The DLC Generation: Rockband 1 Export into Rockband 2 = $5

Worth it?

I think so.

It is worth it to not have to deal with the Rock Band 1 disc or interface ever again.  The “paid” is just the sacrifice for the fact that you can lend a disc to someone, and they get rb1 for free.  Someone who may not have picked up Rock Band 2 otherwise.

Consumers pay the price for that kind of “piracy,” but $5 isn’t too hard to swallow for that service.  It is nice that they offered it at all.  The closest that has come before was Singstar’s disc swapping ability, and that’s a distant second to this new functionality.

At $1 i wouldn’t have even blinked.

But is that just a symptom of being conditioned in this era of DLC?  This generation of gaming was supposed to be the HD generation, but I don’t think that’s really the push this generation.  Sure, the odd game has small text, but the games themselves still look as good on a small standard def as they do on HD.  Not only that, but because of the increase in textures, most gameplay is still fairly similar to last generation.  There hasn’t really been a Shadow of the Colossus yet, and it’s been 4 years.  Dead Rising can only be touted so much.

The point is: HD isn’t the main drive of this generation.  It’s DLC.

It’s online store integration where we pay for tiny pieces of games that were developed before the game ever shipped.  Sure, some companies, like Criterion, offer excellent, free, and post-Gold DLC.  But for every one of them there are multiple companies like Namco charging you for content already on the disc.

Obviously, we should pay for extra effort and resources of the development team, but when should we expect some of this work to be a Thank You for our continued support?  A prime example is the PC market, where we get nearly everything for free.  Free maps, mods, total conversions.  Sometimes fan made, but often developer made as well, such as the excellent TF2 support from Valve, or the community packs and tools from Epic for UT2k4.  They look at these as investments.  By providing minimal development staff to make additional patches to these games, or just to review and publish fan created content, they know that we will become loyal supporters.  We will buy their next project <cough> Left 4 Dead </cough> without even blinking, because we know we’ll be treated right and that the product will have shelf life.

If Rockband was on the PC, would have we expected this transfer to be free 4 or 5 years ago?  I think so.

So why wouldn’t I blink at $1 dollar, when really, the reason I’m forced into this is the closed nature of the console.

Why aren’t I more angry about this?

I think it’s because $1 just isn’t much money to me, and I’m willing to throw it away on a karaoke bar song, or $5 on Darth Vader in Soul Calibur 4.

Wait, but $5 isn’t throw away money.  No, it certainly isn’t.

But for every rip off there is a small diamond: indie gaming on the console.  Braid, Castle Crashers, World of Goo; all available for a fraction of the cost of a full game and I don’t even have to leave my house to buy them.

It’s true these types of games are widely available on the PC, but on the PC they aren’t recognized.  No one pays $20 to a no name site in hopes they ship them a CD or that the game is any good or will get future support.  By being a part of PSN, XBL, or WiiWare, we have a degree of guarentee that the content will work, be fun, and most importantly, garner the attention of fans and press who can review the content and let us know how it is.  Sure, there’s a lot of tripe out there, but the polished examples quickly rise to the top (at least, to the informed).

Overall, I like DLC because of the occasional break-through.  The fairly priced offering that I can’t see myself without.  But I hate DLC due to the pervasive attitude that we should pay for everything. That all content that can be charged for should be charged for, because the initial $60 was not enough.  Because I may have bought my game used, and the only money you are getting from me is for DLC.  Because of greed.

It’s the Copy Protection of consoles.  And it’s certainly better than EA’s activations or securom.  But I still have mixed feelings about it.  For every awesome DLC I obtain, I see dozens of others that should *not* exist.  And the attitude ‘vote with your wallet’ isn’t good enough, because the point is to garner my loyalty and respect as a consumer with post release content.  And the current DLC Generation is not doing that.