Every year I pay £40 to microsoft for the privilage to play my Xbox Live games online. I dont mind paying the money too much considering live is far ahead of PSN (although I think sony are closing the gap) . When I spend £40 on a game that says I can play it on Xbox Live I expect to be able to play the game I have purchased for quite a while; I understand that eventualy I won’t be able to:
A) The popularity of the game will dwindle; meaning I can no longer play whacked simply because there is nobody to play it with.
B) Not enough people play to justify server support and it is pulled, sometimes I am ok with this (as with PSO, which I played for free for yonks on Sega servers) and sometimes it pisses me off (EA decide you have to buy the 2009 version).
Quite often games will give you the option to enhance your online gaming experience via micro purchases, map packs, skins, weapons; and this is fine, sometimes I buy the upgrades (although don’t get me started on recent Live and PSN content price increases), I own all the Guild Wars packs, and I will certainly be getting anything Valve release for Left 4 Dead. These are two of my favorite games which I will choose to upgrade; however having payed £40 for the original game if I choose not to upgrade then I should be robbed of nothing, gameplay should carry on as normal- just without the optional extras. I repeat THE OPTIONAL EXTRAS!
Yesterday I decided to play Halo 3; a game I don’t really like on multiplayer, but I did want to have a laugh with some old friends playing it. Having already paid £40 for the game and my £40 subscription fee, that shouldn’t be a problem. Right?
After making my way through the menu with that god awful music I am told I can’t play it anymore because I haven’t paid for the optional extras. That’s right, the OPTIONAL ones. I’m all for additional content for games, but not when I have to carry on buying them to keep the original functionality. A quick Google search just returns fanboys telling me to shut up and buy it, since its only 600 points.(although you cant even buy ms points by the 600s).
This isn’t the point. I shouldn’t have to carry on buying content to keep original functionality; I don’t mind additional content if its optional and is a reasonable price. Take LBP for example, I don’t own the costumes that cost £1.49, and what do I lose? Nothing.
Shame on you Bungie and Microsoft. Shame Shame Shame and more Shame; all with capital letters.
They should take a leaf out of ArenaNet’s book who have been releasing episodic Guild Wars content which funds online servers which keep their mmorpg free; it doesn’t matter which episodes you do or don’t own, no original functionality lost. Additional money was made by optional ‘real’ purchases such as cardboard cut outs of the characters/tshirts/badges. All of which do not harm the game if you don’t own them!
Another example I would champion is Siren: New Translation. Sony who I would normally put into the Bungie/Microsoft camp of Shame did a brilliant job of chopping a game into episodes, hooking you in and making you hungry for more by releasing them for cheap.