Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nickel-and-Dimed

Between subscription services for online gaming; games themselves; additional downloadable content; purchasing updated and upgraded systems, new controllers, necessary peripherals - gaming has become a downright expensive hobby. And I, for one, cannot help but feel like sometimes we are just straight up nickel-and-dimed to death.

This blog is mostly stemming from my thoughts on reading issues 200 and 201 of GameInformer today. There was a lot of discussion about the cost of the main systems (PS3 especially), and a particularly interesting comment on DLC. A reader had submitted a comment about being upset when DLC is available on a game's release date, feeling that it's not fair to pay $50-60 dollars for a game and then have content that seems withheld and costs an additional $5-10+ dollars to get. GameInformer took the stand that purchasing the game doesn't guarantee you all of the content, and releasing DLC early in a game's release just proves the publisher's dedication to the franchise. I have to disagree. I feel for the reader in this situation -- if they have content that early in development, why isn't it included in the game? Or just hold it off for a month or so - let us play through and feel like we could maybe use a little something fresh. Don't expect me to put out $60 for a game and an additional $10 for a map pack or something along those lines.

There was also an article about co-0p gaming and it stated that something like 13-14% of people would be willing to pay an additional fee for co-op gaming to be included, to cover the costs of development. Are you kidding me?? I'm sorry, maybe I'm cheap (frugal?) but now that games are regularly $60 I feel like adding any more cost to this is absurd. I'd rather have a fully formed and completely fun 1-player game, and purchase a completely seperate fully formed and fun multi-player game than pay $10 for a lame split-screen function version of a 1-player game. Luckily the publishers and developers that commented on this article said that they weren't looking into going in that direction. Thank goodness.

A PS3 was recently acquired in my house, and so now I have the ability to compare Xbox Live to the Playstation Network. And can I just say that Xbox Live kicks PSN's butt? Like, completely. I've only been an XBL member for 2 years, and at first the $50 subscription totally ground my gears...but after experiencing what a free subscription gets me on PSN I am totally rethinking my standing for Live. Yes, it's $50 - but that's a whole year of entertainment. If you break it down that is so incredibly cheap on a daily/weekly/even monthly basis. It's the same cost as going to 5 movies, and I assure you it's going to get you more than 10 hours of fun. Not that PSN isn't cool - it is wonderful to have online gaming there and it is wonderful that it is free -- but good night it, in my experience, is so user un-friendly. I am having a really difficult time wrapping my mind around the PS3 anyways though.

And finally, subscription gaming. WoW, I'm looking at you. Although I'm also drawn to a comment in an interview in GameInformer where they asked the Xbox Live GM why there isn't an MMO on Live, and if it has to do with subscription. Are you kidding me? Additional fees to play a game on Live? *sigh* This is how I feel about WoW sometimes too. I mean, I love that game. That's right - I put that out there. It is so fun. It is consuming. There is always something to do. It has, in my opinion, unlimited replayability. But man, that $15 a month is killer! How can I say this when I am all about breaking down the time vs cost? $15 really only breaks down to 50 cents per day - so cheap! I guess that's just it - I'm just cheap. I love that WoW is constantly patching and updating their software and making it better. I love the game. But it makes me sad that I have to buy the software, buy Burning Crusades, buy Wrath of the Lich King....and buy the right to play monthly. I'm cheap. Idk what to tell you. I'm hard to please. I suppose it's hard to pay that much monthly and then if there's something going on and I don't play, I feel guilty. Do I really need psychological warfare (wallet-warefare?) to inspire me to spend more time gaming? (a tiny voice whispers, yes!)

I just want it all, I guess. And I want it now. What are your thoughts on the monetary costs of gaming?

(This is such a rambling entry. I'm sorry! I'll definitely try and post something more concise and interesting in the very near future.)

7 comments:

Debbie said...

I agree, there is no reason that DLC should be available the very same day a game is released. and i also think that sometimes the dc is not worth it. i get hella mad if i get DLC and there are no achievements or the add-in us just really really short. but on the other hand, is it fair to ass achievements. then someone suddenly has an incomplete game that didnt get the addon. I approve this rant and rave.

Linz said...

I think one of my biggest beefs with DLC is that it's generally a $10 investment, and if it totally blows you are 100% out the money. You can't return it, you can't even loan it to a friend who might enjoy it. You're just screwed.

Anonymous said...

first of all, never question the price you pay for wow. Blizzard will hunt you down and kill you, plus it's totally worth it. Other than that, you're absolutely right. Most dlc is bunk and not worth the hair on my nuts. Also i have a problem with getting extra content for buying the "collector's edition" of games. Pay $25 more and get a the game in a tin box, plus a pet that follows you around in-game! no thanks, i'll spend the 25 on beer and make the game 'seem' way more fun.

Joey said...

I'm sorry ladies but it looks like the future of gaming is mo' money. Add on's and upgrades and subscription fees and tee shirts and the energy drinks Woooo! I'm getting tiered hear. The gaming industry is just following the model of what industries have been striving for, INFANTILIZATION! If only we were born during The Depression.... Well lets look how this and other industries prey on your adolescents into adult hood. Don't get me wrong yeah we like games and fun but when is it to much? Being children of the age of consumption simply, we want, yes we are spoiled as human beings. I can't believe games for Xbox and PS have become 60 dollhairs that is surprising the $50 new game price was a static price since the original Nintendo. They do nickle and dime you, and they are good at it! I can see an MMO having a subscription fee they have maintain things. But DLC should be free I do agree with that. What is happening is that they are testing the waters. Doing calculations and charts to see if charging for DLC is really worth the real cost. Testing markets have been really popular lately and some industries diversify their strategies from region to region. So I suggest not paying for the download of the special character "Unicorn Dildo Horn McGee".

Linz said...

Don't get me wrong, I think some DLC is totally worth it. Sometimes you'll find a real diamond in the rough and something that greatly expands your gaming experience. It's just when they are so chintzy that they should've cost $3 instead of $10 that I get so irritated. Maybe it's not so much that they charge, just the price-points that need to be looked at.

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