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In praise of free updates

SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
edited October 2008 in Games and Technology
With the current generation of consoles, a defining feature has been hard drives, internet access and thus downloadable content.

This has been a mixed blessing. On one hand it's opened up easy access to classic and retro videogames, on the other hand it also allows publishers to be lazy and greedy, releasing bug-ridden and/or incomplete console games in the knowledge that they can just patch them up post-release or bankrupt their customers by drip-feeding them content through endless micro-transactions.

However, an interesting fringe benefit is the occasional free update. These aren't simply patches, but updates which add additional content to the game without charging the customer any extra. Examples such as Crackdown, which had a free update that added an additional set of vehicles to your garage, or Burnout Paradise which has recently had a free update released adding Motorcycles, which not only means a new set of vehicles but also a new licence class and events to compete in with those vehicles.

Now, these are obviously great for the consumer; you bought a game a few months ago, it's starting to get a bit stale and then hey, here comes some refreshing content to extend the life of the game at no extra expense to you.

But it also seems like a rather clever business model for the developer/publisher as well. At first maybe not - why give something away for free which some people who already own your game will pay for? Seems stupid. But, what about all those people who haven't played your game yet? I mentioned Crackdown and Burnout Paradise because these were two games I bought after the free updates were released. Yes, part of the decision to buy them was because they are well-received games in their own right, but the opportunity to get added value for money makes the purchase a no-brainer. Here's a good game, which is even better than it was on original release. It's like I've bought a Game of the Year edition with added content right out of the box or something.

It also momentarily puts the game back on the front page (I bought Burnout Paradise last month after reading a thread mentioning the added content) so it produces more publicity months after your initial marketing campaign has dried up.

And what's better? Selling the new content for 500 MSPoints to a percentage of existing customers still interested in playing the game and willing to shell out more for it or drumming up renewed interest in the game with a free update and selling off additional old hard-copy stock at full price to new customers?

So free updates. They seem like a win-win situation to me. Existing customers get a 'thank-you for playing' a few months after purchase without feeling like the publisher is trying to bleed them dry by charging for minor updates, new customers feel like they're getting something a bit extra even although they are still paying full price for an older game and the publisher gets to cash in by extending the shelf-life of full-price publications.

So what of free updates? Altruistic goodies or cynical marketing ploys? Worthy additions or pointless wardrobe distractions?

Szechuanosaurus on
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Posts

  • ZxerolZxerol The fullest, most luscious beard. Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I like Doug Lombardi's (Valve) take on it: "So, for us, for free is the way to go. The gamers play the game, they want to keep playing the game, so we've collected their fifty bucks at the start, and once they're in the park, they can ride any ride they want in the park. So, for us that's been the philosophy."

    I mean, damn, Team Fortress 2 is like the gift that keeps on giving. Continuous updates with brand new maps, weapons, and gametypes (at least if you're PC gaming)? Sign me the hell up. Let's not forget before with stuff like HL2 DM, which was released free for HL2 owners and then subsequently updated free too.

    The most extreme example in recent times is the Witcher Enhanced Edition, bar none. They took in gamer input, simmered it for a year, and then released a bigger, better, and more complete package. And then allowed everyone who had the original version to download a massive 2+ gig worth of content, absolutely free. Even those extras in the retail EE package like the soundtrack and artbook are available for download. It's mind boggling and I had a hard time believing it. But there you go.

    I mean how can anyone not like this shit? I'm tempted to buy another goddamn copy of the Witcher EE just to show those guys how much they rock. Meanwhile, I never gave Bethesda a fucking dime past the initial purchase of Oblivion over that stupid horse armor bullshit. Yeah, I hear they got better after that, but fuck that noise -- it soured me from the start.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I'm not a big fan of DLC. To me, at least, once DLC is released for a title, I feel as if my game is incomplete. If the content is free then that's great, the developer/publisher get bonus points in my eyes. But I don't want to spend somewhere in the ball park of $5 - $50 (Hi, Ace Combat) to feel as if I own the total package.

    WeskerSig.jpg
    SteamID - Fig-D :: Xbox Live - Fig D :: PSN - Fig-D
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Fig-D wrote: »
    I'm not a big fan of DLC. To me, at least, once DLC is released for a title, I feel as if my game is incomplete. If the content is free then that's great, the developer/publisher get bonus points in my eyes. But I don't want to spend somewhere in the ball park of $5 - $50 (Hi, Ace Combat) to feel as if I own the total package.

    Yeah, a lot of people feel that charging for lots of minor additions to a game is modestly extortionate. Free updates would seem to mean that the existing customers don't feel short-changed (or ripped-off) while new customers justify the expense to the publisher by picking up more copies from retail.

  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Zxerol wrote: »
    I like Doug Lombardi's (Valve) take on it: "So, for us, for free is the way to go. The gamers play the game, they want to keep playing the game, so we've collected their fifty bucks at the start, and once they're in the park, they can ride any ride they want in the park. So, for us that's been the philosophy."

    I mean, damn, Team Fortress 2 is like the gift that keeps on giving. Continuous updates with brand new maps, weapons, and gametypes (at least if you're PC gaming)? Sign me the hell up. Let's not forget before with stuff like HL2 DM, which was released free for HL2 owners and then subsequently updated free too.

    The most extreme example in recent times is the Witcher Enhanced Edition, bar none. They took in gamer input, simmered it for a year, and then released a bigger, better, and more complete package. And then allowed everyone who had the original version to download a massive 2+ gig worth of content, absolutely free. Even those extras in the retail EE package like the soundtrack and artbook are available for download. It's mind boggling and I had a hard time believing it. But there you go.

    I mean how can anyone not like this shit? I'm tempted to buy another goddamn copy of the Witcher EE just to show those guys how much they rock. Meanwhile, I never gave Bethesda a fucking dime past the initial purchase of Oblivion over that stupid horse armor bullshit. Yeah, I hear they got better after that, but fuck that noise -- it soured me from the start.

    This was a big thing for me. I can really appreciate the lengths they went to with Witcher EE, I freaking well went out and bought it again. Doesn't matter that I could download the additional stuff, having physical copies of the game manual, guide, printed double sided map and even soundtrack and making of DVD's was pretty awesome. They even threw in a short story by the author of the Witcher. It's how a special edition should be done, and it really speaks to their philosophy that the best way to beat the pirates isn't to put on increasingly restrictive DRM, but to compete with them and offer a better product that they cannot hope to match.

    Time was that every game came with a proper, big, printed manual, that seems to be a lost art these days.

    I also agree that Valve's philosophy to updates is brilliant. They've said that the way to win the multiplayer popularity contest is to continually update, and Team Fortress 2 has come out to dominate all comers precisely because of that philosophy. I mean it was an amazing game when it got released, but I don't think it would be nearly as popular or as huge today if it weren't for those updates. Other devs actually called them idiots for releasing this content for free because they thought it wasn't going to go anywhere and that you'd just be catering to a shrinking hardcore community. Guess they just don't appreciate the philosophy behind it. With each class update, Valve jumps sales by another 20% on what is still one of the best selling multiplayer FPS's to date. That in itself says a lot.

  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Fig-D wrote: »
    I'm not a big fan of DLC. To me, at least, once DLC is released for a title, I feel as if my game is incomplete. If the content is free then that's great, the developer/publisher get bonus points in my eyes. But I don't want to spend somewhere in the ball park of $5 - $50 (Hi, Ace Combat) to feel as if I own the total package.

    Yeah, a lot of people feel that charging for lots of minor additions to a game is modestly extortionate. Free updates would seem to mean that the existing customers don't feel short-changed (or ripped-off) while new customers justify the expense to the publisher by picking up more copies from retail.

    "Hey guys, I've got a brilliant idea for the addon!"
    -Heard at a Bethesda studios planning meeting, shortly before the announcement of Horse Armour.

  • KlykaKlyka DO you have any SPARE BATTERIES?Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Burnout Paradise.

    /thread

    SC2 EU ID Klyka.110
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  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Klyka wrote: »
    Burnout Paradise.

    /thread

    I'll see your Burnout Paradise, and raise you the PC version of Team Fortress 2.

    WeskerSig.jpg
    SteamID - Fig-D :: Xbox Live - Fig D :: PSN - Fig-D
  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Warhawk had some rockin' free updates. The health mine and wrench addons really changed gameplay up a ton, and now I can't imagine how in the world we all played without them. Then they also released some free game modes, Hero and Collector which are really fun and change things up once again. They went with both philosophies, though, as they have some paid DLC.

    From what I've seen paid DLC, if it's not a single player game, splits the online community a lot, and so I tend to not like it too much.

    Burnout's free updates look awesome, and I'm really tempted to buy the game just because the team behind it seems so generous to its customers.

    theincidentsig.jpg
  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    subedii wrote: »
    Fig-D wrote: »
    I'm not a big fan of DLC. To me, at least, once DLC is released for a title, I feel as if my game is incomplete. If the content is free then that's great, the developer/publisher get bonus points in my eyes. But I don't want to spend somewhere in the ball park of $5 - $50 (Hi, Ace Combat) to feel as if I own the total package.

    Yeah, a lot of people feel that charging for lots of minor additions to a game is modestly extortionate. Free updates would seem to mean that the existing customers don't feel short-changed (or ripped-off) while new customers justify the expense to the publisher by picking up more copies from retail.

    "Hey guys, I've got a brilliant idea for the addon!"
    -Heard at a Bethesda studios planning meeting, shortly before the announcement of Horse Armour.

    Didn't EA do that whole buy content on-line that is actually on the dvd with some 360 games or something?

    PSN | Steam
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    I've got a spare copy of Portal, if anyone wants it message me.
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Yes, paid updates for online games can definitely cause fracturing. Battlefield 2 went that route, with different map packs and weapon sets which I think was the beginning of the end for me with that game. I think I bought them all - special forces, the Euro one - but it all just started to feel a bit disjointed and messy. Would've much rather they had fixed the bugs first, then maybe released a GOTY edition with one or both of the Add-ons and given the same addon(s) to existing customers for free. You really need to nurture an online gaming community and if you do, it can pay off. Some online games have continued to sell for years after their initial release.

    Speaking of games having some free and some paid DLC, Crackdown also did this. The vehicle set (and I think extra character skins?) were free but then they also released a paid-for update with new weapons and game modes. A 50/50 approach doesn't seem unreasonable and it covers both bases - making more money of existing gamers and still enticing more new customers. However, perhaps a mistake they made there was that a lot of the new gamemodes were multiplayer game modes, which goes contrary to the ethos of nurturing the online aspects of your game. Anybody wanting to play some of the new gamemodes will either need friends who also bought the update or pressure their friends into buying it, which is a somewhat unethical approach to marketing imo.

  • -SPI--SPI- Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I liked the crackdown update, it was pretty much "Hey, we know you finished the game months ago, here's this stuff you can squeeze the very last bits of fun out of the game with"

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  • BigKevBigKev Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Yeah, consumer goes a long way in this industry, and more dev's need to realise this sometimes. Valve are one of the most loved developers for a reason, and arguably the most succesful PC developers for the past few years.

    Steam ID : BigKev87
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    GrimReaper wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Fig-D wrote: »
    I'm not a big fan of DLC. To me, at least, once DLC is released for a title, I feel as if my game is incomplete. If the content is free then that's great, the developer/publisher get bonus points in my eyes. But I don't want to spend somewhere in the ball park of $5 - $50 (Hi, Ace Combat) to feel as if I own the total package.

    Yeah, a lot of people feel that charging for lots of minor additions to a game is modestly extortionate. Free updates would seem to mean that the existing customers don't feel short-changed (or ripped-off) while new customers justify the expense to the publisher by picking up more copies from retail.

    "Hey guys, I've got a brilliant idea for the addon!"
    -Heard at a Bethesda studios planning meeting, shortly before the announcement of Horse Armour.

    Didn't EA do that whole buy content on-line that is actually on the dvd with some 360 games or something?

    Yeah, at least for Madden and Tiger Woods, there was literally shit in the release that you could only get by paying even more for it. Not even an add-on, just shit to unlock that's already in the game. For Tiger Woods, you could unlock it by basically beating everything in the game, which would take forever. Or you could pay $5.

  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    One thing to note here though is that a lot of developers DO want to release their content free, over xbox live at least, yes, the bike pack was free, and yes, I hear theyre releasing a whole new freakin city for burnout! (Free? I hope so, bikes are fun) but (on xbox live) microsoft is actually making things cost money that otherwise wouldnt, take the gears maps for example, those came out at 800 points, Epic said themselves they wanted it to be free, but had no choice, microsoft KNEW people would buy it, so they MADE them stick a price on it, fair (unfair?) what do you think? The maps became free at a later date but its always about making money. Sometimes the developers DO want to release free things but are restricted by their superiors, they have no choice, as sad as that is its how companies work and we cant change it, Im not saying everything released is this way, but Im positive there would be a whole lot more free updates for everyone (on xbox live) if microsoft wasnt so money grubbing.

    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    That's unfortunate. It should definitely be up to the publisher what price, if any, is attached to downloadables. I can understand if Microsoft would want to charge them for the privilege of using the delivery system, that's a separate issue*, but it should always be the choice of the publisher whether or not to pass that cost on to the gamer.

    *Personally, I think that Microsoft should be helping publishers in any way possible to shift retail units of their game and improve relations with customers. Microsoft will take a licence fee off any 360 games published anyway and any good will generated by independent publishers with their customers will rub-off on Microsoft.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    One reason that stops me bothering to put my consoles online is the general "charging for stuff" that is typically free on a PC. I liked gears a lot, but I didn't like it sufficiently to pay money for some more maps (where I can play a PC FPS and get access to tons of whatever I want for absolutely nothing). I haven't even had my 360 connected to the internet since my original free month ran out in December 06. If more of this DLC stuff was generally free and if I could get access to multiplayer that wasn't as slow as a dead goat, I would probably be more enthused.

    As it is I'll just stick to the PC for games that I feel have some moddability or that I want to play multiplayer.

  • mastriusmastrius Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Exactly, I agree, its a bit ridiculous but sadly happens, another instance of this would be Halo 3 with the map packs they release, cold storage, a map they wanted to release free for their anniversary (they did release it free but...) they had to make a loop hole at microsoft stating that its free because it was supposed to be part of a map pack earlier released (that costed money) They didnt want that to be the case but had no choice, it WAS released free, but ONLY because it had to count as part of that map pack, otherwise microsoft was forcing them to make it cost money. What the hell kind of stuff is that? Thats the kind of greed that pisses me off. It ruins things really, it does.

    Edit: which is why PC gaming can be excellent with the free updates and all that.

    "You're like a kitten! A kitten who doesn't speak Japanese." ~ Juliet Starling
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Mods on PCs are a slightly different issue. They aren't generally created by the original developer, they're usually hobby projects by bedroom modders. The professional equivalent is expansions, which traditionally do cost money, even on the PC. Of course, some developers are bucking this trend (such as valve) and releasing quality add-on content for free on the PC.

    I suspect that this is probably a result of them realising how much more successful a game becomes when it attracts a modding community. Half Life was selling retail for something ridiculous like ten years, mainly off the back of the community made mods and free content. Now that's a double win for valve, because they never even had to pay to make that content in the first place and still profited by association, but the mod scene of the 90s has clearly demonstrated that the value of work done once can be vastly extended with relatively minor continued work, provided for 'free'.

  • PeewiPeewi Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    All the free updates for TF2 are pretty great. If it hadn't been updated at all, I'd probably have stopped playing it a long time ago. The game shipped with 6 maps. The latest update came with 7. Admittedly three of those were existing maps retooled for the new game mode and one was an existing user created map, but it's still pretty crazy.

    Although I think paid DLC is bullshit, I have to admit I bought some of the stuff for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King on Wii.

    Wii U: Peevvi || 3DS code: 3480-2527-9521
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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    For some companies maybe. Other companies not so much. Bethesda for example, have pretty much come out saying that the mod community wasn't really all that relevant to them in terms of sales for Oblivion, which is part of the reason they're not focussing on the SDK for release of Fallout 3.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/23/interview-pete-hines-on-fallout-3-mods
    Another Journalist Interjecting: Also, it’s part of a PC world, which is not part of the console world which is a bigger part of the business than it might have been previously.

    Hines: That’s the other thing. Yes, the PC mod community does help extend the life of a product by the number of people who are still playing it, but as we’ve seen in Oblivion, there’s still people who are playing it on the 360 in the tens of thousands two and a half years later. In insane numbers. For two years in a row we were still in the top 10 most played Xbox games in the year, with zero user-mods. So yes, I definitely think it helps extend the community – but it’s not the only thing out there. The games themselves also do lend themselves to be continuously played and replayed. So yes, it’s a good conspiracy theory, but has nothing to do with the facts. It’s just a case of “Who the hell is going to do this?” as everyone is working on getting the game done right now.

    Of course, there is also the theory that mods provide unwanted competition for DLC, but Hines denies that one.

    During that whole interview he left the door open for there being an SDK for Fallout 3, but the whole impression I got from it was that it's not really something they feel they need to do. He's not saying they'll never come out, but he can't seem to commit to saying they will either. Understandable I suppose, even if I don't like it.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Oh. Ok. Well, I guess I won't be buying two copies of Fallout 3 like originally planned then. I'll just get it on the 360 and not bother with a copy for the PC for playing mods. But sure, Bethesda, mods don't affect sales, uhuh.

  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    When I download DLC if the file size is not what I would expect I get annoyed.

    scarab you have mental problems
  • DangerousDangerous Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    The addition of free content is actually a pretty big deciding factor in whether or not I'll purchase a game. That's why I was more than a little ticked when I picked up the Call of Duty 4 GOTY edition only to find out that it no longer comes with the new maps that PC players already get for free.

    I still haven't downloaded any pay updates from live because I just can't stomach the point system. In the end it also fragments the user base because not everyone is going to buy the new maps, etc. So you have some servers running the new maps, some not. I think Battlefield 2 and 2142 are a great example of this. When I picked up the special edition of 2142 (which actually came with an add on!) there was approximately 1 server running the new maps. :(

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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    When I download DLC if the file size is not what I would expect I get annoyed.

    Stuff too big to get hold of sometimes? That can be irritating with things like the mega-patch for Witcher, but in the end that was worth it.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Dangerous wrote: »
    The addition of free content is actually a pretty big deciding factor in whether or not I'll purchase a game. That's why I was more than a little ticked when I picked up the Call of Duty 4 GOTY edition only to find out that it no longer comes with the new maps that PC players already get for free.

    I was under the impression that it does 'come' with them, you just have to download them, but they are still free (a code is supplied with the game to download them)?

    I guess it isn't ideal - it takes up HDD space, presumably you can't resell it along with the extra maps - but they're still 'there'.

  • DangerousDangerous Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Dangerous wrote: »
    The addition of free content is actually a pretty big deciding factor in whether or not I'll purchase a game. That's why I was more than a little ticked when I picked up the Call of Duty 4 GOTY edition only to find out that it no longer comes with the new maps that PC players already get for free.

    I was under the impression that it does 'come' with them, you just have to download them, but they are still free (a code is supplied with the game to download them)?

    I guess it isn't ideal - it takes up HDD space, presumably you can't resell it along with the extra maps - but they're still 'there'.

    Negative. No code, no nothing. After digging around on the internet I found out that the new copies don't have the little circle in the corner that says free maps included. The GOTY edition comes with absolutely nothing extra. It's pretty lame.

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  • Shoegaze99Shoegaze99 Registered User
    edited October 2008
    Now, these are obviously great for the consumer; you bought a game a few months ago, it's starting to get a bit stale and then hey, here comes some refreshing content to extend the life of the game at no extra expense to you.

    But it also seems like a rather clever business model for the developer/publisher as well.

    Without question. I liked the Burnout: Paradise demo, almost bought the game, but it came out during a busy buying time for me and it slipped off my rader. The motorcycle pack put it back on my radar in a big way. They came back at me and are trying to get my money ... and I think it's going to work.

    On the other hand, had it been a paid expansion, I don't think I'd have given it a second glance.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Dangerous wrote: »
    Dangerous wrote: »
    The addition of free content is actually a pretty big deciding factor in whether or not I'll purchase a game. That's why I was more than a little ticked when I picked up the Call of Duty 4 GOTY edition only to find out that it no longer comes with the new maps that PC players already get for free.

    I was under the impression that it does 'come' with them, you just have to download them, but they are still free (a code is supplied with the game to download them)?

    I guess it isn't ideal - it takes up HDD space, presumably you can't resell it along with the extra maps - but they're still 'there'.

    Negative. No code, no nothing. After digging around on the internet I found out that the new copies don't have the little circle in the corner that says free maps included. The GOTY edition comes with absolutely nothing extra. It's pretty lame.

    Interesting, both Amazon and GAME in the UK still show product shots with the 4 New Maps circle.

    http://www.game.co.uk/EnlargedImage.aspx?mid=334308&js=1

    I'm nipping up to the shops this afternoon, I might see what the on-shelf copies look like.

  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User
    edited October 2008
    Valve has got a pretty good platform.

    The only thing they really need to improve on is Valve time.
    That's really my only concern that I can think of right now and it's not even that big of one.

  • brynstarbrynstar Registered User
    edited October 2008
    I just wanted to come and give another resounding nod to the Witcher Enhanced Edition. I downloaded the patch when it first hit and finally got around to playing it yesterday, and man, it's fantastic. I had played through a bit of the game before hearing about the EE, and decided to wait and play it once the patch came out. I'm glad I waited, the game is even more fantastic now.

    I think free content updates are the way to go and a great way to combat piracy and the used game market. I think CD Projekt, Valve, and Criterion all have the right idea.

    Xbox Live: Xander51
    PSN ID : Xander51 Steam ID : Xander51
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    brynstar wrote: »
    I just wanted to come and give another resounding nod to the Witcher Enhanced Edition. I downloaded the patch when it first hit and finally got around to playing it yesterday, and man, it's fantastic. I had played through a bit of the game before hearing about the EE, and decided to wait and play it once the patch came out. I'm glad I waited, the game is even more fantastic now.

    I think free content updates are the way to go and a great way to combat piracy and the used game market. I think CD Projekt, Valve, and Criterion all have the right idea.

    You can add Stardock to that list too.

    Also: GOG is amazing. Technically they aren't giving you free updates of the game content itself so I'm not sure whether you could really class it as DLC or anything. However they still give you a lot of stuff around it. All the reference manuals and things, often soundtracks and wallpapers and other miscellaneous stuff, all for free. And that's on top of releasing the games DRM free and on the cheap with permanent download whenever you want.

    I hope GOG takes off in a huge way.

  • redfenixredfenix Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I love tf2, and wasn't able to play it until about when the second big update came around. it's a damn fun game, and i love knowing that the classes i really like (engie especially) will get awesome updates eventually

    also, i generally like the new maps. badwater basin is fun, though i usually see the offense win

  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    redfenix wrote: »
    I love tf2, and wasn't able to play it until about when the second big update came around. it's a damn fun game, and i love knowing that the classes i really like (engie especially) will get awesome updates eventually

    also, i generally like the new maps. badwater basin is fun, though i usually see the offense win

    It's also pretty awesome that they include player made maps in the official updates as well (with their permission of course). Gives them some pretty huge publicity, after that there'd probably be few companies outside of Valve that would refuse to take them on as level designers.

  • brynstarbrynstar Registered User
    edited October 2008
    subedii wrote: »
    brynstar wrote: »
    I just wanted to come and give another resounding nod to the Witcher Enhanced Edition. I downloaded the patch when it first hit and finally got around to playing it yesterday, and man, it's fantastic. I had played through a bit of the game before hearing about the EE, and decided to wait and play it once the patch came out. I'm glad I waited, the game is even more fantastic now.

    I think free content updates are the way to go and a great way to combat piracy and the used game market. I think CD Projekt, Valve, and Criterion all have the right idea.

    You can add Stardock to that list too.

    Also: GOG is amazing. Technically they aren't giving you free updates of the game content itself so I'm not sure whether you could really class it as DLC or anything. However they still give you a lot of stuff around it. All the reference manuals and things, often soundtracks and wallpapers and other miscellaneous stuff, all for free. And that's on top of releasing the games DRM free and on the cheap with permanent download whenever you want.

    I hope GOG takes off in a huge way.

    Yes! Stardock, of course, how did I forget them?

    I agree about GOG, it's something I've wanted for the last several years, and they couldn't be handling it any better.

    Xbox Live: Xander51
    PSN ID : Xander51 Steam ID : Xander51
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    subedii wrote: »
    I hope GOG takes off in a huge way.

    I need to jump on my PC some time and give them some of my monies.

  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    brynstar wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    brynstar wrote: »
    I just wanted to come and give another resounding nod to the Witcher Enhanced Edition. I downloaded the patch when it first hit and finally got around to playing it yesterday, and man, it's fantastic. I had played through a bit of the game before hearing about the EE, and decided to wait and play it once the patch came out. I'm glad I waited, the game is even more fantastic now.

    I think free content updates are the way to go and a great way to combat piracy and the used game market. I think CD Projekt, Valve, and Criterion all have the right idea.

    You can add Stardock to that list too.

    Also: GOG is amazing. Technically they aren't giving you free updates of the game content itself so I'm not sure whether you could really class it as DLC or anything. However they still give you a lot of stuff around it. All the reference manuals and things, often soundtracks and wallpapers and other miscellaneous stuff, all for free. And that's on top of releasing the games DRM free and on the cheap with permanent download whenever you want.

    I hope GOG takes off in a huge way.

    Yes! Stardock, of course, how did I forget them?

    I agree about GOG, it's something I've wanted for the last several years, and they couldn't be handling it any better.

    Well they could be handling the beta better. My beta pass expired and it won't allow you to log onto the sight once your cookie's gone. :x

    Still, that'll be a moot point when the site goes live for real, and at least I got the games I wanted before then.

  • theantipoptheantipop Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Although the OP talks only of free updates, I think it's worth mentioning what Blizzard has done with content in an MMO. It's true you're paying monthly to play the game so you should expect some content, but Blizzard has rolled out huge swaths of content absent any expansion pack fee that a lot, and I mean a lot, of other MMOs would box up. It's definitely one thing that kept me paying as long as I did.

    Also, Epic was pretty supportive of free content and updates for UT. I was never sure how much of their content packs was community generated of made in house, but the fact that they packaged them all up for easy downloading made it really easy to keep up with the community and play some fun maps.

  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    theantipop wrote: »

    Also, Epic was pretty supportive of free content and updates for UT. I was never sure how much of their content packs was community generated of made in house, but the fact that they packaged them all up for easy downloading made it really easy to keep up with the community and play some fun maps.

    They released a pack for UT3, but since that game's pretty much floundered and all their future work's going to be 360 based I'm not sure how much longer they'll manage tp keep the updates free. Even with Gears on the 360 they wanted to release map pack for free but MS basically said no dice.

  • MasoniteMasonite Registered User
    edited October 2008
    subedii wrote: »
    For some companies maybe. Other companies not so much. Bethesda for example, have pretty much come out saying that the mod community wasn't really all that relevant to them in terms of sales for Oblivion, which is part of the reason they're not focussing on the SDK for release of Fallout 3.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/23/interview-pete-hines-on-fallout-3-mods
    Another Journalist Interjecting: Also, it’s part of a PC world, which is not part of the console world which is a bigger part of the business than it might have been previously.

    Hines: That’s the other thing. Yes, the PC mod community does help extend the life of a product by the number of people who are still playing it, but as we’ve seen in Oblivion, there’s still people who are playing it on the 360 in the tens of thousands two and a half years later. In insane numbers. For two years in a row we were still in the top 10 most played Xbox games in the year, with zero user-mods. So yes, I definitely think it helps extend the community – but it’s not the only thing out there. The games themselves also do lend themselves to be continuously played and replayed. So yes, it’s a good conspiracy theory, but has nothing to do with the facts. It’s just a case of “Who the hell is going to do this?” as everyone is working on getting the game done right now.
    Of course, there is also the theory that mods provide unwanted competition for DLC, but Hines denies that one.

    During that whole interview he left the door open for there being an SDK for Fallout 3, but the whole impression I got from it was that it's not really something they feel they need to do. He's not saying they'll never come out, but he can't seem to commit to saying they will either. Understandable I suppose, even if I don't like it.

    So he argues one side of it, but doesn't even look at the other? Why wasn't there a number thrown out about how many people are still playing Oblivion on the PC, with mods? Is that number so insignificant? Or, hell, what about Morrowind? The mod community for it is still pretty active and that's in spite of Oblivion's release.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    theantipop wrote: »
    Although the OP talks only of free updates, I think it's worth mentioning what Blizzard has done with content in an MMO. It's true you're paying monthly to play the game so you should expect some content, but Blizzard has rolled out huge swaths of content absent any expansion pack fee that a lot, and I mean a lot, of other MMOs would box up. It's definitely one thing that kept me paying as long as I did.

    CCP have been rather excellent about that with EVE as well. Granted, they kind of have to be due to the nature of the universe - they can't really stick on new 'zones' outside the EVE universe and have it be consistent with how it all works, but still, it's impressive that the game keeps pace, updating the content and still feels 'current' without charging their customers extra for any expansions.

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