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Downloadable Content Allowing Developers To Slack Off?

Back in the late '90s, while I loved all kinds of gaming - including the awesome PC software of the time - I always despised the idea of patches for games. It finally got to the point where if a shoddy game released, I'd have friends who would say, "eh, they'll just patch it," and not give it a second thought. I always remember thinking, "uh...shouldn't you be pissed that they sold you a broken game?"

Now, while we're not to the point where the big-name console titles are "broken," one can make the argument that with the rise of DLC, developers have an excuse to become lazier. Just as an example, let's say a designer is coming up on a deadline and they'd rather not miss it. They can either inform the publisher there will be a delay and work out the kinks, or...they can simply release the game on time, and then issue an update patch a little later. Then there's the ongoing argument about additional content, where some players are often saying, "well, that DLC should've been in the game." This is an extraordinarily subjective argument, of course, but the idea of broken and lackluster titles requiring later updates isn't really subjective at all, and I hope we're not heading in that direction.

In all honesty, I think one of the main reasons PC players ended up gravitating towards consoles was due to this issue. I know many people who finally realized they were always buying new PC games that didn't play half as good as they would a few months later, after some patches had been released. In fact, one dude I know wouldn't even open a new PC game for weeks after purchasing; he'd just say, "I know it's going to suck now; I have to wait for them to patch it." At that point, I'd pretty much give up on the platform in question, and I'm a little concerned that console gaming may be headed in a similar direction. As is, I almost always see a "1.01 update" or some such thing when I pop in a new title, and while it's not a big issue to download it, I always frown at the screen. Is this a good thing or a slippery slope...?

Obviously, the positive side to DLC is all the extra goodies and the ability for developers to fix their game if necessary. It's not always laziness that causes problems; sometimes, they really did just make a mistake, and DLC allows them to issue appreciated repairs. But the mere fact that it's available can easily sit in the back of a designer's made and make him/her a little more complacent. At least, that's how I see it. For the record, I currently have no problem with DLC; I love it, but I'm just looking down the twists and turns in the road...

3/13/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (57 posts)

JofaMang
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 11:30:26 AM
Reply

I have noticed this trend over the past decade or so with PC gaming, and an accelerating occurrence on consoles, to the point of ubiquity.

I don't think it could get worse, unless you consider cash gouging by charging extra to unlock data shipped on the game disc.

That could make things extra ugly~

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 6:21:50 PM

they already do that

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Deleted User
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @ 12:59:41 PM

They meaning mostly EA

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pavlovic
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 11:35:21 AM
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I think that's ok to release some patches for stability issues and so (online gaming in consoles is relative new). It's ok to get new maps or levels and pay for them.

But I don't agree with things like selling Yoda or Darth Vader for 5 bucks a couple of months after release and claiming that those characters were exclusive to on or other console. I don't agree that the versus (or what ever is called) online gameplay for RE5 will cost you and it's not included in the disc.

It's not okay to release Socom, and only after 5 months we really have the game we bought.

If they can't finish the game, just push it back and try to release the best game, not half finished games

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 11:38:02 AM
Reply

Its kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand the devs can fix glitches and errors when in the last generation they werent able to and you were stuck with the game if it sucked. At the same time i dont think devs feel like the final product needs to be 100% complete when it ships anymore.

It reminds me of people who have 360s and say "it doesnt matter if it rrod's, they fix it for free." I dont care if they ship me a new box every month until the day i die, they should have made a quality product from the beginning. Imo, the dlc patches are going to separate the great developers from the bad. It will let us know what developers deserve our respect and which ones only care about making money as quickly as possible.

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maxpontiac
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:34:33 PM

Agreed. After my 5th RROD, I had enough. Microsoft hand their chance to get my support, and they blew it. I know plenty of folks that continue to live by the warranty when it comes to their 360 (everyone I know who owns a 360 has at least bought 2).

With the topic at hand.

DLC has ruined gaming.
- Singleplayer games are short. Killzone 2 is an a fine example of great but short game.
- RE5 is charging for versus mode? No thanks.

It's a disturbing trend, and we gamers are the one's who are forced to pay for it.

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Xplicit
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 11:49:06 AM
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totally agree, i got Call of duty 5 two days before the UK release date and i had to update it straight away ????? i think it is a great excuse just to meet a deadline.

although if it wasn't for all the DLC then we wouldn't have all the goodies and expansions also sometimes the game does work for a few people before being patched and i don't mind when im part of that working few but it still sucks for others.

nice article Ben ;-)

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photo K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 11:51:56 AM
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the price of costumes is ridiculous. $3.99-4.99 for a costume pack I think is way too much.

Map packs are worth it if the maps are really good, I haven't had an issue with any games with a lack of default maps. I love the fact that the COD5 devs added the Makin map without a price. I respect that and I will also remember that when it comes time to buy the next COD that they develop.

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Tim Speed24
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:00:57 PM
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Speaking of DLC....games on the whole played longer last generation. The new games (PS3 and 360)only take 6 to 10 hours start to finish (excluding a few titles).

If you want to get that kind of play time out of the new games you have to take it online....sometimes not the greatest experience.

Plus, I don't like the "nickle and dime" you to death little add-ons....those should have been included.

L7 383T

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crapreviews
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:11:10 PM
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I don't think DLC will make Devs lazy. I think DLC is gonna be something that will help keep great games going on and on.

I mean look at Midnight Club LA. They had this huge city and the game was great IMO. Now they got this DLC coming that makes the city 1/3 bigger of the current city size, which Everyone can get for free. Now, if you want the other new cars, missions, and music you pay $10. If you choose to pay for the extra DLC or not, everyone was still get the free expanded city.

let's just say though that we consumers notice that a Dev has gotten lazy, then we as consumers could just choose not to buy things from them anymore. We could send a message that we will not buy a half baked game.

I just think this could turn out to be a great thing. everyone is talking about the bad things that might happen, but no one is talking about the good things that might happen.

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maxpontiac
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:39:18 PM

Midnight Club and Burnout Paradise are excellent examples. Problem is, there are not to many companies that have followed this example...

...(NBG) Ace Combat 6 was DLC gone wrong. Charging for paint jobs, was rediculous when one considers the PS2 version did not insult the gamers this way.

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 3:46:08 PM

Hey Max did you see the You Tube Hitler Spoof that Dillon the Bunny posted in the forums regarding Ace Combat and HAWX? If not you have to check it out, it's hilarious, especially the part about charging for paint.

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:16:38 PM
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Next thing you know we'll open our new game cases expecting a disc and all we'll find is a hand written note taped inside saying:

"Will update later"

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Qubex
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:20:33 PM

LLLOOOOLLLLLLLLL!!! ROFL ROFL ROFL ...damn man!

Q!

"i am home"

Last edited by Qubex on 3/13/2009 12:20:58 PM

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:35:34 PM

Yeah but who are we kidding..like they would actually use a hand written note..lol

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:19:42 PM

LMAO

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:21:25 PM
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What Criterion has done with Burnout is amazing. They shipped a fully functional complete game, and then continue to make it better. If all developers did that then there wouldn't really be a problem.

Slant 6 with Socom however....not so much. They pushed to get the game out ahead of Resistance 2 and turned a lot of people off of the game. Sure it's a great game now but how many customers did they lose for good because of bad reviews and glitches?

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Naga
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:57:00 PM

The European delay really damaged Socom though I'm not even sure if it's been released yet

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Random_Steve
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:17:28 PM

burnout should of had offline coop to begin with tho

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:36:22 PM

I agree, My girlfriend and I used to race each other all the time with the old one (nothing brings you closer together then slamming each other into the wall), I was really disappointed when they took that function out. They've tried to make up for it a bit with the Party download, but it still isn't the same.

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migabyte
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:22:02 PM
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Some DLC I love (LBP, Burnout).
Other games it's shit.
Patches are good, but should be used for tweaking problems, not fixing games totally.
The system is a work in process.

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bxshotboi
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:24:46 PM
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well i agree wit all of u but honestly it some games that were laeter patched does show that sum developers are slackin becuz i bout socom day it came out and i was disappointed with all the bugs and it really did come out to a cool game after the patch..they should have just waited and completed it before release and that whole soul calibur unlock truly is a scam so they just bombard us wit dlc that comes with a price but i really do like the fact that the dlc extends the life of a game for example the naruto game, it constantly gets free downloads that give u extra support characters and extra missions...if they gonna be makin dlc i think it should be a little cheaper if not free because we have dlc for star wars the forced unleashed that sure isnt worth 10 $ along with other games

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:34:33 PM

I had to laugh the day that Need for speed: Underground released. I didn't buy the game, but I went onto PSN to see what was new. Guess what I found? You could pay extra money on top of the 60 bucks you just dropped on the game, to unlock all the cars....

Does anyone else not see that as a little stupid? The content that is already in the game, that you can access by playing the game...Is now available without even starting. Really? Who buys a game with no intention of playing it? If you don't have time to play it, why buy it?

Sure there are some people who like to go online and race and I could see some of them maybe buying it so they could have the best cars and wow their online friends but if you bought it instead of earning it...kind of a hollow victory really.

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Cpt_Geez
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:26:09 PM
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Great article ben II was thinking the same thing.

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GuernicaReborn
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:38:10 PM
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I think DL is forgivable, only for the degree of difficulty in developing a game. Granted I've never done it, so I do exactly HOW difficult it is. But games from the current generation definitely look harder to make than games from the NES or SNES/Genesis generations.

With games currently being patched to no end, developers don't have a choice now. If a developer/studio doesn't issue some sort of patch or DL content, it is either considered lazy or they don't care about the game's fanbase.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:11:31 PM

People bring up the argument all the time that games are harder to develop, but this has been true with every single generation. Psx titles were full-featured and didnt need constant patching and they were much harder to make than SNES games. This generation it seems that everyone is looking for an excuse instead of just making a game great from the start.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 12:51:00 PM
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I cant stand Downloadable content, i pay £30 - £50 for a game i expect to get the whole package. Developers are completely abusing the system anding little items like weapon packs and costumes, nowadays they just expect people to buy them instead of making the achievement of unlocking them. i have never bought anything off the PS Store and i doubt i ever will. Luckilly for me Siren: Blood Curse was released on Blu-ray afterwards so i didnt miss out on that :)

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elass0wyp0
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:04:24 PM
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I personally find it enraging. It may not make devs lazier but it certainly doesn't encourage them to get it right the first time.

If there was no simple way of fixing their mistakes, more time would be taken to ensure quality the first time.

Don't even get me started on PDLC. A $10 price increase at retail would never fly and would impact sales too greatly but $5 bucks here and there tacked onto the original retail price after the sale will?

If you've ever purchased PDLC-your directly responsible for what we are seeing today. Nothing will change now. We will get shorter and shorter games missing features and we will be forever paying to get them put back into games. It's a shame but until we demand more for our money and speak with dollars and sense (intentional spelling) we won't see any change. In fact it will probably get worse.

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Orvisman
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:10:25 PM
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I've made my thoughts on this topic abundantly clear in Ben's "digital downloads" article, so I won't repeat them here... yet.

That said, however, if DLC comes out within two months of a game's release it tells me it probably could have been shipped on the disc.

If it takes the developer six-plus months to get DLC out, I'm okay with that DLC, such as GTA: The Lost & The Damned.

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jonny_bolton
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:26:33 PM

Damn, you just pipped me to the post on that comment!

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jonny_bolton
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:25:54 PM
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I have to say DLC, for me, is getting to a worrying stage. It's not really touched on in the article, but I think a couple of people have mentioned it, and that's the way the DLC is an excuse to make a shorter game, OR, get more money out of customers, for content which should have been in the game to begin with! Extra costumes for one are ridiculously priced, and completely unneccesary as the stupid "Time is money" packs from EA on SKATE2 and Burnout. But worst of all was that I heard that there was to be DLC for Killzone 2 almost immediately after release. Now we're almost a month in and that hasn't happened thankfully, but it is frustrating to imagine having to pay for content that is obviously almost complete and could have been added to the game on launch (or delayed launch).
Sorry about that, got a little frustrated.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:33:08 PM
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quite alright, I just read the controvesy on RE5s DLC of the Versus mode, most gamers are upset to pay for somethign that should have originally been in the game. too right! Its annoying, the reason i avoided PC games for so many years was sh** like this and installs, this gen were getting the whole kit and kaboodle. I just like to pop the disc in and play instead of worrying about my game version not being at its upmost potential.

Though of course there is one HUGE benefit, that being if there are glitchs after the release, they can now be fixed which is somehign to be greatful for.

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:47:32 PM

Yeah, if it's to fix glitches, I don't mind they are making the gaming experience better. Even extra content that expands the game (extra maps,etc.) But when SOCOM Launched it felt like I'd paid 60 bucks to be a beta tester...It's fixed now, but still, the initial release ruined it for a lot of people. I'm persistent so luckily I enjoy it now, others abandoned the game a long time ago.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:35:58 PM
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OH AND ANOTHER THING!

WTF is with this pre-order blackmail. its fine to pre-order a game adn get a free book or poster or what ever, but to get extra content in the game is just absurd. it shouldnt be allowed.

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elass0wyp0
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:23:07 PM

I second that. The same could be said for early demos with pre-orders as well.

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CH1N00K
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:53:39 PM

Agree, I haven't pre-ordered a game yet. I can Pre-order at EBgames/Gamestop..Or I can go to any other store that carries video games and pick it up on the launch date. I could care less about a metal case, or extra DL materials. If it will make someone better at the game then it should be in the game to keep it a level playing field. If it's just a new costume or skin but doesn't make the game any better, I can do without it.

Except for around the holidays, I haven't seen a lot of games (except Rockband & GH) that have been sold out on release day. If it's going to be a big seller stores usually stock up enough.

Pre-orders help gauge how popular a game might be, but the exclusive content you get, aren't that important to me.

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LimitedVertigo
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:57:28 PM
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I LOVE DLC on the PC, I hate a majority of it on consoles. The difference being that DLC on PCs is free and DLC on consoles usually is not. In regards to your statement Ben about your friend not wanting to open a PC game till a few months later, I've never experienced that. I buy quite a few PC games regularly and while there have been some with bugs that were annoying it was never anything that stopped me from enjoying the game. I have however noticed this type of laziness on consoles (The Last Remnant for 360).

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isaya85
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 1:58:58 PM
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I don't mind patching a game because of a few glitches and bugs but I refuse to pay for dlc 2 weeks after a games release I don't care how much it cost, I think thats a bunch of bull we already pay $60 a pop for a game then they turn around and charge you for dlc after the game release

PSN ID Biggest_GMoney

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Gone
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:29:14 PM
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Is there a patch to remove Sheva from RE5, just play alone with CO-OP as a option and run while shooting?

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www
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 2:29:32 PM
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DLC is someway somehow good and bad.

With patches,i think it's a good thing.Like Ben said,it's not always laziness is sometimes mistakes.So correcting mistakes later on with patches is kinda good.

I sometimes feel for these devs,learning common tools like 3d's max,Maya among others isn't a walk in the park.
I had a headache creating a 3d object in 3d studio max.
No wonder games cost higher than movies.

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jlch777
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 3:43:16 PM
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the patches are fine because they can fix stability problems, framerates, etc. but when you see a 128kb dlc just to unlock something in the disk thats really annoing.

Last edited by jlch777 on 3/13/2009 3:44:54 PM

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 3:47:49 PM
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Another con is Prince of Persia...... you have to pay extra just to see the ending!, put me right off the game! surelly if you dont get the ending for beating the game normally you should get it for completeing the game 100%, unbelievable soon games wont be for skillful gamers but just lazy rich kids.

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www
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 5:08:04 PM

Prince what?....ooooohhhhhh that game with some prince n some girl jumping around like grasshoppers,blocking enemy strikes forever....ohh i forgot i had it in my collecshan!

Oh did you say it has a dlc?..........LMAO!

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Daedusian
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 5:14:22 PM
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Interesting read! I've been thinking much the same, but I expect the Sony exclusive games and their respective developers to not depend on DLC to 'fix' their games. But I do think, that this trend may gradually become worse through the systems life. Let's hope we're wrong.

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LightShow
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 6:04:14 PM
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i dont think ive ever gotten a game that didn't require a patch before I got it home, even when i go out the first day.

half the reason to buy a disc is so that you DONT have to wait to play it. I can understand extra maps added or unforseen exploits being fixed in a patch, but when the QA team has discovered glitches before the game even gets into anybody's hands? Maybe they could have amended it before they shipped...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 6:29:10 PM
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I just got LBP for my niece, and good lord it took over an hour to DL all the updates, 5 of em there were. What if i'd sat down with her and said okay lets have some fun now? She'd be a pissed little girl. Patches are very gay.

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KevinCairo
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 7:40:10 PM
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It's kind of dumb to think developers will release broken games just 'cause they can patch it. Just look at re reviews for socom confrontation; those scores do not sell games. Sure they might miss some less common and less significant bugs, but it's unrealistic to think they could catch them all anyway so the patch is a blessing. Better to have it patches than leave it unfixed.

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jaybiv
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 7:53:13 PM
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I see patches and dlc as separate issues, but problematic nonetheless. Patches are a result of poor QA testing. Ten years ago, devs could not release the game until it worked perfectly. Now they know they can get 90% of the bugs and patch it later. There's no excuse for that.

DLC on the other hand, can be a good thing. It can encourage a dev to continue to support a game way beyond the time retailers cut the price.

I don't mind paying for additional maps, courses and the such. The pricing is what I have a beef with. Take TW09 for example, they wanted $7 for one course. Too much for that type of game. With that said, I would be willing to fork over the dough for Burnout's new island because Criterion has given us so much free stuff that it is worth it.

However, the fact of the matter is that both are here to stay, like it or lump it.

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Alienange
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 8:22:10 PM
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As with anything, there are those that will abuse it and those that will improve it. Patches have been a pain since the PC days that's for sure, but I believe that they had a lot to do with the ambition of the developers and therefore the complexity of the game. You can't possibly catch everything in QA on such ambitious projects. Games that are released "broken" are obviously unforgivable, but thankfully quite rare. I for one welcome patches as they often improve game play and can even add a little something.

As for adding extra content, developers just can't possibly see what their customers are going to demand of them after a game is released. Before DLC we had expansion packs. The Sims anyone? At least DLC is convenient. Besides, with DLC, we can still speak with our dollars and cents. You think someone's trying to rip you off with DLC, don't buy it. Please don't buy it.

Last edited by Alienange on 3/13/2009 8:23:07 PM

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HOODGE
Friday, March 13, 2009 @ 9:47:15 PM
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#1 Sony Example = Socom US Navy Seals Confrontation.

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somethingrandom
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ 12:14:37 AM
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I completely agree that if a company wants to charge for DLC, they can. You know what you are getting with your $60. DLC is extra. If you want to debate this, perhaps it's better if the company just leaves the games the way they are without the extra DLC.

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K ASH
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ 12:40:46 AM
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Dlc is good for patching the games stability or when its free if its offering new modes of play. I am a collector at heart & it gives me joy to see my collection with my eyes. It just kills that one day my collection of games is just going to be a bunch of halfed assed games with all the things that define the whole game experience being in digital format. in my current financial situan buying something tangible does not fly.

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SplendidBlended
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ 2:56:12 AM
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You don't have to pay for the ending of Prince Of Persia, it's just something extra they added to the ending - it was dumb, and you can watch it on Youtube. (: Whats with the Prince of Persia dissing anyway?

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Alienange
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ 4:34:21 PM

Agreed. PoP was fun. And that's what games are supposed to be.

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ceedot
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @ 3:36:46 AM
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I started this argument in the forums.

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shadowpal2
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @ 5:53:48 PM
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Hmm...Downloadable content causing developers to slack off...well...yea I could say it is true to some extent. I mean updating multiplayer and that sort of stuff would pretty much state that the developers are slacking off. I mean heck can't they do that on the hard copy?

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IhateFanboys24
Monday, March 16, 2009 @ 1:51:32 AM
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I don't know if they will slack off per say but I believe they might make the game to what they intended, and other features and items that they had on the planning board may be used for DLC later on. When it comes to DLC I believe the closer it is released to the actual release of the game disk, the cheaper it should be. So say if they have extra content released up till 3 months later that should be free. Now if they make other content that is time consuming and is released much later on, then I can see there being a price tag on it. Since of course that game is technically completed and they are working on other features/items when they could be working on a newer title. Now a simple thing like a paint job on an aircraft costing money is just ridiculous.

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