DLC conversion

What do you think of exclusive DLC for a platform?

What do you think of porting it out of its intended platform?

This has happened twice recently, once with people porting 360/PS3 exclusive DLCs for Need For Speed Shift to PC, and once with people enabling content in Just Cause 2 PC which was intended to be a PS3 exclusive. In the case of Shift there has been no reaction whatsoever from EA (that I know of) to some fairly public references to its existence on their own forum, and they don’t seem to have put a lot of effort into stopping content conversions between different PC games in the past (even featuring NFS>NFS conversions on EA branded fansites).

For the moment, can we just pretend that the harshest burns in every of pc vs console, pirates vs people who pretend they don’t pirate, EA hate and assorted everything elseism thread have already been done and would be pointless to repeat?

If you release a game for a platform, you should release all ancillary content for that platform also. Period.


What do you think of porting it out of its intended platform?

Less so.

Oh, were you looking for something more in-depth? I can see how it might be a useful business practice, but ultimately it kinda sucks to be the consumer if a game has good exclusive DLC for each platform (or a platform that you don’t own). A lot of DLC is pretty throwaway, but the potential for suck exists.

In the NFS case, I’d say it depends on where the assets in the ported DLC came from. If they were built from scratch or from unencumbered assets, no problem (well, maybe licensing issues, but that would be Ferrari’s problem, not EA’s), but if they took the assets out of the original platform DLC and reused them, then I’d say it’s essentially piracy. That would be a pretty clear copyright violation to me.

The Just Cause 2 case might be a bit more complicated, if it’s a matter of enabling something that’s already built into the game anyway. It’s not a copyright problem in that case, but it may be a DMCA issue if it falls under the category of attempting to bypass copy protection. That seems grey enough that you’d really need a court ruling to be sure.

For the Shift thing there were basically 3 types of reaction people had to it.

  1. “They stiffed us so we deserve it for free”

(which they kind of did and never said there would be any difference in support for the PC version and only said they had no plans to put it out after the second pay DLC came out)

  1. “The Ferraris were meant to be in the game so we deserve it for free”

(which … well, sort of. some assets were there. not 3d models or sounds or anything much you could use to show an actual ferrari, just some textures and indexes and physics. the game was originally ‘ferrari project’ though so…)

  1. “We deserve it for free but there needs to be care taken that you can’t just pirate the 360 version from this or make something that just ‘gives you the cars’”

(easy to make sure you can’t really use it on a 360, hard to verify that anyone has it for the 360 or ps3 already. could make people bring in the dlc files themselves and convert them but really all that does is spread the 360 dlc files around a lot more in a form that is useful on a 360)

So really not a lot of variation on the ‘we deserve it for free’ part that I’ve read, just on the reason why people feel entitled to it. It’s not that people wouldn’t buy it if they made it available either, or at least, I don’t think it would have been pirated any less than the game itself was when it got released. EA just decided that there is no platform available on the PC where one might purchase and download content (their stated reason, seriously) for a computer game.

As a consumer, it can be infuriating at times to see people have access to content that will never come my way. One example is Resident Evil 5. My friend I love co-op games, but since I do not own a 360, we each grabbed it for the PC. It really hit the spot for us, and it left us wanting more. However, the latest two mission packs appear to never be coming to PC. It would have been the first time I ever purchased DLC for a game, and I would gladly give Capcom my money if they were willing.

Unless it is incredibly difficult to port games between platform, or incredibly costly, I cannot understand the logic behind it. I feel consumers on all platforms should have equal access to new content, and not have to invest a few hundred in another platform, buy the game again, and then the new DLC just to enjoy it. To me, that just seems silly and unpractical, as well as a lost opportunity for the publisher if gamers are more than willing to throw money at them.

Wait, what ??!?!?!!?


"The Exotics Racing Series DLC for Need for Speed SHIFT won’t be released on the PC platform because of the tech and resources involved in developing the delivery of the DLC. During development of SHIFT, we chose to pursue exceptional game quality over implementing the systems required to support premium post-release content for every platform. Given the community ratings of Need for Speed SHIFT, as well as the accolades the game has received, we believe the right decision was made. "

Maybe as a one-bloke-in-a-spare-room company, I could license the tech I use to sell my DLC to EA for a million dollars?

The best part is - it’s an EADM game. If you have a valid serial from anywhere at all, box copy, steam copy, whatever - you can type it into the EADM client and download the full game, or purchase it from the EA store and download it through the client.

They still doubled down on it as an explanation…

I think that was just PR talk for saying their ROI analysis indicated it wasn’t going to be worth it, as they wanted their resources put into something with more profit potential.

As for the original question -
DLC exclusive to a platform is quite stupid from a consumer perspective. From a publisher/dev perspective I could see trying something out on a single platform to see if the potential to expand is there. If it looks good, port it to the others. That’s not the approach I would use because of the grief it would cause, but I can see the validity.

As for an end-user porting it to other platforms, I’m not a fan unless the person using it bought the DLC in the first place. Consider for a second how many people own Shift on both the 360 and the PC at the same time. If these were the people porting it for their own gaming pleasure, great. However, I think it’s pretty obvious that’s not the case in most situations. In short, should the PC have access to the same DLC? Absolutely. Does that mean a PC owner shuold get it all for free? No.

No that anyone is entitled to it, but when the choice boils down to “get it for free” and “not get it at all”, it is obvious what the fan of said game will choose, and the company can only blame itself, imo.

I’m more annoyed by exclusive preorder stuff that never gets offered as pay DLC for other customers. For example, the Arkham Asylum Joker stuff that will apparently never come to the 360, or the Red Dead Redemption extra gang hideout that is exclusive to the PS3.

Exclusive preorder DLC is stupid, and is also stupid from a marketing perspective because it is being actively hostile to building a new userbase. Not that that stops people from doing it. The point should be to reward loyalty, but not to punish new customers.

Timed Exclusive pre-order DLC is ok and nobody should mind it much, since by the time the timer expires, and it goes out to everybody, the pre-ordered guys have either moved onto awesomer stuff, or have stopped playing altogether.

And lest somebody tell me that “they’re not punishing A by giving something extra to B”: logically, yes. But our brains aren’t wired to understand that logic, so people will always feel they’re being punished.

I don’t care much about the timed stuff or the DLC that’s meant to be free for new owners versus people that bought a game used. (I never buy games used, but I do buy a lot of games 6-12 months after they come out, so I get the awesome price break anyway.) I don’t think timed exclusives are a great idea, but if the retailers or platform holders feel they need to have an exclusive, I’d rather it be timed than permanently locked away.

It really does feel like I’m being punished for my console choice.

Depends on how the PC release is treated, really. If it’s day and date with the console releases, it’s reasonable to expect the same level of support but entirely fair to charge for the DLC just the same (not, however, to withhold it). If the PC port is a year later, bundle the damn DLC. ESPECIALLY if you want to charge full price.