BioWare Defends DLC Business Strategy

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I don't mind DLC as long as the game feels long enough on its own. ME3 and ME2 did feel large and long enough on their own. So they can put out DLC for it if they want.

You can't say that ME2 felt "short" - it was 30+ hours. ME3 was of a similar length.

TheBelgianGuy:
Back in the day, games costed 40~ euro's, and with the CD came a nice manual with plenty of explanation, hints and tips about the game... sometimes an art book, or a map of the ingame world, or a spreadsheet of the ingame technology / building tree...

Nowadays, game costs 50-60 euro's, the game manual tells pretty nothing besides controls and installation requirements, and the only extra you're getting is a small piece of paper with your online activation code you need to use to play, that is if their servers actually work... and for the full game experience, you need to buy DLC they cut out of the game.

Such a shame. Call me nostalgic, but I think the gaming industry was a lot more cooler and friendlier back in the day. (Not that the games were any better, though.)

You sir, have ninja'd me. That is exactly what I thought when I read this article. I haven't enjoyed Mass Effect (donning flame shield), but this is just ridiculous. I want my 60 dollars to justify itself. The last complete game that I have is Mario Galaxy, a game from 5 years ago.

OT- I don't particularly care about DLC, but going crazy with it is one of the reasons that I'm unsure about it. EA Bioware defending DLC practices that really don't help sales; on the other hand, selling a game in pieces makes piracy a better option to some people as they want their money's worth. I have a belief that paying more than 30 USD for a base game is ridiculous, but totaling DLC and the 60$ base game is the next MMO in my eyes. Annnd, I don't want crap like "DLC adds more replay value." I only need to point at Valve, CD Projekt Red, Mohjang and Bethesda (buggy as their products are) as proof that DLC alone will not print money (not counting mods). It's making a good, enjoyable game that adds replay value.

There's a big difference between "happy to pay for" and "don't have much of a choice". Mass 3 has both of these! Yeah its fair enough if you want to buy some in game items for the multiplayer. However if you want to play with the Prothean team mate who adds a fair bit to the story & really should have been IN THE GAME FROM THE START! Then you have no choice but to fork out extra money for it!

Same thing goes for online passes! I bought Homefront used for the sinlge player & then tried the multiplayer. I liked it so I bought the online pass to be able to continue to develop my character. I did something similar with Space Marine. My housemate bought it new. When I played it, really liked the mulitplayer & bought the pass. This kind of practice for online passes is how it should be! However of those publishers that use them only THQ does it in this fashion!

However, if I bought a game that was brand new, end of last year but couldn't afford it at the time & only now can I, then I would have no choice but to pay for an online pass to play the multiplayer as games are only new for a certain period of time and those new copies end up becoming used!
This is the bit that pisses me off about online passes! Unlike CDs or DVDs, games are only new for a short period of time and then stop getting produced. So if a player wants to buy a certain game that they missed out on the first time round then they have to buy used! Publishers & certain developers seem to forget about this!

Well, it'd be pretty silly if BioWare's DLC producer was against DLC practices.

immortalfrieza:

Agente L:

A MMO success isn't based on how many copies it sells, but on how many subscribers he garned and how long he managed to hold them in it's life.

Not true. How long an MMO stays subcription based and how many subcribers it gets and holds onto is no indicator of it's success. MMOs that are profitable under the subscription model are rare and far between, history has shown that when an MMO goes F2P it becomes much more profitable than it ever was under the subscription model by leaps and bounds.

I was talking about mmos with a subscription model, of course.

toomuchnothing:
ME3 MP packs are a slippery slope. They work for me as is because its purely a co-op MP so someone who blows hundreds of dollars to max their ultra-rares benefits themselves but also benefits me as they will have some serious firepower even if they lack any real talent if they end up in a game with me. If this game had a competitive mode then I probably would never touch the thing simply because being able to buy power (guns/gear/characters in this case) would give anyone willing to drop real money on it an advantage over those who don't.

Mass Effect 3's system doesn't let you buy power. It lets you skip ahead in the progression by using real money instead of in game money.

The concept of "buying power" is when you can buy something with real money which is a straight upgrade over the norm which is either completely inaccessable or so expensive that it is impractical without. Gold ammo in World of Tanks is buying power because it's straight up better than the other kinds of ammo on a given tank and you can only buy it with real money. Booster packs in Mass Effect 3 are accessable with in game money and are priced such that you can obtain them at a reasonable rate.

Sure, that guy who spent $100 to get a rare gun up to level 10 might have done it before you, but he's not got anything that you can't get for his money (and he still had the same random chances you do, he might have spent $100 for fuck all).

The biggest problem with the magic cards is that they are only random. If you could buy what you wanted and progress your characters in ways that were interesting to you and be competitive on higher difficulties more quickly there might have been more play in it.

It's just poorly phrased.

Having free multiplayer pay for itself with optional purchases makes way more sense than charging all of your customers for the feature which they may not even care about. No arguments about that.

The day 1 DLC with the pretty damn important lore (well, important in the sense that the game tries to hide as many answers possible from you, constantly) should have been part of the game to begin with, or put in as a post game experience, though.

sigh.

Please, stop giving these people money.

Just stop.

You're only encouraging them.

I mean, yeah, I get it: you lessen the influence of pirates if you're not offering the "full experience" from day one, and you lengthen the revenue lifespan of your costly AAA game development.

But... seriously. Telling us we're "happier" this way?

No.

Sales charts do not tell you that. No more than the movie theater chains' charts tell them people who've coughed up $10 for a movie are "happy" to get their pre-movie conversations boomed over by an advertising loop, or two to five minutes of commercials that begin when the alleged "movie showing time" is supposed to start.

Agente L:

immortalfrieza:

Agente L:

A MMO success isn't based on how many copies it sells, but on how many subscribers he garned and how long he managed to hold them in it's life.

Not true. How long an MMO stays subcription based and how many subcribers it gets and holds onto is no indicator of it's success. MMOs that are profitable under the subscription model are rare and far between, history has shown that when an MMO goes F2P it becomes much more profitable than it ever was under the subscription model by leaps and bounds.

I was talking about mmos with a subscription model, of course.

Ahhh... In that case, the problem with subscription MMOs is that they all just copy WoW with maybe a few small changes. That's why the only subscription MMO besides WoW that has managed to survive for a long time under said model is EVE, and that's because it's a vastly different MMO from WoW.

immortalfrieza:

Ahhh... In that case, the problem with subscription MMOs is that they all just copy WoW with maybe a few small changes. That's why the only subscription MMO besides WoW that has managed to survive for a long time under said model is EVE, and that's because it's a vastly different MMO from WoW.

And unfortunaly, companies don't see this. And they keep trying to make wow clones, thinking it will be a wow killer, when in reality, it's the other way around. It's wow who will kill the game.

I think as far as the multiplayer goes, ignoring the online pass requirement (because I bought ME3 day 1, no hesitation) the model for the micro transactions is great. More maps for free. Play on those maps and earn credits for more powers, characters and weapons or burn cash throwing it to EA and in some measure sustenance for future multiplayer content as a shortcut. This is fine by me. Extra content, no charge? Hell yeah.

I think I'll wait for GOTY....hope it comes soon though.

I hate the whole DLC thing for how streamlined and successful it is.

Because really, the only reason the whole DLC thing is happening is because people simply aren't buying enough new copies of the game to recoup the costs of development. Used games have profits that are simply funneled to the retailer, leaving nothing for the developer and publisher. DLC money goes directly to said people and bypasses the middleman, though we always have to pay for it if we buy the game used, while people that buy it new don't have to pay that much.

Video games dug themselves into this whole when the costs of developing games started going into the six-digits. Once you're risking that much on a financial venture like a video game, you want something that delivers money in the end, or you aren't going to last very long. Sadly, games like CoD have shown to be huge hits in the (relatively brain-dead) market, while games like Kingdom of Amular have shown that innovation and experimentation gets you a good little bankruptcy.

Yes well, the bottom line is that this makes money for the company so it's good from their perspective. Saying we're happy about it is kind of offensive though. The fact that a player who is invested in a product can be shaken down for more money to see the entire thing, especially if pieces are being held back intetionally, does not mean that they are happy to pay. They do so begrudgingly.

On a lot of levels what we're seeing is the exploitation of serious gamers, who do demonstrate certain addictive traits. Basically gamers are put into the position where in order to stop this kind of garbage with microtransactions, f2p cash shop games, and the like, they have to go without gaming, which most do not want to do, especially seeing as making this point could kill favorite IPs. Not to mention that brining about the crash of the gaming industry would mean no gaming at all while it recovers if this was brought to an extreme. Sadly due to the corperate mentality it doesn't seem like game companies are going to knock it off on their own. Personally I am hoping to see some legislation in the next few years to regulate digital trade which might very well slam the breaks on a lot of this, I've caught wind here and there of some media regulation under discussion, even if none of it has been formally introduced. Of course I'm not holding my brath since I figure even the most well intended politicians can and probably will be bought by corperate interests.

As I see things right now, what Bioware is doing is pretty similar to a drug dealer cutting his product with baby laxitive and then saying "This is great as it lets me push my product further and sell to more customers, and the customers are happy because they keep coming back for more"... you know, totally overlooking the issue of why they come back being junkies and such. In the case of games they take a game like "Saint's Row 3" cut off a third or more of thegame to sell seperatly as DLC (or for ME3 things like a certain mission to recruit a special squad member and round out the story) and wind up making twice as much money for the same amount of effort because anyone who bought the product to begin with is probably going to want the entire thing, which everyone knows they didn't get, no matter how much they claim "optional material".

At least when it comes to ME3, my policy is very similar to DA2: I haven't bought ANY of their DLC because I didn't like their product to begin with. DA2 was a piece of garbage compared to DAO, and ME3's ending even with the "extensions" was enough of an insult where I'm not going to give them any further money. Indeed I kind of hold both of those games as example of why we probably need legislation forcing game companies to buy back games at full retail price if people are dis-satistifed with them (even after having finished them). Many disagree with that of course, but it happens to be something I currently agree with. Even if people abuse it (and they will) at this point I think the industry deserves it, and it would be nothing more than it deserves for some of it's excesses.

*sigh*
It isn't the method of distribution that's been the problem with DLC; but the intention to price-gouge.

The simple-and-done argument is that we are the consumers and it's up to us to reject bad deals no matter how they are offered.

But going deeper than that: The underlying problem is that there was a strong push to make DLC the central focus of new games since the cost:content ratio is much further in favor of the supplier (publisher/developer).

Sell a short, central hub-game, then sell DLC as the majority of content.

Games cost roughly $60, and they have been that price for quite some time now. The cost of making games, however, is always rising because advancing technology requires studios to put more man-hours into these games and also allows for studios to create monstrous cinematic experiences. Also, if you factor inflation into the mix you begin to understand that $60 is a really fucking small price for a well made video game.

So, for example, I had no problem shelling out money for every DLC Mass Effect 2 had to offer because I had enjoyed my first playthrough and felt it was a very well made third person shooter with a cheesy, but well done action movie plot. No, it wasn't the Sci-fi RPG genius that part 1 (which I also bought the DLC for, but there wasn't much so that's not a good example) was, but it was still competent enough that it warranted emptying my wallet. And had there been more DLC, I would've purchased it.

With Mass Effect 3, Bioware shit all over their fanbase by withholding the golden ending from those that don't play multiplayer, and since Mass Effect's home system is the 360, the percentage of fanbase without multiplayer is significant due to the fact that you have to pay for it on the 360. Also, Bioware LIED to this fanbase by claiming that there was no such multiplayer-based restriction on the ending. Mediocre gameplay and weak story are unfortunate, but acceptable flaws.

Forcing players to purchase a service they don't want to use a game feature they aren't interested in to get the conclusion to their Shepard's story is seriously unacceptable.

I am already invested in this story, so I may get the Leviathan DLC, and I may even finish my Insanity playthoughs of 1 & 2, but Bioware put a horrendous taste in my mouth that has actually befouled the gameplay experience itself of this franchise. I may still be able to play the first one because it's doesn't have the same EA smell as 2 and 3 and therefore it may not turn my stomach.

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