Don't Like The Way Capcom Does Business? Stop Giving Them Your Money.

By Ryan Winslett in Infinite Ammo
Friday, March 9, 2012 at 10:00 am
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When I first read about this whole Street Fighter X Tekken DLC debacle, my initial reaction was the sort of rage that usually surfaces when I feel that video game publishers or developers are giving their customers the shaft.


The short of it is this: A dude managed to hack into an early copy of Street Fighter X Tekken and, in doing so, uncovered 12 characters that were planned DLC for the game. In other words, there are characters (and alternate costumes, apparently) sitting on the disc that Capcom plans to charge customers for following the game's release.


After I allowed my heels to cool, I started getting upset with my fellow gamers, too. We complain to high heaven about this kind of stuff all of the time, but chances are pretty damn good that Street Fighter X Tekken and all of that extra content is going to sell like mad. We say we're angry, but then we don't speak with the only voice those publishers will actually hear: Our dollars.

 

Don't get me wrong. What Capcom is doing here is complete and utter bullshit. But if we don't take some of the responsibility for allowing it to continue, then we no longer have a right to complain.


I think what upsets me the most is the fact that, on top of these shady practices, the higher ups at Capcom have the gall to treat their customers like total idiots (Then again, considering the fact we keep supporting said practices, maybe they're onto something). They've been called out on these types of shenanigans before but, until now, there's never been solid proof that they were charging consumers to unlock something that was already included on a disc. When purchased DLC comes in a download measuring only a couple of kilobytes, it's pretty obvious that something fishy is going on. Now, though, they've been caught in the act and have acknowledged that fact with a formal statement that's borderline insulting.

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​Here's a snippet from The Escapist's coverage, quoting Capcom's statement: "The character information and files were intentionally included on retail versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360 game to save hard drive space and to ensure for a smooth transition when the DLC is available, allowing players who choose not to purchase the content the ability to play against players that did."


While arguably valid, Capcom's statement still rubs me the wrong way. They've given a reason for the content already being on the disc, but that doesn't address the fact that they are still asking players to fork over more money for content that they technically already own. They state that it will allow everyone to play online, both those who purchased the DLC characters and those who do not. But if the characters are already on the disc and ready to roll, why the hell does anyone need to purchase it?


I'm not arguing for an end to DLC or anything like that. When a game goes gold and a studio wishes to continue working on that IP, I totally understand that it's even possible for that first batch of DLC to be ready the day a game launches. So long as it isn't something that should have been included in the first place, I have no qualms with a developer/publisher asking for more money to pay for something they created that will give me more reasons to stay immersed in a game world I enjoy. Having said content already on the disc, though, is clearly a different matter.


The problem is that cruddy practices like this are giving DLC (in general) a bad name. If one publisher is doing this, what about all of those other publishers? They must all be in on it, right? It makes us question every bit of extra content a developer wants to offer, even if it's legitimate.

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​This is especially upsetting when you consider the fact that DLC, when done properly, is one of the best weapons the video game industry has in the battle for used games sales. Rather than being seen as a cheap money-grab, DLC should be considered an affordable way to prolong the gaming experience. If a developer wants to persuade gamers to hang on to their new copy of Game X, one of the best ways to do that is offer worthwhile content post-launch that makes us want to keep coming back for more. If we question the legitimacy of the DLC, though, that simply isn't going to work.


Which brings me to the gamers. In the end, we're the ones who buy the games and all that DLC. If you don't agree with how a company is doing business, for the love of God, stop supporting them. I don't care if you're the biggest fighter fan on the planet and all of your buddies are going to be playing Street Fighter X Tekken day one. If you don't like what's being done here, save your money and spend it on companies that have earned your trust.


Spread the word, too. Hit the message boards and fire up your fellow gamers about the wrongs that are being done against them. Until Capcom sees a significant loss and is able to pinpoint customer reaction to practices like these as the cause, there's no way in hell they're going to stop.


It's time we stop spitting venom only to bury our heads in the sand and give over because we "really, really want to play that game." I, for one, am done being a part of the problem.


Infinite Ammo is a weekly column by Ryan Winslett about video games, the industry that make them and the people who play them. He can be stalked via his blog at staticechoes.com and followed on Twitter @RyanWinslett.

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