MTV Multiplayer was able to check out "Target exclusive" versions of Shaun White Snowboarding, and got details on how Ubi's deal with the retailer will manifest itself in-game. The version of the game being sold at Target will come with "Target Mountain," an extra level with five events, two slopes, and a bunch of Target logos.
"So," I said to myself, "that actually doesn't sound so bad. After all, people are getting extra stuff that they wouldn't get otherwise!" Then I read on. The Target version of the game will actually cost an extra five bucks. So the Wii release goes up to $54.99 and the 360/PS3 version will go for $64.99.
This is, as you've probably already guessed, where it turns bad. Paying extra money so I can have my face filled with Target logos? Really? This is supposed to be one of those things that gets sold for the same price, enticing you to go into a Target, buy the game there, and hey, maybe pick up some fish sticks or underwear or whatever the hell else Target sells while you're there. Instead, it's like being force-fed a bit of downloadable content right out of the gate. Speaking of which, the story also quotes Ubi's Scott Mitchell as saying there's "not a chance" that this mountain will turn up as downloadable content later on.
Furthermore, MTV also quotes Mitchell as saying the team that designed the Target stuff "went crazy" with it by adding huge jumps and longer rails. I don't know about you, but I'm of the mind that developers should spend their time going "crazy" with the stuff that the entire audience is going to see instead of saving it up for what is, essentially, a fat ad.
Watching the money scramble as developers and publishers continue to squeeze out new revenue streams without much regard for the consumer continues to be a depressing process. Wow, you're going to let me pay $5 to see the Target logo over and over again? And you're putting extra effort into the level that should have perhaps gone into the main game instead? Hey, thanks for thinking of me, Ubisoft!