Obviously, DLC is an important part of Electronic Arts' strategy to offset lost revenue due to the used games market as well as pick up additional earnings when able. "Instead of selling one product with a unified $60 price point we see people buying a $60 disc and then bolting on hundreds of dollars of DLC," explains Brown. "We're happy to have $500 worth of extra content to sell."
EA is getting closer to that mark, with recent EA Sports releases like Madden NFL 11 releasing alongside 24 pieces of DLC, offering boosts and bonuses to various gameplay systems. The nature of this DLC seems to ape what we tend to see in free-to-play, micro-transaction supported titles like League of Legends or FarmVille. It would be safe to assume that future EA Titles will take this approach to DLC, based on Brown's words.
Brown also discusses EA's "Project $10" program, which manifests itself differently between games, but exists as the "Online Pass" for EA Sports titles. Gamers with used copies of EA Sports games will need to pay $10 to EA in order to access any online features. "There hasn't been any significant push-back from the consumer, because I think people realise that if you're buying a physical disc and it requires an attachment to someone else's network and servers, people know bandwidth isn't free," said Brown.
Though retailers like GameStop are at the forefront of the used games market, which takes money out of the pockets of publishers like EA, Brown is quick to call GameStop a "very important current and future market partner for all forms of DLC," explaining that "GameStop's in a really good position to explain to the customer what the DLC is... because they have a staffing model and a customer service model geared exclusively to games."
"There hasn't been any significant push-back from the consumer, because I think people realise that if you're buying a physical disc and it requires an attachment to someone else's network and servers, people know bandwidth isn't free," said Brown.
Yeah, keep shoveling.
When someone buys that disc, they are paying for the network and server support that goes with it. When they then sell that disc to someone else, the first person is no longer using it; the second person is using it instead, and is using the resources related to it. It doesn't cost more bandwidth to support the same number of users in something like this.
Sadly, multibillion-dollar companies are often permitted to conjure up their own versions of reality and entice many people to participate in them.