EA Isn't Trying to Blackmail You

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you know what? I like pRoject 10 dollar. I'ts SOOO much better tahn fucking Ubisoft's attempts.

I feel a massive disturbance in the Force, as though Susan Arendt's paycheck suddenly started getting paid by EA. (Caution: this is a joke.)

It's all very well to point out that there is a certain level of control given to gamers as to whether or not they purchase the game - and indeed, some will take advantage of that control by not purchasing.

However, I would wager that statistically, the great steaming majority of consumers do not read gaming media, and thus have no awareness about DLC or the strong possibility that, say, a Bioware game will have an extra feature that you need to install on top of the game if you buy it new. They may then buy a second-hand copy and realise later, much to their dismay, that buying the new copy would have given them much better equipment.

In short, then, this article's failing is that it takes the standpoint of someone who does read a lot of gaming media, and forgets that the great population of gamers fails to keep up with said news. Which brings me to Slycne's point rather tidily:

Slycne:

Sure I'll bite. It's not exploitative. Is the price point too high, definitely, but a smart consumer shouldn't pay out for it. Not informing someone beforehand that they have to pay extra money to unlock multiplayer would be exploitative.

Actually, they're usually not informed until they open the container. So... yes, it is exploitative.

The exploitation here is not that people have to pay more in a transaction they don't have to have, but that this part about paying more for the total possible content of a game is either written in the fine print or isn't even there, meaning: buyer beware. There is no doubt who benefits more greatly from said exchange - clue: it's not the gamer.

Gaming is a business, and it's not a "tinfoil hat conspiracy theory" to believe that business has never been fair, especially regarding multinational bullies like EA, who do things like design the Download Manager that crashes other developer's games. Understanding and criticising the less ethical actions of such companies is called consumer conscience, and it's time that people stopped mocking it, however innocent the reason.

If people want to protest by not buying the game and criticise the company behind this decision, good for them. It's not up to this magazine or any other writer to label them "whiners" or anything else. Such activism keeps industry figures honest and challenges their authority, meaning that it benefits everyone inside and outside of it. If you are criticising people for actions of noble intent, then I'm sorry Susan, but it is you who is the whiner.

I agree with this article.

I think people forget that videogames are a luxury. They aren't necessary for survival. Weigh what you want vs what you can afford. If you can't afford what you want; welcome to a little place I like to call reality. If the bonus content is worth it to you, buy new. If not, don't. It is your call.

As for the conspiracy theories; your dollar makes the decision. If no one buys it due to "price-hiking" or whatever; they'll probably bring the price down or make extra content free. If they still make money off of it; obviously enough people are still willing to buy it, so why lower prices?

Silva:
I feel a massive disturbance in the Force, as though Susan Arendt's paycheck suddenly started getting paid by EA. (Caution: this is a joke.)

It's all very well to point out that there is a certain level of control given to gamers as to whether or not they purchase the game - and indeed, some will take advantage of that control by not purchasing.

However, I would wager that statistically, the great steaming majority of consumers do not read gaming media, and thus have no awareness about DLC or the strong possibility that, say, a Bioware game will have an extra feature that you need to install on top of the game if you buy it new. They may then buy a second-hand copy and realise later, much to their dismay, that buying the new copy would have given them much better equipment.

In short, then, this article's failing is that it takes the standpoint of someone who does read a lot of gaming media, and forgets that the great population of gamers fails to keep up with said news. Which brings me to Slycne's point rather tidily:

Slycne:

Sure I'll bite. It's not exploitative. Is the price point too high, definitely, but a smart consumer shouldn't pay out for it. Not informing someone beforehand that they have to pay extra money to unlock multiplayer would be exploitative.

Actually, they're usually not informed until they open the container. So... yes, it is exploitative.

The exploitation here is not that people have to pay more in a transaction they don't have to have, but that this part about paying more for the total possible content of a game is either written in the fine print or isn't even there, meaning: buyer beware. There is no doubt who benefits more greatly from said exchange - clue: it's not the gamer.

Gaming is a business, and it's not a "tinfoil hat conspiracy theory" to believe that business has never been fair, especially regarding multinational bullies like EA, who do things like design the Download Manager that crashes other games. Understanding and criticising the less ethical actions of such companies is called consumer conscience, and it's time that people stopped mocking it, however innocent the reason.

If people want to protest by not buying the game and criticise the company behind this decision, good for them. It's not up to this magazine or any other writer to label them "whiners" or anything else. Such activism keeps industry figures honest and challenges their authority, meaning that it benefits everyone inside and outside of it. If you are criticising people for actions of noble intent, then it is you who is the whiner.

I would argue about the "much better equipment" line completely. You're absolutely right, that the vast majority of gaming consumers are (relatively) uninformed and quite probably couldn't care less about DLC. In which case their purchase decision will be made on criteria other than extra content. So project ten dollar doesn't impact them one way or the other, really.

Susan Arendt:
I would argue about the "much better equipment" line completely. You're absolutely right, that the vast majority of gaming consumers are (relatively) uninformed and quite probably couldn't care less about DLC. In which case their purchase decision will be made on criteria other than extra content. So project ten dollar doesn't impact them one way or the other, really.

You appear to have missed this part, Susan:

Silva:
They may then buy a second-hand copy and realise later, much to their dismay, that buying the new copy would have given them much better equipment.

It does impact them. It's all very well to say that it's not an impact on their wallet, but does it impact their enjoyment of the product they spent good money on? You can bet your free copy of Dragon Age that it does.

While I agree with this article in general terms, it's not simply a matter of money vs content. If only it was. The problem is that the third option, piracy, might suddenly become a lot more attractive to people who otherwise (legally) buy their games 2nd hand. If you're already buying used games to save money, I imagine the option of paying 10 dollars for a tiny bit of extra content isn't a very attractive one. However, as the article pointed out, the idea of not getting the 'full' game is not something everyone will be satisfied with. If people won't pay 10 bucks extra and still want to get the full experience there's only one option available to them, and that one just happens to be illegal (but oh so easy).

I'm not saying project 10 dollars is a bad idea because it'll cause more people to pirate their games (and if you're illegally downloading some DLC, why not quickly grab that other game you kinda wanted but couldn't afford? in for a penny in for a pound...), but it could be a very real consequence.

I don't like the whole concept of DLC (I prefer a proper old-fashioned full-length expansion pack to those overpriced little tidbits of add-on content), but that has nothing to do with P10$ specifically. Other than that I'm not too worried myself since there hardly is a used-game market to begin with where I live, so all my games are bought new or downloaded through Stardock or Steam, but I doubt everyone will see this as a "take it or leave it"-deal.

If theres one thing I hate more than publishers its retailers. The "used game" market was awesome way back before everyone got bought out by gamestop. You could actually trade in a game and have a chance of getting something decent for it. Now you trade in a used game and get 50 cent off your next "used" purchase which is in some cases, more expensive than the new copy.

Thus, anything designed to fuck with gamestop is a gigantic thumbs up. Conversely, anything designed to fuck with gamestop can also be construed as a way to fuck with piracy. The current paranoia about piracy stems from how pathetically easy it is. Run a torrent, mount/burn an image, install, move a file, done (and thats for PC, console piracy currently drops 3 steps from that). The more shit you have to download and install (dlc piracy being pretty crazy, comparatively) the less willing people will be to learn how. Piracy is really all about convenience for 99% of people and the more gears you throw in that the less willing people will be to put up with it.

Unless its a microsoft product, of course. No amount of annoyance is going to make anyone think dropping $400 on worthless bullshit is the preferable alternative.

You can't say the downloadable content is insignificant unless you have played the game without it.

Thibaut:
Can somebody explain to me what this infamous 'ten dollar project' is in simply words? I can't seem to understand what it is or why people don't like it.

Read the linked article. It's explained in the first sentence.

Silva:

Slycne:

Sure I'll bite. It's not exploitative. Is the price point too high, definitely, but a smart consumer shouldn't pay out for it. Not informing someone beforehand that they have to pay extra money to unlock multiplayer would be exploitative.

Actually, they're usually not informed until they open the container. So... yes, it is exploitative.

That comment was made in specific regards to the horse armor and street fighter packs that another poster challenged someone to say it wasn't exploitative. And after digging around for my Dragon Age box, it does indeed have a disclaimer box, not even in tiny lawyer font, exclaiming "One time use codes available with full retail purchase".

Valiance:
You know, I don't think it's a bad idea - companies lose enough money with used games as is, and I hardly purchase used at all unless the company is gone, the game is old, and I can't get it any other way. You know, Dreamcast and Gamecube games and such.

I like having extra stuff to put into a game, whether it be maps, mods, skins, new areas, whatever, and considering all the content is optional, I don't see what's so bad about it.

Someone can still purchase used and just not use this content and it's not like they're forced to not buy used, but from a company's standpoint, what you said makes sense: People should pay more money for more content. Why should someone who paid 30 dollars get the same game someone paid 50 dollars for?

Agreed. But its even more clear cut to the company - "Do we reward the customers who pay us money, or the customers who don't?"

And definitely agree with Susan's article.

I'd love to agree with you Susan, I really would. But I can't approve of it for a simple reason: It's online activation. With all its usual warts.

Lately, my home internet has been buggled by the ISP. Annoying, but it happens. I loaded up Mass Effect 2 on my Xbox.

BZZ! "You have shifted account." Huh. That's odd. Try again. BZZ! "You have shifted account." Huh.

Log out of my Xbox account. Log back in.

"Your Cerberus downloaded content has been corrupted and cannot be used. Please redownload this content."

And like that, my game is basically unplayable, since Zaeed was going to be a part of my strategies.

I can't approve of this. It's yet more DRM, and like all DRM, it's punishing paying customers, not to reduce piracy (which it barely does) but rather to reward the charlatans providing their DRM services.

Plurralbles:
you know what? I like pRoject 10 dollar. I'ts SOOO much better tahn fucking Ubisoft's attempts.

To be fair, anything shy of imprisioning your customers in a vault and horse whipping them 18 hours a day for the rest of their lives is better than Ubisofts attempt.

Susan Arendt:

cuddly_tomato:

To dismiss everyone who disagrees with DLC as "whiners" right off the bat is pretty insulting.

And if I'd done that, you'd be right. But I didn't, not even close.

1. By "forcing" people to buy new, the nay-sayers proclaim, EA is therefore pissing off customers, decreasing the overall number of
2. games that will be sold, and generally mucking about with a system that works just fine as it is, thank you very much. Others are
3. complaining that they're being punished simply for wanting to save some scratch because EA is making them pay for content that
4. others are getting for free.

5. In other words, some people are being a bunch of whining, unrealistic nancies.

Right, right, you waited a few lines before dismissing some people. The same "some" were earlier referred to generally as "the naysayers." Yes what you said is different than "everybody who disagrees with DLC is a whiner, so there." But that wouldn't have been a good argument, when you can instead just imply that those who disagree with your point of view are unrealistic, by use of the word "some."

You're playing with words here, but it does comes across as insulting to call people names. Attack the argument, not the person if you want your argument to be heard by "some people."

John Funk:

Icehearted:
I'm all for incentives, but in all honesty, I struggle to justify having preordered Mass Effect 2 CE, when all I really have to show for it is some armor I can't use without destroying the immersion, a DVD I may or May not watch, and a comic "booklet". DLC is also one of those ideas I really with had never taken off. People cut things from games all to often to turn a larger profit on DLC, and this abuse and now leveraging only proves that greed is more important in gaming than delivering a good or even worthy product.

I defy anyone to tell me that $5 horse armor or five extra costume packs at $4 a pop for Street Fighter isn't exploitative.

I'm also finding uppitycracker's comments hard to disagree with.

Edit:

John Funk:

DarkSaber:
You might have more of a point if EA weren't going to hack out substantial parts of the game to "give away" as day one DLC, or sell later. Like they already do.

If you'll pardon my Francais:

Bull. Shit.

This is just the same sort of conspiracy-theorist, tinfoil-hat, the-sky-is-falling ludicrousness that we see everywhere from people who have literally no idea how games are made, have no concept of deadlines or content limits or the fact that there are established procedures to take something from the "Hey, wouldn't this be cool" concept idea to "Now it's finished and on the disc!"

Or who don't understand that sometimes, developers can't do everything they want in order to make deadlines and need to take things out / scrap ideas, things that DLC lets them put back in later.

Didn't they actually admit to doing that with Assassin's Creed 2? I could be getting my wires crossed here on the title, but I feel fairly certain that something came out pretty recently with DLC that was made out of intentionally removed content.

No, the DLC was removed from the game because it wouldn't be ready in time for release deadlines.

And I will tell you straight-up to your face that the Horse Armor and Costume Packs are not exploitative. Do you know why? Because they are the very image of something that is completely optional. It is 100% cosmetic. You do not need it in any way to experience maximum enjoyment of the game. You get it ONLY if you want it.

You'd have more of an argument for actual mission content, because at least then you could argue that people who don't have the resources/funds/ability to get DLC are missing out on content instead of some super shiny pixels.

Which means that if they had time they would have included it at no extra charge given that line of reasoning.

shadow skill:

John Funk:

Icehearted:
I'm all for incentives, but in all honesty, I struggle to justify having preordered Mass Effect 2 CE, when all I really have to show for it is some armor I can't use without destroying the immersion, a DVD I may or May not watch, and a comic "booklet". DLC is also one of those ideas I really with had never taken off. People cut things from games all to often to turn a larger profit on DLC, and this abuse and now leveraging only proves that greed is more important in gaming than delivering a good or even worthy product.

I defy anyone to tell me that $5 horse armor or five extra costume packs at $4 a pop for Street Fighter isn't exploitative.

I'm also finding uppitycracker's comments hard to disagree with.

Edit:

John Funk:

DarkSaber:
You might have more of a point if EA weren't going to hack out substantial parts of the game to "give away" as day one DLC, or sell later. Like they already do.

If you'll pardon my Francais:

Bull. Shit.

This is just the same sort of conspiracy-theorist, tinfoil-hat, the-sky-is-falling ludicrousness that we see everywhere from people who have literally no idea how games are made, have no concept of deadlines or content limits or the fact that there are established procedures to take something from the "Hey, wouldn't this be cool" concept idea to "Now it's finished and on the disc!"

Or who don't understand that sometimes, developers can't do everything they want in order to make deadlines and need to take things out / scrap ideas, things that DLC lets them put back in later.

Didn't they actually admit to doing that with Assassin's Creed 2? I could be getting my wires crossed here on the title, but I feel fairly certain that something came out pretty recently with DLC that was made out of intentionally removed content.

No, the DLC was removed from the game because it wouldn't be ready in time for release deadlines.

And I will tell you straight-up to your face that the Horse Armor and Costume Packs are not exploitative. Do you know why? Because they are the very image of something that is completely optional. It is 100% cosmetic. You do not need it in any way to experience maximum enjoyment of the game. You get it ONLY if you want it.

You'd have more of an argument for actual mission content, because at least then you could argue that people who don't have the resources/funds/ability to get DLC are missing out on content instead of some super shiny pixels.

Which means that if they had time they would have included it at no extra charge given that line of reasoning.

and given enough time Burning crusade would have been included in Vanilla WoW. That reasoning doesn't work.

-m

Susan Arendt:

As for used games, I see what you're saying -- what if the DLC that was bundled free with new copies became free to everyone after the game had been out for an extended period of time? (A year, perhaps.) After a certain point, even finding a new copy of a game can prove difficult, as stores are drowning in used copies.

Matt_LRR:
Response to Susan

Sucker Punch did this, actually. The pre-order edition of Infamous came with an extra power, the Gigawatt Blades: and quite recently, Sucker Punch made the Gigawatt Blades free to the general public.

Pre-purchase bonuses and Project Ten Dollar are the same thing in my eyes, except EA isn't forcing people to pre-order from specific outlets for the content, or making people spend additional money on content for a game that hasn't even been released to the general public.

I would dispute that retailers are going to drop used game prices to account for the missing DLC, because in my opinion the cost of the used game has not changed. To me, the DLC is a separate product being BUNDLED with new copies of the game. In other words, new games have become affordable collector's editions. If you look at Ten Dollar as being nothing more than, say, a cloth map, or a art book, then it becomes apparent that the used game retailers have no incentive to lower their prices due to its absence.

Meanwhile, someone can't afford a meal and sits in the street starving because no one will employ them.

Videogames are a luxury. We do not need them to live, and if you do you have a serious problem. We choose to play them, we choose to spend money on them. With this new model, what is so bad about it exactly? Say a new copy of $60 and a used copy $30. Instead of saving $30 you save $20 buying the DLC. Everyone gets hung up on the $10 like it's a personal attack, and yet you're still getting the game cheap enough. And if the new copy is more than the used, well then sorry, but you're an idiot for buying it then complaining it costs more when you could have purchased a new copy.

This doesn't take away anything. If you're buying used you're saving money, and all this is doing is sending a bit of that the developers way. Arguing against this is basically saying "I don't want to save slightly less money damn it!" And there's no bloody conspiracy. The twin towers were not blown up by the CIA, they didn't kill Kennedy because of Vietnam, and EA isn't removing parts of the games to secretly attack your wallet.

Here's a fun experiment: the next time you have something due wait until the night before, then try to add something to it. Probably turns out pretty shitty and rushed eh? Which means you have two options: leave it out, and be accused of cutting material. Or leave it in, and be accused of rushing to meet a deadline.

We're gamers. We are the most stupid, mindless, unpleasable people on the planet and we need to shut up from time to time and realize that playing games does not mean we suddenly have an understanding of the way the industry works. Do you know how an oil company works? No.

So shut the fuck up and play the game, you still saved $20 for Christ sake.

Matt_LRR:

shadow skill:

John Funk:

Icehearted:
I'm all for incentives, but in all honesty, I struggle to justify having preordered Mass Effect 2 CE, when all I really have to show for it is some armor I can't use without destroying the immersion, a DVD I may or May not watch, and a comic "booklet". DLC is also one of those ideas I really with had never taken off. People cut things from games all to often to turn a larger profit on DLC, and this abuse and now leveraging only proves that greed is more important in gaming than delivering a good or even worthy product.

I defy anyone to tell me that $5 horse armor or five extra costume packs at $4 a pop for Street Fighter isn't exploitative.

I'm also finding uppitycracker's comments hard to disagree with.

Edit:

John Funk:

DarkSaber:
You might have more of a point if EA weren't going to hack out substantial parts of the game to "give away" as day one DLC, or sell later. Like they already do.

If you'll pardon my Francais:

Bull. Shit.

This is just the same sort of conspiracy-theorist, tinfoil-hat, the-sky-is-falling ludicrousness that we see everywhere from people who have literally no idea how games are made, have no concept of deadlines or content limits or the fact that there are established procedures to take something from the "Hey, wouldn't this be cool" concept idea to "Now it's finished and on the disc!"

Or who don't understand that sometimes, developers can't do everything they want in order to make deadlines and need to take things out / scrap ideas, things that DLC lets them put back in later.

Didn't they actually admit to doing that with Assassin's Creed 2? I could be getting my wires crossed here on the title, but I feel fairly certain that something came out pretty recently with DLC that was made out of intentionally removed content.

No, the DLC was removed from the game because it wouldn't be ready in time for release deadlines.

And I will tell you straight-up to your face that the Horse Armor and Costume Packs are not exploitative. Do you know why? Because they are the very image of something that is completely optional. It is 100% cosmetic. You do not need it in any way to experience maximum enjoyment of the game. You get it ONLY if you want it.

You'd have more of an argument for actual mission content, because at least then you could argue that people who don't have the resources/funds/ability to get DLC are missing out on content instead of some super shiny pixels.

Which means that if they had time they would have included it at no extra charge given that line of reasoning.

and given enough time Burning crusade would have been included in Vanilla WoW. That reasoning doesn't work.

-m

Are we disagreeing? I'm simply saying that if they took it out because of time constraints it would mean that if they had enough time they wouldn't have removed the content from the game and charge you for those chapters. Just like the PC incidentally.

WanderFreak:
Meanwhile, someone can't afford a meal and sits in the street starving because no one will employ them.

Videogames are a luxury. We do not need them to live, and if you do you have a serious problem. We choose to play them, we choose to spend money on them. With this new model, what is so bad about it exactly? Say a new copy of $60 and a used copy $30. Instead of saving $30 you save $20 buying the DLC. Everyone gets hung up on the $10 like it's a personal attack, and yet you're still getting the game cheap enough. And if the new copy is more than the used, well then sorry, but you're an idiot for buying it then complaining it costs more when you could have purchased a new copy.

This doesn't take away anything. If you're buying used you're saving money, and all this is doing is sending a bit of that the developers way. Arguing against this is basically saying "I don't want to save slightly less money damn it!" And there's no bloody conspiracy. The twin towers were not blown up by the CIA, they didn't kill Kennedy because of Vietnam, and EA isn't removing parts of the games to secretly attack your wallet.

Here's a fun experiment: the next time you have something due wait until the night before, then try to add something to it. Probably turns out pretty shitty and rushed eh? Which means you have two options: leave it out, and be accused of cutting material. Or leave it in, and be accused of rushing to meet a deadline.

We're gamers. We are the most stupid, mindless, unpleasable people on the planet and we need to shut up from time to time and realize that playing games does not mean we suddenly have an understanding of the way the industry works. Do you know how an oil company works? No.

So shut the fuck up and play the game, you still saved $20 for Christ sake.

You chose to live as well you know. People really need to stop making that kind of argument. Especially when these games are being released with so many issues all around that kind of indicate that the publisher needed to push the game back and give the team more time.

Slycne:
Snip.

Where is your avatar from? It looks snazzy.

Also, I forgot to post the customary link to Virgil's post, for those who believe that people are cutting DLC out of completed games/ripping the consumer off.

Because I already know that SOMEONE will say it, if they haven't already.

shadow skill:

John Funk:

Icehearted:
I'm all for incentives, but in all honesty, I struggle to justify having preordered Mass Effect 2 CE, when all I really have to show for it is some armor I can't use without destroying the immersion, a DVD I may or May not watch, and a comic "booklet". DLC is also one of those ideas I really with had never taken off. People cut things from games all to often to turn a larger profit on DLC, and this abuse and now leveraging only proves that greed is more important in gaming than delivering a good or even worthy product.

I defy anyone to tell me that $5 horse armor or five extra costume packs at $4 a pop for Street Fighter isn't exploitative.

I'm also finding uppitycracker's comments hard to disagree with.

Edit:

John Funk:

DarkSaber:
You might have more of a point if EA weren't going to hack out substantial parts of the game to "give away" as day one DLC, or sell later. Like they already do.

If you'll pardon my Francais:

Bull. Shit.

This is just the same sort of conspiracy-theorist, tinfoil-hat, the-sky-is-falling ludicrousness that we see everywhere from people who have literally no idea how games are made, have no concept of deadlines or content limits or the fact that there are established procedures to take something from the "Hey, wouldn't this be cool" concept idea to "Now it's finished and on the disc!"

Or who don't understand that sometimes, developers can't do everything they want in order to make deadlines and need to take things out / scrap ideas, things that DLC lets them put back in later.

Didn't they actually admit to doing that with Assassin's Creed 2? I could be getting my wires crossed here on the title, but I feel fairly certain that something came out pretty recently with DLC that was made out of intentionally removed content.

No, the DLC was removed from the game because it wouldn't be ready in time for release deadlines.

And I will tell you straight-up to your face that the Horse Armor and Costume Packs are not exploitative. Do you know why? Because they are the very image of something that is completely optional. It is 100% cosmetic. You do not need it in any way to experience maximum enjoyment of the game. You get it ONLY if you want it.

You'd have more of an argument for actual mission content, because at least then you could argue that people who don't have the resources/funds/ability to get DLC are missing out on content instead of some super shiny pixels.

Which means that if they had time they would have included it at no extra charge given that line of reasoning.

Yes, but they didn't have the time according to the budget and/or deadlines that had been decided beforehand.

Completing it afterwards - additional resources, man-hours, etc. aren't cheap - cost them money. Why should we get something that cost money to produce for free?

Silva:

Susan Arendt:
I would argue about the "much better equipment" line completely. You're absolutely right, that the vast majority of gaming consumers are (relatively) uninformed and quite probably couldn't care less about DLC. In which case their purchase decision will be made on criteria other than extra content. So project ten dollar doesn't impact them one way or the other, really.

You appear to have missed this part, Susan:

Silva:
They may then buy a second-hand copy and realise later, much to their dismay, that buying the new copy would have given them much better equipment.

It does impact them. It's all very well to say that it's not an impact on their wallet, but does it impact their enjoyment of the product they spent good money on? You can bet your free copy of Dragon Age that it does.

I didn't miss that part, I simply think that you're making an assumption that I don't agree with. You seem to feel that someone who doesn't care about DLC is suddenly going to be upset that they don't have it. I disagree. Most folks buying a game just plain want to play the game as is, and don't really care about Live or PSN or anything else. You're suggesting that those people will be incredibly upset to discover that their used copy doesn't have the battle armor that someone else's new copy has, and while in some cases that will certainly be true, I think that in the vast majority of instances it won't be.

In other words, people who don't care about DLC will continue to not care about DLC. Their criteria for "enjoyment of the product" is different. That's my take on it, your opinion may differ.

All of that said, this is supposing that we're still talking about the kinds of items that are currently being bundled, like extra characters and colorful armor. These are not "better equipment," they're window dressing. If the DLC in question is more substantial, then the likelihood that someone will be upset that they didn't know they had a choice certainly increases.

It always amuses me how people seem to accept the "Cutting Room Floor" concept in films, but can't acknowledge that the same process applies to video games. That there's alot of great ideas that just don't make it into the final product for any number of reasons. It's like getting angry at Martin Scorsese because the deleted scenes that he'll eventually stick on a DVD weren't in the theatrical release. The fact remains that while these scenes/content may be interesting on their own, they are either A) Not essential to the completed project, or B) Could possibly detract from it in terms of pacing, etc etc. Certainly if it's shoehorned in.

If the flipside is that we don't get to see the content AT ALL, then I much prefer this method.

And for anyone who complains about Horse Armor being exploitative, I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for you. This is just basic high school economics; You, the consumer, are ultimately the one who determines the value of an item for you. Take the mother who pays 400 dollars for a discontinued iPod Mini on ebay, a device which from Apple, only cost 250 when new. Is she getting ripped off? No, because she is making the choice to pay it, no one's forcing it on her. Doesn't matter how much it costs, if she buys it, she's making a statement that that's how much it's worth for her.

scotth266:

Susan Arendt:

As for used games, I see what you're saying -- what if the DLC that was bundled free with new copies became free to everyone after the game had been out for an extended period of time? (A year, perhaps.) After a certain point, even finding a new copy of a game can prove difficult, as stores are drowning in used copies.

Matt_LRR:
Response to Susan

Sucker Punch did this, actually. The pre-order edition of Infamous came with an extra power, the Gigawatt Blades: and quite recently, Sucker Punch made the Gigawatt Blades free to the general public.

Pre-purchase bonuses and Project Ten Dollar are the same thing in my eyes, except EA isn't forcing people to pre-order from specific outlets for the content, or making people spend additional money on content for a game that hasn't even been released to the general public.

I would dispute that retailers are going to drop used game prices to account for the missing DLC, because in my opinion the cost of the used game has not changed. To me, the DLC is a separate product being BUNDLED with new copies of the game. In other words, new games have become affordable collector's editions. If you look at Ten Dollar as being nothing more than, say, a cloth map, or a art book, then it becomes apparent that the used game retailers have no incentive to lower their prices due to its absence.

I disagree, I think that at least to some extent, you will see a rebalancing of the cost of used games and their trade values to account for this move, and particularly if it proves successful.

Game stores make their money on used product - there's little margin in new. This is explicitly an attempt to cut used sales, which will impact the retailer. The retailer will respond by re-incentivizing used sales to compensate.

If used game sales do drop, in favor of new, expect to see the current business model tewaked. but it will depend largely on whether purchasing behavior shifts dramatically.

-m

shadow skill:

Matt_LRR:

shadow skill:

John Funk:

Icehearted:
I'm all for incentives, but in all honesty, I struggle to justify having preordered Mass Effect 2 CE, when all I really have to show for it is some armor I can't use without destroying the immersion, a DVD I may or May not watch, and a comic "booklet". DLC is also one of those ideas I really with had never taken off. People cut things from games all to often to turn a larger profit on DLC, and this abuse and now leveraging only proves that greed is more important in gaming than delivering a good or even worthy product.

I defy anyone to tell me that $5 horse armor or five extra costume packs at $4 a pop for Street Fighter isn't exploitative.

I'm also finding uppitycracker's comments hard to disagree with.

Edit:

John Funk:

DarkSaber:
You might have more of a point if EA weren't going to hack out substantial parts of the game to "give away" as day one DLC, or sell later. Like they already do.

If you'll pardon my Francais:

Bull. Shit.

This is just the same sort of conspiracy-theorist, tinfoil-hat, the-sky-is-falling ludicrousness that we see everywhere from people who have literally no idea how games are made, have no concept of deadlines or content limits or the fact that there are established procedures to take something from the "Hey, wouldn't this be cool" concept idea to "Now it's finished and on the disc!"

Or who don't understand that sometimes, developers can't do everything they want in order to make deadlines and need to take things out / scrap ideas, things that DLC lets them put back in later.

Didn't they actually admit to doing that with Assassin's Creed 2? I could be getting my wires crossed here on the title, but I feel fairly certain that something came out pretty recently with DLC that was made out of intentionally removed content.

No, the DLC was removed from the game because it wouldn't be ready in time for release deadlines.

And I will tell you straight-up to your face that the Horse Armor and Costume Packs are not exploitative. Do you know why? Because they are the very image of something that is completely optional. It is 100% cosmetic. You do not need it in any way to experience maximum enjoyment of the game. You get it ONLY if you want it.

You'd have more of an argument for actual mission content, because at least then you could argue that people who don't have the resources/funds/ability to get DLC are missing out on content instead of some super shiny pixels.

Which means that if they had time they would have included it at no extra charge given that line of reasoning.

and given enough time Burning crusade would have been included in Vanilla WoW. That reasoning doesn't work.

-m

Are we disagreeing? I'm simply saying that if they took it out because of time constraints it would mean that if they had enough time they wouldn't have removed the content from the game and charge you for those chapters. Just like the PC incidentally.

Yes, we are disagreeing, for the below noted reason:

John Funk:
Yes, but they didn't have the time according to the budget and/or deadlines that had been decided beforehand.

Completing it afterwards - additional resources, man-hours, etc. aren't cheap - cost them money. Why should we get something that cost money to produce for free?

-m

My only complaint is DLC content should become available a few weeks following the release of the game or in the case of Mass Effect 2, pre-order content. I have no qulam paying for such additions however being I was incapable of purchasing a Collector's Edition copy, it would ne nice to have it available down the road. Granted the ME2 bonuses were lackluster, nevertheless the point remains.

One final point I'd like to bring to this, if I may.

John Funk mentioned people not taking into consideration how games are made ( He's RIGHT by the way ). Now alot of this DLC debate concerns two recent titles released by the now EA owned Bioware; Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2.

Consider the time and resources that go into these two games, VS the end profit. Now compare that to the development costs, etc on a game like Modern Warfare 2. The point I'm trying to make is that given the kinds of games they make, it's not as easy for Bioware to make the kind of money on their product that an Infinity Ward does. That being the case, if this DLC can get me some new content, WHILE bolstering an already hurting industry and possibly company ( Pandemic another EA Subsidiary closed their doors recently ), then I'm happy with that. The same reason I don't pirate content, I think there needs to be a balance between the needs of the industry and the consumer.

Just something I hope we can consider.

Doug:
Agreed. But its even more clear cut to the company - "Do we reward the customers who pay us money, or the customers who don't?"

Exactly, this is the part I always laugh about. People complain about this, and I feel like I have to ask:

If all the content that comes free only in new copies were available in all copies, would you buy used or new?

If you would buy new, then what are you complaining about? You get exactly the same content, regardless.

If you would buy used, then why exactly should EA give a damn what you think?

scotth266:
If you look at Ten Dollar as being nothing more than, say, a cloth map, or a art book, then it becomes apparent that the used game retailers have no incentive to lower their prices due to its absence.

I agree. The incentive, as you state, really is for the buyer/player. Unless this sort of thing becomes the norm and really starts impacting sales you are not going to see retailers reacting by adjusting their prices. It's up to the player if they want to pay $5 more for a new copy and get the extra content or if they want to pay $5 less and not get the extra content (for free). At the moment, it's pretty much a no brainer to go for the new copy unless you really need to save that $5 (and then you could argue why you're buying a game at all if $5 means that much to you).

WanderFreak:
Say a new copy of $60 and a used copy $30.

Wow, where do you buy your games that the price difference between new and used is so high? hehe

I'm fully behind EA's plan. I bought a new copy of Mass Effect 2 on launch and the collectors edition. And now every now and then I get a little extra content. Nothing game changing, nothing that important. But I think it gets me more content and them more money to make my more content. And if I don't want to buy a certain game on launch and wait until its cheaper. Then I'm probably not going to be able to afford it until its dropped significantly in price and then I can spend my saved money on MS points to buy the code if I want the extra content.

Fearzone:
You can't say the downloadable content is insignificant unless you have played the game without it.

I disagree. The reason I do that is because I am stupid.

Now that needs a bit of explanation. My first play through of DA:O was done without any downloadable content. Not shale, not the dragon armour and not the keep. Why you ask? I was not aware that the content came with the normal game (not counting the keep as I did not buy the special edition). For my second play through I decided to buy some DLC and it was then I discovered my mistake. So I played it again. Getting the extra content didn't retract from my experience of my first playthrough. I got Shall and I went into that keep and the experience got some extra depth but ultimately my choices in the individual play through had more effect on my enjoyment of the game.

As for whether day one DLC is off the devil or manna from heaven I am of 2 minds. On the one hand I see that companies want to protect their property rights. on the other, however, I can also understand the grievances of the consumers. Ultimately I think that the frenzy of the community against this is premature. Wailing against this new thing doesn't really get us anything useful. What I think we as gamers should do is just inform the publishers and developers of what kinda content is just fin for day one dlc and what they shouldn't do. Sorta like this:

* Adding fun but ultimately inconsequential extra Character - fine
* Adding extra multiplayer content at inflated price - bad
* Adding special items for different purchasing schemes - fine but would be nice with a way to get them afterwards (baring the special edition items which kinda deserves the pedistal)
* Adding purely decorative items for purchase - fine (personally I wouldn't but I am biased by my own purchase intent which is very lacking for purely decorative stuff)
* Adding DLC content to some platforms but not other - Very bad (I am looking at you Ubisoft)

It could probably be set up better but that is the general idea.

scotth266:

Slycne:
Snip.

Where is your avatar from? It looks snazzy.

It's Skull One from the Robotech/Macross series.

This is a good thing, that will look like a bad thing to everyone who only cares about the game getting in thier console and doesnt give a rats about the people who put it there.

I dont know the figures but i would put Used games up there with piracy as far as loss of revenue on games. The main reason it might seem like a load of crap is that Used games, when the game is new, sell for 6 or 4 dollars less than a brand new copy. So if you wanted to get the content that the new copy had you'd actually spend more money in the end.

Whats not brilliant about that? One of two things are probably going to happen. Either you're going to buy that new copy instead, or the people selling used who see sells going down are going to drop thier prices. Then its up to you to decide if that content is worth it too you or not.

I think its a brilliant alternative that's relatively unintrusive, and it lets you the consumer decide what is important to you.

Will there be mishaps? Yes, of course this is new... and people are greedy.

Susan Arendt:
EA Isn't Trying to Blackmail You

EA's "project ten dollar" incentives are an offer you can choose to refuse.

Read Full Article

Blackmail? No. Remove content and re-add it to charge extra? Yes. You know, I'd like to call bullshit on the characters not being ready but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one, even though it stinks highly of bullshit. However, I do call bullshit on them removing the storage chest from the camp and putting it as the reward to a quest that adds dick all to the story and is loaded with over powered crap just to entice anyone who sucks at the game into buying it. Here's looking at you Warden's Keep. If you have proof that the developers are too mentally challenged to have added a working storage chest directly to the camp(where it obviously was meant to be), I'd love to see it. On a related note, I hear there's a mod for the PC version that puts the storage chest in the camp.

No, you aren't being forced to buy it. In the case of people without an internet connection, they're missing out on it either way. They actually have an incentive to buy it used since they wont get the DLC either way. However, they have clearly lowered the value of the game by removing stuff for the express purpose of charging more for it. In addition to not addressing people who don't have internet access, you failed to address the concern that DLC servers will not last forever. The diminished value of the game isn't just diminished to people who buy used but to people who buy new too. There are plenty of games still being played several years after the developer ceased to exist. How many people will be playing that DLC after the servers cease to exist?

EA - and every other publisher - deserves to make as much money as it can from its games, and giving a bonus to people who buy new is a pretty reasonable and non-intrusive way to do that.

Publishers deserve to make a profit, if they publish games that are worth buying. I'd hardly say they deserve a blank check to as much money as they want. Also, removing content from a game and adding it back in, laced with extra DRM, isn't a bonus. A bonus is a freebie that was added onto the disc or that anyone can just visit the site and download and install. These "bonus" dlc you mention require you to log onto their site, download it, install and activate it and then launch the game to play. You have to do this every time you install the game.

If they really wanted to increase their profits, there's a lot of other things they could try. They could lower the price of the games. They could lower the cost of producing games(games don't have to be loaded with eye candy to be fun and entertaining). They could stop treating their customers like criminals. It's not their job to play copyright cop and lace everything they make with DRM. It's the job of law enforcement to stop copyright infringement. Taking the law into your own hands normally gets your branded as a vigilante and you usually face penalties for crap like that.

A prime example of a game that raked in a ton of money and did it without being a so-called "AAA" title is Torchlight. It's a fairly mainstream game and it sold like hotcakes during the $10 and $5 sales they had on Steam. The launch price of $20 is not at all excessive and they didn't yank out the town chest and decide to sell it for $15 in some pointless DLC quest.

Even if I was somehow convinced that they didn't yank that stuff out just to claim it was bonus material, there is one thing I simply can't forgive about Dragon Age: Origins.

image
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/11/6/

Slycne:
That comment was made in specific regards to the horse armor and street fighter packs that another poster challenged someone to say it wasn't exploitative. And after digging around for my Dragon Age box, it does indeed have a disclaimer box, not even in tiny lawyer font, exclaiming "One time use codes available with full retail purchase".

You're right to say that you were speaking about something slightly different, I'm sorry if my comment was a bit unrelated. I also thank you for the effort in searching through the pile, but even if it's not in fine print, do you really think purchasers tend to read that message? Fair enough to say that it's legally justified, but ethically? People could still be given better warning. Like, say, a mention of the DLC in the store from the guy selling it... and an explanation of what DLC means, if necessary.

This is just like the massive legal agreements people have to say they've read through before they install basically anything on Windows - it's not something that exists for the convenience of the customer. It's there to cover the backside of the people who made the product, possibly from legitimate suits.

It just comes back to this idea of the buyer having to be wary of what's being sold to them, and I think it smacks of anti-consumer philosophy.

Susan Arendt:
I didn't miss that part, I simply think that you're making an assumption that I don't agree with. You seem to feel that someone who doesn't care about DLC is suddenly going to be upset that they don't have it. I disagree. Most folks buying a game just plain want to play the game as is, and don't really care about Live or PSN or anything else. You're suggesting that those people will be incredibly upset to discover that their used copy doesn't have the battle armor that someone else's new copy has, and while in some cases that will certainly be true, I think that in the vast majority of instances it won't be.

In other words, people who don't care about DLC will continue to not care about DLC. Their criteria for "enjoyment of the product" is different. That's my take on it, your opinion may differ.

All of that said, this is supposing that we're still talking about the kinds of items that are currently being bundled, like extra characters and colorful armor. These are not "better equipment," they're window dressing. If the DLC in question is more substantial, then the likelihood that someone will be upset that they didn't know they had a choice certainly increases.

Though you're perfectly right to point out that I hadn't explained my logic, I wasn't quite basing that premise on assumption. My thought process was that, if people are "whining" in the first place, then clearly the scenario is effecting their enjoyment of the product. Especially since those same people often go ahead and buy the game they criticise anyway (which is, I certainly think, a bad attempt at activist consumption), and I've seen many a person say "I just got [insert any new game here], but there goes my fun because I have to use DLC I didn't know about to finish the damn thing" in their next Facebook status. Live is an especially popular service, even if the majority don't use it, so it's not like the experience isn't common.

People can believe one thing one day, and change that belief the next when they discover new information. It happens all the time. Still, player discontent is an impossible thing to quantify with any accuracy, so I'm happy to leave that point where it stands, partially unprovable.

However, as a player who has the free Blood Dragon Armor, I can tell you that it IS better equipment than a good portion of what you have for most of the game. I'm in the double digits of levels and have gathered most of the races for the Blight, and I still can't even equip it; the Strength requirements are that high. I haven't finished the game though, so maybe it's not the best available equipment. Either way, getting it and using it early will help your progress, so it's not just window dressing.

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