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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? 

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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.

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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. 

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“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?