On the 360, you’re able to earn Achievements with each game. Earn them all, and they’ll go up on your board as having 100% completion. There’s Achievement whores out there who’ll obsessively play video games just to earn this kind of status. I was looking over L.A. Noire’s Achievement list, and noticed how it was perfectly reasonable to get 100% if you put enough effort into it. Then I noticed the bonus content. You can buy a copy of the game in store, finish the game, and still not get 100% because you didn’t pay for and download the extra content. For instance, Red Dead Redemption by itself has 1000 points/50 Achievements. Then the downloadable content bumps that up to 1500 point/95 Achievements. There’s sometimes a window of opportunity to get 100% before the downloadable content goes online, but L.A. Noire shipped with the bonus Achievements in the list. Only: you couldn’t download the content yet online. You had to have bought the game at Gamestop and gotten the bonus content with that, and then have bought a second copy of the same game at Wal-Mart with it’s own exclusive content. Two weeks later, Rockstar then released both versions of the content online at a price, some of which came free with the game at the exclusive retailers.
Of course, all of this could have come free with the game itself, but publishing companies want your money. Offering paid content ensures that even if you trade in your game, they’ll recoup the losses of the re-sale to the secondary market customer who otherwise would have bought it at shelf-price, with the profits going in their pockets instead of the retail outlet. With video stores like Blockbuster going out of business, you’re less likely to see people renting video games, which will further increase publisher’s profits as more people will buy their own copies. Yet, some games have quick play-throughs, with little re-playability. L.A. Noire takes about a week to finish, if you have a life, so you could easily rent it and get the same experience as having bought it, at a fraction of the cost. Publishers tease customers with their “bonus” content. You’re not going to buy the content if you’re not going to buy the game, obviously, and if you don’t buy the content you’re not getting the full experience. So some people are going to buy the game and hold off on trading it in in case new content drops, and there’s always prolonged media reports about new content, lasting up to a year after the game’s release, at which time the next game in the series will come out and the cycle will begin all over again.
Plus, usually a year later, popular games will release hard copies of the downloadable content in “Game of the Year” packages, at a reduced bundled price in stores. The new version will cost the same as the old version when it launched, while the old version gets a severe price drop, which means that they absolutely could have shipped the original game with all the content at no extra cost to you, the consumer.
Now, the new thing is about to hit. Rockstar just game out with the L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass, which means that you can buy all their downloadable content at a reduced price rather than buying it all separately. However, since you could have bought an exclusive copy of the game at a retailer with some of the content already in it, you’re paying for a product you already own.
Also: the restructured Infinity Ward (everyone was fired/quit after making the best-selling game of all time) is releasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in November, along with the Call of Duty: Elite paid subscription. Say you’ve already paid for the game. If you’re on the 360, you’ve paid for online multiplayer. Now you’ll be paying monthly for a full-feature online multiplayer. Details are sketchy, but basically by paying $8 a month you can take videos, follow stats, and get access to new maps. Now: all those features except for maps are already free in the game. Activision makes you pay far up the ass for new maps, even if they suck so very, very hard. Every map they release is basically a repaint of an old map. Here is what they all look like:
I O O I
Two opposite sides with three paths leading across, and you’re expected to go straight down the middle (just like an orgry). I just spoiled the otherwise disappointing experience for you and saved you $15 in the process. If only I had been there when you lost your virginity. This pattern is true for the maps Zoo, Hotel, Convoy and Stockpile in the Escalation Map Pack for Black Ops, which is 4/4. Plus, you’re guaranteed at least one snowy terrain map.
They basically found a way to make you pay even more for those new maps, plus tagged on some bells and whistles. It’s like having a club membership you pay for every month, only at this club you get called racial slurs and tea bagged. So maybe it’s exactly like your club membership.