#5 Downloadable Content
I believe it’s pretty safe to assume that a majority of you reading our number 5 entry here have all had that moment in time where you would groan at the announcement of a new downloadable add-on that is worth 20 dollars for a game that you just paid 65 dollars for. Downloadable content is the developer’s sneaky tactics to get you to, not only give them more money, but to keep you playing their latest game even longer...allegedly. Very well, it sounds rather reasonable at the moment. Here’s where it begins getting rather unreasonable. Example? Downloadable content announced one week after the game releases to retail, to launch the following week. In some cases, the downloadable content is announced weeks, even months, prior to the game’s retail launch. Did I also forget to mention the game “went gold” a month before the final release? You mean you seriously couldn’t slip this into the game originally? Most games “go gold” about a week before the projected release date, and these developers gave themselves a month’s head start and couldn’t include that one special level? The latest examples of this are Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s ‘Missing Link’ add-on, Batman: Arkham City’s Nightwing campaign, and Battlefield 3’s ‘Back to Karkand’ multiplayer content add-on.
Another sign that this is getting out of control is the fact that publishers are taking it upon themselves to create clubs to insure you get new, interesting, and exclusive DLC. You can only obtain this DLC if you are an integral part of the “club.” What purpose does that truly serve? The only viable purpose it serves is publisher’s greed. Holding out on people who also bought and support your game because they didn’t want to pay to join a subscription-based club is relatively unfair. In fact, it’s almost extortion.
"You buy now!"
#4 Disclosed, Sudden & Long Delays
So what’s happened during this generation that has caused developers and publishers to become overly-secretive CIA agents? Why do they refuse to tell us what is truly going on with a title. Why were so many titles delayed this generation without reason? If there’s another much anticipated game coming out during the same time another anticipated game is projected to release, a simple excuse can even satisfy me. You can even hint at the truth by saying there’s simply an “obstruction.” If there are internal issues, there should be no reason to not tell the truth. Consumers shouldn’t be left to speculate whether a game is still projected to release or not. By not telling anyone anything whatsoever, you’re just cheating the consumers. This unfortunate event has been happening much more with the PC gaming community as of late. The sudden delay of the PC version of Batman: Arkham City and many Ubisoft developed/published titles. Here’s the hook, these were all intentional postponements to focus on the home console communities. Suddenly delaying a game, without reason, is like developers playing with my money.
"And playing with my money is like playing with my emotions."
#3 Extreme Omnipresence of Online Multiplayer
Online multiplayer. It’s everywhere. Even in titles that never had such a feature prior. Before I even indulge myself into this, I will admit, I am heavily involved in the online multiplayer gaming community and this entry may be a little bit hypocritical on my stance. I’m not going to even attempt to do an introduction on what online multiplayer is like most writers do, all of you know what it is. Since the influx of online multiplayer came about, especially on the Xbox 360, gaming has gone distantly social. You can play video games with people from all over the world, and be called a racial slur of a specific race you don’t even belong to.
Notice the above says “distantly social.” You can play with people from all over the globe, but nowadays, you can’t seem to play a video game with siblings or even some friends you have over going into your fridge without your permission. Unfortunately, they have to sit around and watch you have all the fun. And there’s no way in hell you’re handing over the controller when you’re 30-2 in a team deathmatch of Battlefield. Local multiplayer is almost a thing of the past, and it’s sorely missed. Screen-watching, trash-talking, and having the ability to actually punch the person, who keeps killing you, in the face. That was the good life. Now it’s nearly extinct. Instead, online co-op titles that are, built with only co-op in mind, are trying to take splitscreen multiplayer’s place. It’s just not the same. And with these games built only with online connectivity in mind, local multiplayer isn’t the only thing suffering. Single-player has taken a drastic strike as well. Is it just me, or is single-player campaigns getting shorter and easier by the day? For some franchises on the market, multiplayer is either in development before development on the single-player even begins, or multiplayer and single-player are in development simultaneously. Believe it or not, there was actually a point in time when multiplayer came along much further down the line of development. In some cases, it came along as an expansion post-release…which is kind of like DLC…
"Screw you, Gingers!"
"Screw you, Gingers!"
#2 High Costs
If there’s anything absolutely notorious about this current console generation, it definitely has to be how expensive everything has become. Developers & publishers claim the prices have risen because games are now more expensive to make, so prices have hiked in order for them to make profits, but I’m going to call bullshit on that idea. I simply just don’t agree with that. The production of a video game and a film’s DVD are almost no different from one another (sans overpaid actors, high technological costs, and on-location filming costs), but a film’s DVD doesn’t cost 60+ dollars. Why is that? The film industry makes additional money from box office ticket sales, and essentially, the video game industry earns additional money from overpriced DLC and controller peripherals. Everything seems rather balanced to me between the two. So why am I paying a quarter of my paycheck for just one single video game? PC software is even cheaper than home console software. While a console game costs 60+ dollars, a PC game is still running for only about 40+ dollars. Maybe I’m uninformed here, or maybe I actually have a true addiction to video games and, no matter the price, I will end up purchasing it.
#1 Pre-Order Bonuses
Speaking of buying anything no matter the circumstance, what’s up with pre-order bonuses? As is already known, the retail gaming business has been on a pretty steep decline over the past few years. Pre-order bonuses do nothing for them, the developers, or the publishers. All you simply have to do is say to your local gaming shop clerk, “Hey, can you hold this game for me” and they’ll immediately comply. You do not have to fork over any cash in order to pre-order an upcoming title. I’m so annoyed with the idea of not having the ability to slap on an alternate costume, special weapon, or unique gun camouflage onto my character all because I didn’t take the time to pre-order the game. Much like DLC, the developers couldn’t have just initially placed that into the game? I’m buying your video game regardless, so why even have pre-order bonuses to begin with? Especially if it doesn’t cost a dime in regards to pre-ordering in the first place. Nobody should be rewarded for doing absolutely nothing.
"Okay, bad example."
Obviously, there's some things in the video game industry that are in need of a change. Hey, speaking of changes, how about giving Five Cancelled Titles That Were Overhauled to Become New Games a quick gazing of the eyes? Follow Lamar Bland (@Crazybone126 ) on Twitter for more sarcastic humor...if that's your kind of thing. Or follow the E-mpire homepage. Join our forums and interact with our community and even the editors themselves, you're in for a real treat...and by treat I mean an uncertain fate.