Cheat Code for Sale


Would you pay twice for this?


Correct me if I am wrong, but the reason we pay money for videogames is because we receive a certain amount of entertainment value in return. Call me crazy, but I think it’s reasonable to expect access to this value immediately. This is why, with few exceptions, I have never been a fan of unlockable content. I’m a consumer, not some psychology student solving a puzzle to get at a nut. I give you money, you give me content; it’s that easy. No other product I can think of puts such bizarre limitations on its consumers.

So when EA revealed their latest downloadable content on the Xbox Live Marketplace, I was disgusted but not surprised. For 400 Microsoft Points, about five US dollars, you can purchase the Skate 2 Time is Money Pack: "If you are busy, or just plain lazy, ‘Time is Money’ will unlock all locations, skaters and gear that can be earned by playing through Skate 2’s career and online modes."

Desperate times must call for desperate measures if EA is steeping so low as to monetize what is essentially a cheat code, a resource gamers have long been accustomed to. I for one have no shame in admitting frequent use of cheat codes in my gaming past. In fact, I still have not unlocked all the songs in Rock Band 2; that is not what the game is about. By giving players easy access to the unlock all tracks option, Harmonix stands by their product with confidence, knowing players will have a great time playing any available song, without requiring players to complete career mode. The "Time is Money" DLC does exactly the opposite.

Skate 2 should be a thoroughly enjoyable experience throughout. What is EA saying by targeting players that are too busy or too lazy? For one, EA is suggesting Skate 2 is most fun with all content unlocked. If this weren’t the case, why couldn’t the busy player take their time with the game, unlocking content at their own pace while appreciating the game all along? The same can be said for the lazy player, who could just as easily explore the game slowly without some unbridled desperation to unlock every map immediately. Perhaps the more appropriately descriptive title would be the "bored player," because this EA’s target consumer: someone who bought Skate 2 only to realize any hope of good content must be found after forced completion of earlier and potentially mediocre levels.

Now I haven’t played Skate 2, though it looks gorgeous. It could very well be an all around brilliant game, but selling people content they already purchased is ludicrous and insulting, and it undermines the game’s value. I believe unlockable content is largely an artifact of the past, a time sink created to artificially add value to a short or otherwise unappealing game. Yet I have largely overlooked this problem because of the relatively easy access we have to cheat codes. But selling this "cheat code" option reeks of voodoo medicine, EA is selling us the cure for a problem they created. If you are a Skate 2 owner and have any sense of personal self-worth, I encourage you to refrain from buying what you already own. Downloading the ‘Time is Money’ pack is not worth your time or money.


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Author: Jorge Albor View all posts by

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