How much is 30 hours of game time worth to you? According to EA's latest Xbox Live Marketplace items, it's around 1140 Microsoft Points. That's the total for the current downloadable items available for Tiger Woods 07. That nets you all the courses, golfers, a maxed out statistically player character, and the Sunday Tiger character which has previously been available only to the best players.
Of course, hidden codes in other versions (Xbox, PS2, PSP) of the game are included on the disc you paid for. It's not yet known whether or not these cheats can be had outside of paying for them on the Xbox 360. If they are, the situation becomes even more bizarre, but that's another editorial.
There's a very logical standpoint to those who support this. They don't have time to play the single player game and want to jump online and be competitive. A lot of people don't like the concept of anything being "locked" when they buy a game. They paid for the disc; everything should be available.
Normally, that's fine. It's your $60. However, the extra cash spent for you to unlock everything from the start is beginning to infringe on my experience. As a legitimate player, one who pours way more hours into this series that I'd ever be willing to admit, the single player experience is actually the soul of this series. Leveling up your golfer as he grows in a PGA Tour career is addictive. The formula has worked since 2003, and they've improved it every year.
This is where the problem begins. On day one (and a few weeks after), if I want to play a quick game online and some user has decided to spend money to level up their character with the epic "+2 club shaft of power," what chance do I have of winning? If you're willing to destroy the single player experience, that's your problem. Destroying the multi-player becomes everybody's problem. When the codes are on the disc, it takes time to find them. By the time they get out, the hardcore crowd is ready for the flood of new players.
EA is obviously the focal point here, especially given some other pay content they've released as of late. Their "strategy guide" for NCAA Football 07 on passing boils down to this one piece of closely guarded secrecy: pass to the open man. The price for this all-powerful information? A whopping 160 MS Points.
There's another side to all of this, and that's not to buy it. To that, all that can be said is:
All the posts on message boards about protesting and not buying it mean precisely nothing. People will buy whether or not member EAhaterzrool over on the EA Sports forums posts 2,000 messages ordering others to obey his wishes.
Normally, not buying this content is a choice. Stupidity, like the infamous horse armor from Oblivion, or gamer pictures from Cabela's Alaskan Adventure, are one thing. Selling cheats, especially those freely available on other versions, affects a lot of people.
So, who's to blame? It's not Microsoft. Yes, they could control what's posted on their service. However, someone out there really did buy that horse armor at some point. If 99% of the users don't want a piece of content, that means there's still 1% of users that do. Who is Microsoft to say what's appropriate for a third party game? This content was purely dreamed up by EA, and as such, they're the ones that should have the fingers (likely the middle ones) pointed in their direction.
There's plenty of debate out there about the slippery slope of digital content. Xbox Live's precedent has set the motion, and it's headed in the direction that no one wants to watch. This latest piece is an example of the Marketplace concept at its lowest possible point, and it's hard to imagine a company sinking even lower than EA has here.Powered by Sidelines