Sessler's Soapbox: Game Pricing and Mass Effect 3's DLC

Posted: February 28, 2012
Sessler's Soapbox: Game Pricing and Mass Effect 3's DLC
Adam discusses the current price of video games and the recent debate over Mass Effect 3's day-one DLC.

Comments are Closed

  • Daniel_N=

    I'm a huge fan of Mass Effect. I've purchased all the DLC's for ME2. In time, I will buy all the DLC's for ME3.

    Having said that, I'd like to say a few things. First, I am not a big fan of day one DLC. I think it sends out the completely wrong message. And I therefore have to confess I don't like EA/BioWare policy on that, even though I may understand it. I'll get to that later.
    But on this matter. DLC is something you get when you love a game. Something that will extend or improve your experience with it. Now, when I start a game like Dragon Age 2 and it opens up saying there's all this DLC available I can get, if I pay extra (hey, I just bought the game), and an extra character, and whatever... I'm annoyed. Because what is the publisher saying? Is this essential stuff that I need to experience the game in full? Then why isn't it on the disc. And if it's secondary stuff, why should I bother?

    Mass Effect 2 had its issues as well. Most DLC was secondary stuff, but Lair of the Shadow Broker was an essential part of the story. It was a great DLC, I recognise. But not being in the main game means that people who don't buy DLC will miss an integral part of it. Doesn't seem right.

    ME3 will probably follow the same policy. Personaly, as a gamer, I don't like it. But in the end, gaming is business and publishers will do what they must to improve their revenue. I understand that games like these are expensive, and its up to us, gamers and fans, to support them if we want more quality games in the future - and not a world overcome by "social games". But publishers should be sensitive to the message their sending. In the end, it's not in their interest to alienate the people who support them. And that's us.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 1:22 PM
  • aceman67

    Where the hell are you buying your ME3 Collectors edition for a $130 bucks?

    I live in Canada and I paid 79.99 for it, and I'm going to be first in line at the midnight launch at my local Gamestop.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 1:14 PM
  • KTXtheGreat

    Complaining about how a company does business doesn't always changes everything because all businesses want to make a profit. If you don't like DLC don't buy it and if a game isn't worth $60 wait for a price drop and buy it later.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 1:00 PM
  • DinoHaxxSaur

    I like day 1 dlc for this game and I wish other games would do it cause most games we play now a days are just too short. I wish the FF13-2 would release the Lightning story line dlc already. Anywho, I like the day one dlc cause for people who may finish the game faster than others will have a chance to continue on in their game. But if your a slower player or don't have alot of time you can purchase this when you are ready to play it. Sometimes completing a game and then having to wait for something is annoying, but at least this ties everyone over for awhile.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 12:47 PM
  • OldestYoungMan

    I agree that games should be priced based on the content of the game. I have been tired of these one play though 20 hour games that I just end up trading in or forgetting about . They have to change how the games are priced in the next console generation. Games should really start at $39.99.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 12:10 PM
  • Angelicsin87

    I miss when collectors edition was about just being a fan of the game and just paying extra to get relics of that game to remind you how much you love it. Now it's this petty narcissism or trying to get the full game.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:56 AM
  • TheBRADLeyB

    I was thinking about it some more and if game companies want to cry and complain about them not making enough money tell them to make better games and start going Digital Download.

    Official Xbox Magazine had a great article a few years back that broke down as to what money went were for the 59.99 Bucks you pay for a game.

    Some of it was eaten up by retailers and special promotions. Well if you eliminate the retailers and start making it worth while to buy directly from Microsoft/Sony (who are already receiving a portion of sales via the certification of the game and other things) you can start selling games like Mass Effect 2 for 50 bucks and that's the key. Because if you can get more people to buy the game via Digital Download you've already taken out a bite of the 'supply' for 'used games' later down the road.

    And Mass Effect 3 is in the perfect slot for releasing a game. Most AAA Titles and publishers have shot their load so now all those games that were bought around X-mas time are being traded in towards Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 however will be out for a while before a strong contender hits it. And a lot of people will hold on to a game until they trade it in for another game. Some people just can't trade a game in and put on their card as credit till the next game comes out.

    Anyway the problem is also that publishers LOVE GameStop.

    Example? Why does GameStop have the premium Pre-Order DLC when there are retailer specific promotions? GameStop makes it so easy to trade in games and get a new one with nifty exclusive DLC that there is no reason NOT to use GameStop. If the premium DLC was being offered only through Digital Download or from the publisher's themselves you'd see a drop in GameStop sales and presumably a drop in the trading in of games.

    And I'll never understand why Publishers never give their customers good DLC. Typically if you buy the game from the publisher you get a free shirt or some other random thing not related to the Pre-Order DLC everyone wants.

    So until Publishers stop doing business with GameStop and giving them an edge they can go flog themselves.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:45 AM
  • CujoSWAoA

    Fact is that Skyrim has a lot more content than Mass Effect 3 and Bethesda didn't rip any of it out to put on Day One DLC.

    Bioware/EA are greedy jerks. Plain and simple.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:36 AM
  • PredatorHell

    When anyone on a forum or like Adam's talk about game prices, it always brings me back the SNES times.

    THE GAME PRICES WERE FAR MORE EXPENSIVE!!! I still have the memory surprised when Final Fantasy 6 (it was 3 at those times) cost me 100$, 120$ with taxes!!!

    Nintendo's defense was that the battery for saving your games in the cartdriges cost more, so needed to be those prices. 50, 60$ that is stable since PS1 I think is ok.

    Just day 1 DLC that is frustrating. The industry should ALL look at the G4 Feedback of Dice when they talk to Gearbox Randy Pitchford about the DLC in Borderlands and Fallout are the only prefect DLCs that are made, That looks like a complete new game, but they give it on DLC for 15$, 20$.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:15 AM
  • Hydronide

    Cash Effect 3

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:13 AM
  • jonmay

    Yeah, if you paid $130 for the Collectors Edition, you got ripped off. My preorder came to $74 something at Amazon, which granted is more than the standard price for a game, but certainly not so outrageous considering the bonus materiel included with the game.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:13 AM
  • Rudyv30

    Completely agree. I don't mind spending more for an epic 100 hour plus game like Skyrim. By the same token, it pulls on the short and curly's that I spent $60 for Binary Domain, sub par single player and terrible tacked on multi-player. I know it's my fault but I'm a sucker for Terminator style games.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 11:11 AM
  • BobitoZ

    Yes it is business. But that does not mean they have to be dicks.

    Let's look at Skyrim, $60, 100-200 hours of content. What was their First DLC? The Creation Kit, which can potentially generates 100s more hours of content.

    How much extra was the Creation Kit? Free.

    Now I can tell you that that gives me confidence in a company I'm buying from; and I will most likely buy any DLC they do decide to charge for.

    They could of gone about it in a different way.

    EA/Bioware just wants $70 from people day 1.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:58 AM

    I don't give a flippity-floppity-floo. Let me play my awesome game.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:53 AM
  • GHOSTY009

    I believe the root of this problem isn't on the publisher side of things, it is on the gamer's side. This generation has an extreme sense of entitlement that causes many gamers to demand they are given anything at no charge. The games are a business first and foremost, and more importantly the people responsible for making these games need to pay their bills too. DLC is meant to expand the experience of a game for those who are inclined to purchase the additional content. I think we can safely say after years of quality games from Bioware, they wouldn't cheat us on content value even if their EA overlords demanded it.

    Collector's Editions are made for fans of the franchise who love the game to the point they want to express it by having unique items to display in their homes, and perhaps have some fun in-game bonuses as well. I don't always agree that every game needs a collector's edition, but again it goes back to that these companies need to make money and they don't have the same market to make money off of their product like other products can, ie movies. Games essentially get one run, perhaps two releases if the game is popular enough to get a game of the year edition. Then it falls to the DLC to continue supporting the title and trying to bring in additional income to support the publisher and studio. I have never had any issues with the price points placed on these items because I take the time to know the products I buy and know I will be happy with the goods.

    People need to just remember that they don't have to buy this DLC, no one is forcing them to, their Mass Effect game will not be ruined if the day one DLC isn't purchased. If they want that DLC then they are going to have to pay for it, because it took time and money to create. Lets not punish Bioware for putting content in the game that we ALL have wanted to see since we started this journey. If you're really that upset about the price point, wait until it's release in a GOTY Edition or goes on sale in XBL or PSN later on.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:52 AM
  • Funkapillar

    My concern is that companies are spending money and time to Capture unrealized market share that really isn t there to start with; and in the process are increasing the cost to those who would have paid full price for the game in the first place.

    I d be interested to know what market analysis or industry study spurred all of this activity, and was it published by the same people offering these solutions. Dubious.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:43 AM
  • Wozman23

    On the subject of Collector's Editions:
    As pointed out, they are made to turn a profit. The physical goods seem cool on paper, but usually look a lot cheaper or smaller than I expected. I don't need all kinds of statues, bookends, and weapon replicas cluttering my room. I too am a huge fan of art books. If CEs just contained an art book and sold for $80, I'd bite far more often.

    On the subject of a new pricing structure:
    As a primarily single player gamer, I love the idea of giving the developers more release options. I usually give multiplayer a spin, but it rarely holds my interest for more than a couple hours/days, and I'd usually rather move on to another single player experience. Often the MP just feels tacked on to bring in the 'I won't buy games without multiplayer' crowd. They aren't happy because the MP is lackluster, and I'm not happy that time and resources were wasted on a feature I care little about, instead of making the single player better or longer.

    If franchise like Uncharted, Dead Space, and Bioshock were sold both ways, I'd seriously consider the cheaper option in most cases. In some cases, like LittleBigPlanet, I'd still want the online features. However, there would always be a internal struggle as to whether or not I should buy the full version to try MP so as not to miss out on anything.

    That's why I'd propose another business model, much like the current, that would just make the online passes optional. All games could be sold at $40-50 and multiplayer would be completely locked, or limited to a trial. Consumers who want to play the multiplayer would just buy the pass through the various console marketplaces. They have to be online to play, so they should be able to pay too. Granted there are some people, or minors, without credit cards who would have to have to rely on other options like points cards, and I'm sure there's a statistic somewhere that says it's less likely for people to spend more money after the initial purchase, but it does help the single-player-centric while not overburdening the people who enjoy MP. Plus in scenarios where I'm undecided if I wanted MP, I'm not left high and dry if I opt for the cheaper game that doesn't give me an option of multiplayer at all.

    That's how used sales work today, and developer's like that. Why not extend that to new games? I'm not sure of the economics of each physical sale or marketplace purchase, but I would assume they would receive a larger percentage of the profit. If not, the dividends could be tweaked. This all becomes easier with digital distribution too.

    Sadly, I'm sure I'm in the very small minority, so I don't think either idea is all that feasible.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:23 AM
  • crocodilius

    Someone forgot to tell Adam that
    the customer is always right.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:22 AM
  • AJtheSanch

    Multiplayer modes are what's really killing our games.

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:20 AM
  • Omnipotance

    I used to play D&D back in the 80's. I think it was more expensive than video games. I deffinately couldn't afford everything that I wanted back then and nothing has changed that much today. At least now if I spend $60... I'll get an entire experiance... but I have to agree with Adam; I feel like I won when I bought Skyrim on the release date and I'm STILL playing it today. Worth much more than $60!!

    Posted: March 1, 2012 10:19 AM