EA CEO John Riccitiello shared the motivation behind their inclusion of paid DLC in all their titles this year. "We sort of initiated our approach here originally with NBA Live with Dynamic DNA almost a year-and-a-half ago. In every case, what we've seen is a very positive response from the consumer and in each case, particularly with Dragon Age, a strong pickup in revenue per user. By and large, they like the extra content and we think it's a strong positive move...we've got similar strong PDLC programs with all of our titles this year."
COO John Schappert embellished on the success of Dragon Age DLC. "We had downloadable content in addition to the pack-in content, if you will, available for purchase on day one. The first week, we did over a million dollars in sales on that title - that's just with DLC, obviously." With numbers like that it's understandable why both Schappert and Riccitiello strongly back paid downloadable content programs in 2010.
"We think that the attach rate or usage [of DLC] is about at 70%, above all units sold," Schappert continued, "so it's obviously much higher for those online registered users."
Paid DLC wasn't the only type being discussed. EA has also recognized the value of rewarding those who purchase new copies of their games with free downloadable incentives. Mass Effect 2's online-enabled Cerberus Network is the most recent and notable example, allowing a gamer with a brand new copy access to downloadable extras. Those who rent or buy the game used have to pay extra for access to the DLC in a clever attempt to encourage more gamers to buy titles new.
EA believes that its DLC plans are a good fit for its current strategy of fewer, higher-quality titles. "Consumers are buying top titles and playing them longer," explained Schappert. "[DLC is] a great incentive when they first buy the title, but it also teaches them and shows them that there's additional content online and gets them used to that whole ecosystem in the marketplace."