10 thoughts on “GSJ9: On virtual acquisitions

  1. Completely agree with said rumination. The tragedy is that this isn’t posted on 1up…or IGN. The major game sites seem to be utterly unwilling to admit the sort of patch-happy/triple-A or die mentality that has gripped our beloved industry.

    DLC started on the original Xbox with interesting bonus content, turned into horse armor, and it’s now a whole platform that’s ruined physical media not made by Nintendo.

    And I’d love for someone to ask Kotick what happens to Activision when people grow tired of spending a hundred dollars a year to play ALL of Call of Duty. There may be no removing the nickel and diming of gaming, but some publishers are going to get seriously burned at some point.

  2. Agree with Joe above – this would be an interesting feature (And fire started) on 1UP or something.

    I do like the convenience of digital downloads, because I hate the clutter of actual physical games. People who get hung up on that remind me too much of comic book ‘collectors’, which is never a savory comparison.

    I do completely agree about DLC, though. I refuse to buy that stuff – whether or not it’s actuall cutting room material (first time I’ve heard that, though it makes sense), it doesn’t matter – it -feels- like cutting room material.

    I also have the patience to wait for ‘game of the year’ editions, too – and which games receive this treatment are generally pretty easy to detect. As much as I want to buy Skyrim next month, it ain’t gonna happen. I can wait for another 1 1/2 or two years for a more complete edition.

    I take pleasure in knowing that some schmuck shelled out $60 for Fallout 3 just three years ago, and now I can buy the GOTY edition ($40 or so of extra content) for half the original price.

    I suppose it’s because of those early adopters that I can get such a good deal. So, everyone else, go about your business, and I’ll continue to pay $30 for $100 worth of content.

      • Well it’s kind of a crazy inflammatory article, but there’s a lot to be said for throwing up angry tirades about things the industry’s doing that tick me off as many places as possible, marginally increasing the odds of the people I’m griping at actually seeing them at all.

        Bonus points if doing so makes the great engine of professional-type writing spit extra money at me.

      • I don’t mean any disrespect here, but it’s also full of knee-jerk, false information and assumptions. But we have an entire thread on TT about that.

  3. As someone who has been royally screwed over by the requirement that someone needs to put things on a physical medium in order to deliver them to my beck of the woods, over hill and dale, and has seen countless development houses fall over because their one shot at profitability didn’t quite work out, I am counting down the days until the demise of physical media, of the hit-driven, you-get-everything-with-one-purchase model. The game as service model has plenty of kinks to work out – namely, what to monetise on that won’t make the game worse – but the upside, that small teams can iterate and iterate and iterate until they create an Eve Online or a Glitch or a Kingdom of Loathing. They don’t have to rely on people checking out their game in the two weeks after release and not dismissing the thing out of hand in order to be able to keep making games. Games as services tend to be overly generous with content, thankfully because the right people got into it: the expectation is that a service-oriented game will have regular, frequent, free updates, so the nickle-and-diming endemic to bolting on a service model to a boxed product

    Double Fine is exactly the kind of company that should be doing games as a service, for instance. Their games are eye-catching but need more playtesting than they end up getting.

    Anyway, tl;dr this is all teething problems as we move to a model where AAA does not exist, physical media die die die.

    • For what it’s worth, I’m not down on the notion of downloading entire games on the cheap. There’s all kinds of practical benefits for both parties there. It’s when I hand someone $60 for an actual physical disc, pop it in, and the first thing it does is ask me for more money where my eye starts twitching.

  4. I really don’t want to see a digital only future on consoles. I’m fine with it on PC though. The difference is competition. On the PC there’s fierce competition between rival providers meaning we get great sales and the prices are silly.

    On consoles the console holders have a monopoly on the pricing on their products. This means the sales are usually crap, in the case of XBL they are limited to gold account holders only and non existent on the Wii. Just check out the game on demand prices on XBL. I can purchase Halo Reach for 50 sterling (80 dollars) but at retail I can get it for about 20.

    As for DLC the only dlc I enjoyed and thought was worth the money was the Fallout 3 DLC. I recently bought most of the Mass Effect 2 DLC and was thoroughly disappointed. It wasn’t that it was bad but I could have lived without it, even the supposedly brilliant but in reality mediocre Shadow Broker DLC. It’s but me off buying DLC for good.

  5. I pretty much disagree with everything said here. If anything I think that DLC is partially responsible for the fact that the game making industry is still around. Pure conjecture on my part, I’ll grant, but I doubt a lot of the high profile games we enjoy now would even be able to recoup their expenses if they weren’t able to hit the DLC market after the fact.

    Sure, a lot of stuff that might have been free in the past is for-pay now. And sure, a lot of the DLC people try and push on us is of questionable quality — “horse armor” if you will. At the same time, a lot of stuff that would have been left on the cutting room floor, or packed into a $30-40 expansion pack can be downloaded for $10-20.

    Indeed, game designers are often mistreated and dropped once a project is completed. Shouldn’t, then, a business model that allows for the possibility of their remaining useful to a company after a disk goes gold be something we should commend rather than condemn? Rushed products are not new to the DLC era, but at the very least, the DLC era increases the probability that the problems that arise from them can be fixed.

    (Also, the very existence of Mega Man 10 kind of refutes your Mega Man analogy. So there. Neener neener.)

  6. Great article, and as a retro gamer, I agree with a lot of it. Imagine years from now, picking up a used copy of a game, and then finding out all the extra content that makes the game even better is no longer available. It does make me appreciate Nintendo’s reluctance to approach the DLC market.

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