Grim Times

It’s really not looking good for GAME.  Yesterday’s news showed that they were looking for a buyer.. a few options such as a partial GameStop buyout were being outed in the press, with the latest possible buyers being Hilco and OpCapita.

Share prices, which started the week at 3.5p, fell to below 1p yesterday morning, and only just made it back over the penny mark.  This may put buyers off.  It may be that buyers are waiting until GAME goes into administration, as they can then negotiate around store liabilities.

GAME has also failed to secure stocks of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which is due on March 23rd, and a press release from Tecmo Koei states that neither Ninja Gaiden 3 or Warriors Orochi 3 will be available through GAME or GameStation in the UK and Ireland, with alternative stores listed as HMV, ASDA, Blockbuster, or online.

Other bad news, or bad press at least, came for EA and BioWare.. there was a large backlash against Mass Effect 3’s ending, which apparently doesn’t take into account players’ choices in the game.

Fans discovered that the Day 1 DLC character can be unlocked from the disc; EA stepped forward to say that From Ashes is not on the disc, but is a 600MB+ download; but that some “framework elements and character models needed to be put on disc”.

The latest news is that a multiplayer DLC for the game has been spotted, by somebody using a development kit.  No pricing or release date has been mentioned as yet, but this news doesn’t seem to be getting a good reception from fans.  At this rate, we’ll be waiting for the GOTY edition.

Metacritic Drama with Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 launched today in the US with UK gamers forced to wait until Friday.  The game has scored high ratings from the press, as expected, and has a Metacritic score of 93, but the user score is currently down at 2.5, based on 562 votes.

Sounds familiar.. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 also took an initial battering on their user score: one of the devs asked for help on Twitter, noting that the score was “suspiciously low”.  Indeed, there were a large number of 0 ratings across the three platforms.

While I’m sure there are plenty of honest ratings being submitted for the game, and here for Mass Effect 3, the political voters have certainly been out in force.  Are people downvoting the game out of spite at the Day 1 DLC?  Or is it rage at the latest revelation that the multiplayer will have an effect on the ending of your singleplayer game? (more…)

Are we being exploited by DLC?

Spurred on by the debate around the Mass Effect 3 DLC, I started writing some thoughts down.. but it quickly turned into a definite TL;DR with DLC, online passes, pre-order bonuses, retailer exclusives and the fight against used games.. as well as the all-too-common cry that customers are being exploited.

So.. I’ve split it all up, with this part mainly being about DLC, in-game purchases and other bonuses, and another part to come about the fight against used games.  I’ve mentioned a few games or companies in my examples here.. either because they were the first or best example to come to mind, or because I know that product better.  I’m sure I’ve missed some great examples, and although I’ve checked my facts, I may have something wrong or out of date in here.. so feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂

The first Mass Effect 3 DLC pack appeared briefly on the Xbox Live Marketplace last week, and stirred up quite a debate about exploitation.

One complaint against DLC is that it provides an incentive for developers to withhold part of the game to charge more for it later.. or even on the same day, in the case of Day 1 or unlocks of content from the game disk itself.  You can’t return DLC if you don’t enjoy it, nor can you sell it on as it’s usually tied to your game account.  Other complaints are about price (Modern Warfare 2’s ‘Stimulus Package’: £10 for 5 maps, two of which were re-releases), or the worth of the DLC (Oblivion’s Horse Armour), and then there’s the idea that it’s only being produced to milk consumers for every last penny. (more…)