Gears of War 3 may not include incentive content due to low redemption of 'Flashback' DLC

Epic's Rod Fergusson tells Shacknews that Gears of War 3 may not include bonus incentive content for new game buyers due to the low rate of redemption numbers of Gears of War 2's special DLC offer...

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In order to incentivize the new purchase of Gears of War 2, Epic Games decided to include a code that gave users free access to a map pack featuring maps from the first game in the series--dubbed the "Flashback Map Pack." According to Gears of War franchise executive producer Rod Fergusson, Gears of War 3 may not include a similar promotion due to the response of the Gears of War 2 offer. "That wasn't as successful as we would have liked it to have been," Fergusson told me in a lengthy interview at a Gears of War 3 Beta preview event in Toronto. Though Gears of War 2 was a commercial smash-hit, Fergusson says that "the rate of redemption on that code was really low." "For the fact that it was free, I was surprised that it wasn't redeemed as much as it was," he said. Fergusson didn't have exact numbers, but says it was low enough to still keep ideas of attempting a similar program for the third game's release up in the air. Since Gears of War 2 launched in 2008, other publishers have adopted a similar program to incentivize the sale of new games, including EA and THQ. Warner Bros. is also rumored to be using a similar program with its upcoming line-up. In all cases, the 'free, one-use code' included at retail was also immediately available for sale. "I actually kind of feel that, with the 'Online Pass' stuff--I think we gave people permission to start doing that stuff. I felt like we were one of the first." Fergusson said of the one-use code trend sweeping the industry, clarifying that companies tend to watch each other to see what ideas have potential in the marketplace. "You're basically trying to find a way to deal with game retailers who allow for used products and so you're trying to avoid that, but retailers are your bread and butter. There's this love/hate relationship. Anytime anybody attempts to do something they don't want to offend the retailers too much, but also they're trying to prevent used games as well."

Thrashball makes a guest appearance in one of the maps available in the upcoming Gears of War 3 beta.

The "Flashback Map Pack" included five remade maps from Gears of War: Canals, Gridlock, Mansion, Subway and Tyro Station. In early 2009, the Flashback Map Pack was made available for users that did not utilize (or have access to) the free download code--for $5. The problem, Fergusson agreed, seems to be at a consumer education level. "I think its systemic to the notion that people just don't want to type in five-by-fives [five blocks of five characters]. A lot of people either don't look at the pocket inside their case or they think it's an ad, not a code they can type in to get free stuff." Epic has yet to decide if Gears of War 3 will include an incentive bonus with new copies. While the offer wasn't successful in 2008, Fergusson admits that the actions of other publishers may have helped educate customers to take a closer look at the papers stuffed in the retail box, which could translate to a higher percentage of free code redemptions. Gears of War 3 launches on the Xbox 360 in September 2011. A beta for the game's online multiplayer begins on April 25. The full, forty-minute interview with Rod Fergusson will be posted early next week.
From The Chatty
    • reply
      April 8, 2011 10:17 AM

      SUMMARY: Epic's Rod Fergusson tells Shacknews that Gears of War 3 may not include bonus incentive content for new game buyers due to the low rate of redemption numbers of Gears of War 2's special DLC offer...

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        April 8, 2011 10:19 AM

        So, if people stop buying incentive DLC, publishers will stop offering it? Speaking with your wallet appearently still works.

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          April 8, 2011 10:23 AM

          But it came with the game for free and people still didn't use the code.

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          April 8, 2011 10:24 AM

          Read the story. I BEG OF YOU.

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            April 8, 2011 10:25 AM

            It would be great if you could get EA to comment on the levels of unused codes for something like the Cerberus network.

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              April 8, 2011 10:57 AM

              I missed the cerberus stuff on my first play through because how obtuse their whole system was

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                April 8, 2011 11:04 AM

                you mean registering the code on social.bioware.com? the only obtuse part of that I can see is finding where you put in your code.

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                  April 8, 2011 12:45 PM

                  Well ya having to go to an out of game website to enter the code was the big hurtle but even then its not simple to find the download links to your bonus content

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            April 8, 2011 10:33 AM

            Let's try it this way. If people don't buy because of incentive DLC (as indicated by the low adoption rate), publishers will stop offering it. I'm hoping the same principles apply to pre-order bonuses as well, especially if purchase numbers are the same or lower than retail sales without pre-order bonuses.

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              April 8, 2011 11:31 AM

              The article is talking about the redemption rate - as in a probably a large number of people bought the game new and then didn't redeem the code. It's not that a lot of people said "oh fuck DLC" and kept moving. It's not that a lot of people said "oh hell no I'm paying extra!", they already had it in the form of a little card with a key on it. They just ignored it. People still bought the game.

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                April 8, 2011 11:36 AM

                Also, it's going to be interesting to see how this shakes out for consoles.

                The whole point of a console is that it's easy. Turn on, insert disc, receive bacon, start playing.

                Ergo typing in a CD Key (I know it's not really a "CD key" but this is Microsoft, I can almost guarantee it was on a yellow sticker in a Courier New font) is more hassle than console gamers want. Especially the bros who buy Gears of War games.

                I saw someone the other day talking about needing to open ports on their router to boot up GT5 on their PS3.

                DMC4 required a 5GB install on the PS3 before it would let you play whereas it didn't on the 360.

                Over time the advantages of consoles are eroding as they're becoming more like PC's.

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        April 8, 2011 10:29 AM

        did you just repeat the story headline?

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      April 8, 2011 10:27 AM

      Personally, I don't use the codes until I decide I want to keep the game for good. Keeping the codes intact make for good resale value :)

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      April 8, 2011 10:38 AM

      Is that top picture of a girl being chainsawed from the back?

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        April 8, 2011 10:40 AM

        Yep.

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          April 8, 2011 11:34 AM

          And this is what 17-year olds play today, isn't it?

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          April 8, 2011 11:52 AM

          And we still have to fill out age gates to watch movies...

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            April 8, 2011 12:06 PM

            Regulations that have nothing to do with any website.

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              April 8, 2011 1:02 PM

              I'm just advocating that we should be putting age gates on violent pictures too!

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        April 8, 2011 10:55 AM

        Hehe, but it looks like they started from the anal entry point. :D

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        April 8, 2011 12:01 PM

        looks like some anal rape if anything...

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        April 8, 2011 12:43 PM

        So is that better or worse than slapping a woman's ass in DNF?

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          April 8, 2011 1:11 PM

          Do you guys remember that study that said like x% of video games feature violence towards women, but they were counting shit like "You can punch Chun-Li in SF2"

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        April 10, 2011 2:47 PM

        Gears of War 3 is an Equal Opportunity Impaler.

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      April 8, 2011 10:45 AM

      I'd like to thank our Gamefly overlords for their part in this. Anything that makes developers have second thoughts about doing this is all right in my book.

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      April 8, 2011 11:00 AM

      Xav, tell me this is coming to the PC bro, its a big secret you found out from Epic :)

      Don't be afraid to PM me I won't tell anyone.

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      April 8, 2011 11:00 AM

      Microsoft needs to allow you to scan those cards directly with Kinect.

      Nothing so annoying then entering so many digits with the gamepad

    • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
      reply
      April 8, 2011 11:04 AM

      brodozer DLC

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      April 8, 2011 11:14 AM

      I think Gears of War players are illiterate and/or lazy and can't figure out how to redeem those codes.

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      April 8, 2011 11:29 AM

      I didn't bother redeeming it because it sucked.

      Shocker.

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      April 8, 2011 12:09 PM

      I'm surprised that no-one has bothered to mention the fact that this was purely multiplayer DLC.

      Since the vast majority of buyers have no interest in multiplayer (no, I have no evidence to back that up) it seems painfully obvious to me that this is a huge factor in the lack of redemption.

      I'd be very interested to see the total unit sales vs. number of unique multiplayers vs. redemption numbers.

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        April 8, 2011 1:03 PM

        its funny you say that you have no numbers to back it up, because CliffyB has said that the majority of the Gears players play multiplayer. Thats why there are so many interviews where he is quoted as saying if Gears 3 multiplayer isnt good it will kill the franchise......

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        April 8, 2011 1:08 PM

        The vast majority?

        Very general, sweeping statement.

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          April 8, 2011 1:11 PM

          True, but I believe it's only recently that the number of xbox users on live eclipsed 50%.

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            April 8, 2011 1:17 PM

            That stat isn't very useful unless you assume an even distribution of Gears purchasers across the entire platform, regardless of subscription status though. What % of Gears purchasers also had a Gold subscription might be a little more informative (although still flawed).

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              April 8, 2011 1:24 PM

              Exactly. I strongly suspect the percentage would be higher than average due to the triple-A status of the game and the established multiplayer.

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            April 8, 2011 2:22 PM

            Means nothing.

            Here's an example. Something like less than 10% of games in 2010 were M Rated, according to the ESA; however, they made up for 80% of sales.

            My point is, you need to know more than one stat to make that argument.

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          April 8, 2011 1:15 PM

          The infallible custodians of knowledge over at wikipedia provide this:

          Gears of War 2 has achieved significant success after its release. In its opening weekend, the game sold over two million units, and set a new record for the number of simultaneous players on Xbox Live, with over 1.5 million people logging on to play the game.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gears_of_War_2#Sales

          Excuse me while I seek out the nearest humble pie.

          (Although I'd still be interested in seeing those numbers...)

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            April 8, 2011 1:31 PM

            Re-reading that quote I realise that simply being connected to XBL while playing the game doesn't mean that those 1.5 million were playing multiplayer...

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              April 8, 2011 1:42 PM

              The online leaderboards for multiplayer currently show 2,895,047 people. You might be able to compare that to a recent stat of the number of copies sold?

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      April 8, 2011 12:18 PM

      What do places like Blockbuster that buy up large amounts of games do with their dlc codes?

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      April 8, 2011 3:28 PM

      The free map pack was multiplayer only. Put in something free that adds content to the single player and I bet the redemption rate will be 4,000 times better - even if it actually sucks just as much.

      Also, total conjecture, but the number of people that had X360s not hooked up to the internet in 2008 was probably quite high, comparatively to 2011. Free dlc is worthless to these people, another reason it would likely do better today.

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        April 8, 2011 4:49 PM

        Yeah. I redeemed mine but we hardly ever played those maps. They hardly ever came up in rotation/selection and when they did most players in the lobby wanted to skip them. It's hard to say but I think it fragmented the game's online community more than anything else and did so practically on release date. Regardless, some other sort of compelling, deeper content would have probably done better than retextured old maps.

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      April 9, 2011 7:36 AM

      I call TONS of BULL SH*,simply put we see how much CA$H other companies are making so we want to be lil greedy PIGS also and not miss out on extra income at 5BUcks a pop!

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