So I have been seeing this controversy involving two blogs, the second trying to further detail the first, about this whole issue with Grand Theft Auto IV's (GTA4) downloadable content (DLC). According the the blog on The Bit Bag (has anyone heard of this blog before?), he was at the Microsoft "Blogger Breakfast" which was held at the beginning of the GDC 2008 show. I previously didn't know that they did such a thing, and there was no prior mention of this ever taking place on sites such as Gamepro.com or IGN.com (you know, more creditable sites). One of their claims is about the GTA4's DLC being all Microsoft's. As we all know, Microsoft paid 50 Mil for two exclusive mission packs. That wasn't what the first impression was, however. This was written with the notion (and intent?) of sounding like it held exclusives to ALL DLC material (including a single car you might want to download for the game) now and forever. This would be a crushing blow to the PS3...if it were true. Apparently, it was far from it, even though the people responding suddenly took it as truth.
However, one should only look between the lines of the bullet points and the "clarification" afterwards to see that the rumor wasn't just killed, it was aborted before it was even born.
For one, there was no mention that this announcement was even given at the banquet (can we officially call this blogger breakfast a banquet?). All that was given officially was a look at the first of the two exclusive mission pack they would get. Now, I'm not saying this was a bad move by Rockstar. Microsoft needed something extra since, for one, the medium the 360 uses, a dual layer DVD, holds so much LESS than the PS3 medium (the Blu Ray disc). I don't mind that at all (and before anyone puts a fanboy label on me, I own Fable for the PC, am still considering getting a 360, and defended Microsoft over the FOX News issue with Mass Effect). Since the Blu Ray disc can hold up to 50 GB, it may actually be possible that the PS3 version may already HAVE the content that the 360 players will receive via the exclusive packs (for all we know, as Rockstar seems to be hush hush about any details). This and that the GTA franchise has always been made with the PS specs and controller in mind. Fair trade off, maybe: Exclusive content, or possibility of a familiar control configuration layout?
However, what I WOULD have a problem with is anyone using backdoor methods like what Davis' blog suggested. For one, that would've screamed "anti-trust suit" for Sony to use against both Rockstar and Microsoft. Backdoor method can be defined as any method that is used "behind the scenes" and without knowledge in order to gain an upper hand without anyone else being known about it. Reason it would be a backdoor: Not a single gaming news outlet, besides Davis' blog and this site, mentioned the bullet points. Hell, no one outside the blogsphere had even hinted about the banquet happening. Also, many other media outlets just about confirmed that both platforms would receive the DLC material sans the exclusive mission packs. To make matters even more comfortable, this site was linking to at least 4 or 5 stories that picked up an unconfirmed rumor, one that has not been denied by Rockstar, that more packs are coming that won't be exclusive by a longshot, and could still turn out to be PS3 exclusive. Hell, even the two exclusive packs were hinted as being timed exclusives (which means after a period that could take up to six months, Microsoft will lose the exclusive rights and then Rockstar is free from that contract), and if the streak of false claims like that exclusive multiplayer thing comes from Microsoft, then Rockstar will be thinking twice before long about taking that money (assuming they wouldn't be already). Also, at this point when we still are well aware of all other DLC material being avaliable for both platforms, if Rockstar went about sealing everything ELSE as exclusive to Microsoft, that would also endanger Rockstar to bait and switch (since I could see many people committing to a certain system to reserve the game on), which is also illegal. Rockstar, I'm sure, is too smart to put themselves in that position.
Also, if you don't think DLC matters, just look at the amount of DLC material that Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series gets, and how many people pay for and download those (I currently have the PS3 and the Wii, in case you're wondering). Basically, DLC DOES matter, and it will to GTA as much as it has for those two games.
All that aside, what about the other big claim, that the content will expand on the GTA4 universe the same way the spinoff games did for GTA3 (Vice City and San Andreas). THAT would be a stretch. Again, each pack was to be adding about 10 hours of additional gameplay, but a expansion such as that would add, lets say, 50 hours and take MUCH more manpower than anyone at Rockstar could have to employ, let alone know how much space that would take on one's hard drive. Of course, this claim got really interesting in the "clarification", and this claim is what untimely aborted the unborn rumor, but more on that in a minute.
Anyone who has followed the other game publications will know that the other bullet points Davis tells us (all except the GTA ones, of course) can be easily refuted by simple research, or could be found in the same way. The Live issues? Not only did Gamepro cover that, but also quoted a MS exec as saying that manpower was also a key reason for that. About the movie issue? They rushed rather quickly to stop people from thinking that the HD-DVD demise wouldn't hurt the 360, and despite MS denying that it would be coming, G4's X-Play as early as yesterday reported that the rumor of a Blu Ray add on was coming in May. How about that shortage being the reason why the 360 didn't sell well? Okay, I could give him that one, but then again, what was the reason for the PS3 outselling the 360 in January? What excuse would that be, and wouldn't that make the holiday season shortage any less than an untrue excuse? The issue with the "red ring of death"? SquareTrade recently reported that 16.4% of all Xboxes will fail, which is more than what Microsoft would like you to know about. While this may scream fanboyish to bring up these shortcomings, this just proves that this really wasn't thought through. Why would Microsoft say things that they know anyone with a computer with enough common sense to find out what is really going on can find a contrary report on? As far as the names are concerned, while they aren't really household names, they aren't really that top secret, either. In fact, if you know anything about business, the main guys will usually be in the press or make sure everyone knows who they are often. All Davis had to do was to throw names in there to make sure people believed him. "Hey, I said these people said it, so it must be true." Sure, whatever you say?
However, as mentioned, if it was just that, then maybe he could get away with this with a small blemish on his record. If he would've just went and say that he was wrong, he was never at that breakfast and he made the story up, maybe we could've forgave him for the mishap of judgment. But then he makes that "clarification" about that point I talked about earlier. You know, the one that claimed that these mission packs were going to be the size of the two games that proceeded GTA3? Well, according to him, he was misquoted. Yeah, he admitted that it was misleading (only if he realized how much). but then really went off the deep end. He points out that he put "2 and 2 together" (which would at this point just mean that he has 4), and came up with some "facts and opinions". I'll post the "facts" straight from the blog, since it might make more sense as to WHY this just murdered any credibility that Davis had left if I do it that way: