Street Fighter X Tekken is coming to PlayStation Vita this fall. If you’re a fan, you’ll be happy to know that the PS Vita port is damned impressive. The 5-inch OLED display really highlights the game’s colorful art design, and serves up plenty of real estate for comfortably viewing the pokes, combos, specials, and supers.
Despite the game’s quality, a sense of wrongness cascaded me as I sat on a bench in front of a large monitor at a recent Capcom media event. I stared, eyes wide, at a monitor as I battled a Capcom representative in a cross platform match. I controlled King on the PS Vita, while he handled Blanka on the PS3. The demo showcased Street Fighter X Tekken’s cross-play functionality that allows PS Vita and PS3 gamers to mix it up regardless on which Sony platform they play. I thoroughly enjoyed the session — the responsive controls kept the fist and feet flying — but I couldn’t help to feel that creeping thing. That impending doom.
Then the bomb dropped. The Capcom rep mentioned that gamers who purchase Street Fighter X Tekken for PS Vita will have the opportunity to download the Vita-exclusive characters to the PS3 free of charge.
Normally, I’d be all over “free,” but Capcom’s definition of “free” may be a tad different than yours. You see, Capcom’s created a ladder of greed that represents everything wrong with DLC in 2012. Let’s analyze everything wrong with the Street Fighter X Tekken DLC experience, shall we?
The PS Vita and PS3 versions feature five Sony-exclusive characters: Cole MacGrath, Toro, Kuro, Pac-Man, and NES box-art Mega Man. On top of that, the PS Vita version has an additional 12 default PS Vita characters, which include six fighters from both the Capcom and Tekken camps: Guy, Cody, Blanka, Sakura, Elena, Dudley, Alisa, Lars, Bryan, Jack-X, Christie, and Lei. That brings both Sony versions’ rosters up to an incredible 55 characters, just short of Marvel vs. Capcom 2’s 56. But getting all the characters — oh, that’s where the fun begins.
Xbox 360 gamers are at the bottom of the ladder. The 360 version lacks five Sony exclusive characters, leaving Xbox owners with a smaller roster. Say what you will about those extra characters, but human nature demands that you want things denied you. And let’s not even get into the inability of two local players to take their teams online to fight others–a mode advertised on the box.
PS3 gamers have a right to fume, too. Although Sony’s version has the five bonus characters that the 360 version lacks, it’s missing, by default, the dozen exclusive characters announced for the PS Vita version. Well, that’s not entirely true. Intrepid haxorz discovered that the 12 extra fighters are actually locked on the Street Fighter X Tekken console discs; characters that Capcom will release as a $20 DLC pack . The fan outrage toward this revelation is understandably, and justifiably, fiery. Capcom’s stated that it’s re-evaluating its DLC approach–whatever that means.
PS Vita gamers get the PS3 version’s exclusive characters, plus the aforementioned 12 Vita-exclusive characters. Capcom is so gracious as to give PS3 owners the PS Vita characters for free — if they drop coin (which I assume will be in the $30-$40 range) on the PS Vita version.
I understand a company’s desire to make money. I have no false image of Capcom’s head honchos as commune-living, hemp-smoking Pollyannas. But for Capcom to nudge gamers into paying for characters that already exist on the disc that they have in their game systems is ethically wrong. Remember the time when you could unlock costumes and characters simply by playing a game?
But, whatever. We live in an era where corporate greed runs rampant, so I suppose the gaming industry is no different. Gamers will be the ones who make or break this scheme. Every dollar spent on this roster and DLC abuse is a thumb’s up for the mindset behind it.
As for me? I’m happy to pass. I can feed the beast no longer.