The games industry is changing. Everyone from publishers to retailers are seeking new ways to generate revenue, whether it’s with second-user charges, in-store DLC or microtransactions.
THQ’s latest experiment is an interesting one. Rather than releasing a full-price title with lacklustre DLC support afterwards to cater to hardcore fans, the publisher is releasing its latest MX vs ATV racer for a reduced price and then plans to maintain its sales momentum with regular bundles of downloadable extras.
The first of these will centre on the game’s cover star, veteran motocross athlete James Stewart. Due for release shortly after launch, the DLC pack will feature a meticulous recreation of Stewart’s personal motocross compound, allowing fans to practise and hone their moves or attempt to best the famous racer’s own skills.
Additional content packs will be announced throughout the year as THQ attempts to keep established fans engaged with Alive and entice newcomers who have yet to try the game for themselves.
That’s not to say the retail version of MX vs ATV: Alive lacks content. The game’s initial price tag of £29.99 gives players a fully-fledged racer, with plenty to keep fans of the series happy.
The game features a new bar-to-bar gameplay mechanic that allows players to physically fight for pole position. By driving elbow-to-elbow with the nearest rival, they can bang the handlebars in order to throw each other off.
Alive also features an advanced version of the franchise’s acclaimed physics engine. A combination of smooth, intuitive controls and track deformation – where the terrain is worn down after every lap – makes for an intense, and realistic racing experience.
Once again, there is a comprehensive single-player campaign for hardcore motocross fans to get stuck into, as well as a multiplayer mode that lets players battle it out to see who is the best racer.
THQ will be supporting the launch of Alive primarily with online advertising, observing that this has proven to be the most effective way of targeting MX vs ATV fans. Ads will appear across specialist motocross sites, as well as YouTube and Google networks.
The publisher will no doubt promote the announcement and arrival of each DLC pack, but whether or not this will see a renewed marketing push remains to be seen.