Post by Steve Farrelly @ 11:27am 03/04/12 | 55 Comments
Capcom may have taken the on-disc DLC debate to new heights. Outraged over the revelation the publisher included locked content on-disc, at retail, to be unlocked as part of a future charged DLC release plan, consumers took their case to the Better Business Bureau (a consumer watchdog in the US) where Capcom responded with the following statement (thanks Gaming Blend).
At Capcom, we value our customers and make every effort to resolve customer complaints. We are sorry to hear that [censored] was so disappointed with the Street Fighter x Tekken game ("SFxT"), and would like to respond to his complaints.I highly doubt a total admittance of keeping completed content locked on a retail disc, to be released later, as part of an ongoing charging system for consumers "addresses" anyone's "concerns". Moreover, claiming that there's no "distinction" between on-disc locked content and content released digitally post-release is as brazen as the hackers who exposed the content in the first place. (They also released "how to" videos for people to get on board and expose Capcom's content model.)
The topic has never been hotter with EA also coming under fire recently for similar moves. Mass Effect 3, for example, had Day One content available for download (From Ashes) which irked consumers. BioWare, however, responded to the move with executive producer, Casey Hudson, revealing that "content creators [had] completed the game in January", and then immediately moved on to the From Ashes content, which they had completed in time for the game's retail release. (Thanks Gamespot.)
"It takes about three months from 'content complete' to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs," Hudson wrote on Twitter. "In that time we work on DLC. DLC has fast [certification] and no [manufacturing], so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your first playthrough on day one."
Chiming in on the subject, ex-BioWare designer, Christina Norman, spoke out at GDC defending the Day One content model and DLC in general.
"There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," she said at the conference (via ShackNews). "That means getting it out early; that means even day-one DLC. That is a terrible thing to some players. Players rant--they know nothing about this DLC that's coming out except its name. But then it's 'oh this game must be incomplete, the game must be ruined.' Game developers are not evil. (Some are evil.) But most are not evil.
"We just want to release awesome stuff," she concluded. "Players please, give us a chance. Judge our games based on what they are. Judge the DLC based on what it is. Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."
What this presents though, is a question of delivery and entitlement. There's absolutely no harm in continuing stories and gameplay for a game post-release, and Mass Effect 2 was an excellent example of this with meaty content at affordable prices, all well spaced out. And certainly there's some truth in Hudson's argument over the timing of a game's completion and the completion of extra content. Capcom's argument, however, is a little murkier. And when you consider they plan on unlocking their on-disc content for US$20, you have to start to question the motives of developers and publishers from a content perspective versus grabbing for money.
There was a time in the industry when you would earn locked characters by actually playing through the game. They were rewards for persistent players, not incentives with a price-tag.
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