Nothing is set in stone just yet, but according to analyst Michael Pachter, Electronic Arts is planning to charge gamers for what he describes as very long game demos.
"The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943," Pachter explains. "A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price."
The revelation came during an analyst visit to Electronic Arts' Redwood City headquarters, in which Pachter met with EA Group General Manager Nick Earl. According to Pachter, Earl describes the extended demos as a "low-cost marketing tool."
"EA's view is that the PDLC costs a lot less to develop (essentially, it's the first few levels of the full-blown game), and they have the opportunity to fix whatever needs to be fixed in the packaged product that is released a few months later, whether than entails doing more of what people like or doing less of what they don't like," Pachter said. "It sounds like a brilliant strategy to me."
And to us it sounds like paying to beta test a product, which we suppose would be brilliant if EA manages to pull this off.
We’ve heard many adjectives used to describe DLC. This, however, we think is a first. “Aggressive” DLC doesn’t sound like something we’d purchase, so much as we’d restrain it by luring it onto our PCs using money as bait. Then, with its fury temporarily caged, we’d try with all our might to beat the content before it could burst free from our hard drives and swallow us whole.
We don’t think that’s quite what 2K has in mind, however.
“2K Games announced today an aggressive post-launch downloadable content plan for BioShock 2 that extends and enhances the single and multiplayer experiences by adding more glimpses into the award-winning world of Rapture,” said the publisher in a press release.
Coming down the Bathysphere first is the Sinclair Solutions Test Pack, which brings a number of improvements to the multiplayer side of BioShock 2. These include new weapon upgrades, a rank increase to 50, new playable characters, five additional masks, And More ™! It’ll run you 400 Microsoft Points, or $4.99, and is launching in March.
Honestly, though, we’re more interested in the forthcoming single-player DLC, which promises “more narrative, new tools and new challenges that extend the lore and fiction of the failed Utopia under the sea.”
Still, though, a little something for everyone is better than nothing for no one, right? Regardless, it looks like BioShock 2 is here to say, and that’s a-okay with us.
Four humans versus thousands upon thousands of zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 doesn’t seem very fair, does it? Well, in early 2010, four familiar faces are looking to even the odds, which – by our math – makes the zombie apocalypse 0.000000001% more evenly matched. That’s right: Francis, Bill, Zoey, and Louis are back, and Coach, Rochelle, Ellis, and Nick are… still here! So they’re teaming up, in case that wasn’t the most obvious thing in the entire world.
“The Passing will become the most important campaign in the Left 4 Dead story, as all the Survivors are being called together in one campaign,” said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. “It will also be a huge offering of new gameplay content, with something new for every game mode plus a new uncommon common and weaponry.”
Taking place in a small town in rural Georgia, the DLC will also include a new co-op challenge mode. As for pricing, Valve’s not saying at the moment, but we’d be shocked if PC gamers were forced to drop a nickel or a dime on The Passing, as Valve’s PC content hasn’t traditionally carried a price tag.
The DLC’s out in early 2010. Which is nice, since we’ll need a relaxing Left 4 Dead 2 break in between our rigorous Mass Effect 2/BioShock 2 sessions.
Zombie hunting season is officially open, and Valve has another hit on its ESRB-compliant hands. After little more than two weeks on shelves, Left 4 Dead 2’s retail tally has slashed through the two million mark like a katana through brittle undead flesh.
“Left 4 Dead 2 is off to a great start with strong support at retail and great reviews from the press,” said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. “Meanwhile the title has already been played by over 1 million Xbox LIVE Gold account holders, and news regarding L4D2 DLC 1 is coming very soon.”
Valve also added that “sales to date are more than double the original title.”
As for the real zombie apocalypse, well, we're guessing that’s probably on hold. Odds are, its brain-munching participants are cemented to their screens at the moment, completely addicted to Left 4 Dead 2 just like the rest of us.
In our experience, DLC usually serves as the thin mint after a fulfilling game experience. Problem: At our current rate of progress, we’re on track to finish Dragon Age by next holiday season. But, for those of you who haven’t been diagnosed with chronic slowpoke syndrome, BioWare’s putting a fresh helping of content on your already stacked holiday gaming plate.
The new mini-arc “summons players to a new quest in which they will return to the fateful battleground in Ostagar where the Grey Wardens were nearly wiped out. Players will discover King Cailan’s top-secret political agenda and go behind enemy lines to revisit a place that many feared had been lost to history.”
It’s going for 400 BioWare Points, or $5.00. For now, BioWare’s keeping mum on release specifics, only saying to expect the DLC “this holiday season.”
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re actually off to go fight the Blight at Ostagar right now. Oh man, that King Cailan is so dreamy. We sure hope nothing bad happens to him!
Borderlands' first DLC expansion, “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned,” is a couple weeks away from pulling your level 50 Borderlands veterans out of retirement… on consoles. For now, unfortunately, mum’s the word on the first-person shoot ‘n’ loot’s PC DLC.
“We will have information on the PC version at a later time,” a 2K Games spokesperson told Blue's News.
Shame, that. Our guess? The DLC’s hit a snag in the certification process. After all, that’s what caused the main game to trail the console versions’ dates by a week. We’ve gone ahead and asked Gearbox for clarification, though, so hopefully we’ll hear more soon.
The original Mass Effect rocked our socks. Its DLC, though? Not so much. Fortunately, if a Microsoft Expert Zone retailer quiz is to be believed, BioWare’s making up for Mass Effect’s DLC deficiency in a big way with Mass Effect 2.
According to the quiz, planned content includes “episodic combat via DLC, weapon and armor packs, new downloadable characters for the campaign experience, new downloadable worlds, as well as full campaign expansions for download.”
Here’s hoping that BioWare doesn’t also take the EA Renegade route and peddle things like cheat codes and cosmetic upgrades for exorbitant prices.”Exorbitant,” in this case, meaning “anything other than free.”
Just because a Valve's got a new baby sloshing around in its tremendous, engorged Boomer womb (insert baby Boomer joke here) doesn't mean the developer's going to start neglecting its first undead child. The proof? A brand new, totally free DLC campaign is on the way for stalwart L4D1 supporters.
Titled “Crash Course,” the new campaign fits snugly between No Mercy and Death Toll, chronologically speaking. Along with new Campaign and Survival maps, new character dialogue, a recharge timer for Infected teammates, and rebalanced item spawns also put the C in this DLC.
The new scenarios will, of course, work fine and dandy with Campaign mode, but apparently, Crash Course’s true purpose is to be a “30 minute” showcase for Versus mode. You know, more like a typical multiplayer shooter.
It’s out in September. And it’s free! Unless you’ve been so horrendously wronged by the existence of Left 4 Dead 2 that even Valve’s continued support of L4D1 (the very thing you feared for when L4D2 was announced) isn’t enough to stop your steaming, you’ll play it. You’ll play it and you’ll love it because, well, why not?
If Fallout 3’s Operation Anchorage DLC was its electro-sword-swinging, happily ending “A New Hope,” The Pitt is its “Empire Strikes Back.” Full of depressing realities and potential backstabs, The Pitt isn’t exactly the best place for a vacation if Fallout 3’s gray skies and grayer morals were getting you down. The DLC’s plot sees you dropping your mechanical trousers, donning slave rags, and infiltrating Pittsburgh’s disease-riddled remains, with the hope of freeing its enslaved citizens. Or cracking the whip even harder, if you’re playing a heartless ne’er-do-well. But is it really worth your time to save Pittsburgh when you could be saving $10? Well, here’s our verdict in five easy points. (Granted, we could’ve given you a simple yes or no, but what fun would that be?)
1. Now with made with 100% real Fallout! – Despite its first-person trappings, Fallout 3 isn’t an FPS. Unfortunately, developer Bethesda seemed to have forgotten that when it released Fallout 3’s first run-‘n’-gun-heavy piece of DLC, Operation Anchorage. With The Pitt, though, the game has kicked its identity crisis to the curb. No more snow, no more identical Chinese soldiers, no more strangely out-of-place cyborg ninjas – Metal Gear Solid this ain’t. Instead, The Pitt sends you on a veritable Wasteland safari, full of open areas, colorful characters, and optional side quests. And for the most part, another few hours of the same things Fallout fanatics have been doing for the past 50 make for an enjoyable – if somewhat familiar – experience.
Steam’s only one or two artillery shells away from becoming Skynet at this point, we think. First, it gained access to the Internet’s vast wells of knowledge, and now the thing can even purchase DLC, if it’s feeling so inclined. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little more worried than we’ve ever been in our entire lives.
“Valve, creators of best-selling entertainment products and advanced technologies, today announced the arrival of in-game downloadable content to Steam, their massively popular PC gaming platform. In-game DLC allows developers and publishers to use their own games as a platform for selling additional content to gamers,” read Valve’s press release.
In other words, no more middleman. Shift-tab, grab a few new items, maybe a war against China, and hop right back into the game. No muss, no fuss – just complete reliance on Steam quick, efficient fun.