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Steam Offers Paid DLC To PC Users

The worlds of console and PC merge on yet another point as paying for post-release downloads just got easier on Steam.

This guy tried to bootleg the new Maw content. He'll be dead by sundown.
One of the big disconnects for people who play games on multiple platforms are the different expectations for post-release support. On the PC, that stuff was almost always free. Remember all those downloadable units for Total Annihilation? Or how about Epic's approach to free content, which just recently spawned a new "Titan" pack for Unreal Tournament 3? And if you were paying to expand a PC game, you were expanding it, usually by going out to purchase a retail, boxed expansion that added a new campaign, a handful of new maps or missions, and so on.

That was one of the things that rubbed me the wrong way with the Xbox Live Marketplace first came along. With its promise of microtransactions and easy, on-console access, things like map packs were a couple of button presses away. Along with it came stuff like the Oblivion horse armor. And EA's experiments into pay-per-cheats that felt like a total slap in the face when they first hit.

But hey, you can always count on the PC to keep on getting free updates, right? Well, not really. With more and more multiplatform games coming along, the notion that PC players would pay ten bucks less and get free updates that console owners had to buy always made it look like someone was getting screwed. Either the PC players got it for free, or they didn't get it at all, simply because the expectations of the players were totally different. Plus no one had any easy way to sell and distribute this stuff.

Today, selling that content just got easier. Valve announced its DLC support today and added the "deleted scenes" content for The Maw, Twisted Pixel's cute little action game. The levels run $1.25 a pop, and there are currently two levels in place. Valve states that its implementation of this add-on content will allow it to work with retail, as well as Steam versions of games and versions purchased "via other digital outlets."

While this isn't the first foray into getting PC users to pay for add-on content, Steam's entry into this market feels like one of those "moments" to me. This is the thing that's going to make every other digital distribution service implement similar offerings, if they don't have one in place already. This is the thing that's going to make sure that the next time you buy a Call of Duty game on the PC, the maps they release down the line won't be free due to some kind of NVIDIA sponsorship.

I expect there will be a lot of hand-wringing and angry forumizing to come as more, higher-profile games begin selling add-on content on the PC. But, really, did you expect this to go any other way? The weird thing is that I've been paying for map packs and costumes and other little stuff for so long now on consoles that I'm sort of happy to see signs of the PC catching up in this department, if only to ensure that all players at least get access to the same content, regardless of their choice in platform.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
This guy tried to bootleg the new Maw content. He'll be dead by sundown.
One of the big disconnects for people who play games on multiple platforms are the different expectations for post-release support. On the PC, that stuff was almost always free. Remember all those downloadable units for Total Annihilation? Or how about Epic's approach to free content, which just recently spawned a new "Titan" pack for Unreal Tournament 3? And if you were paying to expand a PC game, you were expanding it, usually by going out to purchase a retail, boxed expansion that added a new campaign, a handful of new maps or missions, and so on.

That was one of the things that rubbed me the wrong way with the Xbox Live Marketplace first came along. With its promise of microtransactions and easy, on-console access, things like map packs were a couple of button presses away. Along with it came stuff like the Oblivion horse armor. And EA's experiments into pay-per-cheats that felt like a total slap in the face when they first hit.

But hey, you can always count on the PC to keep on getting free updates, right? Well, not really. With more and more multiplatform games coming along, the notion that PC players would pay ten bucks less and get free updates that console owners had to buy always made it look like someone was getting screwed. Either the PC players got it for free, or they didn't get it at all, simply because the expectations of the players were totally different. Plus no one had any easy way to sell and distribute this stuff.

Today, selling that content just got easier. Valve announced its DLC support today and added the "deleted scenes" content for The Maw, Twisted Pixel's cute little action game. The levels run $1.25 a pop, and there are currently two levels in place. Valve states that its implementation of this add-on content will allow it to work with retail, as well as Steam versions of games and versions purchased "via other digital outlets."

While this isn't the first foray into getting PC users to pay for add-on content, Steam's entry into this market feels like one of those "moments" to me. This is the thing that's going to make every other digital distribution service implement similar offerings, if they don't have one in place already. This is the thing that's going to make sure that the next time you buy a Call of Duty game on the PC, the maps they release down the line won't be free due to some kind of NVIDIA sponsorship.

I expect there will be a lot of hand-wringing and angry forumizing to come as more, higher-profile games begin selling add-on content on the PC. But, really, did you expect this to go any other way? The weird thing is that I've been paying for map packs and costumes and other little stuff for so long now on consoles that I'm sort of happy to see signs of the PC catching up in this department, if only to ensure that all players at least get access to the same content, regardless of their choice in platform.
Edited by JJOR64

Awesome for Steam users.

EDIT: Crap, misread it.  I guess we will see where this goes.

Posted by RedSox8933

this is going to be sweet. now i just need a better computer...

Posted by trimon

I was losing hope in Epic after the way they treated UT3, but now I love them again!

Posted by myketuna

I think this will help with PC ports of console games (SF IV anyone?) but I really doubt people like Valve or Epic will release updates for pay that don't deserve it. The next "Titan" pack for UT 3 will be free like the one before it because it's been free for many years before this paid DLC thing came along. If a PC game needs a substantial amount of DLC, they can release it as an expansion pack, something PC gamers are used to. But paying say per map on the next UT or TF? I doubt it. Some people will buy it sure...but like most PC gamers, I'll pass. Someone will recreate your "paid DLC" with mods. Hopefully. Otherwise, there are other methods. Other methods that got that guy in the picture in trouble. lol. No, that's horrible.

Posted by raikoh05

put it in the game, goddam

Posted by Bellum
Bellum said:
"Ugh, I'm not paying for shitty add-ons. "
Posted by DavidSnakes

Does this mean Lost and Damned coming for PC?

Posted by snide

While I think this is generally a bad idea, if it gets more publishers excited about putting out more PC games I'm all for it. 

Posted by Cerza

When will they learn? PC gamers won't buy this shit. One, because this sort of thing has been free on the PC forever, and two, because there are so many different avenues to acquire the content on PC be they legal or illegal that it makes it completely pointless to charge for this stuff.

When PC gamers think expansion, they think expansion pack, as in something along the lines of StarCraft: Brood War. Not a new level that takes a few minutes to complete, or some fucking armor for your horse. But hey who am I kidding? The traditional expansion pack is dead. It's been dead for a while now, and console style DLC is what killed it. The sales for GTA IV: Lost and Damned are proof enough of that.

Edited by raikoh05

if microsoft "owns" lost and damned, they wont let it go to steam. maybe GFW.

but I got a feeling its coming to everywhere eventually.

Edited by Crono

As long as TF2s class updates remain free i could care less about some small timers that need to squeeze a couple pennies more out of their users.

I disagree with Jeff though.  This doesn't feel like a "moment" to me.  The big names in PC games will continue to do things the way they have been.  Valve WILL continue to add large sums of content to their existing games for free and so will Blizzard just to name a few.  The "when they expand, they EXPAND" philosophy that PC users have come to expect from actual expansions of content will still be seen from the bigger and more pc-focused companies.  It is the companies that port games to any market, no matter how optimized or not their game and its controls are, that will largely be doing this I would wager.

Edited by cspiffo

This is the new reality of the world we live in.  Games are getting increasingly more complex requiring more and more resources.  It's only natural that these companies would want to capitalize on Add-on content.  It's also kind of disturbing how some gamers believe they are entitled to play this stuff for free as if it was their god-given right.  The gravy train has pulled in for it's final stop now and gamers are going to have to realize they will need to pony up and support the companies that we have essentially been taking advantage of (damned pirates!).

If you don't believe the content is worth the price they are asking then...here's a thought...DON'T BUY IT!  If enough people steer clear of this business practice  then maybe these companies will rethink their strategies.  I for one though will be enjoying the fruits of these developers' labors and purchasing content that I view as reasonable DLC.

People need to really get some perspective.  See, I grew up in an era where games were only an hour long and cost the same or more than what games today cost.  I didn't think twice when I plunked down nearly $70 for the NES version of TMNT III in the '80's.  That game was fun as hell and I never for one second regreted my purchase.  Get a clue people and stop expecting someone's hard work to be your's to enjoy for free.  That's not how the world works.  We're not communists!

Posted by Lilarcor

Maybe this means that PC users will get stuff like the Prince of Persia DLC now that they missed out on before. That's at least a positive outcome from this news.

Posted by Teirdome

I'm torn.  On one hand it could bring a few publishers back to the PC market.  On the other, it's another excuse people are going to use to pirate games, and that piracy excuse then used by publishers to go further away from the PC.

The business side of games is crazy, just think about what Valve's doing with their free content.  In 2 years, when everybody else has their expensive DLC and Valve is STILL putting out free updates to TF2 and L4D, how many extra purchases will be inspired by that free content?

Sadly Jeff's right, it was inevitable.

Posted by JohnDudebro

GFW Live's been doing this for a while, but obviously Steam doing it is way bigger. It's also kind of overdue, honestly.


I just hope this doesn't mean Valve will start charging for all those TF2 and L4D updates.
Posted by Brackynews

Just like discounted Steam games see a 3000% increase in sales, so too will the games that tend to offer more free DLC, as being value added.  I think discounting DLC is a poor choice overall.  There are many games on XBLA I'm waiting to buy after a drop, and I could be waiting forever.

What about credit card price protection?  Has anyone ever received a $4 refund for a week-after-purchase price drop?  It's meaningless when you're talking about imaginary points.  That's how they getcha.

Edited by Hamst3r
Jeff Gerstmann
on March 16, 2009


I'm sort of happy to see signs of the PC catching up

Really? You consider that catching up? :P
Posted by Gruff182

It's good to hear that we'l get some extra crap.

So long as Valve stick to their guns, reguarding the additional content of there own games.

Posted by MrKlorox

Some DLC is worth paying for and some isn't. $1.25 is too expensive for a The Maw level, especially with the already correct (low) prices of a lot of the things on steam.

Posted by xxNBxx

Crono said

"Valve WILL continue to add large sums of content to their existing games for free and so will Blizzard just to name a few."

I agree that Valve will continue to add content for free but in truth Blizzard has not ever really added anything for free outside of patches and fixes.  WoW is a paid service after all, although 8 out of the 15 bucks a month goes to keeping the servers up the other 8 is paying for the content they add every few months.

Posted by myketuna

I think Blizzard will stay free for things like Diablo III *hopefully unless I missed incredibly important news* but if they do decide on DLC, they could always release D3 Lord Of Destruction or whatever the expansion pack is named. I think that's fine because Blizzard usually packs a shitload of stuff into their expansions. StarCraft III will be the only exception since it's going to be split up in the first place. But if the whole "every campaign will be full-length" thing is true, that sounds pretty hefty in my opinion. But I'm not a SC player so I don't care.

Edited by DiGiTaL_SiN

Am I the only one who thinks that The Maw looked really really lame?

Posted by defector

As a PC user, I *am* used to getting stuff for free. Console users are going to ruin it for us PC users with their willingness to pay for icons or whatever other crap Microsoft is peddling to them via Marketplace. Just because Microsoft forces publishers to sell their addons doesn't mean PC users should have to pay for it too.

I don't mind paying for an actual expansion pack, but I refuse to pay $1.25 for some trite crap.  I seriously doubt PC users are going to give them much business for this kind of thing. They've set a precedent with free support and add-ons for PC users, and for better or for worse, we're not going to pay for horse armor.

Edited by TomA

I wish this article was more than Jeff ranting about something he clearly has no idea about.I mean come on,PC players pay upwards of 1000$ for their gaming rigs.But then someone else goes and buys a 300$ PS3 and pays 5 bucks for extra content,getting the same amount of content for only 305$ compared to 1000$.I think the people who pay all that money to buy and update their PC's should be entitled to more advanced,and free, content. And secondly,it's clear that nobody on staff(minus Dave) has any idea what their talking about when it comes to the PC,they have said this many times before.So don't after saying that,go and post stories about PC games,because it just makes you look like and idiot and shows how much you don't know.

Also,the PC already has Puzzle Quest Galaxtrix so haha.

Posted by parrot_of_adun

It's times like these I feel like a complete douchebag for buying a 360...

Posted by Seedofpower

Unlike other platforms, we can STEAL the content. lol.

Posted by crusader8463

one word. DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by JoeDoe

Well, at least it could mean "The Pitt" could come thorugh Steam, and not thorugh that monster that is GFWL... one can dream.

Cheers

Posted by Geno

Well I mean, there's still a difference between "free updates" and this. Free updates are things like patches and bug fixes, whereas things like levels are actual content. If you think about it, buying something like 10-20 microtransactions gives you the same amount of content you'd get from a full blown expansion (or even sequel), and for a similar price. I think microtransactions are a good thing and make buying game add-ons easier.

Posted by Kohe321

Steam is awesome.

Posted by PapaLazarou

The reason why DLC is free for the PC is because you can just torrent it and get it for free.

Posted by atejas

DLC already existed on the PC. This is just Steam catching up to GFWL.
Even if it encourages the wrong mentality, I'm pretty confident Valve won't start pricing for it.

Posted by LordAndrew

Companies are going to want to charge for downloadable content anyway, and Steam is providing them an outlet to do so. That should encourage developers to continue to support the PC.
And Valve isn't going to suddenly start charging for their updates, or they would have done so already on Xbox Live.

Posted by Doogie2K

So you mentioned the UT3 Titan pack, and I'm wondering if Steam will be offering that, as well, even though it's free, or if I should just go to Epic's site and get it?

Posted by Jimbo7676

Well at least this will make the same stuff available to all users. If there's any company who will handle DLC without screwing over the consumer its Steam so it's probably for the best. I doubt they would ruin all their good reputation just to nickel and dime people with DLC when they already are making lots of money.

Edited by Nights

Ah, I can see why EA was so eager to have their games distributed via Steam. Coincidence? Perhaps. Regardless, I can see them leading the pack in terms of overpriced DLC in the near future.

Posted by TheHBK

Cool, did feel unfair for console users, but man, it still feels like it is cheaper.  If that came out on XBL, I am sure each level would be 400 points, 5 bucks.  The horse armor was just ridiculous.  Also, the EA crap of paying for extra weapons or access to weapons was just the biggest crap I have ever seen.  I still dont think we should be paying for extra maps, that stuff had always been free until XBL, but extra levels and content that includes new gameplay or campaign additions, that is reasonable.

Posted by mracoon

I disagree with the part about PC catching up with consoles. I've always held the view that PC was ahead of consoles in downloadable content whether it be updates, patches or new content. Also I still think most companies will release new content for free on PC. They've seen the massive success that people like Valve have had for releasing free stuff and the increase in sales that follows.

Moderator Online
Posted by IceColdGamer

This just means piracy numbers will increase. Developers can't really screw over a group of gamers that are used to quality releases with free support. Then, once those companies whine and bitch that they lost however many millions in the last fiscal year because of piracy then they may retract their DLC prices.

We're PC gamers, not 15 year olds running upstairs to ask Mom for permission to get a new Maw level.


Posted by Kyle

Whatever man, that's how our society works. You put in work, you get paid. Nobody has any right to enjoy content that people worked hard on without paying any money.

So, good for them.

Posted by LordAndrew
Doogie2K said:
"So you mentioned the UT3 Titan pack, and I'm wondering if Steam will be offering that, as well, even though it's free, or if I should just go to Epic's site and get it?"
The Titan Pack is included in the Steam version.
Posted by Snail

Oh well.
One less argument for PC gamers.

Posted by LordAndrew
TheHBK said:
"Cool, did feel unfair for console users, but man, it still feels like it is cheaper.  If that came out on XBL, I am sure each level would be 400 points, 5 bucks."
If you're referring to the levels for The Maw, those are on Xbox Live, and they're available for 100 points, which is $1.25. The same price they're charging on Steam.
Posted by Antipunk217

I am surprised to see any optimism here. This is bullshit, pure and simple. Digital downloads (any download via steam) is a lot cheaper to distribute than a console came (no box, no cd) and it is justified for us to pay 10.00 less and we shouldn't have to pay for useless garbage like skins. Jeff is right, this is a "moment," but not like the moon landing, but like the Kennedy assassination. (Goodbye good days of PC gaming, you have been killed by corporate greed)

Edited by cspiffo

@ Antipunk217,

While you may think you are being wronged open your eyes and actually look at the reality of todays world.  What used to take 1 person to create takes a teem of 10- 40 people to make today.  While distribution costs will go down with DD, cost of development goes up; way up!  Be more reasonable.  If you don't think the content is worth it just don't buy it.  The publisher will see this and either put the content on sale or rethink their strategy.  The nice thing about steam as opposed to services like XBL is that it's a far more open platform where companies can set their own prices and rules.  Valve just provides the tools for a nominal fee.

This isn't the end of the world.  1.25 for a level is not a terrible price to pay.  Yah buy 10 of 'em and you still have a pretty cheap, well supported game.

Posted by Antipunk217

You're right.....it's not the end of the world, it's the opening of the flood gates. Just wait and watch is all I am saying. I hope that the optimists are right.

Posted by cspiffo

Here's to the future :^P

Posted by RHCPfan24

Whatever. As long as PC users can experience the same content consoles do, even if they pay for it, then there is a definite advantage. Also, Valve is always going to have their add-on content as free, so there is a safe, clear bastion that will never die.

Posted by changeling

Valve is missing the point. Its almost as easy to pirate something on PC as it is to get it off Steam.  The main reason I use Steam is to support the developers who make the game as well as the platform its on. It is impossible to XBL-ize the PC platform and quite honestly, feel that PC is a refuge of sorts from the crap thats happening on XBL with paying for content thats already on disc or features and/or ending that should be part of any game. DLC is a heaven/hell scenario: when adding new content to a FINISHED game, it is awesome and worth the money, but if its paying for a sound test ala Soul Caliber 4, they can shove it. Bottom line is that DLC on PC will be a MASSIVE failure.

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