Gears of War 2 creator Epic lashes out against used games

As a special thanks to loyal fans, five favorite Gears of War maps have been updated and made available to download and play in Gears of War 2 through this exclusive offer.

That's the text on a card you'll find in the box when you buy a copy of Gears of War 2. You'll probably thinking, "How nice! A little something extra from the developers at Epic." You tear the tab off the back of the card, type the code into Xbox Live, download the maps, and don't give it another thought.

What you probably don't think is "Why didn't they just ship the maps with the game?", "How "exclusive" is an offer when it comes with every single copy?", and "What's with that bit about "loyal fans"? Are there disloyal fans?"

This is another salvo in a quiet ongoing war waged by publishers like Microsoft and Electronic Arts against game rental services like Gamefly and the sales of used game. By adding special maps, weapons, or other downloadables via a one-time code, the resale and rental value of a game is partly hobbled. If you play Gears of War 2 by getting it from Gamefly, you won't get these maps. If you wait a few months and get a used copy from Gamestop, you won't get these maps. If you borrow your buddy's copy when he's out of town for the weekend, you won't get these maps. The implication of the message inside Gears of War 2 is that you're not one of the "loyal fans" (i.e. "fans who paid $60 into the normal retail channel").

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