Breaking up is never an easy thing to do, especially when dealing with a long term relationship. Capcom; a long and glorious past, innovative and passionate ground breakers. This is the way I would have described Capcom up until a few years ago. For a long time this 3rd party giant was all about fan service, Capcom would sponsor and host crazy parties, game demos, blood drives, you name it. I had the pleasure of attending some of the aforementioned events, and while of course a lot of it was “viral” marketing, a lot of it was also for us, the fans. We didn’t have to worry about an upgrade to a game coming out six months down the road, upcoming promising titles being canceled, or on disc DLC. I trusted Capcom to be better than that. With more sub-par sequels than hadoukens in a shotokan fight, and business practices that liken that of industry tyrant EA, I can safely say that I have had enough. Capcom, it’s over.
Now, believe me, I understand better than most, the video game industry, just like any other is about making money. The thing is, it’s also about innovation, creativity, pushing the envelope. Instead of nickel and diming your loyal customers while hanging onto outdated marketing and business models, why not evolve? A great example of thinking outside the box would be the most recent Mortal Kombat by Warner Brothers. New fighters were released as paid DLC, an alternative “Season Pass” was also released to give a discount to anyone that wanted it all. To ensure compatibility with other online gamers that did not want to purchase add-ons, downloadable packs were released that would update the game as well as give away free outfits. So, you download a free update to correct bugs, make updates, and ensure compatibility and you get rewarded. Almost a year later the game was re-released as Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition with all DLC on disc. This gave an alternate means of having the final version of the game. Is this perfect? No. Is it forward thinking? Yes. Is it better than telling your customer that they don’t actually own everything on the disc they just spent $59.99 on? Hell yes!
If you are unaware, what I am referencing is Capcom’s latest debacle, Street Fighter X Tekken. A plethora of content is “locked” away on the disc and inaccessible unless you pay for it as DLC. This content is finished, entirely complete, and even though you paid for the disc/game you cannot access it unless you shell out more money. 12 additional characters are stored on the disc along with alternate costumes for every character, 50 characters in all. If that isn’t bad enough, five more characters are Sony exclusives. Now, it’s a tight race for who has sold more consoles between Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3, but currently Microsoft seems to have a slight advantage. So if the Xbox 360 is your system of choice, which it is for somewhere around 66 million consumers, then you are out of luck. One of the online play modes was also excluded on the 360, being that Xbox Live has such a huge user base this decision can only leave me wondering what the hell they were thinking.
Ultimately, the gaming community has spoken up about some of these terrible choices by filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau and there are tangible results. Capcom’s overall score dropped from an A+ to a B, deservingly so. Another one of Capcom’s latest releases; Asura’s Wrath has also raised more than a few complaints regarding DLC. Extra episodes marketed as “The True Conclusion to Asura’s Wrath” have been launched as paid DLC. I would compare this to buying a movie and not getting to watch the last 10 minutes without paying for that separately at a later date. Now, there was an ending on the game disc, but this has to be some of the worst marketing I’ve ever heard of. This is not everything, these are only the most recent in a long list of shady practices.
I have supported Capcom for over two decades, I treasured the original Mega Man series on the NES, and I will love and play Street Fighter, more than likely for the rest of my life. Does Capcom still make good games? The truth is yes, they do, although, I do not believe the games they make today are the caliber of the games that they made in the past. Innovation, seems to be in short supply.
Capcom, it’s time to evolve or die. As much as I’ve loved your games over the years, at this point I can no longer support you. If I do buy a Capcom game, you can bet that it will be a used copy, I hate to do that, but you are undeserving of my money with your current business practices. I will remember the good times and I will always hope for the return of the company that was innovative, passionate, and cared about their loyal customers. Until that day comes, I simply cannot support you anymore.