Exclusive GTAIV DLC Would be a Slap in the Face to Gamers
Microsoft reportedly paid Rockstar 50 million dollars to develop downloadable content for GTA IV which will be exclusive to the Xbox 360. Even though there is much speculation, we don’t yet know exactly what form this content will take when it arrives later this year. Will it be a brand new city, or will it introduce new characters and plotlines in a similar way to Liberty City Stories on the PSP? One thing is certain, however: if the downloadable content remains exclusive to the Xbox 360, it will be a tremendous disappointment for fans of Rockstar products who happen to own a different system, be it the PS3 or PC.
Charging for downloadable content is already a controversial practice without exclusive deals between console manufacturers and software makers. Many gamers complain about having to pay for “extra” content that they feel should have been included in the finished game from day one. Others question the real value in DLC, arguing that very few publishers have managed to get the price-to-content ratio right. While software developers have finally begun to learn from their mistakes and offer truly worthwhile content for reasonable prices, the new practice of paying for exclusivity has us worried. One of the great accomplishments of this hardware generation has been the move away from exclusivity on one or another console, toward a truly multiplatform world. Multiplatform releases are better for software makers, publishers and gamers, all of whom benefit from increased access to content.
If the GTA IV content remains exclusive to Xbox 360, it will leave PlayStation 3 (and indeed all) gamers feeling like they are caught in the middle of a schoolyard fight between two bullies. Regardless of the fact that the Grand Theft Auto franchise got its console start on Sony hardware, this decision comes as a big slap in the face to fans of the Rockstar’s games. Owning one console instead of another should not be a prerequisite to enjoy extra content for a title that one has already purchased. Developers should be seeking to find ways to offer more great experiences to the public, rather than making deals to restrict that content. As it stands, gamers who happen to own a PS3 feel punished for buying the game on their system. Punishing your consumer base does not seem like a very good business practice to us.
The decision to limit the GTA IV episodic content to the Xbox 360 would be just that – a limitation. As gamers we should rise above petty fanboy squabbles and demand that publishers and hardware makers refrain from making these kinds of restrictive deals in the future.
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