ACE in the Hole: Recent Gaming Industry Mistakes Part I

Doesn’t it feel like the gaming industry is moving too fast now-n-days?  It seems like it was just yesterday when the PS3 and XBox360 launched, and now everyone is talking about and anticipating the rumored PS4 and XBox720 ‘next-gen’ consoles.  I know its in gamer’s nature to always look for the next thing to come out, but sometimes you have to take it a little slower and not rush into things.  In fact, rushing into things have created some of the biggest gaming industry mistakes thus far.

Price Point Confusion. When this ‘next-gen’ era began, developers and producers were extremely excited to see what they could do with all the new technology out there.  The problem is in all their excitement, they forgot how much it was going to cost consumers.  Sony is one of the biggest culprits.  They packed the PS3 with tons of impressive hardware, but forgot how expensive it was going to be for us, gamers.  The PS3 launched on the market with a $600 price point.  Now was a blu-ray player, SATA hard drive, graphics card, 7 CPU and a cell processor worth the price at the time? Yes!  But was it something that gamers can typically afford? No.  Microsoft was also a culprit, but not as much as Sony.  Sony pushed the limits of what gamers would pay for hardware.  Fortunately, these price points have began to normalize and are now more affordable for gamers.

A quick release = quick profit + problems. A lot of companies have been an offender to this issue, but the biggest and seemingly most detrimental one was Microsoft.  Why?  One phrase that I don’t even have to spell out for you to understand… RROD.  The Red Ring of Death was apparently due to Microsoft rushing their console to market.  Microsoft wanted to be the first to market, but this backfired.  They were sued for more than a billion dollars and had to extend all Xbox360 warranties to 3 years.  Now there are rumors that Sony wants to be the first to market for the next next-gen cycle.  Let’s hope they learn from Microsoft’s mistakes.

Downloadable content for everyone. This issue targets most developers in the gaming industry.  Am I the only one tired of buying a $60 game and then seeing downloadable content 2 weeks later?  Some of the biggest culprits are Microsoft, Activision and Capcom.  Microsoft is only guilty of buying downloadable content.  They made multiple deals to secure the DLC’s exclusivity, even it was just timed.  The problem is that Microsoft has showed the gaming world that DLC is not only ok, but possibly necessary and expected.  Activision also has a problem releasing DLC for Guitar Hero and Call of Duty weeks after a game’s release.  But none is bigger than Capcom.  Capcom has been abusing DLC. Resident Evil Versus is a great example.  They released Resident Evil for PS3 and XBox360 for $60 (the normal price for games this semester).  They later released Resident Evil Versus much later than the release date, which is fine.  But did you know that RE Versus DLC was already on the disk?!?  Yea, that’s right… you were tricked into paying $75 for the whole thing.  It’s alright for DLC to be made after a game has finished development.  But selling a game with DLC on the disk and asking gamers to pay for it is outrageous.  Selling Street Fighter costumes that are usually unlocked is also a DLC corruption.

The point I’m trying to make is that developers and producers need to stop rushing and take their time to produce a great product that will please games.  Polyphony Digital and Rockstar are great companies that do just that.  And as always, support your console(s) and the developers you value so we can keep seeing innovative games that blow our socks off.  Until next time guys enjoy gaming and make sure you “Pick up your Sticks!”  Also look for part 2 in the near future.

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