Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Technical support for Trine for the Windows and PSN platforms. Please indicate your system specs and operating system in your post if you can.
Saturn2888
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Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Postby Saturn2888 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:11 pm

I see people asking for DLC for Trine. Personally, I think DLC is stupid and for many many reasons. Either make a true expansion or make another game. DLC has been abused so much that it makes no sense to keep using the term or even abiding by the practice. As another example, the Mass Effect DLC on PC did not sell so it was released for free. I think this DLC issue spurs from the Xbox 360 crowd of console owners vs the people in the PC area and how things are perceived in the different markets. Sure, if you want to exploit and nick/dime your customers and fans, DLC is the way to go, but I think releasing compete gaming experiences is more important and accumulates trust and returns from your customer-base.

Had Ensemble Studios released extra civilizations and features as DLC rather than complete expansion packs, the balance in the game could have suffered as well as the feeling of the game being this experience that was worth buying into. See, Ensemble Studios has done it right over the years. Release a complete package which clearly stands on its own and is a game in itself. Then release an expansion which will add to the game experience almost as if it was yet another game in itself. With Age of Empires III, Ensemble Studios even released a third expansion which did not require the previous one. It did a bit to segment the market, but it was equal to the previous expansion in value and did not require the price of the full game or more to get all the features. I do understand the studio isn't around anymore, but their games had been selling still. I remember their CEO talking about how Age of Empires II from the late 90s was still making retail sales for whatever reason.

Prince of Persia 2008 is notorious for the most fowl use of DLC. The ending of the game was put on sale for an extra $10. You purchase a game and have to pay extra to receive the ending. This is not a game that stands on its own, it is a million dollar car sold without the key to start it. "The key will cost you another $100,000 dummie." For the money I paid for the game, the ending should've been a part of it. It is like selling a book without the last chapter and selling the last chapter for a fifth of the book price to capitalize on their reader's intrigue into the story. It's a shoddy business practice and should not be a way companies continue in the future.

A WiiWare game is also known for doing this made by Square-Enix, My Life as a King. The game was $15 but had some $40 in DLC. That's just ludicrous. In making a game, I would hope the developer wants everyone to have the same experience at least. It seems as though the developer wanted to say "if you are poor, here is some of the game, if you are rich, here's the rest and it will cost more than a complete experience normally would" rather than allowing anyone who does play the game the same experience as the next person who plays the game.

Valve and Epic are some great examples of how tons and tons of free content is available even after a game is released. Patches can help add tons and tons more while fixing those problems which wouldn't have been known about had the game not been released to the public. Even so, Valve, with Team Fortress 2, has shown that patches also mean making a game yet another game on top of that original experience.

Just because people might ask, Blizzard is still patching Diablo II. Seriously? I mean, the game even installs on both Windows and OS X right out of the box. That's some serious value right there, but I still won't go back and replay the game yet again. I can say that the Battle Chest for the game still retails for $30 which is more than I paid soon after the expansion came out. Clearly, Blizzard is, with that pricing model, almost obligated to continue supporting the game.

A basic summary of the content in the post

Expansions expand on a game, adding more but understanding that the original game is a complete package even without the expansion. DLC is designed and abused as a cash cow set in motion to capitalize on some peoples' stupidity or buying power and to also sell incomplete products and charging extra for the rest. Patches are free expansions and fixes for a game which continue to retain the value of the original purchase over time.

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fb_joel
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Re: Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Postby fb_joel » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:21 pm

Some good thoughts indeed. We definitely don't want to do DLC just because of money, we would want it to add something significant or more good content. Trine is a quality game and it's our own IP, so we don't want to tarnish it with anything that's of bad quality and not well-received. The jury is still out on Trine DLC but there's not too many ways to do it "nicely"...

Anyhow, DLC will become a bigger part of the industry as a whole, and we will also "jump in" at some point. However, I think we will always do DLC in a way that is appropriate to the game, not necessary for the "full enjoyment" of the game (meaning that DLC would not be part of the main storyline, but it could be separate levels or a separate mini campaign for example), and has a good quality/price ratio.

So I think there's nothing to worry about on this front - if we release DLC for any of our games in the future, it will be good content for a reasonable price and I doubt anyone would object it. :)
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

Saturn2888
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Re: Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Postby Saturn2888 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:20 pm

Good enough for me.

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aphexLOX
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Re: Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Postby aphexLOX » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:16 pm

Saturn2888 wrote:DLC is designed...to sell incomplete products and charging extra for the rest.

Spot on. I am already getting sick of companies, particularly big-name brands (like Criterion's Burnout Paradise), who are cashing in on this scheme. Extra content is nice, but when you're forcing your customers to pay more than the average 60$ for a new game in order to enjoy the full experience, you've crossed the line. Your Prince of Persia example was perfect; that said however, Trine is not a 60$ game and Frozenbyte is not a multi-million dollar company that can afford throwing out free DLC to increase publicity and sales, so priced DLC seems much more reasonable. I look forward to any added content that you guys have in store for us :).
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Saturn2888
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Re: Why DLC might be bad for Trine

Postby Saturn2888 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:10 pm

I'm also talking about the market as it is now. I'm assuming Frozenbyte would want to get into the market when the initial nickle and dime has subsided. Being rooted as a distinctively PC developer, it would be tough to see how Frozenbyte could profit from DLC in the same way EA does with Battlefield Bad Company. In fact, DICE needs to finish their games before EA releases them and not release game-breaking patches that they spend almost two years fixing, but that's another story entirely. I mean, they went so far as to completely destroy LAN play with DRM, something I've never seen another developer do in that both players need a unique copy of the game. Seems a bit shady to you doesn't it considering if they released it for consoles it would probably include the same split-screen play PC games used to have.

Since DLC on PC is a whole 'nother can of things to mess around with, I'm assuming it won't be abused in any way. I mean, what's bad about Frozenbyte releasing new content? Haha.


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