Game releases seem to get more complicated every year: not only does BioWare and EA's Anthem have an awkward release schedule that's become the subject of criticism and memes from other developers, players, and the media, but many are forgetting that upcoming looter shooter competitor Tom Clancy's The Division 2's offerings are even more absurd.
In the past, online games such as these often use alpha and beta to let players test the game's servers and live services, and then there's a set release date for everyone, and sometimes a demo to let players try it out. But there is a growing trend in the industry with publishers trying something a little different. Capcom decided to launch a free demo of Resident Evil 2 that allowed gamers to try out 30 minutes of the game. That makes sense. EA, though, goes even further with their flagship releases and for Anthem, it caused confusion and negative buzz in how they handled the demo versus VIP demo, and how it's handling the game's release date.
Anthem players will get to play the game based on the console they own and the subscription service they may be paying for. For example, PC users with subscriptions to EA's expensive Origin Access Premier will get full access to Anthem on February 15. However, those players who purchased the Legion of Dawn Edition of the title won't get early access at all. The release schedule for Anthem is so confusing that EA posted a chart on Twitter attempting to explain it. This led to a variety of players posting memes poking fun at the complicated schedule, as well as complaining about its unnecessary complexity. Here's one:
Fellow publisher Ubisoft wants in on the action in confusing players with over-the-top offerings too. The company plans on doing something similar with the release of Tom Clancy's The Division 2. The title, which is currently available for pre-order, has six editions from which players can choose, ranging in price from $60 for just the game to $250 for the Phoenix Shield Collector's Edition.
Kotaku reports, though, that some of those editions come with added benefits. Although Ubisoft recently announced that all DLC for The Division 2 would be free to all players, those who buy the more expensive editions of the game get that DLC earlier than other players. Here we go again. Those paying the cash for the most costly three editions also get larger item stashes than players who pay for less expensive versions of the game. Pay to win? Sort of?
Many players feel that these kinds of promotions only serve to split the player base, giving those with more money an unfair advantage over those who can only afford the standard edition of the game. It also makes Ubisoft out to be slightly dishonest because The Division 2 DLC isn't technically free for those who want it at the same time as those who paid for more expensive editions of the game. It certainly feels like a money grab gone too far, especially considering that Ubisoft also hasn't completely ruled out offering loot boxes in the title.
This is precisely the kind of thing that makes players turn their backs on games released by big publishers such as Ubisoft and EA, and the backlash will only hurt those companies' titles going forward. What's even more frustrating is that these publishers aren't offering these details up front or early enough and players usually don't learn about these things until they have already purchased a title, leaving them confused about what they have paid for. The simple fact that there are buyers investing in games pre-release, getting less than others is insane. This will only erode the trust that players have in these publishers and hurt the entire industry in the long run.
That being said, our own Rob Keyes went hands-on with the game last week and had very positive things to say about the experience. It's too bad the launch is so convoluted.
Sources: EA, Ubisoft
- Anthem (2019 Video Game) release date: