Current-Gen Games. A retro disaster in waiting?

   24/01/2010 at 18:53       Mike Grace       12 COMMENTS.
 - Retro Content, DLC, Downlodable Content, Emulation
Downloadable content is all the rage at the moment, facilitated mainly by the inclusion of hard drives in the Xbox 360 and PS3. A fact that surprisingly enough, doesn't sit particularly well with me for a number of reasons. Many of which have been debated until the cows come home in the past. But my main bug-bear is how this will affect retro gaming in the future.

Fast forward 10 years into the future. What happens when you fancy trip down memory lane and decide to get out your dusty PS3/Xbox 360 (assuming it still works of course) for a rose tinted play through of Dragon Age: Origins. You originally bought all the expansions but after plugging it in find that the servers have long since been turned off denying you access to the content you paid for.

What are your options?

Emulation

In 10 years time a PS3/Xbox 360 emulator might be working perfectly. It may even be able to boot the original game disc. And whilst emulation definitely has its place, I always prefer the original hardware.

Buy a complete edition

In the case of Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware have stated that there will be DLC for 2 years. It is not inconceivable that after those two years they will release a complete edition for PS3/Xbox 360 containing every piece of released content. Case in point, Bethesda has already done this with both Oblivion and Fallout 3. But in Bioware's case, 2 years is a long time in gaming and the developer may well feel that it's simply not worth the effort to release such an item. Sales figures over the coming months will also have a big say on this matter.

The Internet

It is perfectly possible that in 10 years time you will be able to download the complete game, including patches and add ons, write it to a blu-ray/DVD, usb stick or whatever portable storage is available which and play it on whatever device captures the buying public's imagination in the not too distant future. You have to remember that services like Good Old Games which re-package older game to make them run on a modern operating system are currently proving to be very popular.

Do Nothing

Just play the game without the DLC.

Perhaps there is no problem. Maybe DLC will prove itself to be just a fad and games will revert back to the old ways of being single complete products. If consumers vote with their wallets and refuse to buy DLC, then surely that leaves companies with little choice but to reconsider their business models.

But then maybe I should just play my games to death, right here right now and once I'm done throw them away or sell them while they still have some residual value. Maybe I should start looking at games as being much more disposable. But then again, with current RRPs so high, that mind-set is difficult to achieve.

For retro gamers, it is definitely a concern. And we are legion.
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