Goat Simulator dev explains why DLC should be free

"It's nice." That's the number one reason DLC should be free, at least according to Goat Simulator's Armin Ibrisagic.

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"It's nice."

That's the number one reason DLC should be free, at least according to Goat Simulator's Armin Ibrisagic. "Having a good relationship with players is the best long-term investment you can make," he points out, saying that word of mouth is what ends up propelling games like his. "Dedicated fans are far better at spreading awareness about your game than any paid ads."

Developer Coffee Stain actually experimented with paid DLC with their previous games. Sanctum launched with piecemeal DLC that could be purchased for a buck apiece. "That didn't turn out great," Ibrisagic wrote on Gamasutra. "After only a few months, we had a clustermess of 10 different DLCs, each priced at $1 each, new players had no idea what to buy." Sanctum 2 introduced a Season Pass with larger content which did better, but "still not quite as good as we expected."

So with Goat Simulator, Coffee Stain opted for free updates, realizing that it actually can make more financial sense than selling paid DLC. "If you've released a new DLC, your total target group can never be bigger than the amount of people that own the game already," Ibrisagic explained. "If you release a free content update as a patch and alert people towards your new update, you're targeting both your current user base, and also everyone else that doesn't own the game."

Ultimately, Ibrisagic thinks that offering free updates will attract more buyers than potentially turning away gamers that are overwhelmed by add-on options. "People might not buy your game full price right after release, but if you keep adding content and supporting the game with free updates they might pick it up on a sale," he said. "Having a ton of DLCs on the other hand, might prevent people from buying it on mere principle."

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  • reply
    April 10, 2014 6:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Goat Simulator dev explains why DLC should be free.

    "It's nice." That's the number one reason DLC should be free, at least according to Goat Simulator's Armin Ibrisagic.

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      April 10, 2014 6:03 AM

      nice, turns out I own Sanctum too but have never played it.

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        April 10, 2014 6:40 AM

        I had no idea this was developed by the same studio!

        I enjoyed Sanctum playing coop with friends, so much that even though I wasnt really interested in the sequel I got it during a sale, I guess I'll check out this Goat Sim after all.

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      April 10, 2014 6:09 AM

      Those Goat Simulator guys are all-right in my books.

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      April 10, 2014 6:10 AM

      Dammit fine, take my money.

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      April 10, 2014 6:23 AM

      Never thought of it in that regard, that they are only selling DLC to people who own the game, but if you give away your DLC for free then someone who sees the DLC and doesn't own the game might be more inclined to buy the game if the DLC interests them. A great example of that is Arma 2 and Day-Z, Arma only began selling a butt ton of copies because ppl wanted to play the free mod.

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      April 10, 2014 6:32 AM

      I can't imagine any DLC being as epic as unlocking the Giant Goat. I love this dev studio.

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      April 10, 2014 6:33 AM

      [deleted]

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        April 10, 2014 8:58 AM

        agreed. Having explained like that, it's perfectly logical.

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      April 10, 2014 6:36 AM

      The opposite of this is something like Borderlands 2. If you buy the vanilla version of that game and then open the DLC menu, how the fuck do you even know where to begin.

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      April 10, 2014 6:57 AM

      All DLC should be free...especially multiplayer games. Adding paid for DLC in MP games creates a rift in the user database

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        April 10, 2014 9:29 AM

        I agree, and thankfully so do some devs. Around the time Tekken Tag 2 came out, the lead dev mentioned that any future DLC characters would be free because he viewed fighting game characters as sort of like chess pieces. It wouldn't be fair to play chess against someone who was missing a knight while you had an extra bishop.

        IIRC he was okay with the concept of early-unlock DLC (i.e, pay a buck to unlock a character you'd normally have to finish arcade mode to get) and also paid aesthetic DLC since that doesn't actually effect gameplay.

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      April 10, 2014 8:58 AM

      This really validates all those money grab accusations I saw aimed at Goat Sim.

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