Thursday, July 30, 2009

The wrong and right ways to have downloadable content

My love for all things "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" is no secret. I've been playing the series since long before it was named for el Tigre, and I'll probably keep buying the games every year until the sport of golf is done away with to make room for Blernsball. Heck, I bought my Xbox 360 a week after learning just how well the system's controller and "Tiger Woods" fit together.

So, it should come as no surprise that I've purchased all three of the downloadable courses EA Sports has offered since releasing "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10" on June 8.

However, am I the only one angry to have had to spend over $21 in new courses already, just under two months since the game's initial release?

Don't get me wrong, all three courses are wonderful — and the fantasy course "The Predator" is devilishly challenging. But, my question is, why couldn't those courses have been included in the initial game? Heck, one course was released on the same day as the game!

Downloadable content should not be content that could have been in the game in the first place, it should be content developed in the months following the game's release in order to keep gamers playing long after they conquered all there is to conquer.

Instead, this feels as though EA intentionally left out content in a mad grab for our cash after the initial $60. What's to stop next year's game from including only two or three courses with the option to download any of another dozen for $7.50 a pop?

This greed is even more glaring after reading THIS PRESS RELEASE I had in my inbox when I walked into the office yesterday. 2K Sports will be releasing downloadable content for "NBA 2K10" called "Draft Combine" a month before the game's release for $5 (or 400 Microsoft Points).

I'm loving this idea. Heck, I've always been a "NBA Live" fan, but this content alone has me thinking of changing teams. In preparation for the main game's release, "Draft Combine" will let you begin the process of creating a player and navigating the pre-draft activities necessary for a created player's success.

And yes, for those of you that cannot see the difference, "Draft Combine" does seem to be something that can (and likely will) be included in the main "NBA 2K10." But by releasing it early, it gives gamers the opportunity to whet their basketball appetites and really get their hands dirty in a way that far surpasses most demos. If you're going to make downloadable content available so early in a game's lifetime, this is the way to do it.

I applaud 2K Sports' idea here and hope to see more ideas of its ilk (maybe an "NFL Head Coach"-style download before next year's "Madden?") in the near future. In the meantime, I'll still be paying those greedy prices for fresh golf courses.

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