Dawnguard on Xbox 360? In attendance. Dawnguard on PC? Late, but you're lucky you made it. Dawnguard on PS3? Dawnguard on PS3? Bueller? Okay, jokes aside, things are looking pretty grim for Bethesda right now.
I can't go a day without hearing about the whole "Dawnguard being absent from PS3" or "Dawnguard doesn't work on PS3". Hell, I'm lucky that Dawnguard made it on the PC. You know, the original platform that The Elder Scrolls series started on? Please don't go into a flame war about PC being better than Xbox or Playstation because those are pointless and stupid. I am merely making an observation about where Bethesda's priorities and ideas are. Hence, this is the point of my article.
Yes, I know that I gave Skyrim a 9 out of 10 in my review here, but I'm not talking about the game, I'm talking about Bethesda. Quite frankly, they handled Dawnguard in the worst way possible. First off, everyone knew Dawnguard was on its way. Everyone who loved Skyrim was gearing up for it, playing through the game again one more time, and pacing with anticipation. Here's my little rendition of what Bethesda told its consumers about Dawnguard's progression and eventual sale:
Bethesda: Guess what, kiddies? Dawnguard is going to be available very soon.
Bethesda: But on the Xbox 360 first.
Bethesda: Yeah, Microsoft called dibs. Oh, but don't worry. Thirty days after that release, it will be released on PS3 and PC. So you're looking at late July to get it.
Wonderful. As if Microsoft can't be criticized enough for being money grubbing corporate a-holes, now they got Dawnguard first before PC and PS3 owners. That is one the stupidest business practices ever. Limited time DLC is not practical or logical. If Skyrim can be released in one week for three separate platforms, why is the expansion being divided?
I don't want to come off as angry or cynical here, but the response from the community is not good. Bethesda has been heavily criticized as "favoring" the Xbox over other platforms. Others claim that Microsoft "paid off" Bethesda to get Dawnguard first. Whatever the case (because really who knows what the real reason is), Bethesda is standing on shaky ground. What's more, the second fault lies on the fact that they missed their target date for the release of Dawnguard on PS3 and PC.
I can't tell you how many PS3 and PC owners I talked to about the limited time DLC Microsoft had that they were incredibly disappointed when hearing that. Even then, when they learned that no word has been made on the release of the expansion on PS3 and PC that disappointment started to turn into resentment. Thus, this is where Bethesda took more heat for their business practices.
To top it all off, Pete Hines (VP of PR and Marketing for Bethesda) tweeted this last month: "We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given a timeline for any such news. If we have news, I promise I'd tell you.” Thing is Bethesda did. Numerous articles and sources clarified that the limited time DLC for Microsoft would result in PC and PS3 getting it 30 days later. You are not doing a good job as Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing if you say things like that! Your goal is to build bridges between your company and your consumers, not burn bridges. You're only going to piss people off if your words can be turned against you and turned against you they were.
Nevertheless, despite the backlash Hines took, PC owners were pleasantly surprised, if not shocked, when they found Dawnguard available to purchase on Steam. No announcements, no tweets, no nothing. How were we supposed to know? It's like one day we're going through Steam looking for new games to check out what's there and the next day BOOM! Dawnguard for twenty dollars! Here it is! Really?! Would have been nice to have had a heads up.
Meanwhile, PS3 owners are just as shocked as PC owners are and want answers. Why has Dawnguard not come out for the PS3 yet? Bethesda answer back with saying that Dawnguard is not performing well on the PS3 and that they are trying to fix it. Considering that the PS3 version is riddled with bugs and glitches this was nothing new as of news to PS3 owners. Patches have reportedly helped, but Dawnguard having trouble on the PS3 is very troubling.
Once again, however, Bethesda has gone under fire as their new expansion Hearthfire will be made available on Xbox Live. PS3 owners further criticize Bethesda of this announcement because Dawnguard is still not available to them. Further, this makes PS3 owners believe that Bethesda is "favoring" the Xbox 360 over their console...again.
With their upcoming new intellectual property, Dishonored, on the horizon it would appear as though that Bethesda might suffer big time. Many people who own a PC and PS3 are claiming that they will never buy another Bethesda game because of their business practices or that they will buy the game but only if it's used. If anything, I'm seeing that only a handful of gamers are willing to forgive Bethesda and get Dishonored anyway.
Personally, I think that it's a real shame that this is happening. Believe it or not, Bethesda is good at what they do. They wouldn't get acclamations and awards for nothing. While there could be problems in their games, in the overall scope of things, a majority of people genuinely love their games. Bethesda wouldn't be where they are right now if they weren't doing a good job. It's just that as a company they have made some serious mistakes over the passed few months regarding Dawnguard and Hearthfire.
I really hope that Dishonored will get its time in the lime light because it looks like a great game. It's one of my highly anticipated games of this year. I can poke and prod this whole Dawnguard and PS3 thing to death with my jokes, but my true feelings on it are centered more on disappointment and frustration.
Disappointment because Bethesda took so long to deliver Dawnguard to the PC and because I really thought they were smarter than this in that they knew better than to not piss off their consumers. Frustration because of the timed exclusive DLC with Microsoft. It's a stupid business decision. I can understand if there's an exclusive game for a system (i.e. Gears of War, Super Mario Galaxy, and Infamous), but I don't understand making an expansion pack exclusive to one system, despite it being on a limited schedule, seems sound when the game was released on three different platforms. I really hope things will look up for both PS3 owners and Bethesda because if it doesn't, then Bethesda is going to be sitting in hot water more so than they already have.