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Drake’s Deception: Asking you to pre-order add-ons for a game that isn’t even out yet

[Spoken aloud, by Drake]: “All men buy DLC: but not equally.” (At least I think that’s how the line in the reveal trailer goes…)

In an increasingly more common move that strikes me as a mix between shady and yet somehow still somewhat consumer-friendly, Sony has just announced that you can pre-purchase a big ‘ol chunk of multiplayer DLC for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune, starting today as part of a program they’ve dubbed the “Fortune Hunters’ Club”. For the low, low price of $24.99, early birds will get the game’s first four map packs and the first three multiplayer skins packs, as they are released, with the first pack hitting in November.

According to Sony, all these bits of content will add up to a $45 value when purchased separately. Without knowing how many maps or skins are in each pack, it’s pretty hard to judge whether it’ll end up being worth it or not. The recent string of downloadable game pre-orders that have run in the Playstation Store were ostensibly worthless, allowing would-be buyers to give their money in advance for digital items that are inherently incapable of going out of stock, and typically offering something as trifling as an XMB theme in return for early payment. At least with the Fortune Hunters’ Club offer, they’re extending what they claim to be a 45% savings.

The problem with these sorts of digital pre-order promotions in my opinion, is that they expect gamers to fork over their money before they’ve had a chance to play a demo or even read any reviews in many cases. The growing trend of pre-selling DLC is even more worrisome. Publishers expect us to essentially go “all in” – by committing our dollars up front to an entire lineup of DLC, it’s likely to make us feel like we need to spend all our available multiplayer time in that particular game, so that we can derive the most value out of the money we’ve already spent on the content.

Hopefully, Sony and Naughty Dog will prove my fears to be unfounded and the multiplayer maps will be excellent. Without having that foresight or even knowing how much time I’ll spend in Uncharted 3’s multiplayer mode, it’s hard to commit to pre-paying for all of it though.

So, anybody on board with this? Have you ever pre-ordered digital content?

UPDATE: As luck would have it, Mick Perona was at the AMC / Uncharted 3 event that I attended last night (10/19) in Dallas. Mick is the Sony marketing staffer who authored the Playstation Blog post which announced the Fortune Hunters’ Club. During one of the Q&A sections of the event, I asked Mick if he knew how many maps would be included in each individual map pack. Unfortunately, all he gave us was a typical PR answer – that they did indeed know how many, but were not making any announcements yet.

Source: Playstation Blog


  1. Paul Sandhu
    Paul Sandhu October 18, 2011

    I hate this.

    This is exactly what cable companies do with their bundling deals. Charge more for items a la carte so you can create a better “value” for the bundle.

    This might be even worse since with those bundle packs, the consumer knows exactly what each product is.

    We don’t even know what all of these map packs will entail, and yet we’re expected to just pay upfront and hope we’re happy with the final product when it is released, god knows when. Look, I love Naughty Dog, and I love the Uncharted games, but this just rubs me the wrong way.

  2. freakyzeeky
    freakyzeeky October 18, 2011

    I have no problem pre-ordering a game I want to buy, especially if free DLC is offered, however worthless it may be, since I’m going to be buying the game anyway.

    Pre-ordering DLC is a different story. As Matt states, we don’t even know if the maps or skins, or whatever it is they are offering is going to be worthwhile in the long run. Being that it is Naughty Dog, it would be probably worth it, but it’s hard to say without foresight.

    I have this fear that some other game publisher/studio in the future will offer something similar for one of their games, and would be releasing crap alternate costumes, and a ton of unsubstantial items or perks. That would probably never want to pre-order any DLC ever.

    • StrandedBrit
      StrandedBrit October 20, 2011

      So basically guys, Randy is the reason this pre-ordering DLC thing was invented. 😀

  3. Erik Kubik
    Erik Kubik October 20, 2011

    Yea I”ll pass on this. Just another way to suck money out of us…

  4. zenprime
    zenprime October 20, 2011

    I can wait for the budget priced GOTY version with all the DLC!

  5. StrandedBrit
    StrandedBrit October 20, 2011

    The sad thing is we may all hate on Randy right now, but everyone of us here will own those map packs eventually. :\

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