Bungie has a growing problem on their hands, and if they don’t handle it properly, it could create an irreparable rift between them and their most loyal fans.
At E3, Destiny: The Taken King was finally unveiled to generally positive reception. We enjoyed what we played, and most people seem pretty excited about the new content that is being promised. What doesn’t have people thrilled is its $80 collector’s edition. The reason for its high price tag is probably because it includes the original game and both of its season pass mini-expansions. Not a bad deal if you didn’t already have Destiny.
The problem is most people who are interested Destiny: The Taken King already do have Destiny,The Dark Below, and House of Wolves. Locked away in that $80 price tag are exclusive emotes and armor shaders. While it may seem minor to outsiders, in the stylish world that is Destiny, this is causing an uproar within the hardcore community. Also, UK fans have it doubly rough, as the $40 and $80 price tag will not be adjusted to reflect the difference in currency value. Meaning UK fans will have to pay roughly $63 and $125 for the normal and collector’s editions.
What made matters worse was a strange (but excellent) interview with Eurogamer, where Luke Smith of Bungie paid no mind to the discrepancy between US Dollars and British Pounds, saying that “British pounds are just foreign to me…”. Also, Bungie’s Luke Smith seemed to insinuate that the exclusive emotes are worth $40. This awkward exchange says it all:
Eurogamer: Final question on prices –
Luke Smith: Is it also the final question on the emotes?
Eurogamer: I’m not going to mention them again. I can’t get them.
Luke Smith: But you can if you buy the Collector’s Edition.
Eurogamer: I’m not going to buy the game and the two DLCs all over again.
Luke Smith: Okay, but first I want to poke at you on this a little bit.
Eurogamer: Poke at me?
Luke Smith: You’re feeling anxious because you want this exclusive content but you don’t know yet how much you want it. The notion of spending this money is making you anxious, I can see it –
Eurogamer: I do want them. I would buy them –
Luke Smith: If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.
Eurogamer: What I’m saying is that fan frustration is not because they don’t understand the proposition. It comes regardless of how cool the exclusive content is. The frustration – and mine as a fan – is that the method of acquiring it requires me to re-buy content I bought a year ago.
Luke Smith: [Long pause] It’s about value. The player’s assessment of the value of the content.
Ouch, that is rough. However, there might be light at the end of the tunnel for Destiny fans not wanting to re-buy everything for walled off cosmetic items.
An online petition currently sitting at nearly 25,000 signatures, alongside uprisings across theDestiny Reddit and various Facebook groups seems to have moved the needle a bit in the Bungie offices, and David ‘Deej’ Dague, Bungie’s community manager, has responded. According to Deej, Year One fans will be getting something “better” and should expect more information regarding what exactly that is on this week’s weekly update.
If you want to be cynical and believe that Bungie is only teasing this now after all of the backlash I wouldn’t blame you. After all, there were already Year One benefits in place. It certainly feels like they are scrambling to put something together in an attempt to PR the situation.
Even so, a late gesture is better than no gesture right? We’ll have to see if Bungie’s counter quells the outrage later this week. Deej’s choice of words seems to indicate that it is something different, so it probably has to be pretty good to satisfy the people that aren’t willing to re-buy the older content and may forever go without those collector’s edition exclusive emotes and shaders.