Former BioWare Designer Pleads With Gamers Over DLC Releases

At a panel last week during the Game Developers Conference a former Mass Effect designer pleaded with the public at large to stop complaining about downloadable content and to judge developers like BioWare on their work instead. The comments were made by ex-BioWare designer, Christina Norman, who now works at League of Legends maker Riot Games. She spoke out during the panel discussion to stress the need for downloadable content to follow a game's release in rapid fashion.

"There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," Norman claimed. "That means getting it out early; that means even day-one DLC."

Of course, some would argue that there's plenty of money to be made well after a game's release. Companies like Bethesda can certainly attest to that; Oblivion DLC did very well; Gearbox Software released a continual stream of DLC for Borderlands; and EA Sports, THQ, and Activision offer "seasons passes" so that users can pay for months worth of DLC content in advance. Basically the argument can be countered.

"[Day-one DLC] is a terrible thing to some players. Players rant – they know nothing about this DLC that's coming out except its name. But then it's 'oh this game must be incomplete, the game must be ruined.' Game developers are not evil. (Some are evil.) But most are not evil."

"We just want to release awesome stuff," she added. "Players please, give us a chance. Judge our games based on what they are. Judge the DLC based on what it is. Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."

I'm not sure that players are all that bothered by Day One DLC unless the company in question offers it in a way that is disingenuous (it's already on the retail disc, for example) or it is locked behind some sort of code pay wall that punishes used game buyers..

Source: Eurogamer

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  1. black manta says:

    Which is also a crock because as I said before, it's not even necessary to play multiplayer to get the best ending.  You can still get it if you do enough sidequests, which is what most RPG players do anyway.

  2. Neo_DrKefka says:

    This reminds me when Lionhead justfied Fable 1 with TLC.

    Fallout 3 content adds on hours of content. Fallout New Vegas went even more deeper. Yes bethesda releases "Horse armor" every once in a while but they more then make up for it.

  3. hellfire7885 says:

    Kinda says a LOT about their confidence in the game if they're so certain people are going to be trading it in.

    Hell, I bought Saint Row 2 for my PS3 a year ago and haven't returned it, even bought the DLC for it.

  4. MechaTama31 says:

    Are there really that many people who can afford $60 for a totally unnecessary luxury item, but for whom $70 is just breaking the bank?  Would it be better if the cost was just rolled into the price of the main game, so everybody had to pay $70 whether they want the content or not?  Would releasing the same content, for the same price, a few weeks later (as some have suggested) really be better for anybody?  How?

    I'm not going to play ME3 because I was so put off by Gears of ME2 that it killed my interest in the franchise.  But god, there is a lot of entitled whining flying around the internet on this one.

  5. GodBeastX says:

    Doesn't she work for that company who charges 10$ for a new texture for a character? 

    Yeah, I think her words are fall on deaf ears for me.

  6. black manta says:

    Why would you want that?  I miss the days of the expansion pack too, but those days are long gone…especially when you take into account that developers and publishers probably see DLC as more cost-effective.  And that DLC helps to ensure the game's longevity, which in this age of used games is a HUGE factor.

    Personally I don't mind it, when you consider that the collective cost of DLC is roughly the equivalent of what a full expansion pack would cost ($5.00-$10.00 a pop vs. $20.00-$40.00 for a full-fledged expansion pack)  Six of one, half-dozen of the other.

    So I'm really getting sick and tired of the bitching and moaning coming from the gaming community regarding this game.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: if this game didn't come from EA, no one would be complaining.  And that I think is a factor in these arguments more than anything else.

  7. Papa Midnight says:

    "There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," Norman claimed. "That means getting it out early; that means even day-one DLC."

    So how about that Fallout 3?

  8. jmcc says:

    "There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," Norman claimed.

    Uh…didn't Valve just put out some news about Team Fortress 2 increasing its revenue 12 fold after switching over to a pure DLC model? And isn't it 5 years old at this point?

    Also, don't they have a product coming out that competes directly with your company's game, League of Legends? One that I'll be buying over your product now due to you being an arrogant, paternalistic shit who talks down to the hand that feeds you, like consumers these days have no access to the internet and aren't conversant in industry practices?

  9. Samster says:

    Games got by without DLC, once upon a time. That was when quality mattered.

    Regardless, stop leaving gaping obvious holes in your games to be filled with DLC, and maybe people will stop complaining about it. If you want to expand your games, expand them. DLC is all too often a hole-filler and not extra content, and THAT is what pisses your customers off.

  10. Algus says:

    I just wish DLC would go away.  I'd rather not have it at all than have it for the reasons that so many of these game developers list.

    Whatever happened to the good old days of PC expansion packs that would come out a year after the game or whatever and add tons of cool stuff?  And there's even been good DLC in this gen.  Shivering Isles, Dragon Age: Awakening…this was DLC worth the time and effort.

    Gun Pack #1, Gun Pack #2, Gun Pack #3?  Ugh.  

  11. kurifu says:

    See this is kind of funny, because you sort of admitted that nothing else here is relevant except the release date in this argument.. which makes me wonder if there is even a relevant argument to begin with.

    You're not being forced to consume, and honestly I'd prefer all DLC to be available day 1 so I only have to play the game once. This means more options are provided by releasing it on day 1. I get it if I want it, you don't have to buy it until you feel enough time has passed for your liking.


  12. evilmatt says:

    In the case of ME3, it was included as a bonus in the Collector's edition, it wasn't just day 1 DLC.  So there would still be complaints, from people that didn't buy the Collector's edition and wanted the From Ashes mission.  Damned if you do….

    And don't just say "well don't release a collector's editon then" because some of us like collector's editions dammit.

    Also, I think the "you're not a producer" comment was meant to mean something along these lines:

  13. MaskedPixelante says:

    Here's a tip. If you don't want people complaining about day one DLC that you need to pay for… DON'T RELEASE IT DAY ONE! There was NO reason this DLC couldn't wait two or three weeks to come out.

  14. kurifu says:

    Or, just don't buy it if you don't want it. Frankly, I like DLC… and apparently so do plenty of other people.

  15. Kajex says:

    I can think of 2-

    Fallout DLC (generally because they're good enough to justify getting)
    Castle Crashers Pink Knight (honestly, it's for a good cause)

  16. Zerodash says:

    Why don't we just get rid of DLC all together?  I have yet to see an instance of DLC that didn't piss off a bunch of people.  I'd rather have the old days of a game being strictly whatever is on the disc than deal with the controversy.

  17. Neo_DrKefka says:

    She doesn't plead she does the typical Bioware Customer Service fashion by insulting customers and then telling us "Stop Thinking You’re a Producer"

    Bottom line if again Bioware was not playing to Leftist Political Hot Topics they like then we'd seen blogs pretty much destroying Bioware rather then praising it or making the story seem lighter then what it is. This is a huge problem after this game people are fleeing.

    I don't know what they hope to do with Command and Conquer we will see how much of their former base follows them. As for Dragon Age 3 we seen the sales on Dragon Age 2 after people learned how bad it was. Bioware is going to be hurting in the coming years and they will have to change and fire people like Stanley Woo and Chris Priestly who openly insult their customers.

    I can see the name Bioware being used for a feature client base software to buy games after they fired the studio. Hell they did it with Origin.

    Also this woman should be fired or written up for bringing her new company in Bioware's PR Diaster.

    AE: I've deleted your question and follow up because I have no idea what you're asking, it's incredibly crass, and appears to be off topic.

  18. ZippyDSMlee says:

    It would be nice if you got a whole game and extras ala DLC then half a game and left overs…

  19. Mr.Tastix says:

    "Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."

    This comes off, to me, as highly arrogant and extremely ignorant.

    You know who doesn't pay your bills? Your boss. Neither does your companies publisher, nor their shareholders. These people might give you a paycheck, but at the end of the day, you are absolutely nothing without consumers. Those people who actually buy your crap.

    It pays to remember that.

    It's my money so I have a right to my opinion (hell, even if I didn't pay I'd still have a right to my opinion). Frankly, if DLC were actually good then maybe I'd be more inclined to buy it. As it is, most DLC is a half-assed "expansion" that costs the same price as one.

    Other than that, I don't care for Day 1 DLC. Doesn't bother me, and why should it? We all know it's going to come sooner or later, might as well get the bad quality shit out of the way first, if you ask me.

  20. RedMage says:

    If a developer is so certain their game is going to be returned to Gamestop or Gamestation or wherever, what does that say about their faith in the game's quality itself?  All I'm hearing is that they couldn't be bothered to give us reasonable incentive to keep the game and so they need to install all sorts of arbitrary locks lest you dare to buy it used.  There are always going to be some people who return everything once they're done with it, to which I say: Tough shit.  That's how a free market works.  Deal with it and don't bitch at us because you can't do your job.

  21. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    "Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."

    We don't have to think we're anyone other than a consumer, to have an opinion on when and where we would like to consume.

  22. MindKry says:

    The problem she seems to be unable to address in her comments is the idea that all of the content being worked on for said game was done so in tandem, if not side by side in order for both to go through the right approval channels.

    This means the content being released probably could have made it to disc if there wasn't a nice cash incentive for the content to be DLC only.

    Either Bioware has decided to quantify the content in the game in term of dollars and cents, or there was simply no way of including this content on disc. She never went one way or the other on this, she simply told us to stop whining which does nothing to forward the debate either way.

    DLC has become a tool for easy revenue rather than extending the lifespan of a game. I always thought DLC was going to be utilized as a way to bring people BACK to a game, and thus stop people from trading in all of the games they have but instead (especially in the case of day one DLC) it's just become a ploy to squeeze more money out of gamers.

  23. State says:

    Perhaps developers should spend more time on fixing the bugs in the main game instead of making sure that DLC is available on Day 1. Mass Effect 3 is riddled with bugs (including the face import), so the time spent making sure the DLC came out could've gone into a Day 1 patch instead.

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