new in box. Of course, there is a way any good thing can turn into a bad thing, and Project 10 Dollar has turned this corner rather fast.

Today, Battlefield Bad Company 2's Project 10 Dollar DLC was revealed today and it turns out it isn't DLC at all. While, similar to Mass Effect 2 in that a code will be included in the game's box, the code won't open up download channels similar to the Cerberus Network. Instead, the code will unlock content that is already on the BFBC2 disc.

I know that when we buy our games on discs, we're only really buying the license to use the content on that disc, and I also know that, legally, there are some things we "cannot" do with the content on the disc. However, I feel that when we buy the physical medium that a game is transported on, we are, or at least, should be, entitled to everything on the disc. Unlocking DLC is kind of bull shit in my eyes. Project 10 Dollar was an impressively nuanced and strategic way to battle the used game market, but I respected the tactic a lot more when it provided extra material. Unlocking multiplayer maps is not "extra content," and when the player is booted out of matchmaking for not having these maps unlocked, I can guess they won't be playing Bad Company 2 much longer.

I know this is why I don't play Halo 3... ever. When map packs are released, and I don't have the Microsoft Points lying around waiting to be spent, I walk away from the game. BFBC2's unlockable maps are essentially day one map packs that'll force players to walk away, should they be picking up the game off of someone else or used in a shop.

I know that calling foul like this might be a little too soon. Common sense would point to the fact that no one will refuse to shell out the extra $5 for a new copy instead of Gamestop's $55 used copy, but I still don't think unlockable codes are the best kind of business. Charging $15 to the smart used-game buyer who might get the game off craigslist totally shatters the market there because they'll be saving a total of $0.

But that's they're business right? Yes, EA will still succeed in crushing used game sales the world round. But doing so might also crush their opportunities in taking the warfare shooter crown from Modern Warfare 2. Did anyone think Bad Company 2 was going to do that in the first place?

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