With New Destiny DLC, Bungie Gives A Master Class In How To Alienate And Annoy Paying Fans

from the quadruple-dipping dept

Bungie, creators of the hit game Destiny, is going through a bit of a rough stretch. Whereas Witcher 3 creators CD Projekt Red have been showing the gaming industry how to do everything right in regards to DRM, DLC and consumer interaction, Bungie apparently decided to give a master class over the last few weeks on how to do everything very, very wrong.

Bungie's first misstep came when it unveiled the latest Destiny expansion pack, The Taken King. To access all of the content in this new expansion, gamers need to buy the new $80 Collector's Editon, forcing fans to shell out some notable cash to buy a slew of content they already owned (the base game and previous DLC), just to nab some new DLC doo dads. Destiny's creative director, Luke Smith, then did an epically shitty job of not-really-trying to quell fan outrage over at Eurogamer, where he repeatedly dodged the question of why consumers should pay for content they already own:
"Eurogamer: Can you see that some fans are confused that you're asking them to buy stuff they already own?

Luke Smith: Yeah, I can totally empathise with those people. But the Collector's Edition is a pretty cool package for people who want to pursue that stuff. Otherwise, surely what you're saying is that you would want to buy them separately, right?

Eurogamer: Well, yeah. I would rather do that - pay a few pounds or dollars or whatever - than spend money on things I already own.

Luke Smith: [Laughs] Well, we have nothing more to talk about regarding your opportunity to spend extra money in Destiny, other than The Taken King and the three versions we've announced"
Talk about non-answers. Smith essentially laughs off concerns about Bungie double dipping, arguing that users just haven't seen the full awesome scope of what Bungie has planned. When pressed by Eurogamer, Smith would only elaborate that the company is "really comfortable with the value" they're offering consumers. That of course completely ignored the fact that most Destiny fans were making it very clear they were not seeing said value whatsoever. Not too surprisingly, based on Smith's seemingly-flippant tone in the article, many Destiny fans felt they were at best being ignored, and at worst being laughed at.

All of this is, of course, ingenious on Bungie's part if the goal was to create a series of high caliber shitstorms on Reddit. Bungie only made things worse when the company subsequently announced that a chunk of The Taken King DLC would only be available to consumers who buy Red Bull products:
Over at Reddit, someone posted some leaked Red Bull marketing materials for the promotion, which are quick to highlight how this kind of stuff is great because Destiny players are "used to paying a premium for downloadable content." Isn't nickel-and-diming fans, like, totally rad?

Of course, one person's bumbling face plant is another person's marketing opportunity, and makers of the zombie apocalypse game Dying Light were quick to make fun of Bungie's DLC horrible week by offering users free DLC...if they drink water (their Twitter feed is now amusingly full of people drinking water):
The Eurogamer interview was published Monday, and by yesterday Bungie had been forced to do a complete 180, not only announcing they'd let fans buy the new DLC piecemeal, but also having Smith apologize for being an "asshat":
"Reading my interview with Eurogamer and imagining it came from some random developer of a game I love - that random developer looks like an Asshat. But that Asshat was me - and those words rightfully anger you. I'm sorry. My words made it sound as if Bungie doesn't care about their most loyal fans. We do care. We are listening. And we will make it right."
Of course, Bungie wouldn't have to "make it right" if it hadn't tried to aggressively nickel-and-dime its loyal fans in the first place. And Bungie, like many companies, wouldn't be trying to aggressively nickel-and-dime loyal fans if gamers didn't perpetually reward this kind of behavior by lapping up garbage pricing and content whenever it's shoveled in their general direction. At the end of the day, the way to stop this kind of pricing isn't to raise hell after the fact (though obviously that helps), it's to avoid paying companies that exhibit this kind of behavior in the first place.

Filed Under: alienating, destiny, dlc, fans, luke smith, repay
Companies: bungie


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2015 @ 11:58am

    "Otherwise, surely what you're saying is that you would want to buy them separately, right? "

    Yes, since the entire point is that they already have bought most of the content separately. A package for a new customer is a great deal. A package for an existing content that 90% consists of stuff they already own? Not so much.

    This reminds me of one of the things that helped the music industry shoot itself in the foot shortly before/during the Napster days. You could buy a CD of your favourite artist's new album... then they're release a new version of the CD with a new track unavailable elsewhere. Then maybe a new CD with all that plus another track or "free" EP. Maybe a Japanese version with some new tracks (but not all the previous ones). Nobody was going to buy a new album every time another track was added, and the people who were most screwed over were the people who bought the first release (more likely to be fans of the artist) than those who came along later. So, of course, the industry was *shocked* when Napster allowed people to obtain all the tracks without buying the same album 4 times.

    DLC is already a sore point with gamers, many of whom see it as just a way to get more money out of a game by piecing out content that should have been included under the retail price. Many (including myself) will already wait for a GOTY or similar package for games (or buy at a cheaper price later on down the line) because we are being ripped off. However you try to spin this, it was clearly an attempt to rip people off in the homes of extra profit. Hopefully, not so many people will fall for this now that they've "changed" their minds, but we'll see...

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