They don’t treat their customers like an enemy
Finally, here’s the absolute biggest reason that Activision aren’t run by a bunch of vampire Hitlers: they’re one of the few right-minded publishers that have expressed no interest in screwing gamers for short-term gain.
It seems that every other week we see yet another company announce that they’re opting to use an online pass to protect themselves from gamers that buy their games used, as if buying used games is the absolute worst thing that a human being can do. Never mind that some gamers can only buy a couple of games per year and have to save as much money as possible to do so, or that friends like to borrow games from each other — there’s a quarterly earnings report to fill out!
What I’m thinking when I’m trading or selling a game is very simple: “I’m never, ever going to play this again, and it’s only wasting space on my shelf.” If I find myself attached to a game, either because I play it often or may want to play it again in the future, I don’t get rid of it. Somehow, publishers don’t seem to understand this and instead opt to punish the consumer because we grow bored by their subpar offerings. Each of the 12 or 25 characters inputted into a PSN or XBL code redemption screen is a tiny slap to the face of the people that did bother to buy the game new. I wish publishers would spend less time thinking about how much money they’re losing via used game sales and more time thinking about why people are trading in their games in the first place.
Yet of all the big-name publishers in all the land, it’s Activision, the supposed Evil Empire of the video game world, that takes the sensible road. Instead of locking players out because they wanted to save a few bucks, they’ve realized that giving gamers a reason to come back is the best approach. “[...] The best way to keep people engaged in your game experience is keep giving them more great content,” said Kotick, and he’s got millions in DLC sales to show for it. Whether your disc is new or used, their cut of $15 for a map pack is the same. While I happen to think that DLC for CoD is about $5 too much, millions more disagree, and those new levels keep them happy until the following November when the next game launches. If Activision played their cards right, some of those previous used sales might even become new sales as they build a crazy little thing called “customer loyalty.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cope with the fact that Activision are the only publisher making sense.