Ubisoft Says Players More Open to DLC Now -- Are You?

“DLC is pretty much accepted."

by

Ubisoft VP of digital publishing Chris Early has said that players don’t resist DLC and other digital content for games as much as they used to.

Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Early noted that barely any players complained about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s “Time saver” DLC packs, which unlock resources and hidden locations in the game you can also earn through normal play.

"There was no resistance," Early said. "Maybe there were 12 guys somewhere who said something, but whatever. As a whole, there wasn't a problem."

Whereas in the past players would complain that such features should be added to the game as cheat codes, Early believes that Ubisoft is seeing less of a negative reaction these days because the publisher does a better job of communicating with the player community. He said that Ubisoft also tries to make DLC that adds to the overall experience instead of asking players to pay for content that should be in the game to begin with, so they don’t feel forced to pay for anything.

"I think there are some models that are accepted now,” Early said. “DLC is pretty much accepted. Season pass is pretty much accepted. Now it's interesting when you start to think of Season Pass as a Service Pass. For our Season Pass holders, I know we hold events for them specifically, so it's little bit more than just DLC content. So there's an evolution going on there."

Are you less skeptical of DLC than you used to be? Let us know in the comments below.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

745 comments
ssjpenguin
ssjpenguin

I know COD is an extreme example, but having to cough up an extra $50 for season pass just so I can get a couple extra maps is ridiculous. I'm not interested in Zombies or whatever extra crap they put in, so in order to get extra maps (used to be free in older FPS's) I have to pony up such a premium equivalent to the price of a triple A title. Then there's the thinning of an already ridiculously fragmented gamer pool, what this means is: "If I don't own DLC soandso I can't play with people who do, and they won't even be matched with people who don't in certain games" Each separate DLC for a specific game compounds this problem. Then there are these ridiculous(ly priced) costume DLCs and even though I don't have to buy them of course, it sickens me to my stomach to know people are being milked like that over a pallette swap on a character and companies trying to get away with this. And finally: we all know games released these days are unfinished products and the DLCs complete them. So you're paying twice for the finished product. This wouldn't be such a problem if the game was only $10, but we're talking about those meaty $69.99 games that get day 1 DLCs. F- that noise.

BoxOfPocky
BoxOfPocky

We're not "OPEN" to it. We're almost forced to accept it. Nowadays, rarely any games come out with full content. Somewhere down the road you're sure a DLC is coming out. Despite how much we don't want to cough up that $5, $10, whatever, if it is a game we really like, we are just compelled, almost coerced, to get it to add more content to the game. Contents that should, more often than not, be expected to be in the original release of the game. Bet you they probably assumed this based on the statistic from people who purchase DLCs. I'm no math genius, but I'm sure that is not a good sample size to represent consumer as a whole.

Challak
Challak

I'm incredibly surprised by this assertion, to the point that I have to seriously question whether Early's information was truly gleaned from an actual truly representative demographic.

My inclination is that either his team chose to speak to a population that would less opinionated, or they simply ignored the voice of the opponents.


I'm very much of the opinion that the sorts of DLC we're seeing crop up more and more is the sort that makes players feel like they're forced to pay for it, or that they're "missing out" on very desirable elements ot play if they don't buy it. In general, the types of DLC take one of several forms:

(1) Pay to Win - Pay to get an edge over other players

(2) Pay to Play it All - Pay in order to see all the game has to offer (typically new levels, missions, storylines, or alternate player-controlled characters)

(3) Pay for Vanity - Pay to gain access to cosmetic changes that do not offer an edge over other players

(4) Pay for Premium Access - Usually on free to plays, this is payment in order to actually be able to do what all the advertisements and marketing teams say the game lets you do (for a price)

(5) Pay to Not Play - These are the so-called "Time Savers", the means to be able to skip entire sessions of play and to still reap the same rewards as someone who actually devoted the time to unlocking content. These are really just paying for cheat codes. 


It's true that there are varying opinions on which are "better" than others, which feel less like being robbed and which are more valuable, largely since we all have objectives that we want filled from our games. Essentially, there are those that make us feel that a thief just stole our wallet instead of robbing our entire house. 


But to say we're okay with it is silly. No one likes having to pay the extra fees to get the whole of something they already purchased. We may be less vocal about petty thieves, but trust me. We'd much rather keep our money for the things we WANT to buy rather than throw it away at things we HAVE to buy in order to actually have the product we were promised.


tiberious_st
tiberious_st

I didn't buy a single AC (any) DLC and don't plan to. If it's not THE best game ever, I don't pay any developer to withhold content.

JimDanM
JimDanM

I normally don't get involved in story comments, BUT... Anytime a game publisher wants to sell DLC during the first year (12 mo) of release, it is content they withheld just so they could get more money from the original supporters of the game. Any content you think you should announce at release of a game should be included in the original cost of the game. PERIOD. You planned it to rip off your customers.


To the buyer: If a game publisher announces DLC for pay when releasing a game, wait until the game is complete and buy it for less. Anything else is paying to beta test. However... I'll beta test whenever the publisher wants me to... for free.

glutso
glutso

What sucks most for us single players is that we pay full price for a game just to play a small part of it and then most of the dlc is written for the mulitplayer.  So no matter how much you like the games, most of the time you end up paying $60 for just one play through with no hopes of an add on.

Heavie
Heavie

If you feel dlc is justified. There are two ways to beat the developers at there game. 


1. Wait for developers to release the game of the year edition, which you get the game and all dlc.


2. If the developers don't release a game of the year edition. Wait for the game to hit the bargain bin at a price so low it's a steal. Then go and download  the dlc.


You'll come out much cheaper and get the whole game as it should be sold.

Gadeos
Gadeos

I don't like DLC that much. I'm an old school gamer with the conviction that if you buy a game, well, it's complete, you bought the whole package.  Now there are some DLC that are actually worth it, like when you get a new experience (for instance I think of last of us and second son), but when it comes to "Map Packs", or "New" characters, weapons or items, and "season pass"... DAMN! I mean, really? big FU to whoever thought of that, because what that means is that developers intentionally launch an incomplete game, with the excuse of completing it via DLC's. It's not even about money, 20 or 40 bucks won't ruin your financial status, it's about PRINCIPLES, because it sends a very wrong message to gamers, that says "WE ONLY WANT TO MILK YOU OUT". I love it when developers make lots of money out of a single game, because it means they did it right, and this is a business, period. Yet, sellling "incomplete" games as a mean of getting even more money, that's just wrong. That's the reason I didn't buy last COD, for what?! getting a few maps and having to pay other 60 bucks to get "the complete experience"? to pay, at the end, $120 for a game that "costs" $60? Sorry for those who like being milked, but I think that's just being stupid. Bottom line, I believe DLC is justified ONLY when it really adds up to a game that's already complete.

NbAlIvEr10000
NbAlIvEr10000

DLC is only accepted when it adds to the quality of the game and makes it almost an entirely different experience.  When these companies are only adding DLC for something like pre-orders, then this gives them the unsullied idea that they can remove certain things from their games just to sell them something else that could have been included in the first place.  Companies like Capcom are the worst to do something like this.  Ubisoft has the most cred since they did something like Far Cry: Blood Dragon which IMO is one of the best examples of the best way to include DLC.  Naughty Dog's Left Behind DLC for The Last of Us is another good example of great DLC-- give us something we would actually love playing that adds to the effect of the game it came with.  Something like character skins is a great example of DLC that is being constantly fleshed-out and should be part of the original game......and don't even get me started with On-Disk locked DLC.

XxAK47xX
XxAK47xX

im only ok with it if i am fully satisfied with the game i bought and dont feel like the dlc should of been apart of the original sale. 

Heavie
Heavie

I think every gamer including myself is brain dead. You buy a game for $60 and the developer before you even played the game. Offer you a deal for a dlc that should already be included in the $60 portion of the game. What worse is preorder platform wars. All we that desperate to pay for a game before it's releases. Just to get a weapon or extra skins that, again should be included in the $60 release. 


What exactly is the prorder for? Does preordering let the developers know how many games to print, like how much to spend on food depending on who is coming to the wedding. When was the last time you went to a store and found out the game you wanted was sold out everywhere.


Look at Sleeping Dogs for example. That game is so broken down in dlc parts, It's hard to tell what you purchase or not. You go bankrupt trying to get everything.

garerobbie
garerobbie

I wish Ubisoft would stop spreading their preorder bonuses across multiple different versions of the game. Think there are at least 5 versions of the upcoming AC game where I live each with another DLC.

Kickable
Kickable

maybe you just don't hear some of them complain anymore because they're pirating the game, or at least the DLC.

Revenant_K
Revenant_K

Money will have the final say in the master. Actually what he mean is:" We had make ton of money thank to DLCs and we will continue to do so in the future, those whose voice discontent are just an important minority." And at the moment he seem to be right. 

ilovelctr
ilovelctr

Tbh I find it a huge insult on the intelligence quotient of the entire gamer circle every time Ubisoft says BS like this. We definitely know your boss isn't happy with the fact that "gamers only like chainsaws and girls in bikini" and you're not happy with the fact that "gamers hate gender bias towards male characters". But the real fact is, it wouldn't be as ridiculous as your assumptions on the so-called "facts" which are actually conceited by your dodgy brain that your mind is so broken, so much so that you speak nonsense all day long, and thus only get laughed at. Could you please stop posting those childish lectures for a minute and make games more QUALITATIVE!

SolarConception
SolarConception

It depends on the value of the DLC. $15 Map packs? No thanks. These used to be free and imo you want to charge that much it should be an expansion. I miss expansions, why did developers stop making them?

Skyrim however has some good DLC that's worth the asking price. Fighting games have character unlocks that provides a huge return on investment considering how long it takes to master a character as long as they don't get greedy with their prices. But a Time Saver DLC? Do people actually buy this? You're paying, for a cheat... I usually ignore such features but it does sometimes leave a bad taste in my mouth when the game I'm playing is being used to rip off willing consumers.

I hate how these companies take a broad term such as DLC and try to narrow it down to a single description. It just shows that they're out of touch with the gaming experience and only focused on the financial side. Wouldn't support a company that thinks like this.

jeffryclause
jeffryclause

I only buy DLC if it comes included with the original game and/or is heavily discounted.  I make very few exceptions to this.

sambbk
sambbk

The content is kind of separate to the title but;
 "There was no resistance," Early said. "Maybe there were 12 guys somewhere who said something, but whatever. As a whole, there wasn't a problem."

That comes off as obnoxious. Especially 'but whatever'. I played black flag as normal and (although paid progression affects leaderboards) could care less if someone paid to ruin their game. However I don't think a vice president of anything should say "but whatever" in an interview with the press about a complaint from consumers, no matter the number.

The last para about season pass service pass....can someone explain this to me? I have no idea what he is talking about. It sounds like marketing garbage that even he is confused by....just a spiel of tag words designed to make you sign up for a paid service that delivers content that should have been included in the game.....like what? dlc?

Mmm am i more open to dlc?
Depends.......we should go back to calling things 'Patches' and 'Expansions'.....'Downloadable Content' is ambiguous and i think once a service (much like he talked about) is in place that people are used to, it's easier to rip them off.


kojack_stewart
kojack_stewart

Oh HELL to the NO! DLC is NOT accepted.  My friends and I haven't bought DLC in years and we haven't had complaints.  Map packs used to come free because developers actually cared about their customers and wanted to build trust.  With all these add ons and extra missions and new maps/weapons/classes charging you half the price of the game itself sometimes equal to the price of the game, it's no wonder why so many people are inclined to pirate games.  I wouldn't want to invest my money on a product that's only half finished.  If I have to spend more money to continue enjoying a game I already own with my friends or the public I would rather just look for a new game and try something new.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Nope. 

If it ain't in the copy I buy physically, it might as well not exist in my mind. 

It's that simple.

XxXDarkness0XxX
XxXDarkness0XxX

now n days we all buy half finished games so we all gotta spend that cash to get the whole finished game.. such bullshit

aaroz
aaroz

No, not happening especially to PC gamers like me. Nope, not now, not ever, just NO!!

ps : FIX THE GODD*** STUTTERING IN WATCH DOGS. ASAP YOU GIANT CONGLOMERATE OF MONEY MONGERS!!!

DeadorRock
DeadorRock

Nope.
It started when devs had the brilliant idea of stripping content that should ship originally with the game and sell those as DLC. Now this practice is widespread and it's disgusting. I do not support it in any way.

MVan86
MVan86

Oh yippee another area Ubisoft are somewhat delusional about...


Overall I see plenty of negative comments about DLC as a whole, and particularly about announced DLC for games that are still months from launch. Gamers on the whole I think are still skeptical and cautious about the concept of DLC but assess it on a case by case basis in terms of individual subjective standards. 


I know personally I don't like DLC bundles that just add MP/PvP maps and weapon or character skins, especially at the prices they tend to come in at and how map packs splinter the user base and pressure groups of players into buying them to stay in touch with others. But if you give me something that extends the story I'm playing, I'm more likely to be into that - so long as the story is good and not too short. 

johora85
johora85

It really depends on how the DLC is put out. Some companies release a half ass game and put out DLC just to make more money while others release a full game and add DLC as an expansion. I personally prefer to have DLC as an add-on option. I don't mind paying for extra maps or missions (i.e. extensions) but I don't want to pay for playable characters or the ending of the game.

johora85
johora85

It really depends on how the DLC is put out. Some companies release a half ass game and put out DLC just to make more money while others release a full game and add DLC as an expansion.

Heavie
Heavie

It's a tragic when there's is such a empty void in our lives. That instead of doing something meanful to fill the void. We cling to a action called gaming. Now, that action for some has grew into addiction and like all addiction the suppliers captalize on the addiction, by watering down the supply and chargeing more for less.  As a addict we settle for anything to get that fix. If only we can control ourselves, we might get  power control over the supplier and demand better hits.

Like everything else in this world. We allow things to get out hand. The console manufacture and the developers are runnig a racket. It's up to the gamers to stop it or brace himself for worse to come. In short, just stop buying games. 


Look how microsoft is hurting selling the xboxone. The gamers spoke up and they had no choice but to change. The suppliers has a addiction also, called greed. More we feed them, the higher they get. 

dan1811
dan1811

I have found that the quality of thier games has fallen a lot

I will not but any of thier games till the go on sale for under 20 bucks

and never buy dlc


they are of the opinion that they are gods and we should kiss thier asses every day just for the privilage

to play thier games

no matter how crappy they are


I will be cheering the loudest when they fall  and a fall is comming

drynn
drynn

Yep, I'll buy DLC regularly if it's adjusted a bit.  I'll be happy to pay half-price for half of a game, then buy the other half through DLC.  Unfortunately companies sell half of a game at full price and then try to let you finish it for more money.  I don't think anyone is interested in paying $80-$90 to complete a title that was originally purchased for $60.

Ailurusf
Ailurusf

DLC, on paper, sounds like a very good idea. An expansion to a beloved game that increases possibilities and opens new gameplay options. If done right, it can improve an already good game and make it great. Case in point, Brave New World for Civ V. Without the idea of DLC such an expansion would simply not exist, since Civ V already felt like a 'complete' game. Also, when done well, it helps studios monetize their games for longer by keeping players happy, which helps diffuse costs. 

The problem comes when DLC becomes a shortcut to make more money by doing less. Sure, it's a valid business strategy, but it relies on basically scamming your clients. New weapons, re-skins, new maps or quests, they all feel like dirty money grabs. 

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

I think he's confusing accepted with expected. We hate it but we also know its coming our way regardless.

delateur
delateur

The only thing Ubisoft got right was their brainwashing of Chris Early. DLC is often terrible, not worth the price (if the price is greater than zero), and drags me back to games I've already completed as if I had nothing better to do with my time. I'm fine with EPISODIC games, however, that tell a continuing story, like the ones Telltale Games creates. I think the problem with some game developers is they don't spend a lot of time interacting with people who enjoy sunlight... How about you just FINISH a game, Ubisoft, and make it awesome. I'll pay you, and we'll call it good. 

mikeCat
mikeCat

No. I may have to live with DLC because that is the way the industry has gone, but I think it is a sneaky way to nickle and dime me for more money after I have purchased the game. Sort of like bag fees on airlines. It is one reason I buy a lot fewer games now.

Eldrants
Eldrants

yes. i like DLCs! but only if they are FREE!

OddElf
OddElf

I will answer with my wallet. If the game is designed with DLC to nickle and dime me, I'm not going to buy the game and play it.

Fr0zenIc3
Fr0zenIc3

I didn't have that much of a problem with DLC until I recently bought Gears of War 3 again on XBL. DLC is REQUIRED to play every game mode but ONE, which isn't even very popular! That's such BS! Come on Epic games, don't pull that s**t on me! I don't want to buy your stupid season pass just to play your damn game online. So frustrating. I miss the time where DLC was expansion packs instead of stupid individual $10 map packs and crap.

pidow
pidow

Put the material into the game, we are paying a lot now  for short games, I am not for DLCs period.  I see, milk the gamers for every dime and give them nothing in return.  Greedy!.

ZMYaro
ZMYaro

I still think DLC is one of the worst things to happen to video games.  Not because I am opposed to add-on content, and not even because of the amount of money charged for DLC, but because it causes some developers to act as though they do not have to finish a game to release it.  They just figure any missing content or unfixed bugs can be dealt with later through DLC.

PlatinumWolfe
PlatinumWolfe

Gamers: "We hate all this DLC"   Ubisoft: "We hear you.....but here is even more DLC! That'll be $100."

SparxR
SparxR

DLC = Shameless money grab

sambbk
sambbk

btw 'Expansions' that come out 6 months to a year after the full game is released? perfectly fine....if it's a title i really enjoyed....awesome, happy to pay.

Relvar
Relvar

@XxXDarkness0XxX You need to become a second-day gamer. Essentially wait until a game is out, all DLC are released etc. - almost every game will come complete with all DLC etc. for a very low price. 

drynn
drynn

@aaroz Yep.  Another game that was delayed so it could be finished and yet they found time to build DLC for launch day.

sambbk
sambbk

paying to unlock content included within the data of the initial release is b.s.