NHL 11 Will Sell You 93 156 Different Powerups

Illustration for article titled NHL 11 Will Sell You 93 156 Different Powerups

Sharp-eyed DLC watchers today spotted the month-early upload of more than 90 player attribute enhancements for NHL 11, offering three tiers of created-player boosts ranging from 80 to 160 Microsoft points. Update: There are now 156 boosts on Xbox Live.

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It's further evidence of EA Sports' aggressive microtransaction strategy, in addition to the one-use "Online Pass" code that enables multiplayer for free if you bought the retail game yourself but costs $10 if you snagged a used version.

July's NCAA Football 11 and next week's Madden NFL 11 all feature a menu of accelerators, principally for dynasty or franchise modes, that let you cut corners or get a leg up. They're all for singleplayer modes. In NHL 11's case, these are attribute gooses for created players, probably most useful for giving you a super-rookie right out of the gate in Be a Pro mode.

I covered the ethical dilemma of using performance enhancers in sports games back in this column. MLB 10 The Show would sell you "training points" but you were free to apply them as you liked. These are direct skill increases.

The DLC is available as I type this, so, I guess you can go preorder it if you want? The boosts cover attributes like "skater acceleration," power and accuracy for two types of shots, deking and faceoff boosts, boosts for five varieties of goalie saves, and plenty more. Or, I guess, you could just drive down the game difficulty and tune up the sliders to give you that easy win, for free.

EA Adds 93 Create-a-Player Paid Boosts for NHL 11 [Multiplayergames.com]

DISCUSSION

This is among the reasons why EA is still a soulless, corporate entity despite recent advancements in IP production. Dante's Inferno is tacky, making a HARDC0R3 action game based on a classic work of literature, as opposed to an action game that merely takes influence and design cues from one (something that would have been infinitely more respectable), because they felt they needed the license, is diminutive to the work itself and the company.

Their acquisition of Bioware is regrettable, it's a shame that such a talented group of developers should be watered down by the commercialising interests of a corporate giant that is unwilling to simply hire people with the skills and talent needed to make their own RPGs (they seem to have more interest in capitalising on the success of other companies, ala Take Two, than carrying out any artistic visions that may be trapped in their dreamless halls).

Further, what appears to unify their product range is a concern with what is modern, marketable or mainstream (what will sell in the millions), not what gamers of all kinds might want or like.

If I'm being a tad unfair I'm sure a company that buys small studios and quickly ruins them, alters its Wikipedia page for marketing purposes, abuses its employees and puts out part and parcel DLC like the new weapons in Mass Effect 2 deserves it and can just take it on the chin.

My point is that this, taken altogether, means that NHL 11's DLC betrays more than just a readiness to facilitate lazy gamers or those with more money than time and or skill to succeed in their games, it's part of a pattern that reveals EA's corporate model and nature, which would forgivable, if it didn't ruin better companies and products than it's own (with related problems infecting games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect to their detriment).