Obsidian Boss: Online Pass Is Not The Solution, Good Games Are

In an attempt to put the brakes on the pre-owned market, there seems to be an increasing trend towards concepts like the online pass, or game content that's only accessible via new purchases. Makes sense for publishers, but not necessarily for consumers. Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart believes there's another way -- makes games so compelling that they want to keep a hold of them, instead of trading them in. Crazy, right?

"[O]ne of the recent issues is not putting the full game in the package and requiring downloadable content to move on," said Urquhart. "Also, including DLC in the package that will have to be repurchased for secondhand buyers. I think you have to go in and forget those gimmicks, and say, 'How do I make them want to keep the game on the shelf?' I think each genre has a way to do it. Battlefield and Call of Duty have it in multiplayer with maps, rankings, leveling up, and unlocks. There are different things, but the idea is making people feel, 'I want to keep on playing it.'"

Urquhart believes that DLC has a place, but not necessarily as an unlock that's already on the disc you just purchased.

"If I play Fallout: New Vegas for 50 hours, but there are all these other quests, and there's this whole other area I didn't go to, and online there are people talking about all these things that you could have done all these different ways, I'll feel like 'Wow, I could play this game again,' because there is all this stuff I didn't get," he explains. "And knowing that, publishers announce DLC plans the day the game comes out. And now, as a player who hasn't experienced everything yet, I know there are these new stories, and I'm going to be able to level up my character and get better stuff, be more of a hero. The game is going to go back on my shelf, not back to GameStop."

Obsidian on the right way to fight used game sales [Gamespot]


    Hahaha, yeah Obsidians drm is buggy games that require online patches :D

    Seriously though, I agree with rewarding players who buy the legit product, but i don't agree with punishing secnd hand gamers.,

      A good observation, but this is about dlc.

        i think you need to reread the artical

      Obsidian might make buggy games, but they're also good games. And I totally agree with him: Day-One DLC or worse, DLC that's on that damn disc leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me feel I haven't got my money's worth.

        Agreed. Fallout New Vegas was absolutely one of the buggiest games I've ever played, people flying into the air or clipping into the ground, some quests having ridiculous bugs making them un-finishable, bad AI, etc... but I still give it an 11/10.

    The one thing that got me about DLC and things was even though i purchased the whole game it feels imcomplete and forces you to pay more money to learn more of the story. (e.g. Dragon Age, not required but fact that DLC was required to access a backstory from day 1 .... )

    And their strategy just makes me hold off buying the game until there's a 'complete' edition (normally cheaper than all the DLC put together).

    That's utter crap. Most people who trade in games will trade in ANYTHING, no matter how good, once they've played through it once.

    Secondly, content being considered an extra (DLC) does not necessitate is being completed after the game has shipped.

    On-disc DLC is fine.
    The online pass is fine.

      Its good to know that because you can afford games at $100 brand new, that anyone else who can't should be punished for it.
      Game communities must be the only ones I've ever seen that will WILLINGLY hand over consumer rights. Christ why not just let companies like EA bend you over the barrel and have their way with you while your at it.

        That's bullshit and you know it, given that used games are mostly sold for $5 less than retail.

          That is an issue specific to the retailers and doesn't in any way justify the fact that publishers are locking content out in a game you bought.
          Fact is it doesn't matter what the price is, the real thing that is bullshit is that companies are doing this and that consumers are actively letting them do it.

          You keep endorsing this behaviour and it will only get worse, companies are looking out for your best interest, only their bottom line and you honestly think they won't keep abusing this type of thing more and more? Why should they care about doing so when guys like you have happily told them they can do whatever the hell they want and you'll still pay them.

            Do you listen to the rubbish you spout? "Oh noes the end of the world guiz, my video games are adding online passes, i can't play online anymore because I'm a cheap skate and don't buy games brand new anymore even though gaming is a hobby and not a necessity. Soon they'll charge you every time you press start to play the game." Go someplace else or grow up, one of the two, let the adults continue this discussion without your nonsense.

    What's that, they want to charge an Aussie fun tax AND I'll have to buy a bunch of DLC already hidden on the disk anyway? Yeah it's going back on the shelf alright, at the shop.

    I think this hurts the industry more, as some people like to hire a game before they play so if you can not try the multiplayer while doing this you can miss out on some potential sales here, as well as hurt the video shops sales.

    Considering that some people rely on being able to trade in games so that they can afford new games, I think the only thing that would be achieved by limiting second hand sales is that some people would end up buying less games overall.

    I hope "more compelling" does not equal "over long". Eg, a game where the main story line becomes bloated with pointless 'pick up the object', or 'kill 20 bad guys' quests. Something like that...

    That's exactly it. If it's a better game that's short, people will trade it in. If it's a longer game that's crap, people might say 'I'll finish it eventually'. What incentive is there to create a good game?

    I don't see the online passes as a problem. They aren't a stick, they're a carrot. To, you know, actually let the companies profit from their work.

    just give me alpha protocol 2 already screw what sega says

      ^^ Agree.

      Obsidian release games with bugs, usually because they are rushed by thier publisher. However, almost every one of thier games is engrossing, and I can see the point Feargus Urquhart is trying to make.

      Blockbuster 8 hour long games are fun, but once you have blazed through the story you never want to touch them again.

        alpha protocol was buggy as hell but i keep it to play every now and then because it didnt exist in the bubble coosing an option wasnt more that a way to affect a good / evil allingment slider or a chice between different rewards it was actually meaningful to the game which made me love the game despite its flaws

    "makes games so compelling that they want to keep a hold of them"

    Or as I've said OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN: Make the games so compelling that more and more people want to buy the game AT ALL, and buy it NEW RIGHT AWAY OMG I WANT IT instead of the bounty of other options that, in a really stupid way, publishers don't want consumers to consider.

    Nice sentiment...

    But preaching to the converted talk unfortunately. I have nohing against on game DLC privided you get someway to unlock it legitly besides just paying for the damn thing. (Make it like an achievement or quest, grind whatever). For people too lazy to grind you can purchase the content.

    There's another way they do this.
    They release a game as an alpha or at best a beta and then take the a year or so to iron out the bugs.
    Gamers keep hold of their prerelease purchase just so they eventually get one playthrough that looks at least even half as good as any of the prerendered trailers that induced them to buy it in the first place.

    Problem solvered.

    They can all get f*cked. I glitch modded my 2nd 360 yesterday and i allready got a 30GB dlc torrent going.

      Cool story bro! I did something similar, I said to myself FUCK HOLDENS PRICES and then stole a showroom Commodore! I totally feel better a out the whole thing now that I'm a big macho man about :)

    Obsidian Boss: 'We are sincerely sorry for leaving a sizeable and permanent brownish stain on one of your all-time favorite IP's. We have received letters from many of you listing the methods you have employed to remove this abomination from your memory. Whilst there were some inventive and often amusing suggestions, we can only recommend a full frontal lobotomy, or waiting until someone invents a memory-altering device like the ones employed in Men In Black.'

    Oh wait, that's not what he said?

    Great games like Alpha Protocol - god that game was broken...
    But yeah, good too hear some sense from someone in the industry! (and Obsidian does make great games - most of the time...)

    New Vegas > Fallout 3.
    The DLC I've played so far has been fairly compelling too, providing additional story on characters only touched on in the main game.

    I agree with you on this one 16bitz I feel by doing what the companies are doing I just want to mod my 360 now and just go with xlink kai for my online fix

    DLC has had a bad effect on me, All games that I know will have lots of DLC I don't buy anymore because I know there will be a GOTY edition that will have everything in it for a fraction of the price. If I know I'm getting a full game and the DLC will all be free (They used to be called content patches!) I will buy it day one.

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