Remastered Games, Should Game Companies Reward Customer Loyalty?

In the ever apparent world of games being re-mastered and re-released, it has become a thing to expect where gamers are to re-buy games even if they’ve already purchased them in the past. Countless titles come to mind, old and new. Over time this trend has gained popularity,  it becomes a bit disheartening to learn that even though you own some of these games from the past, should you want to re-experience it in a new light, or hell, just play the same game on another platform, you need to shell out full retail price for a lot of these games. Let’s face it, games are pretty expensive now a days, at least here in Canada.

Why am I talking about this? Well because I recently noticed in my Steam library, I was given a free upgrade to Dark Siders: Warmaster by simply owning the originals. When news of THQ remastering this game was initially announced, I had just purchased both of the original games and felt foolish that I had just spent money on games that were being remastered. I felt I could have just waited and gotten a better version of a game I never played, but Kudos to THQ for providing this free of charge to those who owned the original game on Steam.

This isn’t the only isolated case where this happens. Upon my searches in the world wide web, I’ve also found out that Bioshock 1 & 2 also followed the same path for PC. Those who owned the game through Steam, or registered it through Windows Live or several other means were also entitled to free upgrades. Very impressive

Another example from this week, Starcraft Remastered. We are not only getting a glorious high res version of Starcraft, but the bit that stands out to me, and this is going way beyond my expectations, is that Blizzard will allow the original game including Brood Wars to be downloaded free of charge. Say what!?

The few examples I cite are exclusively for PC as far as I know, and not all PC games offer these benefits, but it’s still nice so see this being done. Console players on the other hand are not subject to the same treatment, and I’m writing about this because I think this should be mandatory for all platforms of games, and more games in general. Moving onto the darker side of things, the Nintendo virtual console is plagued with many releases that don’t carry to other platforms. You can own the original Super Metroid cartridge for SNES, have purchased it on the original Wii, yet you still need to dish out money for each of the other versions available on the Wii U and more recently the 3DS. Sure you can run in Wii mode but that’s a hassle and you need to have Wii compatible controllers around. Mind you these are all the same version of the game. There are countless releases of older titles mainly on console platforms that fall into this category also. Take as well games like GTA:V and Skyrim, both had released on Xbox 360 and PS3. Without the inclusion of backwards compatibility, gamers who wish to continue playing these games must shell out more money to continue playing them. What makes it better for Xbox 360 fans at least is the fact that they are constantly rolling out games in their library of backwards compatible games, yet certain titles have been omitted like the two just mentioned amongst others.

Mind you, I do recognize that there are times when there needs to be work done to bring games to different platforms, or remaster them. However the main bulk of the game has been done, designed, tested and such, so the work should be minimal. Going back to Skyrim, the recent remaster looks very identical to the original PC version of the game that PC players have been enjoying since day 1 of the games release. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below. Does this warrant another $50 purchase?

To me things like this really come off as a cash grab. This is something that is not new by any means, we see the same trends in the music and movie industry where albums are remastered or old movies are enhanced for blu-ray release.

Sure this is great for newcomers to Skyrim, those who missed out on the original can now enjoy a better looking and performing version of the game on PS4 and Xbox One. But what about those who purchased it on PS3 and Xbox 360, and simply want to keep playing the same game? They can’t and their options are to either dish out another $50 on top of what they spent for said companies newest console, or keep that old console out on the shelf, taking up space and having to keep around other controllers just to play only a handful of games.

To me this is a step backwards in the technological advances in gaming and the innovations brought to us by companies like Sony. Back when the PS2 came out, man oh man wasn’t it amazing that not only would this console be able to play next generation PS2 games, but you could play your entire library of PS1 games that you already owned. This was huge as other companies tried following this approach. Nintendo used this quite extensively, the Game Boy Advance, could play Game Boy games, the Nintendo DS could play Game Boy Advance games, the 3DS could play DS games.

We’ve now hit a point where only one company is following this trend, that is Microsoft, and to some limitations as I’ve already mentioned, key titles that conveniently got re-releases for next gen are omitted from this list of backwards compatible games. If you’ve read my first article on here, I go in depth why I hate that the Switch will have no way of playing Wii U games. Especially knowing that Mario Kart 8 will be released with all the same DLC that I already purchased, it’s infuriating to say the least. As great as the PS4 is, not being able to play any of my PS3 games on it is a let down, and to play these games, you must subscribe to PS Now and pay a monthly fee to essentially play games you already own.

I don’t cite these example because I think all companies should be giving away all their remakes cost free to those who already own originals of the same game, if they do, great! More power to the gamers, but I think something as small as a discount applied to a purchase of the remastered game would go along way even. It’s not always fair that a gamer has to pay full retail price for a remake of a game that in a lot of cases, has very minimal things added to it. Again I acknowledge that there is work done to bring these games to us again, so these companies should be compensated fairly, but at the same time options like this can go a long way to giving gamers a fair option when it comes to playing older games. It seems that PC more often follows this flow, there are clearly exceptions, but I’ve yet to hear of anything like this happening for any of the major consoles.

Do you think that gamers are justified to receiving benefits from owning an original of a game that has be re-released? Do you think the industry is taking the right steps to address this gap? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “Remastered Games, Should Game Companies Reward Customer Loyalty?

  1. I had the same thing happen on Steam and I love the fact that I got something back for supporting the original (pretty awesome) game. It’s trickier with physical releases, but I do feel that digital releases should give an offer of some sort to previous purchasers. I’d prefer the remaster free, but a steep discount would also be reasonable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup I’d definitely take a discount if it was offered for certain titles. Physical copies wouldn’t be entirely impossible. For a time Nintendo would include keys in their physical games that could be registered on Club Nintendo to earn coins. Even consoles had codes to do this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely think it depends on the difference between original and remaster, as to whether loyalty should be rewarded.

    For example, Baldur’s Gate was recently remastered for Steam – and that’s a game from the 90s! They changed some graphical parts to the game, made it work better on newer systems and added some new gameplay elements. I didn’t receive any rewards or benefits for owning the original edition, but I felt as if the remaster in itself was reward enough.

    With regards to Skyrim and the remaster, I feel like the remastered edition should’ve been given to PC gamers for free for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, games that require extensive amount of work that can end up as entirely a different game are a different story, glad you brought up that example of Baldur’s Gate. Games that are worked ground up like that would definately feel more rewarding

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  3. I really do not like the concept of being entitled to anything but it’s a really nice bonus to show support by giving free concept, or even just discounted items, to long-term users. Traditionally in the ‘states we’re used to getting lured in by good deals, then screwed by companies once we’re long-term customers. Just ask any cable or phone provider!

    This is a step in the right direction, and I do recall logging into Steam after a long absence only to find that I had more games than I remembered. Most recently I recalled Bioshock HD or something like it popping up (like you mentioned in your article). I think it’s great, and honestly, people who already bought and played the original aren’t the target demographic anyway. It’s the newer generation who haven’t played it yet, and they’re taking an old game and making it look new. It’s cheaper for them to produce than a whole entire NEW game, so they throw a bone to folks who already own the old version.

    Long story short, I don’t think I’m entitled to jack-squat, BUT it does make great business sense to reward old customers.

    Now if only Nintendo would do that with eShop purchases, I’d be very happy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HA yea, Nintendo actually has their My Nintendo Rewards out for a while now, giving coins for digital purchases that can be redeemed for discounts for games. Similar to their club Nintendo they used to do, but I found Club Nintendo offered more benefits. I got quite a few good free games from it, they had something running through it where if you bought MarioKart 8, you got Pikmin 3 for free. I also cashed in coins to get Super Metroid, Wonderful 101, Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. There were a couple others but was so long ago I can’t remember now.

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  4. The remasters of more recent games are a lot easier to pull off, so it’s “easy money” that can (hopefully) be used to fund other projects. I remember reading something about how the different technologies are harder to emulate from console to console, and that’s why they don’t use “backward compatibility” anymore, although as I’m not a tech person I can’t really speak to that. To my uneducated eye, it’s trying to make me buy my game collection over again (which is a beef I have with Nintendo).

    An acquaintance of mine works at GameStop, and when I said I wasn’t going to trade in my old systems, he was shocked and said I could get the games remastered now. There was this awkward silence as he realized what he said… I mean, I already have the games, why would I want to drop hundreds of dollars more on them? Some of us are on budgets haha.

    Slight rant, sorry. But to answer your question, while I’m not sure gamers are “entitled” to anything, I think it is definitely nice and good business practice to reward your loyal customers, and that should go for video game companies, as well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said, and good point about the trade in. As you said, like me I’m on tight budgets usually so having to buy multiple games is a big deal for me

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Playing a bunch of Nintendo systems, I’m used to not getting much in the way of loyalty. There’s My Nintendo, which isn’t that great right now. And for Virtual Console games, until Wii U, you had to pay full price for Virtual Console games that you already had. Even for Wii U, you still have to pay about a dollar to repurchase games you already own. That said, I think it’s great when companies show loyalty, though I don’t think we necessarily deserve it or are entitled to it, as Geddy said. It could help companies keep their fans, but in the end, they’re also a business trying to make money. They do put in the effort to make these updated games, even if we have to buy them again (if we want them again). If they throw us a bone and give discounts because I already have MK8 for Wii U, then I’m all for it. But I think companies have the right to make the profit for each game, even from those that owned the original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes for sure, the companies should be compensated for their work in bring this game over to a new platform. Just in some cases the core game does not change, so I think it would really depend on the game

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with everything you said. This new thing of asking money for remastered games is bad for me.Of course it depends for the game, for example, GTA is pretty different from the old gen. Yes, it has the same story but with lot of new features for new gen and still it’s updated.

    But let’s have a look at Skyrim for example, it’s the normal game with better graphic, something you can do already if you have it on pc(also better thanks to modders). So it’s absurd thinking to sell it for that price for me. Specially on Pc. Or at least if you do so, give a discount for the owners of the previous game.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was a pretty great read. I had no idea that those games got upgraded for free on PC. I didn’t double down in the Skyrim SE just because I felt it didn’t justify a full price purchase. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch looks fun and I love the extra characters and stages that have been added, but I also don’t know if I can justify paying full price for it after owning 8 on the Wii U. Maybe if it was at a discounted price I’d bite, but maybe I’ll wait and see what happens.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback and comment! I’m currently debating these situations for the switch for mk8 and other games like smash 4. I wouldn’t be surprised if other games made there way over to.

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      1. The thing is, while I would LOVE for Nintendo to focus their efforts on Mario Kart 9 and the next Smash Bros games, so much work was put into the Wii U games that a majority of gamers never even got to experience because of the many problems that platform had getting off the ground. It completely makes sense from their point of view to re-release Deluxe versions of their best Wii U games so that more people get a chance to appreciate them. I was actually really surprised that we got a Splatoon 2 announcement instead of Splatoon DX.

        That said, would you like to share your articles in our FB group? We’re a growing community of gaming bloggers and we’d be thrilled to have more writers share and discuss their work. I’m certain this is a topic that our members would have an opinion on. Just search for “Game Bloggers United” on Facebook.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Paul, thanks for the comment, and the offer to post on your page. Can I message you on Facebook for questions and details I may need to know?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting post! The flow of the gaming market is interesting indeed! I’ve always thought it was good policy for companies to offer the remastered versions of a game to those who purchased it before it was improved upon. The point in remastering a game is not necessarily to win the hearts of new audiences, but to make what you had better, and wow your already established fan base even more. Offering this upgrade to your fans doesn’t necessarily cost you money (most fans aren’t going to drop another $60 on the update), but it does make your fans happy. I’m surprised that more companies don’t do this.

    Unfortunately, it is more complicated when it comes to systems other than PC. Games sold in physical form are difficult to upgrade, requiring costly resources to reproduce. On top of that, it is impossible to know when a person actually purchased the game as opposed to pocketing it or getting it as a hand-me-down. With the introduction of digital purchases on home consoles, I had hoped that we would see more of that type of upgrading, but many games are simply re-released for the next gen console for the same price as they were previously (or, occasionally, a slightly lower price). It always seemed a little strange to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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