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Default Rampant Games - Traditional Game Expansions vs DLC

December 3rd, 2010, 23:49
Jay Barnson wades in on the thorny topic of DLC vs traditional expansions:
Then at one point (probably about 0.5 seconds after they decided to create an expansion in the first place), they hit upon the idea of re-releasing the game bundled with all of its expansions. Sometimes they might even throw in an extra new bonus or two, like a band’s “Best Of” album, for the gold / platinum / collector’s edition. New players, after hearing praise for the game for months (or years), could jump in on the bundle deal, and even some veteran players would re-purchase the game with all updates and patches pre-applied, and all the expansions in place.
That era’s not gone by a longshot, but the advent of downloadable content (DLC) sure has changed things a bit. Although DLC often still gets bundled up into a single expansion or deluxe edition (which I hope to see happen with Fallout: New Vegas on the PC), it does seem that the expansion concept has been cranked up to eleven. I have nothing against the theory, but I have found myself taking exception with the particulars that seem common.
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December 3rd, 2010, 23:49
It all comes down to one word GREED !!! Most DLC isnt great and for the price its a complete joke , this new trend is for the consoles . Just make an expantion eight months after release or just make a version with all of its content . Instead they make the game then release little bits of DLC then they bundle dlc then they release GOTY . give me a break .
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December 4th, 2010, 00:59
I have been against dlc ever since the xbox made it commonplace.I have no problem paying for it another 2hrs or longer added.Most dlc offered today is not worth the cost.Alas as some on this site have said they love buying and supporting it.In the end if the content had nothing to do with the main game of was intentional cut you dont have to buy it.Show you don't support content that's not worth the cost as some here say its worth entertainment value like a movie.

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December 4th, 2010, 17:47
I think part of what we're seeing right now is the expense of creating new content. One little DLC micro-expansion is almost as expensive as an entire expansion might have been 10 - 15 years ago. The cost of making games has skyrocketed, and is now an order of magnitude more than it was back then.

So… they create 1/10th the content of an old-school expansion, sell it for 1/3rd the price, and hope they can sell it to 3x more customers than they used to sell full-fledged expansions for, maybe?

I dunno. But I think that may be part of the explanation.
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December 4th, 2010, 22:10
If you notice most of the games that release the little clips of DLC are Triple A titles like Capcom , Ubisoft , Bioware/EA , Bethsada ,2K, these are multi million dollar companies that usually recycle a lot of the content they call EXTRA !!! And then there is the subject of content being cut from the game and sold 2 weeks latter as downloadable.Microsoft the kings of greed require there developers to charge for there DLC no matter how small even when they want to give it free. Now Bethsada is pumping out exclusive DLC for XBOX , how can that be healthy for customers that supported there product. One word GREED.
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December 7th, 2010, 01:34
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
I think part of what we're seeing right now is the expense of creating new content. One little DLC micro-expansion is almost as expensive as an entire expansion might have been 10 - 15 years ago. The cost of making games has skyrocketed, and is now an order of magnitude more than it was back then.

So… they create 1/10th the content of an old-school expansion, sell it for 1/3rd the price, and hope they can sell it to 3x more customers than they used to sell full-fledged expansions for, maybe?

I dunno. But I think that may be part of the explanation.
I think you're right that there are a number of factors, and I can't argue that games seem to cost more to make these days. However I think the biggest cause of the low quality and quantity in DLC stems from the demand side and not the supply side at all. Devs can make all the excuses under the sun, but that won't convince people to buy what they're not willing to pay for. But far from not being willing, the market has embraced the DLC.

Your exhortations to DLC providers to not overdo it and have better deals and offer bonuses and bundles; these suggestions would all make more sense if devs were sitting around scratching their heads wondering why their DLC isn't selling. But of course it is. So why should they give more when people are willing to pay for less? That's just not how the world works.

It's pointless to assign blame in a situation like this, but I'll do it anyway: It's all the market's fault. People are willing to pay for anything, whether it offers value or not, and that means the devs who put in the barest minimum to DLC are going to be able to produce more and earn greater profits than those who give gamers a better value. That's all there is to it; devs are confronted with the choice between being more profitable or less.

So of course I salute any company that's still giving bang for the buck, and I salute those who are making expansions instead of nickel diming with DLC. But I don't blame those devs who aren't. I blame the (EDIT: nice folks) who paid for that horse armor. It really is all their fault.
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December 8th, 2010, 03:07
I do not disagree with you in the least, Yeesh. I'm an unapologetic pro-free-market capitalist pig-dog myself. That's part of why I love the indies so much. Stick it to the gatekeepers - go straight to the customers!

But my suggestion here is that the devs and publishers are optimizing to a local maximum here - throwing away potential dollars to chase after pennies. If I had been one of those "nice folks" who paid for the horse armor, there's a good chance that at the end of the day I'd feel like… some other part of the horse. And not feel too inclined to buy DLC from Bethesda ever again.

Maybe that's not the case, and I could very well be wrong about this. After all, I am a cheapskate.

But it's quite possible that the guys who err on the side of providing more value to the consumer - and fix some of the perceived problems with DLC - will be the ones the market rewards the most in the end. If so, it's likely that, over time, that's how things will migrate.

I'd just love to see that process accelerated.
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December 8th, 2010, 12:31
I think the problem is more related to the view a lot of companies have these days. When I make a game it is like art…. and I take pride in it. If I sold a horse armour for $5 I would be ashamed to rip-off my lovely customers.

Games have moved from a labour of love to mass market money makers.

I also think the entire idea of DLC is really hard… how do you sell something to extend a complete game? and you know that not everyone is going to buy it… so it can't be too important to the story… and it should be possible to play it after you already played through the original game.. yet it can't be as extensive as an add-on……

Episodic content on the other hand… that is something I believe much more in… but it won't work for an open world RPG for example.
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December 8th, 2010, 12:43
Its easier to sell bad content when you divide it to small pieces. Players cant be bothered to find out which ones of all the different dlcs for single game are good and what are not.

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December 8th, 2010, 22:01
Good point. So they take all the things that were deemed not worthwhile to finish for the original release, and package them up as separate add-ons, each one hyped to the max. I am not fooled…
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