Gamers looking forward to Tony Hawk: Ride are going to have to plunk down 120 bucks to take home Activision’s latest and greatest skateboarding videogame.
Announced last week, Tony Hawk: Ride is a “reinvention” of the famed Tony Hawk videogame franchise built around a motion-sensing “skateboard controller” that players will balance and move on to control the in-game action. “The skateboard controller will redefine sports games by offering players a true skateboarding experience, hands-free, playing with friends and family at home or online,” said Rob Kostich, Activision’s marketing chief.
But that improved interactivity won’t come cheaply: GameStop currently has Tony Hawk: Ride listed at $119.99. The game isn’t scheduled to ship until October 13 so a price reduction prior to release isn’t out of the question but as Gamasutra notes, the full band kit for Guitar Hero World Tour, also from Activision, retails for $189.99 and in that context, the pricing for Tony Hawk: Ride isn’t out of line.
What is possibly out of line is the assumption that gamers will pay double the price of a conventional videogame release for what is essentially a jumbo-sized Wii remote shaped like a skateboard. The success of peripheral-dependent games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band might suggest that gamers are willing to dig deep for a more interactive experience but the phenomenon could just as easily be unique to music games, related more to the ancient art of air guitar than to the videogames themselves. Activision claims the elimination of “complex button combinations” and analog sticks makes Tony Hawk: Ride more accessible to gamers of all skill levels but as the gameplay video shows, balancing on the controller presents challenges of its own. Like not falling and smashing face-first through the coffee table, for instance.
I’ve sunk a few dollars into some pretty specialized controllers over the years but I have a hard time seeing this as much more than a gimmick. Then again, I’m a guy who firmly believes that the keyboard-mouse combination is and always will be the greatest game controller ever, so maybe my perspective is a bit off. What say you, button mashers? Does this look like 120 bucks well spent or is Activision overplaying its bundled peripheral hand?