A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Moral Conundra

After the story about Sony's new PSP advertising campaign broke--here's the image; the contraversy ought to be self-explanatory whether you agree with it or not--I decided I was done purchasing Sony products. I'm not looking to rehash the debate, get on a moral high horse or conspicuously mention just how goddamn principled I am. It was just a simple decision I made for myself that, in all honesty, wasn't that difficult since they seem intent on driving away as many customers as possible as it is.*

The convenient thing is that it was easy for several other important reasons. I've already bought my PS2, so I'm not sacrificing any games that I might have wanted to play on their hardware this generation (read: things by Square; Winning Eleven). I signed a new cell phone contract six months ago, which among other things has me locked into a SonyEricsson phone for at least the next 18 barring an Act of God. And since the PS3 is going to cost $600 dollars, I'm not even a potential candidate for their next major product.

Which brings us to today.

It would take another long entry to explain why I haven't had my PS2 memory card or most of my games since Spring Break, but it happened. It's also about to end, since in honor of my little brother's 21st birthday we're doing a hostage exchange program where I ship him the FF7 and FFT copies he's been whining about and I get all the loot I left at my parents' house the last time I was there. This puts me in a position to purchase the latest Winning Eleven, WE9, and finally get some bullshit 2-1 victories via ramming the ball straight down the middle of the field against Steve over the teleontological ether of The Internets.

Which brings us to my Principled Moral Stand, described in the opening paragraph.

The video game industry essentially follows Gillette's marketing strategy for razors--give the razor itself away for free, and then make a killing by selling razor cartridges. Video game consoles themselves are sold at a huge loss (by Microsoft and Sony, anyway), which they make up on the flipside via the licensing fees that developers have to pay in order to release games for their systems.

To wit: if I buy WE9 used, Sony doesn't get any money. I save five dollars relative to the price of a new copy. EBGames/Gamespot gets about a $20-25 margin. What's worse is that Konami, the fine people behind WE, don't get another sale tally. The better they do, the more likely they are to have more professional licenses in new versions, and the more likely they are to bury the FIFA series, the soccer franchise put out by EA that huffs all sorts of ass. If I buy WE9, I support Konami, but I'm also giving a cut to Sony.

Now that I'm wrestling over how best to cast a $40 vote against a muli-hojillion dollar corporation, I think I'm officially an Ann Arborite.

*"Our games may cost as high as $59.99, but no higher than $100."

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