Here's something you don't want to hear from developers: we didn't make DLC to give fans new content, we did it to combat used game sales. I'm paraphrasing, but that's sort of what a top Take-Two Interactive executive told a gathering at ThinkEquity's 8th Annual Growth Conference in New York City earlier this week. Concerning the first batch of downloadable content released for its hit game Red Dead Redemption, he said:
"Once we do the core development, which takes a long time and is pretty hard, doing the development related to the DLC in a high-quality way is a lot easier and a lot quicker," Zelnick said, as noted in this GameSpot article. "And we can be very responsive to what the market wants. So at the time we put out Red Dead Redemption in May, we didn't even have a fantasy that we'd be putting out a zombie title for Halloween. But we were."
Zelnick's position is that DLC gives consumers who have already bought the game a reason to hold on to it.
"The theory was, let consumers know there's a reason to hold onto your games because the bulk of impact of used game sales on front line sales is in the first six weeks," Zelnick said. "So if we can get people to hold onto their game for the first six weeks, the titles aren't in the stores in the used game section, which means people have to buy the front line title from us."
It's certainly a less nefarious way to combat used game sales; they could have simply charged used game owners some extra cash to have access to certain features like EA and THQ are fond of doing.