EA: Complaints About On-Disc DLC Are 'Nonsense'

from the tomato,-tomahto dept

We've long discussed how game downloadable content (DLC) can be done right, but more often than not it's done very, very wrong. On the positive side you have CD Projekt Red, who recently decided to offer two free pieces of DLC for The Witcher 3 every week for months, helping to build a positive relationship with fans while keeping the game consistently in the public (and media's) eye. More often than not however you have efforts like Bungie's recent flubs with Destiny, or Ubisoft's pretty but incredibly shitty DLC approach to Assasin's Creed, Unity.

And then there's EA, whose quality control issues, treatment of employees and obsession with low-value microtransactions are now legendary in the gaming industry. The company has made nickel and diming DLC high art, at times stuffing $60 launch titles with dozens of pieces of DLC at $5 or more a pop -- already embedded on the disc. Whether you like this idea or not, there's little debate that EA has quite often pushed the idea of microtransactions too far.

But what you might call obnoxious and greedy, EA COO Peter Moore continues to call "innovative value proposition." Speaking recently to Gamespot, Moore quite-proudly proclaimed that it's "nonsense" to believe publishers sell incomplete titles in order to make money off of missing content:
"A lot of that resistance comes from the erroneous belief that somehow companies will ship a game incomplete, and then try to sell you stuff they have already made and held back. Nonsense. You come and stand where I am, next to Visceral's studio, and you see the work that is being done right now. And it's not just DLC, this is free updates and ongoing balance changes."
Well, one, things like "free updates" and "balance changes" are part of routine maintenance for a title, and since they often involve fixing bugs -- aren't really part of the conversation. Still, Moore would prefer it if gamers thought about future EA DLC as if it were "APIs," not content already on the disc that customers should have gotten with the original game:
"Think of them as APIs," he said. "Knowing down the road that something needs to sit on what you've already made, means you have to put some foundations down. What people are confused about is they think DLC is secretly on the disc, and that it's somehow unlocked when we say."
And sure, Moore's not entirely wrong. Many are quick to point out that in modern game development, DLC quite often runs parallel and separate from core game design, and the core structure of DLC developed at a later date often exists on disc to make integration easier. Few deny that, and DLC can certainly be done well. But DLC did in fact start with many developers shaving core content off of the original game to make an extra buck, and there's little doubt that many titles are left intentionally sparse so users need to acquire pricey DLC to fully flesh them out. Moore also ignores the unholy atrocity that is pre-order DLC bonuses, which involves only being able to get a vast array of content if you pre-order from select vendors.

Cumulatively, the frequency of poorly-implemented microtransactions is still annoying, and it's certainly not "nonsense" if the modern gamer feels that the value proposition of many modern titles from AAA developers has slowly been circling the toilet. On the flip side, it has been interesting to watch the resistance to poorly-implemented DLC slowly erode over the years. Back in 2011, gamer disdain for nickel and dime DLC was utterly palpable. During the first quarter of this year, "extra content" generated roughly $921 million out of EA’s total digital revenue of $2.2 billion, meaning there are plenty of people who now either think DLC offers a great value position or have more disposable income than brains. I personally ignore 99.7% of all DLC.

Granted Moore is the same guy who tried to argue that EA won Consumerist's "The Worst Company In America" poll simply because it's big. And EA is the same company that consumes talented developers and shits out broken dreams as a matter of course. As such, EA's probably the last one gamers should ask when trying to differentiate value from a heaping $5 pile of nonsensical, supplementary horse excrement.

Filed Under: dlc, downloadable content, video games
Companies: ea


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:13am

    [...] pretty but [...] shitty [...]
    You're a poet and you didn't know it. ;D

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:18am

    During the first quarter of this year, "extra content" generated roughly $921 million out of EA’s total digital revenue of $2.2 billion, meaning there are plenty of people who now either think DLC offers a great value position or have more disposable income than brains.
    This is precisely why Techdirt will be writing about EA for many, many years to come. Job security for Karl and Tim (or is it Timothy, can never remember).

    I personally ignore 99.7% of all DLC.
    Ditto. As it stands, the only company which gets my money for its DLC is (Zenimax) Bethesda, currently my favorite game studio.

    I didn't mind one bit paying $20 for a virtual clouded leopard mount for Elder Scrolls Online (after buying two house cats and another lioness). This game gives me such a fantastic good time, I actually feel guilty I don't subscribe (a requirement dropped by Zenimax pre-console launch).

    $70 for a game that clearly gives so much more than pretty much any other title out there (not yet played Witcher 3, which I heard was huge) that I'm hoping this plan doesn't backfire because we have idiotic gamers who want it all but want to pay nothing for it.

    As for Ubisoft and EA, I don't buy any of their games direct. If I want it, I'll head to Gamestop where they get the money and I get the game, screwing EA and Ubisoft both.

    It's not a coincidence small publishers are making big waves.

    Oh, yeah, and a plug: Submerged is a really great game for $20. You can finish it in a day, but it's gorgeous and fun to play. Recommended.

    Why the plug? small publisher. ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:28am

      Re:

      [...] we have idiotic game developers who want it all but want to do nothing to encourage consumers to buy the games.
      FTFY, Violynne. ;)
      If I want it, I'll head to Gamestop where they get the money and I get the game, screwing EA and Ubisoft both.
      Whereas if I want a game by EA or Ubisoft, I'll look for something similar from a different developer and get that instead. I'm screwing them both harder than you are, and all without piracy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:15am

        Re: Re:

        Did you just equate buying games second hand with piracy?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, I'm just stating that I don't purchase even second hand EA and Ubisoft games (because they're broken by DRM).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Violynne (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 7:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not on consoles. I have never had a used game by EA or Ubisoft fail to work from a used game.

            While I'll admit they do try to get me to "sign up" for their "service", I decline.

            Also, the "FTFY" is dead wrong. EA and Ubisoft clearly have no intention of changing their ways and gamers are still buying the games.

            There's no denying EA and Ubisoft still make good games. That would be lying. What's important to realize here is how we obtain those games, and buying second-hand is not piracy.

            Wait. Just noted your username. You're toying with us, aren't you Daedric Prince of Madness.
            :P

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              EA and Ubisoft clearly have no intention of changing their ways and gamers are still buying the games.
              Which equates to wanting to 'pay nothing for it' how? You know, when you say stuff like that, you sound just like an industry shill.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What's important to realize here is how we obtain those games, and buying second-hand is not piracy.
              She says to someone who purchases second hand movies to avoid paying the MPAA anything. Yes, I'm aware that buying second hand isn't piracy, and you'd have known that if you'd read my later comment. All I was implying is that I don't make up for the EA and Ubisoft games I don't have by obtaining them illegally, preferring to get similar titles from other developers instead. This was supposed to calm down any industry representatives who would jump to the assumption that just because I'm not purchasing certain titles must mean I'm pirating them.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 4:56am

      Re:

      Go push your adds somewhere ells

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:09am

        Re: Re:

        There's a company called Different Developer? Well, you live and learn.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:15am

        Re: Re:

        Apologies for my sarcastic and inappropriate comment. I'm not having the best day with my multiple cognitive disabilities, so didn't realise at first that you were actually replying to Violynne rather than me. God, I hate the way comments are nested on this site! :(

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    andy, 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:42am

    Games

    if people do not like the dlc the will either hack it or not buy the game from the specific developer. EA might be making a lot of money now but as has been seen many times before games developers can fall apart almost overnight. EA is going to collapse , take the facts and realise nobody really likes them and most people do not buy their games unless they are second hand and the developers get nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:54am

    But DLC did in fact start with many developers shaving core content off of the original game to make an extra buck [...]
    Which Ubisoft still does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 4:16am

    One of the important things about Peter Moore is that he's been in the business of video games for a long time. His experience as a games developer isn't valueless.

    However, his words here are nothing short of extremely hypocreitical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 4:28am

    I just don't EA.

    EA; Not even once.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      Me either, not even second hand. This might sound paranoid, but what's to stop them adding second hand sales to popularity stats for their games? Add in (actual) infringement figures, and it would explain why their games have more fans than buyers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      I just don't EA.

      I certainly don't EA from EA.

      I do, however, buy EA titles from GoG, which don't have DRM. (I actually have repurchased a bunch of EA games that I already had on CD just because it meant I didn't have to search around for nocds or figure out a way to get a Windows 98 game to run on Windows 7.)

      Some of their old stuff (made by other companies they purchased,) is good. Unfortunately, that means that I am part of the problem because I am supporting a flunky business model.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 4:34am

    GOTY

    Just asking: How are GOTY Versions counted in this 921 milion. I rarely buy DLC, but then again I mostly buy a game when it's older and by this time it has normaly a GOTY or similar edition that includes all DLC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AJ, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:01am

      Re: GOTY

      Exactly. There are a half a dozen studio's that I won't preorder/Alpha-Beta/ or buy a new release. I wait until they are on the humble bundle on steam, or at the very least GOTY sale.

      Whats the point of buying an incomplete game? They say it's added value or "Add-On's". I say bullshit. If I want DLC I'll mod my own, give me the whole game upfront, or I'll wait until it hits the discount bin...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:53am

      Re: GOTY

      Waiting for the GOTY edition means you not only get all the DLCs at once, but you get all the bug-fixes for the base game as well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fuck EA, 20 Aug 2015 @ 4:58am

    "EA is the same company that consumes talented developers and shits out broken dreams as a matter of course."

    An accurate, and eloquently expressed, characterization. EA is a franchise destroying machine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:00am

    "Oh, yeah, and a plug: Submerged is a really great game for $20. You can finish it in a day, but it's gorgeous and fun to play. Recommended.

    Why the plug? small publisher. ;)"

    Always nice when someone can misuse an article and discussion to try and push their own paid product. You better be sure i will never touch Submerged because of this.

    Go somewhere ells and post your add spam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:03am

    What Do You Expect?

    Well, as a raccoon-catcher I once knew used to say, ritually, while transferring the enraged "mini-bear" from a box trap to a leather bag, "...jes llike takin candy from a baby..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:03am

    E.A.

    Erroneous arseholes

    nuff said...and if this is his justification , i'm with pirates....just cause he is stupid....

    You might ask what is differance between DUMB and STUPID?
    Stupid , should know better....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob, 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:23am

    As such, EA's probably the last one gamers should ask when trying to differentiate value from a heaping $5 pile of nonsensical, supplementary horse <strike>excrement</strike> armor.


    FTFY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:35am

    100%

    I personally ignore 99.7% of all DLC


    I personally ignore 100% of all DLC. DLC is one of the things that pushed me away from most modern games, especially AAA titles, entirely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:17am

      I now look for the "complete" version

      Given that versions of games that don't include DLC are now the incomplete version.

      Yes, it means waiting a couple of years, by which time my computer might actually be up to speed to run it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 2:04pm

        Re: I now look for the "complete" version

        It depends, for me.

        If I want to support the developer then I am happy to pay.

        For example Obsidian is releasing an expansion for Pillars of Eternity on GOG in a few days. I will pay for this even though it would be better to wait for their "final" edition which contains all updates. I will pay for the Witcher 3 expansions too.

        If there were any EA games that I actually wanted to play (there are not) I would pirate them for ethical reasons. EA is an unethical company that does not deserve support or any respect at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:55am

    I personally have been avoiding titles from major studios (with one or two exceptions) so I wouldn't know. They managed to turn an avid gamer into someone avoiding them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:08am

    The ultimate end of this philosophy is to distribute an application that is merely a downloader and maybe a tutorial, with ALL of the content being something that you download.

    Now wouldn't that be grand? We could call it the "downloadable content game", along the lines South Park used for their Authentic Line Ride.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:31am

    Before there was DLC there was DLC...

    ...in the form of game expansions.

    Notable examples include Brood Wars for the original Starcraft and Zero Hour for the original Command and Conquer: Generals. In both cases, the new content was worth the addition.

    Game expansions weren't always very good. The Sims and Sims 2 expansions were hit-or-miss, and now it takes several hours to do a complete install of Sims 2 (the best of the series).

    However, in both cases, the expansions were developed after watching the players to see how they played the game, so that new units would fill in the blatant gaps that were left in the old tech trees. In the case of Generals, they also added specialized variants of the tech trees, often featuring special units which leaned towards specific strategies.

    Day-one DLC doesn't bother with that sort of feedback, so it's more like development material intentionally withheld in order to create an auxiliary monetization base. As a result, often the base game feels incomplete or abridged, rather than the game with the DLC feeling enhanced, or rounded out with the new material.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 1:19pm

    Simple logic here -

    I paid for the disc, I did not sign a license for certain data on the disc. I now own the disc and any contents on that disc as determined by my original payment of it.

    Therefore if there is any DLC on the disc, I own the DLC that is on the disc as a result.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Moby (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:32pm

    Ditched

    Dumped them about a year ago over this very issue and have no plans to play any of their games again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:51pm

    I dunno... I'd pay $5 for nonsensical, supplementary horse excretment. After all, I get the whole product at once. Then I can have fun with it. I can fertilise things, I can throw it at people, I can burn it. And even better, I know I don't later have to pay $5 to get the flies, another $5 to get the smell or $10 for the other half of the pile.

    Whereas EA would sell me the horse and then charge me extra to activate the horse's poop maker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:56pm

      Re:

      Oh, and some more benefits: The excretment:
      - doesn't periodically phone home to its maker
      - doesn't require activation
      - doesn't have to be always online to work
      - doesn't snoop on my garden bed and tell the maker what flowers I grow
      - doesn't restrict me from doing what I want with it
      - doesn't introduce security holes
      - doesn't lock me out of my other legally purchased products because I accidentally mixed it with sand instead of dirt

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 22 Aug 2015 @ 2:12am

    Concerning DLC-heavy titles, it has long been my policy to wait for a "complete edition" bundle to be released before buying.

    And if one is never released, not buying the game at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thomas (profile), 24 Aug 2015 @ 8:50am

    Digital Revenue Breakdown

    Have to be careful with the digital revenue breakdown. Most of that probably comes from the mobile space (cell phones). Where most games are free and *only* have fees for "extra content". It's also the most predatory market that exists for video games (seriously there are people who spend thousands of dollars on them).

    This is also a separate market from "core gamers", so it wouldn't necessarily imply that pc/console gamers are buying that much DLC.

    Also, I would have expected previously 100% of digital revenue to be extra content since EA was a little slow to the digital sales realm. You would have bought the game in a store then the DLC through some patchwork of xbox live/psn/website etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.