Confessions of a Stimulus Pack owner

April 7, 2010, Author: Neil Hughes

Over the past seven days here at This Is My Joystick, I have been called names such as ‘moron’ and ‘mug’. What have I done to deserve this? I hear you ask. I pleaded guilty to the crime of downloading the MW2 Stimulus Package for 1200 MS Points, or £10.20 in real money. This simple, and some would say weak, act is something that has split the gaming community as tensions rise.

Every man has a weakness and a guilty gaming pleasure, and mine happens to be playing Call of Duty at the end of a bad day with a few bottles of Stella. I’m man enough to take responsibility for my actions and gaming sins, so I plead guilty as charged to you all.

As the majority of you will now know, this particularly expensive DLC package includes only three brand new multiplayer maps which are Bailout, Storm and Salvage, as well as re-workings of two classic Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare maps, Crash and Overgrown. Sadly there are no extra Special Pps modes and no extra achievements, essentially the new price point for only three new maps and two old ones is what has got so many people’s backs up.

This is fair, especially when you consider the vast selection of full and original games on Xbox Live and Indie Games that are available for a cheaper price and represent much better value for money. For example Perfect Dark is 400 Microsoft points cheaper than this now infamous MW2 map package. I purchased the full Modern Warfare 2 game on release for £25.99 from a well known supermarket so this means that the latest update is nearly half the price I spent on the actual game itself.

The cost was nearly overshadowed by the shenanigans that occurred upon the Stimulus Pack’s release. Because of a “process failure” during its deployment and a rather embarrassed Eric Neustadter wrote on the Xbox Live Operations Blog “Through a process failure on our part, the Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package was released this morning before the Title Update (TU) for MW2 was available.”

Twitter and Gaming Forums were full of comments regarding the overpriced maps not even working, making it the most talked about DLC release but for all the wrong reasons.

A quick look in any dictionary for the word stimulus will raise a smile to anyone who appreciates a sense of irony and makes me wonder Infinity Ward is having yet another laugh at our expense.

Stimulus: Something causing or regarded as causing a response.

There is a rapid uprising forming against DLC as more and more gamers are simply getting pissed off with the growing culture by developers to fleece gamers at every opportunity, and the mainstream media which seem to be supporting and promoting the whole concept by falling over themselves to publish glowing reviews. However the arrival of both the very poor “Game Room” and the highly-priced and problematic MW2 DLC within a few weeks of each other seems to have tipped many people over the edge and opinions on DLC are changing, make no mistake.

Welcome to the digital era where people pay vast amounts of money for things that don’t actually exist; a friend of mine paid nearly £10 for a full Star Wars outfit including helmet for his Avatar, but in the words of rockers Twisted Sister: We’re not gonna take it!

This is the beauty of the internet, independent websites and social networking websites such as twitter are enabling people to reject what they are being spoon-fed by the mainstream media, which is “buy these maps now, forget the price they are great and worth it.”

The gaming industry has moved quickly to embrace the benefits that come with DLC but if the trend to become lazy and produce overpriced content with lower quality continues, the ripples of this backlash will turn into a much bigger wave.

Infinity Ward’s community manager Robert Bowling has recently fired back at Modern Warfare 2 detractors in an interview with CVG, saying the “backlash hasn’t hurt the game because they’re still playing the game.

It was when I read this that the penny finally dropped; I’m a walking talking hypocrite, but then the recent This Is My Joystick interview with Rufus Hound hit the nail on the head when he said “will people still buy them? Of course. Basic economics 101: If people will pay a tenner, don’t sell it for a fiver.”

Maybe, just maybe, gamers need a new bogey man, it seemed for years EA were the big corporate monster that gamers loved to hate for churning out the same games several times a year but now in 2010, we prefer Fifa to PES and some Battlefield to COD. No doubt I will continue to try and get my moneys-worth from my expensive purchase, but looking at this article the question I must ask myself is ‘Why did I not put this £10.20 towards Battlefield Bad Company 2?’

Please forgive me gamers for I have sinned. What are your thoughts on the Stimulus Pack and the general direction that DLC is heading?