Thursday, June 2, 2011

DLC as a carrot, and not a stick

Very interesting business decision from Rockstar Games this week. Detective thriller L.A. Noire is going to have downloadable missions released over the summer and while players can buy them one at a time, they also have the option of buying them in a lump before they're released through the new "Rockstar Pass."

What's novel about this is that in addition to urging tightwads like me to cough up $10 now, it's also a very clever way to combat the used game market.

Gamestop stores have made a huge impact on the video game world by giving consumers a reliable place to sell games they've finished. The ease of finding a used Gamestop copy means the game companies are missing out on a lot of sales, so they started giving players an incentive to buy new copies. The normal way to do it is to cut off certain features unless the player uses a one-time code included in the new copy.

But that's aggressive, and some consumers resent getting the stick.

But with the Rockstar Pass, players on the other side of the exchange are the ones being given an incentive - and a positive one at that. Those used copies have to come from people who don't want to play anymore, and by slowly releasing new content over the summer, Rockstar has found a way to delay Gamestop from getting its hands on those used copies.

The carrot is more missions for the customer, instead of less missions for the Gamestop customer.

Very clever, Rockstar. Well played.


  1. They also probably need to do this because they decided that having no online play was a good idea (or so I've heard). I really can't imagine buying a game anymore if it doesn't have an online component.

  2. The nature of some games doesn't lend to multiplayer, and keep in mind L.A. Noire has lets players skip the combat scenes if they want to - this game was meant to be about detective work.

    I imagine any multiplayer deathmatches would feel like Red Dead Redemption or GTA IV - both great games.

    Some games do not translate to multiplayer - Mass Effect, Fallout - games with huge decision and ethics components that constantly stop the action sequences.

    I do have a copy of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood I'm going to try out soon - it's the third game from the franchise and the first with multiplayer, and I've heard they did a great job with it and stayed true to the game.