Two guest pieces in two days? That’s right, I’m actually paying attention to my inbox. Today’s piece comes from regular guest writer Death_in_Flamez, otherwise known as the famous Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk, and regards annual games. It’s worth noting that this was written before EA’s UEFA Euro 2012 DLC released, and before the minor uproar it caused.
It is not so often now that I read a news article related to publishers and a sense of joy fills my heart. I only have to think back to last year and the arrival of the infamous “Pay-for-Online Codes” as just one example in a sea of evil.
What is interesting is that each developer seems to have its own little niche; EA and its money, Activision and its innovation (or lack of it as the case may be), Codemasters and its poor loading screens. Regardless of what the case may be, the relationship between consumer and publisher is arguably at an all-time low.[drop]One issue very much on the borderline of crossing into pure extortion and still in debate to this day is the concept of the annual game, the earliest example of which traces back to 1988 when EA released the first ever NFL game; John Madden Football. You could suggest that F1 games have gone even further back, although there hasn’t been the annual release of a game by the same publisher from start to present. The closest competitors come in the form of FIFA and PES, starting with annual releases in 1995 and 1996 respectively.
This year, however, EA is actually doing something which I am in absolute agreement with. Instead of dedicating an entire game to the upcoming 2012 European Championship, EA will release the content as an expansion to FIFA 12. Now I’m no regular to the FIFA series (my only purchase being FIFA 2004), but I feel this tactic could reel in so many more customers and big time.
Taking Codemasters’ recent efforts with the F1 franchise, many of you did not buy 2011 due to not feeling there was enough of a different game to justify the full game tag. Some aspects of it were even worse than 2010, and to be honest I’d completely agree with you.
Something tells me this was the case for a number of potential buyers, so using EA’s tactic with the ‘Euros’, this year could publishers actually increase sales of the annual releases? Could you even further exploit games like the F1 series and release DLC from the past? Personally I’d love to go round Abu Dhabi in Schumacher’s Benetton from 1995.
This generation has seen countless revolutions to the way games work. These past few years especially have seen the introduction of things like Kinect and the aforementioned online codes. Freemium is also in a renewed spotlight, and coming into its prime as TSA has covered recently.
Why not try something different when you’ve got a game that isn’t broken? It’s good to get a full game update once in a while, but common sense must surely be a factor now for publishers. People don’t want half a game every year for £40.[drop2]However, the sad truth is that we only have to look to Call of Duty to find why this will never become the case. I have never seen a subject have so many people say they will never delve into it again only to end up doing so because their mates have bought it.
I myself fell afoul of that issue last year in buying Modern Warfare 3, and paid for it heavily with a game that was good but nowhere near as good as I felt it should be. This is the problem that is spread across the board and will never be cured simply because there are rarely two truly awful games in row.
It’s like an odd love story in some ways with us the consumer constantly returning to the one in control, the publisher, even though we sometimes hate what they have done and wonder; what have we done to deserve this treatment?