BioWare: Until It’s ‘Normal,’ Players Won’t Be Happy With Day 1 DLC

BioWare thinks that until Day One DLC is just a normal thing all the time, the player community generally isn’t going to believe that that content was made separate from the main game, and not stripped from it to snag a few extra bucks.

Speaking at GDC Europe last week, BioWare Director of Online Content Fernando Melo said that fans are going to accuse developers of lying about Day One DLC’s origins, for now, anyway.

“If you have a consistent culture of how you’re communicating to your fans, that will increase the number of people that are more likely to believe in your explanation,” Melo said. “You’re not lying to them, but they will take whatever you’re saying as like, ‘you’re lying to us.’ That will always be there.

“The only way that that’s going to go away is you fast forward a few more years, where this is just normal. Every game is digital from day one. Every game is an ongoing service, almost like an MMO, where on any given day new content shows up. Maybe that’s part of the base package, and maybe it’s a premium feature.

“Contrary to what you might hear on the internet, fans do want more content. They tend to say, ‘I want it now,’” Melo said. “The problem with day one content and the challenge around it is that the right answer for now is different for every player. There is no single right time, there is no single now. It’s subjective, and it’s unique to every player.”

BioWare has complained about this before, with BioWare Producer Christina Norman claiming that fans need to stop crying about Day One DLC because it’s BioWare’s prerogative to release content as it sees fit and effective, basically. There’s a point to that, I admit.

But then again, Day One DLC is, fundamentally, additional content sold at an additional price for the game you just purchased. Are developers surprised that players don’t just take them at their word that the developer isn’t fleecing them by holding back portions of the game in order to charge more?

And what’s more, story content DLC lately is getting more and more shady. Capcom released an additional ending for Asura’s Wrath. And a little closer to home, BioWare’s Day One DLC for Mass Effect 3, From Ashes, has a huge impact on the game and story experience. Add $10 to the sale price if you want that experience.

Maybe developers should consider the relationship they’re creating with players by selling extra content on Day One, rather than complaining that people are complaining about it. Nobody likes to feel ripped off, and just because you say you’re trustworthy doesn’t mean people are going to believe you.

I dunno. What do you guys think?

Via OXM UK.

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24 Comments on BioWare: Until It’s ‘Normal,’ Players Won’t Be Happy With Day 1 DLC

Mr Glassback

On August 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Gamers don’t disbelieve people for no reason, why would they?
Fact is, plenty of developers and publishers have lied about so many things, they don’t deserve instant trust anymore.
And their attitudes are pathetic, “we know gamers don’t like day 1 dlc but we’ll keep doing it till they get used to it and accept it as the norm”

Niamey

On August 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I hope day one dlc never becomes the norm. It would be bad for everyone but in regards to the ashes to ashes content I can almost understand the dlc if and only if it was created to give the gamers who bought the n7 addition something more for their extra $20. Also in the article melo mentioned continuing service like an mmo scares me. I will not pay a monthly fee to play a game I believe it to be a money grab and hope other publishers will not follow suit

Rob Walnut

On August 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Depends on the game… some dlc just feels like its ripped outa the game… thats kinda the problem with its being thought of during early development. It doesnt feel like its additional content but fully intended to be their from the beginning.

EA clearly lacks cohesive vision on their games (ie. flip flopping how ME1,2 and finally a blend of both with ME3) nevermind how they should handle DLC…. i expect nothing less from them

DLC’s main advantage to me is the ability to patch/hot fixes things post release…. and then we have the abuse of additional content that is called DLC. I really dont appreciate buying ME2 only to have what feels like half the game come out in DLC. I expect much the same for ME3 from ashes, and Leviathan being only the beginning….

While i’ll miss out on what might be good games, im just not buying games from publishers that continue this trend (EA, Capcom, ect) ME3 was that last game from EA i will purchase… Crysis 3 is a pass, ect… their execution of DLC is far beyond annoying. Our only influence on them is if we buy or not.

Swcloud99

On August 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Mr Glassback Exactly. If they want games to become ungoing services then fine. Just do it the CD Projeckt way and make all DLC free because you care about your consumers.
If you’re not ready to do that then your DLC can go to hell you money grubbing B**ch.

Michael

On August 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I don’t know if I understand the “There is no single right time, there is no single now.” stuff coming from Bioware. The From Ashes DLC is a DLC you really need to buy before starting the game or before re-playing it to get the most value out of it. So there is really only one time to buy this particular type of DLC.

IMO it would make sense if they argued that they split up stories along the time-line and sell them in smaller cheaper chunks. Although with so many people losing interest and not finishing games that subscription like model might deflate their revenues.

But you have to wonder what the psychologists do that all these game producers have on staff when they can’t comprehend why people after investing $50 or even more for the deluxe special maximum whatever edition (is there any other media product you can think of that is this expensive per pop) are less than excited to hear that there is this one major character missing from their product?

Derek

On August 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

We’ve been lied to, ripped off, and let down so much, how could we ever trust them?

In 1995 to 2005 you could buy any PC game, maximum $50 dollars, and there would be loads of community created content available, almost always free. Take half-life for example? That came with counter-strike, natural-selection, team-fortress, firearms, and 50 other games. All free. Community content released and updated regularly.

Then this DLC comes along and screwed it all. Now all the top dogs caved in, so it’s “the norm”. And the average PC game price increased from $50 to $60. Why again?

SweetPea

On August 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I’m surprised they dare saying something like this after advertising ME3 with so many lies.
Basically, not a single thing they said about ME3 was true. And now they’re protecting Day-1 DLC-s . Ridiculous. I feel sorry for BioWare, another company destroyed by EA.

Zach

On August 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Or to sum up the industries feelings towards customer:

“Man I sure can’t wait till people stop complaining about how I’m an .”
“Maybe you should try treating people nicer. . . ”
“Why would I do that if I can get paid to be an to people?”

R.J.

On August 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

So until it is normal for devs and publishers to strip out content for sale on day 1, we’ll keep complaining? This is the type of attitude that makes Bioware a ‘once’ respected developer. We complain because it is, at best, tacky, and at worst, a ripoff. When data for DLC can be found on the disk, it looks awfully shady when they claim that it was developed separately. They use pre-order bonuses and review embargoes to get people to buy their games without having a chance to create an informed opinion, and now they also sell you extra content for the game you just bought and tell you it is somehow separate. They might not be lying, but it sure looks shady.

Kevin

On August 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Bioware seems to find newer and more innovative ways to promote baggery.

They were once the golden company. Now they are like the aging rock stars who really don’t know when to stop. They have groupies who tell them they still got it, but everyone else looks and thinks they should’ve hung it up decades ago.

Whenever EA finally keels over, it is best that the Bioware name die with it, and any rational or sane developers can come out under different identities so they aren’t tainted by this.

Dantes

On August 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Oh, how far you have fallen, Bioware.

How about this: you go right on not giving a crap about what your customers think, and I’ll give my money to other companies that actually value and cherish their customers.

Seriously, it’s statements like this that show exactly how Bioware views their customers these days and why I no longer respect them as game developers or “artists”.

Bruce

On August 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

How about you make better DLC, and just take longer and make it bigger or something, so it doesn’t come out at the same time as the game, and avoid the whole damn issue. I only buy DLC for games I care about in the first place, but day 1 dlc does feel like a rip-off, which make me not like the game as much, and therefore makes me want dlc even less.

Personal opinion, but why not just up the price for the game ten bucks instead of ripping a key piece out? I payed $70USD for the ME3 Limited Ed. on day 1 and got the day1 dlc rolled in with that, so why not make that the standard level?

BareHope

On August 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Day 1 DLC is perfectly acceptable, but it takes some common sense and good judgement. I think you need to identify the strength of your game, provide enough of that strength to carry the game, and can then further reinforce it in the DLC.

Mass Effect’s strength were arguably story and characters. If they had provided a satisfying ending that gave enough closure to story and characters (from the start, or, depending on your opinion, ever) they could have sold, for example, epilogues for each of the characters. A couple of missions that show what becomes of a character in the aftermath, sweet and simple. Or, in other words, additional closure.

Axetwin

On August 21, 2012 at 12:30 am

Bioware has been fully indoctrinated by EA.

Please if I could have a moment of silence for our fallen comrade. Thank you.

Bioware, just because we loved you once doesnt mean we wont put you down like a best-friend that has been bitten and is now started to turn and crave the flesh of the living. The more I think about it, the more I realize it would be the most humane thing to do.

john

On August 21, 2012 at 1:39 am

I think I’ve met Bioware with the Mass Effect series, and although I loved the first two games (and a few moments of ME3 just before it jumped the shark), it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever buy another Bioware title. They are as free to send DLC whenever they want as I am free not to support their shenanigans with my money.

sep

On August 21, 2012 at 2:37 am

Do these idiots take us for fools? LOL

Capitalism is fine and dandy. Thing is you should know how to play it well.

J

On August 21, 2012 at 6:25 am

“You don’t like this, so we’re going to keep doing it until you accept it.”

Marc

On August 21, 2012 at 6:47 am

On the surface, I agree with BW in that they can release content when they want.

However, this wasn’t your normal DLC. It supplied critical background to the story. Granted it wasn’t necessary to the game, and if it had come out 3 months later, no one would have complained. But it felt like an integral part of the story that deserved to be in the original retail game for the original retail price.

Additionally, I doubt that DLC was easy to produce. Considering all the other areas of the game that were rushed (and the current word is that the EC was “what they wanted to have originally”), they spent resources on that Day 1 DLC at the cost of the original game, and we STILL paid for it.

So, I’m fine with Day 1 DLC… as long as the game is virtually perfect without it and the DLC doesn’t significantly change the experience.

SXO

On August 21, 2012 at 8:00 am

And unfortunately it will become the norm because people continue to hand them money. I guarantee DA3 is going to sell well regardless of everything that has happened, and it will cost $60, and $10 more for the day one DLC. Maybe if people spoke with their wallets as well, companies like Bioware would get the hint. It’s one thing for us to share our opinions online, but if we turn around and still pay for these games nothing will change.

R.J.

On August 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

SXO is right. Companies get away with this garbage because the customers let them. Sure, there are complaints, but this would stop a lot faster if people didn’t buy it. Corporations don’t listen unless their profits are affected. As long as they make money, they don’t care one lick about complaints.

psycros

On August 21, 2012 at 10:47 am

“The only way that that’s going to go away is you fast forward a few more years, where this is just normal. Every game is digital from day one. Every game is an ongoing service, almost like an MMO, where on any given day new content shows up. Maybe that’s part of the base package, and maybe it’s a premium feature.”

If we needed any further proof that game publishing is finished, here it is – direct from the Unclean Mouthpiece of EA.

Mike

On August 21, 2012 at 11:11 am

I think it’s high time bioware went belly up.

James

On August 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

For Day 1 DLC to be the norm the current generation of gamers has to die of old age.

So not really my problem by then :)

Kevin

On August 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I wouldn’t say it will be a “given” DA3 does well. DA2 was a flop for them, and they lost a fair amount of money and PR. For all the hype about ME3, in EA’s eyes, it came in well under expectations.

So yeah, we prolly will see day one DLC with DA3. But success is not a given.