Greedy Katamari

Beautiful Katamari, the third game in the Katamari Damacy lineage, is set to roll onto store shelves mid-October. I played the demo today and, well, it seems the same as the others which is a good thing, but that's not why I'm writing about it. I'm writing because of the Achievements that accompany the game. The Achievements, made public a month before the game releases, already shows 1250 possible Gamerscore. The extra 250 points can only be had by buying the downloadable content via Xbox Live, which they already list here. Which is also supposed to be available right after the game's release.

This means that, rather than continuing to support their game after it launches by releasing additional content for gamers at a later date, Namco Bandai is instead taking a small portion of the game that's already been made and holding it hostage. Instead of working for the next month or two on bonus maps or new features that gamers request, they're simply taking a chunk of what could (and should) be included on the retail version and ransoming it off over Xbox Live for those who want it. What's worse is that, most likely when you buy the downloadable content, you won't even be downloading anything more than a small script that unlocks the content on the disc you bought. So, you see, you already have the content. You already bought it. You already own it. But you have to pay extra to use it.

This is an EA level of shadiness.

I haven't noticed any outrcy or backlash about this yet and I suspect that it's partly because either people have already grown tired of this once-innovative game, or because they are forgiving Namco Bandai since the game is only going to retail for $40. Or maybe everyone is already numb to the nickel and diming we're subject to with the downloadable content and isn't surprised by how low some companies will sink.

When I buy downloadable content, I expect that it was content that simply couldn't be finished in time for the initial delivery of the game. Or that it was so large that it is truly worthy of being called an expansion. Or that it contains features and specifics that can only be said to be released "by popular demand". But to have extra content available on Day One of a game's release is just an insult.

And they're going to sell tons of it. It's only a matter of time that developers realize they can pad their sales figures by releasing extra content that contains the extra 250 Gamerscore worth of Achievements. Heck, I imagine there's already games in development that will purposely feature the easiest set of Achievements possible because they know gamers will buy the games that get them the quickest Gamerscore boost. Those Cabela's games don't sell because they're any good, people get them because they want a quick boost to their Gamerscore.

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