Stuff That Sucks: Pre-orders and DLC

When done right, pre-orders and DLC can help stretch a standalone experience in interesting ways. Unfortunately, it all too often is not done right and that leads into this week's Stuff That Sucks.

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The last decade has ushered in an interesting trend in gaming. Downloadable content and pre-order bonuses have emerged as a way to help entice people to pick up games on the first day of release, forcing the hand of those that would normally wait for a GOTY Edition or a price drop. When done right, it's a method to help stretch out the development cycle and add more content to what's otherwise a bare bones package.

Unfortunately, more often than not, it's a way for publishers to gouge customers for content that's already on-disc or content that arguably shouldn't be on the table in the first place. This definitely sucks and Greg Burke is here to explain just how badly this practice has been abused in this week's Stuff That Sucks.

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  • reply
    May 4, 2015 4:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Stuff That Sucks: Pre-orders and DLC

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      May 4, 2015 4:04 PM

      Amazon if you pre-order they don't charge until it ships and you get the lowest price during the pre-order. Since you can cancel it right before it ships then there's nothing to get charged. But you can still get the pre-order bonuses like beta access and still cancel the order later.

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        May 4, 2015 5:16 PM

        Good to know

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        May 4, 2015 7:56 PM

        Conversely, their Subscribe & Save appears to be a horrible deal because the prices you sign up at don't auto-adjust downwards if there's a price drop.

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      May 4, 2015 4:35 PM

      The last few days I've been seeing ads to pre order battlefront and black ops 3. And I keep thinking? Why? Why do I need to pre order? Especially now. It's not coming out for another 6 fucking months.

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        May 4, 2015 5:16 PM

        It really is stupid...

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        May 5, 2015 8:10 AM

        [deleted]

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          May 5, 2015 8:15 AM

          I believe the last thing you mentioned is already true. Preloading already exists for many preorders. I don't think this is really a bad thing. It helps offset some of the server issues that plague the launches. The risk to the buyer is that you have to put money down up front. That's something for the buyer to weigh though. Plus it gives people on bad connections or data caps a chance to space out their download and not miss out on game time. This is the kind of thing that I'm talking about when I say that it's not automatically a nefarious scheme or something.

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      May 4, 2015 5:36 PM

      Is this where I can rant about Early Access?

      I think what we are seeing are ways to monetize the development of a game. Not the actual delivery of the product, but the development. The sales teams know that even a pre-oder that can be canceled is worth some % of actual sales that would not be guaranteed after release.

      Early Access is roughly the same thing. Get money for what you have done right now. Can't be canceled and most likely these are the hardcore who will buy your DLC anyway.

      I guess I would like to see a more nuanced approach. Complaining about DLC being made during game development is nothing new and we all know by now that artists and such have little to do pre-release without DLC because their part is done while it is being put through the final code passes before cert.

      What should be extra bothersome now is:

      -Actual game modes or non-cosmetic content locked behind pre-orders.

      -Games that are incomplete without DLC being the subject of Early Access or Pre-Orders.

      -Getting people to put down money with no guarantees of final content.

      But yes, we should be banding together as communities to resist pre-orders because we as a community are some of the greatest hype machines.

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        May 5, 2015 6:54 AM

        Pretty much this. If the public doesn't change and vote with their wallet EA and it's ilk won't change. I get how early access and it's revenue stream for a developer is a really good thing. Except the publishers are getting in the way. But it's a valid counter point that early access is no guarantee of a final release and certainly not final quality.

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        May 5, 2015 6:57 AM

        In terms of early access, I think the ability to help fund games while they're being developed is a positive. I'd rather a game potentially get made because a community came together and pitched in than it just never getting beyond the drawing board because of funding. Or, since gamers like to be doom and gloom about big publishers, that same company might have to go to an "evil corporation" and make compromises on their vision because of the deal with a publisher. Either way, the ability to involve the community is one option that EXPANDS the choices for consumers. That's a positive.

        Does it suck when you support a game that either isn't very good or takes a long time to finish? Yeah sure, but at the same time, lots of "unfinished" early access games have had thousands of hours logged by players who I assume are pretty happy that they're playing ANYTHING. Once again, it's a situation where people who don't want to play or fund an early access game are not being forced to do so. There's a big difference between an 8-bit arcade shooter made by 1 or 2 people in their spare time being funded on Steam Greenlight and a AAA title like Batman. AAA titles still generally follow the old model.

        "-Actual game modes or non-cosmetic content locked behind pre-orders. "

        Such as? Separate storylines or additional characters have almost always been separate purchases since the dawn of games. Half-Life had at least three expansions that I can think of off the top of my head. They even reused art and textures that would've now been already in the directory, aka "on-disc." But back then, we didn't download expansions because we didn't have the bandwidth for it. As far as I know, though, games aren't being released with the option to pay $10 to advance to level 2. And in terms of early access games being unfinished, well the caveat to buying those is that you're funding an unfinished product.

        -Games that are incomplete without DLC being the subject of Early Access or Pre-Orders.

        Is this happening? Granted, I don't play the amount of games that I used to, but I can't think of games that are being shipped as incomplete with you having to buy preorders or DLC in order to finish them. Preorder bonuses are almost always cosmetic or have minor convenience effects. But this doesn't seem like a problem that actually exists. But I might be misunderstanding what your point is. Are you saying that there are games that are offered for preorder or early access that won't be finished without more DLC down the road? Is there an example that you know of that can help illustrate this point? I apologize but I might be out of the loop here.

        -Getting people to put down money with no guarantees of final content.

        Is this another early access thing? In terms of early access, to me it's one of those situations where I'm not sure the alternative is actually better than the reality. If I get a game that looks neat on early access, and my friends and I enjoy it for 10-20 hours, then to me that's a pretty good purchase. Even if the game never gets "finished," I've still had some enjoyment from it. On the other hand, maybe I buy an early access game and it sucks and it's always broken and never works. For one, I am pretty sure Steam already has safeguards against scam games. But beyond that, it's not really any different than the current landscape. You already risk money whenever you buy a game. You have a choice: play now, play later, don't play at all. Playing now means putting money up front with the possibility that you don't enjoy it. Play later means you save your money and get to wait and see what other people think, but you don't get to play now. Don't play at all saves money, but you don't get to play.

        I'm going to keep buying games that I think I will enjoy and my friends will enjoy. I won't buy games that I don't think I or my friends will enjoy. That's how I feel about it. If gamers understand the risk of early access titles, they can be very rewarding because you get to play a game that may never have come out, and even if it isn't finished might still provide some hours of fun. To me, that's worth 5-15 bucks. Why not?

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      May 4, 2015 6:10 PM

      Well done article, thanks for posting. Cool stuff.

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      May 4, 2015 6:25 PM

      I don't know... I really don't see it as that big of a deal. I think this is just sort of half-baked knee jerk type arguments. If there was a bigtime shift into actual pay to win type stuff where you only get the best items or you can't actually progress past a certain point in a game unless you buy an expansion, okay, sure, vote with the wallet, etc.

      There's not a physical game shortage in most places in the US, but places that have bandwidth caps or are in more rural areas where downloading a 60 GB game isn't very feasible can definitely still use the "old" preorder system. But even where people do have bigger connections and data caps aren't a concern, the idea that preordering might allow me to get the game on my hard drive sooner via preload is enticing enough to preorder if I'm going to buy the game anyhow. It's not just a physical game thing. Servers get hosed, launches get botched, all kinds of things have happened.

      And I don't really get the argument that preorders are only legit when there's a limited run thing attached to it. First of all, digital stuff can be limited-run too if it's limited to preorders. If the only way to get some custom skin you like is via preorder, how is that different than preordering to get a soundtrack or action figure? In fact, the argument could be made that the soundtrack can just be ripped and digitally distributed, and the action figure sold on ebay. The only way to get a custom skin, however, would be to sell your entire game account to someone else. So it could be that those custom skins are MORE exclusive than other things deemed "acceptable." Then the other point is made that the bonuses are arbitrary and stupid later on. That might be true, but I might find a batmobile action figure stupid because it'll just sit on a shelf forever, whereas a game skin I can use in-game for personalization or something. I don't think we should really be judging subjective stuff like that. It just isn't that compelling.

      "Don't preorder games.... just don't. Wait until it comes out and buy it digitally... There's no point to preorder a basic copy of a game for $5..." Digital preorders that contain just things like skin packs usually don't cost anything beyond the base game price from my experience, unless you're talking about like Street Fighter skin packs, but those IIRC have always been separate paid DLC. Usually what costs extra is the premium edition with things like soundtracks or digital maps or even access to future DLC in the form of expansions. There is definitely a point to preordering a game if you know it's a for-sure-buy. You generally get to preload, you definitely know you get to play on day 1, and you get to pay when it's most convenient for you to do so.

      "Pointless" preorder bonuses are just that. Like you say, if you don't want it, then don't buy it. But if some people like those nice little things like extra skins or a little bit of in-game cash then why is that bad? It costs me nothing and I was going to buy it anyhow. That's just a free bonus to me. If the game sucks, well, you're still susceptible buying it day 1 like your advice is.

      GOTY editions still exist, and still include the DLC. So that's not something that's gone away. I bought the GOTY of one of the Borderlands games for a reduced price and it contained everything. I don't think that's even a real problem. Same thing goes with people who were on the fence or waiting. You can still do that. The risk is that you lose out on a potential vanity skin or something. That's the choice you have to make as a consumer. I would wager that most people would much prefer the discounted price. There are so many sales during the year that the viability of waiting has never been a more prudent choice. I don't think people are getting hoodwinked.

      Also, it's not necessarily true that DLC is ALWAYS ready to go on day 1 and they're just paywalling it. The preorders can go toward paying for the development of expansions (now that expansions are called DLC though we hate them I guess), or for paying staff for further projects. Just because some assets are ready to go right away doesn't mean it's been playtested and as finished as the gold copy of the base game.

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        May 4, 2015 6:25 PM

        It seems like back in the day games came out on a disc, and then later on they released paid-for expansions that added more content. I know this still happens, but we also see the integration of assets and some parallel development. But there isn't that same physical divide as before, so it seems like people feel entitled to DLC for free. We've been paying extra for additional content forever. Lots of games use season passes as a guarantee of getting those future expansions. Like Mortal Kombat X had the pack you could buy so that when new characters are released, you get them automatically. What's wrong with that? Why is it better to buy the base game, and then 2 months later buy each character individually? I'm not sure what problem is being addressed by this. Digital distribution changes the development process. Consumers aren't owed extra content that would've always been an expansion pack just because they medium is more malleable and less defined than the barrier of a physical CD with data and time limitations.

        One of the last points that I think is sorta crazy is that they should just raise the price of games instead. Why would we want to replace the optional cosmetic preorder bonuses that are VERY OFTEN completely free (speaking of things like armor or ingame cash or whatever) or even paid DLC in the form of character packs, with COMPULSORY purchases? How is that better than giving the consumer the option of what parts to buy? Here's a few scenarios:

        Game X has armor preorder bonus, and then a season pass for DLC packs 1 2 and 3 which can also be purchased separately for $5 or $10 for all three packaged. In this case, I can choose to buy all of that in one swoop if I'm excited for the game, or I can pick and choose what I want. That's my choice. Is your argument really that they should just bake all that stuff into the game, and then charge $70-80? So then if I want the game I HAVE to spend that money right now?

        I dunno. I see this as more and more stuff being put in games and it's a consumer choice: Do I want this extra stuff at the risk of being underwhelmed by the game, or do I wait for the EVER-INCREASING digital sales online down the road and buy it then. I don't see a problem. Again, it doesn't follow to me logically that cosmetic bonuses lead to pay-to-win scenarios. If that happens, alright there's a gripe there. But it seems like people would just rather (a) not have this stuff made in the first place? or (b) have stuff for free that wouldn't have been free in the CD days either.

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        May 4, 2015 6:45 PM

        Yep, no one is forcing pre orders, and pre order bonuses are generally pretty bland anyway. Just don't buy if you don't like. I tend to enjoy pre ordering some stuff that I love, so I can pre load and get into it on day one.

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          May 4, 2015 6:58 PM

          [deleted]

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            May 5, 2015 8:12 AM

            Yup, I wasn't super antsy to get that game but I remembered how weird their retailer specific DLC stuff was with 9 so I just wrote it off. I may pick it up when it's on steam sale for $15 and then I won't really care but their practices guarantee I won't pre-order or even day 1 buy their games.

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          May 5, 2015 8:50 AM

          [deleted]

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      May 4, 2015 6:50 PM

      [deleted]

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        May 5, 2015 6:04 AM

        it's funny but not all that accurate

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          May 5, 2015 6:24 AM

          Depends on the game, some are worse than others.

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            May 5, 2015 6:39 AM

            I'm not so sure. It might be at least kind of valid in terms of the F2P pay2win type games. But to my knowledge the Batman game that's discussed at length here isn't being shipped unfinished. It's just a disingenuous image because in the left side for the "old days" it shows all these DLC options as part of the base game. That's not how it was. Games had expansion packs back then too, but the ability to distribute widely via download has given developers the chance to offer more and more content that frankly would've just been cut in the first place.

            We definitely aren't being sold less of a product than before. It's just a really disingenuous image.

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              May 5, 2015 6:51 AM

              One of the more egregious examples is the first Dragons Age game, 2-3 hours into the game you are given the option to travel to a village (or some place on the map) but you hit a "buy the DLC to access this area" screen if you choose to travel there.

              That's not to say the area would have been available in-game if DLC wasn't a thing, but it certainly gives you the impression that your $60 didn't buy you the full game.

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              May 5, 2015 7:10 AM

              "We definitely aren't being sold less of a product than before."

              -I used to have cheat codes in my games. Now I have to buy them.
              -I used to have games without NPC's telling me that HEY, here's a great adventure, but just pay a little more to take part in it
              -I used to have games that didn't have half their main menu dedicated to underlining that I've not spent enough money on the said game
              -I used to have Mortal Kombat games with Goro in them. Now I have a Mortal Kombat game I could add Goro to for a little more money.
              -I used to have multiplayer games that were 100% built and designed around achieving balance. Now the progression and balance dynamics are designed around selling more DLC and other advantages.

              I could go on. There is no way or how you can tell me that the evolution of DLC and preorders into what it is now has not effected the products I buy in a negative fashion. Or you can try telling me that, and I'll keep staring at the screen wondering if this guy is serious. :)

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                May 5, 2015 7:36 AM

                What cheat codes? If anything, games have eschewed cheat codes in favor of achievement-based rewards systems to promote playing the game rather than entering button codes. Since you used MKX in your example, you can unlock fatalities, costumes, etc through krypt unlocks via playing. You can look up "cheat codes" in terms of finding out exactly what the location is for each thing you want. You also have the option to buy all the unlocks ahead of time if you have less time to play and still want to unlock. That's the customer's choice. I'm just going down a list of popular games because I already disclaimed that I don't play games as much as I did when I was a kid. But GTA V has actual cheat codes, here's an example: Max Health and Armor O, L1, Triangle, R2, X, Square, O, Right, Square, L1, L1, L1. I know Borderlands and Destiny both have unlocks that you get via codes you can find online too. I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that many games have online components, and so "cheats" today obviously don't have the same place in the world. But Skyrim, as another example of a game that was recently given some big time negative attention, has console codes to give items and cheat. Plenty of games that I can think of still use the console, and still have cheat codes. When you introduce persistent online leaderboards, you remove the ability to allow people to cheat in single player. That's not really a "DLC" problem, that's an evolution of persistent online worlds.

                "-I used to have games without NPC's telling me that HEY, here's a great adventure, but just pay a little more to take part in it "

                So you don't want advertising for expansions in your game? Fair enough. I can see that. But that isn't selling you an incomplete game. It's not a fair argument to assume that things that are DLC now would've been free before. They either would've been expansion packs that took a year or more to come out, or just wouldn't have happened in the first place. But lumping in advertising is a different beast than just whether gamers are entitled to DLC or preorder bonuses for nothing.


                "-I used to have games that didn't have half their main menu dedicated to underlining that I've not spent enough money on the said game "

                Putting in a main menu option seems to be a pretty non-intrusive way to go about this. Again, this point sort of assumes that we're owed all the content for a game because we don't buy CDs now. To me, if I want to buy some costumes or something, I'd rather be able to go right from the game menu or from Steam or whatever instead of going to a third party site and then merging downloads myself. How is this really negatively affecting your game? Is it really worse because instead of New Game, Load Game, Options, Exit, it's New Game, Load Game, Options, Extras, Exit? Would you REALLY rather have it the other way? If so, okay, I don't know what to say to that. Personal preference.

                "I used to have Mortal Kombat games with Goro in them. Now I have a Mortal Kombat game I could add Goro to for a little more money. "

                I didn't have to pay anything extra for Goro, and he's in my game. However, this is what I've maintained is the "tipping point" in terms of okay vs. not okay. Once you start changing the playing field, you're dangerously close to making a game pay to win. The Goro one is borderline, and I don't disagree with that. There absolutely should be a way to unlock Goro for free if he's being used as a multiplayer fighter that could potentially change the playing field.

                "I used to have multiplayer games that were 100% built and designed around achieving balance. Now the progression and balance dynamics are designed around selling more DLC and other advantages."

                I need an example of this. In my experience, most multiplayer DLC stuff is cosmetic like weapon skins or a gun that acts exactly like another gun.

                See your position kind of assumes that the stuff in preorders, or DLC, would otherwise be free. I am saying that history shows that either it just wouldn't exist in the first place, or would be part of an expansion pack. Is there more opportunity to buy extras for games, and a push for people to do so? Sure, there definitely is. But that is at least partly due to the fact that games cost roughly the same as they have for the last decade or more. And there's a huge incentive to wait, because HUGE discounts happen so often that you very rarely have to wait more than a few months before you're already seeing 20-25% off. I don't think that's negatively impacting games. I am happy that I probably pay less for games now than I did when I was a kid. There aren't many things where that's true.

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                  May 5, 2015 7:58 AM

                  Yikes. Quite a wall of text. I'm going to have to be a little more succinct. :)

                  There are games which charge for cheat codes. Many of them. There didn't use to be. I don't like it, and it is a clear cut negative. I used MKX as an example of DLC trickery, not cheats.

                  I'm glad you find advertisement of additional content in your full priced game menus non-annoying and non-intrusive. I don't. If I want information about more content, I can find it. If they want to advertise it, they can do so in-game without having it straight in my face 100% when I'm in the menus.

                  You don't have to look further than Evolve for an MP game that had actual gameplay content (monsters) for sale straight out of the gates. Also, DLC fragments multiplayer communities. For example, I constantly struggle to find servers in BF4 that all my friends both want to and can play on at the same time. Some have all the DLC, some have a part of it, and some none. This is a headache I did not have some years back. Then there's game modes like Ultimate Team in Fifa. There is no way, no how you can tell me that it has not been balanced around pressuring people to pay extra for game money. It takes literally DOZENS of hours of playing to gain something that's available for a couple of dollars. There's been almost no work done for other modes as of late, because EA is pushing their cash cow.

                  Some of the content that is now DLC would not exist, and some would. For example, the cheat codes would surely be there, as they are easy to implement and people like them. I won't believe for a second that games are not intentionally spliced up before release so they can get more money out of the same development process. Just look at Destiny. Read the articles and interviews and rumors surrounding it's release. Do you think it's coincidence that the story was damn close to non-sensical, and that the DLC filled some of the holes? And then there's the fact that there's inherent negative value in the process of finding out what DLC there is, what it costs and what it will really get me. It's all negative, even if not related directly to the quality of the game.

                  There is room for an infinite back and forth about this, we can both find limitless examples of where DLC has been bad, or has been done well. But you're trying to take a very specific, very binary stance - "we're not being sold lesser games due to the way DLC has become". You're going to have a very hard time convincing me or anyone else who buys dozens of games yearly that that's the case. I know what I read, see and buy, and there have been changes many aspects of gaming and game buying due to DLC, micropayments and preorders, most of them negative from my POV.

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                    May 5, 2015 8:13 AM

                    My stance is more that pre-orders and DLC are not clear-cut negatives the way that the video makes them out to be. I fully acknowledge that the potential for abuse is there. As you said, we can go back and forth in terms of debating the actual specific instances game-to-game. So we can just perhaps agree that the potential for abuse is there.

                    I believe in my original wall of text doublepost above I mentioned that actual pay to win type stuff is a negative. But I also don't think that is the case with DLC and preorders by default. And I have faith that the market will correct those kinds of things because consumers can vote with their wallets. That's the message I do agree with from the video.

                    Destiny was one of the games I was actually kind of thinking of before. There were art assets and level assets in the game, but development hadn't even started on those. Now you can choose whether to believe them when they say that, that's your prerogative. I don't think researching what additional stuff I can get with my game is a negative. Especially nowadays, Steam and Origin seem to do a pretty good job of listing out what's available. I just have a hard time complaining about more stuff available to me. But I did say that I could understand being frustrated with being bombarded by advertisements.

                    In terms of grinding stuff or just paying for them outright, I think games have had big grinds forever. It's a sort of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation: either you remove a lot of the grind for people who don't have time, and then they're simply at a disadvantage or they don't want to play because they just don't have 40 hours to put into a game to unlock it all, or you give the option to play to unlock AND/OR pay to unlock and you risk giving people that pay an advantage until the grinders can unlock stuff by playing. Maybe a solution there would be not having unlocks like that on day 1? I'm not sure. But I can sympathize with wanting to play a game but not having the hours to do so.

                    Map packs and expansions have existed forever. That's one of the situations where I don't see a problem. Your base game included lots of maps to play. New game modes and expansions have always required purchases--this is true even in older Battlefield games. This is where my point comes in that games have always had extra content for purchase, but now because we don't have the physical divide of a new box or new box art with a new name (like Road To Rome or Blue Shift), it feels more like we're owed it as part of our base game. I'm not so sure about that point, and I definitely don't think it's an AUTOMATIC evil.

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          May 5, 2015 6:33 AM

          I guess I'll try to explain why I think that (even though I'm like 90% sure no one reads or cares).

          It's just not that accurate of an analogy. There are too many variables both now and in the past for that to accurately describe the situations as they existed or as they exist now.

          The burger could be an old game, like Half-Life. And the drink and fries are expansion packs, like OpFor and Blue Shift. Okay, sure. But you still have that scenario now. When you buy a game, you're still getting the full experience on day 1. I don't know of a game that wasn't "finished" because of a paywall or something. I'm not that familiar with the new Batman game, but from what I understand you get the game itself, and then the first DLC will be a separate storyline for a character in the game. That's not selling you the toppings individually. That's selling you the same "drink and fries" as part of the combo just like you used to have before. You choose whether you want the drink or the fries, and that combo costs more than the burger alone. Also like fast food, the combo bought together is generally a lower price than buying each individually --- as an incentive to buy more stuff now. The preorder bonus wouldn't be your toppings. Preorder bonuses generally have a cosmetic impact and not much else. If anything, it's more like giving you an extra bun option or something.

          I just think that image is very disingenuous. Games aren't being sold as "empty buns" at all. They're vastly more feature-rich than they used to be. You still have to pay for your sides, aka expansion packs aka DLC, but now you get the choice to buy those in a "combo" right now sometimes at a discount. If you don't want to buy those now, or you want to wait and see, that's your choice. That's a consumer's choice. The fact is, you get more options of free bonuses because places are fighting for your business. If Best Buy is offering a weapon skin that I want, then maybe I'll choose that preorder instead of Gamestop. If it all costs the same, then who cares? You're free to not preorder at all if you want, but you don't get the cosmetic bonuses. That's not cutting the meat out of the burger. That's not even removing toppings. These are things that may not have ever been developed but for giving consumers an incentive to put money down now. But ultimately, the power lies with the customer.

          I just look at this like an argument against having more options, which isn't pro-consumer at all.

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            May 5, 2015 6:53 AM

            They're vastly more feature-rich than they used to be.

            I *greatly* disagree on that point. Fire up one of the original X-Com games and compare it to the most recent iteration and tell me which one has more depth. Games are undoubtedly much prettier today, but the good looks don't mean the gameplay has improved much.

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              May 5, 2015 6:54 AM

              (this is assuming you don't mean multiplayer features, which only matter to a handful of people in most cases)

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                May 5, 2015 7:04 AM

                I don't have much experience with the X-com series. But I absolutely think gameplay elements have vastly improved. You can't write off the immersive experience as "prettier graphics." That's not fair. Things like advanced physics systems and randomly generated content or more complicated and detailed worlds with better AI aren't just cosmetic boosts. I think that you're correct in that a lot of games today can be simpler in terms of being able to fire up as a total novice and play. Part of that probably comes from the need to develop for consoles too. Now THAT is something that sucks. But I REALLY think saying games are just prettier today is true.

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                May 5, 2015 7:05 AM

                oh and just dismissing multiplayer features as a niche market is also pretty hard to swallow. Multiplayer games are GIGANTIC. And they're incredibly feature-rich.

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                  May 5, 2015 7:06 AM

                  Games that are meant to be multiplayer are definitely a big thing, but plenty of games (like Bioshock) have multiplayer elements that are largely ignored by the gaming community at large.

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      May 4, 2015 7:10 PM

      So true.

      I'm SUPER stoked about Batman, but all the DLC bullshit has me super irritated about the whole thing. The POINT of map packs in the old days was to reward people who held onto their games with more content so they crack that CD-ROM out again and revisit the game, and possibly spreading word to their friends who haven't bought the game yet about the amazing new free content. Now, if you don't spend more money to buy the additional content, you're penalized instead of rewarded by only having part of the total experience.

      I don't mind supporting game companies whose work I enjoy, but shit like this Batman situation makes it fucking hard.

      The biggest thing that chaps my ass is that I'm *planning* on buying it digitally, but other than the convenience factor of not having to change discs, what's my incentive for doing that? I feel like game publishers should be encouraging me to do that -- no reason to worry about distribution, no need to worry about used game sales, or just me loaning the game out to other people who then don't buy it. Any season passes, etc. should be included with digital purchases of the core game. :/

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        May 4, 2015 7:34 PM

        Expansion packs were not always free. So it is no surprise that season passes aren't either..

        And you say that there needs to be something to entice you to preorder a game digitally over a physical copy, but the enticement to preorder IS preorder bonuses like custom skins. You can't say you don't like preorder bonuses and then lament the lack of an incentive to preorder. Preorder bonuses should be cosmetic type things because otherwise you do run into paywall or pay to win type stuff, which would be a negative.

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          May 4, 2015 8:00 PM

          Preordering is bullshit all around -- I didn't even talk about that. It may have made sense in the old days when cartridges were expensive to manufacture, and failing to guess the popularity of a game would sink companies, but since the days of discs, it makes zero sense.

          What I'm annoyed by is the fact that there's no incentive for the consumer buying digital copies of a game. The price is the same, even though there's no physical copy getting shipped around the country, no copy sitting on a retailer shelf, no copy being resold at a Gamesotp (possibly multiple times). When I buy a digital copy and I've beaten the game, my options are greatly reduced compared to that of a physical copy. That's what I was talking about.

          I don't know what company you're being paid to post for, but try reading the posts before responding.

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            May 4, 2015 8:29 PM

            Cool thanks for the personal attack.

            You're right, you didn't mention preordering. You mentioned an incentive for buying digitally, but I assumed you meant preordering as part of that because you actually listed one of the incentives in the next sentence. Not having to handle physical media, not losing a disc, having instant access when unlocked, preloading, accessing your game library from any PC, all of these ARE incentives. Clearly these mean something, because you're "planning" on buying it digitally.

            And just because you might not use physical discs, doesn't mean everyone doesn't. Plenty of places either have extremely slow internet, or data caps. Those people can't do a day 1 60 GB download. There is definitely still a place for in-store pickups. They might not have the same cost of production in terms of pressing discs, but the budgets (and expectations) in terms of what consumers expect is much higher now than it was when Quake 1 came out. And like I posted above, the argument that they should make the games more expensive isn't persuasive, because choice is ALWAYS a better option for consumers.

            Adding in extra playable characters and storylines isn't really the same as, say, a Quake 1 map pack. Again, to me it comes down to the fact that games are more expensive to produce, and I think it's actually not a terrible solution that there are optional DLC packs to get (or, like the video even says, you can just wait for the season pass to go on a deep sale and get the whole thing for cheap) because that way the people that want to pay for more content right now can do that, while everyone else has the option to wait it out or just skip it entirely. I'd rather have the option of playing as Catwoman or whatever or not instead of having a compulsory $10-20 added to the base game and then have to wait X amount of months until I get the rest after I might be bored and never come back to it. Expansions have been additional costs for a long, long, long time (even in the "glory days"). Comparing map packs to DLC like full characters or new storylines isn't really an apples to apples comparison. A more accurate comparison would be to something like HL: OpFor, which was sold as a standalone expansion.

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      May 4, 2015 7:25 PM

      Not pre-orders, but made me think of this video about kickstarter

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqOaWM85J0s

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      May 4, 2015 7:49 PM

      I 100% agree with you Greg, things are out of hand its mental there should never be DLCs before a launch of a game.

      As for pre orders I don't have a beef with it like DLCs. I usually pre order to save money, support a dev or I get something of value with the pre order. Pre ordering helps the developers and shop out with early cash flow so I am not against it like the DLC I understand why they do it.

      Yes there is not a shortage of games LOL :) I totally agree with that(especial Digital pre orders), the concept is stupid but I look at it from a dev point of view for the up front cash advancement. In that case of cash advancement and support it makes sense why you would do it.

      Cool vid, nice.

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        May 4, 2015 7:55 PM

        it is out of control

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        May 4, 2015 8:36 PM

        DLC does the same thing as preorders though. And expansion packs have been around forever. Pre-release advertising for DLC is a pretty new thing, but I think that has to do more with the fact that people have made a bit of a stink about the value of a game when it has such a "short" lifespan. This way, the devs can show that they're going to continue supporting the game to entice you to buy it. I think it's actually an okay thing because if I know a game is going to have some more content down the road, great, all the more reason to buy it now. Expansion packs don't have a history of being handouts. Many, if not the vast majority, were paid-for. Even for great titles like Battlefield 1942 or Half-Life.

        To me, even if the content is "on the disc" it might not be (a) fully tested and ready like the rest of the game , or (b) I'm not entitled to extra content that would've been an extra purchase just because some of the assets were in the game folder ahead of time. This basically penalizes developers for thinking ahead. I'd rather they start development as early as possible on DLC so that I get it in my hands sooner.

        Again, no one is forcing anyone to buy any DLC, just like no one forced anyone to buy expansion packs. Just because they make MORE DLC now doesn't mean we have less choice as consumers. Until the day comes when they're paywalling or doing the pay to win stuff that some of those f2p games do, I just don't see how this is really a gigantic problem. The option to wait for a bundled pack still exists.

        Like you said, these upfront costs allow developers to continue working on other parts of the game, more DLC, or other projects.

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          May 4, 2015 10:02 PM

          The HUGE difference is that DLC Season Passes are being offered before the games are coming out and deemed popular/salesworthy. Again. Aliens Colonial Marines had to deliver 4 DLC. Do you think they devoted a lot of effort to those DLC for the 9 people who bought it? It should have never had DLC because it wasn't 'worthy'. That game cost a few people $100.
          You NEVER used to see Expansion Packs for crappy games no one bought because it was a money losing proposition.

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            May 5, 2015 6:02 AM

            But that is the choice those people made. They wanted the DLC sight unseen. The same was true in the past. Not all expansion packs were good back in the day. Not all videogames now are good. You aren't forced to buy a DLC season pass. You can buy the DLC separately, or not at all. That's a consumer's choice.

            So why is it that MORE content for games is a bad thing? I don't care if bad games have expansion packs. Maybe a game that I like that others think is "bad" would have an expansion pack now where it didn't before. I don't see how "because it might be bad, we shouldn't have it at all" is a persuasive argument. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head to buy a game, or buy DLC.

            If people don't want to risk $100 on a game -- they don't have to preorder, they don't have to buy the DLC, and they don't even have to buy the game at all. Now more than ever it is incredibly easy to get super discounted games via Steam Sale, Origin Sales, Amazon, GOG.COM, Green Man Gaming's perpetual 10-20% off... it's probably never been easier to save money. PC Gaming, with all its "paid DLC problems" is probably the cheapest platform to game on.

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          May 4, 2015 10:10 PM

          And actually, Map DLC has shattered many a Multiplayer Community. You don't have this DLC that all those other people bought? Well, you can't play with them!

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            May 5, 2015 6:08 AM

            This problem has existed for far longer than the "DLC epidemic." Back then, stuff was just called "Expansion packs" and they were separate CDs you had to go to the store and buy, and so did your friends. This isn't a new thing at all.

            It just kind of seems like people think that once they pay their 50-60 bucks for a game, all further content for that game should be given to them. Some games might do that, and there's definitely an incentive for devs to do so-- good press, lots of support from people in the community, possibly higher sales because of that, but expansions and other stuff like that have been around for as long as I can remember. Remember CS:CZ? They made a paid "sequel/expansion" for a free mod based off of a paid game.

            It's just that now everything is called "DLC" and there's a sense that it should be free because map packs used to be free for some games like Quake. I'm not sure that logically follows.

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              May 5, 2015 2:35 PM

              But again, there was not an Expansion Pack for EVERY SINGLE GAME. There WAS no further content for shitty games. Now shitty games have further content pre-designed into them. THEY DO NOT DESERVE IT.

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          May 4, 2015 10:11 PM

          I think "on-disc" DLC can be a whole other Stuff That Sucks Video

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            May 5, 2015 6:19 AM

            I think on-disc DLC can be kind of a bummer too because it's like having to wait until Christmas as a kid to open a present you know your parents already bought. But I don't necessarily see it as some nefarious scheme either.

            My stance is that preorder bonuses, on-disc DLC, and DLC in general all have the POTENTIAL to be abused. This is true. But so do a lot of things in games. And that goes both ways. Developers and publishers aren't the only ones that try to game the system. However, I don't think the POTENTIAL for abuse is cause enough to take the stance that it's always a negative.

            There can be a lot of valid reasons for on-disc DLC. Possibly the biggest is that the existence of assets within the game folders doesn't necessarily mean all that content was ready to go. Being able to reuse or utilize certain game assets is important because it limits the size of the game which is important whether you're downloading a digital copy or buying it on discs. It might be easy to, say, make a new level with existing assets, but without scripting the AI and programming the different objectives and things that breathe life into that same level, it's just an empty shell. If it means developing new content faster, I'm okay with that. The alternative is for there to be (a) no expansions or DLC, or (b) a longer development cycle with the end result being the same: you buy the expansion pack. It seems like this way, at least some of the content is already downloaded onto your computer ahead of time so you've got less to download in the future, and the team has already started work on the next stuff for the game.

            Like I said, the POTENTIAL for abuse is there, but I'm not 100% sure that it's happening. I think some of it is knee-jerk reactions from people that don't entirely remember how many times you had to trot to the store to buy PC games and their expansion packs. The ability to have all this downloaded digitally makes people think they're owed the same content that used to be separated by box art and physical CDs.

            Locking things behind a paywall like in pay to win "f2p" games is annoying. Or giving people an advantage because they paid X amount of dollars. But I am not quite sure it's fair to say there's never a valid reason for on-disc DLC.

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      May 4, 2015 7:56 PM

      Preorders suck more than dlc, although I'm lumping day 1 dlc with preorders in this case.

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      May 4, 2015 8:53 PM

      Day one DLC is pretty shitty. Pre-ordering doesn't bother me at all. No one is forcing you to pre-order anything. If you don't want to, don't freaking do it.

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      May 4, 2015 9:09 PM

      [deleted]

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      May 5, 2015 4:35 AM

      Should have included evolve, early access, and the confusion with exclusive DLC by vendors.

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      May 5, 2015 4:50 AM

      Dude if I was a woman Id marry you.
      There is NOTHING you said on this vid that was wrong. I'll leave it at that.
      You kept it 100

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      May 5, 2015 6:30 AM

      I just made 3 preorders

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      May 5, 2015 6:41 AM

      It's pretty interesting to me that DLC is now a commonplace practice that successfully extends the life of a game, but the frequency of good games has increased so my attention is drawn away from games quicker than usual.

      It's weird, but I kind of wish there were fewer game releases.

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      May 5, 2015 6:45 AM

      Can't do much here except agree. I don't really understand people who stand up for the developers and publishers, saying that "they're entitled to sell stuff how they want" or "who cares about DLC if the base game is good"... You're not wrong, they're certainly entitled to do that they want, and yes, a game can be good even if parts of it are cut out to sell as separate content... But that doesn't make any of it good for the consumer. It doesn't make it any less annoying that when I'm trying to get excited about a game, we're at a point where I hear more about the DLC than I do about the game itself... and this before the base game is even out.

      And it is both factually and linearly getting worse. It's getting more complicated, more expensive, the marketing it getting to be more and more about DLC, and publishers are being less and less ashamed about selling us their games in bits and pieces. The only way it's going to get better is if consumers start spending their money more sensible, and I for one happen to believe that community outrage and public criticism, or just call it whining if you wish, help with that. So I'll continue to whine.

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      May 5, 2015 7:22 AM

      I like the video, but frankly I'm not sure if I'd rather just have games be more expensive. The Batman DLC sounds great, but I wouldnt want to pay 100 for all of it. I might be in the minority but I'd rather have less and keep the price at 60 at most.

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        May 5, 2015 7:33 AM

        I was thinking this too. This argument is made pretty often too, but then I see games like Battlefront3 for PC on Origin listed at $80. This isn't a deluxe edition or anything this is the base version of the game. When did PC games get so expensive. I remember the jump from $50 to $60, but when did $60 to $80 happen? Didn't 50->60 happen like last year? Battlefront will also likely be riddled with DLC knowing how battlefield 3 is too.

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        May 5, 2015 7:35 AM

        Yea, the "games used to be more expensive!" argument kind of falls apart when you consider how much more massive the market is today compared to 20 years ago.

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        May 5, 2015 7:41 AM

        What's weird is that I've spent a lot of time in this thread making different arguments and have been called crazy and a corporate shill, but my arguments all stem from a pro-consumer standpoint. More choice = more power. But where people say VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET : DONT PREORDER, I say, buy the games you want and realize that you have plenty of options with which to get your game.

        If you're incentivized to get the game early, that's your decision. It's scary to think that people think it's pro-consumer to just make every game cost more. Then you have LESS choice.

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        May 5, 2015 8:07 AM

        The unit cost of games shouldn't have to increase if they are selling a larger volume, too.

        It's disingenuous to say "games are more expensive to make," because games are also more widespread and have more market appeal than they did 15-20 years ago.

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          May 5, 2015 8:11 AM

          Without comparing the rates for that (we numbers we don't have) we can't assume it offsets.

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            May 5, 2015 9:00 AM

            I should have specified the big, AAA titles, where they are saying: "Yeah, we've sold 5 million copies of that game!"

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              May 5, 2015 9:02 AM

              Yeah, but when you look at the exponential increase in the size of teams to create games like those and the marketing budgets, it becomes like Hollywood blockbuster economics.

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          May 5, 2015 8:20 AM

          The market is also way more competitive and harder to stand out in.

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            May 5, 2015 9:00 AM

            Those AAA titles are breaking sales records year upon year. If we're talking about indie games, then yeah - I agree.

            If we're talking about the big, blockbuster games, then I disagree.

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              May 5, 2015 9:02 AM

              What he's saying is there are fewer AAA titles that sell well. The ones that do sell well, sell amazingly well, but if you're burning through AAA talent money and you don't get that massive hit, your studio closes.

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      May 5, 2015 7:27 AM

      What I really need to start doing is realizing I dont play DLC I buy anyway, at least very little of it. Two recent exceptions being the excellent DLC for Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored. The rest just languishes as other full games are calling.

      Then again to your point if it was all in the game to begin with....but obviously above I'm conflicted on the cost of that.

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        May 5, 2015 7:45 AM

        Yeah exactly. It's kind of irritating to be bombarded with advertising for different stuff in games, but it seems weird to complain about having so much choice. Preorder bonuses aren't paywalling content, they seem to be more along the lines of what Greg mentioned as freebies like a t-shirt or whatever. I'd probably rather have a custom weapon skin in-game than a hat. MKX with Goro was one that came dangerously close to being paywall. I have to give that more thought. I'm surprised there's no free way to get him. But I do think the MKX devs have seen that people don't like that. The market will respond.

        Voting with your wallet is exactly what people should do, but people should also understand the realities of the arguments. Taking a stance of DLC = evil or DLC = ripping customers off while also advocating just including all the same extra content at an increased base cost is both advocating a bloated product AND removing choice from the consumer.

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      May 5, 2015 7:51 AM

      What If Burritos Were Like Console Games?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqZ1EvRxO5I

    • reply
      May 5, 2015 8:02 AM

      Yeah, I totally agree. I get that DLC was supposed to provide a transition time for studios to continue development while they moved onto their next projects, but my goodness, I'm definitely not feeling that with this latest trend of season passes and DLC. :(

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