Tuesday, 23 March 2010

EA Considering Pre-Release Downloadable Content

An idea presumably from Visceral boss Nick Earl has got EA thinking. Earl has suggested that EA could come out with pre-release downloadable content, and made an example of Battlefield 1943. Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter made public, details on the matter:
"Mr. Earl revealed a strategy to release premium downloadable content (PDLC) as a product for sale prior to the release of a packaged product. The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009’s Battlefield 1943. A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price.”

"Mr. Earl believes that the release of the PDLC first limits the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool."
Though it is true that lately the industry has been on the look for more profitability, this initiative, if it ever came to be a reality, is certainly confusing. The idea might lead users to think that they would be paying for a demo in advance as well as using them as BETA testers. The main problem in this is that there was nothing said about the user getting some kind of extra value that it can’t access to right now and, most importantly, would users be compensated in any way for making that extra effort?

In practice this sort of initiative has been used before in the retail market: Gran Turismo Prologue has managed to do this and make it work…

Putting Battlefield 1943 forward raises more questions than answers… how many would be willing to buy the whole game with a full retail price after spending $15 on a “very long demo”, even though in Battlefield 1943’s case it’s quite good value…

If EA ever moves along this proposition, they will have to explain gamers what is it they have to gain from spending an extra $10-$15 in each game.

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