Red Dead DLC targeted market trends - Take-Two

Publisher "didn't even have a fantasy" of making Undead Nightmare zombie add-on when game launched, says first add-on freebie was intended to combat used-game sales.

When Take-Two launched Red Dead Redemption in May of last year, few could have guessed the publisher would follow that up with the zombie-themed Undead Nightmare expansion. As Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick confessed during a presentation at ThinkEquity's 8th Annual Growth Conference in New York City today, he was not among those few.

The market wanted zombies, so Take-Two gave them zombies.

"Once we do the core development, which takes a long time and is pretty hard, doing the development related to the DLC in a high-quality way is a lot easier and a lot quicker," Zelnick explained. "And we can be very responsive to what the market wants. So at the time we put out Red Dead Redemption in May, we didn't even have a fantasy that we'd be putting out a zombie title for Halloween. But we were."

Not all of the publisher's Red Dead DLC plans were so spontaneous. The Outlaws to the End pack, a free add-on focused on cooperative gameplay that launched a month after the game hit shelves, was in fact part of Take-Two's plan to combat used-game sales.

"The theory was, let consumers know there's a reason to hold onto your games because the bulk of impact of used game sales on front line sales is in the first six weeks," Zelnick explained. "So if we can get people to hold onto their game for the first six weeks, the titles aren't in the stores in the used game section, which means people have to buy the front line title from us."

For more on the game, check out GameSpot's review of Red Dead Redemption.

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85 comments
daschectron
daschectron

now that is a SMART move from the developers!!!, i really admire their strategy and honesty with this move of the free DLC to keep players interested in the game. For me, this is a developer who thinks and realize things thinking in their costumers, not like the greedy EA that all that can think is how to get more money from their puppets... i mean, costumers. A five star to these guys!

ChromeGrill212
ChromeGrill212

@shaun_ofda_dead yea i know that the people who complain about restricting used games sales are not poor, they are probably lower middle class people. i just called them poor as an insult because i get very tired of always hearing people complain about the developers/publishers limiting the content of used games and those people actually make a very big deal out of it and making it seem like they are poor. I think all complainers should be a little bit more understanding and look at these situations in a business perspective. People should also look at everything in a bigger picture which means that the more money the game industry makes then the bigger the progress will be made in gaming technology for the future. I already knew that Gamestop is the reason why developers are against used game sales which is what i mean when i say that people should look at these situations in a business perspective. Anyways this is my last comment and i wont respond anymore after this.

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@ChromeGrill212 I understand thats a median salary, but following that logic there are just as many out there making more than that as there are making less than that. And honestly you need to rethink your idea of used video games and "poor" people. most poor people I know don't play video games because they are poor. and again, the only reason that devs are upset about the used game market is because of gamestop. they are they ones that enable the "money out of pocket" scenario, giving crap for a game in trade and in turn selling it used for x times that price. the only reason devs care about the used game market is beacuse some other company is marketing massive amounts of profit reselling their product.

ChromeGrill212
ChromeGrill212

@shaun_ofda_dead Yes $70,000 is a nice salary but i don't think it is good enough for the hard work that game developers do. Besides $70,000 is only just the median salary for developers, so there's still lots of game developers that make less than that. I'm not talking about those game developers that develop average or crappy games, i'm talking about the ones that develop awesome games.

JJB03
JJB03

activision, ubi-soft and EA learn from Rockstar please they have other ways of making gamers not sell there copies to the bargin rather than implimenting a lock on online play for the bargin buyers this is how gaming should be!

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Rockstar is truly (according to me) amongst the best in the business (maybe even the best). Watch out for Max Payne 3 !!!

CashPrizes
CashPrizes

I mean I am for the developers doing what they need to do to make money, but not releasing complete games, free DLC 4-5 weeks later, ehhhh I guess I am for it, any real good game I still be playing/considering playing a month after I beat it. Free Dlc is free Dlc, gives me a reason to pop game back in, get extra play for my money, keeps 12 year olds from pawning their games.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

I still insist Undead Nightmare was crap.

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@ChromeGrill212 "Most Game Developers don't even make that much money. The average salary of a game developer is only $70,000 a year." LMAO "Only". Get a clue dood. Thats a pretty nice salary. And as somebody who has played video games for over 20 years and bought plenty of used games in that time, the only real reason used games has become an issue with devs is because of one company- Gamestop.

Neo_Sarevok
Neo_Sarevok

@ Sepewrath An even better way to insure people keep their games is to offer console modding tools, similar to the PC. If console owners had more freedom to manipulate the game world and install their own content, the game's longevity improves immensely. Even today, people still play PC Oblivion, Morrowind, Fallout, etc. for its wealth of mods.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

They as if soon as the person finishes the game they gonna sell, I bought my Red Dead at begging of this year and I finished already months ago, and I don't plan selling it, "why?" simple its am awesome game I like to replay once while. Remember this good games always sell well, independent of piracy and used sales.

anonimitie
anonimitie

At last, the carrot technique to fight the "bane," of used games. I would gladly hold games and even pre-order with a compelling reason. The only argument I can see against the free DLC is if produciton houses start releasing incomplete games and just opt to use DLC to fill-in the gap.

kern93
kern93

How about making good games that are long and well deserving the orginal price such as GTA, Red Dead, TES to name a few. I dont want to be able to beat a game in 1 or 2 days and if thats the case then I dont see the point in keeping it. Granted I do keep the majority of the games I buy but make a good long game, with some good not over priced dlc and you would have a game that not as many people would sell back or at least not as fast as people do now. Just my idea.

supa_stud
supa_stud

the customer is always right!!!

kool_zed_speaks
kool_zed_speaks

You would seriously have to be a little loose in the head to be a gamer and not keep this masterpiece in your collection.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

And that's the way it should be done. I still have my copy of Red Dead, and even though I no longer play it as much I'm not trading it in because it's a damn decent game. The 'used games' argument is getting beyond the joke, it's nice to know that some companies think of better ways to tackle the problem then by using access codes. Good stuff.

pakhair
pakhair

And forgot as I always say Reward us not Punish us... And I know it might sound wrong but I often buy the games used which have online pass with few exceptions here and there. According to me it's wrong that I can't share my game or exchange with a friend, after all I or him bought it full price.

pakhair
pakhair

I thought of this strategy quite some time ago, When THQ introduced the plan to restrict online for used games but I'm shocked that any other developer thought f this too, That's the reason I respect Rockstar and always buy there games new since the days of PS2 and there DLCs are good too not as cheap as COD Dlcs Oh and By the Way outlaws to the End is my personal favourite dlc among all as I have played for 30+ hrs alone (without other MP modes)

veitari
veitari

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Wula_
Wula_

The biggest turn off for me shelling out $60 is day one DLC that costs $5+ or within the first month. Such a slap to the face. I wish devs would take the approach of more free DLC. That way early adopters are rewarded and not punished. There have been so many games where I wait for the GOTY to be released with all the current DLC included.Since I would rather pay $50-60 for the full experience then a dissected one over the first 3 months that costs $150.

Khoo1992
Khoo1992

That DLC to combat used games sales is not a bad idea, better than Online Pass

ChromeGrill212
ChromeGrill212

it is really annoying when i keep hearing poor people complain about Game Developers trying to limit used games sales. Game Developers are not idiots, they wanna make money just like everybody else. Most people in this world don't even play videogames so Game Developers have to do whatever they could to get as much money as they could from game sales. Most Game Developers don't even make that much money. The average salary of a game developer is only $70,000 a year. Game Developers are underappreciated because it's very hard to develop videogames. Also Developers deserve to get paid more for their skills because videogames are the most amazing technology in the world and the technology of videogames will keep getting better and better in the future. Besides, the more sales a game company recieves then the more innovative games become in the future. You guys should think about all of this before getting all pissed off at developers/publishers for combating used game sales. Without any limitations on the content of used games, people would try their best to buy used game copies because the used copy would be the exact same as the new copies but just cheaper. There is even tons of people on craigslist that sell used games $20 cheaper. You don't want the game companies to go out of business and stop developing games now do you? Poor people should stop being a little too hard headed. If you're not poor for complaining about companies being against used game sales then your just stubborn or inconsiderate or greedy.

Vodoo
Vodoo

The Publishers should buy back their own games then. They can sell them used to people cheaper than Gamestops' rediculous $5 off price. Sell the game new for $60. Buy it back at half-price, $30. Sell it used for $45. Everyone wins and Gamestop loses!!!

coop36
coop36

Hes lieing. I remember Rockstar saying they were working on the Undead Nightmare pack before the game was even released.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

Not that I see used game sales as a problem, but this is how you get people to hold onto their games. Use the carrot, not the stick. And if all DLC was as great as Undead Nightmare was, I wouldn't have any problem with it. My problem's mainly with DLC that clearly doesn't have a tenth as much effort put into it but costs almost as much (CoD Map Packs, I'm looking at you). Those drain spending dollars away from quality smaller titles.

Setsuka13
Setsuka13

Good idea to keep people buying new copies. Whatever floats their boat. Especially when it means freebies. :D

Raxyman
Raxyman

Used blablabla used. This is getting real old... And really fast... @Dawg9000 True. That's the kind of thing that makes me strongly against these money-idiots who want to extinguish used sales.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Thanks for the freebie Rockstar!! I wish more devs would throw us a bone like this. I remember back in the days of original Xbox it wasn't rare to get a good quantity of free DLC. Ghost Recon and Ghost Recon Island Thunder come to mind, which still brings back great memories.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Hisairness2345 I agree, but something that most game companies wants are is the "perfect way of business" but perfection don't exist, so they gotta keep blaming on someone, because otherwise might get insane. OBS: this is the truth for every for of business.

CEMETARY_GATESx
CEMETARY_GATESx

Next gen will be all digital to combat used game sales. Enjoy used games while you can.

SolidSizzle
SolidSizzle

It's annoying to hear another dev going on about used games sales. I'm fed up of it being made into this 'new' threat that's 'terrible for the industry'. BUT it's refreshing to see a developer actually trying to give gamers an INCENTIVE not to sell the game, or not to buy it used, rather than just having a go at consumers (EA). I think that's what should be the norm, and it's a smart move. I might not like that they're still trying to restrict used sales, but I can respect a company that's honest and smart about it. Nice work, Take-two!

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

You imagine Chevrolet demanding money everytime a Camaro's sold at an auction or Ebay? Insane.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

That's a much better approach to the whole used game market. Stop penalising gamers that buy used, and instead make gamers want to keep the game and keep playing. Offering more content (free or paid), and crucially making us aware that it is coming, is a good way to convince us to keep hold of the game. And the more people that are playing and continuing to play a game, the better the word of mouth sales will be.

Hisairness2345
Hisairness2345

How many of the people that buy your game used would even buy the game at all if it were at full price. The videogame industry is not losing as much money as they think to used games and they should just be happy so many people want to play their game. I'm not really at all against trying to combat used game sales. I do wish, however, that new games were not so damn expensive.

majin_lebeau
majin_lebeau

so when they hold content to combat used dlc, I see praise here. when other companies have done it in the past, most of the comments are angry. combating used game sales is not new, it is the end of 2011.

ADDADAC
ADDADAC

That's a smarter way to try to discorage used games, too many game companies thnk the way to combat used game sells is by insulting people who buy used and saying "you owe me money b**ch". which is stupid because a large amount of people buy both used and new games, but insulting them just rounds them into one group, causing some to buy used just to spite the people insulting them. Industry is driven by the consumer, not what the companies want.

SilverSignal
SilverSignal

For a spontaneous DLC, the Undead Nightmare Pack is awesome. I'd love to see something similar for GTA V. :)

beuneus12
beuneus12

rockstar rules, we already knew that

kayos539
kayos539

I think it's a neat idea. What they lose in giving out free DLC they can make up for with people buying the game new. Other companies should follow this strategy *cough* EA *cough*

mattg90520
mattg90520

Actually a great DLC strategy. Im impressed. For once, planned DLC prior to launch has a reason, not simply seeming like theyre withholding content. Furthermore, its good to see them admitting the zombie pack was spontaneous and in response to what the market wanted. DLC should be something that addresses the game afterwards, not something that is planned and labored over prior to launch or shortly thereafter. Good job, Take-Two. I may have to pick up the GOTY edition now (though, Ive been putting that after for the inevitable Fallout: NV, too, so its going to be tough)

yxw
yxw

Great strategy for dlc ..... Liked the game and never felt like I overpaid when I paid 40 bucks even after it was 8 months old . There is enough content to keep you busy for weeks .Top that off with the free dlc I got with purchase and I would say that is good business. Hope more companies can learn from them. Make it better and sell more copies , makes sense to me .

attentaeter85
attentaeter85

they can hurry up and make the best dlc of all time after the game is out and other companies plan their dlc way in advance and still only come out with short expansion packs and useless add ons. Rockstar is the best.

blueboykc
blueboykc

@ eusousuperior your statement makes no sense.. "Still waiting for a PC version of this so i can finally play it the way its meant to be played." if it was meant to be played on pc wouldnt it have been released on pc first or at least alongside the console version?

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

far too late, what with all the games on the way, this wont even get a sniff...

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

Because of the way he explained their position, I can respect Take Two's position. Doesn't mean that I agree totally with it, but I am definitely willing to give them a little more benefit of the doubt, especially since they mixed in free stuff with the paid, and to be honest Dead Nightmare had enough legs to warrant an on disc release; it wasn't just a cheap map pack. Also, he wasn't saying that you absolutely should buy a game new; his argument was more along the lines that you should keep it even after you beat it and their DLC should be the encouragement to do so. Yeah, the whole DLC trend seriously sucks, but maybe if more companies put the effort that Rockstar and Take Two to mix in freebies with DLC like Undead and the two Liberty City Stories packs for GTA IV, stuff that has depth, then I can deal with it. Especially since if I don't want it I don't have to buy it still.

eusousuperior
eusousuperior

Still waiting for a PC version of this so i can finally play it the way its meant to be played. It doesnt matter if i have to wait many years like i did with bully.

smoman5000
smoman5000

All of RDR's add-ons are great. I really like the way Take Two handled the DLC.

COPMAN221
COPMAN221

blitztwn36 Posted "Used game sales are a real problem for publishers, as they don't see a dime of money from them. Why should a developer's investment and hard work go and solely benefit Gamestop, in the case of used game sales." @blitztwn36, Then why don't the game companines just charge $20.00 if you want to play that used game online or lock it out all together that way you have no choice but to by it new and they can stop nickel and diming us for DLC on day onewhich should already be in the game. Or is this whole used game thing just just an excuse for game companies to milk us dry..