Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

April 10, 2012 -

Speaking to GameSpot, Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski defended the practice of including DLC on retail discs, saying that it is "an ugly truth of the gaming industry." Capcom recently came under fire for including 13 extra characters for Street Fighter X Tekken on disc as extra DLC that gamers had to buy to get access to. Gamers felt that, since they already paid for the disc at retail, they should be entitled to get the DLC content for free.

"When you’re making a game, and you’re getting into a ship cycle, there’s often three or four months where the game is basically done," Bleszinski told GameSpot. "And you have an idle team that needs to be working on things. Often for compatibility issues, day one, some of that content does need to be on-disc. It’s an ugly truth of the gaming industry."

"If we can get to fully downloadable games, then you can just buy a $30 horror game and just have it, and that stuff will thankfully go away."

While Bleszinski is probably right that games going fully downloadable will change the way DLC is handled, the day when that becomes a reality for closed console systems is many, many years away.

Source: Gamespot via MCV


Comments

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Sure it sucks as a practice but think how Capcom feels knowing they will never be as good at making games as someone like Valve. I'd hate the world and want to hurt it too. :-)

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

If I pay for DownLoadable Content I don't mind a second if I have to download this content.

If they just call it DiscLocked Content instead, I would be a-ok with paying to unlock it.

But I think there in lies the rub...
I am willing to wager that people in general are more willing to pay more for Downloadable Content, than they am willing to pay for DiscLocked Content. So, while we are left squabbling, they are laughing all the way to the bank.

 

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

But even if I don't want to purchase the extra content, I still have to have it in order to play online. So if it's not on the disc I would have to download it anyway and store it on my HDD. But then it would be on my HDD, and I would demand to have access to it since it came with the game I paid for! RAH RAH FIGHT DA POWAH

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

You don't have to download it and store it on your harddrive. It can be buffered into the console's RAM. Much like what happens when you stream a movie. 

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Still, it consumes bandwidth (and may take more ram.)

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Stop supporting big companies that push this? I dunno. just a thought?

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

I'm going to make this one really simple.

DLC is an acronym for DownLoadable Content.

If it's on the disc, it's not DLC. It's content which was put there with the intention of charging a premium to access it.

At least have the common "courtesy to call it rain"...

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Papa Midnight

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

I've never understood the furor over this issue, really.  You pay for the game as it is at launch, and that's the content you get.  Later, you can buy additional content if you so desire.  Whether the additional content comes from the internet, or from another part of the disc, or whatever, how does that effect your experience?  You got the game you paid for initially, and you have the option to pay more to get extras.  Why is the method of delivery such a problem?

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

The issue is that when you buy a game on disc, you purchase all the data on that disc. If you buy a game that has on disc DLC, then you don't have the rights to access a portion of the data that you already bought.  

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

You're not purchasing all the data on the disc.  You're purchasing the game that was promised.  There's all kinds of stuff on the disc that you never get to see.  Junk data, leftover bits of code and content that was edited out but simply left in the directory structure, various software that the game developer has licensed to make their game, but which you have not licensed for your own use...  All of that and more is on the disc, but that doesn't mean you own it just because you bought the disc.

If you bought a game that said it had 24 characters, and 24 characters is what you get when you start it up, then you got what you paid for.  If there are more characters on the disc you can unlock later, what of it?  They weren't part of your decision to buy the game.  You didn't even know about them.  So how exactly have you been tricked or wronged?  And why is it that the method of delivery is such a big deal?  Is it better somehow to have to download the content?  I'm pretty sure that sentiment comes from the misunderstanding illustrated in this infographic: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/17eig06xukt8apng/original.png .  As if they can only begin work on "proper" DLC after the disc is finalized, and anything else means you are being robbed of content that would have been in the game.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

You have the content of the disc. But the same way some content is locked because of progression, internet connection, lack of other players, specific machine or OS, etc., that content is locked due to a lack of a financial transaction. You have the bits, but they are in their raw form, a number, like everything digital. To use them, you must comply with their requirements.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

It's a perception thing.  It makes it seem as if the developer/publisher made the whole game, then locked out or (in the case of Day 1 DLC) removed a chunk of the game to sell for even more money.  It makes consumers feel like they're paying for the same content twice or that they didn't get the whole game they paid for.  It makes them feel like they're being ripped off.

Doesn't matter if it's true or not; that's the perception.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

People keep supporting companies like this and their practices.

 

Note that most of them are a pack of wolves ready to feast on the corpse of retail gaming.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

If you're into the ship cycle, then how can you add more stuff to the disc Cliffy?  Answer me that.  If you can alter the disc, it isn't done yet.  Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.  Try again.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Likely what he means by "ship cycle" is that the game is passed its beta stage.  It's being tested like mad, but most developers are just sitting waiting for bugs, or waiting for permission to check in fixes for bugs.  A lot of people are idle at this time in a project.

There are also a lot of technical hurdles that are simplified by shipping all the content on the disc.  Fewer technical hurdles means more time to work on making a better game.

I understand people being upset about this.  But there are actual good reasons why it happens and will continue to happen.  So far the best solution seems to be EA's.  Put it on the disc and call it "Premium Unlockable Content" instead of DLC.

===============

Chris Kimberley

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

A turd by any other name will still smell like crap. 

There is no good reason to do this. The only real reason is to lock players into paying extra for content they already technically "own". 

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

I agree with your initial sentiment.  It's actually no different.

But as I stated, the primary reason for doing this is to ease development.  Which in turn reduces costs/frees up time to work on other things.

And I find it interesting that you use the word "technically", and then put quotes around "own".  Technically you don't own that content.  You own a disc, and a limited license to the content on it.  Whether or not you, I, or anyone else likes it, that is technically how it is.  Anyone who disagrees is welcome to challenge it in court.

Before I get flamed let me say that I don't like the practice either, even though, as a developer myself, I can see the reasons for it.

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Chris Kimberley

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

I don't really care if they want to give the developers busy work and have them make additional content. That isn't the problem. The problem is it is on the disk you paid for. Often times it is completely accessible except to make the physical choice to access it. For example, in Soul Calibur 5, there is a DLC character that is on the disk. You cannot play as him, but you can fight him. You have to pay extra money to be able to play as him even though he is right there in the game disk you bought.

If they want to make all this content and have us actually download it, then fine. But don't make me pay twice for something.

I made the comparison to buying a house before. This would be like buying a house, but when you moved in two room were sealed off from the rest of the house. The previous owners then tell you that for another $50,000 they will unseal those rooms. No one would think twice if you told the sellers to shove it then tore down the barriers. Why would anyone be upset if you tore down the artificial barriers on the disk to get to this content?

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Actually, I think the best image I can give for the practice is : Matthew 20:1–16

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

I don't really see how that applies. Perhaps you could elaborate?

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

You were Godwin'd.

Being that it was a vague reference too I would consider this a "drive-by Godwin."

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

Godwin means that one person in the debate compares the other person or the subject to Hitler or the Holocaust. The parable Dorth referenced has zero to do with either of those.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

This has nothing to do with a Godwin, albeit now we are in the Godwin territory by virtue of it being invoked.

Still, the point goes as follow: People are told "If you pay X, you will get Y." People are ok with this. They buy Y. Then, upon learning there is a T that they would need to pay S to obtain, they clamor. Yet, the first exchange satisfied both parties fully and anger only came from knowledge that a theoretical better deal could exist. That was the point I wanted to make.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

The parable you pointed to Doesn't make that point though. The parable you pointed to says the following:

People 1 get asked to do X amount of work for Y amount of money.

 

People 2 get asked to do X-1 amount of the same work for Y amount of money.

 

People 3 get asked to do X-2 amount of the same work for Y amount of money.

 

People 1 complain that people 2 and 3 get paid the same amount of money for less work. Employer tells they agreed to the terms when he hired them.

I still don't see how that applies.

In these situations, I agree to pay $X for the content on the disk. The people selling me the disk are locking away some of the content on the disk I bought unless I pay them more.

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

But that's not true. You agree to pay for the game as envisioned at this point in time. Would you consider that you were deprived of Hot Coffee because the developer locked that segment? Or deprived of the good ending because you did not complete the story? You receive exactly what you paid for, based on your prior acknowledgement...

Re: Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski Defends On-Disc DLC

They keep coming to defend this stupid and horrible practice, yet every time they do it all comes down to "That is how its done. So that is how we do it." It is still stupid and unnecessary.

 
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