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Evolve Launches With Lots and Lots of DLC

44 pieces of add-on content are available now for Turtle Rock's just-released multiplayer game.

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[UPDATE] It's been brought to our attention that, while you could buy all of Evolve's available DLC right now for $136+, that might not be the best idea. For example, the Bog Monster Skin Pack ($7) includes Bog skins for the Goliath, Kraken, and Wraith Monsters. You can also buy these three skins individually for $3 each, meaning that if you definitely want all three, buying the $7 Skin Pack would save you money. GameSpot regrets the error.

The original story is below.

Launch-day DLC is no new thing. Personalization packs such as character and weapon skins are par for the course with many games today. But while some games offer just a few extra options at launch, expanding later, Turtle Rock's new title Evolve gives players a veritable feast of add-on content to consume.

If you wanted to buy all of the Evolve DLC available right now it would cost you $136, on top of the $60 game or the $25 DLC pass. There are 44 pieces of Evolve add-on content listed on the game's Xbox Marketplace product page, available in the $2-$7 range.

The DLC is cosmetic in nature, however, limited to weapon and Monster skins. Some options include the Kraken Wendigo Skin ($3), the Assault Ragnarok Skin Pack ($5), and the Goliath Bog Skin ($3), among many others.

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On top of the Monster and weapon skin packs, Turtle Rock offers the Evolve Hunting Season Pass ($25), which will eventually unlock four new Hunters and more. All new maps and modes, however, will be free, so as to not segregate the community.

That Evolve offers a smorgasbord of extra paid content is not all that surprising. After all, we've known for a while now that Turtle Rock had extensive DLC plans for the game, which some fans raised concerns about. Responding to these issues, key developers spoke out to make clear that Evolve's DLC scheme is not meant to "leech" money out of players.

Despite Turtle Rock attempting to lay those concerns to rest, the controversy over Evolve's DLC plans made it all the way to the top of 2K Games parent company Take-Two Interactive. Earlier this month, Take-Two chief executive Strauss Zelnick defended Evolve's DLC plans, saying that in fact controversy can be a positive.

"I guess controversy, generally speaking, is a good thing," Zelnick said at the time. "People can argue about the business model [but] I think we're delivering a fantastic title that's well worth what consumers will pay for it."

Evolve's extensive DLC plans also give the game an opportunity to continue to drive revenue long after release, something Zelnick sees as being paramount to Take-Two's success. In previous earnings calls, Zelnick has talked about applying "recurrent consumer spending" strategies to most of its major franchises, Evolve being no exception. The idea of recurrent consumer spending is that major releases are complemented by an array of microtransactions that ideally yield further revenue for a game up until--and possibly beyond--the release of the next installment in the series.

In the case of Grand Theft Auto V, this is already paying off. While Take-Two has not yet announced specific numbers, Zelnick has said that GTA Online, the multiplayer mode for GTA V, has been "the gift that keeps on giving" as it relates to players continuing to spend money on the game long after its initial release. GTA Online allows players to buy in-game currency for real money, or they can always earn it through regular gameplay.

So not only does Take-Two make money from the 45 million copies of GTA V sold so far, but the company also banks incremental revenue from GTA Online. This is seen as a way to establish GTA as a "permanent" franchise, one that can be a meaningful revenue contributor even in years when no new GTA title is released. It's not hard to see Take-Two applying the same vision to Evolve and its other franchises, and the proof is in the numbers.

For Take-Two's latest quarter, revenue from digital items was big business for the company. Sales of things like virtual currency and DLC jumped 64 percent to $217 million during the period, the company reported last week. In all, recurrent consumer spending made up 36 percent of net revenue from digitally delivered content, representing a 23 percent year-over-year increase.

All of this is to say DLC is here to stay. While virtual items may be just that--virtual--the money to be made from them is definitely real.

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