Bleszinski: On-Disk DLC an "Unfortunate Reality"

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Bleszinski: On-Disk DLC an "Unfortunate Reality"

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Gears of War shogun, Cliff Bleszinski, reckons we're going to be stuck with on-disk DLC until game sales go totally digital.

DLC is a sticky issue amongst gamers at the best of times, but when developers decide their extra content is going to eschew the "downloadable" part, well... then things get ugly. In an interview with GameSpot, Gears of War designer and grinning frat-king, Cliff Bleszinski, said that while he isn't a huge (oh, that was pretty clever) fan of on-disk DLC, he understands the reasoning behind it.

"When you're making a game, and you're getting into a ship cycle, there's often three or four months where the game is basically done. And you have an idle team that needs to be working on things," he said.

"And often for compatibility issues, [on] day one, some of that content does need to be on-disc. It's an ugly truth of the gaming industry. I'm not the biggest fan of having to do it, but it is one of the unfortunate realities."

Gears of War 3 contained on-disk DLC in the form of the Horde Command Pack, which contained three maps as well as skins and other goodies. The $10 download weighed in at only 1.42MB.

"If we can get to fully downloadable games, then you can just buy a $30 horror game and just have it, and that stuff will thankfully go away," he continued.

Now excuse me while I shamelessly editorialize for a moment. The problem I have with on-disk DLC isn't that the concept is inherently evil, I don't think it is. In some ways it's a clever use of time and resources that would otherwise go to waste. The issue is consumer doubt. There's no feasible way for a developer to prove, at least to the people taking an issue with on-disk DLC, that the content being offered as DLC was developed in parallel rather than "cut" from the main game. The fact that the practice offers a financial incentive for developers to do exactly that is just the icing on the cake.

You may now break out the car analogies. It's always car analogies for on-disk DLC right?

Source: GameSpot

Permalink

Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

Car analogies fit most of the consumer related game debates it seems. I just hate the idea of all this stuff being withheld from us when we purchase the game full price. It wasn't too long ago that you could buy a game full of awesome goodies and unlocks that didn't carry an extra price tag. I miss those days :(

Grey Carter:
You may now break out the car analogies. It's always car analogies for on-disk DLC right?

Yes, and restaurant meals/being served shit as a dessert for other complaints.

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

When a game is to be released on consoles it is sent a MS or sony and they inspect the game this can take a long while depending if its multi-platform exclusive.
if its not ready it can be delayed for a few months for the devs to fix it.
When it is sent to microsoft or sony, It's done,finite,over,feature complete they may not add anything else not even remove stuff.
In that time its either,Sequel time Or dlc time.
And a skin pack can be done in a few days by the art team who havent got anything to work on.

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

Actu... know what? Fuck it. I let someone else with less sleep deprivation answer this. Il just say that you seem to be missing a key fact. The game isnt released when the developers finish it. Its released some time after. I believe its in that chart you mentioned. That "Day 1" DLC is partially on the disk, but they couldnt finish it in time to send the game in for review or what the fuck ever happens between the time the game is finish and the actual release of the game to the public.

Really, I think that chart you mentioned should have actually answered your question better than I could.

*Edit*

Looks like someone already did...

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

Additionally, how is some of the content being on-disc a necessity? They were doing DLC before on-disc DLC. What's made it impossible?

The issue is also about transparency and cost. Cliffy and company tried to hide that on-disc DLC. Companies are still trying to hide it. I wouldn't be surprised if Blezinski's next game tried to hide it. If it's such a necessity (which I do not believe it to be), why all the lying and hiding and game playing?

Also, if we go to fully downloadable games, the horror game will still be 50-60 bucks with additional content. It's bullshit to think we're going to see a cost decrease, especially in this context.

its good business practice. They are pushing consumers as far as they can to see what they can get away with. Yes its money grubbing but its ultimately up to the consumers to draw the line. in the end people will buy it thats why they sell it. they obviously feel the payoff from consumer good will doesnt cover the immediate cost of dlc

Zachary Amaranth:
The issue is also about transparency and cost. Cliffy and company tried to hide that on-disc DLC. Companies are still trying to hide it. I wouldn't be surprised if Blezinski's next game tried to hide it. If it's such a necessity (which I do not believe it to be), why all the lying and hiding and game playing?

Because gamers lose their collective shit when the data miners get hold of their copies and find the on disc-dlc. Better to just not say anything and let the fans start the inevitable shit-storm after the game is released. They're not really obligated to tell us anything about the game, and when it comes to marketing why should they deliberately release information that would effect sales?

"Because it's the right thing to do" is not the correct answer.

I don't really think that logic connects for on disk dlc. I mean, if the stuff is ready before you go burning it onto disks, then what stops it from being part of the main game before you arbitrarily decide what is and isn't dlc? The team you set to work on it could easily work on more main game content simply because the dlc is often interchangeable with main game content. Don't tell us it's just to keep the team busy, tell us that it's not about making the best game possible it's about making more money, you're a business, you're allowed to want more money, and we're allowed to bitch if we think you're pushing it too far. I just wish there was a little more honesty from businesses rather than a constant stream of bullshit (same goes for you, politicians. . . and, well, pretty much everyone, me included)

Of course, there's still the issue of, it's on my disk that I payed for, why can't I access it? Cue debate about paying for a licence rather than a product.

(oh, and my opinion is not important anyway, what with not having bought a disk in years (yay steam and its sales!) . . . unless of course, some dlc gets downloaded to my computer and I just pay for an unlock, which would be quite annoying, I don't have unlimited hard disk space you know)

Always with the analogies...
It's like a carrot field, and the customers are rabbits. Wait...that doesn't work.

It's like a cafe in the year 2064 in an alternate dimension on the planet Puh (that's a soft "p"). The cafe only serves the elderly, but you're a 26 year old. Also, the barista is a dog. Because I like dogs.

Zachary Amaranth:

Additionally, how is some of the content being on-disc a necessity? They were doing DLC before on-disc DLC. What's made it impossible?

The way I see it, not all DLC needs to have an on disk content. Dlc that intergrates into the core game, eg characters in ME2/3, need to have on disk content so that they 'work' within the game, that would be the compatibility that Bleszinski mentioned above.

On the otherhand, dlc that does not need to intergrate fully, eg new area's, skins etc can be entirely downloaded at a later date since they are effectively self contained.

If I take a car for a test drive and decide to buy it right there, is the dealer going to charge me for the gas in my tank?!!
Well?

I'm too tired to think of a full thought out response...

I don't like it...I didn't like it before reading this...and I still don't like it after reading this...

Well, I'd prefer to be rather direct regarding this issue and tell Mr. Bleszinski to go fuck himself and take his sorry excuses to stick them where the sun don't shine...

No, you won't persuade me that I'm supposed to pay something extra for your finished product, no matter what kind of bullshit you come up with. If you want to increase the price of your game, just do it old-school and just increase your game price for whatever amount and let the market decide instead of hidden costs. Trying to deceive me will just make me not buy your product(s) at all.

It's funny how EPIC Games went from struggling with Microsoft over offering free content to their customers: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147804 to defending Day-1 On-Disc DLC: http://www.destructoid.com/epic-games-justifies-gears-of-war-3-s-on-disc-dlc-215231.phtml in 5 years and expects people to buy their confused "explanations" while Valve did the same and stayed largely true to their colors till now: http://www.shacknews.com/article/60365/microsoft-forces-valve-to-price

Also, thanks for trivializing the issue with the "car analogy" comment Mr. Carter... and by the way, every single game feature is being developed in "parallel", there's people working on animation, others are doing scripting or working on the engine, yet others design levels etc. There's no single "core team" where everyone sits down at one table and talks with everyone else, large parts and features of games nowadays are even outsourced to other studios or companies around the world especially when it comes to things like CG, Animation etc., yet nobody has to "pay extra" for any of those parts of the game. But that's games journalism for you...

--

Well, I do love a good car analogy... Mainly because that analogy is crap and can be torn to shreds quite easily. XD

Also, movie and meal analogies. Because everyone loves those! Now, if you excuse me, I will go and eat a delicious dinner, finish it off with a spoonful of crap, lock of features of a dvd, and charge people extra for brakes. Wait, what was I talking about?

Analogies aside for the moment. This guy truly is a monumental douchenozzle, isnt he.

I love the presumption of

A: its not a matter of choice and beyond his control as if it actually has to be installed on the disc, or even released at time of release Hell they could keep it as DD and release it two weeks after launch and no one would complain.

B: the ONLY thing that will remedy it is Digital distribution.

C: that Digital distribution is actually an inevitability. Likelihood, yes, but written in stone, absolutely not.

So using a car analogy. Would you buy a car from a guy who only wants to put you into


After you tell him all you need or want is
Because he KNOWS that in the future no vehicle will hit the road without a HEMI engine.

Yes Mr Belindurarglebarglski, Remember if your going to keep your head shoved up your ass its not a good idea to keep flapping your mouth open.

viranimus:
A: its not a matter of choice and beyond his control as if it actually has to be installed on the disc, or even released at time of release Hell they could keep it as DD and release it two weeks after launch and no one would complain.

They likely assume that lying to their consumers outright and trusting in their gullibility to buy the product anyway and buy whatever they are saying is more cost effective than paying Microsoft $40.000+ for an Update it would apparently cost them if it wasn't "on disc": http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2012/02/16/microsofts-40000-per-xbox-patch-explains-why-updates-are-slow-to-roll-out/

In my mind, if there's still space on the disc to include the maps, skins, etc. that have been done in the downtime, they should just be on there for no extra fees. If it takes extra space or coding to finish before release, I'm fine with reasonably priced DLC.

Obviously, they shouldn't do On-Disk, Day 1 DLC. Instead, they should make gamers wait one or two additional weeks before releasing an inferior version the exact same content. That way, everybody is happy! Yay!

I'm slightly confused about some of the information in this article. So apparently there's three or four months where the game is basically done and they work on dlc content. Hasn't the game been sent to Microsoft/Sony during this period for testing etc? Surely that means that all work on the vanilla product has finished? I was under the impression that when Microsoft or Sony give the game the okay it can no longer be modified. So how does the disc-locked dlc being developed during this period of testing appear on the disc? Surely they'd have to send it back to Microsoft/Sony because the content of the product had changed after initial testing.

The explanation given in this article seems only applicable to dlc distributed via digital download and not anything locked-away on disc. Although I suppose it is also applicable to dlc which is partially on-disc like the 'From Ashes' dlc in ME3. But still, either I've not had enough sleep or something doesn't add up here.

Ten bucks for such a tiny extra? A few maps and skins? Geeze, that'd be price gouging even if it weren't on the disc! Fallout 3/NV's DLCs were also ten bucks each.

evilneko:
Ten bucks for such a tiny extra? A few maps and skins? Geeze, that'd be price gouging even if it weren't on the disc! Fallout 3/NV's DLCs were also ten bucks each.

DLC has a habit of being disproportionately priced. For 10$, you should theoretically get something that has about 1/6th of the content in the original game. It never works out like that.

Daniel Sugrue:

The way I see it, not all DLC needs to have an on disk content. Dlc that intergrates into the core game, eg characters in ME2/3, need to have on disk content so that they 'work' within the game, that would be the compatibility that Bleszinski mentioned above.

You only have those compatibility issues if you design the engine so that it will have those compatibility issues... which just happens to be cheaper and easier. If companies are going to keep asking us for 1/5th of the money for 1/60th of the content, maybe they should pony up some of that extra cash and build a more modular game next time.

WanderingFool:

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

Actu... know what? Fuck it. I let someone else with less sleep deprivation answer this. Il just say that you seem to be missing a key fact. The game isnt released when the developers finish it. Its released some time after. I believe its in that chart you mentioned. That "Day 1" DLC is partially on the disk, but they couldnt finish it in time to send the game in for review or what the fuck ever happens between the time the game is finish and the actual release of the game to the public.

Really, I think that chart you mentioned should have actually answered your question better than I could.

*Edit*

Looks like someone already did...

Your point manages to completely miss the complaint with DLC. When consumers pay full price for a game, they expect the best damn game that can be done under budget[1]. What department does what, when is irrelevant. If there's something cool that can be budgeted and realistically included in the game, it should be. It's not unreasonable to expect something you buy to be the best it can be, in fact it's unreasonable to expect people to buy something that is implied as being the best that could be made at the time and then immediately slap them with a fee for a slightly better experience that could have been included.

Yes game developers sometimes struggle with AAA games etc etc. But when the current trend is to be spending hugely significant amounts of money on marketing, this kind of atrocious marketing is simply unacceptable.

[1] If it can be bankrolled before any extra $$ come in from sales it doesn't really have any right to be sold as DLC!

Dexter111:

Also, thanks for trivializing the issue with the "car analogy" comment Mr. Carter...

You're welcome.

rolfwesselius:

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

When a game is to be released on consoles it is sent a MS or sony and they inspect the game this can take a long while depending if its multi-platform exclusive.
if its not ready it can be delayed for a few months for the devs to fix it.
When it is sent to microsoft or sony, It's done,finite,over,feature complete they may not add anything else not even remove stuff.
In that time its either,Sequel time Or dlc time.
And a skin pack can be done in a few days by the art team who havent got anything to work on.

So it's the consoles fault that there are day-1 DLC?

Simonoly:
I'm slightly confused about some of the information in this article. So apparently there's three or four months where the game is basically done and they work on dlc content. Hasn't the game been sent to Microsoft/Sony during this period for testing etc? Surely that means that all work on the vanilla product has finished? I was under the impression that when Microsoft or Sony give the game the okay it can no longer be modified. So how does the disc-locked dlc being developed during this period of testing appear on the disc? Surely they'd have to send it back to Microsoft/Sony because the content of the product had changed after initial testing.

The explanation given in this article seems only applicable to dlc distributed via digital download and not anything locked-away on disc. Although I suppose it is also applicable to dlc which is partially on-disc like the 'From Ashes' dlc in ME3. But still, either I've not had enough sleep or something doesn't add up here.

Basically the DLC is being developed alongside the main game but the developers know they can't finish it by the time the game has to go off to microsoft and sony so they just shove whatever is already done onto the disk and the put the rest up for download on release it keeps the download time down.

Grey Carter:
Bleszinski: On-Disk DLC an "Unfortunate Reality"

A reality gamers cooked themselves. If they stood against it from the begining, then it wouldn't be a "reality".
That's why it's hard for me to blame publishers for shit like this, when it's the fault of gamers who let themselves be milked.

I for one welcome our insect overlords digital download games.

Nah seriously, I really would love for us to break out of the disc and retail model and think Blezingsky is right that it would eliminate on-disc (or in download) DLC

KeyMaster45:

Zachary Amaranth:
The issue is also about transparency and cost. Cliffy and company tried to hide that on-disc DLC. Companies are still trying to hide it. I wouldn't be surprised if Blezinski's next game tried to hide it. If it's such a necessity (which I do not believe it to be), why all the lying and hiding and game playing?

Because gamers lose their collective shit when the data miners get hold of their copies and find the on disc-dlc. Better to just not say anything and let the fans start the inevitable shit-storm after the game is released. They're not really obligated to tell us anything about the game, and when it comes to marketing why should they deliberately release information that would effect sales?

"Because it's the right thing to do" is not the correct answer.

Plus, the game companies can count on a certain percentage of self-satisfied gamers and journalists who will call anyone who voices issues with predatory practices and/or substandard story telling as "entitled". These people will usually us use some sort of call to the free market to justify their views and then add in sarcasm, or just being nasty.

I believe its a simple matter of if its on the disc it should be part of the original game and forcing you to buy to unlock this content is morally bankrupt. If however the content is not on the dvd then it would in fact be a dlc package that you would spend extra for. However that raises the issue of day 1 dlc, whether it should actually be on the disc in the 1st place or not.

I also find it frankly horrifying that so many developer are trying to force people into digital distribution only. The thing is I like have a physical copy of what I've bought, it means I have a collection and if something horrible happens to my hard drive it is a lot easier to reinstall rather than having to redownload a game you've purchased. Also for all their bleating of digital distribution I have noticed that the software does not cost any less than if I picked up the physical disc instead.

Dys:

WanderingFool:

DVS BSTrD:
Why would it go to waste? If it's finished in time for the release then they should just include it in the original game instead of charging extra? As 4 "The Chart" They somehow found a way to finance post release DLC BEFORE On-disk DLC. Have they just gotten worse at managing their finances? Not exactly winning any points with that argument.

Actu... know what? Fuck it. I let someone else with less sleep deprivation answer this. Il just say that you seem to be missing a key fact. The game isnt released when the developers finish it. Its released some time after. I believe its in that chart you mentioned. That "Day 1" DLC is partially on the disk, but they couldnt finish it in time to send the game in for review or what the fuck ever happens between the time the game is finish and the actual release of the game to the public.

Really, I think that chart you mentioned should have actually answered your question better than I could.

*Edit*

Looks like someone already did...

Your point manages to completely miss the complaint with DLC. When consumers pay full price for a game, they expect the best damn game that can be done under budget[1]. What department does what, when is irrelevant. If there's something cool that can be budgeted and realistically included in the game, it should be. It's not unreasonable to expect something you buy to be the best it can be, in fact it's unreasonable to expect people to buy something that is implied as being the best that could be made at the time and then immediately slap them with a fee for a slightly better experience that could have been included.

Yes game developers sometimes struggle with AAA games etc etc. But when the current trend is to be spending hugely significant amounts of money on marketing, this kind of atrocious marketing is simply unacceptable.

Im not going to bother trying to responde to this, as it seems like an exercise in futility. Suffice to say, you and I are not game developers and as such, we do not have any firsthand knowledge on this subject. We only have an outside view on the whole ordeal, and I doubt that puts us in a position to dictate to a developer how to do their job.

[1] If it can be bankrolled before any extra $$ come in from sales it doesn't really have any right to be sold as DLC!

The problem I have is buying a disk and then being told that my money only counts for a certain amount of whats actually on it. It just feels completely ridiculous to me.

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