Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Sure, Epic, just take my money. I am stupid."

So, everybody been good little consumers? You have all been and pre-ordered Gears of War 3, and turned up at one of the midnight launces, I hope? That's right, do as you are told, nice obedient customers. Don't question, don't think, and whatever you do DON'T STOP SPENDING!

Admittedly, the idea of midnight launches seems quite fun. At least, until I spend more than 20 seconds imagining it. Being in a queue with the kind of people who are not only willing to queue at midnight to get hold of something that they almost certainly could have gotten cheaper on one of the specialist online videogame retailers, but also play Gears. Don't get me wrong, the first two games were very good. But, playing them online always left me cold. Halo has a bad reputation because of the online community, but trust me. Halo players are relative paragons compared to the Gears fan base. I would rather discuss morals with David Cameron than enter into a conversation with the average Gears player. I'm no prude, but even I can't stand to hear the F-bomb more than seven or eight times per sentence.

What makes the midnight madness even more laughable is that I know for an absolute cold hard fact that I will be able to wander into more or less any store that sells videogames today at my leisure and pick up a copy of the game itself. With no fear of it being out of stock at all. Better yet, if I go to one of the supermarkets, I may well find myself getting it at a genuine bargain price. At time of writing, Morrison’s will let me walk out with a copy for £24.99, provided I also buy 2100 MS points at the slightly increased price of £18.99. Since 2000 MS points cost £17.00 on the dashboard, this works out at a premium of about £1 for the points. Weigh this against the saving of £20.00 on the games RRP, and I think I can take that. Especially as I can always find a use for MS points.

Maybe I could put them towards the Season pass, which is advertised as a pre-order for four DLC packages at a 33% discount. Wait ... what? PRE-ORDER for DLC now? Worryingly, the blurb states quite clearly that this content is going to have new content for Campaign, Horde, Beast, and new characters, You know what word is NOT mentioned once on that page?


I'm not being paranoid, just stating a fact.

I'm not against online passes, as it happens. I'm not against DLC. I'm just against stupidity, and when I see it being catered to so grotesquely as it is in this case, I need to comment. I am talking specifically about one of the other specials that I could maybe choose to spend my MS points on. This beauty right here is a clear example of just how fucking moronic they think we are. Or, worse, of just how fucking moronic we have all become. For a mere three-thousand and two hundred MS points, you can buy all of the available weapon skins.

Sorry, but it needs to be said again, slowly just in case you didn't spot it. (And, those who are considering buying something like this probably didn't.) THREE. THOUSAND. TWO. HUNDRED. MS POINTS.


I make this promise right here and now. If I find anybody I know who pays for that package, I will personally hunt them down and do disgraceful things to their dog. Weapon skins? They really expect people to pay to change the colour of their weapons? (Hint: Yes.)

Back when I first got Quake 3, I would frequently go and download entire new models for my character, along with various skins. I was Animal from the Muppets, I was Bender from Futurama, I was The Tick. All of these were free. Speed on 10 years, and things have gotten so bad that we are now expected to pay for any addition outside of the initial launch that the developer feels like putting in. (Often already on the disc, we just pay to unlock.) And I'm not one of those freeloading entitled whiners who cry out that everything should be free, either. Honestly, if devs wish to make money off of the idiots who will blindly shell out for whatever bit of virtual tat that gets thrown their way, then fair play to them. Nobody was ever forced to buy the Horse Armour.

But what bothers me is the way that the new model has become so incredibly successful at getting said idiots to part with their money. We are constantly reminded by publishers how expensive games are to produce. Well, if any publisher is trying to tell me that changing the colour palette of a weapon skin takes so much time that I am duty-bound to pay them the cost of an entire top-quality Indie game for it, I am flat out calling them a liar.

Oh, and my 2100 MS points? Most likely going to go on the rather SUPERB Renegade Ops from SEGA instead. A FULL GAME for one-third of the price of the weapon skins pack. And I'll still have 900 more to play with.


  1. I disagree with you're ripping of the midnight launch. Although your points are all valid, I feel that you're missing the point. A midnight launch is a way of releasing excitement and finding other likeminded people. To celebrate and share a moment. I have worked a few midnight launches and the vibe has been brilliant. A few nights that I will always remember :)

    As for DLC. I couldn't agree anymore, I HATE DLC. I will not pay to unlock things, or to paint things. I disagree with having to pay for a feature that could have, no, SHOULD have been included in the package. Like yourself, I will happily pay for an indie title and I'm actually an avid App store user. But, some publishers take the piss.

  2. I feel I should clarify. I am not against the concept of the midnight launch in and of itself. As you say, the buzz and atmosphere may well be fantastic. What I am opposed to is this whole attempted whipping of the fanboys into a spending frenzy. When my (then) local GAME did a midnight opening for GTA IV, it was only for people who had pre-ordered. Which kind of defeats the whole point of a midnight launch, does it not? (Especially when you consider that I actually got annoyed with waiting, left the queue and instead went and bought the game from Tesco for £2 cheaper.) People that desperate to play the game early should be buying online, because more often than not you get the game a day or two early and almost always cheaper.