DLC Isn't A Rip-Off, It's A Fight Against Used Games

There's an argument, a very good argument, that whenever a game launches with downloadable content alongside it, that's a bad thing, because that content could either have gone into the game itself or the energy spent making it could have been used making the game better.

Epic Games, developers of Gears of War 3, say otherwise. In an interview with Game Informer, Epic's Rod Fergusson said, "What people need to understand is that extra content is something that you have to plan," his colleague Cliff Bleszinki adding "You don't just lift up a rock and say, 'oh shit, there's new levels!'"

"There are people who think that the first day of DLC development is the day after you launched. That's not the way it works," Fergusson said. "A lot of it is that you have to prepare and plan and manage your resources and your people and everything to allow for that."

Saying that the industry has matured with its approach to DLC, he continued, "It's less about shipping what's left over. It's not about, 'Oh, we had this map left over'... it's keeping the disc in the tray. In a used game culture that you have to actively fight against, I think DLC is one of the ways that you do that."

Slick sentence, that last one. See, they're not trying to rip you off! They're fighting the good fight!

Epic defends pre-launch DLC development [Game Informer Magazine, via CVG]


    "In a used game culture that you have to actively fight against, I think DLC is one of the ways that you do that."

    No. We don't have to pay fee or have reduced capabilities in used cars, clothes, books, etc. So games should not be treated any other way.

    "Slick sentence, that last one. See, they’re not trying to rip you off! They’re fighting the good fight!"

    No, they are not fighting a good fight - they are maming their own products. The used game market is here to stay. And if I choose to purchase a game used, I should be able to do so and have it behave like any other used product. It should be functional and I should not have to pay any additional fee for the complete game.

    The final nail in the coffin of this futile fight (and it is futile, not a good one) - if Epic or Xbox Live or any significant part of the delivery chain shuts down and used becomes the only option how can newer generations enjoy the game at its full capacity?

      This a thousand times.

      Give this man the prized ham, because he gets it.
      If at any point those online services cease to be, new gamers NEVER get to experience parts of your games, which may lead to them never being interested in your future titles or iterations.

      Dead Space for example was ought pre -owned by a alot of people, but that helped the second games sales because of it,because people liked the first one that they wouldn't have bought at full price.
      You shouldn't be fighting used games, to do so is to be incredibly greedy, which as their a corporation is not unexpected.

      It's not just about used games; the model of devs-make-game, people-buy-game trends towards a hit-driven model, where games make all their money on the first two weeks of release because there's something new coming out that will be slightly better. This is why EB push pre-orders; it's money in the bank in the only two weeks the sales of the game matter. Couple that with the traditional pricepoint of retail games, and we get big problems. Gamers want 'innovation', but when push comes to shove they'll buy sequels because sequels are more likely to be worth the money. Games like Rayman Origins flop (this counts as a prediction, but it's a safe one) because people don't have the time or bandwidth to play multiple games, even though by all accounts it's fantastic. And because players have limited bandwidth, they want to play the 'best' games, any reviewer that dares to criticise the game they've pre-ordered gets flamed, which leads to tepid reviewers and rushed reviews that give deeply flawed games like LA Noire 10s across the board.

      Nearly every problem the industry has is tied to the fact that it sells boxed product.

      The only feasible alternative model I've seen is the service model, and that means microtransactions, DLC, and people feeling like they spent all that money and they didn't get the full game. So what? It's an illusion that you're playing the full game now; as it is a minority of people actually finish the games they buy, and many of those don't plumb the full depths of the game they buy. You only have to look at a Super Metroid speedrun to realise that you haven't, and will never, do everything there is to do in that game.

      Why are you paying $100 for a game you're not going to play fully? The problem's not that you got a full game, it's that you spent all that money on something you're not wild about. DLC should be for people who can't get enough of the game and want more.

      There are problems with the service model, absolutely. No-one's really got a handle on the model, and it'll always be open to people who try to rip their players off. But I think that it'll make for better games and more inclusive games.

        Youre absolutely right. Lets all support the service model that encourages capcom to keep making shitty games because hey! After you pay 70$ for mvc3 you can pay 90$ more for all the dlc! Well, that was the plan until ye disasters in japan. But hey! Now you can pay 40$ for a remade copy with features cut out, then pay 30$ more for the dlc for it! So if you bought the original, thats, oh, 140$ out of my pocket just because i wanted to support a company that used to make some of my favorite games? No sir. I do not like the system where if you bought sf4 you wind up paying about 90$ just to get the finished edition(ae with costumes) or if you paid 80 for the special edition sfxt you get to wait to BUY characters that are ALREADY ON THE DISC! Excuses whatever, but this dlc business is just allowing the game publishers to put out poor products and make more money. Its called uncontrolled greed. And as a game engine designer, im sick of seeing publishers abuse their consumer base this way

    Im sorry, how about I pay full price for my game, and get the DLC free, or at least at a discount, instead at full price.

    Or maybe Ill buy pre-owned copys and spend less overall.

    DLC is a massive rip-off. It always has been.

    I remember when "map packs" were free and included in patches for games like quake and even C.O.D. I think Xbox live is to blame and don't even get me started on having to pay a fee to play the games I bought on my console using my internet connection on-line.And don't give me that line of "xbox live is a better service and worth paying for", PSN works fine and is free.When the next round of consoles start this will be the major factor in my decision.
    The amount of multi platfrom games I have bought on the PS3 over 360 has cost Micro-Soft way more than they ever would have made scewing me over with Xbox live fee's.

    Does keeping players interested with periodic DLC make them less inclined to trade their games in? Maybe. It's difficult to say.

    I support launch-day DLC that is not just unlocking something already on the disc, as there is a significant amount of time between when a game goes gold for manufacture and when it is released. Having the developers work more on games that I like is a good thing.

    How about a one time code that comes with the disc that gives you access to all DLC for the game at release and into the future. Thsi key would be unavailable to buy seperately from the new game itself, forcing second hand sales to buy DLC individually. REWARD the guy who gives YOU the cash, don't bleed him dry to keep him engaged.

      ^ This would have to be a good thing!

    As a pc gamer.... it's a rip off.

    Yeah, good try Epic.
    The fact you just charged us for DLC ( maps, models, skins) content that was already on the disc makes you greedy.
    I thought DLC was something I had to download.
    Whats to stop you from charging us for the disc, then charging us 'DLC' for each map or weapon?

    I remember a time when games released and then content was community based. Community driven content lead to games with massive lifespans and solid communities. It was also an inroad for people into the games industry.

    We would be in a very different market with the Doom/Quake/UT source code was never released.

      I used to be a part of a game community where the creators had a very unusual model: you got the base engine for free, including level editor, they distributed community content for free, and you paid for 'official' level packs. It was a small community, but it worked out because people could join the community and *then* pay, and they were happy to because they were showing their commitment to the community. They had all the game they wanted from the (often quite good) community-made content, and they'd still buy the 'official' levels.

    DLC is a rip off and using the game with $45 worth of gun skins is a terrible example of why isn't. I generally spite companies which have the mentality to persecute the people who are their main source of income for something that a minority of people do and the people who buy used games or pirate generally weren't going to pay full price for it anyway.

    I would understand DLC more if it was less expensive, and more importantly scaled to the price of the titles it "supports". When a game is a few months old, the price drops. Why doesn't DLC do this too? If the reason you offer me DLC is to "Keep your game in my drive" then don't make your DLC more expensive than going and buying another full game.

    Look at kick starter don't take something away from the core product add something of stand alone value. Offer a very few highly valued exclusives like meeting the cast at an event.

    Most of my used video game sale money went back into new video games.
    Most of us have limited entertainment budgets. So when you cripple used sales you may get a few more pennies up front but you are hurting your franchise by denying your customer affordable content especially punishing your early purchasers and pre-order people.

    If you must do DLC it should be a new side story that stands alone with new characters maps etc. Making it valuable enough on it's own and not feel like it should have been in the core game in the first place is a hard balancing act.

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