In Video Games' Back-Room Deals, There's More Than Meets The Eye

They are the heroes of our childhoods. The glory of their times. Their video game comes out later this month. For the entirety of the current console generation, just one mega-publisher has solely controlled the exclusive right to immortalise their triumphs. It's a deal that has reaped gobs of cash, and the latest edition of that money grab hits shelves later this month.

Even after the years of disappointments, the gameplay gimmicks and vaporized promises, the listless Metacritic scores and consumer indifference, there's no reason to think we'll ever see a true competitor pushing it to be better.

Really, why should these guys try hard? You think that studio's getting any money from the publisher? Not when we've seen how emotion and nostalgia are enough to separate overgrown teenagers from $US60 of their money every year, even if it's for basically the same game with an updated roster of players.

Now, some people might tell us that this kind of an exclusive licence isn't really a "monopoly," even if the customer has no alternative. Some might call this a private deal, between private businesses. But we really know it's only because one company owned something really valuable and another company had the money to pay for it.

Is that really what a free market is all about? Aren't we talking about legends? Legacies? A cultural mythology? Aren't we talking about a public trust here, really?

This is simply un-American. What about our right to competition? Will we ever see a real challenger to this series? Something that forces it to innovate? To listen to customers who are entitled to something better? What can we do, start a petition? Sue someone?

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron releases on Tuesday.


    Un-American, huh?
    Yeah, okay.

    Yep, getting bored of the Madden content.

      Hate to say it, but the post was about the Transformers.

      lol he didn't read it. What a noobienoobingtonnoobfacemcnoob.

    And yet it is tagged as Madden and EA sports.
    To be fair though, I should have looked a bit more closely.

      Yeah, probably. I actually thought the Madden/Transformers misdirection was quite brilliant and didn't click until the final sentence.

    That was funny.

    Backbreaker had the potential to innovate in this market in much the same way skate took over from tony hawk. Unfortunately the BB team didn't do it well enough and it flopped. The game and concepts and physics were amazing and it really had potential. Now we go back to the same old shit! Haven't bought a madden game in over 10 or more years and I have no plans to start now. Competition is needed so bad! Shame really.

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