So unless you permanently live under a rock and cling to your Pentium III running Windows 98 as if it’s some sort of metaphorical children’s blanket or teddy bear, obviously you know that E3 2017 is in full swing, and Turn 10 Studios have taken the wraps off of Forza Motorsport 7 – which will be landing on store shelves this November. Boasting upwards of 700 cars at launch – including Porsche and Volkswagen, which were either added in much later via downloadable expansion packs, or left out entirely – as well as something like 38 unique locations, dynamic weather, and avatar customization, Forza Motorsport 7 will easily become the most anticipated racing game of the next two years.
Considering the simulation will also be available on the Windows 10 marketplace for PC owners – a first for the core Forza Motorsport franchise – a whole lot of people are looking forward to messing around with the limitless Forza experience on home computers, as the sim racing scene has traditionally been dominated by no-nonsense software that has remained virtually unchanged since the days of F1 Challenge 99-02. Offering a full career mode, car collecting meta-game, extensive upgrading system, and unique community features that even the big titles like iRacing and Project CARS have yet to scratch the surface of, there’s a lot of hype for what Forza brings to the table – even if the driving model is a bit simplistic as we touched on in our review of Forza Motorsport 6: Apex.
Yet upon revealing the pre-order options to the general public – which offer three distinct ways to purchase the game, with an increasing amount of pre-order “perks” with each tier – Turn 10 is facing an immense backlash from the Forza Motorsport community, and as the title of this post suggests, they’re basically being torn a new asshole at this point. Comments on the official Forza franchise Facebook page are overwhelmingly negative, criticizing Turn 10 for blatantly ripping off their customers with a shady downloadable content plan that puts a time limit on the season pass people are paying extra for, resulting in two waves of DLC; the latter of which is not covered by the already expensive ultimate edition.
The hostility originally stems from how the massive studio handled last years’ Forza Horizon 3 pre-order bonuses. Like what has been depicted above in the Forza 7 pre-order breakdown, Turn 10 gave fans the option of paying a premium price – upwards of $100 USD – for an “Ultimate Edition” of Forza Horizon 3, essentially paying up front for all of the game’s car packs and expansion bundles, which would then automatically be downloaded into the user’s game the moment they became available. It’s obviously a steep price to pay for the standard video game entry fee of $60, but the additional price was advertised as a convenience of sorts; users making one sole transaction ahead of of time for all downloadable content that would be released for the game.
Yet in a highly questionable display, Turn 10 put a finite end to the Ultimate Edition’s perks. Users thought they would receive all Forza Horizon 3 downloadable content for the price of the Ultimate Edition they pre-ordered as early as July of 2016, only to discover the “car pass” that came with the Ultimate Edition was only valid for the first handful of DLC releases, and better yet, did not apply to both the Blizzard Mountain and Hot Wheels expansion packs. As one user on Facebook explains, he had paid $130 up front for an alleged premium edition of Forza Horizon 3 whilist under the impression all of this content would be included in his purchase, only to be stiffed by the company and told there was a second wave of DLC the premium edition didn’t cover, which took another $68 out of his wallet.
So for those who wanted the full Forza Horizon 3 experience, they were out a whopping $190 USD. This is an absurd price to pay for any video game considering the market has soft-locked the cost of a new piece of software at $60, and you can purchase an entire used console from this generation for roughly the same price as acquiring all content in Forza Horizon 3. And this wasn’t the first time Turn 10 had pulled this stunt; it also occurred in Forza Motorsport 6 – Turn 10 sold a premium edition of Forza 6 bundled with a season pass, only to continue pushing out DLC well after the season pass had expired.
It’s blatantly nickel & diming customers far beyond what they should pay for a single piece of software.
“If you don’t like the DLC, don’t buy it” – Forza Motorsport Fanboy/Shill
This is a common argument I see across the Forza Motorsport community, and here’s why I feel it’s not valid in the slightest.
The Forza franchise is at it’s core a game that relies on mass car collecting as one of it’s main gameplay elements. People love opening up the showroom, scrolling through a list of cars, and handing over the in-game credits to call one their own and put it through it’s paces. That’s just part of the fun in car culture games like Forza or Gran Turismo; it’s not so much the racing or the driving physics or the offbeat challenges; it’s the act of opening a virtual Hot Wheels display case, and saying “that one’s mine, and I’m going to upgrade it and draw dicks all over it.”
So the principle of placing a portion of this experience that’s the life and soul of the Forza franchise behind a paywall, and then doubling said paywall by imposing a bogus expiration date on the first paywall, is a diabolical way to manipulate gamers into giving Turn 10 far more money than that experience is actually worth. Remember, this same car culture experience that we saw in Gran Turismo 4, and previous iterations of the Forza franchise, has now been inflated to $200.
People generally don’t mind forking over an additional $30 for a season pass on top of a $50 game because they know in the end it’s at least adding to an integral portion of the game – car collecting – but going a step further and metaphorically tipping these individuals upside down so all the change falls out of their pockets and they wind up spending almost the whole cost of a console for a few more virtual Hot Wheels in their collection, that’s dirty as fuck. Come on, Turn 10. You are the leading racing game developer across the entire video game landscape, and yet at the height of your popularity, with the most money the company’s ever made in your history, you respond to your financial & critical success by “thanking” the fans who helped you get there with an intrusive DLC scheme that only benefits the company’s bottom line and makes your loyal fans question how much they’ll spend this year?
Naw dude. That’s not cool.
Here’s to hoping that the public backlash Turn 10 are receiving for the Forza Motorsport 7 DLC plan will make them re-calculate their approach and go back to a more reasonable all-encompassing season pass format in time for the game’s launch this fall. If not, they only have themselves to blame for the inevitable Jewish conspiracy memes that will no doubt flood their forums once the second batch of Forza Motorsport 7 hits in the spring of 2018, angering season pass holders who were under the impression their special pre-order perks would go a lot further than just six uninspiring car packages, conveniently running out just in time for the pricey title expansions.