While most gamers are busy salivating over the PS4, retro gaming fans have a lot to look forward to over the next few months, thanks to the debut of the Capcom Live Arcade Cabinet on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.
Between Feb. 19 and May 21, Capcom is releasing 15 of its arcade games from the 1980′s. The games are optimized for HD and include well-known titles such as Ghosts n’ Goblins, Commando and 1942, as well as lesser known games like Black Tiger, Trojan and The Speed Rumbler.
The games will be released first in packs of three, and then individually. On May 21, the entire collection (including two more bonus titles) will be released as a single bundle. Aside from the titles themselves, what really stands out about the collection is the features Capcom created around those games.
Buying one or more of the collection’s titles gives players access to the Capcom Live Arcade platform. In addition to the standard features like online leaderboards, the platform also allows online play for all two player titles and a dip-switch functionality that allows player to adjust the difficulty setting and the number of lives for each game. Every game also includes a “casual” mode to make the game easier to beat and a “training mode”, which gives players an infinite number of lives.
Playing the games on PlayStation 3 allows users to capture video of their gameplay and upload it to Youtube. Xbox 360 users can take screen shots and upload them to Facebook. Players who purchase one or more of the collection’s titles will also have access to an audio library of music from their purchased game.
While the actual content of the collection is worth checking out, the release schedule and pricing structure leave something to be desired.
Individual titles cost $3.99 or 320 Microsoft Points. The packages, which contain three titles each, cost $9.99 or 800 MSP (except the first package which costs $4.99/400 MSP). The entire collection will cost $29.99, or 2000 MSP when it becomes available in May.
Those prices mean each pack will cost close to $50 and buying each title individually will cost nearly $60, compared to $29.99 for the entire collection. With that pricing setup you are better off either buying just the individual titles you want to play, or waiting until May to pick up the entire collection.
There’s really no reason why Capcom couldn’t have released the individual games and the entire collection right up front. It’s hard not to look at the current structure of the releases as anything else but Capcom once again looking to squeeze a few more bucks out of consumers.
Right now, there is little love lost between some gamers and Capcom, due in large-part to the company’s own questionable sales tactics. The way they have gone about offering gamers this collection will do little to change the public’s perception. Releasing all the games at once might mean less profit for Capcom, but it also could have helped them regain some of the consumer confidence and good will they’ve squandered in recent years. Instead they simply fed into a damaging narrative.
In the end, the Capcom Live Arcade Cabinet is a great purchase for those with a soft spot for the games of their youth, and younger gamers curious about Capcom’s history. However, buyers should be aware that they could potentially overpay now for content they can get later for a better price.