Video game publishers and developers have been working for a while now to try and keep gamers playing their games long after their initial release. The downloadable content (DLC) that comes along with a major title release is almost expected at this point, and some companies have even successfully turned their DLC into a subscription service.
Last week, Capcom announced that it would be using Bungie's Halo-style content extension method by creating ResidentEvil.Net. The website will keep track of players in Resident Evil 6, displaying many stats on the website and ranking players against each other. ResidentEvil.Net will keep track of how many enemies players kill, the types of weapons used, and the medals players earn.
Resident Evil 6 fans can compete in challenges, some of which reward a player with a "championship belt." This belt provides nothing other than the recognition of having it, and must be defended in subsequent events. Players are also encouraged through RE.Net points to use the service and enter website events. The points can be used to purchase in-game costumes or virtual figurines to place into a virtual Resident Evil diorama. I know how ridiculous that sounds, and I don't expect you to believe me. Check out the video below at around the 3-minute mark and see for yourself.
Capcom encourages players to challenge each other and share their achievements over Facebook or Twitter. There will even be a companion smartphone app that can alert players when their high score has been beaten.
Whether this type of service will take off for a game that has no large-scale competitive multiplayer mode will be interesting to see. Already, the service has a few things going against it. First, players have to sign up for a ResidentEvil.Net account, and we all know how much gamers love filling out online forms instead of playing their new game. Second, ResidentEvil.Net will require a PlayStation Network or Xbox LIVE account, according to a message at the end of the trailer. If this is accurate, Capcom is snubbing PC gamers, who are exactly the type of gamers most likely to form niche communities around games they enjoy.
Take a look below at Capcom's trailer for ResidentEvil.Net, which shows all of the features the publisher expects Resident Evil fans to want. Fair warning, though - the narrator for the video reminds me of the voice-over guys in commercials for "extreme" toys aired on Nickelodeon in the 90s.