Guitar Hero 2 on the 360 is making Activision loads of cash monies thanks to its downloadable content.
This is interesting on several levels. For one, I find it curious that people are gobbling up these song packs when all but one of them feature tracks from Guitar Hero 1. If you haven’t played GH1, then the packs are a no-brainer, but I personally will never play Smoke on the Water again after five staring it (great song to hear, boring as fuck to play through to the end).
Of course the news is outraging the Kids of the Internet (uh-woo-oh), who are quick to call us “Sheep” for buying these packs at a high price point. Aside from the fact that I haven’t actually bought them myself, I’m still cringing at this nerd rage. As I posted in the Kotaku comments section, let us break down the prices, a common tradition among gamers:
iTunes – 99 cents for a DRM’ed music track that someone just had to upload to a server
Guitar Hero track – roughly two dollars for a DRM’ed music track with not one but two notecharts, that someone had to upload to a server.
And many of these same people are probably quick to run out and by short action games for sixty dollars a pop. In fact, I’m absolutely certain about it. I’m also certain that among these haters, there’s a few Square-Enix fans who will spend inordinate amounts of money for junk, and have probably repurchased at least one Final Fantasy multiple times.
If these song packs are a bad deal, I guess that means that other sectors of the gaming industry are absolutely grifting us!
I get your point (especially the FF stuff) but here’s where I disagree: 1) They’ve only added one notechart as one was already completed for the first go round. It doesn’t take much to add notecharts to these songs, as evidenced by the popularity of the free PC version Frets on Fire, which is all user-generated content. 2) When you take into account that there are 30 songs in GHI (47 if you count the local bands) that adds up to $60 (or $94) in DLC money for a game that you can purchase for the PS2 for $35 new. That to me spits in the face of the people who bought the 360 GHII version for the promise of DLC (which includes me). If I would have known that I would be getting just a re-release of the first game and nothing more, then I would have saved money and gotten the PS2 version so I could get both games for a lot less. It really pisses me off that they’re punishing people who purchased another version of their game because they actually own a platform that can handle DLC. All I know is, they’d better fix it for the next go round, because I really want to play the entire Weezer Blue Album on Rock Band, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay them $25 for it.
Tony, in regards to point number one – making good notecharts is something that takes some work. Some of the charts I’ve played on Frets are attrocious. Same thing with Stepmania.
The interesting thing about this pricing problem is that everyone can spin it to look good and bad. Compared to most downloadable music, the tracks are a decent value. Compared to GH1, itself, it is a ripoff. Look at how much you’re paying for Streets of Rage 2 on XBLA, and look at how cheap the Sega Smash Pack or the PS2 Genesis collection is in comparison. Look at how Nintendo put Metroid free in several games but still charged $20 for it on the GBA. In a perfect world a game and its content would have a consistent price all across the board. But they don’t, and there are much worse examples of being ripped off than these tracks, examples that seem to get far less attention. Doom 1 is what, 6 bucks on Xbox Live? You can get XP compatible versions of Doom 1, 2 and Final Doom for ten at Walmart. Marathon Infinity is free for the PC. I’m glad people find all that extra value in achievements.
From what I remember of the 360 version of GH2, the promise was new tracks, and MAYBE the possiblity of GH1 content. Instead we get a crummy selection of GH1 songs and only three new tracks. The Xplorer guitar is an absolute piece, and there looks to be no chance of the 360 getting the 80’s songs.
My point? The entire GH2 package on 360 is something of a joke, and has been from the start. 360 owners got treated like second class citizens. There are far, far more things to complain about than five bucks for three songs.
Christian, well said, particularly the part about how easy it is to spin the price to be portrayed as good or bad… but it’s just spin.
End of the day, Activision has priced well- the fact they’re making money validates it. Forum kiddies can whine all day, but they’re probably the same ones pirating music, so they’re not the target market anyway.
Now after what you said about Doom, I’d like to see those sales statistics. Maybe 360 users are just download content whores. But I also think there’s something about online shopping that is so easily rationalized… I buy shit off iTunes in a shameless manner because it’s so easy to do.