The publisher of the popular video game Control (505 games) has implemented an extremely strange strategy regarding next-generation upgrades and backward compatibility. The recently released explanation did not make anything clearer.
Last week, 505 Game Company announced “Control: Ultimate Edition.” Usually, this kind of packaging package will contain all the previous DLC content and the basic game, and Control: Ultimate Edition contains-but the company went further. According to a report from 505 Games, only gamers who paid to use this version of the game can upgrade to PlayStation 5 or Xbox SeriesX for free on available consoles. Everyone else (including everyone who bought Control and its Season on the first day and everyone who paid the highest price) was out of luck.
I will let 505 Games “explain” why they chose this:
Every path we pursue has some form of blocker, which means that at least a group of players will be excluded from the upgrade for various reasons. As of today, we have not been able to provide upgrade services to everyone, and it would be unfair to shut out any group.
Unless you find an explanation similar to the following, this is a trivial reason: “To avoid screwing up anyone, we screwed up everyone” is persuasive. 505 Games absolutely did not say what kind of obstacles prevented it from bringing the Control upgrade to all players. So far, no other publisher has announced a problem. What makes Control different? There is no actual explanation for the company's reference to the “blockers” of its position, and this explanation does not really hold.
But more importantly: Who is most likely to be interested in the Control upgrade? People who have already purchased the game, especially those who paid the full price for the game and its season pass. Who has been punished the most by 505 Games? People who buy games at full price and pay for season tickets.
There is an understanding in PC games that those who are waiting to buy the game (presumably) get a better deal by waiting. Not only does the price drop, but you can get any content updates and bug fixes while you wait. However, outside of DLC or expansion packs, the company does not charge for patches or improvements. We already know that Microsoft has Smart Delivery rules, that is, games delivered through Smart Delivery do not charge upgrade fees.
I suspect that this is the actual “obstacle” to borrow the term 505 Games. The company may not be able to launch “Control: Ultimate Edition” for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 without violating Microsoft's regulations prohibiting content upgrade charges. How do you solve this problem? You sell the game again, called the “final version”, and declare that only those who purchase this version of the game can upgrade for free. bingo. Now, you can charge people to upgrade to Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 without actually charging people to upgrade to Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.
Is this the actual explanation? I do not know. The 505 games will not explain itself. But this is more meaningful than the idea of some mysterious blocker preventing 505 from doing what multiple other publishers have already done, that is, making updates to the basic game available for free to purchase Xbox Series X or through Xbox Smart Delivery PlayStation 5.
If you don’t switch to the new Control: Ultimate Edition, you can still play the base game on Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 and get any improvement in the frame rate provided by the new console. This will be the first time that a game has achieved this kind of cross-generation, cross-generation leap, but in the “game as a service” era, this is not asking for content that you don't need to pay. It requires players to provide continuous support in return for willingness to pay for the “Season Pass” or various forms of DLC on a regular basis. It is better to keep the game on the old platform than to release an “updated” version that treats every customer who was previously loyal to your product as a second-class citizen.