So it Begins, Links Charges for new Level on XBox

When the XBox first hit shelves many people worried that the built in ethernet would lead to the "patchware" syndrome that plauges PC gaming right now. Thankfully we've been spared this so far. However for all the worrying over patches we forgot cover the most important angle, our wallets. Microsoft will begin charging users for downloading the latest Links level over XBox Live. To quote program manager Daryl Welsh, "The hard reality is that Links is a business. Part of our desire to stay in this business is to do two things: Provide customers who have already purchased our game with exciting new content and ensure we have all the resources we need to make great new content for the next version of the game." Or to paraphrase, "Because we can. *phbbbt*"

The course is called "Kapalua Plantation" and to thier credit purchasing the level will enter you in a sweepstakes for other prizes such as club sets and Suunto golf watches. The price will be a one time fee of $4.99. If this is the beginning of a trend with "XBox Live Enabled" games, I think I'll stick with what comes on the disc.


Yeah, I'm not real impressed that they're charging for content when the game is so plagued with Live/XSN issues as it is. I'll pass on the $5 upgrade and vote with my dollar.

It's too late for the both of you. You have been Micro$$imilated. Resistance is futile.

Everyone knew this was coming.

It's either pay for them to make new levels for the games you already bought, or pay for them to make new games. You can't honestly expect someone to work on free content 40 hours a week. They have to get paid, too. Not to mention that the ones working on the free stuff are always the first pulled onto other projects. Just look at Witches' Wake for NWN. One of the coolest modules made will never be finished because instead of doing that, they put him on a project that would make them money.

Besides, when you pay for something, you have a bigger voice for dis-satisfaction over someone complaining about something they got for free. Granted, the chances that they will listen aren't great to begin with, but it's going from a .002% chance that they'll listen up to like a .004% chance when you pay for it.

As long as they don't charge for patches I think I'll manage, it's stingy of them but hey it's not like it's required. It's just a trend I'd rather not see take off.

Yeah, I don't have a problem with them charging $5 for the course. I just think it's pretty cheeky of 'em to announce it when the forums are filled with their apologies for Live and XSN being all sorts of broken for Links. Fix what's broken and we'd probably be in a better mood for paying for content.

Oh, and I guess I have a tiny beef with them charging for new downloads when Live is still using it as a bullet point for you to pay for its service.

Me either. This is, after all, Gamers with Jobs. I am in the unfortunate place in life where I typically spend more than that on Taco Bell. Live was created for several reasons, and this addition revenue stream was undoubtedly one of them, so from my point of view, it was coming, and more power to them. If you don't want to pay, I guess you don't have to, you know? What will be really interesting is when they start to allow for user-created content on the next gens, and the opportunities for user-based licensing agreements...could very jump-start content and doorways for amateurs.

This is pretty much how I expected things to end up with a service like this, as this will be one of the few ways a company will be able to make any money off of the Live component. I can fully see having to pay a few dollars for a roster update for your favourite sports sim, or paying to enter a tournament of some sort, paying for new levels and even for new weapons. This really comes as no surprise, really.

The question is, will they get enough people to go along with this without alienating a large portion of the their user base? I for one can do without another course, and suck enough on most current levels to not want to pay to suck on new ones. Anybody here willing to pay for new content, or would you rather wait for a sequel?

So where's my KOTOR downloadable content, or will I have to pay for that too?

Extra PC content is usually free. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was a free stand alone game. Is one course really worth 10 to 12 percent of the price of a new game?

No one is forcing you to download the extra its not like your being forced to pay the fee.

Is one course really worth 10 to 12 percent of the price of a new game?

That's really my main beef with it. It's just plain cheap of them. If Epic released each Bonus Pack for the original UT for $4.99 it'd be different. This is one course, for 10% of the original cost of the game.

Then there's the point Sway brought up that you're already paying for Live to begin with and the hook was "free downloadable content on single player games". Yet nobody's making the content and we're paying anyway. How can they make a living making free content? It's not free, they're getting a cut of the Live subscription (or at least, they should be).

It's not like I'm saying they don't have a right to do this, by all means they should feel free to do it. It's just a sh*tty deal and I know I won't buy it. If they're going to start charging for downloadable content they'd better do better than $5 a level. How many levels came with the original for $50? That doesn't even count all the other things that came with the original game.

This is but a taste of the terror Microsoft will lay on us in the coming years. Is this the start of a new trend? You better believe it. Everything has or will have a price.

Gorack wrote:

Is one course really worth 10 to 12 percent of the price of a new game?

Well, lets see. An expansion pack for a typical PC game costs 29.95. If there were to be an expansion pack for Links, it would likely have between 3-6 new courses.

Hmm. I'm failing to see the problem.

Hmm. I'm failing to see the problem.

Good point, maybe Links fans just have too much money

I played Kapalua last year, great course

Ya, I won't buy the course until they fix everything else first. Don't expect me to pay for anything new when what I've already paid for doesn't work 100%. That's piss-poor stupid timing.

I don't mind paying for something like a new course once in a while. My concern is that companies will make a game and hold back one level so they can charge for it later. If a golf game has nine courses made for it, what's to stop them from yanking one out and sitting on it until a few months later? That's an extra five bucks for all their "hard work" after the fact. Not saying that's the case here but it's going to be a factor in the months and years ahead.

Remember the "free" Wolfenstein level download for Xbox Live that was already on the CD? The free download just unlocked the level from the disk. I understand this is business and if folks are happy with the content they got they'll buy the game but it feels dirty to me.