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Opinion

Launch Day DLC: A Guide for Internet Ragemonsters

Rage hard.

Launch day DLC has a bad name thanks to a couple of very naughty publishers who in the past have cut content from a game to create DLC. Those publishers have been outed by the press and received the lambasting they deserved, yet people still sneer and moan that launch day DLC should be included as part of the full game.

It should not and to explain why I have compiled this handy guide featuring two scenarios with my favourite made-up publisher / developer, Nerdsoft.

Scenario 1:

  • Nerdsoft have a budget of 10 million to create groundbreaking title Supercheese Racer. They allocate $9 million to the game and then $1 million for DLC creation and estimate they will sell 5 million games.
  • Two years later and Supercheese Racer is completed and thanks to excellent time management and the skills of the developers the DLC is also completed and they can take a well deserved holiday.
  • Internet Ragemonster finds out about the DLC and sets up a campaign to have it included as part of the game. Nerdsoft bow to pressure.
  • Supercheese Racer is released, Nerdsoft no longer have the DLC as a revenue stream, sell the predicted 5 million copies but are $1 million out of pocket, the cost of the DLC development.
  • Nerdsoft close, developers lose faith in console games, move to iOS games.
  • Internet Ragemonster rages that no one makes console games anymore.

Scenario 2:

  • Nerdsoft have a budget of 10 million to create groundbreaking title Supercheese Racer. They allocate $9 million to the game and then $1 million for DLC creation.
  • Two years later and Supercheese Racer is completed and thanks to excellent time management and the skills of the developers the DLC is completed as well and they can take a well deserved holiday.
  • Supercheese Racer launches with day one DLC. It is not part of the game; it had its own budget, its own development cycle and is a completely separate product to the launch game.
  • Supercheese Racer sells 5 million copies and lots of DLC, Nerdsoft are able to pay their staff and invest in future products.
  • Nerdsoft take their well deserved holiday, come back refreshed and make Supercheese Racer: Black Ops Future Soldier which is proclaimed to the best game ever.
  • Everyone lives happily ever after.

If you still have trouble grasping the concept then try this: next time you are in your supermarket, place one large bottle of champagne and one smaller bottle of the same brand champers in your basket. They would be roughly the equivalent to a £40 game and £15 worth of DLC.

When you get to the checkout explain that you are only paying for the larger bottle as the smaller bottle was on the shelf at the same time therefore should be included in the price.

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67 Comments
  1. Kovacs
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009
    • C_S15
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009
      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:06.
    • cc_star
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Forever

      Great infograph, oh & hi

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:27.
      • Kovacs
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Hi!

        Just logged in to sign up for the Burnout meet. Still need that Wildcats trophy for the plat!
        :)

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:47.
      • theberzerka
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        I’ve signed up for it to lend a hand. Still there’s only three people signed up.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:53.
  2. KeRaSh
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Brilliant article! :D

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:05.
  3. Jacko
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    So, when is Supercheese Racer released?

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:10.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      2 years time apparently! You heard it here first! :)

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:25.
  4. nemesisND1derboy
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    How about Scenario 3?

    -Nerdsoft have a budget of 10 million to create groundbreaking title Supercheese Racer. They allocate $9 million to the game and then $1 million for DLC creation and estimate they will sell 5 million games.
    -2 years later, Supercheese Racer is out and sells 5 million copies like budgeted.
    -Nerdsoft gets to work on DLC, and is completed a few months later.
    -Nerdsoft releases DLC and entices player base back to its excellent game.
    -Internet Ragemonster looks at this, decides he’s not pissed off, and goes to slag Bioware about same sex relationships in games, leaving Nerdsoft to carry on with its reputation intact.
    -Supercheese Racer’s fans are all happy, and buy Nerdosft’s shiny new DLC, because they don’t feel cheated.
    -Nerdsoft take their well deserved holiday, come back refreshed and make Supercheese Racer: Black Ops Future Soldier which is proclaimed to the best game ever.
    -Everybody wins.

    I think I’d prefer that over scenario 2.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:13.
    • SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
      Member
      Since: May 2011

      That way it’s likely they won’t make any more DLC as by the time the second bit would come out no one cares about Supercheese Racer 1 any more and have moved on to MegaUltrabreakfast racer a rival game released months after with day one DLC, with the money made from that have made multiple more DLCs beating Supercheese Racer and Supercheese Racer: Black Ops Future Soldier never gets made, meaning the gaming community never sees the best game ever.

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:29.
      • hazelam
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        funny, that didn’t stop huge dlc packs coming for RDR and GTA IV long after the game’s release.

        and the COD map packs seem to do well, which is especially surprising considering how expensive they are.

        and with multiplayer games people don’t stop playing once they’ve finished the campaign, people keep playing them for months and even years in some cases.

        hell, activision don’t seem to have trouble selling dlc for the last game a couple of months before the new one.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 19:05.
      • colmshan1990
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        Hazelam, using the biggest games (COD,GTA,RDR)in the industry as your example is never going to work.
        They sell all year round.

        But they’re not indicative of a typical game.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 19:17.
  5. SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    People should stop crying about day one DLC, it’s like paying for bacon on your burger, you could have it how it was originally made, or you can choose to spend more money and make your burger better.

    Personally if the game is good enough to play twice I’ll play it through once usually with out the DLC or purchasing it half way through, and then the second game play with the DLC keeping the game a little bit more fresh the second play through.

    By the way awesome article Tuffcub.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:32.
  6. afrogeez
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    This goes on the assumption that the DLC is actual extra content and not content they decided to strip to sell later. So in theory that $1 is unspent?

    PS. i lol’d at Supercheese Racer: Black Ops Future Solder.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:33.
  7. LTG Davey
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    lol, nice little article. I can see where you are coming from and try my hardest to look at it like that but there’s something about handing over £40 for a brand new game only to get home and realise you haven’t been given the finished product that doesn’t sit right with me

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:40.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAA AAAARRGHHHHHHHHHH RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA RAARGGHG RARARARAGHGH!!!!

      ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!! RARARARRARRA RARRARARA!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!

      *headdesk*

      IT IS FINISIHED! FIn.Ish.ED!!!!!!!

      DLC is a nice hat to go with the coat you just bought. Not requried, nice extra but you pay for it. You coat is still a coat without the jaunty trilby.

      DLC is a second hash brown. Your Full english is complete and lovely but an additional hash brown makes it super nom.

      DLC is a premium cinema ticket, you get the same film as everyone else but have bigger chair and waitress service.

      DLC does not “complete” again it “adds” to a game.

      I need a lie down.

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:57.
      • Arch_Angelus
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        This is completely false in several scenarios. Last generation if I bought a fighting game I would get the different costumes with the game, now they are behind a pay wall.
        Last gen I complete a game and get infinite health / ammo cheats as a reward now behind a pay wall.
        I want to fight the super bosses in a Final Fantasy game, last gen yep they’re there, this gen get your credit card out. If they’re going to charge more for these parts of the game don’t put it behind some kind of excuse it was budgeted separately.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:13.
      • AG2297
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        Last generation game budgets were nowhere near as high. Last gen was also, well, last gen. Things have changed a lot since then. While I’m not someone who often buys DLC, if ever, I can see the big benefits it brings to developers in terms of cash when their costs are so high.

        On a side note, the only real problem I have with console games at the moment is the initial price is still very expensive in my opinion, much higher than all of the competition. I think they need to lower the price down to £29.99, or lower, for a new game and concentrate on increasing the number of sales based on that better price and therefore bringing a larger amount of potential customers to their DLC.

        Currently all the games that I have been playing have been between free to play and less than a tenner yet im finding them much more fun than my more expensive games and I’m playing them with a lot more friends in co-op. I still love my AAA games, but I think their business model certainly needs to adapt and adapt fast or else before they know it AAA will be gone and we will only have Facebook, free to play, mobile and Steam games.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:33.
      • Arch_Angelus
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        At the beginning of this gen they added an extra £10 next gen tax to cover the increase in game production costs. If publishers are spending more than this they need to get their finances in order. As a consumer nickel and dimming the gamers isn’t a good way to go about that.

        Whilst you may wish for lower price games and added DLC many long term gamers don’t want that. All these DLC’s won’t be available in a few years (server shutdowns, expiry dates on codes), I’m not going to be able to go back to my game collection years later and enjoy the full experience. It’s just an example of how throw away gaming has become.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:51.
      • LTG Davey
        andUandU
        Since: Aug 2008

        @Tuff, I follow your, urrm, mental breakdown(?) to a point but most day-one DLC doesn’t feel like a “nice extra” (a second hash brown if you will) instead it feels like they have literally taken the finished product, chopped a bit off it and thought “we’ll charge extra for that” – like someone has dished up your full english before having a re-think and scooping one of your hash browns off your plate (damn I’m hungry now).

        Street Fighter x Tekken had members of it’s roster happily sitting on the disk but Capcom decided we should pay extra for those. The same can be said about additional maps/weapons in FPS’ and even actual modes in some games (Resident Evil 5′s versus mode for example)

        Examples like Red Dead Redemption and it’s Undead Nightmare DLC? I’m cool with that. It was well put together, clearly took some time to develop and was therefore thoroughly deserving of an extra £20 of my money. They get more of my money, I get more content, everyone is happy. The likes of Capcom however, who decide we should pay extra for things that should really be there in the first place, can take a running jump.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:55.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        Why would a developer spend $1M, (10% of their entire budget in your scenario), on DLC when they could cut something from the game (we’d never know anyway), save themselves $1M AND make money from the sale of this content as DLC? That makes more business sense.

        I guess its a question of whether you think the content should have been included in the original game, or not. And for me that doesn’t just include day-one DLC. I’m all for buying extra levels.tracks etc, but horn sounds and costumes are poor excuses for some DLC and for a £40 game I feel like I should have those small additions. That’s just my opinion.

        We can’t really argue your point since the game is technically finished, therefore anything extra is of course just “extra” as you say, but I think you understand what people are trying to say.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 17:18.
      • SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        With a lot of these on the disc DLCs the case can be, maybe not all ways, that the team developing the day on DLC did such a good and speedy job that it was finished before the discs were made, after the rest of the game was finished, so they could fit it on the disc. These teams that make the DLC as Tuffcub said is made on a different budget so that needs to be paid for, so it will be charged as DLC.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 17:59.
      • colmshan1990
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        You know what the difference between those locked costumes on disc which you had to pay for on the PSN store and costumes you had to download via patches and then pay for on PSN store?

        You didn’t waste any bandwidth downloading them.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 18:26.
  8. bigbaldwolf
    Member
    Since: Mar 2012

    The biggest problem with day 1 DLC is that in a lot of cases it is already on the disc. So in their scenario they have 10 million as a budget, create the game and then strip off parts they can almost ‘resell’ as DLC

    I’m not bothered about day 1 expansions of the game, that’s fine but to charge for content that’s already there doesn’t feel right.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:44.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      That is a slightly different problem because depsite what you think, you are not buying the game. You are buying a license to play the game, but we’re not gong to get in to that else we’ll start moving in to the whole “pre-owned” games thing.

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:52.
      • bigbaldwolf
        Member
        Since: Mar 2012

        Yeah I know that’s a whole other arguement lol but it was never like that last generation. When you bought the game you bought the game. You never bought Tekken only to find out that you had to but the alternate costumes. They were there or they were unlockable. As I said, I don’t have an issue with all DLC and when it’s done properly it can benefit a game but that’s not how it’s being used now

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:55.
      • hazelam
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        maybe we should make them agree to license to get our money.

        dictate what they can and can’t do with it, and if they want to be able to spend it they have to pay us a secondary fee.

        looking at it and making origami cranes is free though.

        those license are bullshit, full of legal mumbo jumbo and clause up the backside, and they know half of it is unenforcable.

        and i don’t recall ever signing any license agreement for a game.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:24.
      • SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        With a lot of these on the disc DLCs the case can be, maybe not all ways, that the team developing the day on DLC did such a good and speedy job that it was finished before the discs were made, after the rest of the game was finished, so they could fit it on the disc. These teams that make the DLC as Tuffcub said is made on a different budget so that needs to be paid for, so it will be charged as DLC. It’s not a acutal part of the game.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 18:02.
  9. Arch_Angelus
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    As a consumer I see it like this. Last generation when I bought a retail boxed game I was getting the full experience, this generation I’m not. There’s no transparency to the consumer how these are budgeted for and I don’t think most of them care, they’re just seeing less value in the products they’re purchasing. Communicating to developers that all this day 1 DLC is acceptable will only encourage them to shift the content from the main boxed game to further DLC’s and more pay walls.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:47.
    • bigbaldwolf
      Member
      Since: Mar 2012

      That’s the point. It has all changed this generation. Take FFX on the PS2. One of my favourite games and I put a stupid number of hours into it but if it was released in this generation you can guarantee that I would have had to pay seperate for Celestial weapons, fighting the extra bosses (dark aeons) and the monster hunting challenge. I’m amazed at how much this generation has changed the face of gaming and now there is no going back

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:51.
      • Tuffcub
        On the naughty step.
        Since: Dec 2008

        FFX Cost $32m. XII was $48M, XIII was $65+, more than double that of FFX. I hionest cant remember the cost of PS3 games on launch – £30? FFXII was certainly not double the cost of launch day FFX so Square Enix need to recoup costs. You get a hell of a lot more game for you money these days compared to PS2 games.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:04.
      • bigbaldwolf
        Member
        Since: Mar 2012

        ‘You get a hell of a lot more game for you money these days compared to PS2 games’

        That’s definitely a matter of opinion. I definitely got more for my money out of X than I did for XIII. My point is simply that there is a big absolutely mahooooosive difference between well thought out and put together DLC and charging for content that has been taken from the finished game.

        Capcoms 12 characters already on disc or Elder Scrolls Oblivion shimmering Isles expansion. Which one did it right?

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 17:09.
      • nofi
        One for all.
        Since: Forever

        “You get a hell of a lot more game for you money these days compared to PS2 games.”

        What on earth is that supposed to mean? In what context?

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 19:28.
  10. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    the thing is, with either option, that’s large chunk of resources diverted away from finishing the main game.
    for something they can sell later.

    and you cannot tell me that some of the day one dlc hasn’t been developed as part of the main game and then just chopped out to sell.
    not all, but too much.

    i don’t think that champagne analogy is accurate.
    those are two separate items, not part of the same item.

    buying a set of those russian dolls and finding out you have to pay separately for the smaller ones in the middle would be closer.

    but in the end, they have every right to create day one dlc, just as we have every right to tell them to shove said dlc up their arse.

    Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 15:50.
    • Erroneus
      Wanted "Trophy Hunter" but was too late.
      Since: May 2009

      Exactly, often DLC are cut from the main game, which is where I feel cheated. I don’t mind DLC, acxtually I think it’s awesome if done right. But I think companies like Rockstar has shown with GTA IV & RDR how it should be done.

      Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:08.
      • psychobudgie
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Naughty Dog got is spot on as do Rockstar and Bethesda more often than not. You get the feeling these companies don’t feel the need to release Day 1 DLC as they spent all their time on the actual game and get the continued reward from their well deserved fan base following the release of a well made game wheras EA don’t do any of that.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:13.
      • hazelam
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        i bought the dlc packs for RDR and GTA IV, on sale but still.
        that’s because they were proper dlc, not cut content or pallat swaps, or bloody horse armour.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 16:27.
      • Tuffcub
        On the naughty step.
        Since: Dec 2008

        Right, so despite reading the above you start you comment with “often DLC are cut from the main game,”

        I give up. I really do.

        Congratulations on your TSA name, suits you.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 17:00.
      • hazelam
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        hey TC, Erroneus was responding to something i wrote, and it is relevant to this article.

        you say dlc is developed separately, and i said, and erroneus agreed with me, that that’s often not the case.
        there have been many times when content has clearly been chopped out of the main game in order to sell it as dlc.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 19:10.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        It’s a psychological thing. Two games could have the exact same development cycles – DLC created before the game comes out. If company A releases the DLC on day 1 people will cry about it. If company B releases it two month down the line those same people would keep their mouth’s shut.
        It’s ridiculous.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 20:52.
      • Erroneus
        Wanted "Trophy Hunter" but was too late.
        Since: May 2009

        WTF Tuffcub, really?

        Because you say that DLC is developed as an individual product, doesn’t make it true, that ALL DLC is so. There are many cases, where DLC are quite clearly cutted out of the maingame.

        As I wrote, I don’t have anything against DLC, if they ADD something to the game and are not something they just flesh out of the game.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 21:18.
      • nofi
        One for all.
        Since: Forever

        Erroneous is right, IMO. DLC is often made of stuff that’s cut from the game at the last minute, even if it’s wrapped up in a pretend ‘online code’ or something.

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 22:01.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Well, as long as we’re just guessing both theories could be true. I don’t see why one of them would be “more right” than the other one. I simply refuse to believe that the majority of the companies that make games are as evil as some people here pretend they are. Glass half full and all of that stuff…

        Comment posted on 09/05/2012 at 22:29.

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