There are plenty of reasons to love the current generation of consoles, and earlier this week we gave you five reasons that make it the best ever. With E3 teeming with next-gen promise, it felt like the right time to look back.
For all of those rosy moments and memories, though, there are plenty of things about this console cycle that really sticks in our craw. Stuff that really grinds our gears. Gets our goats, even. As such, it only felt right to reciprocate Monday’s posi vibes and air out our grievances.
DLC Run Amok
Expansion packs were nothing new on the PC front, but bringing the concept console-side has been met with mixed results. It started innocently enough with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s horse armor, which was ultimately laughed off because it didn’t serve any real purpose anyway.
Eventually some companies would figure the digital landscape out and put out some terrific content that truly expanded on games like Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect 2. Sometimes, though, we were being sold content that should have been in the full game, such as “epilogue” chapters for 2008’s Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider: Underworld that were, for all intents and purposes, the real endings to their respective games. That says nothing of being charged for access to “DLC” that was already on the disc.
And let’s not forget the “season pass,” where publishers can collect upwards of $50 up front for unreleased DLC — on the day of a game’s release, no less — based on information as vague as “four map packs” or “four new characters” to be revealed later. Madness.
Publishers like to treat online passes as DLC, but they’re short-sighted and thinly-veiled attempts to quell the used games market. They’re nothing more than a gate behind which the online portion of a game resides, opened either with a redeemable one-use code included with new copies or buy paying $10 if you dared to buy the game used.
In the end, online passes are nothing more than lazy stop-gaps that only serve to inconvenience those that buy a game new, and EA’s abandonment of a system that they introduced speaks volumes of its ineffectiveness. Still, we can’t help but shudder at the innovative new ways that publishers are dreaming up to make sure we’re playing their games exactly they way they want us to.
Paying $60 to Beta Test a Game
If there’s one seemingly universal truth that we’ve learned this generation, it’s that retail games don’t need to be finished to find their way onto store shelves anymore. Think about it for a second: when was the last time you bought home a AAA release that didn’t prompt you to download a day-one patch when you booted it up? This goes double for a game with a multiplayer component.
With the propagation of hard drives and broadband internet connections, the consumer paying $60 for a new game has simply become an extension of many a developer’s QA department; look no further than the embarrassing PS3 release for The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim. And if you don’t have your console hooked up online? Tough luck, boyo.