Spawn of the Acronyms: DLC May Breed PDLC

If downloadable content released on a game’s launch day gets under your skin, what would you say to paid DLC issued before a boxed game hits the market place.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter was the recipient of some inside news from Visceral Games (an Electronic Arts studio) Senior VP and Group General Manager Nick Earl, and he spilled to about the plans, which would involve the monetization of “very long game demos,” like EA’s 2009 release Battlefield 1943. The $10 or $15 “long demo” would then be followed at some point by the full packaged game.

Pachter offered a further explanation:

Think about Battlefield 1943 as the prototype, so a full (but short) game experience for a reasonable price. At the same time, an expanded version of the game will be under development for release as a packaged product.

The analyst said that he did not know if the packaged game would contain the premium downloadable content (PDLC) or not, but he expected that it would not. Pachter thinks the whole idea of PDLC, “…sounds like a great strategy.”

Pachter’s firm has been bearish on EA for years, causing the publisher to spend a day last week “wooing” Wedbush Morgan and it seems to have worked; Pachter told GI, “This time, we think that EA is on the right path.”

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  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Think about Battlefield 1943 as the prototype, so a full (but short) game experience for a reasonable price. At the same time, an expanded version of the game will be under development for release as a packaged product.

    This would be waisting MY money on something stupid. If I bought the released game then I decided I didn’t like it, I would like to get my money back and put it toward something else.



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. jedidethfreak says:

    Yeah, wasn’t prologue 50 bucks at launch, too?

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  3. DarkSaber says:

    EA has gone on record saying a lot of things that prove to be lies. No DRM in the next C&C for example. (Oh but you’ll need a constant internet connection though.)


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  4. MrKlorox says:

    Ever play the first SKATE demo? It was a 30 minute time-limited demo of the community center skatepark with all the tricks in the game. I played that thing well over 100 times and felt no need to buy the full game (I just rented it once instead then kept playing the demo afterward).

    I would have easily paid $15 for it to remove the timer and maybe open up the area a tiny bit, and would have stopped at that. Paying $45 more for much more than 300% additional skating area would be a great price for those who were into the game enough to buy that content. Same thing for the Just Cause 2 demo.

    As well as the MX vs ATV REFLEX demo’s loading screen. You could screw around and do all of the tricks in the game during the loading screen, which was a big open dirt arena that launched the race when you pressed start. I would have paid $15 for the engine and one of the open world maps, but not $60 for all 4 or 5 of them… unless the game was that good.

    I think this is an excellent idea if explored right.

  5. jedidethfreak says:

    That and I played Portal: First Slice for free for a year and a half before I finally bought The Orange Box on sale thru Steam.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  6. DarkSaber says:

    Given Valves complete and utter failure to get the hang of episodic content, no I would not think it was great.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  7. Andrew Eisen says:

    Speaking only for myself, had Valve suggested such a setup, I would have made the exact same comment.


    Andrew Eisen

  8. Pinworm says:

     I don’t understand what your point is.

    Valve has over a long period of time proven to be trustworthy and proven to have respect for their consumers, and proven that they deliver quality and they do so with integrity.

    The exact opposite is true of EA.

    This is like wondering why people would take the word of a convicted criminal over a town hero who donates time and money to charity constantly

  9. Chris Kimberley says:

    I gotta say I mostly agree with beemoh and Neeneko.  If Valve said this we’d all think it was great.  We’d also all assume that we’d get a discount on the full game.  When EA says it we get upset because we assume they’ll try to screw everyone.

    But if you get a discount on the full game then this is exactly like episodic content.  Or to put it another way it’s shareware.  Only without the sharing.


    Chris Kimberley

  10. mr_mlk says:

    Portal came with the Orange Box. It was then released as a distinct game.

    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  11. beemoh says:

    Actually, scratch all my previous comments: Isn’t this exactly what Valve did with Portal?


  12. MrKlorox says:

    It was a essentially a paid demo using resources mostly from the main project of Bad Company 2 included existing 1942 maps scaled down.

    Using BF1943 as an example makes me more open to the idea of this PDLC, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t count toward the full game (ie make the 1943 maps available in BC2).

  13. killatia says:

    The thing with Battlefield 1943 is that it was a remake of Battlefield 1942 with the frostbite engine. But since the game only had 4 maps on it I can see why people think it was a paid "demo"

  14. deuxhero says:

    So rather than take the approach that Mount & Blade and Deus Ex did and give a long fulfilling demo shows how most of the game feels and want to buy the game, they make you pay for that, resulting in piracy from people who aren’t set on the game but don’t have the option to try the game. This high piracy rate then "justifies" stupid DRM to prevent said lost sales.




  15. Andrew Eisen says:

    Because I imagine more people would take advantage of the deal if that was the way it worked.


    Andrew Eisen

  16. beemoh says:

    Devil’s advocate: why? You don’t get a discount on an album if you buy the single beforehand.


  17. Kharne says:

    Personally, I could see it working as a pre-order bonus. Like Bad Company 2’s Beta access. Or the beta pre-orders some indie games have done.

    But on it’s own? I have to agree, unless it doubles as credit like you said or they throw in osmething ot make the extra cash worth it, it just sounds like a great way to make a lot of people really angry, really fast.

  18. Cerabret100 says:

    Would actually be nice if that were the case. so for "Know i’m gonna get it regardless" games, you can ease the wait with a $10 or so dollar multiplayer access that you knew was gonna cut $10 of the price.

    The question is, with so many methods of purchase, how would they implement it? simply say "hey, you gotta buy it from amazon/gamestop/whatever" or maybe a special promo code or rebate (like once you register your copy, it credits $10 to your live account or something).

  19. Andrew Eisen says:

    Might be an effective strategy if the PDLC cost can be used as credit toward the final game.


    Andrew Eisen

  20. beemoh says:

    You know, something tells me that if anyone other than EA or Activision had said this, everyone would be heralding this as The Greatest Idea Ever, and the sort of shake-up the games business model needs- if it was some indie developer using this to fund a larger project, or a niche darling like Nippon Ichi to raise money to localise some fan favourite it’ll be something that gets us more different/better/cheaper games.

    But in the meantime: OMG! A suit just mentioned money! Mobilize the histrionics!



  21. beemoh says:

    They could deliver the rest digitally as well- sort of like how Episodic Gaming was supposed to go, but instead of six or seven episodes, you get one TV prequel and one long-form motion picture.

    This then gives the obvious online distribution of the full title, and leaves the disc version to be the full game.

    EDIT: And also the option to buy the main game without the prequel.


  22. PxDnNinja says:

    This is heavily dependant on what they mean by demo.

    If they release something like the Dante’s Inferno demo and charge any amount for it, that is rediculous and will have a huge fan and media backlash.

    However with their mention of BF1943, I feel they are going more for a trimmed down full version plan.

    Buy the demo, and you can play multiplayer, within a limit (only certain modes or maps for example) unlimitedly. Once the game releases, you can buy the full version and have ALL the features, or just continue to play the multiplayer demo version. Shadowrun did this, and actually integrated the two (demo players played against full version owners on maps and modes where applicable). This, I can see working within reason and is what I figure they are going to do.

  23. DarkSaber says:

    Getting people to pay to see if your game is worth paying for? It had to be either EA or Activision to pull off a complete tosser move like this. The writing was on the wall with the shitty Spore Creature Creator thing.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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