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
    Violynne (profile), 30 Jun 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Re:

    Oh, no no no no no.

    Bungie didn't back off at all. Instead, they offered an even more insulting offer: allowing players (fans are the nutjobs that keep supporting this stupidity) to buy the specialized emotes for the low, low price of $20.

    So an avatar can dance a special move.

    After the "throwing money at the screen" comment, I decided right there and then I am officially done with this game. Sadly, it has fantastic potential to be a great franchise, but Bungie not only blew it, but actually made EA look like a saint in the gaming industry.

    Even EA didn't have this much balls to piss of fans this bad, and that's with microtransactions with DRM! Oh, my.

    On the flip side, Bethesda/Zenimax Online releases Elder Scrolls online with tons of emotes, the damn-near entire world of Tamriel, and fantastic game play for a one-time fee of $70.

    In fact, I even asked ZOL to consider a lower $7.99/mo fee so I can help support the game, given I feel the current $14.99/mo isn't valuable to me (it boosts character xp, gold, and Crowns and I don't want the extra xp - sadly, a "take it or leave it" option).

    Despite the real money price of $14.99, I even bought a Senche-Lioness because it offered me fantastic value for what it gives my character. Some may not see this similarly, and that's fine, but the sheer number of people using real-money items is proof people are willing to "throw money at the screen" when they clearly see value.

    Bungie: Grind Spinmetal forever. We're done here.

    Bethesda/ZoL: Flawless Victory. Grinding optional.

    The choice is clearly obvious who the better studio is.

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