EA is determined to be the bully of Xbox Live Marketplace. Once again, the world's biggest games publisher is offering pay-don't-play content, inviting gamers to buy Need for Speed Carbon's unlockables.
EA and Microsoft will argue that this is simply a matter of choice: choose to buy content; or choose to unlock content by playing. But this new set of choices defies our learned experience.
Gamers want instant access to unlockables for all sorts of reasons (some are too busy to "earn" unlockables; some to lazy; others are inferior; and still others just have more fun when it's easy). There used to be a simple solution: cheat codes. But EA wants us to forget codes ever existed; wants to punish our wallets for not approaching its games with the Protestant ethic. All told, you'll burn an additional $49.25 if you want accelerated access to Carbon's goodies. Hey, you don't get to the top of the industry by offering handouts.
EA's premium ripoff: football tutorial videos on XBLM
EA charging gamers to access unlockable content
EA charging twice for downloadable content