How soon is too soon for a game to be Repackaged?

Posted: October 24, 2011 by Tim Utley in Editorials
Tags: , , , ,

 

You are sitting around playing your new favorite game and you wonder to yourself after it’s all over; I didn’t want this to end, is there more?  You weren’t ready for the game to end so you desire more campaign missions or maybe more playable characters or a combination of the two.  Most games these days will eventually satisfy your craving for more because DLC has become so incredibly pervasive in the industry today.  While most welcome the periodical piece of DLC from developers some devs find it easier to release it with a whole new title usually repackaged as a Game of the Year edition or Director’s cut (doesn’t usually say that, but you catch my drift).  But the million dollar question is how soon is too soon to re-release a game?

$40 or $15, score one for Capcom with this approach

The industry standard as far as I have observed for re-releases is usually a year.  This time frame seemed to please everyone because people who purchased at launch wouldn’t feel disenfranchised by a superior version and those who passed at launch were rewarded for their patience.  A harmonious relationship had been established that pleased all parties, but recently it seems that these repackaged goods are hitting shelves faster.  Public enemy number one in my book is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  This game hasn’t even reached a year mark yet and another version (with more content of course) is hitting shelves inside of a month.  New characters and modes will accompany the fighter from earlier this year, but a $40 price tag is a bit much to me.  I don’t believe that the additional content included couldn’t have been a less expensive DLC release as to not punish the folks who already own the title.  Capcom had already set a precedent for such a generous action with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade.  They had a full retail release and a DLC release (which I believe was $15) for those who already owned SSFIV.  Everyone is happy, but for some reason MVC3 isn’t set to receive the same treatment.

$40, you are killing me Capcom

For those who have waited until now to purchase MVC3 (kudos to them) are getting a good fighting game with more content for less money, but for those who already own the game, we are getting the proverbial middle finger unless we want to pony up another $40.  Do I think it is wrong?  Do I think this content should be made available for download?  My answer for both is yes.  I am not unwilling to pay for this additional content I am unwilling to pay full retail price for access to a few more fighters, levels, and balancing adjustments.  The additional content looks really appealing and I genuinely want to enjoy beating my friends’ brains in with Phoenix Wright, I just don’t want to pay more than $15 to do it.  UMVC3 makes me a little bitter, but it isn’t the only game pulling these shenanigans.

Rockstar has a complete addition of L.A. Noire releasing on the same day as UMVC3 and that game came out in May.  I am only going to banter less about Noire because that content was actually made available for download and was pretty affordable if you jumped on the Rockstar Pass at launch.  So how can developers and publishers avoid these issues?  There are many different avenues they can follow, but the simplest route is to offer options.  When you force the hand of the consumer you usually will not be met with favorable results.

So how long should a developer wait to re-release/repackage a game?  Should the content be isolated to a retail release or should a downloadable alternative be made available?  What is the impetus for consumers to buy at launch if a superior version waits in the pipeline?  These are all relevant questions that I wish I had the answers to, but more so I want to know how you feel about this.  Leave your two cents in the comments section and as always follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

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