Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Rocksmith DLC Transferability Doesn't Matter to Me

Most of us who have played Rocksmith for a while have bought a fair amount of DLC (downloadable content). If we decide to buy the new PC version of Rocksmith, that DLC won't work and we'll have to buy those songs again for the PC. This has been hotly discussed for several days.

I somehow got it in my head that Ubisoft wanted us to switch from whatever platform we've been using to the new PC version. Of course, that would mean we'd by buying a lot of DLC songs that we already owned on our XBoxes and PS3s. While Ubisoft would clearly make some extra money if we did that, I really don't believe that's what Ubisoft had in mind. 

Ubisoft did release three discounted song packs right around the time the PC version came out. And, once again, I mistakenly interpreted Ubi's intent. I just figured they were trying to make it a little easier for us to make the switch to PC. Apparently that's not what Ubisoft had in mind, either. 

Rocksmith's new Community Developer, Mike, explained the subject of DLC pretty well on the Ubisoft forum. According to Mike, the bundled song packs were never intended to benefit existing RS players. The song packs are a promotional bundle sale which allows new users and those who are absolutely determined to migrate to PC to catch up with the rest of us for a 33% discount. Period.

Presumably, Ubisoft never intended to induce those of us who play RS on XBox or PS3 to switch to the PC platform. So, it seems to me the answer is pretty simple. Those of us who don't want to buy DLC for the PC after we bought it for our game consoles can avoid it by simply not buying the PC version. I don't say that in a snarky way. I mean it. Why switch? Why not just stick with whatever console we already use and avoid the whole issue?

Seriously. That's the question we need to ask ourselves: Is the PC version worth the cost of the software plus any DLC we want? Well, is it? 

I've answered that one for myself. I just don't see where switching is worth it. I've tried the PC demo and I like it just fine, but apart from loading a bit faster I just don't see much difference between the PC version and the XBox version. (I won't comment on the PS3 because I really don't know. It does seem like PS3 owners have had their issues - and that would of course factor into their decision.)

I still believe Ubisoft could have thrown loyal players a bone on this one and sold a few more copies of the PC version to boot, but just having someone from Ubi/RS come into the forum and address the issue was a good move. Mike explained the MS/Sony/Steam distribution issue and its effect on cross-platform DLC which is pretty much all I needed. Others had correctly speculated about that situation, but I'd rather get that kind of information directly from the source. No offense to my friends on the Rocksmith forum.

Buying the song packs (or not) is a purely economic decision - cost versus benefit. At the 33% discount rate, these song packs just aren't worth it for me. As someone mentioned above (and as I've discussed in detail on previous posts), there are simply too many songs included in the song packs that I wouldn't buy at any price. So, although I get a handful of "free" songs, they're songs I don't like and would never have bought anyway. I can buy just the songs I want for about the same price as the packs - or less. But, that's just me. Everybody will have to make their own decision.

I don't want to turn this thread into a discussion of the relative merits of one platform over another. At this point, I just don't see where switching to PC is worth the cost and the cost of replacing DLC absolutely factors into my decision. I'm not mad about it.

If you're mad about this, my advice would be to crack open a beer and reconsider just how badly you want to switch to the PC platform. If that's your thing and you've just got to make that switch, it's gonna hurt a little. At least you'll go into it realizing that it's YOUR choice.


  1. Interestingly, from what i can gather, UBI generally does not like the PC (due to perceived piracy) and i am truly surprised it is as bug free as it is.

    I still think the animosity comes from 1) people not liking UBI and 2) the 'broken windows' of their public forum/FB.

    I think people are generally pissy about RS/Ubi b/c it isn't a good enough product/cheap enough for the crappy customer service. You can adjust price, quality and customer service to get customer happiness. Cheap price, low quality, but good service can equal happy customers. High price, average quality but excellent service can have happy customers. I believe that the quality (xbox slow, PS3 crash, PC a year late, not much DLC, song errors) and price ($80 and $3/ song) and customer support/relations (terrible) is a bad mix. They need to adjust one of the three levers in the customers favor or the risk loosing them.

    Second, the broke window theory (check Wikipedia if you don't know) means that b/c they have some pissed off customers (due to crashes, price, whatever) these people complain like crazy. B/c no one polices and answers these issues from UBI, they fester, get worse, and bring more negativity. Take the DLC transfer discussion. As soon as it started, uber-players like ToyMachine/heroFeed guy said it can't happen and why. But no one with authority said anything for WEEKS and the forum fills up with bitching and whinning. The ComDev comes over, says the same damn thing, and end of discussion. I believe that UBI waiting so long is a poor choice b/c those negative comments influenced and continue to influence new people.

    When you or I, who have no previous knowledge of UBI or gaming or whatever, pop onto the forum/FB (and their FB page is terribl) for the first time and see such negativity, it has to effect how we perceive the company and the product.

    Here is to hoping the ComDev guy stays around so that the forums become usable again.


    1. Tim - I absolutely agree. A lawyer I used to work for said he did things done cheap, right, or fast and his clients could pick two.

      I honestly have no issues with my XBox Rocksmith software. There have been moments when the video hangs up - for a moment. But, I guess I'm just too old to be bothered by it. WE thought Atari and Pong was cool, so pretty much any videogame that comes out now is amazing (at least to me).

      I will say that Ubisoft customer service seems to be lacking, though. And, I'm surprised, frankly, given the history of this particular title's development that Ubisoft hasn't thrown far more support behind the product (since the CEO seemed personally into its development).

    2. RE: customer service - i think it is amazing how little time it would take to make a huge improvement. I would bet less than an hour a day (or, one person could manage 8 to 10 brands). To me, it must be a cultural thing that they truly do not care. They have to know how community management works by now, as each title they release has it's own community. perhaps they have done a cost benifit and decided that pissing off a few thousand super fans doesn't matter when you are selling millions of copies.

      I am not a gamer, but i know UI. I know when things are clunky, inconsistent, missing or seem ill thought out. I thought that it was interesting that the ComDev said that Bass was actually V2 of RS and that is why you had to pay for it. I am not really against them having a yearly (or 18 month) schedule with 2 patches and a new version for $25. The problem (and what i got killed for saying back with the PC release) is that they never post that stuff publicly, so you never know when anything is going to happen or why.

      I also wonder if their process for creating DLC makes money. Harmonix (Rock band creators) clearly make money off of DLC as they keep producing loads of it years after release. If UBI/RS is making money off of DLC, then why not release more? To me, that seems like the most valid criticism.


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  3. Actually I got RS for PC so I could play it on my laptop anywhere I could get away with playing it. I have sat in a corner on campus and played RS for 45 minutes of my lunch time. can't do that with X-Box (LOL). everything I need to play fits in my guitar bag, I set it up in 2 minutes and start playing.

    My only question so far is how do I transfer my profile from my desktop to my laptop? wheres the profile kept? I'de like to keep the profile on a thumbdrive and transfer it back and forth everyday.

    1. Well since its a Steam game, its linked to your steam account. Install the steam client on both computers and you should be able to sync your progress between them via the steam cloud.

  4. Yea your right I have too much DLC on xbox now to switch over. I can get up off my ass and walk to the room next door where xbox is haha. If I need to travel I can use the iPad guitar Pro which is pretty damn good for a tablet app. Also I have a copy of Jazz Guitar from the 80's before they banned it cause copy right music. Ill stick to the xbox for now with RS. What kind of sucks is Already have the Pearl Jam pack and want the Eric Johnson song cliffs of Dover which is included in pack with one of the Pearl Jam songs I already paid for. WTF? Dont see it available as a single.

  5. I understand why the DLC, doesn't transfer. That doesn't stop me from wishing it did. I may still buy the steam version though, especially if it goes on sale. I haven't had an awful lot of time for video games lately.

    I was contemplating building a small guitar and buying the PC version as a portable option, since I've been spending weekends running a table at the flea market and slow hours get boring. Thoughts?

    1. Oh, nothing wrong with wishing! That would be nice if the DLC was playable across platforms - for sure.

      If you have the money, your idea sounds great. I've done the flea market thing myself (as well as many hours spent at ball parks waiting for rain delays or just killing time between games in a tournament). I have a cheap Fender acoustic that I drag around for time-killing. But, if you have a PC laptop or even a desktop system that you could plug in at your booth, that would be great fun! I have not tested scaled down guitars on Rocksmith - that was a potential project at one time, but I have run out of scaled down guitar players at my house. . . I've heard that they work OK. Let us know how it goes!

  6. the only problem I have with Rocksmith is the non existent jazz, R&B smooth Rock content hey we play guitar TOO! there very few songs I would play on rocksmith cause all other songs give me the urge to bang my head against the wall to stop the irritating noise going in to my ears, i just believe ubisoft needs to expand their genres to include black people