What Not to Do When Releasing Downloadable Content

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Old 02-17-2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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What Not to Do When Releasing Downloadable Content

On the current-generation consoles, it seems as if each new release comes with the promise of future downloadable content (DLC). With so many games embracing the idea of DLC, some potential pitfalls are becoming apparent. Allowing these problems with DLC to continue could turn the potentially excellent idea of add-ons for games into a terrible example of how some companies are trying to squeeze consumers for as much money as possible.

As many people are aware, there are two kinds of downloadable content: free and premium (see: costs money). Obviously, there are also many potential problems with downloadable content, including unreasonably high prices for DLC and having to pay for content that is already on the retail disc. Because of these problems, there are a few basic rules that developers should follow when releasing downloadable content.

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Old 02-17-2009, 12:20 PM   #2
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Although this might not be able to be applied to sports games, the best example of DLC is Rock Band/RB2. Every week they release a minimum of 3 songs, sometimes even going up to an album plus a song pack. This has led to around 600 songs since the release of RB1 back in November of 07. They release a wide variety of choices so everyone gets what they want, and every song costs $2, which is definitely worth it for four instruments and four difficulties, not to mention multiplayer possibilities, which leads to 128 ways to play a single song. For a long song like Constant Motion, that's hours and hours of replay value. And that's only a maximum of a third of a single week's content.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:01 PM   #3
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Skate 2 is a great example of a ripoff. EA released the game with a basic (read stripped) replay editor and shortly after the release they "gave" us the Filmer pack. 7.50 for something that clearly should've been included with the game. And from what I hear the original skate.'s editor is still better than what the Filmer pack offers.

More and more developers seem to use DLC as an excuse to release an incomplete game and make easy money while not doing their job properly.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:21 PM   #4
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I also like what Rockstar is doing with GTA IV. The downloadable content that comes out today is a whole new story with a new character, plus new vehicles, etc...

So far, RockBand, Guitar Hero, Burnout Paradise & GTA IV seem to have the best models in place for downloadable content. They all add to the game, in some cases changing the game in a truly value added way. I hope more developers follow their lead.

I'd love to hear some ideas for worthwhile downloadable content in sports games. Any ideas there? I don't think throwback jerseys or alternate unis are worthwhile... those should be included in the game already. Make them unlockables if anything, but I refuse to pay extra for them.
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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Some ideas for sports games...

1) Classic Rosters (obvious issue with licensing, but well you could leave them as like Chicago Bulls SG #23 and have us edit from there, works better with content sharing).

2) I would like a wider array of alternate uniforms. I remember when 2k basically had every uniform the teams had ever worn in the game. I get this would cost money to do, but I would gladly pay a little for it.

3) Remember when the NCAA Football series had the Classic Moments to replay to unlock teams. Put this feature back in and then release more games over time, even releasing current moments from the season would work well in this mode.

4) FCS Football teams for NCAA Football - If you just don't want to give us these teams, give us the option to buy them to include in our game.
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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You can also add don't make promises than you won't keep as in 2K Sports not delivering DLC materials in MLB 2K8 and Top Spin 3.
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:34 PM   #7
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I hate it when content is on the disc and then a tiny download is needed to unlock it later. If it's on the disc the person who purchased it should own it and have unlimited access to it. Only content created after the retail game goes gold should be downloadable, otherwise it's just holding content out of the game.
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Old 02-17-2009, 04:04 PM   #8
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Good article but while you were making the case for the consumer you also made a case for the developer charging for DLC with this statement :

"what happened to the days when consumers would rent a game and type in a cheat code so that they could enjoy the game to its fullest, without having to put in hours of effort?"

The problem is the developer is not making money by the consumer renting the game and putting in cheat codes to enjoy the game to the fullest. They want us to buy the game not rent it and see everything. Renting is only good for them if is causes us to purchase the game, not see everything with a cheat code. This way they can make money off the renters as well

Last edited by vegaas; 02-17-2009 at 04:07 PM.
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