Was there any doubt? I posted a while back that leaked shots of achievements for a supposed Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on the 360 suggested the update was coming. The only questions at that time were 1) will it be a disc or DLC update and 2) were any features outside of 4 new characters coming? Captivate has brought about answers to both those questions.
The trailer below leaked out ahead of Captivate’s media embargo until the 12th. Basically, yes, we are getting Oni, Evil Ryu, Yun and Yang and yes there will be new features in terms of online and replays.
What we’re not getting is any further addition to the roster (Alex and Urien fans, like myself, are crying their eyes out now) and there are strangely enough no new stages. To top off the oddity, SSF4AE players will be able to match up against regular SSF4 players so no idea how they’ll manage the rebalancing issues there. 2 versions of the game coexisting perhaps?
My gut feeling is just that this is too little too late. Simply because, like with the original release of Super Street Fighter IV, the community has been aware of these additions for way, way too long. Even now we still don’t know when this will actually hit the XBLA or PSN. I’d written about Capcom’s PR strategy on this topic before. I didn’t agree with the approach then and I don’t now. This had obviously been in the works since at least November. Stringing us along all this time comes off seeming callous at best, downright malicious at worst.
It’s a shame since a release which would have wildly excited me not too long ago has instead left me a tad too indifferent for my liking.
Anyway, check out the SSF4AE DLC Trailer at Metacafe. Most other media outlets seem to have pulled it already, probably at the Capcops’ behest.
Well if this wasn’t a surprise. Releasing a ‘Tournament Edition’ of the upcoming Mortal Kombat is an ingenious way of making part with even more of my cash come next April, even if it borrows a whole piece of… hardware.. from Street Fighter’s… erm.. arcade (?). Far be it for someone like me with more arcade sticks than consoles to use them with (a stick catalogue post is surely coming) to buy another one, particularly one with a bat top and no doubt poor construction quality, but it has that classic MK ‘X’ layout. I don’t have a stick with that. So there’s my excuse.
Alongside the Tournament Edition there’s also a ‘Kollector’s Edition’ that comes with Scorpion & Sub-Zero figurines in lieu of that massive controller, and I’m torn as to which I actually want more. Could always get both; one for each system. But then I’d be pressed to decide which I buy for which. A 360 stick would certainly be a better investment- guaranteed Windows compatibility for emulators and what have you, but I’d likely be playing the game primarily on my PS3. Ahh, choices.
In other news, I’m disappointed that ‘Klassic’ costumes for Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Reptile are pre-order-only DLC. Hell, I’m upset they’re DLC at all. What’s the point of a reboot if not harkening back to what made the series great in the first place? And if it wasn’t those rad Ninja (sorry Sub) costumes I don’t know what to say. They went and made Sub-Zero Chinese again after being, at different times, Caucasian, Outworld-ian and also a member of the extinct species of ‘Cryomancers’ (this was around the time the MK storyline went to hell). You’d think that if they went back to a character’s original ethnicity they’d at least go and dress them in their original liveries. Apparently not. I hope this isn’t the first of many gratuitously stupid oversights going on at MK headquarters but suspect those started long before this title was even announced.
Anyway I’d better retire my thoughts on this title before the K key breaks on this arthritis-inducing Apple keyboard I’m forced to use during daylight hours.
An article published by Gamespot recently suggested only 15% of PC gamers typically buy Downloadable Content for games they own according to NPD research. For console gamers that figure drops to only 6%. Their research attributes these relatively low numbers to audience diversification, connectivity issues and awareness. However they fail to consider something important there; that there simply might be no desire to purchase DLC amongst a lot of gamers. Pondering my DLC-buying and –playing habits, I can think of a couple of reasons why that’s the case.
1) The fun is over.
This is an inherent problem of single-player DLC. Take Fallout 3- a shining beacon of polished, compartmentalised and well-priced DLC. The 5 addon scenarios produced for this game are an example of how to do DLC right. Except for one thing; what incentive is there for me, months after completing the main game, to go back and play a new sidestory that’s just been added? I feel bad saying this, after praising the approach Bethesda took with Fallout, but who really has gone back and finished all 5 packs? I certainly haven’t. I played through Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel since they were out around the time I was playing the main campaign. It was pleasant news to hear that Point Lookout and Mothership: Zeta were still coming out, but to this day I haven’t had a chance to go back and play them. Nor have I had any real inclination to.
Excitement surrounding a game drives you to buy it, play through it, and, if it was halfway decent, maybe replay it once or twice too. But for me, and for a lot of others I believe, that’s where your engagement with most single-player games ends. Unless it was something really special, there is little compulsion to pick it up again for a stray mission or two, or a new gun. Don’t get me wrong; Expansion Packs (a dying breed) were a different matter. They generally added a lot more content and made it easier to jump back into a game you were done with. Some of the better ones, such as Yuri’s Revenge and The Frozen Throne were effectively sequels themselves. As much as I loved Fallout 3’s The Pitt, it doesn’t hold a candle to expansion packs of old.
Running through the list of games in my head for which I’d finished, enjoyed, but not played through their DLC yields up a staggering number; Oblivion, FEAR 2: Project Origin, Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5, Dragon Age: Origins, Borderlands and Left 4 Dead. Add to that multiplayer games and we have Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Turok, Gears of War 2…
2) DLC is a ripoff.
This argument seems to suit multiplayer DLC a bit more but applies to the rest as well. DLC is just a ripoff. Sure, extra content is great. But if you think about how much that content is, relative to what you got on the original game disc, and then how much it costs, things never match up. You typically get maybe 5-10% of the original experience at 25% of the original cost although that discrepancy varies wildly. Not even thinking about Horse Armour, how much justification can you attach to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s mappacks; 5 maps each for $15 USD? For most gamers it probably makes more sense to avoid the math and just wait for the sequel.
So-called ‘unlock codes’ amount to the same; content already on the game disc, but unlocked at a fee via a downloadable code. Resident Evil 5’s Versus Mode, Bioshock 2’s various plasmid DLC packs and Street Fighter IV’s DLC costumes are all examples of this. The premise for DLC in the first place is to expand content after a game has shipped. Without getting into the debate about how much value people expect from a full game, surely withholding already-finished content from a player at launch is a practice pretty hard to defend. It seems like in the long term this is a double-edged sword for the industry; too many experiences like these and gamers will have a sour taste for DLC altogether.
I wonder how much of this rings true for everyone else. In either case I think developers would be better off considering these points when making business cases for their DLC strategy, and not being so quick to palm off poor performance on any of the, in my opinion, superficial observations the NPD Group put forward.