It took a long time but a couple of months ago I took the plunge and set up a wallet on the PSN (Playstation Network) Store.
Effectively I’d only been using the store to download free demos as I’d had no interest in DLC (Downloadable Content) but that was all about to change.
For a start my wife had played Flower and really enjoyed it – possibly more so because it didn’t require 20+ hours to get through it. So I decided to add some funds to the online wallet in case any more PSN games caught her eye.
And secondly, Killzone 2.
Two multi-player map packs have been released with last week’s ‘Flash and Thunder’ pack following on from the ‘Steel and Titanium’ maps in April.
These map packs cost £4.79 each and you get two new levels in each.
I’ve found the levels to be really enjoyable with a few new ideas implemented in each.
Wasteland Bullet in the first pack introduced external hazards that could kill the player on the moving train, like making sure you time your jumps between trains so scenery rushing by doesn’t kill you
This has been taken to the next level on Southern Hills in the latest pack which feature a nuclear blast It’s cool though if you’re inside it won’t kill you
The games missions remain the same it’s just within a new setting.
My issue here isn’t with the quality of the product – no complaints on that front but are these packs really worth £4.79 when the game itself cost around £40 (and probably less now)?
Possibly but I still think a more attractive price point could’ve been found – maybe £2.99 each? Or maybe if you bought the first pack get the second one half price?
To put this into context EA (I know, I know they are made of money ) have continued to put out DLC to support Burnout Paradise, including a pack that added bikes to the game as well as cars… FOR FREE!
Although it must’ve cost EA a lot of money to offer that for free it garnered a lot of respect from gamers and proved they are interested in looking after their consumers.
Take for example Home – Sony’s online social space. Now it was fun to set up my avatar, have a look around and see it in action but am I really gonna pay to have a certain t-shirt or piece of furniture in my virtual apartment?
Not at £1.79 for a virtual t-shirt.
Now I might not be the market for this type of thing but seriously where is the value in that? I could pretty much buy two tracks on iTunes for that!
Home has amazing potential but to even tempt people like me to buy stuff it needs to be priced at or around the iTunes model – that is what people are used to paying. £0.99 is what we’re thinking when we consider buying small DLC and £1.79 in comparison looks much higher.
Obviously I’m not suggesting all DLC should be £0.99 but surely it’s better to have a ton more people downloading these little bits at a lower price than less people at a higher rate?
As an aside Home is becoming an interesting prospect – the idea of game launching (meet up with friends in Home first then it puts you all in the same game room for whatever you want to play) is a great one and the social aspect is interesting. Chatting to other gamers could be fun if you’re in the mood.
For me the one thing they need to sort (other than pricing) is the loading times. I know it’s still in beta and I’m sure they are working on it but it’s pretty annoying. Couldn’t it automatically download a few of the main spaces in the background so they are ready when you want to move on?
LittleBigPlanet is another game that revolves around DLC but while I commend their dedication to user created levels being downloadable for others to play I feel the main DLC (costumes for the Sackboy characters) is again slightly overpriced and needs a rethink.
On the other hand something like the Metal Gear Solid pack was pretty good value in LittleBigPlanet as it offered not only new levels but new tools to help you make better levels yourself.
DLC IS the future of gaming.
We will get our content via digital streams – the introduction of the PSP Go! and Sony’s continued support of the PSN Store show they are serious about digital content going forward.
Whether it’s user generated ala LittleBigPlanet or add on packs for existing games – I just hope Sony and the developers can work together to bring the prices down on this type of content.