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Gamers to Pay for DLC?

How’s this for a kick in the teeth?  Apparently, EA, in an effort to prevent the loss of millions, is planning to start releasing Paid Downloadable Content (PDLC) for games before they are boxed and set upon the masses.  This is supposed to help them figure out what games will in fact have mass appeal and marketing viability.

This is the baby of Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Morgan, and Nick Earl, head of Visceral.  In a memo to the investors Mr. Pachter stated:

“Mr. Earl revealed a strategy to release premium downloadable content (PDLC) as a product for sale prior to the release of a packaged product.  The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009’s Battlefield 1943.  A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price. Mr. Earl believes that the release of the PDLC first limits the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool.”
[via GamesIndustry.biz]

EA’s VP of Corporate Corporations (whatever that means), Jeff Brown, quickly responded about the unhappy chatter on the internet about the company’s intent to charge for “extended game demos,” on Kotaku:

“EA SPORTS, EA Games and EA Play are each experimenting with download strategies that deliver fresh game content in formats players want to experience. To date, there is no set pricing strategy for the entire EA portfolio, and many of the proposals include free-to-play content on models similar to Madden Ultimate Team, Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield 1943. None of the proposals call for charging consumers for traditionally free game demos,” stated Brown.
[via Kotaku ]

They have stated that the PDLC would act as a extended demo of sorts.  So, according to Jeffster, all they are trying to do is deliver to the consumer “premium content before, during and after the launch of a packaged game.”

I really do not know what to say about this, because in one aspect this could be great.  We can expect consistent DLC’s for the games we love, but at the same time they’re talking about making us pay for add-on’s before a finished game is released.  How many times have you guys played a demo and the game seemed bad ass, but then you play the retail version and it sucks ass (Ninja Blade, WET)?

How many games have you bought for the full retail price of $59.99 only to sit there and play a three hour long story mode, or a game that is just riddled with glitches, voice overs that aren’t in sync, or choppy gameplay and cut-scenes?  Why get crap games like that when, for the same price, you can get Mass Effect 2, a great RPG with its two discs, or Final Fantasy XIII which has three discs?

Maybe the focus should be on the quality games instead of quantity of games. There was no reason for a Left for Dead 2 so soon after the release of the first; the quality of the game should have been priority.  Do whatever patches are needed, create a steady stream of DLC, make sure you have a firm grasp of your community, and then release the sequel.

I am completely for new games ideas; that is what brought us Dead Space. But, when they are flooding the market with shit games (e.g. Darkest of Days, Secret Service: Ultimate Sacrifice ) and trying to charge full retail for them, the companies shouldn’t pretend they don’t understand why they’re losing money; then your just plain stupid.

P.S.:  Stop dumbing down games to meet the casual gamers needs (I’m looking at you Mass Effect 2).  They aren’t the ones who will go out and buy game after game.  We, the hardcore gamers, do so and maybe you should try catering to us again.  Keep us happy and you’ll make money!