It's amazing how finicky the die-hard gaming public is. Actually, it's not amazing at times; it's embarrassing. A recent item for Bethesda's Elder Scrolls title has caused controversy, the type that makes you sit back and shake your head while you reflect on other hobbies you'll be taking up.
The item in question is armor. Horse armor to be specific. To reiterate:
Horse armor. For a horse that doesn't exist. Armor.
Now that we're clear, this specific item costs 200 Microsoft Points. These are the types of micro-transactions Microsoft let us know would be part of the Live experience. 200 Points comes in around $2.50. The PC version of the game offers the same item, only for $1.99.
This was apparently the breaking point for some people. After spending $60 (or more for the Collector's Edition) to purchase a game, why should they be forced to buy more? It's a logical standpoint.
The problem is that this has to be some of the most ridiculous whining this industry has ever dealt with. It's so minor and trivial; it's baffling how anyone can turn this into an issue. If you don't want your horse dressed in shiny new armor, then save all of us the trouble of reading about it and DON'T BUY IT.
Most of these people seem to have no trouble with laying down cash for new quests to extend their experience or open up the world in the game. Regardless of what you paid for the game initially, things like $2.50 horse armor will fund those extra quests. Whether or not you realize it, this is an industry, and the people who slaved away for years to bring you Oblivion have the right to earn a few extra bucks. If the experience and delays were all worth it to you to buy the game in the first place, then it's unreal that there are complaints about a single meager item.
This isn't something that's required to complete the game. It's not required to do a certain quest. You, as an Elder Scrolls player, have no reason to actually purchase this item. The in-game benefits are meaningless. The gaming industry is under attack from politicians and media hounds, and you're spending time bitching on a message board about how your horse can't have armor because you're "taking a stand."
Wow. How heroic.
Grow up. It's not as if Bethesda is the only one doing this. Been to the Marketplace lately? Rare is charging the same price for Gamer Pictures, those little barely discernable pics that accompany your Gamer Card. They have the same effect, or actually, that's no effect. They serve no purpose, just like this horse armor that's sending people into a frenzy.
Could this be a precedent? Could other companies see a $ sign in added content? Of course, and I'll be the first one to download content I know I'll enjoy (those Ghost Recon co-op levels can arrive any day now Ubi Soft). Purchasing an item and then complaining about how you were ripped off doesn't solve anything. You've bought it, and the deal is done. Do more research next time.
Debate will of course continue, and Bethesda will need to issue some PR fluff to clean this up. They shouldn't have to. There is no debate here now, and there never should have been one to begin with. If you feel the need to get the armor for your horse, nothing will stop you. If you don't, then there's no need to let everyone know. There are far more pressing issues at the moment.