Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why are there games with On-Disc/Day 1 DLC?

It seems a lot of journalists are avoiding this question a lot, and they're completely in denial of the truth and refuse to publish it or are afraid. Luckily, I'm not.

It's obvious that the reason companies are releasing Day 1 DLC and On-Disc DLC is because they're greedy and want more money, but it's interesting to know the details of the process for this.

As you may already know if you've read my earlier posts about why games are delayed, a lot of games are finished months before their release date. When this happens there is no way to put anything new on the disc so they release the new content as Day 1 DLC and charge for it instead of including it in the price of the game to actually be fair to consumers. When On-Disc DLC is present, however, it means something else entirely.

DLC has grown to become something that I loathe personally, because there are very few games left that actually have worth-while DLC for them. Making a game and then a month later opening up 3DSMax or Maya for 5 minutes and changing the color of an NPC's shirt and then selling it for $5 is bullshit. What's more bullshit is what Developers and Publishers are doing now.

When a new game is made, there are typically several teams associated with the development of the game. Designers, Coders, Writers, all sorts of people. But, and this is the bullshit part, now there are starting to be dedicated DLC teams that work in tandem with the development team during production of the game to release DLC at the same time the game comes out. The higher ups have started to realize that they can make more money this way by charging $60 for the game and then another $5-$30 for add-on content that is being made at the same time as the game.

While I understand the notion that creating content for a game costs time and money, the reality and fact of the matter is that the DLC being released is extremely shitty and beyond sub-par. Having to pay $20 for a few characters or $5-$10 for different skins is highly overpriced and bordering on gouging. If Bethesda had been working on the DLC packs for Fallout 3 at the same time as the game and released them on Day 1 it wouldn't have been as bad, because those DLC's were actually full of content, though it still would have been stupid because $60 is a lot of money and should include everything.

Another major concern is that Games are now being developed on the so-called "Assumed Intent" standard. What this means is that Game Developers are now using the Day 1 DLC and others to test how far they can go. Companies are deciding to make games more bare-bones and as basic as possible so they can start charging extra money. A prime example of this is Batman: Arkham City where Warner Brothers deleted the entire Catwoman experience from the main game so they could charge extra for it to used game purchasers.

Unfortunately, it's not just Used-Game Buyers that are getting the shaft, as content is being ripped from games entirely to be charged extra for, even on new games. The reason for this is because the landscape of Gaming is changing and companies are realizing the potential profit that can be made in DLC and other Online Services thanks to EA and Activision.

Just as I stated before, companies are getting bolder and bolder, using things like Day 1 DLC and On-Disc DLC that is locked away to test how consumers react to it so they know how far they can push the line in the name of profits. Gamers need to wake the fuck up and realize that the industry is going down the toilet because of Greed. Things are not going to change until us Gamers change and fight back against the corporations.

30 comments:

  1. Ah, another wonderful enlightening post. I am glad that you made a post about the evolving nature of DLC as it recently became a very hot topic because of Capcom's questionable DLC practices.

    Please continue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words and I will continue informing people for quite awhile longer.

      Delete
  2. So I read your articlle, and wanted to make a quick comment. I see your point, and I agree with you on the forcast of how companies treat the dlc. However, I am not going to blame the corporations, and I dont always have a problem with companies like EA and Activision charging me bukoos for dlc. Why? beacus at the end of the day I choose to buy or not to buy. Ive been a gamer for 20 years, and if you could have told me in highschool that goldeneye was getting dlc for the mp i would have put twice what the game was worth down for it. Stupid? maybe? but i loved that game and felt it was worth it. I am excited about the bf3 dlc and how they plan to do it because it extends the life of my game. Where i do agree with you is the price gouging by companies like capcom.but here is how u fix it. Dont buy the product if you dont like it. example i bought street fighter for 60. then i saw how capcom wanted to charge me for ever skin, every costume every color etc. I looked at the pricing model, and divided it by how much time i played the game, it didnt make sense so i didnt purchase the dlc. round 2 street fighter x tekken, I would have loved this game, but I saw what capcom had done last time, and they lost my sale bc of the first go around. Now I watch them closely before i buy games from them. Given both options id rather have the choice of capitalism, then have no choice at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your way of thinking is fine in theory, but you're not understanding the real picture. People don't just "not buy it" like you think, because people ARE buying it, and they're only going to get bolder in their moves.

      Soon, you won't HAVE the choice of not buying it, because if you want to even play the game AT ALL you'll have to buy it new. You can't play a used PC game with a serial key unless you pirate, and that is where console games are headed.

      It takes more than just thinking to stop companies from being like this, it takes active people to stand up and protest. Capitalism may be nice in theory, but it fails in reality. Human Greed will always prevail.

      Delete
    2. "It takes more than just thinking to stop companies from being like this, it takes active people to stand up and protest. Capitalism may be nice in theory, but it fails in reality. Human Greed will always prevail."

      For a blog that claims to only tell the truth, you have some very feeble reasoning on capitalism failing in reality. The videogame marketplace is only a drop in the sea of the economy at large.

      Delete
    3. I'm not going to debate SocioEconomics with you friend, because that is not what this blog is about.

      The Video Game market is no different than any other market, Greed is Greed and companies exploit consumers for profit everywhere, but this blog is about telling consumers how the Game Industry is because I have been IN the Game Industry for over 10 years and it's what I do and what I love.

      Delete
    4. "I am excited about the bf3 dlc and how they plan to do it because it extends the life of my game."

      The thing is, games are now being made with DLC in mind, it's not something that came with the game's success, like expansions or add-ons. The life of your game is not really being "extended", because it was shortened to begin with.

      Delete
    5. Exactly, your gamr being "extended" is only an illusion. Now in the case of BW3 it is being extended because this is coming months later and the game came full of content and most can agree it was worth every penny but MOST games cant make that claim. Me having to pay for Mass Effects from Ashes DLC was bullshit because it should have been included. That only added about an hour of gameplay while all the DLC for Fallout and the big expansions for Oblivion were DLCs that were fair to the consumer.

      Delete
    6. What's a better system? Communism? Where game industries wouldn't exist.

      Delete
  3. @MadModMike

    Great, honest articles. Keep writing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @MadModMike

    Enjoying your articles, and would be interested in your views on crowd sourced gaming, like kickstarter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will write an article about that in the near future, I will give my opinion and some facts on its affect of the Game Industry.

      Delete
  5. Hey!

    Ok, so I partially agree. We can't ignore the facts, and those are:
    -DLC is a growing tendency.
    -Some DLC packs are very very bad, and extremely overpriced (Mass Effect, Final Fantasy XIII-2 as examples).
    -Other DLC packs are very very good, full of great content and hours of new gameplay (Elder Scrolls series as an example).
    -Another fact: is that you're on the internet, broadcasting to a huge group of people: gamers. These aren't "sheeple" who need your truth to snap out of their otherwise mundane and blind lives thanks to your blog. Every single one of them think, act, and any one of them is capable of logical thought (CoD players are partially excluded by that clause - sorry kids).

    The fact is, you are stating the obvious: Companies are trying to milk gamers dry for all the money we have. My question is: are you seriously surprised by this? Is this a new trend: companies trying to get rich by selling people products they barely need/want?

    Some companies will sell us good products. Other companies will sell us crappy products. Anyone who buys one of these crappy products once will have been conned - partially through lack of research on their part. Anyone who buys these bad products twice, are really the same people who enter negotiations with Nigerian princes on a frequent basis, and probably deserve what they get.

    You say: "Gamers need to wake the fuck up and realize that the industry is going down the toilet because of Greed.". I think that most gamers already realise this. Any gamer left who is stupid enough to pay money for DLC which is obviously a waste of money? Those people either have an abundance of money, or an abundance or stupidity. Either way, more power to them.

    I guess that what I'm trying to say is: your blog (this post and the previous posts) is pretty much announcing to the world a very obvious problem, and offering absolutely no solution. One word review: Redundant.

    Then again, if people are as capable of logical thought as I hope they are: so was this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will address your post in a few points to show you your flaws.

      1) You want to try and pump-up the average Consumer by saying they can think and act themselves, amd than you say to "exclude COD lovers" from the "data" you have. Firstly, that is the exact problem my friend. People being blindly loyal to a company for no reason other than they they made a few sequels to a game and changed some costumes.

      People will defend the companies that make the games they love, and beyond that are incapable of actually thinking that their beloved Gaming Company can't do anything wrong.

      You said "Companies are trying to milk gamers dry for all the money we have. My question is: are you seriously surprised by this? Is this a new trend: companies trying to get rich by selling people products they barely need/want?" - If you care to read the articles, you'd notice that I said not everything is a secret of enormous shocking's, it's about telling people the little details about how the Game Industry works.

      The fact that you're stuck on your self-righteous path of "I already knew everything because I'm so smart" routine is getting old and quit retarded, even for you. Trying to act like you're a big bad boy means nothing to me. I'm on the Front Lines, you're not. I'm in the Board Rooms, you're not.
      If you think my blog posts are too "obvious" for your "insanely high IQ" than simply quit posting, because there are plenty of people who actually WANT to learn rather than pretend they're awesome to stroke their E-Penis; or E-Vagina in your case.

      If you don't like reading the truth, than so be it, but there are honest, hard working People here who need proper guidance from a Real Game Industry Player to help them understand the truth behind these Greedy companies who need to be exposed for destroying company in the name of profits.

      Delete
  6. I only have one question. 10 to 20 years ago, do the companies really solely focusing on making money like nowadays? or they really care whether their games are good or not? Thanks for the article btw, its just what i've been searching for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been in the industry for quite that long, but I do remember what it was like when I started in the 90's. The best word I could use to describe it is relaxed. At that time, companies didn't look at Video Games as a Commodity, they merely looked at it as an extra or a hobby.

      When Gaming became even more popular after the PS2 and XBOX, they started to realize that it was a mainstream thing and wasn't going away anytime soon. After the profits started pouring in, they started to run the companies like a grocery store, where they figured Gaming was a necessity for a lot of people and that they'd buy Games no matter what.

      Development Teams suffered as they overworked us, didn't pay us for overtime but expected us to work it, etc.

      Delete
  7. Great article & a nice debate there.. If you can call that a debate that is!
    Actually that debate showed where a portion of the problem lies. People rarely like to act.. Just sitting around in their soft, comfy, revolving chairs expecting "sheeple" to wake up because they think they themselves are capable of logical thought.

    This is what the greedy conglomerates realize & exploit. They know that the "people community" behaves like a herd, a little push n they go where u want. Now I'm not challenging individual brilliance here, its this shepherding (ironic, isn't it - read ME series) which drastically reduces our decision making capabilities & people tend to flock in (yes even those capable of making a good judgement)!

    So if every1 who's aware of what's going on turns a blind eye, assumes "people will wake up, People are waking up" & doesn't give a damn what's happening outside of their own head, this external force (greed) will only get heavier & before we finally get our act together it'll be too late, heck its already getting late!

    Ignoring a specific segment/genre of gaming won't solve the problems we are facing now, using COD franchise activision has already showed us how shepherding works & they prove it every year while we just play the blame game.. Blame the pc gamers, blame the console kids.. We need to realize we all are gamers no matter the platform & support efforts like this blog if we are to make the companies acknowledge our intellect not as a single individual but a collective whole.. Make 'em understand that the customer always comes first!
    Cheers MadModMike..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speedy, I agree! One word:

      How?

      Delete
  8. MMM, you have a great, 'food for thought' article and you bring up some good points, but I have to retort that DLC is here to stay, and in addition, DLC is cheaper than the previous model: expansion packs. Having an on-the-shelf expansion costs more.

    As for skin-packs (especially in fighting games), they do not need to have them in order to enjoy the game or experience the game in full. Don't buy them. Companies charge you for them because people are willing to pay for them. We as gamers saw this start (I think) when you could buy clothing for your avatars in XBox Live. People who thought they were worth it, paid for it. Those who didn't, opted out.

    That being said, I hate character packs, but at the same time character packs are still better than having a separate game. Remember SF4 and SSF4. Ridiculous.

    In conclusion, as a consumer you always get to have the last word and in the internet-age, it does not take long to find out if something is worth your money or not. If a game comes out, and there is not enough content to be worth $60.00, odds are sales of that product is not going to do well, regardless of the DLC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) DLC may be cheaper than Retail-Disc ones, but it also severely lacks the amount of content that an Expansion Pack has. That is not a win in my book.

      2) You're saying the exact things that I am saying are the problem. Saying that they're "optional" and "not needed" is exactly the problem, because people ARE buying it, a lot of them. If you have read my other articles you know what the bigwigs are trying to do.

      3) Capcom is run horribly, and the fact that they release an updated game as a sequel just further solidifies their new position at the bottom of Gaming.

      4) You won't be having the last word if everybody keeps buying and supporting companies. Whether you like the Online Pass or not, if you buy their new game with it you're still showing your support.

      Whether the game is "worth" $60 is irrelevant, because people buy without regard to the truth. People don't see things as a problem now because it still is mostly Optional, but it WON'T BE OPTIONAL FOREVER.

      Delete
    2. A fool and his money are soon parted.

      Perhaps we have a different line of thinking when we're purchasing games. I haven't pre-ordered a game since Diablo 2 and haven't done so because I can't rely on pre-release advertising/reporting. Too many games have been propped up, and when released, have been a total let down. As such, I read reviews, listen to testimonials / friends, demo the product, etc. before I buy a new game. If I'm buying a used game, I may do less research or gamble if you will, because typically I'm spending a third of the price. The same goes for DLC. I heard that the Catwoman DLC of Arkham City is not worth the $10. I did not buy it. I hardly come under the 'buy without regard to the truth' category. I find out the truth, and then I lay my money down.

      As for the optional content, I believe (read: my opinion) that if nobody bought them, bigwigs would tell their underlings, "Don't make additional skins, we don't make any money from them. It is a waste of development time."

      Unfortunately I haven't read your other articles on the matter, but you have to remember that companies are out the make money. But as a consumer, you are right in that you don't have to support this. Don't buy it. I cannot imagine a day where Super Street Fighter 8 is released at $60 at the store, and when you put it into your console of choice, it tells you you HAVE to pay $25, random figure of course, for DLC or you cannot play the game at all.

      This is probably an extreme case to which you are referring to. So with that being said, what type of paid-content do you believe will not be optional in the future? In addition, what is your idea of an appropriate price point for DLC for games like GTA where the Ballad of Gay Tony sold for $20? Or perhaps you are alluding to a day where there will be no DLC and it will all be on the disk, but games will cost more money. I'd like to hear your thoughts / clarification.

      Delete
    3. I'm going to operate under the assumption that you are being completely serious about wanting to discuss this maturely, as I would be greatly interested in that.

      I completely agree that the higher-ups run video game companies like a strict company, designed to make a profit and nothing more, but the down-side now is that they're getting TOO greedy and quality of games are suffering becaues of it.

      As far as my opinion on what will go from Optional to Required, I have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen.

      1) If you look at Batman: Arkham City for example, they took out the entire Catwoman experience. Now, whether that experience was good or not is irrelevant, because whether something is good or not is subjective to each person, so I cannot comment on that. What it does mean is that they've already started stripping content out and requiring you pay more for it.

      I believe that is where gaming is headed. Let me give you an example:

      A new game is coming out (just a fake game and name for the purposes of this post) called "Adventures of Sam" - It sounds awesome. The price is $60 to buy the retail disc. You get the game and you come home and pop it into your system. You start a new Single Player game and you enjoy playing it for a few hours. When you get a few hours in, you get to a cross-roads in the game where you have the choice of choosing to take the Left Path or the Right Path.

      The Left Path takes you about 5 minutes to get through and moves you onto the next part of the game. The Right Path takes you about 2 hours to complete, adding in a lot more story and new plot points and tons of new gameplay. The catch is that if you want to take the Right Path, you have to pay $10 on Xbox LIVE or PSN to be able to do it, even though you just bought the game for $60 BRAND NEW.

      That is where I think things are going to head because of the Greed of the industry.

      2) As far as price points go for DLC, it all depends on the amount of content. If the content being released is things like new costumes for NPC's or Characters, than it should be about $0.50 for each outfit. If the content is new Multiplayer Maps/Arenas, than it should be about $1.00 for each map, because those take a bit more effort than the outfits. Same goes for guns and skins, those should be $0.50 each because of the small development time needed.

      As far as Expansion Pack-type DLC's like Fallout 3 add-ons or GTA IV add-on's, I have a simple formula that I go by: For every 1-Hour of gameplay the price should be $2.50. So, for example, if the DLC lasts roughly 5 hours than it should cost $12.50 roughly.

      I don't think all add-on's will be on-disc, simply due to the recent bad press Capcom has gotten. I think Gaming companies are realizing they can't do that, but I do think that the Next-Gen games will likely be $69.99 even though that price is outragous, I think they'll try and push their luck with it.

      Delete
    4. Speaking of games costing $69.99, what do you think of that Skylanders game? Me and my nephews and nieces enjoy the game. However, I can't help but feel this game is too expensive, too repetitive, and gimmicky. The portal tech involved in this game is unique for the kids, but still, it's not necessary and doesn't improve the game experience.

      Obviously, Spyro is used as a marketing tool, but Ted Price doesn't think so. He said in an interview, "I’m really happy for the franchise, because – when we walked away from it years ago – I was disheartened by the follow-ups to the games we had made. And now, to see it back with a fairly innovative concept is really rewarding for those of us who were on the first three Spyros."

      What do you think of this unnecessary gimmick of 3D and NFC? Will this start a bad trend in kids games? Personally, I hope not.

      Delete
    5. I think the concept of Skylanders is nice, but I know that the intentions behind it were to simply gouge money from people. Each character is basically a DLC that you pay for. While I applaud the dynamics of the concept, the motives behind it are horrible.

      I really hope things like this don't take off, but if it does I have a feeling it will be the next DDR or Guitar Hero fad/gimmick.

      Delete
  9. Yes, definitely wanting to discuss this maturely, and as far as I can tell, we are :D

    For the most part though, I think our discussion is over in that we are going to have to agree to disagree, however I will sum it up with this:

    I myself have not bought a single DLC for either Live or PSN, but have still enjoyed many games. But if DLC were priced closer to your model, I probably would have tried, at least, some of them.

    Keep on Gaming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair enough. Sometimes two people cannot agree on something and have differing opinions, and that is something that is totally fine and acceptable.

      Let's just continue hoping that more great games will be released that we will enjoy to play. :)

      Delete
  10. Getting on ont his late, I willa gree (as an aspring game designer) I will agree that modern day DLC is indeed a terrible thing. Infact around 2006 I was stating that this will happen long before gaming hit mainstream. There is an article that EA posted years ago that they were getting upset that people were beating their games.

    They felt it was making them loose money and thus said it would be fair that people had to pay to beat a game. The company I am hoping to start will change alot of thing by providing a business model showing more profit is attain through customer loyatly and work place ethics. Keep posting also maybe some time you can email me with help on how to jumpstart into the industry.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mike,
    I've only just started reading your blog and this is my second post in one day. I'd like to say kudos on all of the articles I've read so far and this one is no exception. I replied in your last post with a theory that I have about this DLC craze, which has really only become the necessity and craze that it is in the last 2 or MAYBE 3 years. Before it was primarily disposable skins and weapons or neat little toys and tricks that one could take or leave. Now, as you've stated, it has gotten to a point where a significant amount of the gameplay experience is left out of the certified gold disc or included but locked out, and I think this is an industry experiment into how much we'll spend on F2P games and all of their add-ons. I don't play many iOS game because I find the controls and experience to be unbearably inferior, but before I purchase ANY, I immediately check the little list underneath the game specs on the App Store and see what they'll try and encourage me to purchase every time I pause the game.

    I know how much you despise EA/Activision and I agree with you mostly. After last fall, I've given up on CoD and Battlefield and in fact gave away my copies, didn't even sell them. To be a complete hypocrite, I but my first Madden game since 1996 last week because of a recent rediscovery of the joy of football, and I'm loving it. But as soon as publishers make me choose 1 team and purchase every other team for 5 dollars, I'm going to stop putting my money down.

    Ultimately Mike, I'd rather pay my money and know exactly what to expect. Is that too much to ask?

    Also, side note - like I said I really enjoy your opinions and you're obviously intelligent. I don't want to be rude, just to make a suggestion. When these idiot trollers (who you see on every other site/blog) start saying aggressive, hateful, or just completely stupid things, I'd really like to see you out-grammar and out-"speak" them. Judging by the eloquence of your articles that isn't a problem, I just think that more than anything, I don't want you to let the naysayers get under your skin.

    Gamespot/IGN ID - TheAmazingYeah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make some great points sir and honestly having more intelligent conversations with people like you can only make things better going forward for this blog.

      I completely agree with you in regards to purchasing a game and wanting the entire experience to actually be there since they're getting so much money. It's crazy to think that something like this is actually happening when we all know that if this sort of thing tried to happen 10+ years ago it would have been laughed off the block.

      I hope you continue to read and comment on my blog and it would be great to have eloquent discussions with you again.

      Delete