Godfather Goes to the Xbox Live Mattresses
EA's gangster movie tie-in makes an offer you can't refuse. Literally.
Major Nelson announced yesterday that EA is now offering a slew of in-game content and weapon upgrades for The Godfather over Xbox Live. The catch? Only a couple of them are free, and the ones that aren't feature previously unavailable, high-powered weapon mods.
In other words, that game we've all been waiting for which would finally give you the chance to spend actual money to purchase game-breaking, over-powered weapons and accessories with which you could dominate your lesser-funded fellow players has finally arrived and it's perhaps no surprise whatsoever that it came from EA.
What they're also offering, aside from hints-for-cash, cheats-for-cash and prestige-for-cash is cash for cash. For 40 Microsoft points ($.050), you can get the "In-Game Money" upgrade, adding $50,000 to your character's wallet. Fiddy for fiddyK. What's not to love? Well, the fact that EA, the largest console game distributor, is taking advantage of Microsoft's so-far excellent Live service to establish a gold farming firm.
Actual, real money for in-game currency folks. It's not just for PC MMOGs anymore. If The Godfather were a half-way compelling game without the hype this announcement is sure to generate, I'd be worried.
For now, let's call the threat level orange for "concerned." I think that anyone who falls for this blatantly obvious money trap (how about charging you twice for the same thing?) deserves that sad, empty feeling in their wallet pocket, and I don't see a lot of people going in for this one.
Sooner or later, though, someone is going to come up with an offer we really can't refuse. Halo 3 I'm looking at you. If any upcoming game is in a position to demand premium process for add-on content, that one is it. Not to mention practically everything available for Sony's PS3 console. You think they went to the trouble of establishing an "integrated" online service just for your enjoyment? Look at the numbers and think again.
We'll be back to this debate by the end of the year. Have no doubt. And if you haven't chosen a side by then, prepare to get fleeced. But for now leave the downloadable guns, take the canoli.
Just one more reason to stop buying EA games altogether.
I wish that were a viable option, Goof.
We were talking this over in the humidor yesterday. The fact that Microsoft allowed EA to run their own online service behind and in parallel to Live tells you how much leverage they have. Like Jon Schnaars points out in this week's mag, Madden changed everything, and EA holds those keys. The distributor also, if you follow this theory, single-handedly crashed Sega as a console maker.
EA is a big, powerful company and they've never been afraid of leveraging their might. Here we see them doing it once again and it's going to be hard for everyone to resist them. Boycott EA? I'm not sure if such a thing is possible, much less how successful it would be.
To me, this is where games stop being an enjoyable hobby and become a competition, a meta-game if you will, for that meaningless place of gamer prowess at the top of the heap. Despite the inherent competition involved in games, I'm not interested in being the best. All I want is to have a good time and maybe learn a thing or two from someone better than me. When that even playing field is taken away by allowing someone to throw money at their lack of skill in order to achieve the upper hand, I somehow don't feel the need to keep up anymore. It's almost as if EA is running the Presidential Physical Fitness awards and offering a pair of jet boots for $100 to improve my time at running the mile. The boots help me run the mile faster than everyone else despite the fact that I may be the fattest kid in the room. The virtual world is a place where money really can make me a better avatar and that's probably a very attractive concept. It's got zazz.
To me, this is where games stop being an enjoyable hobby and become a competition, a meta-game if you will, for that meaningless place of gamer prowess at the top of the heap.
That is exactly the reason why I don't play MMO's. I had fun with WOW for a couple weeks and then I realised that if I was gonna get any further I would have to join a guild and become one of the plebs. So I stopped playing.
Personally I play video games to have fun, and occasionally I will ramp up the difficulty to get that feeling of achievement after beating something really tough. I have no interest in spending money to increase my prowess within a game, if I'm not that good then so be it. If not being any good at the game means I can't have fun in it anymore, then I will stop playing and move onto something else, those sorts of games are not worth my time or money.
Boycotting EA may not be an option for some, but it is for me. I have no interest in american football, the last 20 odd bond games have been crap, as have the harry potter games and I can't even think of any other properties EA has that I'm interested in, maybe spore but thats it. I will not be buying any EA games anytime soon, there is plenty else out there to keep me interested, especially with the new consoles coming out soon.
For those that can't possibly avoid EA games, there really shouldn't be any reason you are spending extra money on the crap that EA offers as downloadable content.
Fletcher (in an old GWJ radio episode):
If you don't like what the industry is doing, don't support the industry
He was refering to starforce copy protection there, but it is the same deal. If more people come to their senses and stop bending to the will of faceless corporations that want nothing more than to take as much of your money as they can, the message will get out there. It might take a while but eventually it will work.
For lack of a better comparison, its like when your dating women. Too many people get hold of something they are semi-satisfied with, decide they will never do any better and give up. Then it is game over for those blokes. What you need to realise is that if your not 100% happy now, you sure as hell aren't aren't gonna be happy later. There are plenty of women out there and plenty of game developers out there, all it takes is a bit of patience and the will power to stay strong and hold the path. Then you will find your bioware or your valve and life will be bliss. What makes life even easier is that game developers (unlike women) can go with as many guys (and girls) as they like and noone ever feels cheated :D