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Ubi to Charge for Xbox Downloadable Content

Zonk posted more than 10 years ago | from the join-the-party dept.

XBox (Games) 43

bippy writes "Ubisoft just announced that a four map pack for Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow will cost $5. This comes on the heels of THQ's announcement that they will be charging $4.95 for a downloadable mission on Full Spectrum Warrior."

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How these publishers see consumers. (4, Insightful)

Goosey (654680) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461337)

*pull string* The consumer says: "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Keep milking.. >_

Re:How these publishers see consumers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10463231)

Next step: charging for patches

After that: who knows? Maybe charging for each time you load the game...

Re:How these publishers see consumers. (1)

m2h (530494) | more than 10 years ago | (#10463267)

MS already does charge for every patch.

knew it was coming. (3, Interesting)

prankfurter (818985) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461407)

I just find it funny. One of the big things they touted about XBox Live was that you only had to pay one fee. Now with all these extras costing Its just getting more and more expensive. But I can't honestly say I didn't see it coming.

One fee to rule them... (1)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462222)

I've been following the XBL rhetoric since the beginning, and I remember them being ambiguous enough with the fee structure that it was obvious - to me anyway - that they planned to charge for content. Even when True Fantasy Live wasn't a fantasy, everyone knew that you'd pay to play. When Galaxies was rumored to be coming the Xbox, the same was also true. So where this "one fee" myth cropped up I'm not exactly sure. Maybe Microsoft's marketing was too effective?

Re:One fee to rule them... (4, Informative)

alatesystems (51331) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462651)

There was no hiding or deception. There has always been an option to "allow downloading of premium content". I don't understand why this is news. It is free to play all the games on xbox live, that's why EA and MS fought so much. However if you want to download additional maps/players/vehicles on many games you have to pay a small one-time fee. I downloaded an additional course for Links2k4 and it was the best 5 bucks I've ever spent.

It's just like buying an expansion pack in a store, except it's delivered instantly with a button press from your recliner.

Once again, why is this news? "Evil company follows through with allowing publishers to publish software and then charge for it online." OH NO!!! Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!?


Not really new news (3, Interesting)

neverkevin (601884) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461472)

This isn't new, PG2 has been charging for new content for a while now.

Re:Not really new news (2, Informative)

andman42 (721375) | more than 10 years ago | (#10463432)

Same with Links 2004. As early as last Christmas (2003), Links was charging to download a new courses.

Besides, since the beginning, part of the Xbox live business model was to charge for some of the downloads. That way consumers could get small, incremental additions to their games without having to shell out $40 for a whole new game. Likewise, game companies would have the incentive ($$) to provide the new content. There were even rumors in the Official Xbox Magazine about adding new Halo 2 missions serial style, like once every few weeks (for a price, of course).

I'm not sure why this story or the story about THQ are surprising or inflamatory, let alone news.

They have the same thing for PC's... (3, Interesting)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461504)

Don't complain. What's making this different from 'additional missions' you could buy for a PC game?

This is a good thing. People can release a game engine, and you can just download free or cheap games to play with that engine.

Garage developers can start doing total conversions on Halo etc now.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10462008)

No real complaints here, except for FSW's download content. It's completely screwed up - can't play coop online like the other 11 missions. totally lame.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (2, Interesting)

igrp (732252) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462151)

Yes, in theory, it is indeed a good thing.

You just won't really see third party developers releasing cheap mods on XBox Live though. Microsoft exclusively controls all MoD (means of distribution). These days, the big developers only have two distributors to chose from (MS and Sony) but they still have a lot of leverage. Both companies desperately need one great game to bundle the consoles with to push sales. In Microsoft's case, that's Halo (they basically bought Bungie just to have that one great title). For Sony, it's probably still the GTA franchise. Yes, they eventually release it on other platforms but if you want to play a new GTA game now, and not just in a year and a half, you still need to fork over the cash for a PS2.

And with the next-generation consoles just around the corner, MS just won't piss off any major developers (and encouraging competition and cutting into a developer's bottom line is one good way to piss someone off - probably not enough to make them go, abandom a lot of their know-how and switch to the PS2/PS3 but you never know).

Then there's the legal side: you not only need to have a legal editor of some sort (how long before we see shrink-wrap licenses in video games) but you also need to be able to legally distribute derivative works.

And even if you could, you'd still need Microsoft's cooperation. Sure, you could distribute your modified maps and what not over the Internet. However, that kinda defies the point of having a console in the first place (which is to work out-of-the-box, always, no setup required). And with Internet-only, non-Live distribution, only people with modified XBox's would benefit.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (-1, Troll)

StocDred (691816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462158)

What makes this different is the additional cost, dumbass.

- pay for internet service
- pay for Xbox Live service
- pay for game
- pay for new content

As opposed to the PC, which goes:

- pay for internet service
- pay for game
- pay for new content

Can you spot what is missing?

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (1)

FiDooDa (23111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462432)

"Can you spot what is missing?"

yes, the price difference between a xbox and a full blown gaming pc.

And notice I'm not calling you names either. I just want to point out that it is quite easy to exclude any arguments that we like (or should i say dislike).

Have a nice day sir.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (0)

StocDred (691816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462576)

If you're going to include the Xbox price vs a PC price, then you're opening up to a whole slew of variables as to the worth of that cost. The PC has more uses beyond games, so, yes, it costs more.

The point is that publishers have no fear of nickel-and-diming Xbox Live users for every little bit, despite Xbox Live having a regularly assigned monthly cost. As several posters above pointed out, it was originally a big deal that the Xbox HD + Live combo meant free additional content... that is swiftly becoming a memory. Chalk that up to old launch day marketing-speak (along with faked screenshots and lies about exclusivity) that have never fully evaporated.

What we're learning is that your Xbox Live fee is for Xbox live itself and nothing else (except maybe a couple patches, and new stuff from more generous companies.) Whether or not Xbox live is worth that cost is another debate, seeing as how lots of people do the same stuff (or similar) with PCs and PS2s for no additional cost.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (2, Insightful)

FiDooDa (23111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462826)

I wrote my previous post only to point out the missing argumentation from your post.

I was not following the marketing annoucements (or promises) when the Xbox was launched, so I'm assuming what you are stating is true. I bought my xbox late last year when it became a lot cheaper and I was not following any announcements prior to my purchase. This also means that I had no expectation of getting free downloadable content. On the other hand.

Last month, I came across a new downloadable map in Splinter Cell (well it wasn't that new, but I don't play too often). They were asking 5$ for it. In my book 5$ for a map is not a good deal and would of liked to get it for free. So I decided not to buy it. Case closed.

I would like to state one thing, if they are willing to inform us that the game is capable of downloading content on xbox live, they should then also be forced to tell us (on the package) if they will be asking money for that content.

Re:They have the same thing for PC's... (4, Insightful)

hollismb (817357) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462508)

I can spot what's missing: A friends list consistent across all games. Standardized interface/features for all games. Continued implementation of new features like Voicemail and clan support. Voice chat in every game. Dedicated servers for most games. A reliable and monitored network.

WOW (2, Insightful)

VendingMenace (613279) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461565)

considering that the WHOLE game costs $50. Charging 10% of that for 4 maps or 1 mission (which is basically a bunch of scrips and design) is a great freaking way for companies to make money hand over fist.

I wonder if this will become a trend. Instead of releasing large expansion packs, will companies start just releasing smaller cheaper "mini packs" at more frequent intervals? I wonder if that would be more effective. It seems like you might be able to sell more $$$ amount of stuff that way. I mean, that way, you could gradually see the gaming geography of your game change -- requiring EVERYONE to buy the expansions.

Right now, it seems like for many games that have expansions, there are still servers that play the non-expansion game. But if you release a few maps at a time, those maps might just be incorparated into the map rotaion of more existing servers and then people would have to buy the expansion to keep up. OH man.

Anyways, i am really impressed (an irritated) that companies have found yet another way to more efficeintly milk the consumer. Too bad that enough people will pay this rediculous price/content ratio -- and it will probably stick around. :(

Yeah, just my random ramblings :D

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10461771)

That and the....
"Honey, I'm buying a $30 map addon for Rainbow 6"

"$5 charge on the visa? Oh, probably gas or something"

Re:WOW (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462091)

Correction: The whole game costs 40 dollars. The original was 50, but since Black Arrow is essentially an expansion with some new modes and bug fixes, it was released at a lower price.

Re:WOW (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462290)

Well, if the $5 downloads become popular enough, perhaps some publishers will lower the off the shelf cost. If they go from the typical $40 or $50 to say $29.95, that'd be cool. I don't mind being milked (mooooo!) too much as long as it's just a little at a time! It's kind of like buying volumes of a manga series.

Re:WOW (2, Insightful)

jjhlk (678725) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462350)

So vote with your wallet. But most people probably think it's worthwhile and will pay, so don't blame the companies.

$5 isn't bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10461631)

I've gotten much more and $5 entertainment value from the two extra Spinter Cell: Pandora Tomrorrow maps.

Gaming group (2, Interesting)

wift (164108) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461772)

Informal survey in a gaming group I belong to (200 members) shows that a slim majority will buy it eventually. The sticking point is that since this is a closed group, the normal hosts need buy this map otherwise why bother?

Horrible timing since Halo 2 is out in 33 days. The last map they issued for Black Arrow was good but not worth .01 more. Nice plain ordinary map but nothing to get excited about.

This is not news (1)

JakeSpencer (119978) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461886)

Additional content for sale is not a new thing on XBox Live. Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix [konamihwi.com] , which came out nearly a year ago, has had additional song packs available for $5 for a long time. As many other posters pointed out in the THQ article, a number of other games have had pay-to-download additional content on XBox Live.

Still signifigant. (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461998)

Music has an understandable value because you have royalties to pay beyond the development company. I see people saying this has been going on for a while but no details on what was actually being sold. Has there been another game that sells maps using the pay service xbox live?

Re:Still signifigant. (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462056)

Yeah, bunches of them. Project Gotham Racing 2, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, Full Spectrum Warrior, Mechassault, Links 2004...

Re:Still signifigant. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10462978)

Oh wow 5 games equals "bunches of them"!

Fuck off man

Ubi Soft and THQ (2, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 10 years ago | (#10461889)

Ubi should try diversifying their game selection in order to expand their audience instead of milking the Tom Clancy license.

Beyond Good & Evil and Prince of Persia are the only two Ubi games I've been interested in years.

THQ hasn't put out a game I've wanted to play since either the NES or SNES days I can't really remember.

Re:Ubi Soft and THQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10462684)

That's exactly what I think. BG&E and PoP have been the only Ubi games to keep my interest for more than a few days (although neither is anywhere closed to the greatest games I've ever played, they are both pretty fun). The Splinter Cell games got my attention, and I have played them both, but I simply lost interest in them after investing several hours in both.

Re:Ubi Soft and THQ (0)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 10 years ago | (#10464294)

THQ hasn't put out a game I've wanted to play since either the NES or SNES days I can't really remember.

Surely you have at least tried out one of the latest two Grand Theft Auto games... (since Rockstar Games = THQ)

Re:Ubi Soft and THQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10466795)

Surely since Rockstar Games = Take 2.

Rockstar Games never belong to THQ.

Get your facts straight.

Not new (2, Interesting)

hollismb (817357) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462007)

Microsoft already had the idea of 'premium content' well-established even before the Live service launched. It's part of while you have to have a valid credit card associated with your account, and is also part of the parental/protected controls, in that you can have a password associated with accessing a live account.

Like I said when talking about the Full Spectrum Warrior content, I definitely wouldn't pay five bucks for one map, but I have no problem paying five bucks for four. Can't wait for it to come out, along with the spawn-camping patch.

God no (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#10462807)

Anybody remember the days when new content for the game was released for free, and only when there was enough of it to almost qualify as a new game would the expansion packs come out. And those expansion packs actually changed gameplay significantly.

This is just another step forward towards charging people for every single little detail of the game. Thank god mods are still free because I will never pay for something like maps, which anybody can whip up in 5 minutes. And granted, this is on the Xbox, but people should not buy this and show there is not a demand to pay for every damn little detail of a game.

Because you know what comes after that? Subscription. Not just for MMORPGs, but for any game that connects to the net. You want to be able to access their servers to connect with people to play that new FPS, SUBSCRIPTION. You want that new mod which "partnered" (sold out for a few bucks) with the game company? SUBCRIPTION.

Re:God no (1)

ajd1474 (558490) | more than 10 years ago | (#10465986)

Ummm... but there IS demand for this.

I think of games like Links 2004, or Dance Dance Revolution, or Project Gotham and i think I LOVE THIS GAME... i just want to get more out of it... It's great to be able to get extra "content" without having to wait 5 years for a sequel, or 2 years for an expansion pack. I love Rainbow Six and i want new maps!

And YES i will pay $5 if i think that i am getting more value out of my original game.... bridging the gap until the sequel comes out.

Re:God no (1)

Corngood (736783) | more than 10 years ago | (#10467040)

anybody can whip up in 5 minutes

What on earth makes you think this? Seriously, I don't even know what to say to that.

Re:God no (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#10467438)

What i meant was maps are a dime a dozen and there is no way they can justify charging that kind of price.

Re:God no (1)

Corngood (736783) | more than 10 years ago | (#10468614)

Good maps are not a dime a dozen, especially with the production value of R6-3.

Ubi needs a new pair of shoes (2, Interesting)

slumpy (304072) | more than 10 years ago | (#10463386)

Oh man am I mad......seriously. Rainbow Six 3 is the absolute best game on Xbox live. I'd say it's one of the best games I've played in years. When Black Arrow came out it was seen as an expansion. It cost $40 instead of the regular 50 and they weren't reinventing the wheel as far as graphics or gameplay were concerned. Black Arrow added clans through the game itself instead of having to go through an outside site like teamcompete.

Sadly, Black Arrow has felt like a failure to me, the maps aren't as fun and the clan portion of it is just silly and creates an unbalanced dynamic that wasn't as heavy in the first RS3. I see it as such a disappointment that I've stopped playing Black Arrow altogether and gone back into RS3 despite it's glitches...lean walking, grenade tricks, etc...I've noticed a lot people I play against were let down with Black Arrow as well.

To be a little more on topic, the $5 for a few maps reinforces my belief that Black Arrow doesn't share the same fun factor as the previous iteration. If they offered the first RS3 maps, unaltered, for download for $5, then I might consider it. But in the meantime I'm gonna put that $5 on a preorder of Halo 2, and I suggest you do the same.

The Xbox... (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 10 years ago | (#10466871)

is looking more and more like a PC.

Re:The Xbox... (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 10 years ago | (#10468374)

Naw, in the case of the PC they would of called it an expansion pack and charged $19.95

Back to the PC, I guess (1)

yndrd (529288) | more than 10 years ago | (#10468440)

I switched to a console because I was sick of upgrading my hardware every six months. Now, I've got a different problem: only the company can make mods for the game, and they're going to charge me for it.

Maybe it's time to return to the PC fold--at least it's (marginally) easier to mod a game for that without the blessing of the company.

Charging isn't the problem - problem is storage! (2, Interesting)

larsoncc (461660) | more than 10 years ago | (#10471784)

Giving up mod points here, cause I think this is an important point.

I think we're missing one of the BIG points here, and one of the big negatives of the Infinium Labs Phantom console...

It's the lack of any long term storage options for things you've purchased. What happens 5-10 years from now when your XBox hard drive breaks? What happens 2 years from now, when the XBox is all but abandoned?

Do you have any recourse for getting these levels that you've paid for BACK?

PC expansion packs come on DISC, or you can back them up to disc, at very least. What responsibility will these companies take to customers that lose their info, in the long run or even short run?

The biggest problem is (1)

pawhitak (588948) | more than 10 years ago | (#10472657)

I think this is heading in a bad direction. Paying extra to be able to join a larger community of gamers on line is one thing and the value exchange makes sense. Buying small content expansions for 5 dollars here and there is going to take us down a dangerous path. Pretty soon you start getting crippled games that you have to pay extra for to enjoy. Then game retailers start negotiating exclusive deals to carry full versions while their competitors get the crippled version. They'll do this in order to get better shelf space, placement and ultimately volumes. This may be starting with good intentions but it's going to turn out bad for us in the end.
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