Wednesday, November 01, 2006


And the great microtransactions debate marches onwards. My two cents (or Microsoft points - sometimes, I'm so witty I have to have a little sit down and a biscuit).

I was one of the many who bought Lumines on Live Arcade when it was released a week or two ago. Having played the demo, which quite clearly contained all the information about how the game was structured, in terms of the base pack and advance pack, I wasn't too surprised when this turned out to be exactly how it was released. A lot of people were very surprised indeed, however, and have been exceptionally vocal in their disgust.

It's one of the more expensive games on Live arcade, with the base pack weighing in at 1200 points, or about £10. Having spent £30 on meteos, which has about the same amount of content, this seemed like a pretty good deal to me. You get your straightforward, unending falling blocks mode, timed, vs, missions, puzzle, and all that jazz. You can play multiplayer locally or online (I'll admit, this was originally going to be excluded). This costs £10. Meteos - £30, same stuff. You see where this is going?

Now, the PSP version of Lumines - also £30 - had a little more. Some more levels, another mode, i believe. You can get the equivalent for another 600 points, or £5 on Live Arcade. So, to recap: £10 + £5 = £15 = Cost of Lumines on Xbox 360. £30 = cost of same game on PSP. And yet, people still believe that we're somehow being made fools of. That things are being withheld. And so, the toys come flying from the pram. Regardless of the fact that the two downloads together exceed the maximum allowed download size for an Arcade title (something I'm not fond of - Symphony of the Night had better have the full soundtrack, or the internet may collapse from sheer nerd rage), paying half the original price of a game - especially one as good as Lumines, which has been hailed as a modern classic by pretty much anyone who's around to hail such things, is not unfair.

It basically boils down to this: do you believe someone should be paid for their work? I think they should. I don't think the amount charged, in general, for Live Arcade games is excessive. I would probably buy more if they weighed in at the 400 point mark. But it does not upset me to part with the cost of four or five pints of beer to play one of the finest puzzle games ever made from now until the robots come to kill us all.

I'm not buying the Madonna pack. If anything, the game is more complete without it.

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