- Scribbled on April 4th, 2007 by Jonah Falcon
- Filed in Editorial Content, Features, Microsoft Xbox 360, Music/Rhythm, Sony PlayStation 2
[UPDATE: Apparently, Joystiq's Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion; maybe he was trying to get hits for that site, but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law. Read the article to see what was actually said.]
Advertised on the box of Guitar Hero II, the game brags you can play various songs, such as “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”, “Carry On My Wayward Son”, “The Beast and the Harlot” and “YYZ”. Ah, but there’s a catch: they’re not freely available. In fact, only 6 songs are available right from the get-go, and playing through the entire Easy chart only nets you 37 of the 70 songs. That’s right, barely more than half. In order to get the others, you must earn them – and some are difficult to get.
Why must one have to unlock songs? The consumer just paid $90 for your product, and deserves immediate access to the products that are paid for. One should not have to jump through hoops to access what was advertised on your box. You want to make the consumer jump through hoops? That’s what Achievements are for. That’s the entire raison d’etre of Achievements (aside from tracking your progress through a game for all to see.) Getting through Easy gave Achievements, for example. However, getting through Easy doesn’t even unlock songs.
Can you imagine other industries doing this sort of thing?
“Well, Mr. Smith, here’s your cable access. Now, in order to watch HBO and Showtime, we require that you successfully watch NBC, CBS and ABC for a month.”
“Well, I understand your frustration, Mr. Jones, but please understand that your DVD player will not play movies from Universal until you’ve watched 10 films from Fox, 10 films from DreamWorks and 10 films from Miramax.”
“Well, we know you want to have the Car in Monopoly, but you must first win 10 games as the Shoe, then 10 games as the Iron, then 10 Games as the Poochie.”
This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”. Had Red Octane been honest, it should have said right on the box: “To access this song, you must do so-and-so before you can play it.” It should have at least allowed every song to be available in practice mode. What’s next – downloadable content is unavailable unless you complete every song at every difficulty with a 5 star rating?
Put another way, if Rock Band features every song available right from the get-go and is reasonably fun, Electronic Arts gets my cash. After all, I’d rather have a product that caters to its audience and doesn’t treat it like bad children who have to prove themselves before they can play.