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A modest compromise on DLC

nategatornategator Registered User new member
edited May 2012 in Games and Technology
Issue: The core gaming industry faces two great challenges to its continued success. First, the industry faces the continued pressure by politicians and activists to impose draconian regulations on the type of content allowed in video games in order to protect the well being and proper development of the nation's (and indeed, the world's) children. Grand Theft Auto V will soon be released. How soon until Hillary Clinton or Rick Santorum calls for national regulation or even a multi-national treaty regulating the supposed pornographic and obscene content they claim is in video games? Second, the industry has faced a difficult battle at getting the gaming community to accept necessary price increases to support fair profits in light of the added costs in developing games. Instead, that same community has been hoodwinked by leeches such as Gamestop, Ebay, Best Buy, GameFly, and others to abuse first-sale doctrine and literally take the food out of the mouths of the gaming artists that work so hard under the guidance of their publishers. While DLC and multiplayer have helped stem the rising time of used games devouring the gaming economy, this has resulted in irrational anger toward "Day-1 DLC" and "on-disc DLC" or, as more appropriately viewed, Game+ DLC content.

Solution: Establish an industry standard that makes all video games T or lower core and a T+, M, and/or AO DLC version available by DLC that can only be purchased by credit card. All games will have a mainstream version with no curse words, sexualized cut scenes, or excessively violent imagery (no blood, just the bullets). When in doubt, turn to FCC guidance to broadcasters on what is appropriate during the 8-9pm hour block.

Arguments:

1) Ensuring that mainstream versions are family appropriate will silence the critics

The most vivid and compelling scenario that is offered to worried parents is innocently purchasing an Xbox or Play Station and then coming home one day to discover poor Jimmy cavorting with prostitutes and criminals while playing Grand Theft Auto. Not since welfare reform or opposition to single-payer healthcare has an issue arisen that is so appealing to the press and ripe for bipartisan or even multi-national action. Make no mistake, change is coming. The industry needs to make sure that it has a voice in the process.

While the gaming industry has tried to forge a middle ground through its voluntary rating system blocking point-of-sale underage purchases and parental controls, these efforts have proven unsatisfactory. No one checks for driver's licenses on ebay and GameStop cannot be relied upon to adequately check customers for ID. Furthermore, parents rightly complain that parental controls are too confusing and time-consuming to implement. More importantly, this method denies profitability to the publishers and developers because it carves out a games potential customer base according to demographics. These solutions thus both cost the industry money and do not satisfy the critics.

A better solution is instead to limit Teen+ content to a credit-card only DLC purchase. This way, parents no longer have to fiddle with challenging parental systems or rely on the integrity of the market to ensure that rogue agents do not sell their children inappropriate content. Instead, parents simply need to not give Jimmy their credit card. Better yet, every game's core mechanics will be available for the entire customer base to purchase so potential sales will not be lost.

Also, by locking away Teen+ content to digital sales only, the gaming industry will limit the opportunities of governmental regulation. Unlike physical goods, digital goods arguably do not enter the governmental territory and thus cannot be regulated by the entity. While this principal has come under attack with recent governmetnal action against off shore casinos and digital locker services, the principal still seems to provide at least partial protection. With some effective lobbying and campaign contributions it is not hard to imagine that regulators will concede this important distinction between physical and digital goods.

2) The gaming community will embrace Teen+ DLC content because it will provide irrefutable additional value

One of the biggest complaints against Game+ DLC content is that the community views it as content that "should" have been in the original disc. But by making a clear distinction between mature content and fmily content, while keeping core gameplay firmly within the initial purchase, mature DLC becomes additional and compelling value worth a small increase in price. After all, if gamers happily will fork over a dollar for a custom hat or piece of armor, then they certainly will pay $10 to $20 more to hear their favorite character use mature curse words or engage in tasteful sexual activity. Also, we can avoid offending the sensibilities of those that are fearful of experiencing homosexual content while still addressing the needs of the LGBT community. Like sidestepping the argument between adult vs. children content, the gaming industry can sidestep the arguments on sexual orientation in gaming by giving the customer real choice in what type of world they would like to experience.

3) This solution will work because it already works for other media

Customers are conditioned to take additional steps, and pay more, for more mature content. In television, if you want family friendly content the viewer sticks with broadcast television and PBS. If the viewer wants a little more mature content, he or she can purchase a cable package to experience FX and AMC but still includes broadcast and syndicated broadcast content. If even more mature content is desired, then HBO's Game of Thrones or Starz's Spartacus is available for a small $10-$15 increase (per channel!). And finally, if the viewer desires pornographic content they can purchase a pay-per-view or very expensive adult channel. At each stage the customer chooses the adult level of content and assigns the value for that content. But unlike television, gaming allows this provider to increase the content level to the same product while maintaining artistic integrity. It's a win-win-win for the publishers, developers and consumers!

Similar analogies can be found in other types of media like movies, music, and books.

Obviously there will be some short-sighted critics of this idea. But here, the enemy of the enemy can be the industry's friend. If the industry, quietly, engages in pre-negotiations with political figures to address the inevitable controvery and offer a solution, then the industry can in turn respond to the critics that this is the only way to provide the content the consumer desires. In essence, the gaming industry can argue it is saving the content from government censorship. The politicians can also claim victory by showing that they have "cleaned-up gaming". It's a win-win-win, again, for the publishers, politicans, and consumers!

Conclusion:

The solution of offering T+, M, and/or AO versions through DLC with a T or under core fits threads the needle of artistic integrity, parental concerns, and needs for profitability. It answers the concerns of critics, desires of fans, and demands of special interest groups. It offers real market-based solutions for conservatives and provides risque content for liberals. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the solution opens up further avenues for revenue. By making versions of games DLC only, it helps additional sales of pre-existing DLC content and makes the game a continuous revenue creator. It also allows potential exploration into the lucrative adult content market beyond Rockstar's wildest imaginations. The only question remaining is not should the industry adopt this solution but ask why has it not been implemented already?

nategator on

Posts

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    Fuck. Censorship.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    nategator wrote:
    The only question remaining is not should the industry adopt this solution but ask why has it not been implemented already?
    Garthor wrote: »
    Fuck. Censorship.

    Pretty much this. Also, "because it shouldn't have to."


    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • CorpekataCorpekata Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    This idea would probably have the exact opposite effect you claim it would have. 10 bucks extra to hear my avatar say shit? Yeah, the core gaming community will LOVE that. Charge extra for the Family First edition and you might be on to something.

    Your analogies are also awful. I have HBO not because I want to see what whores get naked for Tyrion next week, but because the shows that have been on that network for ages are amongst the best written and acted stuff out there, tits or no. They're not really remotely close, the only way that works if say, CBS aired a censored Game of Thrones the same week as HBO aired the unaltered one. No other form of entertainment charges you extra to have obscenities put back in.

    Corpekata on
  • MorkathMorkath Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    You don't answer the critics, you ignore them and show that your medium has merit or wait until they move on to the next "terrible" thing. If you make a concession they are just going to change their angle of attack and ask for more. There is no appeasing them.

  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    nategator wrote:
    Issue: The core gaming industry faces two great challenges to its continued success. First, the industry faces the continued pressure by politicians and activists to impose draconian regulations on the type of content allowed in video games in order to protect the well being and proper development of the nation's (and indeed, the world's) children. Grand Theft Auto V will soon be released. How soon until Hillary Clinton or Rick Santorum calls for national regulation or even a multi-national treaty regulating the supposed pornographic and obscene content they claim is in video games?

    A hell of a long time, because neither of those people have the sway to call for a multi-national treaty, nor would many nations agree to sign it.
    Second, the industry has faced a difficult battle at getting the gaming community to accept necessary price increases to support fair profits in light of the added costs in developing games. Instead, that same community has been hoodwinked by leeches such as Gamestop, Ebay, Best Buy, GameFly, and others to abuse first-sale doctrine and literally take the food out of the mouths of the gaming artists that work so hard under the guidance of their publishers. While DLC and multiplayer have helped stem the rising time of used games devouring the gaming economy, this has resulted in irrational anger toward "Day-1 DLC" and "on-disc DLC" or, as more appropriately viewed, Game+ DLC content.

    There's very different things in play here. On Disc DLC that is completed, and on the disc, yet sold seperately, is ridiculous and clear price gouging. DLC developed separately and sold the day the game comes out is a different story. However, given the success of things like Steam sales, I don't believe "getting the community to accept necessary price increases" is a factual statement, or a necessary one. Where's your evidence for that?
    Solution: Establish an industry standard that makes all video games T or lower core and a T+, M, and/or AO DLC version available by DLC that can only be purchased by credit card. All games will have a mainstream version with no curse words, sexualized cut scenes, or excessively violent imagery (no blood, just the bullets). When in doubt, turn to FCC guidance to broadcasters on what is appropriate during the 8-9pm hour block.
    Dear god no. There exists a rating NC-17 in movie theaters. AO also exists in games. When was the last time you ever saw these sell? You haven't, because they don't. Not to mention this is censorship, and thus likely unconstitutional. And the FCC is not exactly a shining beacon of what we need to follow, nor is anything like the MPAA.
    Arguments:

    1) Ensuring that mainstream versions are family appropriate will silence the critics

    The most vivid and compelling scenario that is offered to worried parents is innocently purchasing an Xbox or Play Station and then coming home one day to discover poor Jimmy cavorting with prostitutes and criminals while playing Grand Theft Auto. Not since welfare reform or opposition to single-payer healthcare has an issue arisen that is so appealing to the press and ripe for bipartisan or even multi-national action. Make no mistake, change is coming. The industry needs to make sure that it has a voice in the process.

    While the gaming industry has tried to forge a middle ground through its voluntary rating system blocking point-of-sale underage purchases and parental controls, these efforts have proven unsatisfactory. No one checks for driver's licenses on ebay and GameStop cannot be relied upon to adequately check customers for ID. Furthermore, parents rightly complain that parental controls are too confusing and time-consuming to implement. More importantly, this method denies profitability to the publishers and developers because it carves out a games potential customer base according to demographics. These solutions thus both cost the industry money and do not satisfy the critics.
    Bullshit. It is solely the fault of a parent if they come home and see Jimmy fucking a prostitute in the video game they purchased for him. That responsibility is on them, not anyone else. The government doesn't need to legislate that, parents need to pay fucking attention. If your kid isn't old enough to buy an M rated game he sure as shit shouldn't be on eBay without your knowledge, and fuck yes GameStop can be held liable for it. Your method of cutting out all adult content hampers profitability far more, and puts an added strain on developers.
    A better solution is instead to limit Teen+ content to a credit-card only DLC purchase. This way, parents no longer have to fiddle with challenging parental systems or rely on the integrity of the market to ensure that rogue agents do not sell their children inappropriate content. Instead, parents simply need to not give Jimmy their credit card. Better yet, every game's core mechanics will be available for the entire customer base to purchase so potential sales will not be lost.
    Except you're also saying they can get the games on ebay without their parent's consent. So which is it?
    2) The gaming community will embrace Teen+ DLC content because it will provide irrefutable additional value

    One of the biggest complaints against Game+ DLC content is that the community views it as content that "should" have been in the original disc. But by making a clear distinction between mature content and fmily content, while keeping core gameplay firmly within the initial purchase, mature DLC becomes additional and compelling value worth a small increase in price. After all, if gamers happily will fork over a dollar for a custom hat or piece of armor, then they certainly will pay $10 to $20 more to hear their favorite character use mature curse words or engage in tasteful sexual activity. Also, we can avoid offending the sensibilities of those that are fearful of experiencing homosexual content while still addressing the needs of the LGBT community. Like sidestepping the argument between adult vs. children content, the gaming industry can sidestep the arguments on sexual orientation in gaming by giving the customer real choice in what type of world they would like to experience.
    Uh, no, we view it as you forcing that being removed to make more money, when you could just include it. Your idea is interesting, but ultimately would never be adopted and even if it was, would not provide the solution you're hoping for. Also, it doesn't work like that in other media already. An R rated movie doesn't cost more, a book with swear words doesn't cost more, and a Game of Thrones DVD doesn't cost more because of boobs.

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  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Wow, what a load.
    nategator wrote:
    Similar analogies can be found in other types of media like movies, music, and books.

    Cite? I am unaware of movies where you need to pay extra at the theater to see the R version, I am unaware of any albums where you pay extra to get an explicit version, and I am unaware of any books where you pay extra to get the inserts that add mature content.
    nategator wrote:
    threads the needle of artistic integrity

    Except it doesn't by any definition.

    Wassermelone on
  • KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    I'm really confused as to what the complaints about paid DLC have to do with "offensive" content industry self-restrictions.

  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    The thing about censorship in games is that it's on borrowed time.

    The current lawmakers grew up with movies and rock music, so they aren't trying to restrict it, but their parents sure did. When we have a significant number of people in the government who grew up playing games there will be no more sentiment to have violent games banned as there is to have violent movies banned.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    First of all, the OP created an account simply to post this drivel. There's no intention to become a member of the community. He just wants people to read his tripe in a public forum. If it's an alt account of someone else, he'll probably be banned by IP.

    Second, he probably just read Jonathan Swift for the first time and thought "Hey, I can do satire! I'm smarter than anyone else on the internet." Thus the "modest" portion of his title. Only, from the few responses on this thread, it is clear that he cannot do satire, at least, not well.

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  • mntorankusumntorankusu I'm not sure how to use this thing.... Registered User regular
    You seem to think that any video game can suddenly be made family friendly just by removing profanity and blood? If you take the blood out of Metal Gear Solid, you're still stabbing dudes in the throat. Take the blood out of Grand Theft Auto, and you're still beating prostitutes to death. It's not less violent. Even if you make the method of murder less violent, you're still murdering people. You can't censor every game to a family-friendly level and keep the core mechanics.

    This solution doesn't exist in any other form of media, you're crazy if you think the premium cable comparison works. What we already have for video games is effectively the same as what we have for every other form of media-- it doesn't need a solution. You can pay for a violent product, or you can pay for a family-friendly product. Your idea of artistic integrity is also pretty skewed, if you think that censorship is in the spirit of it.

    And parents don't "rightly" complain about the complexity of parental control systems. If parents aren't willing to put a little bit of effort into figuring out how the product works, they shouldn't be buying it for their kids.

  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    First of all, the OP created an account simply to post this drivel. There's no intention to become a member of the community. He just wants people to read his tripe in a public forum. If it's an alt account of someone else, he'll probably be banned by IP.

    Second, he probably just read Jonathan Swift for the first time and thought "Hey, I can do satire! I'm smarter than anyone else on the internet." Thus the "modest" portion of his title. Only, from the few responses on this thread, it is clear that he cannot do satire, at least, not well.
    Or, this is his homework and wants us to validate his idea, which is clearly backfiring. It might not be so terrible, if he didn't contradict himself several times.

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  • Joe KJoe K Registered User regular
    Nova_C wrote: »
    The thing about censorship in games is that it's on borrowed time.

    The current lawmakers grew up with movies and rock music, so they aren't trying to restrict it, but their parents sure did. When we have a significant number of people in the government who grew up playing games there will be no more sentiment to have violent games banned as there is to have violent movies banned.

    you know, people (in america) don't really give a shit about violence. however, you show just 1 boob, and suddenly the piece is the devil incarnate. it's a drastic turnaround from the early 80's, and the two examples i like to use are Airplane! and the A-Team.

    The A-Team was very controversial because it was a big blow-em up prime time show that targetted a younger audience. It was FINALLY allowed to go on the air with the agreement that they could have as many guns and explosions, but no one could ever actually be shot or hurt.

    Airplane! had gratuitous full boob shots, drug, drinking, sex and profanity throughout the entire movie. It was rated PG.

    In life, pretty much everyone is going to have sex at some point. Very, very few people are going to commit a murder or other violent act. Why the typical American puritanism has gotten this to the point that all manners of violence are shown on prime time television, but a boob or curseword must be banned and treated as truly harmful.

  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    Joe K, probably because of religion. Sex is evil, killing is much more accepted. Violent imagery is a hell of a lot more common in much of religion (especially in the US) than is sexual imagery.

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  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    This reads like something navgtr would write.

  • CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    This reads like something navgtr would write.

    This reads like something a mod should lock down. Or at the very least stick in D&D on account of the censorship discussion. OP made a lot of sweeping assumptions on a new account after all.

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  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    What we're saying is that your ideas are bad and you should feel bad.

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2012
    Yeah, this is just nonsense.

    Sterica on
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This discussion has been closed.