The Batman: Arkham City DLC debacle

What constitutes a good launch for a game? If it was me, I’d look for at least a few decent reviews of the game from all the outlets that had been sent it and then peruse over the sales  to see if they meet expectation. In a perfect world, maybe there’d be a story in the national press of a copy of my game saving someone’s life in an unfortunate lawnmower and garden gnome incident, but I certainly would be hoping that nothing goes wrong with what I’m selling. If all these things went to plan, I’d say that, “yeah, that was a good launch, let’s congratulate ourselves by hiring some strippers!”.

We would redecorate the office for every new game

Batman: Arkhum City hasn’t had the best launch. First there’s the news that collector’s editions of the game are coming with DVD copies, rather than Blu-rays of Gotham Knight as advertised. No biggy, though, as all the content is still there, plus with big releases there’s bound to be a teething issue. One mistake I can forgive.

But what’s that, Batman? You have more to tell me? Well, go ahead you caped crusader of the night… oh, your DLC codes don’t work? No, that’s not it, come on Bats, speak up! Ah, your DLC codes are missing. Well, that must be a pain if you want to play as Robin in the non-story sections. A poor move, Bats, but I guess I can forgive you for such an indiscretion if it doesn’t affect the main bread and butter of the game… oh, you mean the Catwoman bits too. Ah.

Yay! Free paper!

The main problem with this whole situation is the lack of codes for the online-pass-in-all-but-name for content which is meant to include the Catwoman sections of the game. This was advertised as 10% of the main game and potentially an integral part of the plot. It was bad seeing this sort of code be included in a single player game, completely negating all arguments that companies had been making about the use of online passes before (server costs, apparently), but it’s appalling to see this content missing from new copies of the game, content which has been paid full-whack for and has been locked away even though it’s on the disc.

And in true ‘complaining-article’ fashion, things get worse. Warner Bros want those affected to jump through hoops in order to receive what they’ve paid for. This is perhaps even worse than the crime of not putting the codes in the box, given that consumers now have to prove that the copy they got is new, with receipts and pictures required. Given that even Ubisoft, dark lord and masters of instrusive DRM and online codes, decided that they would remove the online pass needed for Driver: San Francisco, it really stinks the place out that Warner are treating their customers like this.

So no, Warner Bros, your launch has not been ‘highly successful’. It may have garnered rave reviews, but this isn’t good enough. You’re about as competent as Joel Schumacher’s movies.


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