To some, video games are a simple way of unwinding after a long, stressful day. To others, they are more than this. There are some people that actively watch and analyze the video game industry, and debate news with others. While the two categories aren't exclusive, nowadays there are more in the former than in the latter. This is why game developers and publishers seem to get away with more scummy business decisions: because the majority does not care. Here are some of the worst business practices in the video game industry.
The first annoying trend is the increasing popularity of pre-order bonuses. Pre-ordering has always been a popular option among fans of the biggest game series, as it guarantees people that they are going to get a copy on release, no matter how large the demand is. However, lately, publishers have realized that they can assure more people are going to pre-order their games if they add an incentive.
At first, they were nice physical bonuses, like small plastic figures or steel covers for the games, but the publishers saw the demand and the cost of those physical bonuses, and as such, we now have exclusive in-game pre-order bonuses such as downloadable content or powerful weapons. The vocal minority that cares about the video game scene disapproves of this practice and advises people not to pre-order to send a message to the publishers, but to no avail: the pre-order bonuses are more powerful.
DLC, short for downloadable content, is the greedy successor to the classic expansion pack. The difference between a DLC and an expansion pack is that while the expansion packs are now offered both physically and digitally, DLCs, as their name implies, are only meant to be downloaded (with some exceptions in which multiple DLCs are bundled in a case).
Some publishers sell great DLC packs with fun content, as is the case for Skyrim or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. However, most publishers, especially Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, are using DLC packs to nickel and dime their customers by cutting content from the game and adding it post-release, as paid DLC. This is why most popular games now offer a "season pass", which often costs as much as the base game, which grants users all upcoming DLCs.
Lastly, the worst offense of publishers is releasing unfinished games. Video games take a lot of time to get right, but due to publishers rushing developers to get their game on the (digital) store shelves earlier, many games come out unfinished, not fun, or having poor performance. The biggest example of this is, coincidentally, one of the biggest releases of 2015, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. First teased in 2012, the game was in a true development hell, which ended in Hideo Kojima, the father of the series, having a huge fight with Konami, the publishers, and separating with them after the release of the game.
This is the reason for the game's unfinished state, which led to a disappointing ending for one of gaming's finest series. Although the game looked and performed flawlessly, its missions were similar and lackluster, and its ending was sudden, due to the game's true ending being cut. This led a lot of dedicated fans onto a false, pointless chase of game secrets, a lot truly believing that the game was not unfinished, but that this was an elaborate plot from Kojima.
In conclusion, the gaming industry is currently exploiting its customers with its many greedy practices, and this will continue as long as casual gamers will keep giving greedy companies their money without any complaints.
If you name yourself ‘Zelda’ instead of ‘Link’ in ‘The Legend Of Zelda’, you will be able to skip the first quest entirely.