Friday, November 8, 2013

First adopters always get shafted eventually

So, I'm pretty sure we've all had the "Oh, I can't wait for [insert product name here] to come out!!! I'm going to get it day 1!!!! It's going to be the greatest thing ever!!!!" conversation once or twice in our lifespan. But, never has it been more prevalent or down right stupid, than it is today. I'm pretty sure that people who know the history behind anything with an I in front of it's name, or the Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, or snipers on top of shopping centers will tell you that being the first one to get something is usually hazardous to your finance's and your pride.

We all tell ourselves that "It's going to be awesome!!!!!!!" and for the most part it usually is pretty awesome, but the first wave of anything is usually broken, bugged, and overpriced. The IPhone is the perfect example of this it dropped in the summer of 2007 with a 4GB model at a price of $500, and an 8GB model which was $600, the IPhone was so popular it completely sold out. But, that fall Apple discontinued the 4GB and made the 8GB $400. Right there is an absolute slap in the face of everyone who stood in atrocious lines, and forked over enough money to do something really awesome with, like do coke off an escorts luscious ass, or buy 500 Mcdoubles, or see a real live cockfight in Tijuana. But instead people bought a piece of technology that literally became obsolete after only 3 months of owning it.

I'm talking about this for a few reasons, one is that in exactly 1 week the PS4 will drop, followed a week later by the Xbox One. The PS4 sold out pretty well immediately, you have to sign up for a list just to be notified when you could possibly put in an order. The Xbox One has also recently sold out. What does this mean for you? Well if you are brave and a little stupid you could go wait out in cold in hopes that 1 person doesn't show to pick up their pre-order. But, why would you want to. The most troubled and turbulent years in a consoles life-cycle are it's first. I bought a 360 at the end of the second year, by the time I did there were about 3-4 different versions all at varying price points. I didn't do enough research and the cheapest option at the time was the Arcade bundle. What I didn't know was that my around $300 dollar purchase of the console and warranty was pretty well crap. My system came with the system it's self, the power brick, an A/V cable, a Wireless controller, a 256MB memory card, and a compilation disc of crappy arcade games. My 2nd controller cost me an additional $60, I bought the GOTY (Game of the Year) edition of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion $30, Gears of War $60, and the complete band bundle of Rock Band $150, with all of that I was up to $300. So, I was officially down $600. When I got home and began playing I found out that if I wanted to even play the additional content that came with Oblivion I would need a Hard Drive, something my system didn't come with, but the slightly more expensive Premium Console did. I went to Wal-Mart and found out that they only had one size of Hard Drive for the 360, a 120GB model that would cost me an additional $120, so, now I was down $720, but, I could finally enjoy my games completely hard wiring my 360 to my modem allowed me to play online and a free month of Xbox Live Gold didn't hurt. A month later I moved, and when I moved I now needed a way to get my 360 and two computers connected to the internet, so I had to they gave me a Wireless Router, well due to the placement of my modem in a different room from my 360, I now found out that in order to play online I would need the Wireless Adapter, so I trudged back to Wal-Mart to find out that a Wireless Adapter went for $100 at the time. So, after only 3 months of having an Xbox 360 I had literally spent $820 to play 3 games.

Sadly only a few years later Microsoft unveiled the Slim Xbox 360, a smaller, sleeker, nicer looking console than mine, with a huge hard drive, and built in WiFi which retails for at this current moment for a mere $250. This is what you have to look forward to, Everyone rushing out to scoop up a brand new console which will have about 30-40 games to choose from in it's first year, will soon find their very expensive new toy probably collecting dust, and riddled with technical issues. Essentially you can pay $500 for an Xbox One which could possibly have more problems than the 360 ever did, and 6 months later someone will probably be able to get a slightly fixed version for about $200 less. It's the way it goes, but it's not just restricted to hardware.

That's a big sticking point for me, I'm a lot less agitated by price drops in the future because my 360 paid for itself in the first month with the amount of time I spent on it and am still spending on it. No, the problem I have is with Publishers of Video Games themselves. At this point it is almost asinine to go out and pre-order a game. A new game costs an average of $60, that price goes up if you buy a more exclusive edition of game like a Collectors Edition or Dev Edition, and it goes down if you buy it on PC or even the WiiU. Now that you have the game you are probably going to end up buying DLC for it, you can buy the DLC separately for anywhere from $5-$15, or you can just pay in advance with a slight discount and get the Season Pass which usually is around $19.99 or if you are a money grubbing fuckhead (Microsoft/343 or Activision) you could be shelling out $30-$50.  So, because it just came out we will take Call of Duty: Ghosts and because it sold really well Borderlands 2, Ghosts costs $60, if you bought each individual DLC pack (on average they release 4) that's an additional $60 because they retail for $14.99 a pop bringing your grand total for the game to $120, or if you bought the season pass $110.  Borderlands 2 when it released was also $60, the season pass was retailed at $30, so that's $90, Gearbox released two additional player classes The Mechromancer and The Psycho onto the Marketplace completely separate from the Season Pass content, each pack would cost you $10 so now you are at $110, $120 if you didn't have the Season Pass but still bought all the content. Call of Duty DLC is rarely ever discounted, and it never drops in price, the DLC for World at War which came out ages ago is still $15 a pop. Unfortunately for those who couldn't wait to get back to Pandora however got screwed, since the initial release of Borderlands 2 on top of the two characters that everyone had to pay a separate amount for, they released yet another pack which is only a measly $3.00, but to make things worse they released the dreaded Game of the Year edition for $60 this includes the game, all 4 content packs from the season pass, and both additional characters.

That is what pisses me off, I bought Borderlands 2, I bought the Season Pass, held out on the additional characters and at $30 less than what I paid everyone else get's all that plus the characters I decided I didn't want to spend $20 on. This is a super common practice in the industry at this point. If you buy a game new and not used, and you buy DLC to further support what you love, then eventually some prick who came to the party late will get everything you have and more for less. Batman: Arkham City had early adopters fuming when it released it's GOTY edition, If you originally bought Arkham City new it was the only way to get the Catwoman portion of the game without forking over $10, add on the Nightwing and Robin bundles and you were $80 in the hole. But the along comes the GOTY Edition for $30 with all of that content plus a brand new pack called Harleyquinn's Revenge. Arkham Asylum did the same with all the extra content PLUS a new 3D option.

I understand why it's done, because once sales begin to drop you need to reel in all those undecided customers. But, why does making a few more bucks off of a game come at shafting your dedicated and loyal consumers? I bought LA Noire brand new, day 1, with the season pass on 360. I loved it beat the living hell out of it, and then they released the Complete Edition, not only did it have way nicer packaging than mine it came with a case that was formerly exclusive to the PS3, but never released it as a download on the Xbox Live Marketplace, meaning that if I wanted to play this one case that I hadn't played, I would need to go out and repurchase the game to get the extra content. That is what they are counting on, that those of us who love a game will literally go out and buy it again just to get a little bit of new content that they should have just given us to begin with.

It's not even that the extra content for most games is that good. Bioshock Infinite has to be one of the best games I played all year, I loved this game, I beat it and then immediately loaded up 1999 mode and did it again. I bought the Season Pass because they promised more story content, on July 30th we were handed the first piece of content. It was called Clash In The Clouds, and it was essentially Bioshock's version of Gears of War's Horde mode, just waves of enemies it was seriously disappointing. Thankfully the next two pieces of DLC will be story related and look amazing, but that first one almost single-handedly made me regret the Season Pass. As Multiplayer and these Horde like modes (Firefight in Halo, Survival/Zombies/Extinction in Call of Duty, Mass Effect 3's Multiplayer) it is sad that most DLC for great single player games are marred by horrible Multiplayer elements. The Last of Us which is arguably one the greatest games on the Playstation 3 even has a tacked on Multiplayer mode in which you must complete a Journey of somewhere around 40 matches while trying to take care of a group of survivor that grows the more you win and diminishes the more you lose. It's first real DLC is masks for Multiplayer, an amazingly emotional single player campaign and you give us masks, well thank you let me file that under my "no thank you" folder.  Tomb Raider also managed to recreate and reinvigorate the series so well I thought of it as my early Game of the Year contender (and then I played Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us... my opinion changed), but for some reason there it was again tacked on crappy Multiplayer with all DLC being multiplayer maps or upgrades, rather than more optional tombs! Why?! Why did Dead Space 2 need multiplayer, why did the Assassin's Creed franchise need multiplayer, for fuck sake why did Bioshock 2 need multiplayer?!

Unfortunately this is a completionists worst nightmare, and outside of people who somehow actually enjoy the multiplayer they know that with the advent of trophies and achievements that people will play something they hate, and pay extra for it's crappy content, just maintain a 100% completion. They are walking us around by our short hairs and we allow them to. It's absolutely bogus, my wonderful Assassin's Creed III experience was marred by being forced to play multiplayer to finish up my achievements, and then once I finished the multiplayer, the first DLC they released was more multiplayer, with yes, more multiplayer achievements. If all you are going to do is release map packs than don't attach achievements to them, please, don't kill our innocence... pwease for the children.

There have been 9 different versions of the Xbox 360 and the PS3 (yes I am counting HDD size.) and with each one the price has gotten lower, proving the longer you wait the better deal you get. Imagine being one of the people who paid thousands of dollars for one of those consoles on Ebay upon release. That trend is already happening with 3 postings in my local area on Craigslist for PS4's going for around $600-$800. I Say we stop rushing in and allowing tech manufacturers to screw us, and stop pre-ordering games until those of us who do genuinely support this industry get a little fairness thrown our way.

But, I sure am excited to see the headlines next week, this is an exact quote from the Playstation 3 Wikipedia page "
The PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006, at 07:00.[6] According to Media Create, 81,639 PS3 systems were sold within 24 hours of its introduction in Japan.[28] Soon after its release in Japan, the PS3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006.[7] Reports of violence surrounded the release of the PS3. A customer was shot,[29] campers were robbed at gunpoint,[30] customers were shot in a drive-by shooting with BB guns,[31] and 60 campers fought over 10 systems.[32]
The console was originally planned for a global release through November, but at the start of September the release in Europe and the rest of the world was delayed until March.[33] With it being a somewhat last-minute delay, some companies had taken deposits for pre-orders, at which Sony informed customers that they were eligible for full refunds or could continue the pre-order.[34] On January 24, 2007, Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 would go on sale on March 23, 2007, in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and New Zealand.[8][9] The system sold about 600,000 units in its first two days.[35] On March 7, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in Singapore with a price of S$799.[36] The console was launched in South Korea on June 16, 2007, as a single version equipped with an 80 GB hard drive and IPTV"

That's just absurd, all that over a console, a piece of technology that you could probably build a more powerful computer for cheaper. Let's see if history repeats it's self.