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Retail forced Deep Silver to charge $5 for Metro: Last Light's ranger mode

Koch Media global brand manager Huw Beynon admitted that "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail," while defending Metro's day one DLC.


No one gets surprised when a publisher announces retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses for their AAA game. However, very rarely do publishers go on record to admit that retailers are strong-arming them into the practice. But that's exactly what Metro: Last Light publisher Deep Silver did while explaining its partitioned ranger DLC.

Available for free with pre-ordered copies of the game, Koch Media global brand manager Huw Beynon explained that "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail."

"Game makers and publishers now live in a world where offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail, and Ranger Mode seemed like the best choice since it was a mode for hardcore fans who would most likely pre-order the game, or purchase it at launch in any case," he told PC Gamer. The alternatives were to make story content exclusive for pre-orders or to make ranger mode a timed exclusive--both options were rejected.

Gamers that don't pre-order the game will have to shell out $5 for the extra mode, a policy that Deep Silver says isn't of their own doing. According to Beynon, "the lowest 1st Parties would permit us to charge for content of this nature" was $5.

Metro: Last Light will be out next week, alongside our own review.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 10, 2013 1:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Retail forced Deep Silver to charge $5 for Metro: Last Light's ranger mode.

    Koch Media global brand manager Huw Beynon admitted that "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail," while defending Metro's day one DLC.

    • reply
      May 10, 2013 1:48 PM

      That sucks if pc only you could get away with telling them to fuck off and go via steam only but with a ps3/360 version you got to bend over and take it.

    • reply
      May 10, 2013 2:34 PM


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      May 10, 2013 3:08 PM

      well let's hope we get good reviews before the game comes out so i can decide whether it'll be worth preordering or not.

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      May 10, 2013 3:18 PM

      Wow. I didn't expect these guys to just bald-face lie to us. I guess it's been working for other devs (cough. Gearbox. cough.).

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        May 10, 2013 3:34 PM

        Are you saying that they're lying and that retail pressure is not what's causing them to release this game mode as DLC?

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          May 10, 2013 3:39 PM

          "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail" A REQUIREMENT? So games without any DLC CANNOT EVER BE SOLD AT RETAIL? I find that not only dubious, but bullshit.

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            May 10, 2013 3:59 PM

            He may be full of shit, but I'm willing to bet that he means something different than what he said.

            He probably meant that in order for a game to be promoted as a pre-orderable game by major retail chains there has to be some sort of retail-exclusive content.

            I'm pretty sure you can walk into GameStop and pre-order any game that's even remotely been announced (see: the people with DNF preorder stubs from 1998) but in order for GameStop to put you in their advertisements, the front page of their website, and the big carboard cutout things in their stores you will need to kowtow to their demands. And so long as retail remains dominant over digital, sales-wise, this is probably going to be the case. And the PC could probably escape from this a lot quicker if console games were a separate affair (i.e., if the console versions launched later or didn't exist).

            It's like the big misconception that Best Buy puts you in their weekly circular the week your game comes out and that's "free advertising" - nope, if you wind up in the Best Buy circular (or Target, or Walmart, or any other major chain) if's because YOU PAID THEM to be there, otherwise you don't get announced


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            May 10, 2013 4:13 PM

            Think of the stores that have pre-order bonus'. Now imagine if they decided to not carry game X, for whatever reason. Would it be possible to sell the game at retail? Sure. Would it be a good idea to force the situation? Not so much.

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            May 10, 2013 4:15 PM

            requirement = not offering it equates to fewer copies being ordered, less retail shelf space, and far fewer promotions to help sell the production, thus drastically reducing your forecast and sell through.

            video games: they are a business with all the good and bad that comes with it.

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              May 10, 2013 4:16 PM

              production = product. proofreading, why don't i do it.

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            May 11, 2013 5:54 AM

            It has other pre-order exclusive content, A unique gun (modified russian assault rifle), bonus military grade ammo (+100 starting cash) and a digital comic.

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              May 11, 2013 7:43 AM

              The digital comic is retailer-exclusive. I suspect the other content will be included in the ranger mode download.

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                May 11, 2013 8:28 AM

                The last thing I want in a ranger mode playthrough is +100 military grade bullets to start with, it's such an illthought addon.

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            May 12, 2013 5:18 PM

            "...And I base this on absolutely nothing."

            If you don't actually have anything pointing the other way, don't accuse people of lying.

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        May 11, 2013 5:55 AM

        Other devs slimy enough to try something so low, and prop it up with a "the invisible hand forced us to do it" excuse.

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      May 11, 2013 5:39 AM

      Maximum Bullshit Achieved. I could see the likes of Gamestop and Best Buy negotiating for retailer exclusive fluff content (skins, weapon models, multiplayer map packs, extrea side quests, etc.), but a full-on game mode that changes the entire single-player experience? That's clearly the publisher's own nefarious scheme--attempting to bully customers into preorders any way they can, regardless of which retailer they go to.

      I'm sure the retailers fully supported the idea, but blaming them for "requiring" it? That's some maximum bullshit right there. I guess it's no surprise really...Deep Silver is just another mediocre game factory. The only interest they have is vacuuming as much money out of each customer's wallet as quickly as possible.

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      May 11, 2013 5:52 AM

      i don't understand how "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail," is bad.

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        May 11, 2013 6:00 AM

        Driving pre-orders is bad. It shapes consumer sentiment to buy products sight unseen, and applies resistance to any attempt to not preorder after getting burned the first time. It's an attempt to solidify "caveat emptor" as the default policy for a market where returning products is not feasible, except to sell back to GameStop at an effective 80% restocking fee (after which GameStop makes a 60% profit when they sell it for 5 or 10 dollars off of new retail prices).

        If the video games market were to go all-digital, used game sales would die off, but preorders would stay, and this bullshit would continue.

        This speaks more to Koch Media's consumer operating model as a publisher, which after seeing how they sell Dead Island, is apparently almost as dirty as SouthPeak.

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          May 11, 2013 9:25 AM

          I think that sentiment will be kept in check as long as incidences like "Colonial Marines" and "SimCity" happen every once in a while, which they will.

          For me it seems like it enriches the customer experience by offering more options for those willing to risk early adoption. I'm sure the only people who would really be taking advantage of this would be people that have been following the development of the game close enough they feel they can be assured it will be worth it to them.

          As long as it doesn't get as bad as making me pay to unlock content that's already on my media, I'm probably going to be okay with this.

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      May 11, 2013 7:32 PM

      Fucking Gamestop.

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      May 12, 2013 7:15 AM

      Oh so THIS is why pre-order bonuses are becoming a thing now; it makes sense. Geez, I remember years ago when pre-order bonuses and collector's editions were cool and worth your time. Now it's just a sales gimmick.

      Everyone is going to point fingers at Gamestop for this one, but don't forget they're not the only retailer that does this....

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      May 12, 2013 5:30 PM

      Making a game is basically a giant, giant bet. Imagine all of the things you could do with the $20 million it takes to make and market a game like Metro: Last Light. Seriously, think about it. You could invest it in real estate. You could buy franchises of a secure brand like Burger King or some other retailer. You could put in the capable hands of some of the best wall street investors.

      The game publishers are betting on games. And bless them, because you gamers are the biggest pain in the ass customers on the planet. You bitch about literally everything. If EA sold a box that had $70 inside it for $60, you'd bitch about it.

      And yet they march on because they want to make money making cool games. So when something threatens the loss of potential revenue like retailers wanting to guarantee some sales before they agree to order product (and you are a vast idiot if you think that isn't the case now), they have to adjust and do something, else they risk retailers not wanting to carry their game and instead use that shelf space for used games or fucking Lady Gaga merch, which sells.

      Or you can believe there are a bunch of evil maniacs that want to steal your money, only are too stupid to use their $20 million for something much, much safer.

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        May 13, 2013 11:29 AM

        What a bunch of bull. They don't sell a box with $70 in it for $60; They sell DRM-riddled crap that doesn't work for the first few months until they patch it. You can cry all you want about customers bitching about a product they pay for. Games aren't different than other products.

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      May 13, 2013 5:55 AM

      Gamestop is crap, we all know that. Hopefully digital distribution puts them out of business, eventually.

      Also, I strongly suspect this sequel to Metro is going to be consolized and a lot crappier. Sigh.

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