While other companies wrestle with Web 2.0, moral dilemmas and the DRM mushroom cloud, Namco Bandai still sits around painting planes with anime characters and charging a couple of quid for them. It's a living. And here's more of it thanks to several new plane skins and a miscellaneous bolt-on for Ace Combat 6.
Namco Bandai is lining up yet more downloadable plane skins for Ace Combat 6 fans next Thursday, 29th May, including a few more based on its Japanese-only Idolm@ster videogame series. Excited? Then you'd better load up our Ace Combat 6 screenshots page so you can marvel at them one by one as we talk through the details.
You only need to check out the Game Add-Ons tab in the Xbox Live Game Store to see that the world of downloadable content, once so feared and mistrusted, is here to stay. There's been a bunch of notable new material released just recently - and even more since we started on this instalment in our Xbox Live DLC Roundup series - and most of it has helped to prove the naysayers wrong. There's been fresh content for recent blockbusters, and older cult favourites. There have been updates for full price releases as well as Live Arcade games. And, best of all, the paid-for content has generally been reasonably priced and balanced out with a surprising amount of freebies. Here are some recent examples that you might want to check out.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Variety Map Pack
Overlord - Raising Hell expansion and Challenge Pack
Namco Bandai has made some running repairs to Ace Combat 6.
Every now and then, someone pops out of the woodwork to complain that the games industry isn't innovative any more. This is clearly nonsense. Certainly, publishers might have an ongoing love affair with barely distinguishable sequels and a herd mentality that makes sheep look strong-willed, but consider this - year after year, the industry invents new and previously unheard-of ways to make you part with your cash. If that's not innovation, what is?
Download Content (DLC) is a new arrival in the exciting field of wallet-stripping, and the Xbox 360 is on the vanguard. Many Xbox 360 games have content available for download sometime after launch, allowing you to hand over a few measly Microsoft points for access to new maps, models, missions and the likes. It's a great idea in theory, obviously - who doesn't want to extend the life of their favourite game a bit? In practice, though, there's some suspicion about it. Nobody wants to find themselves paying extra money for content that should have been in the game in the first place.
Hence these DLC roundup features, where we'll be looking at the bits and bobs that have made their way onto Xbox Live - and, soon, PSN - in the past few months, and checking out what's worth whipping your card out for, and what deserves to sit, dusty and unloved, in the digital dustbins out the back of the Marketplace.
Namco Bandai has released six downloadable aeroplanes for downloading on Xbox Live Marketplace download place. Each of them costs 200 Microsoft Points, except the one that costs 400 Microsoft Points, and the other one which is free. So, several of them cost 200 Microsoft Points. Get off my back.
Atari has opened its hangars and wheeled out a whole army of fresh aircraft for Ace Combat 6.
Is there anything in the world quite as intrinsically homoerotic as being a fighter pilot? It's not a topic we'd normally dwell on, but playing Ace Combat 6 this week has caused the question to raise its head.
Every single person who's stopped by to watch has made a point of offering to "be your wingman any time!", generally in their best affected camp voice; the joke got old, but we got the point. Top Gun has a lot to answer for.
We were half expecting a locker-room mini-game after each mission where you have to try to slap your wingman on the bottom with a rolled up towel - your disturbingly needy and passive wingman, that is, who plaintively asks you to choose his equipment for him before you fly. "What plane should I fly?", he whines. "What weapons should I bring?", he implores. "Which flightsuit does my bum look best in?", he simpers.
In all the furore of E3 you may have overlooked the release of four new demos for download from Xbox Live.
Atari has stepped up to publish Xbox 360 titles Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation and Eternal Sonata. The latter's also known as "Trusty Bell", and both are the developmental output of good old Namco Bandai.