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 Piñata 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 Piñata 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.