Earlier this week, the Bungie dev team came under fire because of an interview reported on Eurogamer.net wherein Bungie’s Creative Director, Luke Smith, said some things that the community perceived as arrogant and insensitive. If you haven’t read it yet, the interview can be found here. For example, when asked about the special emotes found only in the Collector’s Edition, Mr. Smith told the interviewer that, if he fired up the game and revealed the emotes, we would “throw money at the screen”. This comment seemed to be the focus of most of the rage on reddit and other social media sites as players began to feel as though they were only dollar signs in Bungie’s eyes instead of valued consumers.
The long and short of it is that Bungie attempted to defend the price tag that was placed on Destiny’s upcoming expansion, The Taken King. At E3, it was announced that the expansion would cost $40 for a digital download. For players jumping in fresh to the game, there will be a Legendary Edition for $60 that would include both of the prior expansions, The Dark Below and House of Wolves. Lastly, the version that is the center of so much controversy is the Collector’s Edition, an $80/£80 bundle that includes both prior expansions alongside some in-game bonuses in the form of new emotes, shaders, and special items. The problem here, however, is that the veteran players who invest hours upon hours every week in their Destiny experience will undoubtedly already own both of these expansions, so it really serves no purpose to increase the price for players to purchase something all over again. Also, something most American players don’t realize is that the dollar is not a direct 1:1 ratio with the pound, so European players are actually being asked to spend closer to $125.
Well, David “DeeJ” Dague and Luke Smith both responded today via Bungie’s regular Weekly Update. However, there will probably be some mixed feelings about their response. The update essentially opens with Smith’s apology (which was necessary for damage control). If nothing else, the community would have been even angrier if there was no acknowledgment that he was wrong, even if they do not wholeheartedly accept his apology. DeeJ followed up by revealing a $20 digital download upgrade that appears to only upgrade your already purchased copy of TTK that seems to still cost $40. I’m not sure if they are changing the price from $40 to $20 and including the content, but the wording does not read that way. He also announced a set of “VIP rewards” that will go to players with a level 30 Guardian, or to those who have played both expansions. This set of rewards appears to be an emblem and a Sparrow, Destiny’s speeder, next to all three classes standing in what looks like camouflage gear.
Now, if I have learned anything from my time in this game, the reward is likely not new pieces of armor, but is probably a shader that will make our current gear look like the picture. Again, a weak attempt to acknowledge players who have poured countless hours into their game by appeasing them with cosmetic items.
Honestly, considering how many times Bungie has responded to community concerns with “we hear you loud and clear,” it still seems like they are only trying to buy back the support of their players while also keeping a solid profit margin. I know that I was expecting more of a resolution than what we got, especially since we still don’t have an answer on the Collector’s Edition pricing issue, and DeeJ acknowledged that “we won’t see the Collector’s Edition Upgrade” because they are “working on it”. We will wait and see.
The decision in front of Destiny players now is whether or not to even bother with The Taken King this September, especially considering the veritable treasure trove of new games coming out during the holiday window. I personally think we can expect to see a dip in Destiny’s daily login numbers over the next few months, as the sour feelings linger, followed by a small rise of players deciding to give the new content a shot.
Will you be one of the ever-faithful and give Bungie a second chance? Or will you, as one of my Fireteam members so eloquently put it, “push the eject button”?