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Editoral: Bleeding Hearts – The Capcom Philosophy

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Scumcap

Hey, remember when I wrote that news article about Capcom’s on-disc DLC? The one all about how all the extra bonus DLC characters that weren’t originally in the game and actually exclusive to a different console entirely? Yeah, that was a good time. Well, it looks like they’ve responded to the discoveries with some clear cut, reasonable and placating statements.

By which I mean they completely dodged the real questions, confirmed that the locked content would be paid DLC and essentially told us all we’re getting an incomplete game that they’re going to be charging about 150% extra for than every other company’s game on the market.

Capcom had this to say on the matter:

Capcom has confirmed that 12 new fan-favorite characters will be available as Downloadable Content (DLC) on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC versions of Street Fighter X Tekken later this year. The playable characters will make their debut on the PS Vita system when the game is released this fall, with the console and PC versions receiving them as DLC soon after. The character information and files were intentionally included on retail versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360 game to save hard drive space and to ensure for a smooth transition when the DLC is available, allowing players who choose not to purchase the content the ability to play against players that did. More specifics regarding pricing, dates and other additional exciting DLC plans for Street Fighter X Tekken will be shared at a later date. As a reminder, the retail version of the game will be the only disc-based version consumers will need to own and all future upgrades will come from post-launch DLC. The new characters fighting their way onto Street Fighter X Tekken are… from the Street Fighter side… Blanka, Cody, Dudley, Elena, Guy and Sakura will be playable and from Tekken… Alisa Bosconovitch, Bryan Fury, Christie Monteiro, Jack, Lars Alexandersson and Lei Wulong will all be available.

Talk about spin. There is just so much wrong with this. Firstly, it’s not DLC if you’re not downloading anything. Semantics? Maybe, but semantics are the exact reason it was called DLC in the first place.

megamodel

Then the twelve characters, six from Street Fighter and six from Tekken, are the only locked characters on the disc? No. Mega-Man and Pac-Man are also on the disc. And not just any disc, these are on the Xbox 360 version of the game, otherwise known as not one of the two consoles they were confirmed to be on

There are two possibilities from here: a) Capcom just left the files there much like Rockstar left the Hot Coffee files, or b) Capcom has a timed deal with Sony for these two characters. The first seems unlikely as the disc does not contain the files for the other PS Vita and PS3 exclusive characters like Cole and Toro/Kuro. The second seems to be the only real reason these two, and only these two, characters are there – alongside the fact that the Sony platforms have these as announced bonuses that the Xbox 360 version does not have. 

The tune about compatibility rings hollow considering how downright complete the content on the disc is. It’s not just the bare minimum requires for compatibility, such as the model and a single texture, it’s the entire wardrobe, prologue and ending cutscenes for each of the characters. The characters are literally right there on the disc in full.

This isn’t a situation like last year’s Mortal Kombat game, where some DLC costumes were on the disc but characters were a 90MB download each. This is the full-on complete content to the point where it’s not even DLC anymore. You are literally buying the ability to view and use the files on the disc. It wouldn’t be the first time Capcom has done this (unless coding an entire game mode actually takes less than 2MB and I’ve grossly overestimated just how much code is needed here – there are launchers that take up that much space).

Size

I suppose I could, at this point, just sit back and say that they are offering the initial 38 characters for your $60 so customers should know that when putting down their money for it and any extra content would be outside the scope so charging extra for this content would be perfectly acceptable. Except that they fully budgeted this content in the initial cost of the game, are releasing it properly on one platform, and are saving it as what is essentially the “Super” version of Street Fighter x Tekken. How do I know? Here’s a quote from Brett Elston, a Community Manager at Capcom:

This move also furthers our desire to avoid a ‘Super’ version of the game down the road. Everything you need to enjoy this game for months (and years) to come will be accessed by the retail disc available this week. When the DLC update does come, it will inject new life and excitement into the game by unleashing 12 new fighters into the wild.

So, basically, instead of releasing the what used to be inevitable upgraded version of the game (e.g. Super Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3), they’re instead releasing the equivalent content by way of “DLC” in a few months. The problem is that the content is available right now. Not in a few months when they get around to balancing the game and making new content like their last two fighting games before, but at this very moment. So why will gamers have to pay extra for this content short of because Capcom says they should? It didn’t cost anything extra, there was no extra time spent once the artists didn’t have any more work to do, these aren’t mere afterthoughts. These are fully finished characters that are taken away from the game for the sole purpose of generating more revenue on top of what’s already being made.

Really, the only actual complete version of the game on release will be the PS Vita version. For $60, you will get all the content that you would pay at least $80 for (assuming it’s not $5 a character like with UMvC3 because then it would cost you $120 total). So here’s your choice, fighting fans: pay full price now and then pay extra when Capcom says you can access the content or wait until the game drops in price and then buy it all in one go for a fairer price when what is arguably the full game releases.

I understand the reaction, but SFxT is a damn fun game with a ton of content right out of the gate and more stuff – all designed to keep this fresh – to come.

You know what else was a damn fun game with a ton of content out of the gate that also didn’t engage in selling extra characters that were already present on release for ludicrous prices? Every fighting game you made prior to this generation of bullshit DLC. The game could be the best fighting game ever made and be more fun than riding Pegasus on the moon while eating marshmallows but it still doesn’t excuse this downright abusive DLC practice. That content isn’t designed to “keep it fresh”. This is clearly designed to be in the actual game and is instead being held hostage for profiteering.

Your Comments

  • avatar
    Koopaking said Mar 6th 2012 4:17 PM

    And of course they will continue to use this business model in the future, because they will sell millions of copies. Stuff like this just makes me lose faith in the game industry. There are plenty of other companies that still sell tons and make great profits without resorting to this kind of crap.

    Reply

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