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.
Even though I do get many games used (via trading sites, eBay, and independent game stores, not lining the pockets of EB/GS) I think this is a fair response. I'd rather see a broader system put in place that pays developers/publishers for used game sales and rentals though, just as with movies.
Agreed. I'm OK with this as long as the extra content isn't an integral part of the game. I'm not sure whether that's true for NBA Live 09, but I'm not interested in it anyway.