By buft 2 Comments
Danny Bilson , Executive Vice President of THQ has recently gone on record as saying that the biggest problem with the video game industry at the moment is used games sales, the much maligned topic has been cropping up more and more often over the last few years.
Different publishers have been coming up with their own solution to this retail grey area over this time Like EA with their online pass(FIFA) and the $10 of free content(Mass Effect 2) both of which in effect reward players for buying new or if you're a glass half empty kind of person, punish player for buying used.
Rather than blame the end user for this market Bilson had this to say "It's really important not to punish the used gamer in any way. I'll be honest, if I'm buying games with my own dollars, and if one is $60 and $40 for the same thing, I'm buying the $40 one myself."
THQs solution is to develop a base level of the game which includes the basic content needed for any user to potentially enjoy the game for $40 and then include an online shop which allows players to tailor the game how they like it. What this means for THQ is that even if a player buys the game preowned to get the full potential out of the game they will require the DLC allowing those dollars to be feed back into the company towards future development costs.
I dont think it will be quite this drastic
The main difference I see between this model and that of EA is that rather than be side mission content this DLC will effectively be core content from the series, the first game to use it will be MX vs. ATV so I could imagine the missing content to be the higher tier vehicles or the more difficult tracks.
The biggest problem here is that racing series typically see a lot of DLC which is typically faster vehicles or more difficult tracks so in this sense its not much different than standard DLC for a full price game which the developer sees profit on even if you bought the game preowned and with the game releasing at a lower cost under the new scheme the developer is then likely to see less profit returned rather than more.
The other major stumbling block the developer will face is that of cutting content, assassins creed 2 developer Ubisoft faced a rather vocal backlash when their game was missing a few select chapters which subsequently was sold as premium DLC even taking into consideration that MX vs. ATV will sell at a cut price there is still likely to be some sort of outrage if twisted pixels experience with XBLA title The Maw which sells for $10 is anything to go by.
To sum it up if the developer/publisher sees less return at retail and releases DLC which isn't likely to see a larger return than normal will this help to reduce the damage the preowned games market creates? I for one don't think so.