New Mass Effect 3 DLC Quite Possibly The Last Straw
Sometimes, when observing the breathtakingly-nonsensical videogame industry, you have to take a step back from the endless squabbling and PR buzzwords. Get your senses back in order. Take stock. Wonder if you’re the only person who’s not gone completely crazy.
Such a moment happened this week when EA did its best to make everyone think that all it wants is money (newsflash: it is).
We’re talking, of course, about the news of licensed Mass Effect action figures that will launch around the same time as ME3. But these figures aren’t just there to sit on your monitor at work or make your long-suffering girlfriend wonder if she really wants to spend the rest of her life with you: these toys also give access to downloadable content, as reported by MCV. (It should be noted that this is only for the 360 and PC versions of the game at this time, but we feel it’s important to discuss nonetheless).
This content is apparently only for ‘North American released product’, and we’re told to ‘collect all 8 for the full experience!’ Sigh. It sounds a lot like Skylanders to us.
Skylanders – where players buy real action figures and place them into the game via a peripheral that ‘reads’ them – has made quite a lot of cash for Activision this past Christmas, and you won’t be surprised to find out that to get more powers/characters, you have to buy more figures. How long until this migrates to every publisher? Imagine some nightmarish future where all the Lego games follow this path, and then realise you wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not too far away from consideration.
Compounding this is the fact that videogame fans are amazingly, stupidly loyal, and either can’t see or don’t care that they’re getting a raw deal. Some even defend the practice, which is frankly mental.
Fanboyism exists in everything in life, but it’s an acute problem in videogames. Should consumers really be defending a publisher’s plans to garner yet more ancillary revenue out of them? Absolutely not, because then you’re telling them its okay, propelling us towards the inevitable fate where console games are little more than title screens that are mere portals towards the marketplace.
Small mercy then that this hasn’t been announced for PS3. And maybe these DLC elements will be released for free. But remember when you used to just buy games, not excuses for publishers to gouge more cash out of you for in-game features? Us neither, sadly.