Multiple platforms, one game

by on 03/07/2017

This topic came up on one of my friends Facebook feeds the other day when he was talking about wanting to play through Mass Effect again on PC to check out some of the mods that are available.  Turns out that he already owns but to repurchase all of the games and DLC it would be upward $100.  The game Trilogy itself is only $19.99 right now on Origin, which is an amazing deal considering all the cool things that the game in and of itself has to offer.  But if you want to expand your game play without getting into mods and just doing the DLC it racks up really quick. Speaking about the trilogy:

What DLC is included in the Mass Effect Trilogy?

On PC, Mass Effect will include Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station on disk.  For Mass Effect 2, Cerberus Network will be included which features Zaeed – The Price of Revenge, The Firewalker Pack, Cerberus Assault Gear, Arc Projector heavy weapon, and Normandy Crash site mission.  For Mass Effect 3, Online Pass will be included granting players access to co-op multiplayer.

On Xbox 360, Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station are not included, however they are available as stand-alone downloads through Xbox LIVE.  For Mass Effect 2, Cerberus Network will be included and Online Pass will be included for Mass Effect 3.

On PlayStation 3, Bring Down the Sky will be included both on disc and on the PSN download, Mass Effect 2 will still have the same DLC on-disc that it was originally shipped with: Cerberus Network; Genesis; Kasumi; Overlord; and Lair of the Shadow Broker. Finally, Mass Effect 3 will also be exactly as it originally shipped.

So it looks like there are some DLC included, but let’s look at PC as a great example for people just getting into the series and want to play before they play the new Andromeda.  So right off the bat you shell $20 for the game.  Mass Effect is taken care of so move on to Mass Effect 2. It comes with some packs, but none of the DLC that gives new missions. There are 4 DLC that add up to around $30. Lastly we have Mass Effect 3, which tops out at $50 for a grand total of $130 for all 3 games with all DLC.

Now the real problem, which was the reason for concern, was that if he, or anyone wanted to switch platform, would need to buy all of this over again.  Even this far out, at least 5 years, from the last release date of Mass Effect 3 the game is still $130 for all the content. An oversight made by Bioware and EA is that one DLC lasting probably 1 hour or 2 is almost as much as all 3 games. The Citadel DLC is $14.99, compared to the $19.99 for all 3 games. This probably isn’t an oversight, I guess I would figure the DLC would just scale with the game price.

So there are 2 arguments to this.  One is that since the games offer hundreds of hours of entertainment, $130 is a reasonable price tag.  Just get the trilogy, then when you get to the point of needing DLC, purchase one and move on.  Spending a small amount a month, or bi-weekly if you play hard.  This approach would let you play and pay as much as you want without dropping all that money at once. The other argument is that there should be to a way we can buy one game and have all the platforms for that game.  Valve did this with Portal 2 on the PS3.  If you bought the PS3 version, you also got the PC version.  I think it was also the same price as a normal game.

Even if there was a small up charge to pay for the platform fees, say $10 per platform.  I would definitely pay $79.99 per game to have them available across PC, PS4, and Xbox One as long as my save moves from platform to platform.  My issue is that some of my friends have one console, some have the other, and some have PCs.  If I want to play a game with them I have to see which people I leave out, though if I had all 3 platforms I could just play whenever.  Then when DLC comes out, just pay another up charge and then again get it on all platforms.

I think we are heading towards this outcome because games like Rocket League allows cross platform play. There would have to be a standard for save files in a unified language, and each platform would have to be able to access theses files, but that isn’t that crazy to do and I would hope we are moving more towards that.

That being said I know we won’t see that for many games, but there needs to be that one game that sets the standard.  If Minecraft or some other huge game allowed their players to buy once and play on ANY platform, with anyone, and saves transferred that would push the industry that way.  Imagine if GTA V allowed us to play with anyone on PC, Xbox, or PS4.  I suppose that could be a good or a bad thing, but I look at it as a good thing.

I think this is an approach that I would like to see with my games, when I make one that isn’t platform specific like the one I am doing now. I think I will shoot for this one in my next game, which if done correctly could be that one “thing” that sets my game apart from others.

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