This past year may have very well been the biggest year in gaming yet. We saw a new installment in almost every single well known gaming franchise release this year, and it's likely that gamers will be talking about 2011's surreal offerings well into 2012. However, not all of these titles will be remembered for the quality of the game itself, but how much cash publishers managed to squeeze from your wallet. There were a lot of questionable money-making stunts that gaming companies pulled on consumers in 2011, and the final product (that gamers waited months and even years for) was affected because of it.
We here at Game Rant have taken the liberty of highlighting the five biggest rip-offs for gamers in 2011, and while we aren't calling the final quality of the product into question (i.e. the games themselves), we are looking into some of the biggest cash-grabs that companies got away with this past year. So without further ado, let's take a look at schemes that made your wallet weep in the past 365 days.
5. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure - Action Figures
One of the most innovative games this year was a multi-platform title featuring the long-forgotten icon Spyro the Dragon called Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. For the first time, gamers could collect some cool looking toys and bring them to life in a video game using a portal peripheral, and the best part was that the game itself is actually a lot of fun to play. The downside however, is found within the cost to actually play with all 32 different characters (that are otherwise unplayable without buying every single action figure), and some portions of the game aren't even accessible unless these additional toys are purchased. At a minimum of $6.99 a pop for each character, it's any parent's worst nightmare.
4. Nintendo 3DS Launch Price
When the Nintendo 3DS first launched it was surrounded by a lot of hype, and the handheld itself was priced accordingly. Nintendo had been a little overzealous with the initial price point of the 3DS though, giving the system a whopping $250 price tag — $100 more than the original Nintendo DS system at launch. It was obvious that the Big N had inflated the price in an attempt to squeeze a few extra dollars out of gamers, but the plan backfired horribly. A $250 price, coupled with the lack of software at launch, forced Nintendo to quickly drop the price of the 3DS; leaving the masses with a much more reasonable price for the portable and Nintendo with a much more modest bottom line. At least early adopters earned the title of "Ambassador" and 20 free older games. Right?
3. Gears of War 3 Weapon Skins
Gears of War 3 was easily one of the most anticipated games of 2011, and it certainly delivered on almost every front that fans could have possibly wanted. One of the most exciting additions being flaunted was the ability to customize the appearance of your weapon. Fans of the franchise were up for a rude awakening the day they fired up their copies of Gears 3, only to realize that those skins that Epic Games had been bragging about were waiting on the disc — but cost money to use. The worst part of it all was that these weapon skins were absurdly expensive. Want all 21 of them? Pay the bulk discount price of 3600 MS Points ($45). Yeah, $45.
2. Gears of War 3 Season Pass
The recent development of season passes in gaming can be a great deal for players who plan on downloading every bit of content for some of their favorite games, since they can potentially save them money in the long run. The Gears of War 3 Season Pass on the other hand, is not cheap and led gamers to purchase the pass under somewhat false pretences and not having full disclosure on what they would get. Ringing in at 2,400 MS points ($30), this is one of the most expensive season passes on the market but if that weren't already enough, Epic Games ended up making the first batch of DLC maps — that season pass holders already surrendered their money for in advance — completely free for versus mode after the content was available for less than a month on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
1. Batman: Arkham City - Catwoman DLC
When Rocksteady announced that Catwoman would be a playable character in Batman: Arkham City, the internet exploded into an even larger frenzy of anticipation. People were wondering what it would be like to play as the notorious feline fatale, and unfortunately (even after two months since the game's release) some people are still wondering. It turns out that the Catwoman content that was touted so prominently by the developers was included in new versions of the retail game as a download code — immediately preventing those without an internet connection and those who obtained a used copy of Arkham City (from anywhere other than GameStop) from being able to access the content. Don't worry though, the Catwoman content, that should been a part of the retail game, is available to download for $10.
Thus ends our look at the biggest cash-grabs of the year 2011. All of the listed items are of course only "optional" but that's not what we're looking at. What we take issue with, in cases like the Gears of War 3 weapon skins especially, are the bad precedent these set and how publishers will have the incentive to make what would normally be an unlockable something chargeable separately.
(Dis)honorable mentions also go out to EA's Online passes, Capcom for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Need for Speed World for the 100$ downloadable Koenigsegg CCX, EVE Online for the overpriced microtransaction controversy and of course, to the Call of Duty: Black Ops map packs. In the case of CoD, they only failed to make the list because their $15 map packs have been the topic of wide discussion since they first made their debut in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
We're anxious to see what you think of our list and if you have any other thoughts on the topic at hand, so be sure to make your voice heard in the comments below.
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