news\ Apr 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Bethesda's Pete Hines: Anger over day-one DLC a 'misunderstanding'

Dishonored The Knife of Dunwall

Fans who get upset over downloadable content on the launch day of a game, may just misunderstand the development process, Pete Hines has suggested. Speaking to OXM, Bethesda's VP of Marketing and PR explained there is a large gap between when development of a game completes and the game is actually shipped, allowing the team to continue working on post-launch content. Sometimes, that post-launch content is actually released as day-of DLC, oftentimes angering consumers who feel shafted with their $60 purchase.

"I mean, certainly the reaction to it is pretty apparent. I'm not sure if I have an exact opinion, because we're not doing it. I try not to get into judging what other folks do, I certainly don't appreciate them chiming in on what we should or shouldn't be doing, particularly because, how would they know," Hines said. Bethesda, for the most part, tends to release its add-ons later in the game's lifecycle. For instance, Dishonored, which launched in October 2012, is just now getting The Knife of Dunwall DLC later this month. Despite Bethesda's different approach towards DLC, Pete Hines understands "where it's coming from."

Hines did attempt to explain the development process, hoping to clear up any confusion. "I think there is, at least among a certain segment of the gaming audience. I don't think they quite understand the development process and the point at which you have to stop making the game and you have to finish the game. So, the content people stop making new content a fair amount of time before it ships; it's not like in the old days when it was like the day before or a week before."

"There's a pretty long gap where your artists and designers are fixing a bug if they get one, or they may be playing the game to find bugs, but they're not making a new anything for a long time," Hines continued, "and you have creative people who are used to creating - so why would you make them wait some period of time, months in some cases, to start making new stuff so you can say it was after DLC?"

While I totally understand where Hines is coming, and completely agree with him, it's not hard to understand why consumers are upset with DLC -- and misunderstand the entire process. Last year, it was discovered that Capcom shipped Street Fighter X Tekken with locked content already on the disc, which users had to pay to access. While Capcom defended their decision and insisted there was no difference between on-disc content and digital delivery, gamers believed the publisher intentionally withheld content to sell for an extra price. It's easy to see how day-one DLC could be viewed as a quick cash-grab. After all, why not just release it as free launch content if it's not to make some fast cash?

I don't think gamers will ever fully embrace DLC, especially on launch day, but it's important that they at least understand the development process and realize it's not developers intentionally cutting content to release it separately from the retail game.

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