Why Paid DLC and multiplayer Don’t mix

SEGA have recently announced that they are going to be charging around £5 for a pack of four multiplayer maps for AvP. This isn’t the first time a developer has done this in a game but as it is the first time it will have an impact on me (as I own the game in question) it is the first time I have really thought about it. My firsts thoughts were of how stupid the idea of charging for extra multiplayer maps is and then I happened to come across another article on the same site just moments later. The article in question was an interview with the devs at Futuremark (They made Shattered Horizon, a niche multiplayer game I covered last month that is still more popular than AvP multiplayer) and in it (among other things) they explained why paid DLC for multiplayer games shouldn’t be made.

Jukka: We are not opposed to selling additions in principle, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it. With multiplayer games for example, you don’t want to split the player community with artificial price fences on additional content. A paid update, if we ever do one, should not leave you feeling left behind if you don’t get it, or leave you feeling isolated if you do, but should instead feel like a natural and unconstrained choice to pay more if you want more.

I have to say I agree with Jukka entirely. I have nothing against paid for single player DLC, as it can’t break the game for those who don’t buy it, but with multiplayer those who don’t have it will be kicked from servers every time it changes to a map they don’t have. In survival mode on AvP that will be a two in three chance should the sever be running all 4 maps in rotation as the out of the three maps you are not currently playing two are not on your computer. That breaks the game for me as someone who doesn’t have the DLC. Do I buy the maps and risk not being able to play them if the DLC does not sell very well? Or do I not buy it and get kicked out of the game every time it switches to one of the new maps?

Epic Managed to release the Editors content bonus pack for UT2004 for free and the UT3 Black update, Futuremark managed to release the Moonrise pack for Shattered Horizon and are working on another and don’t get me started on Valve’s additional content. Doing this means that everyone can access every server and results in a surge of sales of the full game with every release.

The fact that this has been released as paid DLC suggests to me that SEGA do not care about the long term sales of the game that they would get by supporting the community but would rather try and make a quick buck now and move on to the next game. There are still a huge number of bugs in the game that need fixing far more than there is a need for a few more maps.

I know Rebellion are not to blame here, I’m sure they just want to make the best game they can. I am however going to think twice before buying a game published by SEGA again. DLC that breaks the game for those who don’t buy it? Well that is f-ing nice isn’t it.

Now before I get loads of comments claiming that I am asking them to do stuff for free and making out I am somehow owed extra free content that is not what I mean at all. What I am saying is that if they can’t do Multiplayer DLC for free or produce something that won’t be detrimental to those who don’t have it, then they should not do the DLC at all.


2 Responses to “Why Paid DLC and multiplayer Don’t mix”

  1. April 5, 2010 at 17:32

    Yah, this is why I am happy that Dice so far has been giving all MP map packs away free (on PC).

    Keeps the community together.

  2. 2 The G
    April 9, 2010 at 13:59

    This is exactly the point me and my friends have been saying for MW2. We play on PC so it’s still not for sure that the DLC will be charged for but we have to assume. IW.Net’s service is poor at the best of times when trying to play as a group and if half a party gets kicked for not having a map it’ll just be another in a long list of bad points no thought through regarding MW2’s multiplayer. On a side not I hear they’ve finally listened and dedicated servers are on the way. If this is true then I’m sure there’ll be DLC free servers to mitigate this and not have you kicked but that’s not much consolation.

    DLC for multiplayer that splits different players enjoyment levels will lead to players leaving the game, dev’s getting more money for exploiting the player and if no one buys it then I’d imagine dev’s pulling support for the game if they don’t feel they can make any more money out of it. DLC in this way works on consoles more than PC but with consoles being able to download much faster and easier than before I can’t see how the fee is justified. Map editors are normally give out for free and there are countless custom maps on game like TF2 that are compeltely free. Why should I part with my cold hard cash for a map pack I have to pay for when I can easilly just change games to one that won’t treat me like a cash cow?

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