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Major Nelson Frames the GH II DLC Discussion

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the gaah-complications dept.

XBox (Games) 71

Yesterday we discussed the mighty expensive Guitar Hero II downloadable content. Some readers had serious complaints, and their views jive with a lot of other commentators out there. Prior to an event related to the game Joystiq had the chance to sit down with Microsoft's Major Nelson, who attempted to frame the conversation and point out the difficulties associated with this project: "I used to work in the broadcasting industry and in music for a long time and I know that content is not linear. It's not like you go to iTunes, and you're buying the same thing. There's testing that's involved, and there's also licensing involved. There's a lot of elements involved. When there's music involved, that brings up a lot of licensing issues ... You have to consider the Leaderboard. People like to say it's the same [as on the PS2], but the licensing is not the same. You have to re-license it. It's a different platform. While on the surface it may look fairly simplistic, and people are saying 'XYZ should be done,' but we're not Red Octane. I work for Microsoft, and we're just the conduit at this point."

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One word: (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18707889)

Jeanie!!!!!!

Re:One word: (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#18707913)

Damn! You beat me to it!!!!

Simple (1)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18707969)

Just don't buy the track packs at that price. If everyone put their money where their mouth was, and the track packs ended up flopping, they will have to lower the price, and will be wary of releasing future live content at those prices.

Instead, everyone is going to bitch about it, but end up buying them anyways.

Re:Simple (1)

Mitijea (718314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708123)

You can't just not buy it while keeping silent about why you are not buying it. There needs to be a clear difference between not buying it because the price is too high and not buying it because it is not wanted (at any price). If no one speaks out about why they are not purchasing the content, the developers could get the impression that it is unwanted and not release anymore, at any price. This would clearly not be what was intended by those not buying because the price is too high.

Re:Simple (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18719215)

EXACTLY

I want song packs... but I don't want them at that price. If no one buys them, and no one says why they aren't buying them then it's likely we'll just get a "the market doesn't want song packs so we wont make anymore".

The problem with these song packs is just that too many people have their hands in the jar. I'm sure the RIAA want's full price for each song (a long the lines of what they get from an iTunes download) despite the fact that they can only be used in a limited capacity (in the game not on your MP3 player). Harmonix, RedOctane, Activition... And then MS gets a cut for selling it in their store.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18708145)

actually if we did that they'd say "Oh, it looks like there's no demand for downloadable content. It's time to release Guitar Hero 2008 now"

Remember (0, Flamebait)

(TK)Dessimat0r (668222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708053)

Remember to flush the toilet after you use linux

well (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708089)

I caved in. I wasn't going to buy them at that price but I was playing GH2 last night and my wife commented that $2 a song wasn't too much as far as she was concerned and I should buy them. Live Marketplace makes it too easy to buy stuff hehe. So I ended up with packs #2 and #3. But I won't buy #1 for that price damn it! I'm making a stand!

Re: Is that Half a boycott each? (2, Funny)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709015)

I caved in. I wasn't going to buy them at that price but I was playing GH2 last night and my wife commented that $2 a song wasn't too much as far as she was concerned and I should buy them. Live Marketplace makes it too easy to buy stuff hehe. So I ended up with packs #2 and #3. But I won't buy #1 for that price damn it! I'm making a stand!

Then between the 2 of us we have 1 honest boycott. I bought pack #1, but won't buy the other two (just don't like them as much). That'll teach them! Damn them and their capitolist ways!

Re: Is that Half a boycott each? (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709481)

Pack 1 looks good. I might end up getting the one with the Chili Peppers and Bad Religion eventually, but pack 1 is my favorite by far.

Snookered (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708171)

I've already been snookered, having bought both 1 and 2 for the PS2. Now they want me to pay another 90$ (180$ to match the set of guitars I have now) for content I already own, plus charge me 2$ a song?

Make the Xbox360 version backwards compatible with the older hardware, and sell the program at $39.99 or some reasonable fee, and we'll talk. Otherwise, see ya in GH3.

Re:Snookered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18708489)

"Make the Xbox360 version backwards compatible with the older hardware"
How, exactly? This is the first and ONLY Guitar Hero game on Microsoft hardware. The only other option is PS2 - and YEAH, that's likely to happen: The 360 backwards compatible with the PS2. At least try to think before posting your ramblings.

Re:Snookered (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708729)

How, exactly? This is the first and ONLY Guitar Hero game on Microsoft hardware. The only other option is PS2 - and YEAH, that's likely to happen: The 360 backwards compatible with the PS2. At least try to think before posting your ramblings.

Some of us did think, and we understand that all major consoles have USB ports, and that there are connector to USB adaptors for all major consoles - except the Xbox, which uses USB for its controller bus. It just has an adaptor for the connector.

I also have two different dongles for converting PS2 controllers to other consoles. One adapts to gamecube and Xbox. The other connects to USB, gamecube, or Xbox.

They could easily sell an adaptor, and support the controller through USB.

Re:Snookered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18709423)

Considering they can't even get an adapter to allow the old guitars to work on a PS3, I'm not holding my breath for a 360 adapter.

Re: Does the 360 guitar work on the PS3 ? (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18717955)

Considering they can't even get an adapter to allow the old guitars to work on a PS3, I'm not holding my breath for a 360 adapter.

Presumably It would be the same adapter (PS2 to USB2). I wonder if the PS3 will play the PS2 Guitar Hero (I or II) with the 360 controller.

Re:Snookered (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708739)

This is the first and ONLY Guitar Hero game on Microsoft hardware.
Controllers for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game consoles work through USB adapters on a PC. The Xbox 360 console has a USB port. So is it Microsoft's fault that the game does not support a guitar connected through a PS2 to USB adapter?

Re:Snookered (2, Insightful)

toolie (22684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718669)

I've already been snookered, having bought both 1 and 2 for the PS2. Now they want me to pay another 90$ (180$ to match the set of guitars I have now) for content I already own, plus charge me 2$ a song?

Thats like saying you already own Office 2x for the Mac, you deserve to get Office 2x for the PC for $39.99. Different systems, it doesn't matter if it is mostly the same. Don't buy it if you already own it, it is for the people who don't already own it.

It's a free market. (2, Insightful)

twitchingbug (701187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708187)

People, chill out. This is not some great travesty. If 3 songs at $10 dollars is worth it to you, then buy it. Otherwise don't. Quit yapping about it.

Re:It's a free market. (1)

nullChris (222844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710265)

Correction: 3 songs at just over $6.

Re:It's a free market. (1)

bateleur (814657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18716069)

No, it's not a free market. Only Red Octane can create these packs. That's a monopoly.

It's true that nobody's forced to buy them, but the annoyance is caused by the fact that people knew these packs would exist and were expecting a lower price point.

Re:It's a free market. (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718853)

No, no no, no no no. No. Stop tossing around the monopoly excuse. It's their content, they hold the IP for it, they are the ones allowed to create content for that particular game. Just like Bethesda holds the rights to sell expansions for Elder Scrolls, just like EA holds the rights to release booster packs for Battlefield, just like Blizzard has the rights to sell you a WoW t-shirt. There is no monopoly here.

If you want free content, go play Frets on Fire. Voila, problem solved.

Re:It's a free market. (1)

bateleur (814657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18719049)

Who said anything about free content? And who's disputing their IP ownership? All I was pointing out was that there is no free market for these add-on tracks.

What they are doing is not illegal or anything like that, but it is a monopoly. If you don't think so, perhaps you'd be kind enough to link me to the dictionary you're using?

Re:It's a free market. (1)

twitchingbug (701187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18729793)

fine fine. Split hairs with me. It's a free market in the sense that, yes, as you mentioned, nobody is forcing you to buy these packs. You have the free market choice of buying them or not. That's the going rate. Is it worth it to you? There's no need to be emotional about it. Being annoyed is not going to change the price you pay...

Way to not answer the question, Major (1)

Otis2222222 (581406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708207)

One commenter pointed out that if all the old songs of the original PlayStation 2 version were released on Xbox Live, it would cost significantly more than simply buying both Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II on the PS2. People feel flustered by that. Why are we paying more for old content?

MN: Once again, it's not old content. The contracts have to be renegotiated on a new platform, and it's also involving digital distribution, so there's a lot of things involved.

Major, you are not answering the question that was asked. The question was "Why are we paying more". No one disagrees with the fact that the content is worth something. You failed to answer why it costs MORE than the game.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (2, Insightful)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709367)

You said : You failed to answer why it costs MORE than the game.
He said : The contracts have to be renegotiated on a new platform

That pretty much sums it up. I bet the owners of the songs got greedy and wanted to get paid more per songs since they know how popular Guitar Hero is. Don't be surprised if the next Guitar Hero costs more and has less songs.

Not quite convinced (1)

Otis2222222 (581406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709967)

Unless I'm mistaken, I thought that Harmonix hired a house band to perform renditions of the songs, due in part to the fact that the licensing costs were cheaper to go that route. I'd be surprised if the house band retained ANY rights to their performance when they signed the contract to those songs as part of the publishing agreement. What I'm suggesting is that I don't think the performers were in a position to withhold their rights from the royalties from downloads, hence that argument is invalid.

Re:Not quite convinced (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710241)

The songwriters still receive royalties, though I believe that's a fixed rate. (I never joined either US-based songwriting guild.)

Re:Not quite convinced (1)

Starsmore (788910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18726309)

It's been established elsewhere that the royalty fee for a cover song is something like 9 cents for a 5 minute song.

Re:Not quite convinced (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18731711)

The original songwriter still gets his composition royalties. They're the same for the cover as they are for the original.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18713165)

Actually I'd expect the next GH to cost the same, or maybe even less, but come with no more than 15 songs. Everything else is bought online. Why? Because they can get more money out of you that way. Its like the $50 printer and $30 ink cartridges.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718017)

"The contracts have to be renegotiated on a new platform"

That's not an answer, it's an excuse.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason they cost a lot more has something to do with pressure from Microsoft to set the price higher to "make the DL content valuable". The same reason why they were trying to force other companies with D/L content to charge for it. I expect Microsoft intends to make a lot of money off of their cut of D/L items.

It's also possible that because the songs are now downloadable on demand, the new contract might charge Harmonix per download. Once you've built in a little profit for Harmonix and Microsoft in addition to the RIAA base fee per song and Microsoft's overhead charge for the service that could conceivably force the price that high. That's what Major Nelson wanted to imply, the question is whether he didn't say it outright is because it's true and he didn't want to offend the RIAA or because it's not true and he only wants to think that he said that to dodge the question.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18709953)

He answered the question perfectly when he said that the contracts had to be renegotiated. The game was highly successful, and everyone wants a piece of that pie. No pay, no play.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18710203)

Yeah, I was disappointed with that as well, but the interviewer fucked up and gave him the out. A question that was phrased correctly would have given him less opportunity to brush it off.

Re:Way to not answer the question, Major (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18716703)

Unfortunately, he has a point. It's the same logic that means that Austin Powers on DVD costs less than the Austin Powers soundtrack on CD.

For example, maybe there's no Live multiplayer because the rights holders regard that as 'public performance' or 'broadcasting' and demanded more money. Or as soon as they heard 'these will be downloaded' figured it was just like downloading music, and demanded more for that. The way he mentioned leaderboarding makes me think that the price got jacked up for that.

But it all goes back to Austin Powers DVD vs Austin Powers OST; things are farked right up when it comes to music distribution.

New Gears Maps (2, Insightful)

Serengeti (48438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708327)

Microsoft may just be a conduit in this case, but what about the Gears of War map releases that are due out, soon?? Mark Rein of Epic said that Epic wished to release the maps for free, but 'pressure' from Microsoft, who plays the role of both Gears of WArs' publisher, and the "conduit" Xbox Live Marketplace led them to stall the release (supposedly until an arrangement can be met). Garage Games has also mentioned that they have received 'encouragement' from Microsoft to charge for their DLC for Marble Blast Ultra.

So... perhaps Microsoft is just a conduit in this particular instance, but I'm starting to suspect that they're still involved in the decision making process.

And don't take my argument the wrong way -- I think everyone deserves to be paid for their work, but I also believe that the creators of content should be allowed to decide what they should charge for that work. Certainly, a body that would benefit from that work simply due to its existence should not be included in that decision.

It seemed like only a couple years ago, buying a game meant becoming part of a community, especially when extra content could be created by the fanbase as well (Half Life, Quake, etc). Your price of admission to the community (and any updates that were released for it) was the game.

Re: too many people deserve to get paid. (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708911)

And don't take my argument the wrong way -- I think everyone deserves to be paid for their work, but I also believe that the creators of content should be allowed to decide what they should charge for that work. Certainly, a body that would benefit from that work simply due to its existence should not be included in that decision.

That's the issue here, too many people need to get paid.

The Song creators deserve a cut to license their work for the game. Master Recordings or not, it's their song.

RedOctane/Activision et al... deserve a cut for doing the work to implement it into the game (including recording the songs)

Microsoft deserves a cut as the publisher for hosting / serving the files IE: getting them into the customer's hands.

Re: too many people deserve to get paid. (1)

Serengeti (48438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709217)

Microsoft deserves a cut as the publisher for hosting / serving the files IE: getting them into the customer's hands.

No, Microsoft deserves a cut as the service provider (Xbox Live), NOT as the publisher. Their job is to publish the game -- which they did, Gears has sold phenomonally. Are you saying that after their job is done (publishing, marketing), they deserve to earn more money for doing nothing more?

Don't confuse Microsofts two roles in this (Gears of War) debate.

And, in case you've overlooked this element of the argument, Microsoft DOES get paid to be a service provider. I pay five bucks a month to access online content. That's 5 bucks more than I pay to access similar content on the internet for games like Half Life and Quake.

The games industry is searching for more and more ways to increase profit while not increasing cost, these are examples of their efforts. Some are validated, some are egregious. Who is it up to, to say which is which?

Re: too many people deserve to get paid. (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718091)

And, in case you've overlooked this element of the argument, Microsoft DOES get paid to be a service provider. I pay five bucks a month to access online content. That's 5 bucks more than I pay to access similar content on the internet for games like Half Life and Quake.

You are actually paying $0 per month to access online content via Live. You Pay the $5 per month to play multiplayer games online and use Voice chat over Live. Considering Guitar Hero II supports neither, you would get the same access /experience if you had Live Silver, or Gold.

Re: too many people deserve to get paid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18711315)

"Microsoft deserves a cut as the publisher for hosting / serving the files IE: getting them into the customer's hands."

Yeah, but ~5 megabytes of bandwidth/server costs approximately nothing compared to a Live subscription or the licence fee they already took when the user bought Guitar Hero 360. If they felt they absolutely had to get compensated for it they could play a 30 sec advert while it downloaded and probably walk away with a profit. Or just implement bittorrent and slash their bandwidth use by a factor of 10+.

Considering I know loads of people who warez a DVD of data every day without paying anyone other than their ISP I don't think anyone can seriously ask a dollar for a few floppy disks worth of data.

Creators should be compensated. Distributors, in an internet age, need to recognise that their services are very marginal.

Re:New Gears Maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18710123)

Few issues - some content for games should be free - it helps encourage sales of the game. I'd more inclined to buy games if I know I'll be able to get free content for it.

Part of the problem is also, I'm already paying MS for the service. So when I hear Epic wants to give me a free map or two and MS wants to charge for it - isn't this what I'm already paying MS over $10 a month for? Doesn't that cover my bandwidth? Doesn't that cover me using their systems? So why should MS charge me for content their 3rd party developers want to give me for free...

The GH2 news took off quite a bit since it's more than the songs included in the game (more than twice as much if you break it down) and it was the same week we hear about Epic/Gears of War and MS wanting to charge for those maps.

What happens with UT3 comes out and PS3 users and PC users can download maps/content for free? MS still gunna bend us over and make us pay for free content?

Question: Why is the music industry so stupid? (1)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708365)

Once again, it's not old content. The contracts have to be renegotiated on a new platform, and it's also involving digital distribution, so there's a lot of things involved.


Why are there a lot of things involved? And what "things" exactly?

Look. The whole point to the music business is to get the music to the consumer. This makes it sound like they're falling over themselves to keep it from me. I have the version of the game this music is coming from. I have already paid them their extortion money. Why do I have to pay them even more now? Because the toy I'm playing it on is different?

I call bullshit.

Re:Question: Why is the music industry so stupid? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708649)

Once again, it's not old content. The contracts have to be renegotiated on a new platform, and it's also involving digital distribution, so there's a lot of things involved.


Why are there a lot of things involved? And what "things" exactly?

Look. The whole point to the music business is to get the music to the consumer. This makes it sound like they're falling over themselves to keep it from me. I have the version of the game this music is coming from. I have already paid them their extortion money. Why do I have to pay them even more now? Because the toy I'm playing it on is different?

I call bullshit.

No, you mistake the point of the music business. The point of the music business is to make the consumer pay as many times as possible for the same music. This certainly meets that agenda. Clearly you have never heard of the RIA* (the * is because the Recording Industry Associations in every country seem to act exactly the same, not just RIAA)

Re:Question: Why is the music industry so stupid? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708749)

"things" = back and forth negotiations. RIAA-reps = "Let's get the maximum cash for each track," Microsoft-reps = "Let's pay the minimum cash for each track."

And let's face it, licensing terms are usually considered proprietary information, or at the very least "internal-use-only". I'm sure Red Octane didn't show all their cards to Microsoft as far as the licensing terms they got for some songs.

On an aside, I'd be more interested to know if the downloadable content is, in deed, downloadable content or if they're just slyly unlocking stuff that's already on the disc ALA Dance Dance Revolution.

Re:Question: Why is the music industry so stupid? (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710875)

The downloads are ~30mb in size.

Re:Question: Why is the music industry so stupid? (1)

Starsmore (788910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18726135)

RIAA-reps = "Let's get the maximum cash for each track," Microsoft-reps = "Let's pay the minimum cash for each track."

Nonono...

RIAA-reps = "Let's get the maximum cash for each track," Microsoft-reps = "Ok. Let's triple it so we get our beefy cut too!"

Fixed for you!

Doesn't make sense (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708865)

There's testing that's involved, and there's also licensing involved. There's a lot of elements involved. When there's music involved, that brings up a lot of licensing issues ... You have to consider the Leaderboard. People like to say it's the same [as on the PS2], but the licensing is not the same. You have to re-license it.

It still makes no sense that the full song list for the original GH costs $97+ by extrapolation while GH2 including the controller, packaging, media and more songs (that required the same testing, licensing and development work) costs $90. How can they possibly rationalize this?

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708965)

It still makes no sense that the full song list for the original GH costs $97+ by extrapolation while GH2 including the controller, packaging, media and more songs (that required the same testing, licensing and development work) costs $90. How can they possibly rationalize this?

Because it isn't the same thing. Why does it cost more to buy individual dinners than eat at a buffet? Why does a whole car cost less than the sum of its' parts?

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

davebo357 (730081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709679)

I realize it's not the same thing, but Major was talking about they're a new company on a new system so everything had to be relicensed. My question is why was redoctane able to license every song for GH1 and distribute it to us via trucks into brick and mortar stores with a custom controller for $80, but now it costs $97 to license those exact same songs for a distribution method that should cost less than shipping discs all over the continent? Someone is raping the consumer over these per-song fees, and it's either Microsoft taking a huge cut of the downloads, or the recording industry jacking up the licensing fee now that guitar hero is popular. So just tell us which so we can make with the flaming! :)

A simple solution (1)

Otis2222222 (581406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710081)

I'm sure there are quite a few people out there that would pay $39.99 for all of the GH1 tracks via Xbox Live. Care to guess whether they will ever offer that option? To use your analogy, it would be like going to a car dealership and being forced to pay for the sum of the parts of a car rather than being allowed to buy the whole thing. I'm not saying they won't make the "$39.99 for everything" offer, but I seriously doubt it.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

Rhonwyn (49658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709903)

He did say a lot of things were involved. One of those is inverse mathematics. See, the GH2 guitar actually costs them $-17 to make. So with the money made just by producing the guitar, they can sell the game at a profit.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710755)

They want to make money. That's the rationalization, if you could even apply such a heavy word. I don't know why you would even try to look deeper.

Funny how Microsoft is just a supplier. . .. (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18708903)

While on the surface it may look fairly simplistic, and people are saying 'XYZ should be done,' but we're not Red Octane. I work for Microsoft, and we're just the conduit at this point."
I find it funny that they are trying to take a hands off approach on this, but with the Gears map update they are forcing a company to charge. Dear Microsoft, Face it, you're charging both ends, you charge the companies to use your marketplace, and you charge the customers to buy from it, and you play middleman with developers that are trying to give away content. You even charge customers just to use the service, so all in all, you get three payments, the fee to use the service, the fee to sell through the service and the fee the customers pay to get the products in their hands.

Re:Funny how Microsoft is just a supplier. . .. (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18711405)

Microsoft is also the publisher for Gears of War. The company owns the IP. So it's not a matter of telling someone else what they can charge, but deciding for themselves what to charge.

If Epic was publishing the game themselves, then they could make the decisions about what to charge.

Re:Funny how Microsoft is just a supplier. . .. (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18712195)

read a post from mark rein: http://gearsforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t= 567201&page=2 [epicgames.com]

here's a summary of the important points:

Why does Epic not have control over this even though we created this content on our own time and our own dime? Quite frankly Xbox Live Marketplace isn't our store. It's Microsoft's store. Like any retailer they have the right to figure out what goes on the shelves of their store and what price they sell it at. They spend the money to operate the store and deliver the content. They've also spent billions of dollars to create and build Xbox and subsidize it's the price so you can afford it and we can make games for it. As our publisher, they also invested tens of millions of dollars marketing Gears of War, and have done an awesome job for us, so they have a right to a good return on that investment.


Microsoft only marketed gears, they did not pay for the game to be made or have full control of the IP.

Too Expensive, Wasted Opportunity (1)

The Velour Fog (1087217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18709943)

He says that this isn't the comparable to iTunes and he's right, it isn't. You can't listen to them on your computer, burn the tracks to a cd or put them on a portable music player AND they're only covers of the originals. Yes, obviously they are interactive but he's right, we can't compare them to iTunes songs. Instead, lets compare them to the tracks that came with Guitar Hero 2.

There were 47 songs on Guitar Hero 1 and, at this price, they would cost close to $100 to download. That's the same as all of GH 2 costs. It comes with *72* songs AND includes the game software AND the guitar. How can that possibly be justified? The songs aren't even new, they already had most of the work done on them. Yes, they're now 5.1 and have bass guitar but they still had alot less to do then on new songs. I know there must be some cost in making the content downloadable, the bandwidth, testing the service and so on but be realistic, xbox live is a fairly mature service, many full games cost less then the cost of 1 bundle. He says the licensing is different from the PS2, but is it different to the packaged 360 tracks? If it's so much more expensive to license for download (which I'd say is fairly unlikely, considering they're covers), why not release them all as a boxed expansion pack?

He goes on to say the Leaderboard factors into the price. What? Why? They provide that service for the songs that come with the game, how is it more expensive to provide it for extra content too? Even if it is, I think most of us would prefer cheap content and no Leaderboard.

I own GH and GH 2 on the PS2 and I was going to buy the 360 version just for the downloadable content and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Infact it was one of the main reasons I bought an XBox 360. I was planning to buy all the original songs again (to play on the improved GH2 engine, hopefully making Cowboys from Hell on expert possible) for a reasonable price, say $20 - $30, but with this pricing, Red Octane/Microsoft have blown it. I'm a big fan of the games but $100 to download tracks I already have? I'll save my cash thanks.

As if everything else wasn't bad enough they sell the content in bundles of 3 songs so as to force you to buy the weaker songs along with the better ones.

Oh, and saying Microsoft are 'just the conduit' after them arguring against free Gears of War dlc is just insulting.

Re:Too Expensive, Wasted Opportunity (1)

revoemag (589206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710253)

please stop comparing this to Gears. The difference on gears is that they were the publisher of that game and thus having funded it, they own it and can make all the decisions about what content to release when and at what price. as for GH, this is activision's call. blame them if you want to blame anyone.

Re:Too Expensive, Wasted Opportunity (1)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18714491)

His entire argument went down the crapper when he brought up the cost of digital distribution. The costs of digital distribution are pennies on the dollar compared to physical medium.

Lets see:
Physical Medium:
1. Build engineer makes iso
2. Mastering lab creates discs
3. Engineers and testers test media
3. First party verifies test media
4. Artists create high resolution box art, disc art.
5. Mastering facility creates final discs and packaging
6. Game is assembled and shipped to warehouse
7. Game sits in warehouse.
8. Game is sold to retail distributor
9. Game is shipped to retail stores
10. Game sits in store, taking up inventory and shelf space

Digital Distribution:
1. Engineer creates downloadable content
2. QA tests downloadable content
3. First party QA tests downloadable content
4. [negligeable] Artist creates graphics for download patch based on existing content.
5. [negligeable] Content is delivered to MS XBLA servers

How is GH different than Karaoke Rev? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18710765)

I'm sorry, I am not buying Nelson's justifications one bit. Please explain to me how GH is any different than Karaoke Revolution?

Music based game revolving around licensed content (check)
Original was PS2 exclusive (check)
Later ported to the XBox (check)
Additional songs available on XBox Live (check)

Karaoke Revolution's price Per song = 1.00
Guitar Hero's Price per song = 2.00

Nelson says that Red Octane sets the pricing and that Microsoft is "just the conduit at this point". Wait a minute, didn't MS *force* Epic to charge for Gears of War content [gearsofwarrealm.com] they were going to give away for free? How does a simple "conduit" have pricing authority with Epic, but they are blameless whenever their customers feel they are getting overcharged?

You can't have it both ways MS, either you're just a passive middleman, tacking on your bit for offering the content, or you are at least partially responible for setting pricing. Which is it?

Whichever is most convenient at the time it would seem...

Re:How is GH different than Karaoke Rev? (1)

JNighthawk (769575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18712643)

The difference, I believe, is Microsoft published Gears of War whereas Harmonix published GH/GH2. Publisher's have a lot of influence.

Re:How is GH different than Karaoke Rev? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18716685)

Maybe the Karaoke people had the foresight to negiotiate multi-platform releases.

Maybe the copyright owners noticed that Guitar Hero is a hell of a lot more popular, and demanded more money.

Guys, this isn't at all new. Go check out DVD forums and listen to all the bitching about why music in old series needs to be replaced; because they didn't have the rights for home 'video' distribution, and to acquire them now would be damn expensive. Nowadays, it's all written into the contracts; music rights, actors appearing in the bonus features and commentaries, rights to bundle the commercials and trailers, and so on.

Re:How is GH different than Karaoke Rev? (1)

personman21 (762072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18722867)

Believe it or not, the Discovery Channel put up the cash to have the maps for GOW be free.

JIBE (2, Informative)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710911)

"their views jive with a lot of other commentators"

I think you mean "jibe," as in "be in accord; agree" and not "jive," as in "a form of dance or slang talk."

Re: JIBE (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18723245)

"their views jive with a lot of other commentators"

I think you mean "jibe," as in "be in accord; agree" and not "jive," as in "a form of dance or slang talk."


Give it up. There's no one who "edits" at Slashdot who is qualified to check spelling, grammar, or meaning, never mind check submissions for idiocy.

3 for $5... (1)

insanius (1058584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18717523)

ha, i remember going to the block for 3 for $5 deals, but they were always little baggies of a green leafy substance.

seriously though, $2 a song isn't that bad and i like the 3 for 5 talk, but even the cats on the block let me pick my baggies out of a handful...whats with these prepackaged groups? also, i want NEW songs not 'new to xbox' songs. if they released some genuinely new content and allowed me to choose the 3 songs i got in the pack, i would have no complaints.

Re:3 for $5... (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718525)

Just a heads up it's more like 3 to $6.25

But on the other hand I know people were willing to pay 2 dollars per song but now they are acting like this is too much? Go figure. Personally if I want the music it's a fair price, if I don't want the music it's not.

Alternatives (1)

cdneng2 (695646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18718909)

No, it's too expensive individually.
1) I still have my PS2, I can buy the entire Guitar Hero 1 WITH a guitar for a decent price... AND I get the guitar. Heck, I can get two guitars for that price.
2) If it IS that expensive, per Major Nelson, then sell the entire GH1 as a bundle for $89.99 with another guitar. I'd buy that.
They are attributing the higher price for the individual packaging. Whereas, if you bundled it up, it would be cheaper. No different than buying music singles versus the entire album. If that's the case, release Guitar Hero 1 for Xbox360, and they're guaranteed a more buyers.
I personally, am waiting for the Guitar Hero 3 (80s?) to come out.

Why not give them away? (1)

llevity (776014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18723469)

Seems to me, someone needs to start flexing some muscle.

Giving the songs away for free seems like it would create far more benefits for everyone involved.

1) RedOctane would benefit because word would spread, and more people would likely buy GH2.
2) Microsoft benefits because it'd probably draw more people to Xbox Live subscriptions. Perhaps #1 would even cause some people to buy Xbox360's to get the GH2 on the Xbox due to the free songs.
3) The song publishers would benefit because this is free, interactive airplay. Know how a song gets stuck in your head after hearing it on the radio? Playing it in the game increases this effect. I've bought many records I would normally not have bought or been exposed to due to listening to and playing them in GH1 and GH2.

Perhaps its too soon, but instead of begging publishers for the right to pay for using their song, I would think good PR could go to publishers and ask how much they're willing to pay to get their songs in the game. And smart publishers would line up.

Perhaps that's the tack Harmonix will take with their next game, Rock Band.

How many times can Microsoft shaft their customers (1)

Mark Gillespie (866733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18749013)

Unlimited it seems. Time and time again, Microsoft do something to shaft their customers, be it releasing new versions of consoles, before the last ones are dead (literally in the case of the 360!), or forcing Epic to make the GOW levels chargable.

Then they make you buy some crappy game to get on the 3 week Halo 3 beta, and then charge you again to buy the full game!

Now it seems when they are not releasing GH2 patches that brick your console, they are ripping of GH2 owners with expensive content...

so 360 owners, how many times do Microsoft have to shaft you before you look at the alternatives?

Re:How many times can Microsoft shaft their custom (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 7 years ago | (#18749875)

Unlimited it seems. Time and time again, Microsoft do something to shaft their customers, be it releasing new versions of consoles, before the last ones are dead (literally in the case of the 360!), or forcing Epic to make the GOW levels chargable.

How many times does someone have to post that Microsoft is the publisher for GoW, so it's totally not the same thing as the Guitar Hero songs? I don't like that they want us to pay, but it's totally their right as the publisher.

Then they make you buy some crappy game to get on the 3 week Halo 3 beta, and then charge you again to buy the full game!

There were two other ways to get into the Halo 3 Beta. If you spent 60 dollars on a game you didn't want to get the beta, well, that's your fault. Personally, I bought Crackdown because the demo was really fun, and I think it's an incredible game. The fact that it had a beta for Halo 3 was a bonus.

Now it seems when they are not releasing GH2 patches that brick your console, they are ripping of GH2 owners with expensive content...

There's a thread over at Evil Avatar asking if anyone had their consoles bricked. As of this morning, seems everyone's was still working who'd downloaded the patch. As for the price... if you don't like it... don't freaking buy it. Remember when there was an expansion for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter? It was fifteen freaking dollars (or more, I can't remember). I didn't like that either, so I didn't buy it. Problem solved.

Re:How many times can Microsoft shaft their custom (1)

Mark Gillespie (866733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751017)

Xbox Live? Xbox Dead more like..

Xbox 360 Guitar Hero 2 Xbox Live patch bricking many consoles.

http://forums.xbox.com/ShowPost.aspx...ostID=11717 177 [xbox.com]

http://www.destructoid.com/red-octan...se-30996.ph tml [destructoid.com]

http://forum.guitarherogame.com/Defa...=posts&t=17 747 [guitarherogame.com]

Surely all these are not isolated cases...

that's bs and he knows it (1)

rabbot (740825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18772743)

Why do these people think we are idiots? Their "justification" is pure garbage.

The 360 GH 2 was going to be my first GH purchase, but after seeing the ridiculous prices for the song packs, I decided to just pass on the game all together.

No sense in encouraging this behavior.
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