What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Lagamorph » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:39 am

I guess it depends on how long.
If the DLC is announced only week or two before launch then it likely means the game has already gone gold and so the final version is sent off and discs are in the process of being pressed and shipped to retailers.

If they start talking about DLC months before though, then to me the publisher/developer is almost certainly cutting content from the main game and holding it back to sell as an extra while the DLC is likely being developed alongside the main game.

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Met
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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Met » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:52 am

Not everything can be fit into a game at launch, some features need to be cut or pushed back until they work, sometimes the dev team just doesn't have the manpower to get that one level in before launch, and so they shelve it for the time being.

So if they announce the base game and DLC 1 and 2 to come out months later, that's perfectly fine.

What feels greedy is day 1 DLC, but again, there's time between a game gets submitted for publication and release, so it's possible for a device team to create content in that window. So I take it case by case.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:02 pm

HSH28 wrote:
Drumstick wrote:In this instance we are talking about DLC being announced a long time prior to the release of the base game. So it could quite easily just be part of the base game. Why would you buy the game and then pay extra for so called DLC when it could and perhaps should have been part of the base game? It makes no sense.


I don't care. I care about what they are charging me for what I'm getting.

Again to expand, I can understand why budgets might force certain content to be paid for on the publisher/developer stage no matter when its actually made. It just doesn't bother me...if I'm getting what I consider to be value for money out of the content I'm actually buying.


I'm conflicted on this opinion. I get what H is saying, but I also think this is a bad attitude for a savvy consumer to have in this era of late stage capitalism.

Value for money is the key phrase in all of this. Hugo's quite right in that without the extra funding DLC promises, those parts of the game may never be realised. The industry has been struggling with massively inflated production costs fighting against the fabled, immovable $60 price point for a full, AAA game and DLC has been a way to alleviate that. But it's also been abused. Horse armour etc etc.

Saying you simply don't care however is taking refuge in ignorance and is putting your trust in publishers whose only interest is satisfying shareholders.

I think my opinion on the matter is to judge things on a game to game basis, trying to read the DLC as either a ploy to up those numbers or a way to fully realise a project.

strawberry float season passes though. Paying for content that hasn't been detailed is ludicrous.

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Hime
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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Hime » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:16 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:I care about what they are charging me for what I'Value for money is the key phrase in all of this. Hugo's quite right in that without the extra funding DLC promises, those parts of the game may never be realised. The industry has been struggling with massively inflated production costs fighting against the fabled, immovable $60 price point for a full, AAA game and DLC has been a way to alleviate that. But it's also been abused. Horse armour etc etc.

It's going to be interesting to see how the industry moves forward from the $60 price model. I'm into the games as a service Nigel and would be happy if there were more options like Xbox game pass that allow me to pay a monthly fee and get the latest games and seasonal content plus other games that's I might not have paid money for. This doesn't really work if you're making a crafted single player experience unless you're with a publisher that could potentially use days single player game as a value proposition for their service.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Nibble » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:30 am

I'm not willing to buy anything digitally.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by jawafour » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:59 am

Hime wrote:It's going to be interesting to see how the industry moves forward from the $60 price model...

I think they have already moved forward (upwards), Hime. The price point for new games here in the UK is £55; the big online retailers discount this to around £47 whilst digital store prices are now usually £59.99. But these are "starting points"; as we all know, different - multiple, in some cases - versions of games are available, with the price ramping up based on the inclusion of "extra" content. The availability of additional DLC then offers further ways of income for publishers. Companies are chasing "constant income flow" rather than the traditional "one-off" transactions, with their publishing models reflecting this.

Sure, initial pricing has remained fairly consistent - £40 in 1993 equates to around £57 today - but the rise in additional content spending has ramped up income far beyond that. The gaming market is substantially wider, too - and media / distribution costs lower.

The argument about "increased costs" of development often doesn't have merit; Assassin's Creed Odyssey may well have accurately scanned Greek pebbles based upon expert consultation with a team of geologists... but who is asking for that in the game? I accept that the scope and scale of games has changed in many cases, but the larger sales market supports this more than adequately.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Gemini73 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:12 am

As pointed out in my other thread, the £55/$60 price is just a starting point for a what is, in the majority of AAA titles, a hollowed out experience. The full experience can cost upwards of £80.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Hime » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:37 am

jawafour wrote:
Hime wrote:It's going to be interesting to see how the industry moves forward from the $60 price model...

I think they have already moved forward (upwards), Hime. The price point for new games here in the UK is £55; the big online retailers discount this to around £47 whilst digital store prices are now usually £59.99. But these are "starting points"; as we all know, different - multiple, in some cases - versions of games are available, with the price ramping up based on the inclusion of "extra" content. The availability of additional DLC then offers further ways of income for publishers. Companies are chasing "constant income flow" rather than the traditional "one-off" transactions, with their publishing models reflecting this.

Sure, initial pricing has remained fairly consistent - £40 in 1993 equates to around £57 today - but the rise in additional content spending has ramped up income far beyond that. The gaming market is substantially wider, too - and media / distribution costs lower.

The argument about "increased costs" of development often doesn't have merit; Assassin's Creed Odyssey may well have accurately scanned Greek pebbles based upon expert consultation with a team of geologists... but who is asking for that in the game? I accept that the scope and scale of games has changed in many cases, but the larger sales market supports this more than adequately.

Turok was £70 when it released on N64.

A "starting point" suggests you aren't getting a complete experience if you buy the base game which is complete nonsense. Entirely optional, often standalone experiences don't mean the core product isn't complete.

The argument about increased device costs absolutely does have merit. You might not be interested in higher graphical fidelity but gamers are always after the next prettiest thing. How many people bought PC's to see Crysis in all in it's glory. I never really understand why people cite the market size increasing as something that ofsets the rise in development costs, it reminds me of people on Dragon's Den or The Apprentice who talk about the music industry and say "We only need 1% of the market and we'll make £X profit". Firstsly the market is splintered, people playing Candy Crush are unlikely to buy ARMA 3. Secondly devs are going out of business left right and centre so this increased market doesn't mean people are buying everything. Obviously there will be an element of bad management involved in this but ultimately it comes down to sales.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by Tafdolphin » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:47 am

jawafour wrote:The argument about "increased costs" of development often doesn't have merit; Assassin's Creed Odyssey may well have accurately scanned Greek pebbles based upon expert consultation with a team of geologists... but who is asking for that in the game? I accept that the scope and scale of games has changed in many cases, but the larger sales market supports this more than adequately.


The problem is, as Hime points out, there are a certain class of game, AAA specifically, whose budgets have risen, and not just for the reason you suggest. It's not just the scale of games but the level of fidelity and the competition to stand out from a now saturated market.

Let's look at Shadow of the Tomb Raider for example. It's not, all in all, a particularly massive game in terms of length or game world. What it is is an incredibly polished action game. Each and every texture, each and every animation, each and every asset is of a quality that simply was not possible 5 years ago. Components like this require more artists, more technicians, more programmers. Why? Some would say immersion and that would be valid, but more pressing is the marketing potential. Look at how the game partnered with NVidia to tout ray tracing, how most of the reviews have at least one paragraph dedicated to how lovely it looks.

And as for the expanded market, again Hime was correct in his assessment that it's a splintered market and a year by year expansion of 'people playing games' isn't necessarily going to cover costs that have gone from a couple of million 10 years ago to hundreds of millions now.

EDIT: This is a half baked response as I'm rushing out of the door to do a houseboat tour, so I'll add more when I get back as it's a really interesting subject.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by jawafour » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:55 am

Hime wrote:Turok was £70 when it released on N64...

That's an outlier, Hime - I was talking "averages". Thst Battlefield Hardline Deluxe Edition a few years back was something like £130 on the digital stores, but I'm not quoting that as being a typical situation.

Hime wrote:...A "starting point" suggests you aren't getting a complete experience if you buy the base game which is complete nonsense. Entirely optional, often standalone experiences don't mean the core product isn't complete...

Another perspective on that argument is that games used to include differently characters / outfits / modes as standard... and now they're often payable extras.

Hime wrote:...I never really understand why people cite the market size increasing as something that ofsets the rise in development costs... Firstsly the market is splintered, people playing Candy Crush are unlikely to buy ARMA 3. Secondly devs are going out of business left right and centre so this increased market doesn't mean people are buying everything. Obviously there will be an element of bad management involved in this but ultimately it comes down to sales.

Increasing market size *should* support bringing down the cost of an item. Sure, development costs are far, far higher now - due to the increased size and detail of games - but the income model is in a different league, too. Some developers are going out of business and that's because their games aren't selling enough to recoup costs; and, in my view, a lot if that is due to competition from wealthier publishing rivals who can spend massive amounts on advertising and publicity. The bigger market supports that level of expenditure and, over time, the publishers take chunks out of each other until there are just a few left to dominate the scene. It feels difficult to say "prices should be higher" against this background.

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PostRe: What's your thoughts on publishers announcing DLC long before a game is released?
by jawafour » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:19 am

Tafdolphin wrote:The problem is, as Hime points out, there are a certain class of game, AAA specifically, whose budgets have risen, and not just for the reason you suggest. It's not just the scale of games but the level of fidelity and the competition to stand out from a now saturated market....

...And as for the expanded market, again Hime was correct in his assessment that it's a splintered market and a year by year expansion of 'people playing games' isn't necessarily going to cover costs that have gone from a couple of million 10 years ago to hundreds of millions now...

This sounds logical... if you're looking at it from a publisher's perspective. They want to be at the cutting edge of the market and, yeah, to do that you have to spend massively. Which means increasing costs to the consumer.

It is the "B" games that are suffering most, rather than AAA titles. With a more modest development and marketing spend they now get obliterated by the AAA titles in terms of publicity and focus. The huge titles *have* to be a success due to the vast sums of money invested in them and it's hard for smaller titles to succeed. The "B" games used to form a big part - perhaps the bulk - of the market but now everything is increasingly focused on the heavy hitters. The potential market for such games has hugely increased, and the income has increased correspondingly.


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