Thursday, April 10, 2008

Downloadable Content Comment

Comment excerpted from a discussion on SVGL of the downloadable content for EA's upcoming Battlefield: Bad Company.

Personally although I support DLC wholeheartedly when it comes to Rock Band and other full price games that come out with expansion items after the fact for additional price, I think publishers have to be very careful to avoid the implication that they're deliberately holding back content in order to charge more for it later.

Keep in mind games like Armageddon Empires and Sins of a Solar Empire use free expansions to help de-incentivize piracy, while other games may release at a different price point and sell additional content. The pricing model for games is in flux right now, and some game publishers seem (in the eyes of this audience, at least) to be pushing the envelope as far as it will stretch. What happens down the road, when we try to transfer DLC to our XBOX 720 or PS4? Ultimately a lot is still up in the air. Community reaction, although it won't determine the success of games like Bad Company, may help to inform publishers if their game doesn't do as well as expected.

Competitive multiplayer games are especially sensitive to balance issues, and this DLC seems to create one. DLC for slightly different models of the same gun wouldn't matter in the least, as long as it's just 'bling,' but when it has any impact on the multiplayer community it has impact on the game people bought.

Finally I'd like to point out I'm a little hurt by the 'My Life as a King' DLC - basically I went from a day one adopter to a 'wait for the review' purchaser. Paying for additional races and buildings - at this point, having no idea whether this will impact gameplay or not, I don't want to take a chance. When pricing strategies increase audience uncertainty this way they damage the sale of a product. Of course, MLK was guaranteed such a huge success at launch IMO perhaps they added the question mark in order to decrease the load on their servers...

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