There’s been some trickery going on in the world of video game pricing lately and people aren’t making enough noise about it!
One of the worst offenders is Bethesda Softworks. They released Oblivion and while it’s a rockingly cool game with enough content to keep you busy for months, it’s sixty bucks. That’s not exactly a small amount of money, but I’d say it’s probably a fair price for a game of its size.
Normally when a game like this comes out you could expect an expansion pack or two to hit the shelves a few months later for about $30. And that’s where this story takes a horrible, horrible turn.
Bethesda has instead chosen to release bits and pieces of game expansions for a few bucks each. There’s only five available right now but they promise they’re working on many more.
So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that the gamer’s total cost of ownership is totally obscured by this pricing model. A few months ago you could be reasonably certain that you’d be spending $60 on a game and $30 on an expansion pack and you’d have access to the entire game universe.
With games that follow the Oblivion model you’ll spend $60 on the game and a few bucks more on an indefinite number of game expansion packs which in the end may very well equal the cost of the original game – or more!
All this nickel-and-diming means that at some point you could find yourself paying much more money than you would for a traditional expansion pack for the same amount of content – and you won’t even realize it.
That’s what I believe to be the insidious plan at the heart of all this tomfoolery!
Maybe I’m just being dumb and old-school, but I find it really hard to get excited about “episodic content”. Call me crazy!