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Lumines Live! Creator Defends Content Downloads 17

Eurogamer reports that Lumines Live! creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi is defending the extra content downloads required to play the entire game on the 360. From the article: "Mizuguchi told IGN that one reason for the download/pricing strategy was technical ('We have to include everything in 50MB') but that the other reason was the desire to let people customise Lumines. 'We want people to look at Lumines and, depending on the artist, or the season, or the music, we want to give them different reasons to consider buying the game,' he explained." Relatedly, the Live service hit 4 Million users, Microsoft has announced. "Microsoft reckons it's on track for six million users by June 2007. 'We openly welcome other console platforms to join us in [the online] space,' [they say], a bit mockingly."
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Lumines Live! Creator Defends Content Downloads

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  • by Conception ( 212279 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:14PM (#16504819)
    So, I don't mind the add-ons. I think it's totally awesome to be able to expand the game... but Lumines does it in such an underhanded way that I will not pay any more money for that game.

    A) First like all other live games, they say many times, "Pay to Unlock the full game!" all over the place.

    B) When you do, there is no indication that any of the other modes are optional. You don't actually discover it till after you've played the first level or two and the screen pops up and says, "HAHA, you suck! Give us more money, fool!"

    What they should have done is have the options listed as Main Game and Download Content. As you download the content, it adds items to the menu. Perhaps a "Test Downloadable Content" section or something for the try before you buy action. It's not what their doing, it's how sneaky and evil they do it.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CaseM ( 746707 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:16PM (#16504877)
    So they have to fit each component in a 50 MB "package", but who said that had to charge more than $20.00 for the whole thing??

    The mere fact that the "Full Game" (according to the description in XBLA) has locked content inside of it is gonna piss a whole lot of people off.
  • by LukeCage ( 1007133 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:26PM (#16505055)
    The problem is not that the game is downloadable. The problem is not the price -- it is actually fairly reasonable for a puzzle game. No, the problem is the semantics used. The game is listed as "Unlock the Full Game", not "Unlock Mission Mode and a Few Trial Modes". This sets the expectation that the player will have access to ALL of those locked modes that you see in the trial version of the game, not a handful. Furthermore, the developer's assertion that he is allowing the player to "download and customize the game" is pure hogwash. If he is, where is the granualarity? There is, at present, the "Full Game" (really just a "base game"), a future skin pack, and an additional pack of mode unlocks. That's hardly "customization". Since Microsoft pushed the microtransaction model so hard, why isn't this company taking advantage of it and offering individual skin download or genre packs for a small discount? The fact is that this is a simple example of publisher greed and comes very close to a bait-and-switch method of dealing with gamers. Microsoft needs to step into this as a consumer advocate and offer a refund in MS Points (and a corresponding revocation of the ability to play the game) to anyone who feels shorted by this situation.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In defense of MS the description is very specific as to what is included and that some features will need additional packs even if the name should have been listed as Base Pack. Also when you come across a mode that needs an additional pack to use the trial says exactly what is needed, like Base Pack and Puzzle Pack or something to that effect. Also on the PSP game I never played much vs CPU and I might never play any on the xbox considering I have online multiplayer and the vsCPU on my PSP version. I don't
    • You know, I'm normally the one on this site that's defending Microsoft, because I think they're treated too harshly around here, but...

      Microsoft needs to step into this as a consumer advocate

  • by cableshaft ( 708700 ) <> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:27PM (#16505091) Homepage
    Part of the problem is that there's not much to the game to begin with. You place blocks down to make squares and try to sneak more in before the line moves across and clears everything. It's similar to Bejeweled or Zuma as far as complexity is concerned, and those games are fully featured and only cost $10 on XBLA, wheras Lumines STARTS at $15, without all the content.

    They've got a bit more of an argument with the 50 MB limit, but really, we're seeing some amazing games being made chock full of content that are sneaking in at under that limit (Roboblitz made with the Unreal 3 engine with hi-res textures, the upcoming sprite-animation-heavy Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers)... I doubt that's as big of an issue as they claim it is (although, to be fair, music tends to be the big size hog for casual games, and Lumines is big on the music).
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If there is a 50 meg limit and the game needs to go over it, why not sell the game retail?

      There's no reason why we can't get a full game for $29.99 at the store and then still have the ability to purchase 'updates' via the marketplace. The game is reasonably priced if purchased in a store since you get a disc and a package and booklet, etc. But taking all that away should lower the price...

      I'm sure after all the packs come out, one will be able to buy it at the local gaming store at a lower price then us su
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:10PM (#16505999)
    The best situation here is if it was 0 dollars to download the FULL engine and have one level of each type available. Then make it clear how to buy each mode. If you want puzzle mode you're forced to by the based game. If you want to play just puzzle mode you're not customizing your game you're enhancing it. Customizing content is a great idea, but don't force people to buy stuff in Bundles like this.

    Then of course they blame Microsoft's 50 meg limit? That's easy, make a 50 meg game that costs 1500 points, and then give all the add ons for free, again I get a customized game, but I'm paying one cost. not 5.

    As for Microsoft, or shall I say Weasel soft? Those numbers suck.

    We have 4 million LIVE users, how many Gold users? Still no numbers, people arn't paying for the system (I am and a couple buds are but they still are avoiding those numbers for some reason)

    Factor in 1 year ago at launch they had 2 million. So for the 6 million consoles they sold, only 1/3 are new subscribers and at most 2/3 are online with a FREE account (and remember 2 accounts on the same console, so it could be lower then 1/3)

    70 million piece of content? Include how many patches, How many freebees, how many 'oh we forgot to add this in the game"?

    12 million XBLA downloads? that's 3 a person... except that's DOWNLOADS again. Not purchases. so with 24 percent of the demos becoming real purchases the minimum actual purchases are around 2 million (likely moremore)?

    Time logged on? Who knows. I leave my console on over night some times. I hang on Xbox live and chat with my buddy while playing Ps2 games (tales of Abyss rocks) It all counts towards this goal.

    9 million text and voices weekly are the only one that's impressive And that really is an impressive number.

    These are interesting, but Microsoft is touting these numbers because they have 0 competition. First thing I do with my Wii will be put it online too, if I got a PS3 that's the same thing I'll do. Since both are free, I'm guessing we'll see similar numbers from them too.

    I love my 360 but god Microsoft, stop being Microsoft.
  • Nobody's pissed off about the downloadable content. Well, nobody reasonable, anyway.

    As usual, it's all about expectation management. When people spend $15 on the most expensive XBox Live! game, they expect a complete experience, even without the add-on packs. When people see an option for a game mode in the main menu of this (relatively very) expensive game, they expect to be able to play that game mode without buying an add-on pack. When these expectations aren't met, because that game mode is merely 5 minutes' of play time followed by an advertisement for the add-on pack to unlock the rest of the greyed out menu options, people naturally get pissed off. When this pattern repeats itself multiple times in the same game, people naturally get REALLY pissed off.

    Nobody likes paying to receive advertisements. Unfortunately, that's exactly what it feels like to play Lumines on XBox live. If the base Lumines game were cheaper (say, $5), we'd put up with it, but when the game is the most expensive one on the service, people naturally get pretty pissed off about it.
  • I've been saying it from the beginning and I'll say it again, microcontent is a bad thing for gamers. Its not so much the concept that is bad, but the fact that there is not a single company out there who can be trusted to treat it properly and not nickle and dime their players to milk them for all they're worth.

    The second a company introduces microcontent, they set themselves on a slippery slope from which there is no return.

    It begins with them charging a tiny amount for an addon that has good value, then

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI