Publisher Admits On-Disc DLC Makes It Cheaper, Easier To Deliver Content
An anonymous publisher had a meet-and-greet with the gaming community courtesy of Kotaku. It was mighty nice of Kotaku to setup the interview and the publisher got to answer some of the tough questions put forth by the community. One of the top questions that many kept coming back to was disc-locked content, or on-disc DLC, to which the publisher admits that it's easier, more convenient and cost effective to include premium, finished content on the disc.
No matter what your stance is with disc-locked content, the fact of the matter is that publishers are always thinking about money and they're always experimenting with ways to make more of it. An honest developer would never dream of finishing content, locking it on the disc and then asking for more money post-release to unlock said content. It's a low down dirty scheme for as far as the average gamer is concerned.
Well, one developer took part in the interview over at Kotaku, and blatantly asked the publisher why they practice on-disc DLC, after the anonymous developer admitted that he was disgusted when the studio he worked for recycled finished content and sold it as premium DLC when it could have been included in the main game. To him, he saw that act as a “slap in the customers face“.The anonymous publisher stated that...
To answer your question in the simplest way possible, on-disk DLC is easier for us, just about in every single way. Rather than patching in new content, we patch the unlock (which is a fraction of the cost and risk) and the content is ready to go. From our standpoint, it makes perfect sense, as we just look at the disk as another type of delivery mechanism for additional content. From your perspective, it looks dishonest, and I understand why. That is why I'm pushing to remove all on-disk DLC from my games, despite the fact it adds to cost and risk.
The thing is, the intent is still greed whenever you include finished content onto the game when it very well could have been included in the main game. And the key to the argument here is: When the content could have been included in the main game. We're not talking about DLC that misses certification or the going gold process and we're not talking about DLC that misses digital releases dates. We're talking about prime and ready, finished content that is disc-locked on a $60 retail disc.
The entire Q&A with the community was better than any PR-friendly interview that most websites conduct, mainly because gamers were asking questions they've always wanted to ask a publisher.
By the way, a few statements seem to indicate that it might have been a higher-up from Electronic Arts. When asked about whether they had horns and a tail, they quipped “If I tell you about my horns, I might lose my anonymity.”. For those who don't know, Kotick and Riccitiello are both regarded in the inner-sanctum of gaming communities as the devil(s) of the gaming industry. However, when asked about Call of Duty the anonymous rep vilified the brand, saying...
It can't be overstated. CoD killed major brands, a few studios, and caused every major publisher to rethink their FPS strategy going forward.
I doubt Activision would ever say anything like that about their own Golden Goose, and I'd expect as much from EA. But you know, it very well could be Square-Enix or someone from Sony (the fervid response about the perception of on-disc DLC did seem to lend itself in favor of a more publicly reputable studio like Sony or Nintendo.)
You can read up on the entire post – all of which is extremely fascinating – by checking it out at Kotaku.
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