Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Microsoft and Activision slap gamers in the face....

I'm a big fan of my Xbox 360, and I like Xbox Live a whole lot. Both work really well for me and rekindled my interest in videogaming.

So how am I, as a consumer, supposed to feel when Microsoft and Activision come along and slap me in the face?

Last week I plopped down the money for Guitar Hero 2. I like the game a whole lot; it was something I was going to get for the PS2, but held off because I knew it was coming for the Xbox, and the idea of being able to expand the game via downloadable content was very appealing. Of course, this thing ain't cheap.

Yesterday the first round of DLC (downloadable content) was released for Guitar Hero 2. After seeing what they decided to do, it turns out they might as well not have even tried.

9 songs were made available for $18.75. That's over $2 per song! For a game! I can't even load them to an iPod (or Zune)!!

Of course, MS was perfectly happy with the price. As they should be; there's a disturbing history forming (during the 360s admittedly short life so far) of DLC content pricing far outweighing the value of the content. This example is no different. Instead of a cool way to deliver content to people already paying for the service, XBL is simply a way for MS to make more money. The stuff that's free on there is just there so you keep coming back.

What are the songs? I don't remember, and I don't care. There's no way that I'm going to pay those prices. When I picked up Guitar Hero 2 I also picked up a 1600 MS point card. With only the week one offerings, MS and Activision would have made the purchase of that card obsolete. For me to buy all of the Guitar Hero 1 songs for the 360 it would cost me as much as it would to get Guitar Hero for the PS2. And for that same price I wouldn't get a disk, packaging, or guitar controller. What a bunch of crap. While people are stupid, I don't think that people are that stupid. To pay those prices you'd have to be a blithering idiot.

Of course, I'm not the only person who disagrees with the pricing structure. Penny Arcade, Kotaku, Joystiq, and other outlets (including the people who read and post on those sites) all disagree with the pricing. It'll be interesting to see what happens now. Are they going to keep trying to shovel out crap and charge you like it's gold?

Only time will tell.

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