Thursday, October 7, 2010

Extra Credits on Day 1 DLC

A short post today commenting on the recent episode of Extra Credits and their discussion of Day 1 DLC.  While I've found the series quite good, I must say that I feel they missed the mark horribly with this discussion. Some of their suggestions for improving or removing Day 1 DLC, selling more games and making gamers happier:

Reducing the cost of games
This doesn't work. If it worked, then people would be buying new games in the US. What do I mean? I like in Australia. We pay typically $90-100 for a new game. This might drop to $80 after the game has been out for 6-12 months.  For anyone complaining about paying $60 or $50 for a brand new game... I am afraid to say that people living in America have virtually no right to complain about games being too expensive.

Recently Fallout: New Vegas was available for pre-order on Steam for $49.95. After a while, someone realised that this price was not the "norm" for Australia, and immediately increased the price to $89.95. This is game being digitally distributed. One that does not cost the publishers any more to have transferred to prospective buyers in Australia compared to anywhere else in the world, and they are being paid directly in USD, so why should Australians have to pay a $40 premium for exactly the same product that everyone else is getting. This is a disgusting practice. I'd like to support Obsidian, but I cannot stomach being ripped off in this fashion by those in charge of setting the price.

Selling multiplayer separately
Now, this is actually something I'd be happy with.  This could potentially be a nightmare in terms of technical implementation, but I'd actually be content with it.  Of course, it does raise the question of what a title does when it is entirely a single player experience.  Hrm, guess it has to be full price again... And if players then can pay $30 for a multiplayer title or $60 for a single player only title, then I imagine single player titles would become even harder for developers to justify to publishers.

Including content on the disc

Now, this might not be the case with all Day 1 DLC, but sometimes it's not on the disc because it wasn't ready by the time the game went gold. It wasn't available to be put on the disc when the master copy was being made. I imagine it also wouldn't happen on PC, because the potential for piracy of DLC would be too high for a publisher to be happy about it. And I'd probably say that's a fair call.

But, I'm sure people disagree with me in my comments here, so I guess everyone has different tastes and opinions.


  1. Well we know for a fact that Bioware Day 1 DLC is finished between gone gold and release. That sort of DLC really is an unambiguous benefit to us as consumers.

    Other than that, you really just have to judge for yourself whether the retail package is a good deal. I'm sure most publishers will want to continue down the path of having an account relationship with the consumer, and DLC helps that.

  2. About the cost of games, I agree games here in the US are dirt cheap. You can pretty much buy any new game that is coming out for $40 - almost every retailer offers a $20 credit (future video games or straight-up gift card)
    Publishers have to wake up to the fact that there are other countries where people play games too and prices should be fixed country-wise. In India, for example, many games except for the most popular ones are imported and the price is fixed at Rs. 3000 (maybe more now since I haven't bought a game there in abt 4 yrs now) which can be anywhere from 5-10% of the average monthly salary of an IT guy - which, in general, is more than most other professions.

    Also, referring to piracy as one of the reasons when talking about DRMs, DLCs, etc is not really relevant. Ubisoft's draconian DRM was broken in 1 day and one of the links for Awakening had the Silverite Mines bug fix included in the release. In fact, I think Civ 5 had an unofficial 'early' release too!
    The truth is - publishers have no clue how to combat piracy and cite that as a reason for many of their stupid moves.

  3. I live in Norway and I can definitely sympathize with the pricing, I remember when I had to pay ~$128 for a N64 game. The PS3 is region free so I've bought almost every single PS3 game I own from an online Canadian site. I've probably saved hundreds of dollars by doing that (I save about $40 per game).

    Though, I can't say I've noticed any higher prices on Steam except the $=E pricing. I would probably have refrained from buying the game altogether if that happened. Fallout: New Vegas is still $68 on my steam store page.

    I honestly don't see the problem with EA's approach. I agree with them that original purchasers should be rewarded.