Dear Publishers: Please stop selling me an empty disc.
I was reading Hannah’s article about the Spyro Reignited Trilogy only having one game on the disc, and I was disgusted. It’s in the name. Trilogy. I read Chris’ follow up article, and I had an internal meltdown. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy (remember trilogy means three) will only have the first game on the disc. But wait! There’s more! The second and third games will be part of a 50GB download. I know I am a little late on this, but Activision’s choice to do this (and it is deliberate choice) and their response is acid on my raw nerves. Here we go.
Digital games, downloadable content, and patches can be a positive or negative. The Spyro situation is completely on the negative side. I am sure that there are reasons here that make sense to Activision, such as budget, time, and reducing costs, but this is completely unacceptable. I also intend to share their pathetic response with you.
Before I tell you why this is sicker than accidentally finding the old pornos of your mom, I want to address something at the very beginning. Some might argue that this is better than not having it at all, but I think that’s a false binary choice. We should have an expectation that what you offer me on the box is what I will have on the physical disc. I am buying a trilogy, not just the first game.
Some of you are going to hate this, but, as friends, we need to be honest with each other. Not every person has reliable, high speed internet access. I can hear some of you morons telling me what year it is, asking me why someone has a modern console that is not connected to the internet, or saying something stupid about how they can afford a $400 box and not internet, but the fact is that some people still buy physical games exclusively and rely on them to enjoy gaming.
I am not saying we never have patches or digital content and games, because a segment of the market cannot play it. This isn’t a patch to fix bugs. These aren’t new levels built by the community or a developer. This is a game with only a third of the promised and advertised content. Some people may not be able to play most of what they paid good money to buy. For people who have to game on a really limited budget, this may be their gaming budget for a month or more. Someone who doesn’t know games (hi, grandparents) may buy it for someone else and not know to read the box to make sure everything promised on the front, i.e, the actual name of the game, should be there.
This is a physical purchase. If you buy this game, you are paying money for a box, a disc, and the game. The game is the most important part of the purchase, but you are making the choice to buy a disc, not digitally purchase the game. It doesn’t matter why you decided to buy it physically. It should be there.
Activision chose to have a physical release. They could have gone completely digital, especially since the physical release doesn’t have any goodies or bonus items. It’s just the game. There is no excuse for keeping two whole games off the disc on a physical release.
This whole thing stinks of dishonesty. An image for the back of the box is displayed on Amazon Germany, but there’s no equivalent image on Amazon US. People will buy this without seeing that a download is required. They will assume that they are buying the trilogy, because that is what the page shows. In this crazy world, I wonder if someone will sue them and win. And they’ll deserve it.
How does Activision spin this? In a statement to PlayStation Lifestyle, they said this,
“The global launch date of Spyro Reignited Trilogy is Sept. 21; and we’re excited for fans to play all three reignited games on that day.
As with most games today, downloading an update after purchase is quite common. The language on packaging and on the web is to let players know the requirements for Spyro Reignited Trilogy.”
That’s an awesome way to build good will, Activision.
You know what else is common today – buying games online. As of the writing of this dumpster fire of an opinion piece, I have looked at the US websites for Best Buy, Target, Amazon, and GameStop (which is really difficult to see the cover clearly), and none of them show an image of the back of the case. None of the front covers show that a download would be needed to play 2/3rds of the content listed on the front. None of the descriptions give this information either.
The game is out in a month and a half, and I can pre-order it without an opportunity to make a fully-informed purchase. So, it’s Activision’s assertion that the old-fashioned way of buying a game physically and checking the back of the box for missing content is my responsibility, even when I buy games online in the far-flung future of current day.
If they asked retailers to add the rear box image and language surrounding this change to the product page on a site, they would do it. Don’t tell me they can’t, because they don’t want the hassle of unhappy customers either. Don’t tell me they didn’t know this was a problem for a while. Where is this language on the web? Do they mean on the Spyro the Dragon website? Who goes to the website of the publisher or developer? What a lame attempt at CYA. People wanting to buy a game go to the websites where games are sold.
It would be easy for me to not care about this, because I never intended to buy the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. This example of incompetence, apathy, and contempt for your customers is so egregious that it needs to be condemned.
I’m not asking you to stand up and say, “I’m Spartacus!” with me. If you want to buy it, buy it. I want to make sure as many people as possible know that this repulsive process is occurring, for two reasons. First, if you buy it, at least you know what you are buying. Second, the only way to stop things like this in the future is to make it a problem for companies, whether through sales or the bad press they have worked so very hard to earn.
At the risk of sounding like your grandma, Activision, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.