Downloadable Content: Good or Bad?

Things are getting sinister. Mass Effect 3 is coming out and with it a slew of pre-order bonuses and collectors editions all offering exclusive downloadable content. I am actually confused as to what to do to get the best configuration of cost and contnet. Then today I run into this:

Link to BioWare Store

BioWare has been leading the way when it comes to DLC. Ever since Mass Effect 1 they have been pioneering ways to get people to spend more money. It has been working, certainly on me. I have purchased every single scrap of DLC for both ME1 and ME2, embraced it even. I have been happy to give my money away until now. Now with the arrival of Mass Effect 3 approaching I am starting to get a little annoyed.

It used to be, you purchase a game for $50 (yeah there was a time when they were $50) and that was it, enjoy. Then there was a golden age, when you would purchase a game and then maybe get some random DLC scraps for free: a new map, or a new outfit just to keep things fresh. Not long after that the companies realized there is actual money in it and DLC can be a revenue stream. Things start getting interesting at around this point.

On the release of Mass Effect 2 BioWare decided to declare war on video game resellers by announcing the “Cerberus Network.” At the time of release it meant a bonus character, Zaeed, and a mission for him with a promise of additional content to be released in the future. The Cerberus Network key only came with NEW copies of Mass Effect 2, refurbished copies will not have access. If they want access they need to purchase a Cerbures Network key for $10-$15 I don’t recall exactly how much. Later it turned out NONE of the prolific DLCs releases are accessible without the Network Key. Interesting plan, I can’t fault BioWare for protecting their sales. After all, if you buy a used copy from GameStop they get nothing out of it. This way they encourage people to buy new, and then get some extra money from people who got it used. I call this fair.

Which brings us to Mass Effect 3 and these action figures. Something I consider very unfair. Rude even. Action figures with exclusive DLC? I don’t mind spending $3 on new outfits. But spending $20 on an action figure and a new outfit? This is out of line. After the $80 collectors edition, and spending $140 on action figures, it is going to cost me $220 just to get a “complete” version of Mass Effect 3! That is not even including all the DLC they are going to be releasing after the release, of which I am sure there will be a ton. You know what the most annoying thing is? The DLC codes in these figures are RANDOMIZED! So even if I was committed to buying them all, I wouldn’t even get all the codes. What the hell is that about?

Where is it going to end? This seems like a cheap way of making a $60 game into a $80 game or more. Pretty soon a game will be released and paid DLC released right along side it SPITEFULLY not in the stand-alone product. Maybe that is already happening? I don’t even know. What do you think?

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