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XBox (Games)

Guitar Hero Downloadable Content Announced, Expensive 133

Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog has the word on the first three downloadable content packs for Guitar Hero II on the 360. The good news is that song selections include tracks like 'Ace of Spades', 'Killer Queen', and 'Bark at the Moon'. The bad news is that buying just three songs is 500 points. "The price of around $2 per song isn't outrageous, but it isn't generous either. I'd also prefer they allow you to buy each song alone, instead of being forced into the bundles. It's also worth noting that if you bought every song in the original Guitar Hero at this rate, you'd pay $97.92. Not exactly a compelling deal."
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Guitar Hero Downloadable Content Announced, Expensive

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  • by cblack ( 4342 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:02PM (#18690351) Homepage
    ~$2 a song seems VERY reasonable to me. I can understand the complaints when content is in $10 packs, but I think $5 packs is a good price point. And three songs for around $5 is pretty good in my opinion. People always complain about the price of downloadable add-on content. Sometimes it is justified, in this case the whining seems a bit absurd. I pay $5 for lunch, I pay $10 to see a movie, I'd gladly pay $5 for hours of video game entertainment. Don't you people remember arcades? Don't be so damn cheap and whiny.
  • No suprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OK PC ( 857190 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:03PM (#18690375)
    I knew this would happen, and people were all happy about downloadable content for Guitar Hero! There are no bargains nor reasonable prices on the XBox Marketplace, its just the way it is. With these, you could buy the actual song for cheaper than that. Can we blame Red Octane, possibly, but with the recent Gears incident I don't think Microsoft are at all innocent in this
  • by nullChris ( 222844 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:06PM (#18690421)
    If you accept the standard $1 a song set by iTunes, then $2 a song doesn't seem bad at all. Considering that they lay out different finger/strum patterns for 4 difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, Hard, Expert), and that it isn't just the song, but the song broken into a few different tracks to isolate the bass/2nd guitar, and lead guitar, the product is quite a bit more than the equivalent purchasable mp3. I'm not sure what cut goes back to the labels/artists, but I'd guess it's similar to iTunes' model.

    Even bringing up the total cost of all songs seems disingenuous. People seem to enjoy the ability to buy individual songs without having to buy the whole CD (with associated filler music), and this is no different. Just pick up the packs you like --You don't HAVE to buy all of them.

  • Re:Worth it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nullChris ( 222844 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:11PM (#18690487)
    Frets on Fire is great for what it is, but it isn't quite the same. When you screw up on Frets on Fire, the part you are supposed to be playing keeps right on playing. Assuming you have a guitar controller rigged up, you can't use the tremolo bar for anything. To some this may seem minor, but to others, that's a big part of how the game draws you in.
  • by phreak64 ( 536805 ) <> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:25PM (#18690721)
    I think that there's a very valid pattern of complaints over DLC. Not all of it is portable between different machines (the new Halo 2 maps are an example). While, from a strict licensing standpoint, you're not supposed to share your game content with your friends, I believe everyone has let someone borrow a game or taken a game over to someone's house. Portability and borrowing game content is strictly limited. None of it has any resale value at all. If you buy a disc-based expansion pack for a game, that disc has resale value, whether to a private consumer looking to buy your games or to a GameStop/EB. You cannot sell DLC at GameStop. Durability of individual HDD/memory card content is not as reliable, and companies may not host that content forever. What if you buy an extra CoD2 map, and then give your Xbox 360 to a cousin five years from now and the HDD fails. If the map is no longer hosted for download (given that you've already paid for it), how can you retrieve the data? Doesn't work that way for a disc. It's not that DLC is valueless. I've purchased my fair share when I thought it was justified. But $2 a song is significantly overpriced to me when it's over a DLC medium. I wouldn't pay $2 a song if I were buying it on a disc - why should I pay more for a worse delivery format?
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) * on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:38PM (#18690929)
    Some people are suggesting the price is fair when comparing it to music prices online.

    The problem is, most XBox live users wont and aren't comparing it to that, they're comparing it to other XBox live content. When you can get Geometry Wars or some other 400 points game on XBox live for less than the price of a 3 song pack, the price of the songs becomes a whole lot less fair looking.

    The cost of all 9 songs is more than 3x 400 point full games and is only 100 MS points short of 4 full games. It's also not far off (700 points) the cost of the new Oblivion expansion - shivering isles.

    I think quite simply, a combination of of digital music still being rather expensive, Red Octane/Harmonix/MS wanting to squeeze as much out of customers for DLS as they can and then some of the 400 point games being reasonably priced is where where these complaints come from.

    One final point worth noting is also that $2 per song is reasonable to some people here, but do those people still find it reasonable if only one of the songs out of the 3 are worth having? That essentially makes it $6 per song you want if you're forced to have 2 songs you neither want nor will ever play.

    I do think the DLC for Guitar Hero could be handled a whole lot better - I'll admit I'm new to Harmonix/Red Octane games, they seem to have a pretty decent fanbase but as a first time customer to them, I'm not terribly impressed thus far. I received one of the faulty Guitars and have still yet to hear officially from them (via their site or if they bother to respond to my e-mails) as to how I'm meant to get it replaced - couple that with less than impressive DLC thus far and I have to say they have a long way to go to get in my good books.
  • Re:Led Zeppelin? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AuNuma1 ( 689600 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @01:59PM (#18692243)
    I'm still waiting for some Floyd...that would so rock.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @02:16PM (#18692533)
    Go to a sushi restaurant and buy a set of sushi. Then go and buy each one à la Carte. Why is the set of sushi at a different price? you're getting the same sushi? It's called packaging.

    Why is it that I can buy 100 of the same burnable dvds for 1 dollar a disc or less but a single dvd can cost me 2-3 dollars? Because bulk counts too.

    Just so you know, in the game industry it works the same way, not just for consumers but you can buy a large amount of label music cheaper than just buying a single song. So there's a slight discount. The consumer bought a pack of 64 songs. Personally I'd have liked to buy 30 of the songs and skip 34 of them, however I'm still paying 50 dollars for them. There's no "choice" involved. These are optional additions and while they cost more, you're buying THESE songs, and choosing which ones to get, don't want to pay 6 dollars for ace of spades and bark at the moon? You don't have to.

    Besides the easiest way to avoid this is not buying it. You don't need these tracks but some people want them (I'm in that group) and I'll pay the money for them.
  • by rhs.coder ( 1068158 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @03:16PM (#18693413)
    As others have mentioned, there's more to this than the RIAA "double-dipping":

    -The fingering charts. As others noted, RedOctane employees have made these charts for four levels, and any StepMania fan knows that it's not quite an easy job to match icons to timed, sometimes rhythmically-complex music. RedOctane has skilled musicians/nerds doing this dirty work, and they require money.

    -Re-recording the songs. A lot of people are missing this--maybe because the covers on Guitar Hero are so well-performed and recorded. Not only are some older releases (think the 60s and 70s rock) not up to scuff in quality, but one must think about the track issue. To think that each artist's studio has kept each individual track in storage for decades is naieve, and that's even assuming that RedOctane had access to the studios' recordings--or that some of the originals were even recorded track-by-track.

    We're also assuming that even IF RedOctane had access to each track AND that they were, as a whole, up to scuff, that, when soloed, the bass/drum tracks alone or guitar track(s) soloed are absolutely perfect in technique.

    Re-recording songs takes expensive studio time (the tracks are well-produced) and bands also cost money. Not only the cover bands, but:

    -RIAA, record label, and royalty fees. It goes without saying that each part are taking their fair (or, in the case of the RIAA, maybe not so fair...) share for each song licensed.

    -Microsoft and game production fees. I'm not an expert on how Microsoft and publishers push online content, but I assume someone's paying for the bandwidth these downloads chew up--and it may be the developers/publishers.

    Clearly, with all the fees involved, $2 isn't so bad: Microsoft's refusal to sell the songs a-la-carte is just annoying.
  • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @03:32PM (#18693655)
    "You could just get a real guitar, and a copy of Guitar Pro, and enjoy thousands of free tabbed songs on the web. You would also have the advantage of being able to actually play the songs on a real guitar! Am I missing something?"

    Getting good at the guitar takes years of dedicated practice. I've played for over a quarter century. People who buy Guitar Hero are looking to play a game. That means they want something that makes them happy immediately - and it does.

    Plus, Guitar Hero is what... $70 or so? Add up a guitar and lessons for a few years, and perhaps you'll see why Guitar Hero is the better bargain for gamers.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard