Are Game Publishers Going Down A Bad Path?

From buggy launches to micro transactions, have publishers gone mad?

Roughly 4 years ago, I was a fighting game fanatic. A self-proclaimed star in the arcades and on home consoles, I was very much entertained playing the genre. In the mist of all the publishers that brought great titles to these fighting adventures however, no other company was as more reputable and well-known than the juggernaut known as Capcom.

What a colossal and creative group of people, bringing us some of the most influential video game characters of all time, Mega Man and the Street Fighter cast to name a few. There games series were borderline perfection, with many of their franchises containing solid entries year after year. Marvel vs Capcom had first shown me that different brands crossing together was a really awesome thing, and that no characters were limited to one game.

So you could imagine a longtime supporter such as myself feeling betrayed when Capcom decided to put the almighty dollar over their fan base with a slew of DLC ripoffs.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 was a great fighter, with fantastic cell-shaded graphics and interesting characters, but was lacking many options like the basic spectator mode to watch people fight while you were waiting in the lobby online.

Capcom decided to remedy these hindrances with a completely new retail version of the game, abandoning the suckers that had bought the first one. This blatant cash grab titled Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 showcased everything that was wrong with greedy studios.

This release featured a small amount of extra characters put in (even less which characters we actually wanted), bug fixes that could just have been addressed with a simple patch on the first game, and SPECTATOR MODE, a feature that has been implemented since the prehistoric period of the '90s free of charge (not to mention it was supposed to be in original from the start).

Capcom had begun to lose followers and respect from this decision, but regardless of how unpopular they were in the eyes of the public, they were still making a profit therefore continuing their bad habits with Street Fighter X Tekken.

Again, although a great title, Street Fighter X Tekken's business practices faltered even more dramatically as people found out that the supposed "DLC" characters were already on the disc, meaning you were basically paying double for the overall experience.

Various other bad marketing decisions and missteps have put Capcom in their current financial predicament today, with reports showing Capcom only has 152 million left in the bank, definitely cutting it close considering they're a 3rd party developer.

What do these businesses decisions reflect upon the whole gaming empire?

Unfortunately, Capcom's shady practices are not alone in the industry, as corporate giant Electronic Arts has fallen victim to the art of squeezing the consumers' wallet in lackluster experiences as well.

EA has fallen under immense scrutiny for their implementation of multiplayer online passes, a trend so hated by gamers that it has gotten taken out entirely due to the negative outcry. In addition, they have put to use very costly microtransactions that exchange real world money for imaginary items inside the game. And, as we know, EA is not new to releasing unpolished messes of games for the general public to suffer through, all for quick cash.

Battlefield 4 is a prime example of a buggy launch due to a very rushed development cycle. Although obviously trying to go for a blockbuster experience, the title falls short due to its unfinished game mechanics and buggy online play that is still a half-working to this day.

And then there's Sim City....

Remember how ostracised this poor game got? All justified, sadly, as the game did not work upon release. EA rushed this travesty out early, with online servers that were practically nonexistent functionality-wise, kind of a problem if your game is always online...

The developers were trying to go for something innovative, with actual people connecting to create wonderous cities, only problem was the game desperately needed the extra time to smooth out all the very real hiccups and online connectivity issues, something EA would not allow.

Well at least it's getting an offline mode soon, so maybe this one will actually flourish the way it was supposed to, the way EA had promised some time ago.

What can be done about all of this?

Latest offender Konami has partook in questionable choices by releasing small amounts of content in the form of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, a title that gives fairly little gameplay substance for a controversal price of $20 or $30 dollars depending on the system. This game signifies that the trend of manipulating the customer for the publisher's favor is still very much alive even after all the backlash.

In order to stop this growing epidemic of mediocrity, we need to protest with our wallets. Stop supporting these awful practices with our money. I'm not saying we need to miss out on great games, just do purchase these rehashes and unfair DLC that publishers are trying to force down our throats.

Let's bring gaming back to a time where we can simply buy quality titles made by respectable companies.

Published Mar. 30th 2014
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    The only question you have to ask is whether or not Capcom came out ahead - money-wise - with that strategy that everyone hated.

    If they did, obviously not everyone hated it. If they didn't, they lost out and they got what they deserved. It's pretty simple, really. :)

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