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Destiny’s The Taken King expansion sparks price controversy

“If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.” Those are the words uttered by Luke Smith, the design lead for Destiny, during an interview with Eurogamer.net regarding the decision to have exclusive content in the upcoming expansion pack limited to those who buy the whole game, the prior 2 DLCs, and the upcoming expansion pack, The Taken King, in a bundle. The exclusive content in question is your standard assortment of physical items, 3 emotes, shaders, and XP boosting items.

For those who are making their first steps into the world of Destiny, its actually quite a bargain: $80 (or $60 if you only want the game and the DLCs) for what would otherwise be a $100 purchase when everything is purchased individually ($40 for the base game, $20 for the season pass, another $40 for the Taken King), with exclusive content that you cant get for simply buying The Taken King on its own. This is where the problem arises though; loyal Destiny players who were around since release day would have to buy everything all over again for rather trivial content when they conceivably already spent $80 for the game at launch and the season pass. Add in the $40 price tag on the Taken King, and day one players will have spent 50% more, for less.

Of course, you could always just not spend the money on items that make almost no impact on how you play the game whatsoever. Understandably though, there is a certain feeling of betrayal when a game you have been playing for a year (by the time the Taken King comes out) gives the new guy things you simply cant get, regardless of what it is. And with just one quote, ambition is laid bare, and the most loyal are shown what their loyalty gets them: “If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.”

Such a quote implies that at the very least, Luke Smith (a former journalist, mind you, who should know the value of good PR in this day and age), thinks that day one players will gladly pay $80 on top of their already hefty investment into the game. Thus the issue is no longer one of worth, but one of principle; no one in their right mind would double their investment to be able to clap their hands, yet they are treated as nothing more than mindless drones who will throw money at the commands of their master.

On a personal level, you may not care for the aesthetic bonuses and whatnot, but when the guy next to you who has been loyal to a fault wants something simple that new guys are getting for a steal, is it really too much to ask to respect them as rational individuals, much less reward them for their loyalty? Can Bungie really afford to alienate their most devoted audience when Fallout 4, the heavy hitter of this holiday season, is around the corner, not to mention all the other AAA titles that are coming out at the same time? Over at the Bungie forums, attempts to control the PR fiasco are taking place with promises that day one players will have many yet to be announced gifts, though whatever bonuses are to be offered to the most loyal have to be substantial to make people forget the quote “If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.”

Of course, its not fair to tar and feather what could very well just be a slip of the tongue of one individual, and of course this is how the game industry more or less functions in regards to collectors editions and such, but when a company that prides itself in listening to its community regarding feedback (especially with the many features introduced in the House of Wolves) does not appear to be willing to concede over even such a minor issue, it appears as though there is much more listening that needs to be done.

About Anson Chan

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