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Are Game Consoles Ruining DLC? 399

Posted by Soulskill
from the download-the-rest-of-this-summary-for-five-bucks dept.
A round-table discussion at Gametopius looks into the state of downloadable content for games as it has evolved over the past several years, going from an occasional, welcome supplement to being a common marketing strategy for most of the industry, frequently causing irritation over pricing and availability. "All of the map packs so far released for the Call of Duty games have been $10 each to download on consoles through closed networks, while PC gamers could download those same packs for free off of FileShack or somewhere else. Valve's own Team Fortress 2 has received a significant amount of DLC that's been completely free on the PC. Xbox owners of the same game, however, have only received perhaps half of that content, and they have had to pay for it in $5 packs. Why is this? The idea of this kind of content delivery was scarcely heard of on consoles, so console gamers see no reason not to pay for it. But on the PC, these amounts of content are usually just considered parts of patches. Furthermore, why pay for a few extra maps and costumes when modders are making and offering new ones for free all the time?"
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Are Game Consoles Ruining DLC?

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  • by blackraven14250 (902843) * on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:21PM (#29084553)
    I'd attribute this to a difference in intended audiences between consoles and the PC. Consoles tend to go for the lowest common denominator, whereas PCs have this remarkable ability to get everyone on board for something or other. Consoles have a proprietary system for publishing games, whereas with PCs you can go the normal route of publishing hard copies, or a paid digital distribution, or a free one. Consoles can only connect to one service, that of the console maker's choosing. PCs can do anything you can really imagine doing with electronics. Console users pay for a console, pay for each game, and have this "drop in the DVD and play" interface, whereas on a computer you have a much more complex, full featured one. Consoles are largely locked into what they are when they're produced; PC's are ever-changing, expandable, upgradeable, extensible, versatile machines. Consoles are a toy; PCs are a tool. Is it really a surprise that consoles pay for shit that PC users don't?
    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:45PM (#29084753)

      Also TF2 on the PC is delivered by Valve itself through Steam, but on the xbox it's delivered through Microsoft. On the PC you downloaded the whole game in the first place and by running Steam you expect to automatically receive updates, but on the xbox you only buy a disk, and Microsoft can say "if you want extras you have to pay".

      I don't even understand why people would buy TF2 on a console anyway. Updates are such a mess compared with Steam (and you have to pay extra), you have to play on a controller (useless for first-person shooters), and the community is small. Also you can't use the huge base of custom maps and skins and custom sounds and custom models that the community has built. And you play in some pathetic TV resolution, subpar even in HD. I don't have any sympathy.

      • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:24PM (#29085521) Journal

        I own an Xbox 360 and a PC (obviously). If I can get a game on the PC I will choose that over the console usually. Stuff like TF2, L4D etc... I fail to see the point of them on the consoles. FPS games on a console are a big bag of fail IMO. Only people who defend them in my experience are ones who haven't spent years using the superior mouse/keyboard combination.

        For the DLC, I believe Microsoft FORCE Valve to charge. Gabe (who looks more like Peter from Family Guy by the day) has said that they want to give it away, but MS won't let them. Not sure how much truth there is in that given Valve have recently turned to the dark side and taken this DLC to its natural conclusion and are releasing what should be DLC for Left 4 Dead as a full title.

        The games I have on my Xbox are ones you can't GET on the PC, or ones that work best with a gamepad. Like Burnout Paradise. The PC version is out, but I'd much rather sit on my couch and play on my HDTV with my kids than sit at my desk and play it.

        Though the situation with DLC is getting crazy. Two recent examples:

        EA had DLC for Madden on release day! I bought Madden on Friday. (First time I've ever bought a Madden title within two years of its release.) Pop the disk in to discover there is already paid content to download. It amounts to super scouts for franchise mode and the ability to unretire players etc... And play as any player you'd like in Superstar mode... But again, release day and after slapping down $70 for the game EA go "Give us a little more."

        Worse still is that it's already been announced what the first paid DLC will be for Beatles Rock Band. Game isn't even OUT yet and they've already basically said "You're getting an incomplete game and will have to pay again."

        The whole DLC thing really annoys me. If it's something really does add to the game, like Big Surf Island for Burnout Paradise, then fine. (I bought the game used, so even with that the game still only cost me about $20). But announcing stuff you're going to have to pay for before the game is even released?! That is just despicable. But then I guess at least you have warning and can say "I'm not going to buy that." (Like anybody will actually do that.)

        Companies now realise that instead of a full expansion for, say, $20, they can now put it out in chunks and make twice that.

        The problem with DLC is it's a GREAT idea, but greed has, like with so many other things in life, ruined it.

        • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:49PM (#29085725) Journal

          For the DLC, I believe Microsoft FORCE Valve to charge. Gabe (who looks more like Peter from Family Guy by the day) has said that they want to give it away, but MS won't let them. Not sure how much truth there is in that given Valve have recently turned to the dark side and taken this DLC to its natural conclusion and are releasing what should be DLC for Left 4 Dead as a full title.

          That's debateable. New engine, new art, new campaigns, new voice actors, vastly expanded team working on it. Most people arguing against L4D2 seem to be arguing because it's "too soon". It's like you guys would be happier if it were released in 2012, rather than 2009. And the irony is, the release date won't affect anything, because L4D updates are still going to come out as slow as they have been. It'll just give some extra content before the release, giving the perception that they kept their word.

          Nah...no thanks. If they can churn out a quality sequel, and fix all those engine bugs in the process, I'll bite. I don't believe they're going to just ditch L4D gamers, and I don't think they should have to artificially delay release to satisfy foolish angry self-proclaimed non-customers.

          Companies now realise that instead of a full expansion for, say, $20, they can now put it out in chunks and make twice that.

          So what you're saying is, you're against the implementation rather than the concept? Me too. I'd be quite happy to buy extra L4D campaigns(well made ones) for say $4. That would be 5 campaigns in a $20 expansion.

          $10 though is too steep.

          But from Valve's point of view, it's far easier managing a unified platform, so they'd rather charge more for the game and just trickle out DLC for free forever.

          • by Fallingcow (213461) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:48PM (#29086459) Homepage

            That's debateable. New engine, new art, new campaigns, new voice actors, vastly expanded team working on it. Most people arguing against L4D2 seem to be arguing because it's "too soon". It's like you guys would be happier if it were released in 2012, rather than 2009. And the irony is, the release date won't affect anything, because L4D updates are still going to come out as slow as they have been. It'll just give some extra content before the release, giving the perception that they kept their word.

            "New engine" is a stretch, IMO. Most of the actual content--new weapons, new campaigns, new enemy types--were supposed to be free DLC for L4D, according to interviews before L4D's release.

            They were also supposed to have a real, full-featured dev kit for it so the community could do what it usually does with games like this, but they've been dragging their feet on releasing it. Probably worried that the community would just clone the stuff they have slated for L4D2, which is exactly what would have happened if they'd released it months ago.

            This is the first time I've seen Valve act like a greedy corporate whore, and it's troubling because they're one of the few remaining PC developers who are worth a damn.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by EXTomar (78739)

            The problem is these are all just "art assets". I'm not going to art and levels are cheap or easy or should always be handed out freely but these things aren't as advanced as new technology or new game play. So far everything they've been advertising could be done by dedicated modders out in the community today,

            What Valve needs to do for "L4D2" is provide a demo to everyone. I'm sure the complaints wouldn't be so fierce if it was obvious what the improvements are. They need to show us what really is in

        • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @03:55PM (#29086159) Homepage Journal

          I own an Xbox 360 and a PC (obviously). If I can get a game on the PC I will choose that over the console usually. Stuff like TF2, L4D etc... I fail to see the point of them on the consoles. FPS games on a console are a big bag of fail IMO. Only people who defend them in my experience are ones who haven't spent years using the superior mouse/keyboard combination.

          For the DLC, I believe Microsoft FORCE Valve to charge. Gabe (who looks more like Peter from Family Guy by the day) has said that they want to give it away, but MS won't let them. Not sure how much truth there is in that given Valve have recently turned to the dark side and taken this DLC to its natural conclusion and are releasing what should be DLC for Left 4 Dead as a full title.

          Back my dad, we used to call DLC "modding" a game, and it was free, and there were large vibrant modding communities for all games that had explicit or implicit modability. The Team Fortress guys started as a bunch of guys sitting around in Australia hacking on the mod source code for Quake 1 (before even Quakeworld).

          But for TF2, they've published no mod tools except map editors, and have instead been releasing their own, official, mods for it, such as alternative weapons for each class. And charging for it on the Xbox. It's a shame, really, that they've gone so far from their roots.

          I'd love to bring CustomTF into the 21st Century, but (as far as I know) there's no way to easily mod the TF2 sourcebase. So everyone loses... even Valve, I guess, since modding greatly extends the life of a game. Quakeworld is still played even today because of the mods for it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ShakaUVM (157947)

            Back my dad

            Back in my day...

            Grr, I can't even do an old coot accent right online. =)

          • by RalphSleigh (899929) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:10PM (#29086575) Homepage
            You can't mod the TF2 codebase, but owning any source engine game on steam lets you download the source SDK Base. This is a minimal source engine install you can add your own assets and code to for making mods based on the source engine. It included enough assets to load the Lost Coast HDR sample map and the Half-life 2 code. Using this base means your mod can be played by anyone who has a source game (so someone with just L4D can play with someone who only has HL2), but it does mean you need to provide your own content.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Brian Gordon (987471)

          But announcing stuff you're going to have to pay for before the game is even released?!

          Well it's not like the developers just wake up one morning a few months after release and decide to do DLC. If they have plans to sell DLC after release, why not announce it?

          Also I agree that mouse/keyboard is a much better control scheme. "Hold the stick until the cursor gets to where you want it, then let go" can't even compare to the precision of directly mapping movement on the mousepad to movement on the screen.

        • by antic (29198) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:49PM (#29086469)

          "FPS games on a console are a big bag of fail IMO. Only people who defend them in my experience are ones who haven't spent years using the superior mouse/keyboard combination."

          Played FPSs on PC for many years but I'll defend them on console because it's a quick and easy way to get 4-8 people playing a FPS in a room as a social activity. No lugging around PCs, making sure everyone has the right version, stuffing around with networks, etc. Bring along a projector to add to a TV, a second Xbox and controllers, couple of copies of the game and away you go.

          Aiming might not be as accurate, but everyone in the game is in that same boat.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ihmhi (1206036)

          The Rock Band DLC has never bothered me, because it has always been at a relatively fair price and worth it. Unlike a lot of DLC options you can actually cherry pick (download only songs you want), and they've been decent enough to arrange promotions and free songs (like "Still Alive").

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        There are a few reasons why I am a console gamer (and actually was playing TF2 on the 360 the other day). For one, its cheaper, I tend to either buy used or really cheap computer hardware because I'm a student and paying more than $500 on a computer is a major purchase. I can buy a 360 for $200 and have a guaranteed life (so long as the thing doesn't red ring....) of 2-3 more years left. However, even a state of the art machine today will require expensive upgrades to keep it playing and I doubt I can get a
    • by Zalbik (308903)

      So basically your argument is:

      Here are a bunch of reasons why I prefer PC's over consoles.
      Therefore, publishers release the same items for free to PC's that they charge for consoles.

      Your logic doesn't make any sense. The relative power / lack of power of each platform has nothing to do with the publishers financial decision to charge on one platform vs. the other.

      My guess is the reasons are more likely one of the following:
      1) If we charge on the PC, it's likely just gonna get pirated anyways, so lets not b

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)

        The relative power / lack of power of each platform has nothing to do with the publishers financial decision to charge on one platform vs. the other

        Yes it does. The PC is an open platform. You can do whatever you want. The console is locked down tight and you can only get content by paying Microsoft.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mashiki (184564)

          Yes it does. The PC is an open platform. You can do whatever you want. The console is locked down tight and you can only get content by paying Microsoft.

          That in itself would be the main reason I would never own a console these days. While I did have one back in the early days of NES before the cube, that's all cartridges. The problem is, you're paying for the same content that some are getting for free under the 'pass, clean, and then go' label.

          While I realize that not all kids of today are the main conso

          • by tepples (727027)

            after all cheap gaming rigs can be made for sub $500 these days.

            But how many "cheap gaming rigs" do you need when there's more than one gamer in the house? With a console, you just need to buy $150 or so worth of extra controllers for players 2, 3, and 4, but most PC games act like PSP games: they require each player to be using a separate PC and a separate copy of each game.

            • by silanea (1241518) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:17PM (#29085469)

              While you are correct for the situation where everyone wants to play the same game with or against each other, this advantage goes away when those gamers want to play on their own at the same time. In most households I know every gamer who has reached their teens already needs a computer for themselves. Upgrading that to reasonably handle games makes more sense to me than to buy an extra box. Plus then the kids do not occupy the living room TV.

          • Yeah, PC users most likely wouldn't stand for that crap. At least not nearly as many as console users. If nothing else, PC users can get free games all over the place. Consolers don't really have that option at all (with a bare console. I know mod chips exist. but that takes a bit of skill.).
        • Half of it. Combined with the fact that there's totally different audiences because of the differences in the platform, there will be a difference in the pay model. The people who use PCs to play games tend to be older, they tend to have the large amount of experience with free upgrades and mods, they tend to know that $10 is way overpriced for 3 maps and wouldn't pay even if the option was left open. Console players tend not to be as well versed as PC gamers in anything relating to electronics. For all the
          • Stunning. (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by ToasterMonkey (467067)

            , they tend to know that $10 is way overpriced for 3 maps

            What should a map cost? Do you know how long it takes to make a good one? One sunny afternoon I bet, right? Jesus.

            The reason they are free on PC's is because preventing piracy would be nearly impossible. This is why for the most part, you only have free third party content, done by hobbyists.

            For all they know, it takes a team of 50 people a month to make a map.

            WOW, that is what it would take for you to pay $10? 50 people working for a month, and you'd pay a measly $10. So what, you get to decide where the publisher's break even point is now? You decide how many units m

    • by Alarash (746254)
      I attribute this to Microsoft's policy of not giving any DLC for free. As simple as that.
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:25PM (#29084585)
    Whenever Valve or any other company wants to release DLC on the Xbox 360 or PS3, they have to pay either Microsoft or Sony to certify the content. They charge gamers to make up for the cost of this certification.

    Of course, the fact that gamers will pay for downloadable content on consoles is certainly a good reason by itself...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602)

      Whenever Valve or any other company wants to release DLC on the Xbox 360 or PS3, they have to pay either Microsoft or Sony to certify the content. They charge gamers to make up for the cost of this certification.

      How much do you think MS charges to certify a map pack? Its not going to be 10s of thousands. If they just wanted to make up for the cost certification, they could charge 50 cents and still turn a profit. (Of course, charging 50 cents ends up costing 25 cents in transaction fees, so make it 75 cent

      • If they just wanted to make up for the cost certification, they could charge 50 cents and still turn a profit. (Of course, charging 50 cents ends up costing 25 cents in transaction fees, so make it 75 cents...)

        There are piles of other costs involved too, like operations, promotions DRM, bandwidth, etc.

        The price is set based on what people will pay, not on what it cost.

        So after all you understand it.

        In the end it boils down to cost models.

        Consoles are like TV and games are like movies and TV shows. And priced like-wise - so the attendance fee would make you feel privileged. (What I strongly believe is the source of the console gaming "hardcore elitism" syndrom.)

        PCs are like ... PCs. With arrival of internet, establishment of solid gaming communities, many game companies

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I wonder what will happen when the XBOX 360 and PS3 are end-of-life and the servers get turned off. It could be a major turning point when people realise that all the DLC that they "bought" no longer works and all the achievements they racked up disappear. It's happened before, but never on anything like the scale it's going to in a few years time.

      At least with some PC DLC you get an executable that you can backup and will work forever. I wanted the the new Monkey Island re-make, but it only seems to be ava

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        Why would the servers get turned off? I doubt Microsoft or Sony are going anywhere anytime soon. In the age where everything can just be a VM there's no reason to shut off servers entirely. When you upgrade to your new hardware you just migrate to the VM and then it's just a file on a SAN somewhere. Unless Microsoft or Sony go out of business this will be perpetual as the costs of maintaining are practically negligible. If the product is EOL then there is likely to be far less demand on the servers so you j

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by silanea (1241518)
          Remember MSN Music, the Yahoo! Music Store, the Walmart music DRM disaster and the row around Zune and PlaysForSure? Servers are turned off, established formats are phased out to push the next generation of a platform, and in many cases only a major PR debacle brings the companies to reason.
    • I only object to the cost being prohibitive (for an add-on) or if the game is somehow missing something that becomes DLC later in the cycle to milk the franchise. (Add on missions are fine, but there's a limit to add-ons before they become something akin to "stuff we should've included at launch.")

      DLC is going to become the new "DRM" to thwart the First Sale Doctrine. That is the direction _I_ don't want it to go. Dragon Age is going to have some free DLC if you buy the game new, but it'll cost $15 fo
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pyrion (525584) *

      You're misrepresenting the facts here. Yes, they have to pay MS or Sony to certify the content, but what if Valve explicitly wants the content to be released for free? Sony and MS aren't going to go along with this, because Sony and MS want to charge money for it. Sony and MS would be fine with the updates costing a small amount, say, $5, because they'd still get a share of each sale. But a share of diddly squat is still diddly squat.

  • Simple answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:25PM (#29084587) Homepage

    Simple. Stop paying for it.

    If people pay money for something, that's because they think it's worth that money (eBay syndrome). If you get "more" for free on the PC, use a PC.

    • by Xin Jing (1587107) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:48PM (#29084779)
      I think the console manufacturer should take it one step further. Not only should it be disclosed that "your online game experience may vary" but they should also mention on the outside of the console package that "additional downloadable game content may incur a cost" and consider including a way to uninstall it for a full or partial refund.
      • by tepples (727027)

        they should also mention on the outside of the console package that "additional downloadable game content may incur a cost"

        Nintendo already does this on Wii games: "Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play".

  • by superphysics (1619033) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:26PM (#29084595) Homepage
    Take that, you console-owning-PC-haters! :>
    • console-owning-PC-haters

      For whatever reason I recalled my mother who hates soap operas deeply, yet watches them every night.

      Console gamers would always hate PC gamers - simply because we get more out of our games than their could ever hope for.

      It could be compared to incompatibility between people who watch soap operas and people who'd rather go out for a walk.

  • by douglasdoughty (1611343) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:31PM (#29084633)
    What really aggravates me is when game studios/publishers for consoles announce that DLC is going to be available and when it is coming out before the game is ever released! C'mon, guys -- don't rape us and force us to watch. Include the content in the game rather than releasing it later. Or, better yet, let us delete maps/non-needed extras from our game to trade out for other DLC.
    • Include the content in the game rather than releasing it later.

      Are you implying that publishers should delay releasing the game until all the DLC is finished? Are you further implying that publishers of music games like Rock Band, which depend on underlying works licensed from third parties, should increase the retail price of their products to cover the royalty payments?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FrostDust (1009075)

        The implication is better reflected by Resident Evil 5.
        Release multiplayer mode as a separate product, with it's own cost, a few days later?
        Does anyone really believe they were so swamped they couldn't include it on the disc, and were able to code it in two days' time?
        It's obvious they just removed content from the game, and released it as DLC, to milk money out of customers for something that was planned from the beginning.

        Imagine if a racing game came out with only "Career mode" unlocked, then you had to

  • Left 4 Dead (Score:2, Redundant)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271)
    Some people speculate that console DLC madness is the reason Left 4 Dead 2 is being released as a new game instead of as DLC for the original.
  • Closed vs Open (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:32PM (#29084641)

    Consoles are a closed system where the owners have little choice about where they get content (sure, you can hack the firmware, but only a small fraction of owners will), PCs are an open system where owners can get content from all over. It's hardly surprising that users of closed systems get screwed.

    This is why every tech company wants to own a closed system.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:51PM (#29084797)

      But on the upside; by their very nature, closed systems suffer less piracy - which is translated into cheaper games for the consumer, since the developers suffer reduced losses on these platforms.
      For example, upcoming Wolfenstein is a reasonable £37.96 to pre-order from Amazon UK for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but a whopping £24.96 on piracy-rampant PC.
      Upcoming Call of Duty - Modern Warfare II is an outrageous £34.99 on PC, but good value £44.96 on Xbox 360 and PS3.
      Ermm...

  • by Tei (520358) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:37PM (#29084693) Journal

    DLC is supposed to give to console gamers what we the PC gamers have. Stuff made by entusiast to enhance already good games with more maps, game modes, textures, models, etc..

    Since that stuff can't be freely installed in a console, because a console is locked down hardware, to give that cool stuff companies make that stuff thenselves and need to sell it.

    DLC is the DRM version of Modding.
     

  • A lot of companies announce DLC for a game right after, or even before it was released. Buy doing this they hope people will not trade in the game, and thus reduce the number of second hand copies that are available.

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      The article (or at least summary) is about how DLC is paid for on consoles, but often free on the PC. It can't be for fighting the second-hand market; in fact, charging for DLC would make a user more interested in giving up the game, especially if the developers take the sleazy route and make a short/crap game to start and then charge for the good stuff. $10/map pack, or $20 for another used game altogether?

      It actually enhances the second hand market, as players will be able to buy a game for cheaper if t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Inda (580031)

      Probably true, makes sense anyway.

      Why don't they understand price though?

      I've been waiting for Assassins Creed on the 360 to drop below £10 second hand. This is the price I think it is worth and I know I can resell it for maybe £5 in a months time without issue. I can get it for £10 on eBay today. The local shops have it at £12, or £20 if you buy two games.

      Just this week Live have the whole game on DLC for £20 with a resale value of £0.

      Any child under 10 cou

  • Prince of Persia Epilogue: Not available at all for PC.
    Overlord's Raising Hell: came out on PC months late, through a very crappy channel
    Overlord 2's DLC I dont think its even available for PC yet?

    It depends on the game type. FPSs and stuff tend to be much more popular on PC, but DLC for other game types is often console exclusive, or at least tends to favor consoles by a lot.

  • Think of it this way:

    If every single PC user of Team Fortress 2 was already part of an online 'e-tail' content delivery system with their credit cards hooked up to it, etc, then it would be much, much more likely that they try to release it only on that delivery method. As it is, that is really only found on consoles.

    So, there you have it?

    • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:25PM (#29085047)

      Think of it this way:

      If every single PC user of Team Fortress 2 was already part of an online 'e-tail' content delivery system with their credit cards hooked up to it, etc, then it would be much, much more likely that they try to release it only on that delivery method. As it is, that is really only found on consoles.

      So, there you have it?

      Sllow me introduce you to Steam [steampowered.com], Valve's content delivery system that every Team Fortress 2 player has installed.

  • Why is this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:13PM (#29084953) Homepage Journal

    Because the market supports it.

  • Something I've never understood about paying for DLC: If you've already purchased the video game, why would you want to pay more money for something that's not equivalent to what your paying?

    On game consoles, the average just-released console game costs $60 (I believe the extra $10 is for licensing fees with the console manufacturer). Your average DLC pack costs $10 on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. So your paying 17% of the original game's cost, but are you getting an extra 17% of a game? In many cases

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:15PM (#29084971)

    PC gamers purchased that PC. Often at thousands of dollars -- mine's just over $7K including the 30" LCD. When I purchase a game, I purchase the game.

    Consoles don't cost thousands of dollars. Most consoles cost $300ish. The idea of the console industry is to lose money on the consoles and make it up on the games. So the game publishers pay the console makers. No one pays the PC makers except the person buynig the PC.

    Lately, DLC has been an excellent way to make the games cheaper, because there is further revenue to be had on the DLC later on.

    Remember, someone has to pay for that $1000 console. Congrats on paying the first $300 yourself. The next $700 used to come as $20 from the $60 games. Now it comes as $15 from the $40 games, and $5 from the DLC. Big surprise.

    Stop wanting things for free. If consumers would look at things from the other side, things could be very different. Instead of wanting things cheaper, why don't you try to fund your favourite company, by paying larger prices, so that they have the money to build better things, and can then charge less for better. You don't want the same for less money, you want better for the same money.

    But hey, most of my friends spend $20 per month on satelite radio. Because "it's a fine deal, for loads of content, blah blah blah". They forget that if they add up all of their entertainment dollars -- radio, television, internet, movies, restaurants, games, sports, et cetera -- there isn't enough time in the month to get the full value of all the money spent. It's not that satelite radio isn't worth $20/month. It's that television plus radio isn't worth $100/month.

    But consumers are too busy budgetting dollars to know how to budget value. I find it interesting.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:26PM (#29085055)

      PC gamers purchased that PC. Often at thousands of dollars -- mine's just over $7K including the 30" LCD.

      How many people pay $7,000 for a PC? I'm not even sure how you can spend $7,000 on a PC unless you get it gold-plated or insist on a terabyte of 15k SCSI disks.

      Even a decent gaming PC shouldn't cost you much more than $1200 these days.

      • Even a decent gaming PC shouldn't cost you much more than $1200 these days.

        That can be misleading; see my other comment [slashdot.org].

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Maybe, but I've only ever seen one person who was set up to play multi-player games on one console with multiple controllers, and that guy was more than rich enough to buy multiple PCs without even noticing the cost; typically the console is for their kid and they play games by themselves.

          Now, maybe the console-owners I know are a completely non-representative sample, but I suspect that, in reality, people who go out buying multiple controllers so four people can play a game at one time on a single TV aren'

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Tacvek (948259)

            The Nintendo systems have always preferred local multiplayer. One of the reasons why GoldenEye was such a successful game was the local multiplayer, which I still see people play to this day.

            Similarly the Smash Brothers series popularity is due almost exclusively to the local multiplayer.

            How about the Mario Party series?

            Hell, half the games for the Wii that are popular are popular for local multiplayer.

            And that is not exclusive to Nintendo. I've seen 4 player local Halo often enough to know that.

            Please keep

    • Wish I had points to mod you up. The bit about "budget value" is insightful.
    • by RyoShin (610051)

      The idea of the console industry is to lose money on the consoles and make it up on the games.

      Not quite; the common razor and razorblade model keeps the razor at a low, fixed cost. In the console industry, companies routinely lower costs to help boost their own profits (or lower losses) as well as to eventually drop the console price and lure in more buyers. Some companies just accept losses early on in order to build up a consumer base, and then will profit on consoles later in their life. (Except Nint

  • Lots of factors (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TuaAmin13 (1359435) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:16PM (#29084977)
    My thoughts is that PC DLC would be pirated immensely. Also, since distribution is distributed, you don't incur massive bandwidth costs. WoW does bittorrent type patches, for most other games it's mirrored on a dozen sites. Marginal cost to the developer.

    With consoles, you have to pay to get certified, and this includes any bugfixes you release. While the cost of DLC certification may be marginal, as someone else pointed out (Just assume $1 out of the 5 that DLC costs), you still have to certify all your patches, which are given for "free." DLC works to pad their expenditures in other areas in order to sell more copies.

    Also, you can't really pirate the DLC from a closed network, so it's guaranteed that people pay for it. With every person that purchases DLC, you lock them into owning your game. If they bought it second hand, you now got revenue that you wouldn't have otherwise. If they bought it new, paying for DLC ensures they won't get rid of it, otherwise their DLC purchase will have gone to waste. Less used copies floating around.
  • More stuff is free on the PC because more stuff is routinely copied and shared. They know that by giving certain things away, they are securing a customer for other things that are not free. With the game consoles, copying and sharing is a bit more of a challenge and so it is less frequent and common. They have their markets more tightly controlled and therefore the market will bear more.

  • People are stupid and willing to get screwed. Its that simple.

  • Being a PC gamer of many years, I wouldn't complain about PC gamers having the advantage. It seems that gaming companies are giving up on the PC as a gaming platform and releasing buggy games to us now as an afterthought. So while we may be able to get DLC, your game at least works when you put the disk in the drive.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @01:35PM (#29085143) Homepage Journal

    DLC is ruining sales of games on consoles, at least as far as I can see.

    On the PS2, it was pretty simple: The game was $40-50 new, or you could wait a year or so and buy it for $20 as a Greatest Hits release. Either way, you got the same game. Buying new, you'd pay $50 up front, play the game, sell it for $15-20, overall cost $35. Buying Greatest Hits, you'd buy for $20, sell for $10-15, overall cost $5-10. With buying the game at release costing you maybe $20 more overall, it often made sense to buy games on release day.

    On the PS3, the game is released new for $60. A couple of DLC packs are released for $10 each. Then after a year or two, the entire game plus the DLC packs is released as a Game Of The Year Edition for $30. So if you buy new, you pay $60 + $20, but by the time you sell the game second hand it's worth $20 at best because of the GOTY edition at $30, so your overall cost is $60. Buy later, and you get the entire game plus add-ons for $30, resell for $20, overall cost $10. So now suddenly it costs $50 more to buy on release day than to buy and play later.

    So basically, there's now a major financial incentive to wait for the Game Of The Year edition which has the DLC bundled in. For instance, I was considering buying Red Faction. However, I just saw on the PSN store that the first DLC has been released for $10. So now, I'd much rather wait and buy the whole thing in a year or two for $30.

    Ultimately, I think the game companies are shooting themselves in the feet by penalizing early purchasers to this extent. I wonder if this might be why PS3 and Xbox 360 game sales have been down.

    And if we're talking Valve, the way they've treated Xbox 360 owners is nothing compared to how they've fucked PS3 owners. There's no DLC for TF2 on the PS3 at all; we haven't even seen any of the fixes for the initial maps, which means that games tend to be ruined by glitchers. (Yeah, I know the "It's up to EA" excuse, but it's Valve's decision to let EA decide release policy, so ultimately they're still responsible.)

    • by Pyrion (525584) *

      Bullshit. Valve can't force the issue on the PS3 if they're contractually limited to letting EA call the shots on it.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:45PM (#29085697) Homepage
    Not only do you have to pay for downloadable content but that's on top of having a Gold membership for multi-player content.

    No one seems to want to admit it but the business model that Microsoft employs for console gaming is seriously flawed. Sony's is a little better because at least you get onto the network for free.

    Microsoft brags about their success but what they don't mention is that they need to over charge you for accessories (ie wifi adapters and hardrives) and they need to charge you for any little thing you do online.

    One reason the 360 has no browser (and mouse / keyboard) is to stop them from being accused of trying to make their own closed PC. But I suspect the other reason for a lack of a browser (and therefore a lesser experience than all other consoles online) is to keep the system as closed as possible so they can nickel and dime you to death all so they can eek out tiny profits which they've only just started to do recently.

    The Wii is the cheapest system all around and part of the reason for that is because Nintendo makes a profit on the hardware. They don't need to fuck you about to make up for selling unprofitable hardware. The Wii also has a browser which gives you access to free browser-based games. They do charge you to download new games from their shop but that's understandable imo and even then you get to earn points from buying games which result in free games to download. This is despite the fact their games are cheaper and yet they're still making money hand over fist.

    The old system, which MS works under, doesn't work well when every system has some success. It relies pretty much on there only being one big success per generation to make great profits. Had Sony not cocked up in a few areas it would probably be worse for both them and MS with numbers being more evenly divided.

    It's only going to get worse and that's why they want to move out of physical sales and into downloadable games. It'll make it much easier for them to jerk us around even more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No one seems to want to admit it but the business model that Microsoft employs for console gaming is seriously flawed. Sony's is a little better because at least you get onto the network for free. Microsoft brags about their success but what they don't mention is that they need to over charge you for accessories (ie wifi adapters and hardrives) and they need to charge you for any little thing you do online.

      It is only a flawed business model if noone is using it and it is not making money. I love the integration of XBox and XBox live. The integrated Voice Chat is indispensable once you get to use it. Log in, chat with a friend or group of friends, start a game, etc. All just works. In NHL09, which has 6 person positional team play, it is amazing. 5 friends can be finishing up a game, and I can come into the voice chat group with them in the middle of the game and coordinate on playing the next.

      As for wif

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:14PM (#29086605)
    Developers are starting to omit game content just to sell it back to you after the original purchase, increasing the total cost for the full experience. This also allows for deceptive pricing tactics.
  • by Petersko (564140) on Monday August 17, 2009 @01:04AM (#29088821)
    Look, if you don't like what they're offering, or the price they're asking for it, or the terms under which their offer is extended, exercise your ultimate power.

    Don't buy it.

    If you REALLY don't like it, personally blacklist all products from that maker.

    You have ALL the power. You just have to have the fortitude to exercise it.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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