On May 7, Capcom released their financial records for the previous fiscal year and it doesn’t look great. Granted, it’s better than a company like THQ, but Capcom’s sales were down 16%.This led to a reported loss of over a billion US Dollars.
While sales of games like Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G and (surprisingly) Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon were noted as being successful, one game was specifically noted as underperforming. That game was Street Fighter X Tekken. With several “e-sports” games becoming more and more popular, this announcement is fairly surprising. Personally, though, I’m not surprised at all by this announcement. With the shady business concept of on-disc downloadable content that Capcom has put into practice, Capcom needs a change.
Capcom has made it a regular business practice to include downloadable content on a game’s disc. While Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City features this as well, Street Fighter X Tekken has twelve characters who are on the disc but locked out at the moment. The odds are good that you will have to pay for most of these characters. Basically, you buy the game for $60 and then you have to pay even more to get all of the full content of your disc.
It’s an extremely bad business practice for multiple reasons. First, gamers are already paying way too much for games as it is. Second, it assumes that your user base is a group of simpletons. In an age when games are hacked and information is shared in an instant, when you try to hide things like this from consumers it just makes you look bad. With the fighting game community being much more plugged in than the general consumer, not being honest with your fan base is a bad idea.
Thankfully, Capcom seems to have realized that this is a problem. In a post on Capcom Unity, Capcom Senior Director of Planning and Development Christian Svensson announced that the company is “re-evaluating” the future of on-disc DLC. It’s a good step, but don’t expect much in the immediate future.
As this process has only just commenced in the past month or so, there will be some titles, where development began some time ago and that are scheduled for release in the coming months, for which we are unable to make changes to the way some of their post release content is delivered.
One such game will be the upcoming Dragons Dogma, where Svensson defended the practice.
…the decision to include some additional (but not all planned additional) game content for the game on disc was made at the beginning of the game’s development cycle as at the time this was determined to be the most efficient way of ensuring certain content was made available. Owners of Dragon’s Dogma will be able to further their gameplay experience with the release of additional quests, weapons and other items in the months following the game going on sale.
Yes, it’s a step in the right direction but it still doesn’t seem like Capcom totally gets the problem. They are looking at it from an “in the moment” view, where they will try to drain as much money from customers as possible. That doesn’t breed consumer loyalty, though, and in a down economy that loyalty is extremely important.