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Greed. One of the seven deadly sins. A simple five letters, yet no one seems to be able to talk about greed properly in the gaming world. We constantly hear about the greed of big companies like Microsoft and Sony due to their apparent desire to charge us out the ass for everything.

Early this week, news broke that Microsoft was raising the subscription fee of its Xbox Live Gold service by ten dollars, and the G word began to fly around. Microsoft is obviously driven by nothing but greed. They’re out to screw over the consumer.

I don’t think you understand what greed is.

To clear up what is probably going to be a huge source of contention anyway, I’m not happy about the price increase either. I don’t like when the price of anything is raised, and as a consumer, I’m always looking for the lowest price that I can get on any good or service. I wish gold memberships were free. I’m not crazy.

What bothers me, however, is that the popular buzz word in any video game industry price discussion has become “greed.” Game prices are the result of corporate greed. Charging more for gold memberships is greedy. Yes, there’s such a thing as corporate greed. Check out the financial industry in America. Yikes.

The problem is that greed has been tossed around so much that we’re starting to forget what actual greed is. Greed refers only to an extremely excessive desire for wealth, power, etc., especially one that leads to a gross overabundance of wealth, or leads to other crimes such as theft.

Are we really trying to say that increasing a yearly subscription fee by ten dollars demonstrates an extremely excessive desire for wealth?

The entire purpose of a business is to maximize its profits by providing a good or service. By many definitions, business is greed. The whole point is to accumulate wealth, and sometimes a hell of a lot of it. Corporate executives can become ridiculously wealthy, and their companies can grow to be huge. As we all know, Microsoft is just another example in a long list of similar stories. If you’d like Microsoft to instead operate as a non-profit organization, feel free to email them and ask. I’m sure they would be quite receptive.

Any time a company asks for more money for a product or service, it does so because the perceived value of the product has gone up. Sure, perceived value is not actual value, and the consumer might vehemently disagree on how much they’re actually getting for a certain price. But the fact remains that a company wouldn’t raise the price of something (barring inflation) unless it believed that its value supported that price. It’s simple business. And it’s not greed.

We’re quick to play the greed card because we don’t like paying more for things, and it just makes us look like bitchy little girls. Acting like bitchy little girls doesn’t get a company to reevaluate its pricing structure. It forces them to write us off because it’s so obvious that we have no idea what we’re talking about.

Instead, we need to develop some intelligent ways of discussing price increases, or we need to realize when to shut the hell up. If we want to be angry about paying ten bucks more for a gold membership, that’s fine. If the benefits afforded to you by the Xbox Live service aren’t enough to justify sixty dollars a year, say that. You’re not pointing toward greed here, you’re pointing toward a company’s failure to do the most basic thing that a company should do: provide you with a product at a value-appropriate price.

If I can afford a gold membership, I will pay it, because it is worth that price, and I understand that there isn’t some greedy corporation out there trying to screw its customers over.

  1. It’s not greed that’s responsible for bloated prices. It’s a back-loaded holiday AAA release schedule, AAA title focus, bloated marketing budgets, rushing games to market, and all the other business nonsense. When publishers get as huge as Activision and Electronic Arts, maybe corporate waste is inevitable. It seems to work for the government, anyway…the bigger it gets, the more money it sets on fire…

  2. You’re kidding me right? Do you know much pressure a company like Microsoft is to keep a 2:1 or 3:1 profit ratio? Profit is the main and only focal point of the entire company. Just look at their quarterly earnings:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15578655?nclick_check=1

    Up 48%! 4.5 BILLION, (with a B)…. So do they need to raise the prices? Have the justified the increase? Like doubling server speeds, new VIOP software? So far as I’m aware they haven’t.. Hence profit increase..

    So umm yes, contrary to your made up fantasy world, it is COMPLETE greed driving these companies. They just call it ‘profit’…

  3. avatar Ferahtsu

    LOL “fat cat”

  4. avatar Anonymous

    how dare people accuse microsuck of being greedy. seriously though this is why i havent owned a console since the ps1. the only relationship a consumer should have with a console manufacturer is as follows: you make the console. i buy it. i have fun. you make money. PERIOD. the very fact that microsoft as the audacity to charge me for the right to be exposed to MORE advertising is greed personified.

  5. My issue with the $10 price hike for XBL is that what I get for that money is the same as what I get for free on PSN. And when I pay Sony for a Plus membership, they give me free shit each week… yes, you have to stay a member to keep the content, but it’s better than getting nothing for your money (which is what XBL has given me).

    It seems stupid that they would do this with Kinect on the horizon, holiday releases upcoming, and a new verison of their console which has almost no memory in the starter bundle. Bad decisions all around, if you ask me.

    • Totally agree about PSN. I can’t imagine how much I’ve saved not having to pay monthly subscription fees. It’s the same reason I’m not interested in PSN+ but then again Sony has it right in that it is an ~option~.

      In regards to Kinect & holiday titles: perhaps they are banking on the software being able to draw people in that don’t necessarily know or care that they’ll be paying monthly fees. How many people bought 360 arcade units, complaining about how much a PS3 cost and ended up spending more money getting it to be just as functional as the system….much less the hundreds of additional dollars they’ve spent in 5 years of XBL fees.

      While we may be well informed, I wouldn’t give the majority of consumers too much credit. So many people are ignorant about these kind of things.

      Microsoft may not get much love from well informed customers for their business practices, but I am sure their shareholders are happy.

  6. avatar Jordan Garski

    My issue with the 10 dollar XBL price hike is that other services like Steam can do everything Live can do and more, and it’s completely free. Top this off with Microsoft recently bragging about how Xbox Live brings in such a profit for them, and the price hike makes little sense outside of they want to fill their pockets a little more.

    What makes it worse is that Microsoft will get away with it as long as writers like this try to find stupid ways to justify something that can’t be justified.

  7. avatar Angr

    I quit subscribing to XBL. I grew tired of the advertisements.

  8. avatar Angr

    Silver Membership disables your ability to play multiplayer games, as intended by the publishers, with your friends.

    Silver Membership disables early and exclusive access to select downloads, trailers, videos, and more. (For some reason they’re not really concerned with reaching Silver Members with these advertisements and demonstrations. What’s the purpose of a demo or a trailer anyhow?)

    Silver Memberships do not have Netflix. (What does Netflix have to do with XBL costs?)

    I see a lot of offset costs being pushed onto the consumer that have traditionally been in the from of advertising for and by the companies only now they’re advertised by the companies and then charged to the consumer. XBL for the most part acts as an agent to prevent people from connecting unless they’re willing to pick up this profit increasing tab. We will buckle under their weight one day and when we do we can say it wasn’t greed it was operant conditioning.

    You’ve been conditioned to press the lever when MS wants you to. You probably never will see it as greed.

  9. avatar Microshaft is evil

    MS is evil

  10. avatar FG

    I think the owner of this blog has forgot the real definition of greed . Xbox live isn’t run on dedicated servers for the chat or gaming aspect of it . it is run from our own xbox’s and connection . this is not costing Microsoft 1 red cent . They only want to charge for xbox live because they know people are to stupid as to not understand how it works and they know people do not realize they are paying for something for nothing.
    To raise the price of xbox live is nothing but pure liquid greed on a entirely new scale when the price should be going down . I am not going to pay Microsoft to supply me with more spam ads I do not want to begin with . I do not want nor use facebook / lastFM / zune / or watch the spotlight videos , I wish I could turn these useless channels off .
    If Microsoft wanted to be fair they would move all these useless crap channels onto a new tier of service and leave regular gold alone and move netflix to silver . I am basically fed up with all the greed in this part of the entertainment industry .

  11. avatar Lars

    “The entire purpose of a business is to maximize its profits by providing a good or service” NO its the purpose of a business is to maximize its profits. “profit maximization” is the mantra in business school. You can provide an inferior product that sells better because it will hit a larger demographic. dont for one second think that the better product is the one that will receive most business. thats simply naive.

  12. avatar Nick8998

    If you actually believe what you wrote here, then I feel sorry for how naive you must be. No reasonable person would see something like this as normal. Microsoft made people like their games… They have us by the balls… Everyone likes playing Xbox live with their friends. However I have a PS3 also, and if it were not for the majority of my friends owning Xboxes I would much rather play that.

  13. avatar underworlderZer0

    TOP SECRET: The REAL reason MS keeps raising prices EXPOSED!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

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