The Day One DLC Trap

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Those who actually follow the Bioware community news should be aware that the Shale and Warden's Keep DLC's (the "day one" DLC's for Dragon Age) only ended up that way because EA gave them an extra six months of "polishing time" when they missed their first scheduled release (which later got extended AGAIN by a month). If the release schedule hadn't slipped, The Stone Prisoner and Warden's Keep would have been released more than SIX MONTHS after the game hit stores.

A LOT of content got cut out of Dragon Age--these two particular bits just happened to be close enough to "done" that Bioware was able to DO something with them.

Although, the in-game salesperson was pretty damn tacky. I'm also not thrilled that The Awakening expansion pack will cost nearly as much as the full game, but I've been saying for months that DA was *designed* for expansion sales (it's not set up well for sequels like, say, Mass Effect).

I felt my post was to long and crazyily awesome to put here so I put it on my blog to blow the world's mind
If you wanna check it out:
http://tinyurl.com/yj4xndl
And by wanna I mean it's obligatory, or else.

Note: Not ad'ing, just saving space.

Eclectic Dreck:

ZippyDSMlee:
-snip-

Thanks for the clarification, but it seems that you complaint does not lie in a lack of polish, but a disagreement with the implementation of mechanics. In one case, you are asserting something is unintentionally broken or incomplete, in the other you simply state you do not agree with the intentional choices that were made.

That said, I do agree that the mechanics of a game are, generally, more important than the rest of the pieces. I can endure a bad story and terrible art so long as the core of the game is solid. There are plenty of games that I simply cannot stand precisely because of the inherent mechanics involved, but I am generally willing to admit that the problem is one of personal preference rather than a broken design. I cannot stand the fundamental gameplay in Final Fantasy and disagree with virtually every mechanic in the game but I don't attribute this to bad design. A bad design does not attract and keep a legion of loyal fans.

While an appeal to authority is a fallacy, in this case it seems justified. Games like splinter cell, metal gear solid and final fantasy all represent implementations of ideas and mechanics that I find devoid of value yet each franchise has cultiviated a fanbase signifcant enough that the only explanation is that the mechanics are not broken but rather simply something I do not enjoy. Given the sales figures of both Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins, I would be perfectly willing to make the same assumption.

Its all about the attention span of the time, what was focused on 13+ years ago was about all they could do and it mostly centered around gameplay, these days design emphasis is more on the look and over all feel of the product(slick packaging,sound bite like design ideals sewn together with some random skill) due to many factors a less focused and fussy consumer base, the ease to sell most titles mostly "brands" its all diluted the design emphasis to a honed canned spam of some good parts of meat and some spam..... if I have not played better I might just be happy with it as a disposable medium...but there again spending a couple hundred a year if that on disposable media...... I suppose I am just to old and not a happy lil wooly consumer whose happy with nearly anything that slaps a brand on it.....

Every other year I kept expecting a true epiphany over game design but all I see is more shallow streamlining and dumbing it down like crap fest action films the tweens love so much.... and see so little care for real functional options, control options and depth in AI....I mean the AI on Bioshock is 2 event scripts away from being on the same level of Jericho's....... Dark messiah had such beautiful AI you can could distract with sound and hide from if your lucky...... no one makes AI like that in anything FP much anymore......

I mean Bioshock is my perfect example of dumbing it down, I can forgive the bland level design but not what they did with the AI or the weapons....or having items E V E R Y F R A K K ' I N W H E R E...not to mention no death mechanic.... this is not a game... this is a movie.... just script the AI to play it for you already.......god....... seriously do that with some options to turn up down its play difficulty have the default set to easy so it goes through at a steady pace let it stack equipment,mids and use certain weapons over others and grind using 5 or 10 set scripts that can change randomly but always using the ebst threat elvel stuff for harder fights...... sorry...creative rant mode

sorry >>
rantage is over 9000 ><

At least I am enjoying Champions online...what you know...they made a MMO that stays fun and entertaining and dose not do everything it can to keep you playing for as long as possible....

I don't think the waters are muddy here at all. All attempts to discuss the thing and analyze it are pointless. The bottom line is that there is a large amount of money to be made off of any kind of purely digital distribution, irregardless of when it comes out. Greed being what it is, the games industry wants to make money as quickly as possible and being able to release DLC the very first day simply leads to bigger initial sales.

Most of the arguements being made about the used game industry tend to come down to the people in the industry... who are sitting on massive piles of cash irregardless of what they claim, being stupid enough to believe that if it wasn't for used games more people would be dishing out increasingly large amounts of money for their product new. Things like "Stone Prisoner" seem to be based on the idea that after a couple of years a used game goes for like $15, so by cutting out content and releasing it digitally for $15 they can pretty much make as much as the used game sale which to them is "fair".

Of course the problem with this is that it costs the consumer twice as much, and while this might damage the used game market, it's not going to actually bring in more customers. It's simply going to ensure less people wind up seeing a product and becoming interested in a sequel. Not to mention reducing the value of trade ins, making the cost of a new game even more extreme to those who use trade ins to reduce the high cost.

In the end though I expect it isn't going to matter much. It increasingly looks like it's going to be an all or nothing proposition where gamers exhibiting behavior similar to heroin addicts will continue to support the products despite increasingly unhealthy costs, which is what the industry is banking on... or we're going to see a massive video game crash when people gradually stop gaming due to the expense. The bottom line is the industry is going to push irregrdless of what happens, and cry poverty despite the paychecks some of these guys are demanding... again I point a finger at Itigaki because he's made the "news", and was even the subject of an article here at one point I believe.

lyfeindeyth:
I remember seeing TF2 for the first time on the PC, the updates were astounding and I could barely touch TF2 on my console without thinking about all those *free* updates that Microsoft refuses me...

Is this a reason why the console TF2 servers seem to be dead?

That, and just the passage of time. TF2 on PC has huge replay value because there are great new maps released every month by the community. TF2 on consoles are stuck in a timewarp where they remain in the same state they were released in, which is vastly inferior. That's just no way to appreciate a game like Team Fortress, which originated with the online modding community. If anything, playing TF2 on console is like a brief demo or preview of what to expect in the PC version.

When people talk about how precious their PC games are, this is a big reason why. As long as manufactures keep dictating the form of aftermarket expansions, consoles will never supersede PC gaming for enthusiasts. TF2 on XBox could easily be as cool as its PC counterpart, but Microsoft won't let it happen. Why? Not enough money in the equation.

I have heard a lot of analogies to cars being made here, in the sense that, "Car companies aren't entitles to every transaction a car goes through after they sell it. Why should video games be different?"

Furthermore, I read on a post that the DLC was like the extras a salesman throws in when selling a car.

Finally, I have heard the lament of the budget gamer.

To the first point: cars depreciate in value over time. Newer, better models come out. When you buy a used car, you buy a car that has some millage on it. It has all sorts of complex wear and tear. You might or might not be under warranty.

Video games don't have that. Sure, newer games come out. Sure, consoles wear out, and for multiplayer games, server support is a big issue. But for the majority of games, if I want to play them 10 years down the line, I can probably do so with few to no drawbacks. Heck, retro gaming wouldn't work if the principle didn't hold true.

Also, car companies release new models every year. Could you imagine a video game company releasing moderately iterations of the same title every year for EVERY genre? I mean, Activision and EA have gotten a lot of guff for Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Madden, and so on. Now imagine if EVERY SINGLE COMPANY did that.

Next: the point about the salesman's extras on a car. If you get an extra in a car, it is likely to be a swanky stereo, or power windows, or something significant and noticeable. With dragon age, you get a minor character and a short quest in a game filled with a large primary cast and a bajillion quests.

The video game developer is in a tricky position. It is a lower cost of entry to see a movie or buy/rent a DVD. The cost of big budget games and movies are comparable; however, whereas movies see sales at the box office, the DVD, the novelization, and the special edition DVD/Blu-Ray, video games get one release (MAYBE 2 if they decide to do a game of the year edition).

Yes, I think in-game advertising for DLC is obnoxious. Yes, I think the notion that developers are entitled to every transaction a game goes through after its release is a pants-on-head stupid idea, if not a dangerous one. But they need to make money. They face stiff competition not only from other games, but from their OWN TITLES on the used market. If they can cut into that market, then they make more money.

This is simple. If you can afford DLC, and you want it, then go for it. If not, don't worry. You aren't missing out on a whole lot. Enjoy your game you silly people.

Shamus Young:

Shamus discusses the muddy waters of DLC.

dude, Now I've played through DA:O but you probably should call Shale 'it'. You totally spoiled it for some.

1) DLC to cut small content from games so a profit can be made from preowned buys, I can live with.

2) DLC to expand on and extend on an old game with a big fan base, I love, infact this is the best reason for DLC

3) DLC that feels like part of the story is missing unless a pay an extra fee on top of my original purchase, and/or feels like it was held back to milk gamers some more: "Mr Ink smash"

The only thing I worry about with point one, if the second hand market dies, it puts alot of people out of work and makes games unaffordable for low income households.

Metalteeth9:
D
*SPOILERS*

Two whole chapters are literally cut out of the main story as a plot event. Paid, yet still somewhat cheap, DLC will fill those two chapters in.

*END SPOILERS*

Well as someone else said, this had very little to do with the game, and might have been left out because it was not finished. And well this wasn't even the day one DLC fro AC2. the day one DLC was some extra dungeon you could explore, that frankly gave you jack shit at the end.

FOr me AC2 was a full game, that gets some Interesting DLC. Most games I feel have just crap DLC anyways, so I would love to see more of the AC2 DLCs in the future to be honest....

saxybeast418:

Geez, you really hate EA don't you?

I hate any company that panders to morons and ruins my favorite past time by flooding the market with crap that said morons snatch up faster than they can press the discs.

I would say that in terms of the recent Bioware releases, the quality is top notch. If you feel that they are inferior, DON'T BUY THEIR GAMES!

That's not really helping since there's plenty of morons who buy it and keep EA in business.

In Dragon Age, yes, there is in game advertising for Bioware/EA to hawk their wares and remind you that there is more stuff that you could have in the game. Yes, this is annoying. But your ranting about ethical boundaries becomes silly and melodramatic when you are crying over a bloody in-game Stash!

Again, you miss the point. The Stash being put in DLC as a lame ass money grab is just an annoying prelude to worse things. It's the begging for cash inside of a game that I can't stand. The purpose of a game is to serve as entertainment and an escape from reality. To have reality come crashing into a game in the form of begging for money is about the gravest sin you can commit as a game developer.

Fact: EA and Bioware need to make money. They will make money any way they can. I'm not sure how that is unethical or crossing a line. It's the cost of doing business.

Clearly, you need to research what ethics is. Being a business is not a God given right to do any dirty trick you want to squeeze money from people. You might as well say that there's nothing wrong with robbery and murder. After all, there are plenty of people who make a business of those things. I'm sure anything is justifiable when you say it's the cost of business. Treating your customers with disrespect is unethical. DLC money grabs, punishing customers that want to resell their game, punishing customers who don't have an internet connection, punishing customers for being customers is extremely unethical and in any non-bizzaro world would be a good way to ruin yourself. Unfortunately, this is bizzaro world where you can treat customers like morons and criminals and make a fortune doing it.

Eclectic Dreck:

I honestly don't really want to comment on a post that starts with the best example of ad-hom fallacy in the thread thus far but here we are.

I'm honestly tired of explaining the same thing more than once.

If you purchase the game new AND have access to an internet connection, you get the character Shale for free. Let's take a quick inventory of what you get for your trouble:

A character that is a worse tank than Alistair or Loghain, a far worse damage dealer than Morrigan, Zeveran or Leliana, and a ranged figher who's only bit of fame is an AOE attack guarnteed to hit your party's tanks time and again unless you micromanage every shot. You gain a quest that takes, at best, an hour to complete. You gain a character who runs out of things to say after a few hours in the party, and a personal quest that is fulfilled simply by having her along for the ride at a particular point.

It's funny how you rant about Shale when my whole argument was focused on the Warden's Keep DLC.

...Instead, it revolves around a potential future calamity that removes the player's ability to access the content in the future.

Who cares about the future? They're doing this stuff right now. You think that just because Shale and the Stash aren't vital to the game that it excuses doing it?

...But for some people, an attempt by a developer to make money so that they might continue making games is not an action that one should be ashamed of.

Are you seriously going to try to say that all methods, no matter how unethical, are fully justifiable because developers need money? I seriously doubt EA is hurting for money, not that it's even important to this topic.

In the current state of affairs, I am perfectly satisfied with the day one DLC model. If, at some point, I see an example of day one DLC that represents a substantial portion of the game, THEN I will complain. Until that day arrives, I will judge my games and their worth by the price I paid versus the entertainment they delivered. By this standard, Dragon Age was the best game I played in 2009, in spite of the fact that I did not actually utalize ANY of the DLC on my first play through, free or otherwise.

I don't care about excuses. I'd rather be poor and have morals than to live a life with no value. You don't have to be an immoral greedy bastard to survive this economy. Even if you did, it's still no excuse. I could never enjoy a game that breaks immersion by begging for money. If they want to beg for money, do it pretty much anywhere except inside the game.

I still find it funny that people think developers care about you. They are a company. The purpose of a company is to make money. Money comes first, then pleaseing the legions of fanboys that do nothing but complain.

Things I have learned from this article and the following comments thread:

1) Polish, bugfixing, certification, manufacturing, and shipping are instantaneous. One day (usually a Monday, if you check the release schedule), developers shout "done!" and the next morning, the game is in stores. This is how we know that any day-one DLC was "cut form the game(!)" and then sold separately.

2) The worse you plan for DLC, the better. If it looks like a coherent part of the game, then it must have been "cut form the game(!)" and is bad. DLC should be hacked in crap nobody thought to support in development.

3) Every feature or content anyone thinks of during the course of development always makes it in to the final product, unless it's part of a malicious attempt to "cut it form the game(!)" and then, you guessed it, sell it for extra to consumers later. ESPECIALLY if it ends up being free.

4) It's wrong for developers to expect to be paid for their work. It's perfectly right for game stores to push slightly discounted used copies on customers so the retailer doesn't have to split any profits with the people who actually made the product they're selling. HOWEVER, any attempt to make a new version of the product more appealing is morally wrong. This is because games are just like cars, somehow. Also, publishers already figure used sales into the new price of their games, because what *is* perfectly fair is to expect new product purchasers to subsidize people who want to save $3 at the cost of $20 to the publisher.

LordZ:
Who cares about the future? They're doing this stuff right now. You think that just because Shale and the Stash aren't vital to the game that it excuses doing it?

Yes, that is precisely what I'm saying. I would have assumed it was clear when I ranted at length on this very point. The reason I'm NOT upset is because none of these pieces are important to the game. Were they necessary I would throw a fit just the same as the rest.

LordZ:

Are you seriously going to try to say that all methods, no matter how unethical, are fully justifiable because developers need money? I seriously doubt EA is hurting for money, not that it's even important to this topic.

EA has been operating in the red for awhile. Industry rumor mills speculate the company won't survive the year without being acquired. In five years the stock value has dropped from a high in the $70/share to less than $20/share.

What's more, I don't consider, even for a moment, day one DLC to be unethical. In fact, from the standpoint of the very purpose of a public traded corporation, not trying to find a way to profit from used game sales would be unethical given such entities exist to make money for the stockholders.

LordZ:

I don't care about excuses. I'd rather be poor and have morals than to live a life with no value. You don't have to be an immoral greedy bastard to survive this economy. Even if you did, it's still no excuse. I could never enjoy a game that breaks immersion by begging for money. If they want to beg for money, do it pretty much anywhere except inside the game.

I do love when a person takes the moral high ground in an argument because I know with utter certainty no useful discourse will occur. Your moral high ground involved a sense of entitlement where things ought to be given for free for reasons you've been unable to explictly state. Your argument has become circular one post in and amounts to - they shouldn't do it because it's wrong, it's wrong because it annoys me, I deserve things for free and not giving it to me is wrong.

You're perfectly free to be annoyed by such a trend and I will grant you having that guy standing around in my camp asking for money does violate immersion. If THIS is the source of your complaint then all is well - an intrusion on your game to ask for money is a perfectly justified reason to be annoyed. I can support such a complaint because there are MANY ways to distribute this DLC that doesn't involve kicking immersion in the head every time I head into my camp. The rest - that somehow a universal morality dictates an attempt to make money by offering non essential, relatively weak parts of the game for free as day one DLC to encourage new game purchases, that I'll need a far better argument before I give it any further consideration.

Eclectic Dreck:

LordZ:
Who cares about the future? They're doing this stuff right now. You think that just because Shale and the Stash aren't vital to the game that it excuses doing it?

Yes, that is precisely what I'm saying. I would have assumed it was clear when I ranted at length on this very point. The reason I'm NOT upset is because none of these pieces are important to the game. Were they necessary I would throw a fit just the same as the rest.

LordZ:

Are you seriously going to try to say that all methods, no matter how unethical, are fully justifiable because developers need money? I seriously doubt EA is hurting for money, not that it's even important to this topic.

EA has been operating in the red for awhile. Industry rumor mills speculate the company won't survive the year without being acquired. In five years the stock value has dropped from a high in the $70/share to less than $20/share.

What's more, I don't consider, even for a moment, day one DLC to be unethical. In fact, from the standpoint of the very purpose of a public traded corporation, not trying to find a way to profit from used game sales would be unethical given such entities exist to make money for the stockholders.

LordZ:

I don't care about excuses. I'd rather be poor and have morals than to live a life with no value. You don't have to be an immoral greedy bastard to survive this economy. Even if you did, it's still no excuse. I could never enjoy a game that breaks immersion by begging for money. If they want to beg for money, do it pretty much anywhere except inside the game.

I do love when a person takes the moral high ground in an argument because I know with utter certainty no useful discourse will occur. Your moral high ground involved a sense of entitlement where things ought to be given for free for reasons you've been unable to explictly state. Your argument has become circular one post in and amounts to - they shouldn't do it because it's wrong, it's wrong because it annoys me, I deserve things for free and not giving it to me is wrong.

You're perfectly free to be annoyed by such a trend and I will grant you having that guy standing around in my camp asking for money does violate immersion. If THIS is the source of your complaint then all is well - an intrusion on your game to ask for money is a perfectly justified reason to be annoyed. I can support such a complaint because there are MANY ways to distribute this DLC that doesn't involve kicking immersion in the head every time I head into my camp. The rest - that somehow a universal morality dictates an attempt to make money by offering non essential, relatively weak parts of the game for free as day one DLC to encourage new game purchases, that I'll need a far better argument before I give it any further consideration.

What Eclectic Dreck said. A thousand times what Eclectic Dreck said.

LordZ: I honestly don't know how to reply to this. Comparing the practice of in-game advertising and Day 1 DLC to robbery and murder and other "grave sins" simply indicates that you need a new pastime. Badly.

I can honestly say I don't care about free day one DLC. But then again, I nearly always buy my games new. And on top of that, the DLC that was in Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 where both non-essiental, and not really core parts.

Alright, I can understand a lot of the dislike for Day One DLC, but in most of the instances I have encountered it in the additions seemed to be relatively superfluous, Shale and Warden's Keep didn't affect the main story, and the game would have played the same without them, but if you brought it new then you got a little extra, and if not then you could pay a bit if you wanted those additions. Granted Warden's Keep was disappointing considering it was a misleading bitch that offered you a new "Base of Operations" and instead gave you a quest and when ever you finished it you got access to two merchants and an infinite storage chest, and got locked out of the lovely castle.

Eclectic Dreck:

LordZ:

Are you seriously going to try to say that all methods, no matter how unethical, are fully justifiable because developers need money? I seriously doubt EA is hurting for money, not that it's even important to this topic.

EA has been operating in the red for awhile. Industry rumor mills speculate the company won't survive the year without being acquired. In five years the stock value has dropped from a high in the $70/share to less than $20/share.

What's more, I don't consider, even for a moment, day one DLC to be unethical. In fact, from the standpoint of the very purpose of a public traded corporation, not trying to find a way to profit from used game sales would be unethical given such entities exist to make money for the stockholders.

I knew things where bad, but not this bad - EA could go under this year? Bloody hell.... Let me guess, Activision are eyeing them up?

I imagine its too much to hope for Valve to buy up EA, or at least Bioware and the good studios. A pity really - EA finally stops being arseholes to everyone, and thats when the company breaks. Sends a bad, bad message about the future of gaming as an industry.

gee i just bought forza 3 , and if you buy the collectors edition you get 5 bonus cars , yet on the regular edition you can't even buy these cars as dlc this pisses me off...

dlc is a great idea but taking part of a game out only to repackage it as dlc is wrong and charging a high price is just as bad

the one company that did dlc right was rockstar games , offering dlc on both download and as a disc , bethesda did that too but rockstar should be followed by all... that means you lbp makers

My problem with DLC is a little bit different. I live and work in the middle of nowhere (in a certain part of australia), and our work has no problem with us buying high-end machines for play to help on the down-time, but our internet connection is a glorified 3G with a monthly limit of 5Gb (up+down).

So the other day I bit the bullet and bought Saints Row 2 and Orange box. I finally got SR2 installed off the dvd, and HL2, but episode 1, 2, and portal will not install off the disk!! So I have to f***ing dl it from steam, when I can't. Great.
So I sit there thinking, "I have purchased this thing legitimately, and I can't f***ing play it without jumping through hoops.".

F**k you steam.

So I have 2 options:
1) Next time I got to a major city I have to take my PC with me and hook it up to a mate's internet so I can install a game I've paid for, or...
2) I call a mate in a major city to pirate the thing, burn to dvd, and mail it to me.

Like DRM, steam is forcing me to pirate in order to use it without issues. Why can't I just get the damn game when I buy it?

Next issue? Game ports.

I loved Saints Row 2, so now I want the DLCs for it. But because this is a XBOX 360 game ported to pc, I can't because they haven't bothered to release them for pc. Even though I wouldn't be able to download it anyway.

F**k you steam.

Ph0t0n1c Ph34r:
I still find it funny that people think developers care about you. They are a company. The purpose of a company is to make money. Money comes first, then pleaseing the legions of fanboys that do nothing but complain.

You seem to be mistaking the developers for the company itself.

The difference is who is holding the whip.

Shamus Young:
To those who asked about the "she" thing:

Do Shale's personal quest. It explains everything.

I knew she was female. Damn right.

...I'm vaguely depressed at myself, now.

Also, is Galactic Civilizations any good?

I'm surprised that you didn't mention rebellion and there hatred for this day one dlc shenanigans.

Day one dlc is fine if the motivation is to get people to buy it first-hand - meaning the day one dlc is free to those that do.

It's entirely reasonable for the developers to do this, they get NOTHING when people buy preowned games.
An exaggerated form of what's happening would have only one copy of the game being bought first-hand and then that one copy would get traded amongst gamers for a lower price. The developers would only recieve income for that one copy.

It's not that bad in reality but i'd imagine the dev's are still making massive losses.
In my area a ridiculous amount of games are bought second-hand, in fact their are entire stores that ONLY sell preowned games and others must be well over 50% stocked with them.

Despite not having any money i'm making an effort to only buy first-hand. I feel bad otherwise and a bit counter-productive since i tend to call myself a game-developer.
If it catches on there's a good chance we'll be seeing innovative games a lot more often!

Thanks for this enlightening article Shamus love your work and keep it up!

I can go back to expecting updates like map-packs, to be free and not have to pay for it if I have bought the game.

Totally love how everyone is up in arms when i say "As a PC gamer I'd expect this stuff free" O yeah a convention that as been around for a better part of a decade suddenly changes and now they even charge you for an update, and everyone takes the side of the man. WTF is wrong with you ppl? Your never suppose to justify for them y they charge you more. Your suppose to be pissed and ask wtf is going on here. Put i guess i'm a dying breed.

Ppl mistake Game Content with Game Updates; game content is new story, stuff, gameplay, etc. added to the game (GTA:4 Liberty City Stories is a good example) and that they should charge for it and I WOULD PAY even on PC. Game updates like a new unit skin, new maps, patches, etc. are superfluous (DLC Map packs from games like Gears, Killzone, etc) are ways for the developers to express their appreciation. I don't pay for updates sorry this stuff was free and should still be free PC or Console.

I have no issues with day one DLC, I dont mind getting new stuff, and I played more then half the game of DA before getting shale, and never really used her :P

So yea I like day one DLC, its a new revenue stream for developers, and it will make them more accepting of Used games. You like used games, and the gaming industry (In my opinion game pirates are anti-gaming, they want one goal, destroy the gaming industry) DLC are the way its going to co-exist. With out DLC they would fight the legality of USed gaming, probably not do well but sure as hell try.

I'm just holding out for the Dragon Age nude-model DLC...

Well Shamus, I've officially created an Escapist account to reply to this post. I hope you're happy! I'm usually such a good antisocial internet denizen.

At any rate, I found this discussion extremely interesting because my feelings on the matter are almost the exact opposite of what the general community seems to feel.

On the one hand, you have day-one DLC, which I think is brilliant if properly executed. Let's continue using BioWare as an example: I actually recently listened to an interview with one of their devs (I think it was on "4 Guys 1UP", if I recall) and he said that the day one DLC is mostly content that is created after the game has gone gold, and is in the certification process. Now, whether or not it's stuff that was planned ahead of time (it most certainly was) and assuming you take him at his word (I do in this case, but again, devil's advocate), this is a far cry less questionable a practice than locking on-disk features (Beautiful Katamari invariably springs to mind -- you even need to download your on-disk dlc to get certain achievements in that game). Continuing with the Dragon Age example, while Shale is one of the best characters in the game, both in her usefulness and her personality, the game would be no less complete without her. She's not integral to the overarching story in any way, and there's still 40+ hours of gameplay in there without a lick of DLC.

I won't even give them too much guff over Warden's Keep. Again, extending the benefit of the doubt to their claimed DLC philosophy, I can conceive of this being a feature they hadn't originally planned, but saw a demand for it and executed in time for release. I realize I'm being generous here, but it is really hard to discern genuine altruism from cynical feature-removal in this landscape, and BioWare has earned at least some degree of loyalty from me in their approach in the past. At the end of the day, if you're buying it retail, whether you buy it today or in a year, you'll get this stuff for free. And keep in mind, unlike its nefarious cousin the "pre-order bonus DLC", you still have the option to download this stuff, even if you buy the game used. And in most cases, you'll still save money when you buy the used game + DLC, AND the publisher can make some money in a market where they don't usually have that option. I understand the slippery slope argument, but I don't find this practice as it exists currently to be particularly offensive.

That said, the idea of patches being a at-retail only perk strikes me as far more unscrupulous overall. Granted, I've not been a PC gamer for quite some time, primarily because of all the hoops you need to jump through nowadays, but really, most games have at least some minor problems at launch, and quite a few have gamebreaking flaws. Granted, there's not really a (legal) used market for PC games, but as you said, console gamers are not immune from this kind of business model. I can't conceive of not being able to download a game fixing patch because I didn't pay $60 at retail, and unlike the DLC, this model doesn't allow for me unlocking the privilege after the fact.

That was probably way too long, and incoherently worded, but sue me -- I'm new here. Hi all.

Wait, I bought Dragon Age off steam, so I can get Shale? I thought that was additional, so how do I get her?

I would like to know why game companies have not figured out how to make money off of used game sales? You will never see a film company or a car company whine that used products are bad for business. Trying to punish, rather than create a real incentive isn't the right way to go about the issue. No one deserves to pay sixty dollars for a game only to end up with the distinct feeling that the game in question is missing something. All of this because the industry missed getting into a perfectly legitimate market. Trying to pass that kind of crap off as doing me the customer a favor isn't going to fly either, Mass Effect 2 wasn't as bad as DA:O with the whole stash box deal. Mass Effect 2 felt incomplete because it should have been the last game in the series rather than the middle game. I do think that Bioware should go easy on the DLC characters.

I foresee a terrible future wherein you do not buy games but download them piece by piece for exuberant prices.

@shadow skill: Film companies have been complaining about this since the advent of the VHS tape, and record labels since cassettes. Car companies actually control a good portion of the used market through their dealerships, so that analogy doesn't particularly work. If bigger publishers were apt to open their own stores where they could provide a better market for buying back and selling their used games, I imagine they'd have far less of a problem with it, but keep in mind that you're only likely to buy one car per 5-10 years, not so with games, so publisher segregated stores aren't really as viable there (unless EA wants to pimp their fitness game -- then it's kind of quirky and comical).

Provided a game doesn't feel unfinished, I think either route of incentivizing new purchases is a far cry more consumer friendly than draconian drm measures. Also in general RE to Warden's Keep comments, I was playing on the 360, and the load times for heading back to the keep actually made running through a cleared dungeon a second time to poach missed loot a much more viable option. That chest was really a "store my blood dragon armor until Alistar can wear it" bin.

Edit: @The Admiral: this is also known as Madden. :-)

If the game is 100% playable, worth the price tag in terms of content and length, and enjoyable without the DLC (day one or not) then I don't see the problem. Shale was cool, sure, but I could care less if she wasn't available to me; the same thing applies to Zaeed. These games are great with or without the inclusion of such trivial aspects. Should we demand that all cut content from a game become available to us because it "should have been included"? To assume that the absence of a character without DLC will one day lead to missing the entire second half of the game without DLC is invoking the common logical fallacy of slippery slope. The state of the game is uncompromised by D1DLC so stop complaining and buy it new if you want Shale or buy it used if you don't mind playing the game to its fullest minus a character/side quest that has no effect on the overall experience, much less the main story of the game.

shadow skill:
I would like to know why game companies have not figured out how to make money off of used game sales? You will never see a film company or a car company whine that used products are bad for business.

Used cars are inferior to new cars, because they are physical machines which wear out, break down, and kids leave chocolate bars in the glove compartment. Planned obsolescense - the company build the car to last 5 or 6 years, and they know that every 5 or 6 years, they're going to sell a new car no matter how many times it changes hands in the meantime. This is not the case for new games. For the video game industry to do this, they'd have to build a disk that slef-destructs after a playthrough. Would you prefer that?

Movies have a format where they release in theaters first, and then people who buy the DVD later are in it because they want to keep it - again, not like games where you buy the disk to play for a week and then are done. For games to use this model, you'd have to pay $11 to go to a theater to watch someone else play the game for two hours, and then get gouged for overpriced popcorn and drinks. Four months later, you'd then be able to buy the game if you want to play it at home for yourself. Again, is this preferable?

shadow skill:
Trying to punish, rather than create a real incentive isn't the right way to go about the issue.

You're right. They should do something like... oh, add extra content to the game promptly after release to encourage people to keep the game, and provide extra incentive to buy the game new in the form of extra content. Brilliant idea, I don't know why they didn't think of that.

rycar:
@shadow skill: Film companies have been complaining about this since the advent of the VHS tape, and record labels since cassettes. Car companies actually control a good portion of the used market through their dealerships, so that analogy doesn't particularly work. If bigger publishers were apt to open their own stores where they could provide a better market for buying back and selling their used games, I imagine they'd have far less of a problem with it, but keep in mind that you're only likely to buy one car per 5-10 years, not so with games, so publisher segregated stores aren't really as viable there (unless EA wants to pimp their fitness game -- then it's kind of quirky and comical).

Provided a game doesn't feel unfinished, I think either route of incentivizing new purchases is a far cry more consumer friendly than draconian drm measures. Also in general RE to Warden's Keep comments, I was playing on the 360, and the load times for heading back to the keep actually made running through a cleared dungeon a second time to poach missed loot a much more viable option. That chest was really a "store my blood dragon armor until Alistar can wear it" bin.

Edit: @The Admiral: this is also known as Madden. :-)

That's why most of the film industry's money comes from rentals or home video sales rather than the box office. Their problem isn't with DVD's being sold at all, it's with the home user's ability to easily duplicate a movie. They already figured out how to make money off their equivalent of the used game market.

Teiwaz83:

shadow skill:
I would like to know why game companies have not figured out how to make money off of used game sales? You will never see a film company or a car company whine that used products are bad for business.

Used cars are inferior to new cars, because they are physical machines which wear out, break down, and kids leave chocolate bars in the glove compartment. Planned obsolescense - the company build the car to last 5 or 6 years, and they know that every 5 or 6 years, they're going to sell a new car no matter how many times it changes hands in the meantime. This is not the case for new games. For the video game industry to do this, they'd have to build a disk that slef-destructs after a playthrough. Would you prefer that?

Movies have a format where they release in theaters first, and then people who buy the DVD later are in it because they want to keep it - again, not like games where you buy the disk to play for a week and then are done. For games to use this model, you'd have to pay $11 to go to a theater to watch someone else play the game for two hours, and then get gouged for overpriced popcorn and drinks. Four months later, you'd then be able to buy the game if you want to play it at home for yourself. Again, is this preferable?

shadow skill:
Trying to punish, rather than create a real incentive isn't the right way to go about the issue.

You're right. They should do something like... oh, add extra content to the game promptly after release to encourage people to keep the game, and provide extra incentive to buy the game new in the form of extra content. Brilliant idea, I don't know why they didn't think of that.

Regardless of whether the used car is inferior to the new car the fact of the matter is that car companies have figured out how to make money off of the used car market, without deploying schemes to destroy it. You don't get half a working car when you buy it used from a reputable dealer. In some cases with games you may as well get half a game because of all the bullshit stunts they pull like "Oh look we will put your item stash into DLC, even though we know damn well we spam loot." Or the classic "We had originally intended to put this in the game anyway but ran out of time." BS that Ubisoft has just pulled with Assassin's Creed 2. (Note that the PC version will include the DLC.) That doesn't make me want to buy the game new, it just annoys the hell out of me the same way a car without AC would.

If you want an example of good DLC just look at what CD Projekt did with The Witcher. Not only did they fix the game, they included an adventure editor, and some extra episodes free for anyone who already owned The Witcher, and the director's cut edition that contained all the DLC isn't more than 70USD depending on where you shop. That is how you get people to buy a game new rather than used, by fixing problems and maybe adding a few things on top. Not by trying to run a scam. Even Mass Effect 2's Digital Deluxe edition is a decent example of a proper incentive.

might aswell be issue of release date. if they wanna release on time, they could cut stuff and then re-attach it after it's done.

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