Rare Cautious About Downloadable Content
In a time when downloadable content is becoming a popular way to increase profits once a game is released, Rare is cautious about throwing too much support behind unproven titles.
Viva Piņata has been a surprise hit among gamers this month, a title that seems well suited to downloadable content. Although Rare has released content packs for Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo: Elements of Power, Gregg Mayles, the lead designer at Rare, isn't sure games should be supported until they prove to have some success in the market.
"We've got plenty of ideas for what we can do with downloadable content because Piņata is such a unique game," said Mayles. "But the jury is still out."
"It's almost pointless doing a huge amount of work at this point because if it's not going to be successful you may as well put that effort into making a new game," he added.
Some of the hesitation is born from the low number of downloads on Kameo's pay content. "There was a reasonable take-up on the free content, but the rest of it was reasonably limited," commented Farmer.
"For Rare that wasn't a good way of gauging the market, as far as I'm concerned," he added. "From our perspective it's all relatively new to us because we've always been cartridge based. We don't know what the best possible model is for us."
Rare will wait and see what works best with other developers before trying the Xbox Live market again. "There's no way we're going to be in a position where we feel like we're ripping the consumer off. We'll have to look at it, and how it pans out with the other games on 360," said Mayles.
Maybe Kameo downloadable content didn't take off because the game SUCKS? Viva Pinata must not be selling all that well if they're uneasy about crafting bonus content for purchase on Xbox Live. A good place to start would be to develop a couple dozen more picture packs and see how those sell first...
I actually thought Kameo was a decent platformer. It was a bit short though, and I was disappointed that there was really only one massive battle in the game. But I didn't buy the additional content because it was released well after I had finished the game, and it didn't really add 'content' - extra costumes and that just really aren't something I'm going to pay for and additional play modes I wasn't going to use. If there were actual new levels, I would have at least considered it.
On the other hand, I did purchase some of the downloadable cars for PGR2 - they were actually something that I was interested in.
If I was into multi-player FPS type games, I probably would have picked up the extra maps for Perfect Dark Zero as well. That's actual content that would improve the game experience. I purchased some of the Oblivion content as well, for that very reason.
All the themes and picture packs are completely ridiculous though.