Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gaming: Return to Ostagar

Bioware is releasing a new add-on module for "Dragon Age: Origins" today called "Return to Ostagar". Your character can return to the fields where King Calin fell, now covered in hordes of the enemy. The cost is 5$, or 400 Bioware/Microsoft points, depending on your platform.

Let's talk for a minute about this new trend for companies to offer to sell you points good for micro-transactions for game content. First of all, it is a deliberate attempt to obscure from people how much they're spending... who wants to do math to figure out the dollar value? Second, if there's one thing I hate, it's when their points packages that they sell are some odd number that can never be fully used. Unless you buy more points, that is. Electronic Arts, makers of The Sims 3, I'm talking to *you*.

For right now, these schemes seem to be working. Eventually though, the more savvy gamers are going to wake up and rebell. I will not pay $20 for new virtual furniture for my Sims, especially when you used to be able to buy a disk for that price with three or four times the amount of content on it. You cannot tell me maintaining the site is more expensive than pressing, shipping, and marketing disks.

It's an attempt to suck more money out of our pockets, pure and simple. I don't blame Bioware for jumping on Microsoft and EA's bandwagon, but I *am* disappointed. At least Bioware is straight-forward with their points packages and pricing, offering packages just the size of the latest content. I still have forty Microsoft points on my Xbox 360 that have been languishing there since mid-summer. And I don't think I'm getting more any time soon.

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