NEWS - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Analyst: Paid-For DLC For Pre-Release Games

Electronic Arts may be planning to release paid-for downloadable content as a promotion for games before they release, essentially charging gamers for long demos.

Analyst Michael Pachter made the revelation after attending an investor visit with EA, where Nick Earl, general manager of Dead Space studio Visceral Games, unveiled the new scheme.

"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," Pachter explained.

"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.

Pachter also told Gamasutra: "I think that the plan is to release PDLC at $15 that has 3-4 hours of gameplay, so [it has] a very high perceived value, then [EA will] take the feedback from the community (press and players) to tweak the follow-on full game that will be released at a normal packaged price point."

"If DICE were able to follow Battlefield 1943 with a full-blown European WWII campaign game a few months later, it would have been a wild success," Pachter said.

He continued, "EA’s view is that the PDLC costs a lot less to develop (essentially, it’s the first few levels of the full-blown game), and they have the opportunity to fix whatever needs to be fixed in the packaged product that is released a few months later, whether that entails doing more of what people like or doing less of what they don’t like. It sounds like a brilliant strategy to me."



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