The Escapist Roundtable

The Escapist Roundtable
The Escapist Roundtable #1: Episodic vs. Downloaded Content

Tom Endo | 14 Jan 2009 19:41
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Susan: I think the smartest approach would be to use the two in concert. Releasing DLC in between episodes would help bridge the gap in between releases. That way you keep a player's interest while not interfering with the storyline.

Julianne: I do want to add, though, that the deal struck between consumer and provider is not just the timing of release, but also the manner in which they are released. So I could see releasing episodic content and DLC together as a potential problem if some additional content is fee and some is free. This kind of thing confuses consumers; why does this cost money? They gave us the other for free! That gets into dangerous territory where one or both sides are suspicious of the other.

Susan: Don't get me wrong, I don't think any of it should necessarily be free. I was making a distinction between optional and required. The way I see it, smaller DLC can maintain interest in a title in between Episodes, but it should be priced fairly. A few dollars for new environments or a small quest makes sense if you look at it against the larger price of the next full Episode. This goes back to what you were saying about the unspoken deal between consumer and publisher - not only does the timing have to be reasonable, the pricing does as well.

Tom: I should mention that one of our features being released next Tuesday is an interview with a producer at Criterion about everything they've done with Burnout Paradise. That's a game that's really defined what DLC can be. All of it has also been free up until this latest forthcoming expansion. I think it will be really interesting for everyone to see if that strategy works and to hear some rationale behind Criterion's decision.

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