"Does anybody rent video games anymore?"
I found myself asking this question after a discussion with my partner about our LoveFilm membership and the possibility of upgrading.
LoveFilm for those that don't know, is a great service where you get to rent DVD's and games, keep them as long as you like with no late fees, and then send them back for another. Free postage!
All for a monthly fee based on a variety of packages they on offer that fluctuate how many discs you can have at a time, whether you want access to DVD's, games or both etc etc
This all works very well, as long as you remember to actually watch the films and send them back.
For a p2p filesharer and an avid purchaser of DVD's, this can prove to be quite the challenge at times.
(Ironically enough, we decided to get LoveFilm to reduce the amount we were spending on our HMV binge sessions)
But I digress.
Steph (my partner) suggested that we upgrade our membership to include game rentals as she is forever moaning that she only has about 5 games herself out of the extensive catalogue we possess.
And so here we are.
Do people rent video games anymore?
Gaming has changed dramatically in the past decade.
We've had several new consoles, a change from catridge to disc, wireless and motion capture gaming, online gaming and even the games themselves have changed to reflect this.
Only a few years ago we only had a few genres of games and each of these were very linear and close ended.
You start, you battle the bad guys, you beat the boss, get the girl, game over.
This could be done in an afternoon.
Nowadays you have side missions, online multiplayer, open endings that allow you to continue gaming after you have completed the main storyline and one of the biggies, downloadable content.
Downloadable content can keep a game alive for years as long as new, fresh and enticing content is released such as new missions and new multiplayer maps.
For £30 with an occassional investment, you can keep your favourite game going for a lot longer than games you used to get pre X360/PS3 providing the developer keeps releasing content.
Every next gen gamer has a favourite online FPS that they will pop in to 'pwn a few noobs' once in a while to take a break from the strict storylines.
Whether it's Halo or COD, majority of the people who buy those games on release day are there for the online multiplayer, not the story itself.
Halo ODST is a prime example.
Get the game, finish the story, LETS FIREFIGHT!!!
Where Bungie fecked up on Firefight though is they didn't have an open lobby. You could only team up and fight off the Covenant with peeps from your buddy list.
This is most likely why they decided to include a separate Halo 3 multiplayer disc with all the DLC maps included in order not to exclude an already successful product that gamers love to play.
Entire games have been developed purely for online multiplayer, such as the recent 'Section 8'.
Section 8 matches consist of teams on a map fulfilling a series of typical multiplayer scenarios such as CTF, Protect the VIP etc.
Oddly enough though, the game didn't seem to take off as well as people thought it might and the majority of people went back to the warm embrace of Halo and COD.
So even with the ability to rent a game and play it with no late fees, developers seem to be trying to find ways to keep us gamers buying their games and staying hooked to them.
Bioware reward Mass Effect 2 buyers of the new game with access to the 'Cerberus Network', entitling them to an array of future free DLC after a project developed by EA to specifically combat gamers purchasing 2nd hand.
I for one occassionally pine for the days when you could just beat up the bad guys and save the day game over, which is probably why I still have and use my old consoles, such as the Megadrive, NES and N64.
Xbox Live Arcade provides you with old games from platformers to arcade classics for a small fee!
For as little as 400MS, you can be MegaMan or Sonic and relive those glorious 16/32bit days, and all from one console!
In conclusion, I don't think any serious gamer rents titles anymore.
There used to be an excitement tied to going to the video store, picking up the latest Crash Bandicoot and grinding it for 2 days straight because that's the time limit you had until it had to go back to the store.
The same way you used to play your heart out in the cartridge days because there was no save points or password.
Maybe we're getting those kicks from somewhere else these days.
Maybe gamers have evolved with the consoles and the market.
Either way, I'm going to stick to renting DVD's and buying my games.
Who knows what DLC they'll release next...