Developers Fight Used Game Sales via New-only DLC for Gears of War 2, NBA Live and Rock Band

By Chris Faylor, Oct 03, 2008 7:31am PDT After years of lamenting that they see no kickback from the extremely lucrative used game market, game makers have launched a counter-attack by packing new games with one-use codes for extra content.

New copies of Epic's Gears of War 2 (360) will include a one-use download code that will rewards with 5 additional multiplayer maps, all pulled from the original Gears of War. According to GamePro, these maps will not be available for purchase through the Xbox Live Marketplace, with Epic claiming they are "special gifts [for] our loyal fans."

EA Canada's NBA Live 09 utilizes a similar strategy. The game's much-touted 365 functionality, which brings daily roster and stat updates to the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions, will only be free for those that buy a new copy and redeem the included code. Without the code, that feature will cost $19.99.

"This information and data is very valuable and it wasn't free for us," an EA representative explained on Operation Sports. "T-Mobile is paying for it this year for all users who buy the game new. This is a very expensive tool to use, and if you don't buy it new, then you'll have to pay for this. It isn't greed at all."

Rock Band 2 and the AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack likewise sport one-off codes for exclusive content. Copies of Rock Band 2 include a code that will allow PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii owners to receive 20 free downloadable songs by the year's end, with AC/DC Live packing a similar one-use code to let buyers bring the expansion's 18 tracks into Rock Band or Rock Band 2.

Meanwhile, others seem to be taking a different approach in ensuring that gamers hold on to their purchase for a long while.

Owners of Criterion's Burnout Paradise (PS3, 360) have been serenaded with free downloadable content that have substantially expanded the game since its early 2008 release. The last major download added motorcycles and new challenges to the racing game.

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37 Threads | 105 Comments
  • They finally take out the mask, DRM is not here because of piracy, not even because of the second hand market. It's more general, they want total control, monopoly. If somebody wants to play my game, he'll have to pay me.
    DRM began on PC with the excuse of piracy, now is exported to consoles. Reason: second-hand market (which is LEGAL!).
    Now its just a portion of the game, soon the whole game will be tied to one console. You won't be able to play it on your friend's XBOX (it happens on XBOX live arcade games already), and you won't be able to sell it, obviously.

    I'm beginning to see hackers as saviors.

  • I should have seen this coming. It's so simple. As long as these access codes give you truly meaningful content (i.e. levels, equipment, etc. and not fluff) this will work for the AAA titles (especially multiplayer) and Gamestop's asking price will take a $10-$20 hit; maybe more.

    As stgdz noted, CD keys for console games. Regular firmware updates, mandatory hard drive installs that can take 10-20 minutes, internet access required to download very important patches, and now this. Consoles certainly stole a few pages out of the PC handbook this generation.

  • I think there are far to many people with ONLINE DEGREES working in the marketing departments of these developers? Seriously what gives! Look you don't even have to hire me and I will tell you how to sell more NEW GAMES! If I could pick up a brand new console game for $25-$35 I would be buying a lot more games. Crap I would prolly buy games I didn't even like for those prices! In fact I am not sure I would even bother ever buying used at those prices. I have come to a point in my like where I have more money than time and I will be damned if I waste my hard earned money and time on a half baked game. I actually wait until games have been out for 3-6 months to get my used copies. There are practically NO games worth $60.00 when you consider that 80% off them play like every other game that has come out for the last 8 years. I can't even count how many games I have bought in the last 2 years that have been full of bugs or are nearly unplayable from the GET GO. NO! You will not get $60.00 out of me for ANY game EVER again. I am a GAMEFLY advocate! I get to play games that I am interested in for about $3-$6.00 each when I average it out...when I find one I really like I just pay the KEEP IT better deal around. Especially when you consider the other GAMEFLY benefits like the $5.00 credits or the 10% discount. NOPE I AM HANGING ON TO MY CASH FOR ONLY THE GAMES WORTHY OF MY CASH! NO MORE IMPULSE CRAP FROM THIS GAMER!

  • I can only speak for myself (obviously) but I rarely rent or buy used anymore. I did it a lot more when I played on a PS2. Now I have a better idea of what kind of games I like. So if there’s a game that I’m interested in, I try to keep up-to-date on details. When it’s released, I’ll try out the demos, but I try to stick only to games I think I’d keep. If I think I’d trade it in, then I never pick it up in the first place. But if I buy it, I plan on keeping it. I only have 10 games for the 360, but I enjoy all of them. I wasted too much money on PS2 games to find out I don’t really enjoy some genres. Like sports.