Damn you, Microsoft, for the little things.

I pushed that last post out of ‘draft’ limbo, where it long-stayed with plans to write a longer post about my hate for the current state of online connectivity on consoles. That ire built up well, but then was unexpectedly drained in a thread on Evil Avatar. The gist being that some companies are really fucking people over when it comes to small purchases.

For the record, my major annoyance is a shift toward developers providing games in a piecemeal fashion, with a total cost higher to consumers than it would’ve been under traditional circumstances.

But that thread in particular on EvAv was about new planes for Ace Combat 6. “New planes? Surely that’s worthwhile content, Jeff!” you object. “Indeed,” I retort, “The issue here is price.” They charge $2.50+ for skins to cover old models and tiny files (not even text files,) that just contain the few parameters that the planes require. That’s not even a meg if you’re doing it right. It’s Horse Armor all over again, but at least we had the common sense to be angry about it the first time. They’ve released 35+ planes, with nine (at the previous article’s date,) costing $5, and twenty-one costing at least $2.50. (About five were free.) This, for the record, is a travesty in my eyes.

People say “Then don’t buy them.” Don’t worry, I’m not being a hypocrite; I canceled my Xbox Live subscription months ago. And I don’t buy those things. I never bought a theme or gamerpic (or any other advertisement. That would be like buying a film trailer, or a print ad. It’s stupid.)

Man, remember all the great head-in-the-clouds things we heard about digital distribution? Developers could go without publishers, (or at least their efforts would be scaled back, netting developers more money with consumers paying less.) No shipping costs would also mean a reduction in product costs. With no shelves, shelf space would not be a factor, and games could be offered forever.

Back in ’99, when Napster came out, I said “Y’know, I’d buy these songs for a dollar, if the opportunity was offered.” After almost a decade of lawsuits against music listeners, I’d be hard pressed to pay a dime (literally, I mean it, ten cents,) for a track of music. Today, I refuse to pay $50 a year for Xbox Live.

/edit: Oh! Since I canceled my account, every time I log my profile on my Xbox, it attempts to sign into Xbox Live. After a twenty minute phone call asking how to stop this automatic check, I was told I couldn’t. I’d have to delete my profile and create a new one. This wouldn’t be a big deal, if I didn’t need that profile to play my XBLA games after my console red-ringed… (They won’t play except in my account, post-refurbishing.) So, it’s not painful in and of itself, but it gets annoying, having to do it. Every. Single. Time. It’s a game console. It’s not supposed to have these problems! Gah.