Battlefield: Bad Company garnered a bit of controversy a little while ago when Electronic Arts announced that you could buy extra weapons online. The sin being two-fold; one that you can "buy power" and the second being you just paid full retail price for the game but they still want to squeeze some more money out of you. There was a call for a boycott of the game by Sarcastic Gamer that was echoed around for awhile. They also put a parody video up which you can find here. Then I guess they got a little boycott happy and called for a boycott of their boycott. Funny stuff.
Well, then it turns out that you don't actually have to pay for the weapon unlocks. IGN talked with Karl-Magnus Troedsson, Senior Producer at DICE, about what marketing hoops you have to go through to get the extra weapons. I still call foul. But hey, Jeremy bought the game not me.
But that's not why I called you all here today. Jeremy pops it into the console and fires it up but can't play it because it requires a firmware update to the console. That is something which they expect you to download via XBox Live. Unfortunately, we don't have the XBox hooked up to the internet. Granted the game does have the XBox Live logo on it, but it isn't online only, it also features the single player campaign which is what he wanted to play.
We do have an internet connection in the house; so we could hook it up, sign up for an XBox Live account and get the update. What about the poor smuck who doesn't have an internet connection? I guess you could take it to some place that does repairs and get the update. Does that seem right? If my PC game requires some new version of DirectX it is included on the disc. Should you expect the same from your console game?
The whole situation reminded me that ages ago we were talking about how console games were such higher quality than PC games; because, once the game was released you couldn't patch it. The game had to be extensively tested because it really had to ship bug free. Not really had to as in what we all say to each other when we are developing the game, but really as in no bugs. When Microsoft announced the first XBox we all joked that because they were Microsoft, they would try and patch the games. Ha ha ha... ahem, I don't remember the actual jokes, but I'm sure they were amusing.
But look what has happened! We are here now! Console games are just like PC games expecting you to download not only patches to the games but to the system itself! On one hand, "Yah, we can fix problems" but on the other hand my Nintendo Entertainment System never required a patch.