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Second Take: Should Gamers Pay For Guns?

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April 17, 2008 10:08:52 PM

EA recently backed off a plan to charge for extra weaponry in Battlefield: Bad Company. Is this the future of DLC?

Watch Video: http://www.tomsgames.com/us/site/flash_videos/second_take_should_gamers_pay_for_guns_.html

Would you pay for DLC at launch in exchange for a lower initial price? Do you think DLC (free or otherwise) curbs piracy?

-Ben

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April 18, 2008 2:11:11 AM

I'm pretty much against all DLC. I hated it with Oblivion and I hate it with every other game. Sometimes it makes sense, like a game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band. But tiny additions to games should be free rather than sold for $1. It is nickel and diming and gamers shouldn't put up with it. I'd much rather have a complete full-featured expansion pack. Game companies should show their appreciation to people who buy their games by offering DLC for free. Companies like Epic Games and Blizzard do it all the time with map packs and support years after a product's release.

Even episodic content is a pain. Whenever possible, I'll just try to wait for a complete package of the games. I'll probably get Sam and Max Season 1 now that it's all one package.

I can see how in theory it seems like you're saving money by buying things little by little, but usually a full featured package will give you more for less money, and with episodic content you can't really use that to determine if you want to keep buying further episodes. That's what game demos should be for. And I don't think it will help curb piracy because those insignificant microtransactions are even easier to pirate and gamers end up legitimately pissed that they're being charged for what a community modder could do for free and do it even better. From a business standpoint, it's great for game companies. It will bring it extra revenue, but it's a bitch slap to gamers. It's nice to see someone finally stand up to the DLC model. I think what people were upset about the most with Bad Company was that the content was already on the disk, you were just paying for unlock codes to access it. That could be misinformation, but either way it was a bad move by EA.
April 18, 2008 2:12:29 PM

I like the idea of DLC. I still don't understand why so many gamers think we should get anything for free. It makes sense in very few instances to put a significant amount of work into something and then give it away.

I don't see how paying to get something is a bitch slap to gamers. If I knew I could load up a decent game and play it until I got bored and then go out and buy more of something I liked in the first place I don't see that as a problem. What you're getting for the money is another issue. I'm sure I'll like some DLC and not others, but as a whole I like the model.

The issue of paying for guns in an FPS seems like a bad system to me. I might be down for buying new character models to play around with. FPS games are so heavily reliant on balance that I just don't think a company could successfully implement a system like that without giving the people who pay for it an advantage.

Then again leveling up your FPS character seems to be all the rage as of late, so it might work. CoD4 and the new TF2 unlockable content are doing this kind of thing and it hard to imagine either of those games failing. So buying your guns might be a reasonable game mechanic.
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April 18, 2008 8:10:19 PM

UPDATE: BioWare just announced that while "Bring Down the Sky" won't be packaged with Mass Effect for the PC, it will be available to download for free when the PC game is released. So in essence, console gamers were forced to pay for the Mass Effect DLC, and PC gamers will get it for free.

Just as I predicted, BioWare is doing right by the PC gamer...
April 20, 2008 12:04:08 AM

I've noticed Sony's running with this idea, they're releasing games then add-ons (other than Rock Band and GTH) just a couple of weeks behind, rather than including everything at once.

I can see this coming for all of them. Buy a game and you get the basic graphics engine and installer, then buy the solo mission pack if you want, otherwise, just buy the multiplayer addons.

Maybe that wouldn't be entirely bad if it meant new releases weren't $50-60 just to find out if the basic game's worth bothering with or not.
April 20, 2008 4:59:02 AM

They want to "curb piracy" by making us pay MORE?
How f*cking dumb can you get.
April 22, 2008 4:29:28 AM

There are so many issues associated with purchaseable game add-on DLC, it's hard to know where to even start. DLC is not inherently bad, but there are just so many ways for publishers to abuse DLC, and for DLC to do more harm than good. Below I've listed a few of the types of DLC that are available and what some of the pros and cons for gamers are.

Full downloadable games:
DLC of this type takes the form of stuff like Xbox Live Arcade games and games you purchase through a download service like Steam. This is probably the best use of DLC that there is. Being able to download lesser known, independently-developed, or older games that aren't on store shelves anymore is a great use of DLC. Another significant bonus is that there is no need to find the DVD and put it in your drive when you want to play. For newly-released retail games, however, it is really unfair to charge the same price for the download as for the boxed retail copy of the game, since unlike the boxed retail copy of the game, the downloaded version can't be resold to recoup some of your investment after you're finished with the game. $50-$60 may be acceptable for retail boxed copies of games, but gamers should not accept the same price level for downloaded versions of the same games.

Downloadable mission-packs or map packs:
This is an OK use of DLC, as long as the pricing of the overall game experience is fair to gamers. If publishers and developers charge full price for a game, but include only a limited number of maps (e.g. Shadowrun), and then charge you extra to download the maps they left out of the initial game, then that crosses the line and the DLC feature is being used to abuse fans/customers. However, if the price for what is included in the initial game purchase is fair, then the only downside here is the same downside that has always existed with expansion packs: fragmentation of the user base. If you spend money on a map pack, but only 5% of other players do, then when you are looking for an online match, there will be far fewer matches available which use the maps you downloaded. For single-player mission-packs, fragmentation of the user base is not a factor at all.

Microtransactions for purely cosmetic in-game items:
I don't have any problem with this, since there is no impact on game balance if the purchaseable items are purely cosmetic in nature.

Microtransactions for game-impacting items, experience, or competitive advantage of any kind:
If the game itself is free to play, but then microtransactions are used to buy perks and better equipment, then there is not really anything to complain about (e.g. Battlefield Heroes, Second Life, Maple Story, Entropia, etc.). However, you certainly won't find me playing games like this.

However, developers and publishers who charge $60.00 for a game and then use DLC to offer game-impacting downloadable equipment/features for a fee (e.g. Battlefield: Bad Company, Hellgate London) should be boiled alive and then hung until dead. :fou:  This is true DLC abuse and should be opposed vigorously by all real gamers who value skill-based gameplay and an even playing field. In my opinion, microtransactions of this sort amount to game publishers/developers going into the business of offering paid cheats for their competitive online games. It represents complete corruption of the spirit of fair play and competition in online games.
April 22, 2008 10:14:57 PM

LemonJoose said:
There are so many issues associated with purchaseable game add-on DLC, it's hard to know where to even start.


How about, "No."
April 24, 2008 8:07:32 PM

NO F****NG WAY!!!!
!