While we might have attributed most of the initiative to BioWare, it looks like the developer's marketing decision aimed at assuring that as many gamers as possible make a direct purchase of its games, the actual directive to cut down on second-hand title purchases came straight from the top, from Electronic Arts
. The idea behind the direct-purchase incentive is to offer special downloadable content that can only be redeemed by those that acquire the game from an authorized distributor, instead of a buddy who finished it, or anything like that.
Dragon Age: Origins offered a new party member as well as a few other exclusive contents, Mass Effect 2 offered direct purchasers access to the Cerberus Network, which made its first free DLC
s available just yesterday with the Cerberus Armor and the M-22a Eviscerator Shotgun, while Saboteur made a different kind of offer, through a very special tease, and it wasn't a comic book strip. And since the move seems to be paying off for EA, it's only natural that the publisher plans to not only continue with this policy, but also expand on the concept.
According to G4, during yesterday's investor conference call, EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, said that, "In every case, what we've seen is a very positive response from the consumer and each case, particularly starting with Dragon Age, a strong pick-up in revenue per user. By and large, they like the extra content and we think it's a strong positive move." He further explained that EA would have a "similar strong PDLC [paid downloadable content] with each and every one of our titles this year."
And while the response might have been positive as far as sales went, a lot of gamers complained about some of the features that were later on added for a fee. The main complaint Dragon Age players made against this concept was that the camp storage chest was added to the game as a pay-for DLC, a feature that many believed should have been implemented into the original release, especially since the title paraded itself as a hardcore RPG
. So, while EA established that gamers were responsive to the idea of free, as well as paid DLC, developers need to pay extra attention the the new content they add to the game, really think things through and not just expect that anything will do.