Carrots and Sticks: Destiny Players Who Forego Dark Below Reportedly Lose Bonuses

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Carrots and Sticks: Destiny Players Who Forego Dark Below Reportedly Lose Bonuses

The growth of downloadable content online has been a major move indeed for a lot of companies, as game makers realize that sales don't need to stop just because everyone who wants a copy of a game has one. But banking on downloadable content can be a tough proposition; maybe people are satisfied with the game as it is and aren't in a hurry to spend $10 or more on a new branch. But Destiny, the new online shooter, may well have settled on a disturbing conclusion better suited to National Lampoon than to video gaming: buy this expansion or we shoot these features.

While Dark Below comes with plenty of value—a new Strike and Raid, for starters—as well as new content, there's one key point that will likely have a few people unnerved. The Weekly Strike and the Weekly Nightfall Mission, for example, all use content from Dark Below, so those users who don't get Dark Below, in turn,reportedly no longer get access to those modes of play. Said users also lose out on the opportunity to get the rewards for the weekly missions, including Strange Coins that can only be spent on weekends anyway. Moreover, those who used Strike playlists to earn Engram bonuses will also be out in the cold, as the bonus now only comes from Dark Below playlists.

Naturally, word has gone out to Bungie asking if this is a permanent lockout, or if this was just perhaps an unintended consequence that wasn't foreseen; these things certainly happen. But if this is a permanent setup, it poses a very grim notion. While indeed, Destiny is still playable, it's been fundamentally hobbled. If this actually stands, will we see this kind of thing carry on in future? Will we see companies essentially holding gamers hostage, crippling features unless an expansion pack is purchased to make the features that were available when the game was released available once more? What does this mean for the game rental market; after all, someone who rented a copy of Destiny probably isn't going to be buying an expansion pack for it; what point is there in buying an expansion pack for a game you own physically possess on the weekends?

It's a clever enough idea, certainly, and a great way to ensure that the widest possible swath of players buys an expansion pack. But it's also a move that's likely to come with plenty of backlash and significant opportunity for competitors. After all, who wants to buy a game that comes with an inevitable threat attached to it? Would EA be able to make a better case for the Battlefield series if Activision tried this “Buy our expansion or you can't play certain parts of Call of Duty anymore” tactic?

Hypotheticals all, but certainly food for thought. After all, we're talking about an idea that could well come into wide use, and one that could mean some big gains for companies or some major losses. Only time will tell just how far this Destiny issue goes, or what kind of ramifications it has for the wider industry. But it could well be the start of some rather singular developments in the field.

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