Paradox Interactive has come clean and called a spade a spade, calling out many of the developers and publishers who have been abusing this little thing called Downloadable Content or better known as DLC. In a plea to maintain the good name of DLC, Paradox Interactive's senior producer Gordon Van Dyke let it all hang out in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun as the studio readies for the launch of War of the Roses.
So for those of you who don't know (and it's kind of hard not to) but DLC has become labeled as the syphilis of the gaming industry...it's like something a lot of people have and there's no way to get rid of it. Some people have learned to live with it while others try to stop it from spreading by complaining, whining, grieving and fighting against it. DLC doesn't have to be bad, and Paradox Interactive believes that it can be beneficial to both gamers and publishers, but when it's done bad and done wrong, like in the case with Street Fighter X Tekken, it can leave a bad taste in the mouths of gamers.
Van Dyke wants to take a different route with the upcoming War of the Roses, a game that has been receiving a lot of positive feedback both critically and from the community. Gordon states that...
“...I like to try different things. I like to figure out the best things for consumers and how we can be most fair to them. I want them to go ‘It’s worth doing this. I want to give them an extra five bucks because they’re giving me a lot. They’re not trying to screw me over.’”
Gordon goes on to explain what many smart marks already know: The executives in business suits who determine the direction of a video game company don't care about DLC, they don't care about the game and they don't care about gamers, they care about the bottom line numbers generated on the data sheets. We all know that developers aren't the ones choosing to screw consumers over, executives are.
Van Dyke goes on to explain how gamers are being shafted, especially from big-name titles like Battlefield and Call of Duty, saying...
“So Call of Duty’s a perfect example of a group that does very lazy DLC. They give you a map pack, and now they’ve segmented you away from a massive amount of people who have the game. So, at best, I heard they sold to 30 percent of their playerbase. That means you can’t play with 70 percent of people who also have that game. And if you look at that in a corporate situation, they’re gonna be like ‘Yeah, we sold to 30 percent of our install base! That’s fantastic!’ They don’t give a shit about the player.”
Van Dyke and Paradox want to give two pieces of curdled dog feces about the player. They don't want to be like those big-wig execs who sit in their chairs and bean-count. I'm sure Pradox still does a fair amount of bean counting but that's not necessarily their priority when it comes to DLC.
Dyke goes on to say that...
“That’s why I like working at Paradox. We’re more like ‘OK, how does this affect our entire player base?’ [CEO] Fred Wester’s been really nice to me and pretty much lets me go off and do anything I want, because my objective’s always about how I’m affecting the entire group.”
In other words, Paradox Interactive wants DLC that makes sense, that's designed after you finish a quality product and provides players with an expansion to the base game or smaller additives that don't break the game for everyone else. Now if only we can get more publishers to start thinking that way.
You can learn more about Paradox Interactive's new initiative on DLC and aiming to be consumer-first and greedy-second, by visiting Rock, Paper Shotgun.