Making downloadable content available for a game on the day of its release makes sense for everyone involved, according to Bioware. Eurogamer reported on Bioware's comments on its post-release content strategy at Game Developers Conference Europe today, saying gamers ask for more as soon as they start playing.
"From the moment the game launches … [fans] tend to say 'I want it now!' So it needs to be there when it's ready," said Fernando Melo, Bioware Edmonton online development director. He said day-one DLC gives concept artists and writers something to work on while teams responsible for tweaking and polishing before launch can continue on the main product. BioWare is no stranger to DLC, with the company including significant content in From Ashes, its day-one DLC for Mass Effect 3, and expanding the trilogy's controversial conclusion with a free download several months after release. Online passes for Mass Effect 2's planned content accounted for 11 percent of that game's DLC revenue, even though it was included in new purchases.
Mass Effect 3 also introduced a new revenue source for the developer in the form of online multiplayer transactions. Instead of charging $10 or $15 for a static piece of content, BioWare charged players smaller individual amounts to enhance progression through Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode. This both encourages more purchases and gives players greater choice, Melo said. "If you have five DLC packs at $10 each, you can only ever earn a total of $50." He said the popularity of the microtransactions has allowed for several free multiplayer content packs to be produced and released
"Gamers are actually happier, as they are able to spend money when they want. People may not want to pay upfront. They may be happier to pay when they are 'in the moment'."