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For anyone who may not have heard, EA’s Chief Operating Officer, Nick Earl, recently revealed plans to introduce a new premium DLC system, in which EA will charge a fee for an extended game demo, comparable in size and content to Battlefield 1943.

This could potentially be an innovating strategy for EA, providing gamers with early content of anticipated games, while giving EA valuable gamer reaction to said games. Unfortunately, it looks like there’s already a lot of potential downside to this system, and its success will depend greatly on how EA chooses to implement it.

The first and major hurdle they will have to overcome will be its price. The PDLC will be sold for about $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, but gamers who purchase them will still have to pay full price for the retail version. That essentially means that they will be paying twice for some of the same content. With the already steep price of games, this will be a big turnoff for many. Providing discounts for customers who buy both versions would have been a great incentive for buying the PDLC.

However, if you consider EA’s point of view, there is logic to the decision. You could debate that EA needs an additional charge because creating these demos will be expensive. Some companies choose not to release demos of their games because they take extra time and resources to make. Creating these premium demos will be substantially more expensive and EA is likely afraid they will lose money on the investment if they give refunds to those who buy the full game.

This is a legitimate argument, but if EA is worried about getting a return on their investment, an alternative could be to institute a membership system in which members pay an annual fee for unlimited access to all PDLC. This could provide a return on EA’s investment as well as encourage gamers to try as many EA titles as possible. A win-win scenario for both sides.

Another factor to consider is the release timing of the PDLC in relation to the retail versions. The amount of time between the two will greatly affect the nature of the PDLC. Regular demos will still be offered and if EA releases the premium demos alongside the standard ones, many gamers will be satisfied with simply playing the free demos and waiting for the packaged product.

However, it looks like EA is planning to make the premium demos available further in advance to use them as a beta test. This raises concerns about the stability of the PDLC and whether gamers will be paying to play a buggy product. There are too many quality gaming options out there to pay for a game with defects.

One more question to ask is if the PDLC will end up affecting the final versions of games. If there is a poor reception to the PDLC, EA could decide to scale back the amount of resources it commits to the game and fans could end up with less content or polish in the final product. This scenario is unlikely though, as it’s doubtful the PDLC would be released far enough in advance to allow for major alterations.

That being said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could alter their development practices for games with PDLC. We already have problems with episodic gaming, where subsequent episodes are cancelled when the initial episodes disappoint.

As we haven’t received many details yet on how the system will work, this is all just speculation. There’s a lot of ways this could end up being a spectacular success or failure, or it may even end up being cancelled altogether.

EA has recently shown a willingness to experiment and innovate, and as one of the few companies large enough to try this with AAA titles, this has been a welcome mindset. Unfortunately, they haven’t seen much monetary success with this approach and it would be a shame to see them revert to a more archaic strategy. Hopefully EA makes the right decisions, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

  1. If EA puts a PDLC product out ahead of time, it’s possible people will forget that they paid Battlefield 1943 prices. However, I don’t like the idea of paying that much for only part of a game. When I bought Battlefield 1943, I paid for the ENTIRE game. I don’t think that will translate well when people are paying for bits and pieces.

    You also raise an interesting question with length between the demo and the full release. R.U.S.E just pushed their game back because of beta feedback. I would like to see what improvements they make based on that decision; and, if that ultimately increases the games enjoyability.

    • Also, isn’t a demo just like an advertisement? Advertising takes time and money too – the problem here – is that its take time and money directly away from the team hard at work on the game. But, if they stop announcing games a year before they come out, we wouldn’t know the difference if a game was pushed back a month because of a demo.

      Honestly, I would rather play an hour demo than watch Hollywood edited 30 second trailers.

  2. avatar N

    isnt this pretty similar to GT5 and Prologue..

    People went crazy for that so if its done right then those who can’t wait for it will get it and other will wait like they’d have to anyway. its just another option for ppl to chose if they want.

  3. avatar Austin

    Whatever happened to just renting a game to see if you like it?

  4. avatar Ian

    So it was completely fine with PS3 owners when PD did this with GT5:P but now that EA is thinking about doing something similar EVERYONE RUN FOR THE HILLS.

    Such hypocrisy.

    • I think the main issue is their plan to essentially replace demos. I don’t like the idea of paying 15 dollars to try something out becoming the mainstream tactic. I’m already paying 60 dollars when that game comes out. Especially if the game is only a few months away. GT5P is almost two years before GT5, and could be called it’s own game.

      Sure, GT5P whets the pallet of those that can’t wait, but when GT5 comes out, you will have paid twice for the same content. Steven isn’t saying that people won’t do it, he is merely asking whether or not we should support this. Hell, I paid 15 dollars for Halo 3: ODST to get into the Halo: Reach beta because I feel trying the game out, with 4-5 months before its release, is worth the money. Not everyone will feel the same.

    • avatar Ian

      Chase–

      I don’t have any issue with paying for a demo if they either:

      A) Let me keep my save so that I don’t have to restart from the portion I already played.

      B) Give me a discount on the full game (or the demo cost in DLC paidback later).

      That said, GT5P was an easy way for Sony/PD to make money on an investment. I wish they would release GT5 already so we could buy the full game because frankly I’m sick of waiting for them to finish adding new features that no one will use (ungodly 3D, head tracking, move support, etc).

  5. avatar allyourgames

    paying for demos, ROFL.

    I am the only one sane here? Because EA is know to lack alot of support on the community and technical side.
    And you are willing to give them more of your money for their crappy product?

    Blasphemy.

    What is the purpose of demo? To try something new, see if you like it then buy it. It’s call advertisement.

    Now the customer would need to buy the advertissement from them, why?

    Because they want 1-Steal you (even more) 2- Create a VIP fanbase.
    Fans will be base if their willing to give them more money, of course, with the lack of demo, all the informations coming from the new games will be from these VIP fanbase. If they are willing to do that, we all know how much disinformation they will put in their comments.

  6. avatar Makidian

    I would pay $10 bucks to play a decent portion of Dead Space 2 or The Force Unleashed 2, but to parrot what was said above in that I would like to have either a discount on the full retail or free DLC later on. I think this system might be ahead of it’s time because there would be no issue with this if all game releases could just be downloaded after paying for the preview portion, however that would essentially be renting.

  7. If paid Demos brought the progress from the demo to the full game, I see it as a viable way to go. Even if they released a paid DLC model alongside the current, free ones… there would be several I’d pay for JUST to get my progress carried over. I would have loved that option for BC2, for instance. I spent hours upon hours in that demo with the other GL guys, so not having to start from scratch would have been amazing.

  8. avatar crap!

    They create these demos as an advertisement toward selling the game. Their incentive to invest time and money into a demo is to get the game sold, not to sell the demo. EA is the king of over-charging and now that they’re gonna do this I say to hell with ‘em. I wont be buying demos. Say that phrase out loud once, “BUY a demo” what a load of sh**!

    • avatar Reaboka

      KB is a great theme! I’m loving it Do you have some idea about when you will relsaee a BuddyPress theme? Where can I see some screenshots of the BP theme?If you relese KB integrated to BP would be great!Thanks!

  9. avatar Some bloke

    As has been previously said, ‘How about just renting the full game?’ Makes no sense to limit yourself at a high price, when you can make up your mind through rental. Some stores even offer try before you buy, which gives you the money back from the rental against the game. Depending on how EA go about this they could become the king of douches in the gaming industry yet again, which seems to have jumped off Activision and strait onto Ubisoft with the DRM debate.

  10. avatar mike

    im at the point where i will probably never buy an EA published game again.

  11. avatar Carlota

    Teresa,Wow! I’m super impressed with all of the sulbte (and not so sulbte) variations in your voice! You’ve truly created separate and unique characters. When I first heard the little girl’s voice, I thought it was a mistake. I couldn’t make out your voice in her very cool and a bit scary for me. You should do very well with these reels. I think you are ready to play The Three Faces of Eve or Sybil. Next stop looney bin! Seriously, great work! You should be very proud of this work. You should work on getting a VO only agent and get your reel out there!

  12. avatar Laura

    Hah yep, those are all me! I compiled my reel and mixed it throguh Adobe Audition. There are some settings where I added a small echo or muffled the voice to make it sound like it was in a different room, but none of that actually changes the tone or quality to my voice just makes it sound like a different environment.

    • avatar Agung

      Hi!I’m planning to atnetd the democamp at the Sabre site. That’s a big campus with a lot of facilities, I think. Do you know where at the Sabre camus the event will take place.Hank McFadyen

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