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THQ Offering Free Smackdown Vs. Raw DLC Via "Fan Axxess"

THQ is testing a new ongoing value proposition to keep you hanging onto your copy of Smackdown a bit longer.

THQ might be testing out its own spin on upfront DLC purchases in this year's version of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, where the company is offering a lone piece of downloadable content on XBLM and PSN that will guarantee users free content and discounts on future downloadable content for the life of the game. This content is called "Fan Axxess" and it’s a 10-dollar download.

It's left unsaid in the press materials announcing the Fan Axxess program, but it's hard to shrug off the thought that this is another attempt by a publisher to keep its games off of used game racks. Think about it. After you purchase Fan Axxess, which offers infinite DLC carrots on a stick, would you trade in your copy of the game? You'd keep it, right? 
 

 
Though similar in goal, EA's much-talked-about Project Ten Dollar works in reverse. It's designed to keep giving new owners of the game free content from the get-go, courtesy of redeemable vouchers included in new EA games. Most often these vouchers take the form of an Online Pass, which grants a user free online access until servers go down. Games without multiplayer components, however, tend to offer level and character DLC via a portal access with a voucher. Users who buy used copies of these games must pay around ten bucks to unlock these features that new owners get for free, hence the name.

== TEASER ==The first bit of free Fan Axxess DLC is scheduled to hit later this holiday. That pack will include six characters: Lex Luger, the British Bulldog, Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, and Diva Layla. It will also incorporate alternate costumes for Shawn Michaels and Shad and offer a new WWE NXT arena. Without Fan Axxess, this stuff will run you about eight bucks.



The second slated chunk of Fan Axxess content is slated to arrive in "early 2011." This pack will include alternate costumes for John Cena, the Undertaker, and CM Punk. It will also come with a new WCW arena. It's being priced at about three bucks for those without access to this program.

A third and fourth bit of content may hit before all of these. In this year's game, THQ is selling a "Superstar Attribute Customizer" for one dollar, but Free Axxess members will get this for free. All 60 unlockable items in the game are being sold separately for impatient folks as well for one dollar. This will be free for Fan Axxess members.

It needs to be noted that only "select" pieces of content will be made free for Fan Axxess program members, meaning even they will have to pay normal rates for some of the DLC released for the game. 
 


“The Fan Axxess program for WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 offers consumers a very attractive value proposition to significantly enhance the virtual WWE experience,” THQ's executive vice president Danny Bilson said in a statement. “We have some of the most passionate fans in the industry, and we are pleased to offer them an opportunity to access premium gameplay content, customization features and recognition for their loyalty for one price point.”

It's hard to tell right now if THQ will extend this concept to other games. Fan Axxess could be a one-time program for an annual title that, undoubtedly, ends up getting thrown into a lot of used bins en masse before the next title hits shelves. Either way, do you think this is something you'd be down to sign up for? 
32 Comments
Posted by BradNicholson
THQ might be testing out its own spin on upfront DLC purchases in this year's version of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, where the company is offering a lone piece of downloadable content on XBLM and PSN that will guarantee users free content and discounts on future downloadable content for the life of the game. This content is called "Fan Axxess" and it’s a 10-dollar download.

It's left unsaid in the press materials announcing the Fan Axxess program, but it's hard to shrug off the thought that this is another attempt by a publisher to keep its games off of used game racks. Think about it. After you purchase Fan Axxess, which offers infinite DLC carrots on a stick, would you trade in your copy of the game? You'd keep it, right? 
 

 
Though similar in goal, EA's much-talked-about Project Ten Dollar works in reverse. It's designed to keep giving new owners of the game free content from the get-go, courtesy of redeemable vouchers included in new EA games. Most often these vouchers take the form of an Online Pass, which grants a user free online access until servers go down. Games without multiplayer components, however, tend to offer level and character DLC via a portal access with a voucher. Users who buy used copies of these games must pay around ten bucks to unlock these features that new owners get for free, hence the name.

== TEASER ==The first bit of free Fan Axxess DLC is scheduled to hit later this holiday. That pack will include six characters: Lex Luger, the British Bulldog, Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, and Diva Layla. It will also incorporate alternate costumes for Shawn Michaels and Shad and offer a new WWE NXT arena. Without Fan Axxess, this stuff will run you about eight bucks.



The second slated chunk of Fan Axxess content is slated to arrive in "early 2011." This pack will include alternate costumes for John Cena, the Undertaker, and CM Punk. It will also come with a new WCW arena. It's being priced at about three bucks for those without access to this program.

A third and fourth bit of content may hit before all of these. In this year's game, THQ is selling a "Superstar Attribute Customizer" for one dollar, but Free Axxess members will get this for free. All 60 unlockable items in the game are being sold separately for impatient folks as well for one dollar. This will be free for Fan Axxess members.

It needs to be noted that only "select" pieces of content will be made free for Fan Axxess program members, meaning even they will have to pay normal rates for some of the DLC released for the game. 
 


“The Fan Axxess program for WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 offers consumers a very attractive value proposition to significantly enhance the virtual WWE experience,” THQ's executive vice president Danny Bilson said in a statement. “We have some of the most passionate fans in the industry, and we are pleased to offer them an opportunity to access premium gameplay content, customization features and recognition for their loyalty for one price point.”

It's hard to tell right now if THQ will extend this concept to other games. Fan Axxess could be a one-time program for an annual title that, undoubtedly, ends up getting thrown into a lot of used bins en masse before the next title hits shelves. Either way, do you think this is something you'd be down to sign up for? 
Posted by Lukeweizer

"Axxess"? That's a hardcore way to spell "Access".

Posted by MisterMouse

well not really interested in their spelling...

Posted by DonChipotle

So it's kind of like the Cerberus Network only it costs ten bucks instead of coming with a new copy of the game? Well, I was planning on getting this anyway so I'm fine for dropping the money for it. Hell, I paid for roster updates.

Posted by Derangel

Its an interesting idea. The problem with doing it for games like this is with them being yearly titles. So you buy the Fan Axxess thing and then you'll probably have to buy it again next year and the year after and so on because you can count on them dropping all support for the previous release when the new one comes out. If THQ switched these games to a "one every two years" model it could be even more useful. They could use Fan Axxess to sell roster updates, sell new storylines, new commentary tracks, and so on over the course of two years. Those who paid for Fan Axxess can get the stuff at a discounted rate, while those without will end up paying a lot more. 
  
And it would help the game quality as well I think. Give the team two years to work on improvements and alterations, fixing issues (I'm really sick of the horrible clipping problems in these games, that crap just needs to go) and so on. If they did something like that I'd be tempted to toss down the money to pick it up. Been a while since I've bought a wrestling game, usually I'll rent the new version at some point and play it for a bit to see whats changed. I used to buy them every year when I was younger.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

I quite like the idea..  Assuming it's not just content that was held back to give percieved value.  But something that annoys me is GoTY version is games.  Why do hardcore fans who are willing to buy the game day one get screwed over in favour of those who wait 8 months and buy the game for $20 with ALL the extra content the early adopters had to pay for?
 
It's at the point where I won't be buying Dragon Age 2 or New Vegas because I know it's just going to be a waste of money.  So this sort of thing makes sense.. if they do it right.

Posted by GeedAwesome

DLC content still looking kinda lame. Still mad at the poor DLC from Sega for Sonic Racing.

Posted by MetalBaofu
@WinterSnowblind said:
" I quite like the idea..  Assuming it's not just content that was held back to give percieved value.  But something that annoys me is GoTY version is games.  Why do hardcore fans who are willing to buy the game day one get screwed over in favour of those who wait 8 months and buy the game for $20 with ALL the extra content the early adopters had to pay for?  It's at the point where I won't be buying Dragon Age 2 or New Vegas because I know it's just going to be a waste of money.  So this sort of thing makes sense.. if they do it right. "
The game of the year editions are kinda just another way for them to get around used game sales(that they get no money from).  They come out at a point where you could probably find the game used for 20-30 bucks somewhere.  People then see they can either get the game used then buy all the DLC separately for around 60 bucks, or they can just buy the GotY edition.  Not much difference between buying those GotY things and buying used to me(except who gets the money).
 
All I'm trying to say is that whether there is a GotY edition or not, people would still be able to wait a few months to get the game and all the DLC for around 60 bucks.
Posted by Undeadpool

It's an interesting idea, but they really need to sit down and take 2 years for the next Smackdown VS Raw. I really think if they put their noses to the grindstone and actually tried to innovate, they could come up with something truly great. 
And as long as I'm wishing, I'd like a unicorn.

Posted by Derangel
@WinterSnowblind: Editions of games with everything included have been common place on the PC for years. Its nothing new.
Edited by CL60
@Undeadpool said:

" It's an interesting idea, but they really need to sit down and take 2 years for the next Smackdown VS Raw. I really think if they put their noses to the grindstone and actually tried to innovate, they could come up with something truly great. And as long as I'm wishing, I'd like a unicorn. "

They have improved a whole lot in this game. A whole lot more then they usually do.
Posted by Undeadpool
@CL60 said:
" @Undeadpool said:

" It's an interesting idea, but they really need to sit down and take 2 years for the next Smackdown VS Raw. I really think if they put their noses to the grindstone and actually tried to innovate, they could come up with something truly great. And as long as I'm wishing, I'd like a unicorn. "

They have improved a whole lot in this game. A whole lot more then they usually do. "
This is going to sound SUPER sarcastic, and I don't mean it that way, it's just that I've followed literally nothing about the game. Do they still have canned animations from several iterations ago, bad clipping problems, atrocious AI and patently terrible, linear storylines that don't take match outcomes into account? Cause those are basically all the things that have been happening since Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, the last game I thought was a true 5-star WWE game.
Posted by JStaunton

Those questioning the spelling of the this DLC idea clearly haven't heard of the Fan Axxess events held by the WWE.
 
Personally I don't like the idea, especially the idea of paying to unlock in-game unlockables which I much prefer working towards myself.

Posted by Greenlight13

I'd need to know in advance what the 3rd and 4th DLC packs are to consider this. Of the two currently announced packs I'd get the first but not the second. 3 and 4 would need to contain new wrestlers, not just costumes and arenas to interest me. If I'm not going to get 2 of the 3 or 3 of the 4, then there's no point in this in my opinion.
 
I demand Daniel Bryan in pack 3 or 4. I read the interview about why he isn't in the game, but it can't really take THAT long to create a character, especially if they're not going to appear in story mode or anything like that.
 
Speaking of which, a DLC Road to Wrestlemania story would be cool, but I imagine that's a huuuuge file size so probably won't happen.

Posted by anbumakura

I want to hurt them for spelling it Axxess.

Posted by CL60
@Undeadpool said:
" @CL60 said:
" @Undeadpool said:

" It's an interesting idea, but they really need to sit down and take 2 years for the next Smackdown VS Raw. I really think if they put their noses to the grindstone and actually tried to innovate, they could come up with something truly great. And as long as I'm wishing, I'd like a unicorn. "

They have improved a whole lot in this game. A whole lot more then they usually do. "
This is going to sound SUPER sarcastic, and I don't mean it that way, it's just that I've followed literally nothing about the game. Do they still have canned animations from several iterations ago, bad clipping problems, atrocious AI and patently terrible, linear storylines that don't take match outcomes into account? Cause those are basically all the things that have been happening since Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, the last game I thought was a true 5-star WWE game. "
They have redone almost every single animation so everything looks a lot more smooth, added transitions, in videos it appears the AI acts more realistically, according to a preview the storylines can branch, exibition is gone and replaced with "WWE Universe" which adds feuds depending on what you do, and chooses between over 100 different cutscenes that will be relevant to what is happening.
Edited by Undeadpool
@CL60 said:

" @Undeadpool said:

" @CL60 said:

" @Undeadpool said:

" It's an interesting idea, but they really need to sit down and take 2 years for the next Smackdown VS Raw. I really think if they put their noses to the grindstone and actually tried to innovate, they could come up with something truly great. And as long as I'm wishing, I'd like a unicorn. "

They have improved a whole lot in this game. A whole lot more then they usually do. "
This is going to sound SUPER sarcastic, and I don't mean it that way, it's just that I've followed literally nothing about the game. Do they still have canned animations from several iterations ago, bad clipping problems, atrocious AI and patently terrible, linear storylines that don't take match outcomes into account? Cause those are basically all the things that have been happening since Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, the last game I thought was a true 5-star WWE game. "
They have redone almost every single animation so everything looks a lot more smooth, added transitions, in videos it appears the AI acts more realistically, according to a preview the storylines can branch, exibition is gone and replaced with "WWE Universe" which adds feuds depending on what you do, and chooses between over 100 different cutscenes that will be relevant to what is happening. "
THQ should give you a job, cause YOU just got me interested in a game that I literally did not care about five minutes ago! Well done, sir! 
Edit: The whole match outcome not mattering in career mode wouldn't be such a sore subject if I hadn't carefully and methodically beaten HHH and Ric Flair in...whatever iteration it was that had you fight those two as your FIRST DAMN MATCH (though it did lead to a hilarious exclamation by my roommate when Flair was coming at me outside the ring: "Hey watch your back, Bitch Tits is after you.") only to have that outcome not matter because the cinematic is still them beating the shit out of me.
Posted by Skald

FAN AXXESS: IT'S EXXTREME!

Posted by jpe

Other than the Create modes last year, the Smackdown games haven't significantly improved since Here Comes The Pain in 2003. The animations are always clunky, the collision detection is terrible, and matches become painfully boring after 3 or 4 hours. 
 
I'm not saying it should revert to the No Mercy engine, but the current "feel" of this game has become so stagnant that it has become a yearly joke. The fundamental mechanics need to change. And until then no amount of new match types or user created content is going to make a blind bit of difference.

Posted by Koobz

Not enough X's.  Will not purchase.

Posted by Daryl
@CL60: I saw a LOT of the same animations from the preview videos darling. Sorry dude, I want to love it as much as any other SvR fan, but it's just not happening.
Posted by CL60
@Daryl said:
" @CL60: I saw a LOT of the same animations from the preview videos darling. Sorry dude, I want to love it as much as any other SvR fan, but it's just not happening. "
Oh yeah? 
 
  
  If you can't see smoother animations in that video you have problems.
Edited by Daryl
@CL60: Yup, seen this video. I wasn't disputing that, I'm just saying they're still using a LOT of the same stuff. They need to mix it up a helluva lot more and break the mould. Thanks for trying, I wish I had your enthusiasm. 
Edited by CL60
@Daryl said:

" @CL60: Yup, seen this video. I wasn't disputing that, I'm just saying they're still using a LOT of the same stuff. They need to mix it up a helluva lot more and break the mould. Thanks for trying, I wish I had your enthusiasm.  "

Yes you are disputing that...they clearly made everything look smoother. There are a ton of new reversal animations, basically every move in that entire video is a new animation, everything transitions smoother, and everything in general is just more smooth.
Posted by DonChipotle

Oh man, they are adding in WAY BARRUH for free for people with Fan Axxess. Sold even more now.

Posted by Daryl
@CL60: "basically every move" but not every move. Anyway, peace xox
Posted by CL60
@Daryl said:
" @CL60: "basically every move" but not every move. Anyway, peace xox "
Really dude? Now you're just trying to be annoying. Which I would call trolling.
Posted by Raven_Sword

I always enjoy these games.
Edited by GoofyGoober
@Koobz: Exactly what I was thinking. As for the game itself. I just got SVR2010. They really don't change much from year to year so I can hold off.
Posted by WinterSnowblind
@Derangel said:
" @WinterSnowblind: Editions of games with everything included have been common place on the PC for years. Its nothing new. "
Of course it isn't, but it doesn't change the fact they're screwing over their dedicated fanbase.  I'll gladly wait until the end of next year to pay New Vegas, pick it up for £20 along with all of its expansions and I won't be missing out on anything, infact I'll be getting MORE than even people who pre-order the collectors edition.
 
Plenty of other good games coming out until then.
 
Also, I was under the impression that this Axxess pack came free with new copies of the game?  Reading this post again, it largely implies that no matter what you'll have to buy it for $10, and if that's the case, I really have to laugh at that.  Unless it carries over to future games, that is utterly ridiculous.
Posted by DeadManRollin

This seems to e a finance manager's idea of adding an alternative revenue stream that utilizes the extra money and passion of some devoted fans. Cautious gamers should not be lulled in to it.
Posted by OneManX
@WinterSnowblind said:
" @Derangel said:
" @WinterSnowblind: Editions of games with everything included have been common place on the PC for years. Its nothing new. "
Of course it isn't, but it doesn't change the fact they're screwing over their dedicated fanbase.  I'll gladly wait until the end of next year to pay New Vegas, pick it up for £20 along with all of its expansions and I won't be missing out on anything, infact I'll be getting MORE than even people who pre-order the collectors edition.  Plenty of other good games coming out until then.  Also, I was under the impression that this Axxess pack came free with new copies of the game?  Reading this post again, it largely implies that no matter what you'll have to buy it for $10, and if that's the case, I really have to laugh at that.  Unless it carries over to future games, that is utterly ridiculous. "
It's basically a way to get all the DLC for a discount. You dont have to buy it if you just want certain DLC and not others. 
 
As for people saying it's not improved, i mentioned this on the quick look, if you've been following the game you pretty much know they are using an entirely new engine for this game and they made a ton of new changes. From the gameplay adding in dynamic finishersm the WWE universe mode and etc.