38 Studios founder Curt Schilling defends the online pass-protected day-one DLC in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as a reward for fans who commit their money to his company.
To most people, Curt Schilling was a pretty good thrower of baseballs who won a big trophy or something a long time ago, but these days he's all about the videogames. His company, 38 Studios, is on the verge of releasing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a big action-RPG for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but the "news" that the game will employ an online pass system has an awful lot of gamers up in arms. So Schilling dropped in on a raging debate on the Kingdoms of Amalur forums to say hi, see how everyone was doing and ask them to all please calm the hell down.
"DAY 1 DLC, to be extremely and VIVIDLY clear, is FREE, 100% totally FREE, to anyone that buys a new copy of Reckoning, ANYONE. If you don't buy new games you buy them used, and in that case you will have to pay for the Day 1 free DLC content the new copy buyers got for free," Schilling explained in a lengthy and well-written post.
He did acknowledge that the online pass is a two-way street - gamers who buy new are rewarded with free stuff, while the developers and publishers get the money they need to stay afloat and keep making games - but insisted, quite reasonably, that there's nothing inherently wrong with that system. "Every single person on the planet could wait and not buy Reckoning, the game would hit the bargain bin at some point and you could get it cheaper," he continued. "38 Studios would likely go away. That's just how business works."
His comment about snagging the game out of the bargain bin is a little fuzzy; after all, if I picked it up eight months after launch at a reduced price but still new, I'd expect all the online pass-related content to still be included. It's possible that he could be referring to the recent reports of expiring online passes, but I'm more inclined to think that he simply misspoke while differentiating between new and used.
In any case, Schilling said game companies are still trying to figure out how to best handle the vast and valuable used videogame market and that while online passes may not be perfect, the intent with Kingdoms of Amalur is to reward, not punish. "It's clear the intent right? To promote early adopters and MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ME, REWARD fans and gamers who commit to us with their time and money when it benefits the company," he said. "You can argue with methods, or process, and you absolutely can bitch and gripe about ANY DAY 1 DLC you are charged for, because I think I agree with many on that, but we are trying to create something here, product and company wise, and it takes dollars to do that."
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning comes out on February 7 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.