Jimquisition: On-Disc DLC Cannot Be Justified

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APC(Additional Purchasable Content, because we desperately need a new acronym already) would be accepted and even loved by the consumer base if video game companies weren't doing what they usually do- MISHANDLING THE SHIT OUT OF PR/MARKETING. Which seems like a better idea:

(Prior to release)Company A: We finished your awesome game, and we have 10 more characters to add. too! Look forward to seeing future APC for Shtreet Fighter x Shmekken!

(Prior to release)Company B:[Doesn't say anything, just puts the 10 characters on the disc and expects everyone to ignore that and pay for it whenever they decide to unlock it for them]

Game companies would have such an easier time if they didn't act evil, manipulative, and duplicitous.

ALSO: The idea of 'it has to be on the disc' is bullshit. Even cheap-o downloadable fighting game Deadliest Warrior(awesome game btw) says 'no, stop. Download this little patch so that people who bought our DLC can use it.' when you try to go online in it. BlazBlue did this too, if I'm not mistaken. Mortal Kombat handling it so poorly is completely baffling, but that doesn't meant there aren't better ways for doing it. Because I am willing to bet if you have an Xbox and are paying for a fucking Gold subscription you damn sure have a hard drive, memory card, or flash drive to save your shit. A tiny little character patch isn't going to break the bank.

While I normally at least respect Jim's opinion, I kind of think he came off as whiny himself this time. The pictures of the baby kind of seemed ironic in a strange way.

Here's the thing, DLC where all or the majority of the content is on the disk is, in fact, horseshit. I don't disagree with that fact. The Street Fighter Vs. Tekken (I think that's the game at least) problem where they said the DLC had to be on the disk for compatibility is flat out stupid. As are things like the Dead Space 2 items which, while you weren't able to buy them, were still in the game files.

But that doesn't mean that all DLC that has content on the disk is like that. There are things that the developers have enough time to include while not being able to finish the entirety of it without delaying the full game (pissing off many fans in bigger series). Things like walk animations, or obvious spots in menus for characters are there because they're finished and there's no real point in not including them. Many games have their DLC planned out after all. That saves download bandwidth and makes it so those kinds of necessary parts don't glitch out other aspects of the game. Then you can download everything else, such as the additional environments, additional dialog and options if the game has it, and things like where the character will actually be later on. So there might be content on the disk, but that doesn't always mean that it's finished content that's just locked off.

Of course, with companies trying to flood out DLC that could have obviously just been included (Saints Row 3 being one of the worst in my opinion), I can understand a lot of the automatic hate DLC gets. Things like the entire fighter or extra content being ready to go but just gated off doesn't leave much room for excuses. But that doesn't mean all DLC with some content in the data files or on the disk are bad. Just that some companies are jerks who we shouldn't buy from.

I never said DLC was bad. In fact, I said I liked it in theory.

It's when companies try to wheedle a free-to-play model out of a full-priced game that it gets on my nerves. It's the excuses that piss me off.

Okay, so, someone may need to clarify something for me. Is the entire "From Ashes" DLC from Mass Effect 3 "on disk dlc?" As in, was all the content for it on the disk? If it was, then in that case I would agree with Jim.

However, from what I heard concerning the entire "From Ashes" dlc was that Bioware developed it while the game was being shipped and then added some compatibility on the disk. I remember having to actually physically download the expansion and install the dlc, I don't THINK it was already on the disk, but I'm not too sure. If this is true, then I don't really have a problem with it. If Bioware chose to make new content while waiting for it to be shipped, then I just don't really understand what the complaint is, it isn't "locking off" any of the games actual content, it's just something extra.

It's odd that they choose to waste disc space in this graphic heavy race by putting DLC there. Couldn't they just force players to be matched with others in multiplayer that match the content they do? It's been done before so it's not that difficult.

Of course, one may argue about having all the planned DLC released for the game on the disc so late adopters can unlock it without the fear of the server it would be downloaded from going offline. Just put it in a seperate pack or a GotY version or... something. Just don't put it on the disc at launch.

tmande2nd:
Yeah I really enjoy seeing companies flail about defending their practices.

"Oh but our right to lie, rip you off, and rob you is ours! ARTISTIC INTEGRITY!"

I also can just laugh in your face, not buy your game...OR BUY IT USED.
If anything developers need to learn that they cant keep doing this.

Bioware is going to see some lagging sales for anything they do. Dont get me wrong ME3/DA2 had good PARTS, but on the whole they were not worth 60 dollars.
You keep doing that and people will just stop buying your stuff.

No matter how artistically you maintain your integrity.

In some ways, I think this is what is wrong with the entire game community and culture. No matter how much game publishers keep bending gamers over the rail and forcing them to take it, we just keep handing money to them. Until gamers stop engaging in this addictive junkie culture with gaming (the bulk of which, in my opinion, was created and propagated by the gaming press) and exercise some self-control to actually not buy from a game publisher that consistently mistreats them as customers, game publishers will continue to feel free to engage in nefarious practices and find any number of outlandish rationales to justify those practices. Gamers need to learn to just say NO! Don't pirate, but definitely don't buy it. No amount of rationalization can save a publisher from a $0 revenue stream because the entire market finally decided it had had enough and simply will not buy.

Y'know, episodes like this are why I really miss Extra Credits being on this site. Has anyone noticed that often both the Jimquisition and Extra Credits tackle the same subject, and even when they're on the opposite sides of the argument, they both manage to bring up valid points in their own right?

You wanna see the real No Right Answer, watch Extra Credits coupled with The Jimquisition :P (no offense to the fine folks at No Right Answer...)

I admit, I myself can't say much about DLC because...well...I hardly ever use it. I think I've only ever downloaded about 5 bits of DLC in the history of all my consoles. Two of those were the Saints Row 2 bonus missions...and I can't even remember the other ones, but I think it was just free stuff.

I've always been of the opinion that if a developer doesn't think they can make their budget back at $60 the solution is for them to have a smaller budget and work within their means, rather than covertly raise the price.

On one hand we listen to full-of-money EA backed developers whine about development costs of a DLC at time of launch and on the other hand we have awesome moves like that from CDProjectRed, where they give you additional content, voiceovers and quests for Witcher 2 for FREE almost a year after relase.

In the past after-release support wasn't something optional and payable - it was expected and we usually got new content with free patches (see UT, Quake 3, etc.) - there's not reason for that to stop now. Apologizing EA for money grabs for already very expensive games just rewards that kind of money-grabbing behaviour - there's no reason for a developer to not release additional content developed in time to release for FREE.

A bunch of people have mentioned the Extra Credits video about Mass Effect DLC, which is really interesting but doesn't quite share the same topic as Jim's talk.

The Extra Credits folks were talking about Day 1 DLC, which not only doesn't have to be on-disc but could be justified as more than a money grab if the team worked on it between certification (after the game is already locked down) and release.

Disc-locked Content, on the other hand, had to have been created at the same time as the main development. And I really wish companies wouldn't do this because it takes time and resources away from the main game.

If I don't want a piece of DLC, I wont buy it. If the game is "incomplete" to the point of being not worth it because too much vital content is being chopped off to be sold as DLC then I won't buy that game. Saying "if the choice is between having extra content that I can buy if I like and not having that content exist for anyone, I'd rather the content not exist at all" just strikes me as goddamn insanity. As for on disk DLC in particular, what's the harm? It's marginally more convenient than having to wait for whatever you're buying to actually download.

If the industry as a whole is becoming more reliant on DLC that's because so many people are buying used (in which case the developers don't see a dime). I may not admire all of Cliff Brzezinski's work, but I certainly think the perspective of someone who works in the industry might be more valuable than an arrogant sack of cartilage that fancies himself a commentator.

Anyone who's looking for a take on the subject from someone who hasn't had their brains and colons reversed, check out this short from Extra Credits http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/mass-effect-3-dlc

In another way, I'm sort of glad Jim Sterling made this video, his last few videos had seemed alarmingly reasonable and I was afraid I'd stepped into some kind of mirror universe.

Last time I checked Mr. Bleszinski had to rely on getting paid by ye evil publishers until he comes up with something less restraining, so I take his utterings RE: DLC at the face value of, say, five grains of salt and a cup of spittle.

I think I understand the business model of smurfberries and other in-game purchases. I can't quite bring myself to like it, though. As has been discusses earlier, on here and elsewhere: If DLC is additional content adding to an otherwise complete game as some mini sequel or another complete mission or another case to solve - hey, that might actually be fun and registers as good use of the powerful infrastructure we consumers have for gaming purposes.

I got all the additional DLC to both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and, all technical issues aside, I really did enjoy that trip to the wild side. Some bits are just unforgettable. In fact, I could have done with some more. With most other games I tend to accept the fact that 'complete' editions come out some months after an original release, so I got some GOTY editions even though, in some cases, I got weak prematurely and bought the original, 'lacking' edition. In a way, it's the same (mal)practices we got to love in, say, DVD movie sales. Release 1: just the movie you wanted, t'a. Release 2: Oh, yeah, the first one was cut to lower the rating (to up the sales)... so, get the unrated release, please. t'a. Release 3: Oh, about that unrated cut... yeah, there were some bits missing, sorry 'bout that. Here, have the Director's Cut. It's even got commentary and stuff. etc... etc... etc...

I have no udder but I feel milked.

As long as I still have the option of selling the original copy to someone who doesn't crave much for the additional content, and doesn't get punished by having to buy a so-called 'online pass', I don't mind much of the general asshattery going on. I just think it's bad style and stinks... and it actually creates customer dissatisfaction and pushes piracy, in the end. "Never bite that hand that feeds you", yet the industry keeps nibbling and niggling all the same.

Thing is, with all the patching and DLC bonanza going on, you just know all our modern games come with an expiration date. And that's what made me go back to the simple joys of old cartridge-based gaming. Plug in, turn on, tune in, enjoy.

Having an artificial product fragmentation just for the sake of milking it can only mean one thing, really, and that's not to groan and moan about it, but just not to buy it.

I am looking forward to the next Tekken and hope they remain strong and resist temptation. Street Fighter, as it stands, it pretty much dead to me.

This was a good one. I generally like Jim's take on things, refreshing to see someone else getting angry about the bullshit that keeps cropping up from this industry instead of apologizing for it.

Hitchmeister:
Obviously, the solution is to leave it off the disc and force everyone to download it, thereby eating up more bandwidth and hard drive space on consoles.

Or, you know, crazy idea, sell the game with everything unlocked and advertise the shit out of the idea that they aren't screwing you over by charging extra for stuff they already shipped.

That is some crazy idea. Specially because Capcom already advertise the shit out of the idea that SFxT was final and there wouldn't be a vanilla version soon down the line.

I think Jim is missing the point here. DLC is here to stay, and its not a bad thing. It provides with extra life to a game, sometimes even months after release and its a better way to stop piracy and used sales than most DRM measures. The point he is trying to make (that on disc DLC shouldn't be a problem to consumers only because developers decided to include it) is akin to saying "having lag is not justifiable as a problem, because nobody forced you to include online in your game".

The problem is that Capcom's "PR reasoning" about how to have it locked on disk is the same as other ways to distribute it, is insulting to my intelligence. It sounds like an excuse or a justification more than an explanation. I can deal with technical explanations about compatibility issues, bandwidth or size of updates. I can't deal with the excuse that its the only way to do it. If you prefer to, tell me its the only way YOU find out about how to solve it; but don't sell me a patch to a problem as if it were a feature...

And that without even counting Azura's Wrath issue, which is just unjustifiable greed.

What's the game featured at 3:19 in, when he's talking about F2P games? It's an FPS, and I'd be very interested in finding out which one, especially if it is Free-To-Play.
Thanks.

Nicolairigel:
Okay, so, someone may need to clarify something for me. Is the entire "From Ashes" DLC from Mass Effect 3 "on disk dlc?" As in, was all the content for it on the disk? If it was, then in that case I would agree with Jim.

However, from what I heard concerning the entire "From Ashes" dlc was that Bioware developed it while the game was being shipped and then added some compatibility on the disk. I remember having to actually physically download the expansion and install the dlc, I don't THINK it was already on the disk, but I'm not too sure. If this is true, then I don't really have a problem with it. If Bioware chose to make new content while waiting for it to be shipped, then I just don't really understand what the complaint is, it isn't "locking off" any of the games actual content, it's just something extra.

No, its not about "From Ashes". That DLC was planned during the development of the game, but it was not included on the disc. It was proper "downloadable content" (some people have a problem with it being ready at the same time as the retail game, but that is another issue. Officially, the retail disc didn't have the content).

This is about games like SFxT, SC 4 or SF4, where features (in this case characters and costumes) where developed and included into the retail game, but locked behind a "downloadable key". The reasoning behind the complain is that we shouldn't be charged extra for something that is fully functional inside the disc we already bought.

hermes200:

Nicolairigel:
Okay, so, someone may need to clarify something for me. Is the entire "From Ashes" DLC from Mass Effect 3 "on disk dlc?" As in, was all the content for it on the disk? If it was, then in that case I would agree with Jim.

However, from what I heard concerning the entire "From Ashes" dlc was that Bioware developed it while the game was being shipped and then added some compatibility on the disk. I remember having to actually physically download the expansion and install the dlc, I don't THINK it was already on the disk, but I'm not too sure. If this is true, then I don't really have a problem with it. If Bioware chose to make new content while waiting for it to be shipped, then I just don't really understand what the complaint is, it isn't "locking off" any of the games actual content, it's just something extra.

No, its not about "From Ashes". That DLC was planned during the development of the game, but it was not included on the disc. It was proper "downloadable content" (some people have a problem with it being ready at the same time as the retail game, but that is another issue. Officially, the retail disc didn't have the content).

Actually, it was included on the disc. This video shows you:

On Disc DLC can still be called DLC...

It just doesn't Mean DownLoadable Content

It's Disk Locked Content.

Jimothy Sterling:
On-Disc DLC Cannot Be Justified

There are explanations for games that ship with downloadable content already included. There are, however, no excuses. While you may have a reason, you do not have validation, because on-disc DLC is a problem willingly created by the industry, and it doesn't have to exist in the first place. You cannot justify a problem arranged by design, no matter how much you try and pretend it's out of your hands.

This week, the Jimquisition takes on one of this generation's growing aggravations, and you won't even get charged for it.

Watch Video

Remember how Goldeneye for the N64 had all of the cheats included with the game? And remember how some of those same cheats were offered as preorder bonuses for the Wii remake? There you have a clear-cut example of someone actually removing content from the original game, selling it again at a higher price, and gating the removed content in some way (in this case, behind a preorder).

I can think of at least one way it can be justified.

They didn't quite finish some content. So, part of it is on the disk. The rest doesn't exist, just yet. Imagine if Banjo-Kazooie had been released within this generation. I'd imagine Stop 'N' Swop would have been on-disk downloadable content.

There's a big part that almost everybody is missing from their arguments (a few really, but to save time I won't go into everything).

We'll use SFxT like the video did. If the extra characters and such were already included within the core game itself, why can't we get the various items by simply fulfilling certain criteria within the core game? Instead, it's locked behind "keys" that you have to play and extra couple of dollars for, and if you don't feel like doing that then you're assed out.

KoF XIII kinda did it right, barring NESTS-style Kyo Kusunagi and Classic Iori Yagami. We'll look at Billy Kane, Saiki, Ash Crimson, and everything else there is to unlock in the game. TO do so, you simply need to do certain actions, like the old days. BUT, if you feel so inclined, you drop a few dollars and everything is available without you having to, say, grind out the 40 matches needed to unlock all of a character's color swatches.

Capcom also fucked up by revealing that the PSV would be getting all 12 extra characters when it drops later this year, which is always a big no-no (they're doing the same shit with MvC3 by adding a replay mode and visible hit-boxes). Now everyone's wondering "why does the inferior system get more, better goodies later down the line?" Cue the seething hatred towards Capcom we have today.

Then again... Capcom have been fucking up for while. This really shouldn't be too surprising.

Lugbzurg:
I can think of at least one way it can be justified.

They didn't quite finish some content. So, part of it is on the disk. The rest doesn't exist, just yet.

The problem with that argument, at least in the case of SFxT, is that minus some sound files I think, the characters are fully functional. There are videos on YouTube of people taking the extra characters and putting in work with them.

So, in Capcom's case at least, there's no excuse for this.

We are not worthy of you, Jim Sterling!

Eric the Orange:
Extra Credits makes an interesting counterpoint.

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/mass-effect-3-dlc

Paraphrasing one of ECs counterpoint:
Publishers needs to get DLCs out quickly before people lose interest in the games.

I get that argument, but just as Jim argues in his video I think this is a symptom of a problem the publishers caused themselves. First of all they sometimes makes games that deliberately have a very short life-span, I assume so that they can sell more games overall. If games were designed with greater longevity this wouldn't be as much of an issue. This also ties into the issue about second hand games, publishers wants us to consume more so they deliver less, but they don't want the negative consequences that follow.

My second counterpoint is that DLCs could actually be used to prolong the lifespan of a game, by adding extra playable content like expansion packs. But publishers are moving away from that strategy.

It really does feel like they want to have their cake and eat it too, and will go to any length to try to suck as much money out of a franchise as possible.

Thanks for the video Jim! (And thank God for Jim)
Given that a game has extra, completed content by the time a game is released then I'd prefer that it's on the disc.
I was a little confused by the focus of Jim's arguments, but I think it was on the real problem: whether or not developers should/must then charge us for it.

First up I want to say that I love the show. This is a great program and I watch it every week

BUT

Every time I go to watch it I get the song from History of the world part one stuck in my head. Here let me share it with you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyQjiXSlU_w

I really hope he releases Bikini Jim Sterling as DLC.

I've watched a few episodes of Jimquisition now and I wish that I could enjoy the segment cause I really agree with a lot of the opinions expressed,I just can't stand the presentation.

I don't think that I have ever agreed with anyone more than I agree with Jim on this day. On-disc dlc is trash, and bullcrap. I hope every single on-disc dlc is hacked, and the publishers make no money out of it whatsoever.

On-disc DLC is so wrong.

Damn, every time I say "remember when you unlocked characters, stages, and secrets by PLAYING the game?" I feel a bit older.

The gaming industry and the world is run by money. It sucks but it's true. If we don't want DLC to happen, don't buy it. If a game is sold almost entirely on DLC, and you don't like that, don't buy it.

As much as it seems like it isn't true, the industry is controlled by the consumer. We buy item A, they're going to sell more things like item A. We buy DLC, they're going to make more. It's an effective marketing strategy and they'll keep doing it if we keep buying into it.

The only way to stop on-disc-dlc is to not buy the game. The industry will learn and stop doing what doesn't make them money.

Cliffy B is one of those zombies from Resident Evil zero?

Grey Day for Elcia:
People who complain about on-disc DLC (a misnomer) don't understand how video games are made.

Rather simple really.

Agreed 100%.

Not all downloads to enable DLC is just a serial key for unlocks.
What if a particular segment, character or stage is glitched and there do in time to fix it before release?

An easy way to remove bad or erroneous content is to lock it out of normal use.
Programers do it all the time with bad code. It is called \\commenting out bad code.

In the code you put the symbol for a comment. Parts of the code that supposed to serve as a note to the developers/programers but not as normal code. When a script does not work, some programers comment out such code to see how the program works with out it.

Now what if that last part of the product cycle, where the development team does jack shit. They get resigned to other projects or get FIRED. Instead of firing perfectly good staff, you have them fix these errors for this locked content and have them release the fix as a update.

Additional work cost Money unfortunately, why do work for free when you can charge for it.

The other hand, side projects that becomes add-ons or other DLC are done by staff that do not work on the main project. Locked on the disk or not the Studio does not do work for free. Why not charge for it.

Jim Sterling, we both don't give a fuck how the big name publisher proffits at the end of the year, but you expect the underpaid over worked staffers to get fired because he can't work on his side project DLC?

Think of it this way, you buy a car (new or used) I am pretty sure the dealer will charge for the gas already in the tank.

darksakul:

Now what if that last part of the product cycle, where the development team does jack shit. They get resigned to other projects or get FIRED. Instead of firing perfectly good staff, you have them fix these errors for this locked content and have them release the fix as a update.

It's really strange this only ever seems to happen at companies with these types of business practices. Companies that value their customers can always seem to find something for their staff to do.

Jimothy Sterling:
On-Disc DLC Cannot Be Justified

There are explanations for games that ship with downloadable content already included. There are, however, no excuses. While you may have a reason, you do not have validation, because on-disc DLC is a problem willingly created by the industry, and it doesn't have to exist in the first place. You cannot justify a problem arranged by design, no matter how much you try and pretend it's out of your hands.

This week, the Jimquisition takes on one of this generation's growing aggravations, and you won't even get charged for it.

Watch Video

Eeeeh for one of the first times Im going to have to disagree. Because there always ARE situations where the on disk dlc is necessary. If a developer has a strict time frame for their game to be released and they run out of time during the normal development for the extra content they want to include, they can then work on it during that validation process. The fact is if the game is going through that process, they cant simply just add it in, and if it isn't very necessary content, all they do is put it up for sale for a few dollars. Ya they probably should put it up for free, but thats a different issue, its still fine for it to be there

That seems to be a big issue Jim ignored is when devs actually may NOT have a choice about these things. Publishers are the ones that decide release dates and how the content is shipped, so it is plausible for them to have these restrictions.

Also am I the only one that thinks this whole thing is completely stupid? If they went ahead and made the SAME dlc, in the SAME time, then just released it after launch, nobody would bat an eyelid, except now when its made easier for consumers to get at, we call them out on it. For all we know a vast amount of dlc COULD be being made during these times then not put on disk, and apparently thats better than it being on the disk, even though its made during the same time, and its the same content, but the delivery method is different.

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