The Mona Lisa As A Next-Gen Video Game

The Mona Lisa, As A Next-Gen Video Game

You may have seen the original version of this image at some point over the past few years. Now it's been updated for our upcoming era of microtransactions, as seen in games like Ryse, Forza 5, Crimson Dragon, NBA 2k14, Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3. Welcome to the future.

(via @toythatkills)


    This is why i don't buy games that have dlc on release or planned dlc, i always wait till they release a complete edition then grab it.

      This. I really wanted Arkham Origins, then they said 5 DLC packs wer on the way...Think I'll wait

      if you're going to buy an xbox one then you probably won't be buying any games for it... all the games have micro transactions as far as i can tell... i just ignore it cause i don't feel making a stand and not buying a game i want is the solution... not buying any of the bullshit microtransaction IS taking a stand however

        I like that you understand trying to make a stand by not buying the main game is futile, and if any gamers out there are trying that, they should stop, as the developers/publishers of the games will NOT be able to see the connection. This would actually suggest to the developer that the base/original game is the problem, and not the microtransactions - It's only when people get the main game but don't spend on the microtransactions that it is clear to the developer where the customer is drawing the line.

      They still haven't released a "Complete Edition" of any of the Mass Effect games.

      Why did they release a Trilogy with all the games but not include any dlc... There is no reason to buy the trilogy over the separate games :(

      I have all the games but I don't want to go and buy all the dlc separately, especially when they don't even make it easy.

      Dammit EA!

        What, i ended up getting that collection on PS3 (i haven't played it yet) i though it was complete.

        Damn it!

        Curse you EA. *Shakes fist towards the sky*

        Ill have to be more careful when dealing with EA in future.

          I did a bit more reading and it seems that PS3 is the best off. You get more DLC than both the PC and X360 but I'm pretty sure you still don't get it all.

          Google search "Mass Effect Trilogy DLC Chart" and look for an IGN link. I can't access it at work so I can't give you anymore detail but it really is stupid that they go and make a collection and then not include all the content.

          I'm hoping sometime down the track they bring out a trilogy again with all the dlc, I don't think it will happen but it would make life soo much easier.

    The very first game that make me feel the effect of this is the second Assassin's Creed...
    I mean, chapter 12 and 13 missing and ask me for another 10 or so bucks? That was outrages.

    But I didn't realize back then that this would have became a trend...

    I hate it that its come to this now. Basically accept that Games have gone up in price.

      Or just pretend they come out a year later than they do and buy the gold edition for $20 with all DLC etc thrown in. I do this. It's awesome. Saves me money and there are more great games than I could possibly play anyway.

    brilliant metaphor. the damn thought scares me.

    i haven't fallen into the last gen dlc trap just yet, but if this becomes prevalent in the future, i might take to pirating DLCs (after buying the game)

    Last edited 04/12/13 9:53 pm

      depending on platform this is usually much harder than pirating the game

    find it interesting that nearly all the games mentioned are Xbox One exclusives

      Do any of the PS4 have micro transactions yet? Honestly don't know as I've got a PS4 - but would love to see if the first round of games are doing this or not on Sony's console.

        FIFA14 does, but it has that across all platforms (Including Mobile) and surprisingly isn't a massive problem. It doesn't take long (time-wise) if you're even remotely good at the game to achieve the same thing you can throw $5 at.

          Thanks. Though I'm sure more will be just around the corner. From what I hear GT6 is terrible - and yes I know its PS3 only. Hopefully this Gen gamers push back and send a message on what we consider appropriate content to pay extra for.

            There's a bunch of F2P games that do too, but you kind of expect that :). I really wish we could go back to the old "Expansion Pack" idea.

    DLC is a good thing when it's something like Dawnguard or Blood Dragon (I know that's standalone as well, even better). Bethesda learned with Oblivion that people won't pay for any old thing *cough* horse armour *cough cough* but unfortunately every other developer still hasn't cottoned onto that fact. Microtransactions are just about the devil in gaming though. We're finally seeing the impact of mobile gaming on console gaming. Once again though i think it won't take long before people don't take part in microtransactions and the developers will get the message. In the meantime this is their 'get rich quick scheme' and will exploit it as much as possible. Console and PC gamers are a lot more vocal than mobile gamers so the point will eventually be made

      Actually I've heard that the horse armour sold really well (and was still selling several years after release), so it would seem that many people *will* pay for any old thing.

      P.T. Barnum's famous quote comes to mind, however.

      Then there's things like the Bioshock Season Pass, which after six months has released once fairly short piece of extra content.

        Didn't the terrible arena thing count for the season pass too?
        So essentially for $30 you get a single-player arena/survival mode (in a game notable for great story, terrible gunplay) and around 2 hours walking around rapture - assuming Part 2 is around the same length as the first one.

    Yep I feel like i'm paying full price for a game that only has 70% of the content, If devs are going to do this they should have to lower the pricing.

    Piracy: 1999

    Should also be on there as an equivelant.

    All DLC should be an expansion, if not, standalone spinoff ala Blood Dragon.

    The problem with this image (the left 3 parts of which have been around for years) is that it revolves around the notion that the entirety of the developer's work up to the time the game is sold somehow should be included in the base game. If the developer makes a complete game, and also makes a bonus chapter before the game launches and it comes out as DLC, people seem to think that means the game they got at launch was incomplete, which is completely illogical. When you buy a game, you're entitled to what you were told you'd get, nothing more. If they make extra content and put some of it on the disc to unlock later, it doesn't matter, and you didn't get an incomplete game because they never told you that's what you'd get for your money, and you never exchanged money thinking you'd get it.

      This argument happens every time there is a day 1 DLC. But actually this article is not focused around day 1 DLC, but all types of patterns of selling game content. In fact the image doesn't argue that we're entitled to what the devs built post gold release, but that a game that used to be X size/length/value is now somewhat by design: 3/4 X with the last 2/8 X sold later.

        (and @pylgrim) The image is making the argument that you don't get the complete Mona Lisa at launch and additional content later like you used to, but that they chop out parts of the complete product and sell it to you later. There aren't many games that actually do this. I'm not saying it never happens, I'm just saying it's not the status quo as the image is suggesting.

      That may be true, but what has really changed is the definition of "complete". Grab a (good) game from the 16-bit era and you'll see that it is packed with different endings, tons of sidequests, minigames, secrets and collectables. Nowadays games are bare-bones and all the fun bonuses are sold apart. (An exception are Sand-box games that by definition try to have as much stuff in them as possible.)

        Heh - Go back and actually play these games. You may find your recollection of the ability to do ludicrous, tedious stuff to get meaningless extras is somewhat rose-coloured.

      We can use BF4 as an example, an obviously unfinished broken game yet currently there are 2 paid DLC's out for it and the game came out 1 month ago.

      Publishers in this generation care less about releasing a finished product and are obviously diverting resources to get out more paid for content.

        I can't comment on BF4, I haven't played it. There are a few games that are guilty of doing what the image suggests, just not the majority by any stretch. Mass Effect 3 and a lot of the Day One DLC controversies of recent past are examples of gamers looking at it from the wrong perspective and thinking they were entitled to that content in the base game price.

        And that's the problem, in situations like that - when you think you should be entitled to that content, it's easy to think you got an incomplete product when you really didn't. If I finished the game I'm working on, plus two DLC, had it all nice and polished and then released the game and the DLC separately, people would think they should get all that DLC for free as part of the base game just because I made it before I released, and that the DLC only exists because I chopped out parts of the base game to sell separately. Same thing if I finish the game and then sell some extra player skins or something similarly cosmetic separately as microtransactions but available at launch. It's an argument based on assumptions that aren't always true.

        Last edited 05/12/13 8:10 am

          It may be based on assumptions that aren't always true, but that doesn't change whether those assumptions should be responded to or that customers that feel that way will undoubtedly feel ripped off. If you bought a 20,000 dollar car, it might not have air-conditioning. They might have told you ahead of time what you were and weren't getting, but it still feels like a rip-off; especially in comparison to competition; especially in comparison to previous models that had it.

          Also you're trying to reframe the debate again on Day 1 DLC, when the discourse here is about all methods modern developers use to sell the total of their content. Of course if you want to keep discussing that then I'll just point out again: the problem isn't so much "we deserve DLC the developers started after gold release and may have launched with the main game," it's more "we deserve the DLC you planned to sell us separately at launch years before gold release."

            The framing isn't solely on day one DLC, it's on any content players feel should have been part of the base game but wasn't, not because of poor design but because the developer consciously ripped it out. If nothing is ripped out of the original game to be resold separately, then the analogy in the image above is false because the core game is complete - ie. the Mona Lisa you get when you buy it in the first place is complete, and everything else is just bonus content.

            You're not entitled to anything they planned to release separately no matter how far in advance they did it. All you're entitled to is what they said you'd get for the price offered.

              This is why I don't use the term "entitled." Nobody here is saying they are entitled to anything. The complaints are about feeling ripped-off, or more innocuously, that the value we feel we're getting today is less overall than before. The image is still not false because it doesn't just address the withholding of content, but the differing meaning of 'complete' over time.

              By splintering the components of their games under different values and transaction types, they splinter the audience that considers just how much is a complete game. Some, like you, are content to judge a game as complete on the sellers definition, while some others use their own. Personally, for me these days it's increasingly hard to consider a base $60 game as complete when there's a bunch of different add-ons available that when bought together, sometimes balloon the price to well beyond double that price. Am I 'entitled' to it? No but I definitely remember it being much easier to buy a 'complete' game and then like 6 months later get a reasonably large expansion pack.

                I agree that it comes down to a matter of perspective. I just think that by looking at it the way the image does (or perhaps the way you do, I'm not sure) you set yourself up for constant disappointment. It's at a point for me now that I just can't muster sympathy for people who constantly do that to themselves.

                I don't mean that in any offensive way to you, I just prefer to approach things from a positive viewpoint. If a game (by my definition, ie. what was sold to you and nothing more) is light on content or is broken or missing mechanics, I'll certainly judge the game on that basis as being crap. The issue I have is that many people seem to be overlooking the fact that the base game is in many cases quite full-featured and quite satisfying, distracted by the fact there's a bit from the collector's edition or a day one DLC or a microtransaction or whatever source that they don't have.

                I can appreciate that people may be disappointed they don't have every last bit of content for a game, but I think it's important to keep things in perspective against what the base game DOES offer, and that's an area I think a lot of people these days are falling short in.

    I enjoyed Black Flag, but all of this makes it confusing and frustrating. There are a bunch of different editions, online passes that came and went, and there are microtransactions for the multiplayer. Plus there's other stuff locked behind their 'Initiates' online service. Oh, and a season pass.

    To get *all* the content, you'd have to spend f-ing hundreds.

    It's odd really, because appreciate there's actually more content in the game than the first one for example, but I didn't have a nagging sensation that I'm missing out on something either..

      Black Flag does have a few physical editions but there's very little game content difference between them, and what differences there are are mostly additional missions that don't really take away from the base game. It's all intended to be available as DLC for all editions later anyway so you don't need to spend hundreds to get it all, you just need to spend a lot to get it all right now.

      The one thing I don't really like that they've done is the retailer exclusives. I've always considered that to be a bad idea that just panders to retailers and doesn't do anything valuable for customers.

    Shouldn't there be a "now" or "this gen" in there somewhere :p Either last gen should be current or Next gen current, since arriving it is no longer next.

    I look at DLC like I do expansion packs. Does this expansion pack give me enough new toys that enhance my entertainment of the original game.

    Borderlands 2, Yes it does. Far Cry 3 Yes Blood dragon is worth it and stand alone.

    Map packs and armour sets not so much.

    With Mobile games I have a slightly different model, I make a small in app purchase for a free a game which I consider buying the game. Chances are I've played it for two weeks, am not bored with it and like it. But it also depends what I can do with in app purchase.

    I think we as gamers need to realize that we are at a cross roads when it comes to DLC an microtransactions. Publishers are testing the waters and seeing how the community reacts to their plans. Just because some may not like it doesn't mean it doesn't sell well indicating that it is a good model.

    Season Passes must be doing well for a lot of games to put them in, for example. I think we need to be a bitore patient as everything will equalise. Remember shareware?

      Season pass is basically just a discount preorder for future content. It works well and I like it being available for games I know I'm going to want all the future DLC for anyway, like Borderlands 2.

        I see the next evolution of season passes being a subscription service to either games or publishers

          Possibly, but I expect that would be considerably less successful.

          Seems unlikely - I can assure you that the attitude within the industry is that only core gamers would buy season passes, and core gamers are the pickiest customers, who all generally know that even their favourite franchises sometimes have dud titles... And publishers are very aware most people don't want to buy a game based on the publisher alone, as much as they wished that was true.

          It works for content for a title, especially when there's a solid precedent of both consumer expectation and satisfaction with a previous DLC. When I was at PAX Dev this year, Randy Pitchford showed the sales info for Borderlands 2, and they make most of their money on DLC - Their user base clearly loves it, and trusts Gearbox to deliver enough value in each download. Unless you have that sort of trust set up, the season pass model just won't look attractive enough to work.

    Since Kotaku did a piece on it a while back, my views of DLC has changed slightly. The main reasoning being due to the explanation of "Day one DLC", in that developers have a lot of "down time" between when a game is completed and when it's been approved, rated, manufactured and published, so they use that down time between projects to crank out some content or work on some features they didn't get to during the initial rush.

    I still believe that a paid marketplace is the way to go. You open up the game enough to where modders can make new content, then sell the results in a marketplace -- the modder and the developer share the profits. With Concrete5 (the CMS I use to build sites), any item I sell on the marketplace nets me 75% profit, and C5 (the group) gets %25. Minimum price is either free, or $15 and over, but for a full-blown theme, Two Factor Auth support or in some cases, a whole social network addon, it's a good price. To combat crappy themes, all items are inspected by a review board, meaning only the best-of-the-best goes onto the marketplace

      Heh, developers do not "have a lot of down time" at ANY point - Any developer that worked that way was shut down in the big collapse of the AAA games industry a few years ago.

      The only sort of Day 1 DLC you could ever hope to see due to down time is stuff like some token cosmetics. Anything else (like extra chapters for a game with a story) is absolutely planned in advance.

      There may be some rare cases where a team expects to finish its first DLC after release, but gets ahead with their entire schedule, and thus it's ready by release. The main reason a publisher would go ahead and release it right away then is that they've usually just done a HUGE spend on marketing at release, and will try to stack all sales around that spend, because that will make way more sense financially than trying to promote the DLC later.

      Good to see someone here talk about the marketplace angle though - It's absolutely where a lot of developers want to take things. Get communities to add the vast amount of content, and let them focus mainly on the core game and experience. The only thing you raised there that is a bit of a fantasy is the review board - In an ideal world there should be one, but the reality is that reviewing stuff is time consuming and thus costly. I think you'll find most developers will adopt a philosophy of letting the open market sort itself out... It's way easier for them to say "It's not official, buy it at your own risk."

    Hmm, while fitting, I would have thought that Last Gen would have been you pay for a mostly finished painting, then you get a day one patch that tidies up those last blocked in areas. People who pre-ordered get the smile, while everyone else has to pay for it as day one DLC. However, the general consensus is that the clothing and hair style kind of suck so everyone complains loudly until Da Vinci comes back and finishes it how people want it to be.

    Really? Chrono trigger had around 12 endings and 5 variations on the first ending, aswell as numerous sidequests including one that let you be one of the main villains from the game, I wouldn't really call that a meaningless extra.

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