BioWare: Mass Effect 2 Will Have Launch DLC, Won't Charge For It

Little has spilled out regarding BioWare's DLC plans for Mass Effect 2 but yesterday, via Twitter, the studio indicated there will be launch-day DLC and it won't cost anything.

"Addressing rumors: BioWare will not be charging extra for any new Mass Effect 2 content on launch day. More DLC details next week," says the tweet.

Earlier reports had Mass Effect 2 planning a slew of downloadable content, although timing was mentioned for none of it. I suppose that we shall find what the deal is this week. We'd better, the game itself releases in just nine days.

BioWare (masseffect2) on Twitter


    wow what a great idea - making DLC free on launch day = big day 1 sales!
    bioware you sneaky devils!

    Well than again the game is already over 2 disc's how much F**king bigger do they want this game to be? =]

    Um, I hope they take into account that the Euro/US release dates are different...

    FREE DLC EQUIVALENT TO THE STONE PRISONER ON RELEASE DAY.... MY ONLY QUESTION IS: wouls the code be on a sheet like THE STONE PRISONER was, or is it a download on xbox live?

    This might be a dumb question, but can you get the DLC on launch day and get the game later?

      Yes, you can. However, my interpretation of Bioware's comment is that they are ruling out releasing paid DLC on launch day. Reading further into the remark, you could assume that if there is DLC released on launch day, it will be free. There's no suggestion that this possible DLC will be free for only one day.

        You may not be able to download it without purchasing the game first.

        Because when I picked up Dragon Age which everybody knows was also made by Bioware and got my download codes for the Dragon Armour and whatever else they would NOT work in the redeem code section of the XBox dashboard. They would ONLY work from the in-game menu. Unless David knows something I don't.

        Just thought I'd give everyone a little heads-up. Just in-case they decide to do the same thing with ME2.

        So if you don't have enough money to buy it on day one I would advise to rent it to make sure you can get the DLC. Because more than likely it is just for the first day.

          If we're talking about DLC redeemed via a code included in the retail box, then yes, you will need the game.

          If we're talking about any other type of DLC - which is what the post is about - then no, you can purchase and/or download it without owning the game.

            So, I'm a little confused. Are they gonna have codes packaged in the retail box or are they just gonna make it free on the XBox marketplace?

            I hope it's the latter because then I can download it on day one in-case they're only making it free for one day and then buy the game when I can afford it. After I've bought and finished ME1 that is.

              Bioware has yet to announce its plans. However, you can rest assured any DLC will not be free for just one day. It will most likely be in the form of a download code in the retail box that you can redeem - for free - whenever you purchase the game.

    So I'm a little perplexed. Does this mean it's only free on launch day? Or that the DLC available launch day will be free from then onwards, with the priced DLC coming later down the line?

    I think they are doing what they did with Shale the Stone Prisoner DLC with Dragon Age Origins in that the Cerebrus Network Card is going to grant access to this Free Day 1 DLC - ie not through the XBL Marketplace.

    The Cerebrus network card is confirmed in all *NEW* copies of Mass Effect 2 and is basically an incentive to buy the game new. You get the day 1 DLC for free when you buy the game.

    Looks like atm the DLC is going to be big by adding a new Squad Mate, New World and New Side Mission. YAY!

    I like what there doing with DLC becuase it prolongs the game.....but if DLC is ready on the first day, or within the first week of a game it should just be in the game.

      Why do people think that because there is Day 1 DLC means it should be in the game. Games are generally finished production around one month or 2-3 weeks before release depending on how big the game is and that is plenty of time for a developer to make post launch content that couldn't have been put onto the disc.

        Not only that, but games are typically "content complete" many months before launch. In those final months and weeks of polishing and bug-fixing, it makes sense for the team's artists and designers to be working on DLC.

        Also, as Matt points out, these DLC codes in the box - as seen in Gears of War 2 and The Saboteur, for example - are an incentive for consumers to purchase new copies rather than used copies.

          Ive got to say I never really realized the game obviosuly would be finished weeks befor release....thanks for letting me know :D
          I was just trying to point out some DLC these days just seems like a ploy of making you pay more for what should already of been in the game>
          ps Mass Effect 2 will be the best

          The console versions of Saboteur required a download for their 'Free DLC' (with new purchases). The PC version however did not require a download; the content was on the disc.
          That's evidence enough that the content was finished before the game went gold (also, the content was visible in pre-gold gameplay videos).

          This to me says only that it was intentionally retained to promote new sales. You might think that's a fair concept, but it hides a sinister ramification for console-game buyers.
          When you purchase a game these days, like Sabotuer, Dragon Age, GoW and now Mass Effect 2, you receive X% of the game on a retail disc and Y% as DLC. Really, the entire game is the sum of X and Y; that's how much content was ready for release when the game was pressed (proof of this in my Saboteur example, and Dragon Age Stone Prisoner).

          So what you have is X% of a game in your retail DVD and Y% locked into your account. Not only is that Y% non-existent on second-sales of the game, but also its unavailable for a the first-sale buyer to sell back to their game store. The publisher is retaining a percentage of the game; you don't own that percent. You can't sell it on. You can't give it to a friend.

          The problem is there is no line in the sand on where this is acceptable. What if a games published offered you 50% of a game at retail price, and gave you the other 50% 'free' on day one. You paid full price for a game you only half own. Maybe they retain 75% of the game and you only get 25%. Then you only have less to resell. The resell value drops, because the next person who buys it has to pay so much more to the publisher for the other 75% of their game.

          At this point, you might as well be buying the game completely via download, like the Steam service. So whats the difference between buying a game digitally distributed and in stores? Besides price, you can't resell a digitally distributed game, but you can resell your retail game.

          So what we have are the 2 fundamental game purchase mediums. Retail and Digital. Why might you choose one over the other? Who knows, but its your decision to make. What is Mass Effect 2 doing? It's removing your ability to buy your games retail, and replacing it with the option to buy some of your game retail and some of it digitally.

          People shouldn't be accepting this. It's not right.

            I think there are two separate issues being conflated here. There's the consumer perception issue of whether the DLC should have been on the disc. And then there's the more complex issue of publishing trying to protect new game sales.

            The perception issue really is just that. There are plenty of valid reasons why paid DLC - whether it's day one or released later - isn't included on the disc. I don't think any publisher deliberately withholds content in order to sell it as DLC. Let's leave the cynicism there.

            The second issue, however, is definitely worth discussing. Publishers want consumers to buy new games. They, rightly or wrongly, feel that used game sales rob them of revenue since the entirety of what you pay for a secondhand game goes to the retailer. Full digital download services such as Steam, XBLA and PSN are one solution the industry wants consumers to accept. At retail we're now seeing this redeemable code strategy to encourage new game purchases. And of course, the longevity afforded by paid DLC and a robust multiplayer feature set has been well established this console generation as a way of dissuading consumers from taking advantage of retail returns policies.

            I'm not sure what the solution is. On one hand, I can sympathise with publishers when you see a retailer selling a used copy for $5 less than the new copy. On the other, the consumer is certainly not doing anything wrong by wanting to trade their games. What do you suggest?

            (And to address your opening example of The Saboteur, I think the inclusion of the content on the PC disc speaks more to the lack of a secondhand market on that platform than any greater ulterior motive.)

              I’m not sure what the solution is. On one hand, I can sympathise with publishers when you see a retailer selling a used copy for $5 less than the new copy. On the other, the consumer is certainly not doing anything wrong by wanting to trade their games. What do you suggest?

              Have a quick look back at whatever law is in place that allows the consumer to resell their games. I'm not sure why it's legal, if it should be legal, who's allowed to do it, and if it SHOULD be allowed. I'm not going to claim I'm familiar with any of these things. However, I AM sure that currently I CAN resell my games.

              Now ask a few questions. Firstly, should the developers/publishers get more money out of the second sale of a game, and if so, who should the money come from?

              Now personally I think that yes, the developer/publisher should get some money for the second sale of a game. Like manufacturing discs costs very little in relation to the value of what is on them, the developers make their money on the number of people the game gets to, and the number of people who play and enjoy the game. For that reason alone, the developers should be getting a substantial percentage of EVERY game sale; first second or n-th sale.

              Who should the money be coming from? The person buying the game each time, obviously. They're paying for the creative services of the developer just like the first buyer did. The services could be considered recycled, but everyone is getting a recycled copy of the game since all the games are just duplicates of a single game development process.

              So I think it's fair to say that YES game should be resold and YES each person who plays the game should pay the developer for it.
              I don't think anyone would complain with this system, so how does it compare to the system we have today?

              Today, if you buy a retail copy of a game then about 50% of the price you pay will go to the developers/publishers, and 50% is divided between production costs, shipping costs and the retail store you bought it from. That seems like a lot of money going to the gameshop, considering their role in the process.
              And if you sell your game back to the shop, 100% of the money you get comes from the retailer and the retailer maintains possession of the game. If a second person buys it, 100% of the money goes to the retailer. And for every subsequent reselling. That's allot of money going to the retailer.

              So when a company like EA brings in this new kind of system, I just see people paying LESS money for second hand games (because they have to give more to the publisher when they get home), which means LESS money on a resale which means LESS money gets returned to the first buyer.

              At the end of the day, the person who bought the game and sold it ends up with a little less cash.
              The person who buys it the second time spends the same amount. The retailer more money on resales, because they'll charge the same for a second hand game but give less to the first-hand seller.
              And finally, the publisher makes a little more cash from the crowd buying the games second hand (or the paltry sum they get for the slight increase in first hand sales, the difference is minimal).

              So who's making more money? The publishers. Who's losing it? The first hand buyers. Does that seem right to you? Shouldn't it be the retailer making less profit?
              The margin of profit on a game re-sold by a retailer should be equal to the margin of profit they make on new game sales, which the same percent mark-up and the remainder going back to the publisher. The second hand buyer should have the ability to support the developers of their game and give monetary appreciations, even if they cannot afford a new copy of the game.
              I won't go into the details of a system for implementing this; it's quite possible. In fact, all they need to is replace the 'Free DLC code' with an activation code. That way every sale puts money in the developers pockets.
              Oh, and regarding my 50% to developer/50% to retailer figures, here's some prices for Mass Effect 2
              Australian Retailer, PC: $98AUD
              Digital Distribution, PC: $50USD ($55AUD)
              Online RETAILER, PC: ($55AUD)

              Not sure if you'll read this David as this is quite a long list of posts, but would the publishers have any weight they could throw around to pressure change from the retailers.

              For example, not selling second hand copies for any more than a set amount less than a new copy, or perhaps even the same amount. Or organising so they still get some royalties from second hand sales, albeit a smaller one. Perhaps either themselves, or forcing retailers to educate consumers on the fact that second hand sales do not profit the game publishers.

              Would it be possible for publishers to try and work these sort of things out with retailers, I would imagine the publishers could probably hold out on copies of their product sent to stores, or even limited edition exclusives to only some retailers.

            I know for a fact that this upcoming Day 1 DLC for Mass Effect was completed after the game went gold. Sure it was being worked on while the game was in production but as David pointed out earlier, really the only thing devs do in the last month or so before release is a last bit of polish and wrapping up the beta/QA testing. All the other members of the team such as the artists, developers etc... aren't going to twiddle their thumbs until the game is released so they can get back to work on DLC because people think that DLC should be introduced weeks after release date.

            However a perfect example of what you are trying to get across would be the Resident Evil 5 DLC that was on sale before. All the content was on the disc and all the DLC did was unlock that content on the disc to use. And they had the balls to ask money for it. That is a true injustice of DLC.

            The re saleability of games because of codes shipped with games such as Dragon Age's Stone Prisoner shouldn't be affected in the slightest. If you buy a used game then obviously chances are the code has been used to redeem the Stone Prisoner. However in all likelihood you paid a reduced cost for that used game over what the standard retail price is for a new copy. Because the DLC is on the marketplace at 800 MS points, more then likely you can buy that DLC that comes with every new copy and still save money.

              You are incorrect about Resident Evil 5. The DLC added an additional gameplay mode that took place in areas drawn from the original game. The file was a small download because it only added code, not new art assets.

                Ahh ok - i just remember a massive hoo-hah about it when that DLC was released and the small file size for what the DLC was offering. Cheers for the correction :)

              "I don’t think any publisher deliberately withholds content in order to sell it as DLC. Let’s leave the cynicism there."


      @Jacques - thats the argument with DLC between people. How early is too early and how late is too late. When is the right time to release DLC to please the consumer. SOme people take a few weeks to pass a game, some a few days etc... And then not everyone likes DLC.

      Day 1 DLC does sound a bit odd and you do think, "Well i'm paying $89 why can't it come with the game" but then this is free so who cares right? I guess its some marketing strategy to get more sales of the game itself.

      But also, usually DLC is worked upon until days before release. A lot are probably shelved and then released but DLC is usually developed after the game and Mass Effect 2 i presume is already gold with the first review already in & all.

      But i'm hoping its not some 'disc required' to download for free DLC cause i'm holding off on getting it for at least a month.

      If so - perhaps i will be a cheapskate and buy it Day 1 to get free DLC. Either way it will be worth it.

    Once upon a time Day 1 DLC was called a "patch"

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