Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (TFFCC) is an amazing game. I just purchased it two days ago and have already logged in 7 hours. The game is a music/rhythm game in the vein of Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution, only with Final Fantasy songs, characters, and quests.
In short, this is the game I’ve been waiting years for and it’s a game that justifies the purchase of a 3DS. The game features over 200 songs from every major and minor FF game, plus allows you to play as 60 different characters.
Just watch the trailer above to really understand what this game is about.
TFFCC contains a vast amount of content—so, so much music and so many game modes—that I’ll be busy with this game for dozens of hours.
But Square Enix is blessing the fans even further by offering DLC featuring more tracks and more characters.
How could this go wrong?
Simple: charge too much for the DLC.
I’ve never been one to buy DLC. Being a Nintendo fan, DLC wasn’t really an option on Nintendo games until late. The first DLC I ever purchased was the Mario Kart 8 DLC (most of which hasn’t been delivered yet). I’m very familiar with the concept, and I understand all the arguments gamers have against it.
I don’t have anything against the concept of DLC, per se. Being able to add new content to old games is one way to keep them fresh, as long as the price point is reasonable. After all, you’ve already spent $40-60 on a game.
To figure out the value of DLC, I take the amount of content in the original game and divide it into the purchase price of the game. In other words, how much did I pay, on average, for each level, track, dungeon, quest, etc., in the original game? Then, I compare that price to the cost of DLC. If the price of the original content is equivalent to the DLC, then it’s a good deal.
In the case of TFFCC, let’s do the math. The standalone game contains 221 songs and 60 playable characters: 281 pieces of content, not counting all of the various game modes, which is hard to put a price on. I bought the game new for $40, so that means each song and playable character is worth $0.14. What an amazing deal! And if we factored in the cost of the game modes, the real price of a song or playable character might be closer to $0.10.
Now, let’s compare that to the DLC. Currently you can buy 41 extra songs and 5 extra characters. Likely more content will be added in the future. According to this interview with Theatryhthm producer Ichiro Hazama, TFFCC will be the last Theatrhythm game, serving as the “base” upon which new content will be offered in the form of DLC. I like that model in theory, but not in execution.
Each song or downloadable character costs $0.99! Compare that to the original cost of this content, $0.10-0.14, and you can see that this DLC is far overpriced. To get all DLC right now, you’d have to spend $46—$6 more than the cost of the base game! And you’d only be getting 20% of the songs 8% of the characters.
Does this model seem fair to anybody? It certainly doesn’t for me.
So what would I be willing to pay for extra songs? Offering songs à la carte is cool, but I’d rather have the songs bundled together, maybe by game, like a bundle of FFXIII songs, a bundle of FFVII, etc. I think $0.20 per song would be appropriate (while still being more costly than the original songs), so a $5 bundle consisting of 25 extra songs, or 20 extra songs and 5 additional characters.
That sounds like a deal to me.
Square Enix can still change their prices. Maybe if enough gamers refuse to buy this overpriced DLC, they’ll be forced to reconsider their business model.
Not that I’m hurting for content right now. I’ll probably be just satisfied with the game if I never purchase DLC: there are so many great songs included with the game already! But because this is an option, and there are so many awesome tracks excluded from this game, I’d very much like to buy DLC in the future.
But only if the price is right.
Small update: 10/28/2014
After I wrote this post last week, I emailed Square Enix my concerns, saying much of what I wrote here. Finding an adequate customer service email for general comments proved quite challenging. I ended up submitting my thoughts through the Theatrhythm customer support forum, the kind of forum that’s supposed to be used for technical issues and whatnot. Within a couple days, they responded with:
Thank you for contacting SQUARE ENIX support,
We appreciate your feedback. It will be forwarded to my superiors. Thank you for taking the time to contact us today and we look forward to your opinions of our upcoming titles.
Thank you for contacting the SQUARE ENIX Support Center.
Pretty standard form response. I really didn’t expect them to personally address the issues I have with DLC, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.
Maybe if enough people complain about the cost of the DLC (or don’t buy it) they’ll lower the prices.