Experienced Points: DLC for Dummies

By Shamus
on Apr 24, 2011
Filed under:
Column

Here is a little bit about the Portal 2 review-bombers. The story so far is this: Last week, thousands of enraged, barely-literate people went to Metacritic and rated the best game of 2011 a zero because it has DLC which is less offensive and more consumer-friendly than anything that came before it.

Part of this is classic over-correction of opinion. A thing appears which you mildly dislike. Everyone else loves it. Their celebration of the mundane offends you, and their enjoyment of something you find distasteful breeds resentment. If they visit Metacritic and award it 10/10, then you feel the need to correct this. Since you are outnumbered, your only recourse is to give it zero out of 10, to bring the score down to the middle, where it “should” be. In conversation, it’s not enough to dismiss it as lackluster. You must vilify it. You must excoriate it. You must hold in contempt the armies of sheeple who are too stupid to see what is so manifestly clear to you.

I’m guilty of the same thing. I’ve calibrated my indignation with regards to DRM to compensate for the widespread apathy most people have regarding the issue. It happened to Halo. Avatar. The Wii. Farmville. Nothing is more detested than when it is both ordinary and celebrated.

But even this doesn’t explain the behavior of the Portal 2 protesters. I’ve read the comment thread at the Escapist (over 300 responses so far) and it is a madhouse of muddled concepts.

“The content is stupid and nobody wants it and it shouldn’t be in the game at all and therefore Valve should let me have it for free. Since they refuse, the entire game sucks.”

There’s nothing to refute or discuss. I can’t even figure out where these people stand or what they believe in. It’s clear most of them haven’t even played the game.

I suspected this was some sort of automated system, just like other publishers sometimes have their own people rate their own games 10/10. But the thread at the Escapist proves these people are real. Crazy. Incoherent. But real.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


FIVE HUNDRED!2019539. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a ridiculous number.

From the Archives:

1 2

  1. Kelly says:

    There is never an excuse for Day 1 DLC. Never. Doesn’t matter how trivial it is, it’s still an attempt to cheat the customer. And it’s not like the ManCo crap in TF2, since that’s just a shortcut you can use if you’re too lazy or short on time to bother unlocking things yourself, this stuff is ONLY available if Valve overcharges you for it.

    Having said that, this is probably the least irritating case of Day 1 DLC I’ve ever seen (since the content IS useless), and the game itself is still fantastic in my opinion (indeed, it’s everything a sequel SHOULD be). Still. Day 1 DLC. Bad thing to do.

    • ColdDeath says:

      So it’d be ok if they’d wait, oh, let’s say a month to release the “Portal Hat Store”? Sorry but i don’t really see the difference for what is essentially FLUFF that has NO impact on the game WHAT-SO-EVER.

      They aren’t forcing you to buy it in any fashion, you can quite simply ignore it completely and just play the complete game.

      I DO find the idea of buying stuff like this weird, but it does not change my opinion of the game at all. Now if they’d put enhanced Portal Guns into the store starting at Day 1, THAT would be a different story.

      • burningdragoon says:

        If they released the hat store after the game came out I’m sure the same people would be like “Oh, where was this when I was still playing the game!?”

    • Nift says:

      I agree with you on the “no excuse for Day 1 DLC”, but in this case, as you state later in your post, the DLCs content is useless and doesn’t really affect much. So I don’t really see the difference between this DLC and then getting some item or the like because you pre-ordered the game. Except that the pre-ordering “reward” is, in my experience, usually worse as it changes the game in a certain way, making the game easier or opens up something that’s supposed to be fun.

      I think the reason behind all this, rage, towards Portal 2, is that someone misunderstood what the DLC was going to do, and somehow the person managed to make the snowball he kicked down the hill, grow bigger and bigger.
      Most of the people who’re angry about Portal 2, as Shamus states, haven’t even played the game.
      But I guess it all comes down to that the Internet is ignorant, and wont listen to reason as it’s easier just to go with the “flow”, and perhaps it’s more fun too.

    • Avilan says:

      I disagree.

      One word: Shale.

      Now, off to other things… I find myself having a much harder time when someone dislikes what I like, than when someone likes what I dislike. I don’t know why, but I get very provoked every time Shamus or Krellen posts remark about ME2 or 3, for example.

      • MrWhales says:

        Your post would make more sense, if you actually talked about the single word you said. Otherwise you just wasted everyone’s time with a single word that mentions something in a game not everyone has played yet. Congratulations, now give me back my wasted time

        • Avilan says:

          Fair enough. Shale. A free (for original buyers), day one DLC which contains a character and quest deliberately removed from the core game.

          The reason Shale was removed was because they discovered she was too large for most doorways, and they didn’t think they had time to correct it. As it turns out they did have the time, and so she was released as a day one DLC.

          • Shamus says:

            To play devil’s advocate:

            If this was the case and they really didn’t care one way or the other, they could have simply put Shale into a patch. No mucking about with DLC. No “project ten dollar” hook.

            Aside:

            I’ve said before that it becomes increasingly difficult to figure out what was and was not part of the core game. The developer can claim what they like, and all we can do is take their word for it. (Or not.) I read the thing about Shale being cut for size purpose and I found it to be plausible, while at the same time I dislike the overall trend of single-player content being put into DLC.

            I would LOVE to have the numbers that EA has in front of them regarding how many games are sold vs. how many day-1 DLC codes are redeemed, and how many people actually cough up the $10 when they buy used. I hate the trend, but I’m also curious if it’s working.

            • Irridium says:

              If recent games are any example, it isn’t doing much. Since with DA2 instead of giving you DLC for free on day one, now you have to pre-order waaay in advance to get it for free, otherwise you have to pay for it.

              Black Emporium/Sebastian could have easily been covered by Project $10, yet they’re not. And I think Dead Space 2 just blocks out online play if you don’t redeem the code.

              But yeah, seems they’re doing away with Project $10, which leads me to believe it wasn’t very effective.

              • Kanodin says:

                Actually The Black Emporium and your dog were that game’s Project 10 dollar, it’s just that in addition to that they had a preorder deal with Sebastian, presumably to squeeze as much money out of people as possible.

                • Irridium says:

                  Your dog’s essentially just an activated ability. All it does besides that is chill at your house. Did they really need to put that as DLC?

                • You have it backwards. Sebastian is the Project Ten Dollar. The Black Emporium and the dog are the extra preorder bonus (for all preorders). You only got Sebastian free if you preordered the SIGNATURE edition, i.e. if you preordered 3 months before the game came out. Sebastian you can buy even if you didn’t preorder. You can’t buy the Black Emporium and the dog.

                  In addition, if you buy Dragon Age 2, you now get a FREE copy of Mass Effect 2. What a ripoff.

                • Zukhramm says:

                  Since you don’t get it for free with all new copies of the game, Sebastian is definetely not part of roject 10 dollar.

                • Kanodin says:

                  Huh she be right, well that’s just silly locking off useful features forever for no reason.

            • If it’s not working, it’ll eventually go the way of all ill-conceived industry fads.

              I generally like DLC, but I’m the kind of person who will, without a quibble, spend hundreds of dollars upgrading my computer strictly in order to play *one game* I really wanted. I only buy a few games a year, and I’m *more* than happy to pay more for them, and pay more for a few gewgaws on the side, and some DLC a few months later, etc. I’d rather support a few games intensively than hordes of games shallowly.

              You have a copy of DA2 due to this, in fact–if I didn’t care about the DLC, I wouldn’t have reserved that Emergency Backup Copy.

            • Meredith says:

              I’m a bit late to the discussion, but for what it’s worth: I played a used copy of DA:O and didn’t pay for any DLC. I was interested in Shale and would have liked very much to explore her story, but not $10 worth. Same for all the other DLC. Also, I didn’t really want to have to make an account at the EA/Bioware site. It seemed like too much effort.

              Some day, I might download the super-extra-special-includes-everything version from Steam. The price is starting to drop nicely. The more games that pull this nonsense with having to download and pay for the rest of the game, the longer people like me will wait to buy them: until the complete edition is 1)released and 2)affordable.

          • The Defenestrator says:

            The core game being…

            • Irridium says:

              Which game? Portal 2 or Dragon Age?

              If Portal 2, then the full single player and co-op campaigns are the core game.

              If Dragon Age, then the massive 80+ hour game is the core game.

          • James Schend says:

            I still have no idea what Shale is. (Portal 2 has quests? Since when?) Googling it comes up with nothing…

          • MrWhales says:

            I’m glad you didn’t take that as negative as i now realize i put that. I was rather curious, just had no time to calm down and not aim the rage-cannons

            • Mormegil says:

              If you’re taking time out to aim a rage cannon then you aren’t doing it right. Rage cannon are meant to be fired rapidly and indiscriminately, typically with the trigger/submit button being hammered before you’ve even finished reading/comprehending the offending post.

    • Absolutely. I’d argue that a bunch of meaningless items like that that came as part of the game we bought should be considered free regardless because there’s no reason to charge for them – it’s not additional work valve did after release, it was already in the game and now exists for the sole purpose of taking our money while providing us minimal value in return, which in and of itself I find offensive.

      Of course, I still consider the TF2 store offensive and the fact people are willing to say you don’t have to buy in-game advantage is baffling to me because at this point it’s so hard to get all the weapons that a new player who buys them is by definition better off than someone who wants to wait to get them (note that you have to buy training items). It’s a shoddy excuse saying “well it’s available for free” when that availability is a) determined by random number Gods, and b) STILL poorly implemented and time consuming. Hell I can prove to you it’s a shoddy system – the polycount pack included hats with effects that are both as rare as regular hats and as expensive (assuming you find your polycount item as a random drop and don’t craft it). Having played on a constant basis each week since that pack was released I have one of said hats, that I managed had to trade for. It has been several months and I’m objectively worse off than people who just buy them, and there’s no reliable way for me to even the odds because as soon as I get enough metal they’ve released two more packs so I have to get the weapons there to remain competitive.

      Does it mean either game is bad? Well it has made TF2 get progressively worse as Valve focus more and more on selling hats, promotional items, promotional items with stats that you HAVE to buy in order to get for a month before they’re made craftable at ludicrous prices and crate keys. In fact, yes. TF2 has been made terrible by the exact same DLC that’s in Portal 2, the only difference is Portal 2 has less of it and it’s purely cosmetic. It’s still the exact same system, it should absolutely knock marks off a game’s score.

      Of course the contention here is that Portal 2’s DLC is purely cosmetic. So? that just makes it more insulting when valve are overcharging people for it. The store has no reason to exist if it doesn’t provide people with value. The TF2 store does that, which makes it terrible, the Portal 2 doesn’t which makes it exploitative. The point is, having a store in the game is inexcusable unless you’re an impoverished indie developer who really needs a way to reward people for donating to them. Valve do not fit that description.

      Portal 2’s great, of course it is, but I absolutely see where these people are coming from – Valve needs to get the message, that’s one way to do it. It’s misrepresentative and dishonest, sure, but who honestly cares about a user metascore? at least they know Valve can see it there, and it’s a hell of a lot easier than the countless pages of emails I’ve sent to no avail about exactly this kind of thing. Legitimate channels appear to be useless, so I say let them do what the want. It’s basically harmless and might actually get something done.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I’m fine with purely cosmetic items you can pay for, as after all, it really doesn’t matter.
        Also, I disagree with the “unbalancing” of TF2 due to the store, as the unlockable weapons have been, and always will be, never “better” than their usual counterparts, they are simply “different”. How you use what you’ve got is much more important that what you’ve got.
        Besides, the ManCo store is allowing Valve to justify continuing to update TF2 with more stuff, as it’s bringing in more money for them from a game which only needs to bought once (and fairly cheap too, especially with the fairly common sales) yet seems to get enough content to rival conventional subscription-based games.

        • Cineris says:

          Having more options is typically “better” than having fewer options, even if those options aren’t strictly “better” in any absolute sense. Anything that forces your opponents to react or play differently around you puts you one step ahead of them.

        • Jjkaybomb says:

          There are a few Team Fortress items that you’re pretty much screwed without. With the spy cloak, I never see anyone who doesnt use Dead Ringer or Cloak and Dagger. The standard cloak just doesnt live up to effective infinite hiding or a free getaway. Sure, the TF2 team tries to balance it as much as possible, but spy is a class that the drawbacks just dont equalize.

          TF2 business is cheap and silly, but I dont mind it because I know it means they have the money to make more great games. Because that is what Valve is doing, not just tossing all this extra dough onto the CEO’s money pile.

          • I see no evidence that money is doing anything other than lining Gabe’s three storey platimum plated swimming pool. Valve already makes commission of everything on steam, which need I remind you is amazingly popular. They don’t need this money, and it’s certainly not helped Episode 3 come out any faster.

            Some items help out indie developers, or community contributers. That’s fine, they need the money, I’m glad for them to have it, and a store that included only community items as a way to donate to them to say thanks would be fine. The way it is now? That’s not fine.

            • Jjkaybomb says:

              Everybody needs money. Even the big triple A giants need money. They’re business, for crying out loud! Why are we mad at businesses for trying to make money? It’s what a business has to do. And Valve’s trying to do it so the consumer doesnt get screwed, they’re trying to be nice about it! They gave us a 8 hour game for 40$. What if they racked it up to 60$ like everybody else? Or offered three downloadable campaigns that continue the story. That would get them TONS more money to line the money bucket. But they arent! Its a cheap game and they’re selling little hats to make up for the extra 20$ they could have charged.

              Sure, theres no proof its not all going towards Fancy Meals for Gabe, besides the games themselves. If making great games was this easy and this cheap, dont you think more games would be like this? dont you think the stream of shooters coming out would be filled with interesting, thrilling titles back to back to back?

              • Valve was more profitable per employee than both Apple and Google last year. Additionally, they don’t have investors to satisfy and they make money off their competition’s games. This means their perspective on the industry is pheonomonal and their barriers preventing innovation are very low.

                But yeah, you’re right, it’s a business so we should just sit back and let them do whatever they want in order to make money. Because that’s what we want in our game developers, people who screw us over to maximize profits while we sit back and ask for more, but only if we pay them another $17.50 for a hat or something. You realize they charge that much for some hats? Do you also realize that the Call of Duty map packs people hate to pay $15 for include like 5 maps? Man, I sure am glad Valve are looking out for us, and not milking our wallets like Activision. Obviously I’m happy for Valve to make money, I just expect a decent standard of customer relations, and some sort of attempt to provide value to us when they do it.

                Oh and I want it noted, that the portal 2 cosmetics are actually $35, but they’re on sale from $85, so actually by that logic, they’re knocking $10 off the price (because Portal 2 is $50, not $40) and then they meant to charge us almost double the price of the game to get that content back. So if we wanted it, it would have worked out $75 cheaper to just buy the game at $60 and not bothered with the store. Because that’s what I think of when I think of benefiting the consumer. Charging them $10 less so they can wait until they’ve bought the game to try selling them almost $90 of worthless garbage.

                Did you know if you spend $90 on worthless garbage, Valve will think it’s a good idea to make more overpriced worthless garbage because you told them it’s OK? It’s true! By making pointless cosmetics profitable for them, they have an incentive to work on only pointless cosmetics instead of making better games. But that’s OK, they’re a business – they should do what makes more money, I mean that’s what we want, right? because if they make more money, I bet they’ll spend it on making better games and not just recycle it into more pointless cosmetics! I’ve never heard of a feedback loop! what’s that? I’m sure by letting this continue We’ll get MUCH better games that aren’t filled with worthless garbage because evidence has shown, that when worthless garbage becomes profitable, Valve have never simply cranked out more and more of it endlessly to try milk every last cent out of a bloated and over-designed game that is now so full of worthless garbage it barely resembles it’s old self!

                You’re right, Valve is really looking out for us when they make these stores, and obviously this can only be good!

                I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I think I hit the sarcasm event horizon somewhere in the middle of that paragraph.

                • Zukhramm says:

                  But yeah, you’re right, it’s a business so we should just sit back and let them do whatever they want in order to make money.

                  Yes. That’s exactly what we should do, if we don’t like something, we don’t buy it. And if people do buy it, there’s obvously someone who is willing to pay, and then, why Shouldn’t Valve sell it?

                • Jjkaybomb says:

                  Okay, okay, I dont know the cost of these things, I remember seeing Portal for 40$ for so long, but that was during the preorder stage, and I screwed up there. We’re definitely getting very, very wound up over a fundamental difference in our worldviews. You see the companies as bleeding dry and screwing the customer, and I see a bunch of suits making puppy eyes and whimpering. Its not helping us to continually snipe at eachother.

                  Let’s split a cold one, and chill. Actually, no, I hate beer, maybe just a soda. Yeah.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  You know, just because you declare something is overpriced, meaning your personal utility per dollar of some thing is below some threshold, does not mean it is overpriced, meaning that the general population shares your worldview.

                  Case in point: Call of Duty DLC. It appears that neither you nor I care for the content per price, but overwhelmingly people gladly – gladly – shell out their money. I work in a video game store, and people are excited about giving Activision more of their money for another one of these things coming up. It boggles my mind, but that is the way things are.

                  The point being, you may hate to pay for them, but people do not.

                  Also, for the record, Google heavily invests in futures and infrastructure which is probably why they are “less profitable” per capita, and it’s also important to stress the per capita there too, as Valve is only noteworthy in that regard because it employs so relatively few.

                • Vect says:

                  I’m pretty sure that statistic about Valve having more profitable employees is just because Valve is not nearly as big as those other companies. They’re still a fairly small group.

                  It’s also not as if that money goes solely towards giving Gabe the life the life of a rap music video or the Old Man Murray guys financing for their doomsday weapon to use against Roberta Williams. At least part of their money goes towards flying in fans (like Yahtzee) to have a tour or something.

                  I’ve got nothing against DLC. I tend to simply ignore it. Easy as that.

                • Fat Tony says:

                  EX-SQUESE ME!?

                  But when do you HAVE to pay for TF2 hats?

              • Sean says:

                I miss the days when I could say, “they’re charging that much for a game that’s only 8 hours!?” without being reminded that this is now considered a long game. Bah, humbug.

              • krellen says:

                Businesses do not have to make money. There are no laws, court precedents, or other mandates requiring publicly traded companies to “make money”. Companies can exist for any reason they want; making money is among the list of options, not the only option.

                This is even more true for privately-held companies.

                You’d do well to stop spreading the lie that companies exist to make money. It’s actively harmful to society – we really don’t need to give companies an excuse to act more sociopathic than they already do.

                • Sagretti says:

                  Sure, companies don’t have to make money. They can go bankrupt and cease to exist. The history of video games is riddled with Great Game Companies that made little to no money and ended up bought out and stripped by a bigger entity or went belly up. There are some of the crazier fringe of gamers that seem to think the dignified thing for a game developer to do is make a couple great games and then go bankrupt, so the legacy isn’t tarnished.

                  When we talk about Valve needing to make money, it’s not so that Gabe Newell can make a solid gold toilet or swim in a vault of money, but it’s so that Valve can continue producing amazing games at their own pace, while being one of the biggest supporters of independent game design in the industry. For some reason it’s assumed that “making money” naturally leads to that money being shoved into some black hole of waste.

                • Jjkaybomb says:

                  A…are you being sarcastic, or not? o.O

                  Sure we could… not… have an economy…. I think. No, even hunter-gatherer bands had “do this for me and I’ll do this for you.”

                  You can start a business thats in line with your hobbies, but if you have no other means of income at all… then where do you think you’re going to go with it? do you think you’ll be sustained, do you think you’ll survive for long? A business is an ultimate favor trader. I’ll give you this item or service you need, and you give me money which I can go to buy the items and services I need. Even one man operations, little mom and pop food stores operate on that principle. Big companies have to take care of hundreds, thousands of these people. And we hate them for it.

                  If they want to, mom and pop could just start a business to buy groceries to give away. But thats not a business, thats a charity, and lets see how long that lasts without contributers.

                • krellen says:

                  @Jjkaybomb: You said companies had to make money, as if they was the only purpose of a company. You are factually incorrect on that statement. The purpose of a company is not to make money; the purpose of a company is whatever the hell the founders of the company say so.

                  Making money is often on the list of reasons for existence; it is almost never the sole reason.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  But, if a company that exists doesn’t make money it doesn’t stay a company for very long. They might become an organization or a group or something, but they are no longer a company.

                  So yes, companies have to make money or they cease being companies.

                • krellen says:

                  @pneuma08: As you’re now defining “company” as something distinctly different from a “group” or “organisation”, would you kindly define these terms for us?

                • pneuma08 says:

                  @krellen: If you’re going to be arguing semantics, then this argument is already lost. I mean, it’s only a legal definition and all that. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised because you’ve already been splitting hairs.

                  But, I’ll indulge:
                  “Any formal business entity for profit” (dictionary.law.com, among others)

                  I suppose if you want to be technical, you can argue that I should have said, “some other type of organization” but that’s kind of off-topic, wouldn’t you say?

                • krellen says:

                  I defy anyone to find a company whose mission statement includes any form of the phrase “make as much profit as possible”.

                • Trix says:

                  People need to make a living, and these days that means getting paid. Getting paid means having a job, likely to some company (no matter the size…even small businesses count). If the company does not spend at least some part of its attentions making money to cover that, it’s not going to make you much of a living anymore.

                  Let me go at it from a different angle. Say a company’s purpose is to “make really great games”. Buried in that paradigm is a need to support itself long enough to actually develop and release said games, and that requires getting money to pay developer wages and the supplies/facilities they require. At that point, they could just run a tight budget and make only enough to cover costs…but they still need some amount of money to keep going.

                  A smart company will take the “make really great games” line and expand it to “expand our capabilities to make even better games”. This means growth, which requires more money for additional people, technology, and maybe R&D…with the payoff being better results and the opportunity for more growth. The stated goal will still be “make good games”, but making money is a large part of facilitating that.

                  This is all assuming ideal conditions…obviously, there will be those who are in it to make more money…but this doesn’t affect the fact that doing ANYTHING of significance requires resources. Unless you get it all done with donations, volunteers, or just spend all the time by yourself…you will need funding.

                • krellen says:

                  The line I objected to was “Why are we mad at businesses for trying to make money? It’s what a business has to do.” (emphasis in the original).

                  A business does not have to make money. Making money is very often one in a series of actions required to fulfill whatever purpose the company was founded to achieve; making money is almost never the purpose itself.

                  Making statements such that “a business has to make money” reinforces the Dodge v. Ford fallacy (that the purpose of a corporation is to maximise shareholder returns – ie, profit). A business can do whatever it wants; very few of them would be able to accomplish their goals without making money, but they do not have to make money.

              • Jordan says:

                You guys got it $20 cheaper than the other AAA titles? Over here in England it’s £30 the same as as Crysis 2, Fable 3, or any of the other recent or not-yet-released titles. I feel a little sour now.

            • Ringwraith says:

              How many people do you think go out and buy a copy of TF2 when’s there’s a major update? Probably not nearly enough to cover the costs of making the update, so that money has to come from somewhere and it’s not a good idea to continually divert profits from other things to fund optional expenses on something that doesn’t really make anything back.
              It’s simply a way so it can support itself and remain profitably viable, as the only other ways of doing this would be sell the extra updates as exclusive DLC (like say, Call of Duty as of late) or tack a subscription service onto the game.

              • TF2 gets people on steam. Steam has a big store whenever you open it. Lots of people get on steam to play TF2 updates. Hence, even if they don’t sell TF2, people are still on steam, which means they’re still way more likely to buy things than when they aren’t on steam. Valve don’t have to make money directly from a single game when they own the whole arcade, and a single attraction that’s popular becomes invaluable when you can load it with ads for other games and make money from other businesses as well.

                • Ringwraith says:

                  That is an argument yes, but how many people actually know of TF2 outside of Steam?
                  I’d argue not that many, especially as Call of Duty has hopped onto Steam nowadays.

                • Velkrin says:

                  Steam has a big store whenever you open it.

                  You know you can change the default opening page right?

                  Steam -> Settings -> Interface -> Favorite Window. Change it to Library or something and the default page will be your game list. It has had that option for years. No need to look at the store if you don’t want to.

                • Factoid says:

                  I would wager PurePareidolia (kudos for spelling that correctly, by the way), hit the nail on the head. Valve puts those pop-ups on there for a reason. they know their conversion rate and they know that getting people to open steam will result in X sales.

                  They also know that keeping people coming is more than half the battle.

                  Plus game development is a notoriously uneven process. When you break development into specialties you’ll have time during each project where each group is not fully utilized. So it’s probably not hard to pull people into side projects.

                  I guarantee you that’s why the TF2 updates are done in small chunks. One or two character classes at a time. One map at a time. A few hats or game items at a time. If they were doing more than just investing slack time into these projects the content would probably come out in bigger chunks.

          • Irridium says:

            I disagree. I never use anything other than the default watch. It last much longer than the C&D, and if you know the layout of the maps, you know where the ammo is and you can essentially stay cloaked for as long as you need.

            And I can cloak whenever I need to and get much more use out of it than the Dead Ringer.

            What watch you use depends on your play-style. None of them are better than the other.

            • Ringwraith says:

              This is the beauty of the weapons in TF2, they all have a place.
              I’m a massive Flare Gun fan myself.

            • Jabor says:

              In fact, getting your hands on a C+D before you actually know how to play Spy well is basically a death-sentence to your spying ability unless you can muster up the willpower to go back to the regular invis-watch. Being a good cloak-and-dagger spy is hard, being a terrible cloak-and-dagger spy is easy, and the cloak-and-dagger itself makes it very painful to actually learn the necessary skills to not be terrible with it.

              That’s actually something about a lot of unlocks (for example the Direct Hit, FaN, any of the Banners, etc.) – they’re things that are pretty terrible unless you already know how to play the class without them.

          • pneuma08 says:

            Yeah, that infinite cloak really helps out when the other team is pushing the cart or capping the point.

            I thought I’d really like the C&D as a replacement for the regular watch myself, but the distance you can travel while invisible is so short compared to the regular watch, which makes it very difficult to get behind the enemy. It’s much more of a defensive, scouting tool than anything else. I don’t know where you’ve been playing but I personally rarely see it used anymore.

            But anyway, I disagree. I find it very difficult to find a situation where vanilla anything is a big drawback; a change of tactics is the worst case scenario. Equalizer or pyro melee, perhaps, or maybe the GRU.

        • Whether you buy them or not, there’s still a shop in your game. People don’t stand for shops in their movies or their books or their DVD menus, they shouldn’t stand for them here. Because that’s exactly the attitude that lets companies like Valve keep taking advantage of people. You know who doesn’t waste money on frivolous items only one person will ever see apart form them at a time? people without shops in their games. Overpriced, meaningless paid DLC is anti-consumer at best, a pointless waste of resources that should have gone into improving the rest of the game at worse. in either case, the game quality suffers because there’s a store in it instead of say, another test chamber or something actually valuable.

          on the subject of TF2 – the amputator is a straight upgrade from the bonesaw, earlier than that the Ubersaw was also an upgrade from it. A Kritzkreig is a required part of a medic’s arsenal, and no pyro is complete without an axtinguisher. You can debate all you want but that doesn’t stop the Scout’s milkman hat from offering 25hp more than an identically equipped scout without one – that’s an advantage you have to buy because if you’re not at the high end of the bell curve, chances are you don’t have the dozen or so vintage hats that are required to get the polycount ones.
          Even if that weren’t true, situational weapons provide advantages in certain situations. A Pain Train is better than a comparable melee weapon in a payload or CP map where you’re low on scouts. Just because it’s not an advantage all the time doesn’t mean it isn’t some of the time – the guy who has the pain train is still objectively better off than the guy without in a situation that the pain train is suited to. It can be as much of a sidegrade as it wants, but as soon as it’s better than the vanilla weapon in some situation, it’s a situational upgrade.

          Also: more stuff isn’t a good thing if it’s hideous and used specifically to advertise other people’s games. Quality over quantity over ads.

          • Cineris says:

            Spot on sentiments and observations.

          • Ringwraith says:

            I’ve been this argument before with someone, particularly the the Milkman thing, and it boiled down to the fact although some things may be easier to use than others, anything can be equally useful with practice, as the Scout loses access to the pistol with the Milkman set. A normal cloak can get you much further and recharges much quicker on the go than the Cloak & Dagger, and the Dead Ringer tends to be difficult to use properly as it is, and is also fairly inflexible in the amount of cloak used. I can have the fact of “everything being more or less equal” backed up by someone I knew who played in tournaments, as apparently everything was used there, even the basic stuff.
            Having choices in a nice thing, but it’s not necessarily required.

            • A scout loses access to the pistol with the milkman set, but a scout without the milkman hat who uses the loadout also loses access to the pistol, he just doesn’t have 25 extra health to show for it.

              Also in tournaments many weapons considered broken are banned, and only four classes really see play. Additionally, the people who use those classes have to be experts with them, meaning they know the situations each weapon can be used, which means they exercise their options to the full, which means if you wanted in and were say playing medic but didn’t have the Kritzkreig, you’d be exterminated by a team whose medic who had it and knew when to deploy it. If anything using all weapons means they’re more useful than if some aren’t used.

              • Ringwraith says:

                Well, banned weapons weren’t mentioned, so maybe it was some other form of competitive play, all I know is that everything is apparently used.
                Of course the learning curves differ for different weapons, which is why many lie unused as they somewhat difficult to use properly.

          • Nathaniel says:

            “People don’t stand for shops in their … books.”

            Yeah, they actually do. Have you looked in the back few pages of almost any SciFi/Fantasy book from about the last 20 or so years? At the very least there’s a listing of other books by that author/publisher along with their ISBNs and a phone number or website where you can order more books. Many times I see a full tear-out page you can mail in to order those books. And you know what? It’s never bothered me at all.

            • Personally I stop reading books at the end so I don’t even see those, but that’s not what I meant. I mean if you were reading the Lord of the Rings and you could pay for an extra chapter, or for Gandalf to wear different robes or for the text to have a new font something. It’d be laughed out of the stores.

              • Sagretti says:

                That’s an unrealistic example though. Books already charge for “extra content” by releasing collector’s editions, re-releasing books with extra notes from the author or other added content, and such. Another example, music is often sold in “Deluxe Editions” that include extra tracks and better packaging. Same with deluxe versions of movies with extra deleted content. In those cases, you have to pay the entire price of the product again to get the extras, and the extra content is often planned from the beginning.

                Those practices are long-established and generally accepted by now, and Portal 2’s DLC is really no worse.

            • pinchy says:

              Books tend to do these things pretty tasefully, however, a few pages at the end of the book that let you know what else the author has done or what other books are in the series is actually helpful. Having the main character of the story walk into a new scene and meet a man with a bright light above his head trying to sell you stuff in the text of the book would piss people off (like the annoying guy in DragonAge).

              To be fair though Portal 2 does seem to be doing the whole paid DLC thing reasonably well- it’s not what I would call intrusive or necessary (at least at this stage), even though I’d still prefer that it didn’t exist entirely.

              • Ateius says:

                “It’s not what I would call intrusive.”

                I hear that. When I first played the game, I thought that little “Robot Enrichment” thing was just part of the title screen. A little touch of Aperture-Speak. If I can remain unaware of a DLC store’s very existence until it is specifically pointed out to me I think that can safely be called non-intrusive.

          • Exetera says:

            Keep in mind that, under any other developer, Team Fortress 2 would be at around end-of-life. It’s a four-year-old game. Valve isn’t going to sell any more copies of it. You mentioned opportunity cost up the page, so surely you should realize that Valve could be putting these TF2 guys to use on HL2Ep3, Dota 2, or one of their other new titles. Heck, they could be working on Team Fortress 3. Therefore, they need some kind of continuing revenue stream to justify making more stuff for TF2… which could only possibly come from DLC.

            They could just charge directly for the new content, perhaps through map packs. Having to pay for small (and debatable) stat boosts or different weapon types can make it harder for new players to get into the game, but having to pay for map packs would shut new players completely out of most of the servers until they pay the extra $20-$50 dollars in accumulated DLC cost. (No, they can’t just be free. Valve has to pay to make and test these maps.) Allowing the hardcore players to buy relatively unimportant items which subsidize bigger expansions for everyone seems to be simply the best option. (If you do have a better option, do tell us about it. We’d all like to know.) They could also just let the game stagnate, but something tells me that most fans would rather that didn’t happen.

            So, I’m pretty happy that Portal 2 is getting DLC, because it seems like a pretty strong tipoff that they’re going to keep developing content for it, and content which I won’t have to pay a dime for to boot.

            • Cineris says:

              I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the entire concept of TF2 being “end of life” is pretty absurd. The game runs on commonly available equipment/OSes. Tons of people play it, and there is no shortage of servers.

              Is there some kind of code fatigue that requires the product be replaced after a couple of years?

          • Veloxyll says:

            Have you BEEN to a cinema lately? because the ones here a) overcharge for drinks and snacks and b) advertise at the start of movies. And plenty of DVDs that I’ve bought have trailers for other movies. My books have other books by the publisher advertised in the back. My supermarket offers me a fuel discount if I spend over a certain amount of money. Thing is, if I don’t want to take advantage of any of those, I don’t have to, my enjoyment of the primary medium isn’t affected.

            The Portal 2 DLC is purely cosmetic, you’re not missing any of the game by not having it. None of the DLC adds story or gameplay, you’re not missing any parts of the game.
            EA games have had a shop in them for a while, and they introduce them via project $10. This is the same basic principle: Introduce a shop and get the user to at least browse it, then if you develop something they want later, they’re already familiar with it, rather than having an inert button on the menu or have it appear later.
            If you don’t want the DLC though, don’t buy it. It’s that easy. ometimes I suspect people just don’t like the idea of cosmetic upgrades costing money. I recall a similar backlash when WoW released the magical sky pony.

            I haven’t bought anything from the store yet, and you know what, Portal 2 is GREAT FUN still.

            • Well aware of this, and you know what? I hate it, but I was saying within the media itself, not surrounding it. I realize that’s a hard distinction to make nowadays, but I mean to do so.

              Thought: lots of iPhone games let you pay to remove their ads so you specifically don’t get this. Sometimes I wish everything had that option. I don’t know if I could bring myself to use it, but I think it would be nice. I also wish it sent an email insulting the developers in large, obnoxious font. I’d take the option in a heartbeat then.

              • Bubble181 says:

                So you *would* be willing to pay for them to *remove* the store from your version of Portal?

                ….

                • Alexander The 1st says:

                  He already did pay.

                  Aside from Hulu, most apps either have a free ad-supported model, or they have the paid version without ads.

                  So yes, if Portal 2 was free, bring on the store. Just let me pay to have it removed. Since most people paid for it, done and done. Remove the store.

                • Trix says:

                  Portal 2 is a game that took a lot of time and effort (and money) to design and release, with the purpose of making money and improving Valve’s already good reputation for great games. It is not specifically made to advertise other valve/steam products, since many people who know portal probably know/use steam anyways. I doubt they’d generate much off of other sales to make up for development costs if that were the case.

                  Apps generally are a lot lower cost for development, and they have a lot more they can advertise (and thus get paid more by ad companies). Thus, a free version with ads still earns them enough money from other sources to be worthwhile.

                  In the end, you have to remember that it is THEIR choice for how they release/market their products. It is YOUR choice on whether you want to buy the products in light of this. I don’t see a problem with how they run things if people will still line up to buy.

          • “Whether you buy them or not, there’s still a shop in your game. People don’t stand for shops in their movies or their books or their DVD menus, they shouldn’t stand for them here.”

            Is this a joke? 90% of the books I own (almost all the paperbacks, essentially) have this little insert in the back that says “send us your information so we can send you a catalog! Also, here’s 4 books you can purchase just using this form!” My DVD’s contain advertisements (and some of them have to be skipped through manually). Every movie I *ever go see* is preceded by a trip past the concession stands and about 15 minutes of ads followed by trailers. Not to mention product placement in the movie itself.

            Your snide belief that you have some sort of right to dictate to people what they can and can’t do with their own property is really disgusting. If game companies want to sell you a game ONE BIT AT A TIME, they can do it. (They probably won’t.) But you have absolutely no right to *demand* that they do otherwise. Your ONLY right regarding other people’s property is to either accept the terms they’re willing to deal with you on, or go elsewhere. That’s it. The end.

            It’s amazing how many entitled jerks there are in the world *complaining* about the people who provide them with all sorts of lovely services as if the time they spend gobbling up server resources and bandwidth makes them an ASSET to the companies that offer these things. Frankly if you play TF2 that much you ought to get out your wallet and shell out some serious bucks because you sure got more benefit for free than those who bought the game but only play it a little. But Valve “has” to do what YOU want because . . . why, exactly? Because you’re a whiny twit?

            It amazes me how endemic this crap is in the world of video games, in particular. I suspect it’s because people don’t quite think of games the way they do other forms of entertainment that they consume. Games are interactive, so people often put a lot of effort into playing them, so many of them go through this mental switch where they forget that they’re a consumer and think they’re in some kind of partnership with the game company, where the effort they put into PLAYING the game somehow EQUATES to the effort the game developers put into developing the game.

            I get even less the fact that these same people who are so strident about THEIR right to shell out THEIR hard-earned money on stupid time-wasting activities like gaming go out and bitch when the people who provide them the opportunity to ENGAGE in said time-wasting activity spend THEIR hard-earned money on things that THEY enjoy. Well, fine, have it your way. Whatever you do to make a living, I am OFFENDED that you earn enough to play video games. You are harming your customers by making their stuff cost more. You should take a voluntary salary cut IMMEDIATELY so that the company where you work can slash prices. Even better, you should work for free. 16 hours a day. You *owe* it to your customers.

            The only effort on your part that has ANY meaning as part of this relationship is the effort you put in to get the money you PAID for the game. Yet I don’t hear ANYONE complaining that, due to inflation, they have to work harder at their JOBS in order to pay for games. No, they complain that they did a lot of work IN the game and this somehow entitles them to something. This is like saying that if I go work on my novel in a coffee shop for 4 hours a day 6 days a week, I become part-owner of said coffee shop even if the coffee shop suffers a net loss because of the time I spend there. Which is stupid and absurd.

            So, instead, I’ll just say this. As an artist, I SELL my work for one reason and one reason only: to make money. If I can make more money, I will. I will spend my money on ridiculous things simply for my own pleasure, and if you decide to purchase my product for YOUR enjoyment, know that as far as I’m concerned the only reason you *exist* is in order to provide me with time to play games, watch television, and take extravagant trips across the world. And if anyone comes along to say that I’m not producing enough fun for them, I reserve the right to refuse to sell them anything ever again.

            If the game companies really had any sense, they’d take you at your word and deactivate your accounts so you have no choice but to sleep in the bed you made. But they go on graciously letting you have your cake and eat it, too. Poor suckers.

      • Katesickle says:

        “there’s no reason to charge for them”
        “…[it]exists for the sole purpose of taking our money while providing us minimal value in return”

        From a business standpoint, that seems like a pretty good reason.

        • It’s great for a business if you manage to do so without causing your customers to riot and say, sabotage your metascore and stuff out of protest. If you sacrifice your brand image for short term profits, you won’t last long because customers will start looking for alternatives. Obviously it’s easier for companies with a lot of money and something like steam that nobody wants to see go, but ripping off your customers is a terrible idea for most businesses.

      • MrWhales says:

        I find your comment odd. Because i remain very competitive and can hold my own fine, and have never bought anything from ManCo. So maybe it is not the weapons, but it is the player, yes?

        • I haven’t either, I craft everything, and as such have managed to remain competitive. If on the other hand I was stuck with vanilla items that might not be the case. Especially because I main medic and spy who both have items that define entirely new playstyles for them.

          • Kyte says:

            I have crafted about… 4 items. Traded…. 2, maybe 3. Bought none. I don’t think I’m crippled in my ability to play the game. Sometimes, I wish I had X weapon, but it’s never been a burning desire. Of all the weapons, the most useful ones you can get through achievements, anyways.

        • James Pony says:

          A bad craftsman always blames his tools.

          With Heavy, Medic and Pyro (my top three favorite classes), I use the vanilla main weapons. Secondaries are different, because I simply suck with the regular shotgun and usually die anyway in situations where I’d NEED it, I prefer the weapons that have a specific function and if as a Medic I need to use a weapon, I’m already in trouble AND most likely attempting to retreat, so leeching health helps.
          Then the Pyro’s sledge with the anti-sapper capability is useful for me because I’m usually the self-appointed building guard of the team. In one game I was particularly successful, and one enemy spy (who was really good, the best on a team of excellent players) took a break from attempting to sap the buildings I protected, and we had some fun banter in the chat.

          My biggest problem with the MannCo store is that I don’t use it and in that context takes “too much” space in the menu and on the TF2 blog.

          AND THAT’S AS BAD AS 40 CAKES.

    • Jjkaybomb says:

      Why is there no excuse for what’s becoming the standard order of the day? Microtransactions, trying to squeeze just a little more cash out of a property… it makes sense to try and do it right when the most people will be buying and playing a game, right around release. How is making more stuff available to buy right out the gate more offensive than waiting a month on something you planned to release all along? It would be harder to try and get people back in the game they’ve already beat, especially one with limited re-playability like Portal. Nobody’s going to say “wow, I’m going totally replay the game with a hat, just to see how it changes.”

      Sometimes companies resort to desperate means to get money, and sell whatever overpriced snake oil they can to stave off the starvation of their workers. But with Valve, at least the snake oil is cheap, and the money is going towards some of the best quality games in the industry.

      EDIT:
      Also, we can blame Team Fortress for hats. Hat addicts.
      http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=5325

      • Kel'Thuzad says:

        My personal perspective is that if it is close to the release it could have been put in the game some way as unlocks. I love unlocks and a lot of stuff that could be unlocks in video games now turns into downloadable content.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Remember how in the old days there were collector editions of games that gave you a minifig,a map,a special box,and similar crap?How is that different than a dlc that gives you new skins or animations that dont affect gameplay?Or how about posters,pictures and such for movies that are available on day one?How are those different than a dlc that gives you just new skins or animations and doesnt affect gameplay?

      Yes,it can be irritating,and Im sick of seeing commercials for the roll cage skin in portal 2,but I still think that this is a great excuse for a dlc.If we were able to move games from physical disks to downloadable copies,to move our physical stores to the net,why cant we move our collectable posters and minifigs into the virtual world as well?

    • Nick-B says:

      I’d bet the reason most people are angry over this, is that we all felt that Valve was better than this. Portal is so sacred, and to find not only micro-transactions, but blatantly over-priced and nearly useless micro-transactions in the sequel to a sacred game really irks us. I’m not going to go rate this game 0/10 over it, but to find a game that I was really expecting perfection from, and find what, again, I feel is something just totally unexpected and unwanted, I can’t help but feel betrayed.

      Without it, I’d certainly be calling this one of the most perfect games ever (I can’t really think of anything wrong with it, and I’m often very picky), but a micro-store? Hits me right here *pounds chest*

      • Ahh, you people and your graven idols. Why not worship a pepsi can instead?

      • Kyte says:

        And why would a micro store take away from the perfection? Because it’s selling? Do stores offend you? Should we assume you refuse to visit the mall, the supermarket, the little shops here and there? That you crafted your personal copy of Portal 2 all the way from the petroleum and various materials, with your bare hands? (Because, y’know, tools and stuff come from shops, directly or indirectly)

        Or maybe it’s ’cause the items are just cosmetic. So what, should they be actually useful? Are we to assume you’d rather have people in co-op being able to solo the tests ’cause they bought themselves the cool gun that goes through fizzlers? Or maybe you could buy achievement-safe noclip! Only 30 bucks! Earn all your achievements, none of the pesky portaling!

        Or maybe we can assume you wear nothing but a potato sack, since you clearly don’t care about looking good! I mean, looking good is so useless. Clearly you wouldn’t be caught dead in displaying such an unproductive activity.

        Or maybe it’s because the cosmetics items are VIRTUAL! Then, I suppose, you are against all sorts of character customizations whatsoever, and everyone should be happy to play the exact same vanilla model EVERYWHERE! In fact, there should be an ISO-standard pre-approved player model for EVERY GAME! EVERYWHERE! SINGLE PLAYER AND MULTIPLAYER ALIKE!

        Oh, but I’m clearly assuming too much. So play tell, what, exactly, is wrong with having a small text button, below the exit button, kind of far away from the main menu, where it might take you a couple times to actually notice, take you to an online shop.

        (Wow, I don’t recall ever doing such a long rant)

      • pneuma08 says:

        Portal is sacred?

        …are you being serious?

    • K says:

      Down
      Loadable
      Content

      Hats are not Content. It’s not DLC. End of story.

      If it was extra levels, I’d be pissed. But it is completely useless, therefore I am happy with it. Think of it as a tip jar.

    • MichaelG says:

      329 comments! You expect me to read all this?

      Too many comments are like Day 1 DLC! I demand the blog be reduced to the minimum content! You are deliberately adding extras that only people with unlimited time and patience can enjoy! It’s not fair.

    • Ben Munson says:

      There is always an excuse. At some point in a project you just have to lock down content and focus just on bug fixing, and this is usually months before the game ships. And if you don’t have another project straight away you have a large pool of artists and designers sitting around doing nothing. I’ve seen companies deal with this in one of two ways: get rid of all the artists and designers or get them working on DLC.

      TL;DR Rabidly anti-dlc people are in fact pro-out of work artists.

  2. Sabas says:

    If it’s cosmetic, just ignore it. That simple. I don’t see why people have to whine all over the internet about it. Ignore it, and just enjoy the game.

  3. TehShrike says:

    I’ll start caring about the DLC once I stop being entranced by how awesome the game is.

    Seriously, does anyone think that the addition of hats actually led to a lessening of the quality of the single-player or co-op game?

    • How much time did modellers, artists and animators, not to mention QA, programmers, the steam guys etc dedicate to the store?
      Do you think they could have used any of that time or effort to make the game better? Of course the store lessens the quality of the game. Anything they spend time on other than the game itself prevents the game itself from being made better.

      Portal 2 is a great game, but I’d have much preferred they instead spent that time working on say, advanced chambers, getting the SDK out, actually having Pneumatic Diversity vents. There’s room for improvement which means that yes, the time spent on the store has caused us to miss out on anything else Valve could have added – it’s called an opportunity cost.

      • Shamus says:

        Back in the early days of PC processors, Intel used to use one factory to make all of their processors. Their expensive high-end processors were identical to the crap bargain stuff they sold, right up until the bargain ones rolled off the assembly line and they deliberately destroyed the math co-processor. It turns out it was cheaper to just make the good ones than to have 2 different factories. Then they would sell the crippled one to regular folks and the normal one to rich people. Some people were outraged at this. “Why did they ruin this processor!? It would have cost them NOTHING to give me the fully functional version!”

        Of course, it WOULD have cost them something. It would have cost them the ridiculous money they made from high-end users. They made a LOT more money from those power users. The processors cost nearly double, which means they had more than doubled their profit. (If it costs them $75 to make a chip that they sell to me for $100, then they make $25. If they sell it to a rich guy for $200, they’re making $175 – seven times as much.

        The point is, the system was a way for them to let power users subsidize the manufacturing for the rest of us. If they didn’t cripple those chips, then they would have had to sell all chips for one price. Which would NOT be $100. It would be more.

        I won’t argue about TF2. I’m only a casual player. But if Valve can make a lot more money for a lot less man-hours selling Portal 2 hats, then don’t think of it as resources diverted from the game you bought. Think of it as Valve finding a way to get some other schmuck to pay three times as much for the game.

        Phooey. I should have just turned this into a column or post. Sorry about the length.

        • psivamp says:

          I thought processor grades still operated the same way, except that with nanometer-scale circuitry there’s a higher chance of failure so some of the disabling is kinda forced on the manufacturer.

          • MrWhales says:

            nerd-speak enabled. Yep, still over my head..

            • psivamp says:

              Nanometer, 10E-9 meters, about the diameter of 10-15 silicon atoms. Basically, the wires and transistors in the processors or computers are now measured in nanometers, which means that they’re a couple hundred atoms across. Is tiny.

              • Ben says:

                In addition to that there is also speed bining, basically if you have 2 versions of device, one clocked at 1Ghz and another clocked at 1.5Ghz. Both devices are identical, if one will run at 1.5Ghz safely then that is now the 1.5Ghz version and if not, 1Ghz.

                This is why you see super OC’able batches of certain chips, basically they had a glut of 1.5Ghz chips and didn’t need more so they just boxed them up as 1Ghz because thats what they needed to make more of.

              • Factoid says:

                Just an aside here…when did we start writing 10^15 as 10-15? This is the third time today I’ve seen someone use this notation and it confuses the hell out of me. Is this a new internet thing?

              • psivamp says:

                Someone pointed out my incorrect use of scientific notation. They are correct. I meant 1E-9 (10^(-9)). My bad, I’m pretty tired.

        • I’ve easily written double that on comments alone so I can’t talk

          In any case I thought that was the point of Steam and selling other people’s games on commission – Valve sells them at retail prices (minus occasional absurd sales because it costs them nothing to do so) and takes a chunk of the profit to funnel back into their own games. That way people are paying lots, it costs them next to nothing beyond server and support costs and everybody wins. At what point does an in-game store become necessary when it costs them their customer’s goodwill, if they could continue as they were and retain it?

          Hell, they could still develop the store systems and demonstrate it to their clients by selling community items only, that way even if they do take commission, nobody accuses them of being selfish. Nobody looked at the polycount artists making $50000 and went “grr, Valve is selling out”. What I’m saying is they already have such a system in place, and it’s both subtle enough to be ignored, and a great deal regardless*. So surely the only thing this brings to the table for them is making a sizable portion of their customers mad.

          *especially for me because your retail prices are about $30-50 cheaper than mine.

          • GTRichey says:

            You keep suggesting that this store cost them “their customer’s good will”. By all appearances though the majority of those complaining haven’t actually played the game. So these people aren’t their customers. I’d wager that even the number of potential customers that find the store offensive is minuscule. It’s one thing to not like the store and state your distaste for it, but the assumptions and speculation are seemingly unfounded.

            • I’m sympathizing with, not arguing for these metacritic people. My position is as a customer who hates the store, it’s not really important to me if they bought the game or not, but I’d argue anyone with a game registered to a steam account is a Valve customer, they don’t have to have bought Portal 2 in order to be one. In any case I’m not sure either of us have statistics, so I guess it’s a moot point.

        • Nick-B says:

          I kind of think of myself as an anti-corporatist. If nobody picked up the undamaged cores, then the company would still be making a profit. It just hurts me that they can then sell something for EVEN MORE profit than they need, just because they want more money.

          It’s like with Portal 2. If there’s one thing I’m SURE Valve doesn’t need, is more money. A much hyped game such as this, guaranteed to get scores over 90 (and likely to reach 100), there’s no way the game can fail. Yet they STILL felt the desire to charge (and this may be the main reason I’m upset) such absurd prices for useless ****.

          • Audacity says:

            How can you possibly quantify “needed” profit? That would be like the government walking up to you and saying, you make more money than you need to survive. So we are going to let you keep enough to buy food, water, shelter, and clothing — In the minimal amounts necessary for survival. — then we’ll take the rest because it’s more than you need.

            Valve isn’t price gouging people on something they need to survive. They’re in the business of selling frivolous luxuries, they can charge whatever people will pay, there’s nothing wrong with that.

            As an aside, Valve is not a corporation in the sense that Microsoft, Apple or General Motors are; they’re privately held company, and with only 260 employees, technically a small business.

            • Kavonde says:

              Yep. That’s partly why I, another man intensely distrustful of corporatism, have absolutely no problem with Valve making all the money they can. The larger part, though, is that Valve has never demonstrated any predatory spirit or drive to take advantage of its customers; it uses the money it makes to build fantastic games, to support an online marketplace which has formed a nigh-monopoly not through underhanded tactics or abuse of government regulations but by simply providing better service at better prices than its competition, and to give smaller developers regular chances at the spotlight.

              Compare to Activision-Blizzard, who feel perfectly comfortable charging PC players $60 for roughly one-half of a final game and then charging them $120 for the other two-fourths, all while making more money off a single MMO than Valve could dream of making with all the hats in the world.

              • Are you talking about World of Warcraft? Half that game is thirty times bigger than any other game I’ve ever seen at any price. Why shouldn’t they charge you three times as much for a game that’s *a hundred times* as big as anything ever produced by any of their competitors? Heck, given their regular specials, you can get a month’s worth of access (and many games hardly keep me occupied for a WEEKEND, much less a MONTH) for FREE. But they’re totally predatory. Yep. They’re completely cheating you.

                That’s like saying companies should be required to charge you the same whether you have a 56k hookup or a T1 line, because they’re both an internet connection.

                • Kavonde says:

                  No, not WoW. I have no problem with WoW, other than that whoever’s designing the raid armors nowadays needs to be locked away for the good of mankind.

                  (Also, let’s face it: the Twilight’s Hammer is Cobra.)

                  No, I’m talking about Starcraft II. Half a game; one campaign and the multiplayer. The next part will have a Zerg campaign, and multiplayer. For $60. The third part will have a Protoss campaign, and multiplayer. For $60.

                  I’m not saying that Starcraft II Part One wasn’t worth $60; it was, despite my initial grumbling, an excellent, excellent game. But the news that Parts 2 & 3 are going to be, not just full-priced, but extra-priced at $60, is a fact that makes me a little angry.

              • pneuma08 says:

                Isn’t the campaign longer (i.e. has more maps) than the original Starcraft campaign? I know for a fact that it’s a lot more in-depth than the Starcraft campaign, too. Plus the second and third games include Brood War-style expansions to the multiplayer.

                It’s like saying, how DARE Tolkien write three whole books and charge full price for all three! You’re only getting one-third of the story.

                I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really don’t like Activision/Blizzard. I think they’re the bane of the industry (well, at least the Activision half). But this argument makes no sense to me.

              • Gravebound says:

                “…Valve has never demonstrated any predatory spirit or drive to take advantage of its customers”

                I think Steam itself disproves that. It is on all of their physical discs and is REQUIRED to install and even to play their games. Forcing you to install needless software, that benefits only Valve, to use the game seems rather predatory to me.

                Maybe that is just me projecting my rage from Half-Life 2. I bought the game on day two of release, went home started to install, chose not to install Counter Strike (why would I need it, it’s not like I had the internet…Can you see where this is headed?) and the installer crashed my computer…restart and another 30 minutes later install WITH Counter Strike and the it says ‘please connect to the internet to finish installing.’

                $60 poorer with nothing to show for it; a plastic coaster and a pretty game box mocking my inability to use something I payed for.

                I wouldn’t have felt so bad (because I wouldn’t have purchased the damn thing) if ANYONE had mentioned in any review, even in passing, that Valve had created an abomination (hyperbole on my part, I know) called Steam, and the future of single-player, offline games was to be chained to the internet. Or maybe if they had been upfront on the packaging and said “internet required -even for the offline game-”

                Releasing the first (to my knowledge) major single-player game that requires the internet with an online-only game and not making the distinction on the package that “internet required” is for both games is incredibly disingenuous, and to me, predatory (i.e. plundering/exploiting others).

                Three years later and I finally have the internet (in all it’s constantly-dropping, excruciatingly slow glory)…and my serial number doesn’t work…Thanks, Valve…thank you sooooo much for taking my money and giving me nothing; for forcing me to play the No-Steam pirate version. But at least I don’t need the internet for that.

                The point of that rambling, I suppose, is that Valve doesn’t give you a choice. You either install Steam or you don’t play Valve games. You can’t buy their single-player games and choose not to install Steam. They sacrifice otherwise paying customers to rake in the big bucks from more apathetic masses who gladly cede control for entertainment ( I KNOW they’re a business etc, etc . Doesn’t mean I have to like what they do).

                All while Gabe swims around in his money bin like Scrooge McDuck. :D

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          No reason NOT to turn it into another column and blog it if Escapist doesn’t feel like giving it space. You can even riff it off of that there seems to be underlying upset over the hats: Some people are offended that there exist something to buy at all, some upset that something that does nothing isn’t free (could possibly be appeased by other free things that can only be gotten in-game somehow and do nothing, much like finding a pre-war bonnet), but interestingly the number of people chapped by that you pay money for something that does nothing is pretty tiny. A year or two ago, that would have been a major crux of complaint.

        • Zem says:

          Intel […] Their expensive high-end processors were identical to the crap bargain stuff they sold, right up until the bargain ones rolled off the assembly line and they deliberately destroyed the math co-processor.
          […]
          The point is, the system was a way for them to let power users subsidize the manufacturing for the rest of us. If they didn’t cripple those chips, then they would have had to sell all chips for one price. Which would NOT be $100. It would be more.

          I disagree strongly on this point. This practise is not something to be applauded, and you as a consumer do not in genereal benefit from it.

          Though I admit my understanding of economics is not the best, and I might be wrong. Still, here are my thoughts on this issue:

          In an ideal free market, supply and demand met somewhere in the middle.
          Suppose the optimal price point for an item X is determined to be 100$.

          Some buyers would have been willing to buy X for more than $100. Those buyers get a good bargain, they gain additional profit from this sale.

          Some sellers would have been willing to sell X for less than $100.
          Those sellers also get a good bargain.

          On average it evens out.

          Now suppose a seller finds a way to detect the buyers willing to buy for more than 100$ and get them to pay a higher price. He does this by finding a way to make some buyers pay some nonmonetary value in addition to the price.

          One way is to intentionally cripple a product, and sell the uncrippled product for more. Another is to take some nonvital parts out of a game, and sell them as DLC. Another are rebate coupons that require additional work to reclaim.

          Suddenly the seller is the only one getting a bargain.

          Sure, a particular buyer might not really care if he pays 100$ or 200$, he just wants the item without further hassles.
          But wihtout this practise he would have made a far better deal.

          And sure, the seller could use the additional profits to “subsidize” the item, discounting the crippled version below 100$. I doubt this actually has a big influence on prices though. The price will be as much as the market will bear.
          And any discount requires the seller to lower the perceived value of the discounted item by the appropriate amount to avoid canibalizing the sales of the higher-priced uncrippled item.

          In the end it shifts the balance between buyer and seller.
          The buyers have less of a chance of getting a good deal, and the seller gets additional profits. Other sellers have to follow if they want to remain competitive.

          As a buyer, I think it is in my best interest to fight this practise wherever and however I can

          • pneuma08 says:

            You kind of have this backwards. You’re also complicating it a lot by adding competition when competition isn’t a part of the equation.

            This isn’t about finding people who will pay more for an item, at least on the Intel side. They have a normal product and an inferior product, and they are operating at the ideal values for each.

            See, the way to look at it is that when Intel was just churning out normal goods, there’s a lot of demand that’s below the (again, I stress) ideal price point, and their manufacturing equipment is not being taxed. The problem is that if they lower the price, they lose money because they’re at the ideal price point for their product, and although they can churn out more chips then no one will buy them because their current supply meets demand. So, they create an inferior product, that which has a different and separate ideal price point, and sell that one.

            Intel wasn’t trying to cheat their customers. The chip has a value determined by the market, and Intel wasn’t subverting that. They were just finding a creative way to fulfill demand.

            • Zem says:

              when Intel was just churning out normal goods, there’s a lot of demand that’s below the (again, I stress) ideal price point, and their manufacturing equipment is not being taxed.

              I do accept that they can get higher profits by running their equipment at suboptimal capability, or intentionally crippling their products. But it seems to indicate that something is broken.

              The thing is that if the market where truly running at optimal efficiency, with razor-thin profit margins and multiple vendors competing to met every demand, then intel should not be able to afford crippling part of their products. It costs the same to produce either chip, so the most efficient strategy would be to produce as much of the best one as possible. The fact that they can afford to forfeit some of their normal chip sales means the market is not really working properly, cause otherwise some other seller would take those sales.

              I am not claiming it is somehow illegal or immoral for companies to act this way (that is a whole other can of worms).

              It just does seem to be in my best interest as a consumer to increase the opportunity costs of this strategy however I can.

              So if (absolutely hypothetical, not trying to start a flame here) Intel can make chips of a higher quality than AMD, then the consumers in general are served best if Intel uses their full capacity to produce the high quality chips, and AMD uses their full capacity to produce the low-quality chips, and additional sellers spring up to fill any gaps left.

              Intel crippling part of their chips to attract lower-priced buyers may be the rational thing to do for them.
              It just does not seem to be in my best interest, so the rational thing for me to do is to discourage such behaviour.

              If for example low scores on metacritic can do this, why not?
              (I have no idea about that, I do not use metacritic).

              • pneuma08 says:

                Yeah, I think the key here is that the market cannot be running at optimal efficiency. It’s only because Intel’s is able to manufacture so much more than their demand for high end chips that such a strategy is possible (and is indeed more optimal).

                But that said, do you really think that the market would be best served by one company serving normal goods and another serving inferior goods? That seems like a recipe for all manner of problems. At the very least, you wouldn’t be able to choose between two chips at any given tier. Even if one is a regular chip and the other is a crippled chip, and they are competitive, I can’t see how this choice hurts the consumer. I don’t quite understand how the consumer would be better off if it was all AMD at the low end and all Intel at the high end.

                Also, if all sides are being ethical and a company changes its strategy and makes more profit, I can’t see how it can be argued that the old way is more optimal. That’s all I meant by “Intel wasn’t trying to cheat their customers.”.

                • Zem says:

                  Yes, the whole thing could perhaps be seen to be a symptom of market inefficiency, with supply exceeding demand.
                  With imaterial goods like software, supply always exceeds demand, so maybe it is inevitable.

                  But that said, do you really think that the market would be best served by one company serving normal goods and another serving inferior goods? That seems like a recipe for all manner of problems.

                  Not exactly: I believe that the buyers would be best served if the sellers would use their full production potential for all goods and then sell those goods at the price the market will bear, i.e. not intentionally cripple or degrade a product to serve different markets.
                  (Of course the buyers would not be best served if the sellers gave everything away for free; after all then the sellers would go bankrupt)

                  Whether the normal and the inferior version is made by the same company or by different companies does not really matter, as long as a company does not intentionally reduce the supply of the normal good by degrading it.

                  The sellers of course might be best served differently. And it is their good right to act in their own interest.

                  But I object to the notion that it should not matter to me, or that I do not lose anything.

                  If I believe that by bitching loudly about it I can influence their decision, I’ll bitch and moan and rate their products at 0. After all that is my good right too.

                  Also, if all sides are being ethical and a company changes its strategy and makes more profit, I can’t see how it can be argued that the old way is more optimal. That’s all I meant by “Intel wasn’t trying to cheat their customers.”.

                  I agree, I would not call it cheating either, and the ethics are far too subjective to make a clear call here.
                  But I do think it is in my best interest as a consumer to “punish” such behavior.

                  All I am arguing is this:
                  The hordes trash-talking on message boards about Intel, valve, etc. for these kind of behaviors may sound like stark raving lunatics, but in reality they are all entirely rational agents pursuing their interests, by increasing the opportunity costs of the companies for this kind of behavior ;)

                  (I don’t actually believe they are all acting out of enlightened self-interest; it is more of an instinctive thing. Just like the instinctive desires for fairness, revenge of evildoers or punishment of cheaters)

                  The only reason why I myself am in this case not among the angry horde is that I have doubts about the effectiveness of their methods, not the righteousness of their goal. And I don’t care about Portal that much.

                  Sorry for the long rant
                  TLDR: Everyone is acting rationally, but I still want to bitch about it

                • pneuma08 says:

                  Okay, I get what you’re saying now, that, as a customer, you would want to, well, I suppose what you’re doing is adding costs to companies above your own personal price threshold.

                  But, that doesn’t change the economics at all. It’s just the nature of the give-and-take, as you say, it would be “best” for the consumers to not to have to pay at all, but it’s because that can’t happen and both groups act in their own interests that economics exists.

                  And, for the record, in this situation Intel is not controlling supply; they are not changing the price it costs them to manufacture a given number of their good. They are simply using surplus resources to manufacture a secondary good, whose final step in manufacturing happens to be modifying a normal good (the trick here is that they would not produce said normal good if it was not be used for the manufacture of the inferior good).

                  If anything, it’s the consumers who change supply in this scenario because they are adding additional cost to the sale of a given product, which would reduce supply (that is, it would cost Intel more to make their inferior chip because it costs them some “goodwill” and “loyalty”) and that would drive the final equilibrium cost of the product upwards. Weird. But I suppose it’s not just monetary costs we’re talking about, so…I don’t know?

                  Aaaaand I’m rambling. Sorry. Hopefully I’m being coherent enough.

              • Abnaxis says:

                I was going to post something similar to this, except you already hit the nail on the head.

                The problem I have with the general idea of this model where producers intentionally cut some of their product to sell separately is that consumers see absolutely no benefit at all from it. While, admittedly, this isn’t the case with Portal 2, if a company is cutting substantive content from their games, charging me full price for the ‘base’ content, and charging me more before I can have a finished product, I am not going to be happy.

                If it was the way Shamus described it, and the base product got a discount, I wouldn’t be upset. This is essentially how Free to Play MMOs work–you get a small piece of a game for free, and you can pay to get the rest of the game if you like it. But charging $50 for a game that’s not done, then $50 more to get the rest of it, is just wrong*. Like, worse than Assassin’s Creed DRM sort of wrong.

                *NOTE: Not wrong in a moral or ethical sense, more in a “God damnit, you’re making my fun not fun anymore” sort of sense.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  So then, do you have a problem with car manufacturers selling things like air conditioning and satellite radio separately?

                  You know what, I think the real problem here is that all AAA games are expected to be full price ($60 here in the states), no more, no less. This creates the unrealistic expectation that charging people more than that is “wrong” (and possibly in the opposite direction as well: anything less than that is a “bargain” or a “budget title”, but I digress). This makes no sense.

        • Sumanai says:

          Isn’t that still the practice? I understand that at least Nvidia does it (Ati chipsets are supposedly modular).

          I don’t like it, but for a different reason. I don’t like it because it feels wrong to intentionally cripple something. To make something less than it could be just feels wrong and inefficient.

          • Trix says:

            It’s the same as making a regular chip and then adding something to turn it into a “premium” chip for higher cost. The only difference is in which would be the cheaper method to manufacture.

            • Abnaxis says:

              The company I work at does this sort of thing all the time with printed circuit boards. There are a lot of customizable options in our products, but our inventory control system isn’t smart enough to order two slightly different versions of the same board at the same time (to lower costs by ordering in bulk), so we always order a single version and use solder jumpers to disable features the customers didn’t pay for. With enough patience, expertise, and soldering skill our customers could buy a low-end product and make it worth five times as much with five minutes of work.

            • Sumanai says:

              It’s not the same to me if you’re improving an existing chip with an additional piece. And I emphasize: it’s not the same to me.

              If I have a 1 GHz processor, that’s so because it can’t be faster without stability issues, fair enough. It’s also ok, if it doesn’t have quite as much L2 as I want if it’s because it would need another L2 chip in it or whatever.

              But if it’s 1 GHz because someone crippled it, and in reality it could be 1,5 GHz without stability issues, it will bug me. It will also bug me if it actually has double the L2 but half of it just isn’t accessible because they put a limiter or something.

              I understand why, but I nevertheless don’t feel it’s the right thing to do. I’m not sure I’m getting my thoughts across.

        • Mephane says:

          I still think the very notion of destroying part of a piece of technology in order to make part of a batch deliberately worse than the rest is incredibly stupid. If there’s some aliens watching us like ants behind glass, I am sure they will do many facepalms when seeing us doing this.

          I understand the business logic behind it, but both common sense and technological affinity in myself are revolting every time I think about it.

      • psivamp says:

        By the same token, you’ve lost income by reading and commenting on Shamus’ blog. You could have been working at a job, or writing a program that you intend to sell.

        You have to draw the line somewhere. The opportunity cost has to weighed against the other options. You could consider it an opportunity cost if you decide to specialize into a lower paying field that you enjoy, but you would still prefer a job that you love to one that ruins your life for twice the salary.

        Also, aren’t the guys at Valve pretty enamored with hats? They probably loads of hat models lying around and a couple artists spent some downtime polishing them up. So, I’m thinking minimal opportunity cost because it was probably only a few man-hours.

        I can’t speak to the precise implementation of DLC in Portal 2 or its overall level of polish; but, from what Shamus says, it sounds fairly ideal. Honestly, it sounds like the way I want DLC to be done — unless the store pops up on loading screens or in the middle of gameplay.

        • It’s past midnight and I’m on holiday. My biggest opportunity cost right now is sleep, which as I’m on holiday I can get more of than usual at the cost of sitting around being on holiday. But you don’t really seem to be making a point about it other than maybe I should think about priorities more. Which I do. I study business with the opportunity cost of something more creative and enjoyable.

          In any case it’s a store, you need a strong, bug free implementation with rigorous testing and collaboration between teams that wouldn’t be necessary if say, they had made the exact same items without a store.

        • SKD says:

          Are they enamored of hats? Maybe it is just one of those things where a random small facet of the game fixated a large portion of the audience who have since clamored loudly for more of that throwaway little bit. Wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened.

          Or they could be a bunch of hat fanatics attempting to convert the world through Steam. :P

      • Cradok says:

        You’re making the unwarranted assumption that the store had anything to do with the non-inclusion of those other things. Valve didn’t just have three guys working on Portal 2, they had dozens, and they had the framework for the whole store in place anyway for TF2. Even if the store wasn’t planned from the start and included in the project breakdowns, it wouldn’t have taken away from other things, especially from a Valve product. If the tubes and advanced chambers weren’t included, it’s because someone decided not to include them, not because of the store.

        • They’re merely examples. The time spend on the store could have been better spent on any number of things that were not a store. Even if it was only a few days to add it, they could have used those days on things that were not store related. That would have made the game better instead of reducing it’s value with a store. Meaning even if they did nothing I would still have liked it more than if they made a store in that time.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            If they’re examples that don’t support your point, why make them?

          • Joshua says:

            You could also argue(since I don’t think any of works at Valve and knows their decision-making rationale) that any time spent working on such cosmetic items would be an opportunity cost to the (majority of)consumers who don’t care about these things *unless* you charge for said cosmetic items to cover the cost of additional developer time.

            Or basically, if Valve has budgeted X amount of hours for Portal 2, any time spent on cosmetic items is time that could have been spent elsewhere in the game. So, to include cosmetic items, Valve is allowing consumers who desire such things to change the total budgeted time to X+Y, where Y is the cost of additional time spent on developing these fluff items and (hopefully) supported by extra revenue from store sales.

          • xuberfail says:

            You do realise that not every single person on a team is needed at every single time. It’s easy to imagine a couple of artists sitting around with nothing better to do than make hats.

          • Bret says:

            Wow.

            So, hats, which earn Valve money, amuse people, and do no harm to anyone, you hate them so much you’d rather have nothing.

            I wish I could say you were the most entitled, self satisfied, arrogant person on Earth, but I’m sure there’s someone worse still. But Crimean Christmas, you’re being an entitled little odious tick.

          • Kyte says:

            The store is absolutely miniscule in cost compared to anything else they could offer.
            Any gameplay element (tubes) costs designing, implementing, playtesting, retrying, explaining and integrating. Don’t forget each element took about 1-3 chambers to introduce and teach.
            Advanced chambers take level-design, environment design, debugging, playtesting and integrating.
            SDK: Documentation, testing of all features, proper shipping, fixing anything they had to put up with ’cause they’re internal tools. (An SDK is far more than “grab everything we used to make the game and ship it out”. When it’s internal, you can afford walking over and asking what does tool X do)
            Store: Reimplement the TF2 store, have the artists draw up some assets while QA/playtesting phases are on, grab the UI guys to make it look seamless, add a couple QA people to give it a test run. As a bonus, it brings in extra money.

            Do you really think you lost anything by them implementing the store? Honestly?

      • Piflik says:

        There is always a certain time between finishing a game and getting it into the store…why not use this time to create additional content and release it together with the game…it’s not like every DLC uses up time that would have been spent for the main game…

        • That’s all well and good, except this isn’t DLC. These items are already in the game code on release. No files are even downloaded, meaning they were in the game when it shipped.

          • Kanodin says:

            I get the argument about it already being on the disc, it feels like you are being cheated out of something you could have had for free. But the way I see it the fact that the DLC is done is irrelevant, in buying the game you are agreeing to pay for whatever is considered the finished product, the DLC is simply not part of that. Likewise, whether that finished product is worth the cost is irrelevant to the value of any DLC.

            So either Portal 2 is worthy of buying even with all the time Valve spent creating hats you won’t buy or it is not, but you aren’t being cheated because those hats exist.

          • Kyte says:

            Tell me the location of the DLC in the .vpk files (from the CD, ’cause Steam can and does download everything) and I won’t call bullshit on this one.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        So when building a house,do you blame the sculptor that made the fountain in the courtyard for not using his time to help the bricklayers,carpenters,electricians,etc?When making a car radio,do you blame the engineer who did it for not using his time to help build the doors,tires,windshields,engine,etc?

        How do you know that the people who were working on the skins for dlc were the same ones who worked on the level design or other aspects of the game?Or that this wasnt something that was already being built in the game and just got locked out later?Or how do you know that in the end their salaries cant be paid in full just from the sales of the dlc?

        See that argument works only when the people working on the project have to devote their limited time to work on the cosmetic extra,and when the project itself suffers because of it.

      • rayen says:

        if the TF2 blog is to be believed, The TF2 team made all the hats not the portal team. Therefore the portal team put all the efforts into making the portal 2 game while the tf2 guys made all the hats cause they were bored and had portal 2 on the mind. Also the store program is probably a straight port of the Mann co. store with the images changed.

        Of course thats only if the TF2 blog is to be believed.

      • pneuma08 says:

        Isn’t this just full of unbased assumptions? How do you know for sure what Valve would have done? Seeing as how Portal shipping with Pneumatic Diversity Vents only exists in a fantasy realm, I can’t see how it can support your argument.

  4. karln says:

    imo, purely cosmetic DLC is ideal. I see it as a way to raise extra funds from people who aren’t me. I can’t imagine why anybody would pay money for cosmetic changes (assuming the game isn’t made to look horrible out of the box; and now some developers are totally going to do that aren’t they), but apparently some people do pay, so good for them I guess, and good for the developer who get extra money to make games, and good for me since I get games funded with DLC revenue that I opted out of paying myself.

    Huh. Now I’m wondering if I should consider buying cosmetic DLC as some kind of moral imperative, like tipping a waiter. That would suck. Doesn’t seem to be the convention though. Most likely, I think, DLC hats and whatnot are just something some people buy because they somehow value limited viewing rights to a 3D model over their money.

    Can anybody here explain it? Do any of you feel that you’re really missing out on something if you skip the DLC? I’m genuinely baffled here.

    (also, while writing this I reminded myself of the flash game ‘Upgrade Complete’, which some of you might enjoy: http://armorgames.com/play/3955/upgrade-complete)

  5. Jordi says:

    Shamus, if you really read 300 comments on the Escapist, surely you’ve come across several literate criticisms of your views on this. Why not address those? Why focus on the idiots?

    • Jjkaybomb says:

      There are definitely some idiots in there who have really, really good rhetorical skills. They’d probably make really good debate team captains or politicians.

      • Jordi says:

        So everybody who disagrees is an idiot by definition, regardless of the arguments they present and how well they can articulate them? I’m sure that’s not what you meant, but it kind of seems that way now. But even if it were true, it would still be better to address the things those people say.

        The fact of the matter is that whatever the issue, there will always be idiots on both sides of the fence. If all the smart people do is point and laugh at how stupid some of the people who disagree with them are, you can never properly debate an issue.

        • Kanodin says:

          The quality of an argument and the skill with which it is presented are entirely separate variables. I’ve skimmed that comment thread, back when it was 4 pages two days ago, and I did not see any strong arguments, merely bad ones said with great hammering paragraphs.

          But anyway if you think there is a strong argument he missed, why not present it here?

          • Jordi says:

            I did. It’s a little below this though, because I replied to another post. My argument is also in the first page of the Escapist’s comment thread. So apparently you thought my argument was bad. That’s fine, but I absolutely did say things that can be discussed and that are (in theory) refutable. What I have a problem with is that you and Shamus (and others) are saying “I read a lot of arguments and they were all bad” without saying why you think they are (all) bad. And instead, a comment gets picked out that pretty much every intelligent person would agree makes no sense.

            “The quality of an argument and the skill with which it is presented are entirely separate variables.”
            I agree somewhat, but I don’t think they are *entirely* separate. A really bad argument is much harder to present well than a good one. Also, if an argument is presented well, you can at least make the assumption that your opponent thought about it. And if someone has thought about an issue and presented his argument well, I would be really hesitant to call that person an illiterate idiot, even if he did get some things wrong (in your opinion).

            • Kanodin says:

              Oddly enough, I just argued against the basic point you make below two comment threads above this post. This entire debate has become disjointed.

              • Jordi says:

                As far as I can see you only said that “by buying the game you are agreeing to pay for whatever is considered the finished product, the DLC is simply not part of that”. I could consider that as challenging a part of what I said (namely that some people expect to buy the result of the effort Valve spent on the game). That doesn’t address the fact that this may have caused customers to be worse off compared to a situation where the DLC would not have been developed or sold separately.

                Also, what you say seems to suggest that customers have no right to complain about a game, ever. You always agree to pay a certain price for what the developer considers the (complete) game. But the problem is that you don’t know exactly what you’re buying. There is a huge number of ways in which you can be disappointed or pleasantly surprised. “Yeah well, you agreed to buy it” or “You shouldn’t have bought it if you don’t like aspect X” is not really a valid response to criticism.

                • Kanodin says:

                  Had to leave suddenly, so apologies for taking so long to respond.

                  To your second point I’d say that’s quite an extrapolation. What I said, or at least meant, was more along the lines of complain about a game all you like, but don’t act like the DLC is the reason the game is bad. The only way that would not be true is if the DLC were integral features of the game, which is patently not the case in this instance. So either Portal 2 as it currently is is worth 50$ or it isn’t, but hats and the time spent making them are not gonna make any difference on which side of the scale that falls on.

                  To your first point, you are acting as though every company delivers the maximum amount of value for their game, or that they have some imperative to do so. Ideally that would be true, but in reality I rather doubt it. So from my cynical perspective all someone can reasonably expect is to get their moneys worth instead of the absolute best. That said, if their is any company that comes close to that idea of absolute best work it would of course be Valve. This is especially true in Portal 2 which is why these complaints that they could have done even more for their customer ring so hollow for me.

                • Jordi says:

                  @Kanodin (it seems I can no longer respond directly due to the nesting level): if you think 50 minutes is a long time, then I definitely need to apologize for this late reply (I’m also going to bed after this, so sorry).

                  I’ll tell you a little secret: I don’t really care about this DLC all that much. But I think that the people who do, have more valid points that Shamus and a lot of other people are giving them credit for. We are having a little discussion here now, and you are addressing my points and presenting counter-arguments. That is so much better than simply saying “everybody who disagrees is an idiot”, or “all the points I read were bad” without saying why.

                  Anyway, so far I think that Portal 2 is probably worth its price tag (I haven’t finished yet). Some people might not. They might think that the game is too short, or that it has too few hats, or whatever (I don’t know, I’m not them). (But yeah, that doesn’t really seem to be the issue.)

                  Also, I didn’t mean to say that every company always delivers the maximum amount of value for their game. But 1) we’ve come to expect that from Valve anyway, and 2) I do kind of expect companies to “try their best”. Maybe there is no financial incentive for them to do so, but that doesn’t mean everybody has to like it (maybe they can even create some incentive by showing their outrage). Also, it seems to be a change from how awesome they were in the past. And I guess that’s my main point: with Day 1 DLC things are not really moving in a direction that is (directly) beneficial to customers. Companies that use that approach get called out on it, and even more so if they are held to such a high standard as Valve.

    • Shamus says:

      Because they make no sense.

      These items are worthless so they shouldn’t exist? They’re worthless so Valve should give them away? They’re stupid so other people shouldn’t be allowed to buy them?

      If the clothing store didn’t exist, nobody would miss it. Nobody would look at little at their little robot and say, “I can’t BELIEVE Value didn’t include the ability for us to customize these guys!”

      For me to offer a rebuttal, I’d have to be able to make sense of their position.

      • Kelly says:

        It’s just pointless money-grubbing on Gabe and co’s part. They are charging extra for content already in the game, and meaningless content at that. The game itself is fine, great even, but there’s no excuse for charging 5 bucks for a hat or what have you.

        • Shamus says:

          There is an EXCELLENT excuse for doing so:

          Some people will buy it.

          Know this: The economics behind this are insane. It takes hundreds of thousands of hours to make a videogame to sell for $60. Then it takes just a few hours to make a hat that some people are willing to buy for $5. You’re basically saying Valve isn’t allowed to go after that easy money because…? “Money grubbing?” If your boss offered you $100 an hour to nap at your desk, would you refuse because it would be “money grubbing?”

          • Kelly says:

            Of course some people will buy it. Quite a few people also buy the 15 dollar Call of Duty map packs. That doesn’t make it an ethical business practice. It just means it’s a profitable one. From a developer/publisher standpoint, that’s all that really mattes, but from the point of view of the consumer it’s the same thing as the map packs.

            The only difference here is that you happen to LIKE Valve and DON’T like Activision/EA/whoever Shamus. Which is fair enough, as Valve is generally less conniving about things (and certainly this isn’t as EXTREME as something like say, Project 10 Dollar), but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t the same sort of thing. It’s just a less extreme example.

            So in other words, while obviously the ones handing out 0/10s on metacritic are overreacting, most of us raising concerns about this are just doing the same sort of thing YOU usually do: nitpicking an otherwise good game.

            • Zukhramm says:

              One part wants to sell, another is willing to buy. What’s unethical about it?

              • Steve C says:

                I don’t see the problem with DLC in this case but your comment is so very wrong to the point it’s unethical in and of itself. Just because one party wants to sell something and another wants to buy it is irrelevant to the ethical considerations of the transaction.

                For example: selling… water to a man dying of thirst, child porn, slaves, drugs to an addict, tobacco to a child, a bootlegged dvd, a gun to a murderer, freedom to a criminal.

                Ethics are not satisfied just because people get what they want after money changes hands. That’s completely beside the point. What it is, what it’s used for, who gets what, balance of power in the transaction, 3rd parties harmed, and on and on… those are the kinds of things that determine if it’s unethical.

                I’m guessing that the DLC hat haters are angry about one of those things. Like Shamus, I can’t identify what it is so I can’t understand it nor argue against it.

                • Piflik says:

                  Your examples don’t really fit…no one will be ever dying of not having a new virtual hat for his virtual avatar…and the rest are simply illegal…and the last one I wouldn’t see especially unethical personally…

                  Selling a product you created for a price you see fit is not unethical…no one is forced to buy it…

                • Zukhramm says:

                  I would never go so far as to say that th parties wanting to do the trade is irrelevnt. But, I’m not making a statement but this particular sale, and all of your examples include additinal problems that are absent in Valve’s hat store.

                • Kyte says:

                  You’re confusing luxury items (such as games, books, TV, computers, microwaves, etc) with bare necessities (food, cloth, shelter, water, electricity). It’s morally wrong to force someone lacking the latter to buy it. It’s perfectly right to do so with the former.

                • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

                  @Piflik @Zukhramm

                  I think the point here is that most of the people who claim that ‘the complainers have no argument’ (myself included) can’t see an ethical problem with selling stuff to people who want to buy that stuff.

                  If there IS an ethical problem, it has yet to be actually argued.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  As pointed out, these examples have are unethical for reasons separate to the market. While you are correct that just having a buy/sell situation does not automatically make the situation ethical, the question of ethics goes beyond that.

                  That is to say, that argument does not address the question of “What’s unethical about [this situation]?”

            • Nick Bell says:

              Selling people what they want, at a price they will pay, is unethical? Those $15 map packs are exactly as advertised. Activison makes it very clear exactly what you are getting, exactly how you are going to be able to use it, with no attempts at deception. I do not see anything unethical about that.

              Even Project Ten Dollar is labeled on the box. My copy of Mass Effect 2 has a large box explaining it, labeled with the third largest font on the back. It explicitly says it is a single-use code to an online system providing access to DLC. You are warned, before you even take it out of the store.

              This is not to say you have to LIKE either of those systems. I just take issue with calling then unethical.

              • Bubble181 says:

                In many ways, these $10 projects and what have you are *more* ethical than your standard EULA as it’s included in any program or game you buy: these at least tell you *up front* exactly what you’re getting.

            • Kanodin says:

              I disagree, the map packs are not unethical because they are overpriced, they are unethical because those who do not buy them will invariably lose access to a server and people they are hanging out with. As Shamus has repeatedly pointed out, this hat store is purely cosmetic and those who do not buy from it lose nothing.

              • psivamp says:

                Actually, I kinda like CoD map packs segregating the community, and so did my friends. Because I’m too cheap to buy the map pack, I don’t play against the most hardc0r3z players.

                • Hitch says:

                  That’s actually a big distinction between CoD map packs and Valve cosmetic items.

                  (I’m not sure about this, correct me if I’m wrong.)

                  When you go to join an online game of CoD, every game being played on a map you don’t own is blocked off to you, unless you pay money for the map pack that includes it. But, you never see a TF2 game that says, “Funny hats required.”

                  (As a matter of fact I could see a highly skilled player not using any special hats or weapons for an advantage. The other players would see no special gear and say, “What a noob, don’t worry about this guy.” Until they realize he’s topping the scoreboard.)

            • SKD says:

              I love how people throw the word unethical around when referring to business practices such as selling DLC and map packs.

              The company has spent money creating content. It is their right to determine what price point is adequate compensation for the opportunity and actual cost of having this content created and delivered. As long as the content received is not misrepresented to the consumer then there is nothing unethical going on. It is then up to the consumer to determine whether they place the same value on the product. If they do not value it the same then they should not purchase it.

              I actually see far more unethical behavior on the consumer side as some consumers decide to pirate software instead of paying for it.

            • The Bard says:

              I would stab my eyes out before reading 300 posts about something like this, so props to you for that, Shamus.

              While I certainly don’t condone the review bombing on metacritic, I find your response to be a little condescending and just as bad as those bombing the game. Few things in life are ever so definite that they cannot be refuted intelligently. Granted, most of the people arguing against this are not articulating their stance very well, but I think it’s terribly closed-minded to label anyone who dislikes the Day 1 DLC as crazy and incoherent (unless you are ONLY referring to the portion who did the bombing, and not just those who dislike the DLC. It’s not entirely clear where you draw the line). That line of thinking is lazy, and I think it’s fair that we expect more than that from you.

              Was the dlc so offensive as to set me into a Shamus-esque rage? No. But does that mean I like or hope that all developers follow this implementation? Hell NO.

              So let me echo what others, such as Kelly & PurePareidolia, have said best already…

              Day 1 DLC is rarely a good thing. I would call Project 10 Dollar BETTER than this, actually, because at least EA gave it for free to people who bought the game new. The Portal 2 DLC gives the impression (right or wrong), that Valve broke a cosmetic chunk of the game off during production and said “we can charge for this.”

              Extra Credits nails this kind of thing PERFECTLY in their Project Ten Dollar episode on the escapist. If Valve lowered the price of the game and then charged extra to unlock that cosmetic chunk, it would have been FLAWLESS. $60 for game w/ customization, and some amount less if you just want the game sans cosmetics.

              The problem is they are not giving us that option. They are sending the message of “Here’s your game, now give us more money to get the cosmetic options.” Again, whether that’s right or wrong is not as important as the impression it’s giving. If they sat on the DLC for a few weeks, I don’t think this would be such a $&#*storm.

              People expect the game to be the complete initial release, and for the DLC to be that thing they build AFTER completion of the game. Day 1 DLC gives the impression they are holding back parts of the original build. Size or relevance isn’t important.

              As you mention, though, this isn’t new. A lot of us were pissed off when EA/Bioware put the shiller in the camp for Warden’s Keep in Dragon Age Origins. Even if Portal 2’s DLC isn’t as mortifying, that doesn’t mean it’s the ideal system. Day 1 DLC sets a bad precedent. For every company like Valve that minimizes the damage by making it cosmetic, I can GUARANTEE you 10 other developers are thinking about what parts of their own games they can lop off and charge a pretty penny for it.

              What if Bioware took the face configuration aspect of Mass Effect and said “Fork over the bling, bitches!” Or Epic… “What’s that, you want to play as someone other than Marcus in Gears multiplayer? Wallet, please.” Both of those chunks are purely cosmetic, and ultimately don’t affect the intrinsic gameplay.

              So sure. You can call me closed minded. You can call me an idiot. I would politely point you to Extra Credits and suggest you take some lessons from them on how to engage your audience without belittling their views based on the few incoherent morons shouting the loudest about it.

              • Bubble181 says:

                Hold on.

                “If Valve lowered the price of the game and then charged extra to unlock that cosmetic chunk, it would have been FLAWLESS.”

                So if they sold Portal 2 for $50, and sold cosmetic extras for $15, it’d be perfect and flawless. Your words.

                Now that they’re selling the game for $60 and selling cosmetic extras for $5, they’re unethical and wrong?

                That’s not “unethical” or “withholding options” or whatnot. That is, very literally, saying your personal price point is elsewhere than where they’ve put it. That’s a valid reason for *you* not to buy it; it’s a completely different argument than what you’re claiming it to be, though. If they sold Portal 2 for $15.000, and could convince enough people it was worth it, this would still be perfectly OK, wouldn’t it? It’s not a cure for cancer they’re hawking – it’s a game. I think even $5 is too much for Gears of War. That doesn’t make it suddenly unethical of them to sell it at anything over that – they’ve got plenty of people willing to buy at that price.

                (note: I don’t know what the cosmetic extras cost. Nor do I care. Chang the above values to any that agree with the actual values in your place of residence.)

                • Bret says:

                  Depends on the extra. Getting all of them like a lunatic would be thirty bucks in a pack. 2.50ish a pop normally. Core game is just 50.

                • The Bard says:

                  Menu-itization. Yes. It makes perfect sense.

                  Look at the music industry. Used to be you’d buy the entire music cd, good songs and crappy ones.

                  Now, you can buy songs individually. Oh, you only liked those 3 good songs they put on the radio? You can buy only those for significantly less than the price of the entire disc.

                  I won’t argue price points because “qualified price point setter” is not in my skillset. But yes to this:

                  “So if they sold Portal 2 for $X-Y, and sold [it with] cosmetic extras for $X, it’d be perfect and flawless. Your words.”

                  Yup. Game-Only people get a bit of a discount, The OCD DLC people can pay full price plus some and know they won’t be “missing” something when they pop it in.

                  Everyone gets EXACTLY what they paid for, no surprises.

                  “Now that they’re selling the game for $W and selling cosmetic extras for $Z, they’re unethical and wrong?”

                  Not unethical. Not wrong. Annoying. And potentially opening Pandora’s Box further than EA already has for future DLC.

              • Shamus says:

                “I think it’s terribly closed-minded to label anyone who dislikes the Day 1 DLC as crazy and incoherent”

                To be fair, I was calling the review-bombers crazy and incoherent. Since then many of the the comments have been muddled, but not crazy.

                PureParadolia is doing a pretty good job of making the anti-DLC case right now. And you did a good job as well. I wouldn’t call you crazy or and idiot.

                I’m trying to decided if I want to turn my next bit into another column. This is a big subject.

                • The Bard says:

                  Perfect. I didn’t want to assume you were grouping people who just dislike Day 1 DLC with the review bombers. Thanks for clarifying.

                  I retract all the hateful things I ever said about you while you weren’t looking. ;)

                  And yea… it’s a huge subject. There are at least 15-20 different angles you can take.

              • Adam P says:

                “Extra Credits nails this kind of thing PERFECTLY in their Project Ten Dollar episode on the escapist. If Valve lowered the price of the game and then charged extra to unlock that cosmetic chunk, it would have been FLAWLESS. $60 for game w/ customization, and some amount less if you just want the game sans cosmetics.”

                So $60 for Portal 2 with the DLC, and $55 without it? How is that any different from buying Portal 2 and then buying the DLC seperately? In both cases, you get the game. In both cases, paying extra for the DLC (or not) is an option.

                • The Bard says:

                  Because instead of giving the impression you aren’t getting the full game and then paying extra for it, you are given the option of getting the game “at a discount” if you don’t want that DLC. That way the game-only guys pay less, the dlc people still pay a bit more, and hopefully a lot less psychos go ballistic on metacritic.

                  Is it a small difference? Yes. Mostly one of perception, yea.

                  It’s the difference between me going into your restaurant and buying “full dinner with wine” for $20, and “dinner without wine” for $10. (Compared to the situation now, where everyone pays $15 and the wine is separate.)

                  If I don’t want wine, you give me the option of getting a smaller chunk for a smaller price point. The people who do want wine don’t pay a lot more, but enough to compensate for people like me who don’t want it.

                  Extra Credits does a much much better talking about this than I do. The theory is that eventually you break the entire game into chunks, like on a menu. Multiplayer, Cosmetic stuff, the main campaign, etc. If you want the CoD story without the multiplayer, you’d be able to get that. You only play for multiplayer? For $30 or whatever seems reasonable, perhaps, you could get just that.

                  It would also sort of solve the day 1 dlc because people would be taught to expect that kind of separation.

                  Menus are the future, man. MENUS.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  @The Bard: Actually, and I don’t think this is addressed by the EC guys, but doing this is not free. Just in terms of packaging alone, having a “dlc option” and a “non-dlc option” that would be double the number of labels (one with DLC marking and a different SKU). They would need to assess demand separately for each and set production for both; if it turns out that no one buys the non-dlc version in a given region, then they stand to lose a lot of money.

                  Not only that but game companies tend to do this for collector’s and limited editions, which they don’t have to support for the lifespan of the game and typically sell for (a lot) more.

                  Long story short: while it seems like an optimal strategy, I get the feeling that it’s not as easy as it seems on the surface.

                  Actually, it seems like the psycological effects are the only real benefit to this. I mean, I don’t think it have been as offensive if Valve released a “Collector’s Edition” that was $costofhats extra that includes hats, and let people buy the hats separately. But this begs the question, why not?

          • Daimbert says:

            I actually think this is the problem, though: these are tiny little things that cost them little effort to make and — for Day 1 DLC — were probably done at exactly the same time as the things that made it into the game and therefore didn’t cost them any money. And yet they’ve decided that these little things that might add a small bit of enjoyment to people, and that people with spare money might pay for should be separated out and sold separately. But that makes no sense. You couldn’t see, for example, an expansion after the game being sold just from this; these things in expansions are the add-ons that make people think that it might be worth buying, but they aren’t the main course. (Except, possibly, for Sims games).

            That, I think is what bugs some people about this, including to some extent me (if I played that sort of game): these things aren’t worthy to be DLC, really, let alone Day 1 DLC. An extra set of quests would be worth buying or looking at, but a hat?

            • pneuma08 says:

              I really don’t understand this “hypothetical world” argument at all. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why Valve or anyone else have done any extra work, regardless of how little it might have been and how it was scheduled, making DLC hats if they had no plans for it.

              Is it too much to assume that if they made the hats specifically to sell, that they wouldn’t have made the hats if they didn’t plan to sell them?

              I mean, traditionally, the team – or at least parts of it – just goes to work on their next game instead of working on stuff like hats. Any “extra” time they spent on DLC they could spend elsewhere. I find this whole notion of “extra” time baffling.

              • Daimbert says:

                Well, yeah, it is too much to assume that. Generally, adding these sorts of minor things is indeed done for the game itself, especially since the time to do it should be less if you’re doing a whole bunch of them at once (due to overhead). The problem with assuming that applies to ALL Day 1 DLC: if they had the time to do it while making the game, why isn’t it just in the game? Or why isn’t it included in an expansion later, with a few more things than just hats?

                That’s the real issue here: if they had time to do this to sell separately, why weren’t they spending it on the game instead, to make that game more worth the money we’re spending on it?

                • Duffy says:

                  Because your committing a logical fallacy? You assume that more people and resources can inherently make a better game or more of a game.

                  This is generally incorrect in any well ran project and a constant problem with people’s views of software development.

                • Daimbert says:

                  Duffy,

                  Since they spent the time making things like hats, they could have just put it into the game and thus made the game better. And if this doesn’t make the game better in at least some small way, why in the world would they expect someone to pay for it?

                  So, no, no logical fallacy at all. I’m aware that you can’t just toss people at a game and fix all problems, but since this stuff is in the game and presumably makes it better and has a value, then that should be put into the game at day 1 instead of being released for extra money at day 1.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  “…if they had the time to do it while making the game, why isn’t it just in the game?”

                  Because it might not be just a matter of time. Since they can spend that time doing something else.

                  I can concede that your argument makes sense if we assume that Portal is the only game Valve was developing and that Valve must retain its employees. That is, those employees who made the store, they could have been working on, say, DotA2, or they could just have been laid off (or, more likely, never hired in the first place). For all we know, the store only exists because they make money off of the store, and if they didn’t believe they would make money off of the store then those resources would have been allocated elsewhere.

                  (And it’s sentences like that last one, which muses about a past view of the then-future now-current that makes talking about hypotheticals so ludicrous.)

                  It is an unbased assumption to assume the hats would exist at all without the store to support the hat-making.

                • Duffy says:

                  @Daimbert

                  I value Portal 2 as it currently is very highly, I would have payed double if that was the cost of the game. I value the addition of hats/skins/gestures negatively, such that if they were free I would still not use them. Clearly adding them in does not add value for all customers and thus their decision to market them separately is validated by at least one customer.

                • Daimbert says:

                  pneuma08,

                  Well, I’m making the quite reasonable presumption that the people doing this were the Portal 2 development team, and thus the same people who made the things that were put into the game. I suppose if this was the start of or part of a general “hat store” that sold minor things like this all the time — and didn’t just release them on day 1, but also after and for other games — I wouldn’t feel as bad about it, as the “hat store” would be absolutely distinct from the game itself. That’s not the impression I get here, and thus my thought is that these things are not so hard to make that it would be worth keeping someone around after they’d done the stuff that has to be in the game to just make this.

                  I’d feel better about more difficult stuff, as I said, because it would be harder to judge deadlines and balance, and could be by a different team. I don’t like day 1 DLC period, but even afterwards DLC that does more than just create hat options sits better with me than DLC that just does that. But that is a personal opinion.

                • Daimbert says:

                  Duffy,

                  Them adding it to the game doesn’t in any way impact your enjoyment, but if they think they can sell it it definitely must impact the enjoyment of other people. Thus, having it in the game makes the game better, even if you don’t appreciate that particular betterness. In short, adding it for free costs people who don’t want it nothing and benefits people who liked it.

                  Now, a case can be made if they would have had to increase the price — due to, say, increased development costs — to include this. But this exactly explains why bigger additions as DLC bothers me less than little ones; it is quite unlikely that things like hats would increase the price significantly (especially since they’re selling it for $5 and can’t expect more than half of those who buy the game to buy it, reasonably) but things like new levels and quests and classes might, due to the extra complexity and testing requirements.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  [M]y thought is that these things are not so hard to make that it would be worth keeping someone around after they’d done the stuff that has to be in the game to just make this.

                  This is what is unsubstantiated. You will need to explain why would it be worth keeping someone around to do something, if no one cares about it. It wouldn’t be worth doing any work at all instead of working on another project. I’m not even convinced they have budgeted the man-hours in the first place if they had not planned to make this store.

                  In short, adding it for free costs people who don’t want it nothing and benefits people who liked it.

                  Adding it for not-free costs the people who don’t want it nothing and benefits the people who liked it and the people who made it.

          • Mormegil says:

            I was already napping at my desk – the $100 is to watch.

        • Irridium says:

          You can unlock most of the stuff by just playing the game and getting achievements. Like in Team Fortress 2.

          • Nick-B says:

            Not really. You get a tiny flag, and a stupid looking beanie via… unsure methods (I beat game, no beanie. friend hadn’t beat game, had beanie before me). Gestures I didn’t look at again, but if the 8 you can buy are the same 8, then ok.

            But the rest? locked away. I’ve beat the game, ran co-op at least 5 times (still no Professor Portal achieve >.<), have all but one achieve, and all I unlocked is a beanie and a teeny flag.

            • Sagretti says:

              The Beanie is one of the hats you automatically receive if you’ve obtained it somehow in Team Fortress 2. I think there’s currently six hats like that so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more in the future.

              • Nick-B says:

                Strange, as neither me nor my friend ever played TF2.

                • Kanodin says:

                  Gentlemen, we have here a case of two beanies. One is from team fortress 2 and has a propeller on it. The other has a companion cube on it and seems tied to getting the Lunacy achievement which means you beat the single player campaign. I am always happy to be your local beanie expert.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ok,then the whole game is pointless money grabbing.It doesnt save lives,it doesnt educate,it doesnt improve skills that you can use to improve humanity.It exists merely to provide fun for some people,thus it is pointless to sell it at any price.Same goes for music,movies,paintings,sculptures,books,…..Selling art and fun of any kind is pointless money grabbing.

          There,the same argument taken to its extreme.Now if you think there is a line somewhere before which that argument does make sense,please feel free to elaborate.If not,concede that its not a valid argument.

          • Kelly says:

            My point was that they are attaching an absurd price tag to a very small amount of content that is already part of the item I payed 50 bucks for. They aren’t, thankfully, FORCING me to buy it, but it’s still a tad bit duplicitous.

            Now if you could kindly take a few steps back from the “you struck down my firstborn child” level of anger you are currently exhibiting that would be just great.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              No anger here(which is why I hate letters,they dont convey emotions).

              Anyway,price of a thing is not objective,its what people are willing to pay for it.Otherwise wed have mona lisa sold for just the price of its canvas,paint,and manhours leonardo put into it.If you think its overpriced,dont buy it then.

              As for the thing already being part of the item you bought,thats wrong.The best analogy I can give you is buying a car:You have a number of optional packages that you can buy for it,one of which is a custom paint job.Now you may think that it should be included in the price of the car,but that would mean that people who are satisfied with the factory paint should still pay the price of the custom paint job,just because some people want their car in different colour.So does everyone need to pay the price of something that only some people would want to use,or should just the few who want those extra features pay for those?

              Also,remember when collectors packages of games came with all the neat additional stuff like books,figurines,props and special cases?Those were quite expensive,and only few people wanted to pay extra for those.Now,those knick knacks became digital,just like the games.Saying that you are entitled to those is akin to people saying how they deserved all the expensive cool stuff that came with special editions just because theyve payed the price of the game.

              And again,where do you draw the line?There are people who think that they are entitled to every game,song and movie there is just because theyve bought a computer and paid for the internet access.Are they in the right too?And that brings us back to the question I asked you:Where is that line and why it should be there?

          • Jjkaybomb says:

            ….I like this argument.

            It’s like… we’re arguing about a luxury item, a prada bag or something. Except that you can pay 20$ extra to get a prada bag with a little gold dangly zipper. And everybody’s getting all up in arms, because the gold dangly zipper should just be there all along, since its a cosmetic thingamadoodle and doesnt hurt/help the bag being a bag.

            And then somewhere in the world, someone starves to death.

            • Andrew says:

              Meanwhile, had they presented the options as “Bag” or “cheaper bag sans zipper”, everyone would’ve been perfectly happy, and this whole silly hullaboo would’ve been avoided… Despite both of these sales pitches being for exactly the same deal.

              People are pretty silly sometimes.

              • The Bard says:

                YES. Precisely this.

                Marketing spin. That’s all it is. If they prepped us for not having that gold zipper months in advance, we would have been happy.

                We’re like frogs. Put us in a boiling pot of water and we’ll jump out and spit in your eye.

                But if you put us in lukewarm water and sloooooowly raise the heat on us, we’ll happily whistle a tune while you boil us.

                … I’m still not convinced this is true for frogs, but I don’t think I could ever stomach the results if I looked up an actual experiment on this.

                Now I’m sad. 8′( Hold me.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          They are charging extra for content already in the game, and meaningless content at that. The game itself is fine, great even, but there’s no excuse for charging 5 bucks for a hat or what have you.

          So, if Steam squirted another 250kb of artwork files at you instead of including them in the initial download/disc, then it wouldn’t be a problem for you?

          • Kelly says:

            No, charging 5 bucks for a hat would still be dumb, but it would at least be LESS underhanded since it wouldn’t be cutting out pre-existing content just to squeeze some extra cash out of players (at least not as obviously).

            • Kavonde says:

              What preexisting content are you supposing was cut? You’ve played the game, right? Could you point out a part that was left un-masterfully-polished in favor of making hats?

              • Bret says:

                Maybe the…

                No. That was perfect.

                How about…

                No. Perfect.

                The…

                No, wait. That was better than perfect.

                Okay, so there is absolutely nothing that the hat team could have done to improve the game beyond adding hats. Huh.

      • Avilan says:

        To me it seems most complaints are from people who would make weird restaurant customers:

        “This meal is really bad”
        “Yes, and the servings are too small, too!”

        • You could phrase that as “These servings are too small, so this meal is really bad” which is a valid complaint about a meal.
          Or maybe it’s just two differing complaints.

        • Swimon says:

          I think it’s more of a:
          “Wait you can also buy a side sallad to the dish? Outrage!”

          • Kavonde says:

            Or, “I don’t want a salad, I hate salads, but I’m outraged that you charge for it instead of including it with the meal! I mean, I might eat it if it was free.”

            • Jarenth says:

              “You could have better used the time you spent making the salad to make my steak extra delicious!”

            • pinchy says:

              *deleted* misclick

            • pinchy says:

              If they charged the price that one would normally expect to pay for a steak and a salad for just a steak and then sold the salad separately then people probably would be a tad miffed. Which is pretty much how many people feel about DLC- sure cut out some of the content, but remember to lower the original price if the customer is going to be expected to pay extra to get back to what that they feel that they originally should have received.

              Personally I’m exactly like that- I wouldn’t pay extra for the salad but I’d probably eat it if it was on the plate. If the place down the road was selling a steak (of similar quality) and a salad for the same price as you charge for just a steak then I’ll most likely go down the road instead.

      • Jordi says:

        I’m a little surprised that that is apparently the only counterpoint you got from that discussion, because I read it too and there were also some other valid points being made.

        I’d just like to say that I personally don’t really care about this DLC, but that I can definitely see where the disappointment in Valve might be coming from. The main point I can see is that in the olden days before DLC you could pretty much count on it that whatever effort had been spent on developing the game, would actually wind up in there. You didn’t have to pay extra for it. Even if that wasn’t the case, and some content was being saved for a future expansion pack that may or may not come out, at least it wasn’t as obvious as it is with Day 1 DLC.

        What would have happened if DLC didn’t exist? Maybe we would have gotten what is now DLC for free. Or maybe the Valve team would have not bothered with those costumes, which means they would either have had more time to put in other awesome stuff into the game, or they could have finished earlier. Or maybe Valve would have used a smaller development team, and only develop the game as it is now (and not the DLC).
        If the last scenario is what happened (i.e. Valve hired extra people/spent extra money just to make the DLC), I don’t really see any problem with that. Otherwise, customers are at least in some way worse off than if the DLC had not been developed. Of course, we don’t really know what happened, and different people are going to make different assumptions.

        Of course, either way Valve is completely allowed to do whatever the hell they want in order to make more money. But that doesn’t mean people can’t be disappointed in how this company chooses to increase its profit. And by any account, this DLC is nowhere near as bad as what has been pulled by some other companies. But Valve has been so good to us in the past, that anything “bad” they do will be extra disappointed to some gamers. “Et tu, Brute?”

        • Definitely, the betrayal feeling is a pretty big part, but honestly that happened around the time the Mann Co store opened. This is just rubbing salt in the knife wound.

        • Kanodin says:

          “But that doesn’t mean people can’t be disappointed in how this company chooses to increase its profit” Sure they can be but that doesn’t make the disappointment justified. It’s their own decision to buy or not buy Portal 2 as it is now. You also say the customer is worse off because the DLC exists, but the customer doesn’t have to buy the game if it’s not worth it due to DLC.

          • Nick-B says:

            I don’t really think you can say people are free to “buy or not buy” the game now. Not a single peep about the store was uttered pre-release. No reviews were allowed, so all day-one purchasers had no idea if the game would include something like that.

            Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have bought it had I known, but for those that might have, they wouldn’t know.

            • Kanodin says:

              I concede the point. While it does not bother me that they are selling hats the principal or idea of including a dlc and not announcing it at all is not one I want to defend.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              So if you buy a car and in the glove compartment there is a flyer about a store that sells fuzzy dice,that would somehow diminish the value of the car?

            • pinchy says:

              That really annoys me- It’s one thing when people say that you shouldn’t buy the dlc if you don’t like it. Personally I’d rather just not buy the game if they’re going to implement the more egregious forms of dlc (like parts of the main story with Liara in ME2 or have the annoying guy in the DragonAge camp), the problem is that a lot of the time you just don’t know how important (or annoying) the dlc is (or even if it exists) from looking at the packet or without researching things (or knowing what the company might be planning to do in the near future.

              • pneuma08 says:

                So you’re saying you would rather Bioware simply cut the Lair of the Shadowbroker rather than spend the time to finish it and selling it as an add-on.

                I just can’t wrap my head around the idea.

                • pinchy says:

                  No I’d rather that they told me about it when I was making the purchasing decision so that it was an informed one. Given the importance of Liara to the story of my Shepard (they were involved) I would have considered that a clear case of cutting out crucial parts of the game for DLC and not purcahased ME2 at all. It’s not added bonus content or something extra, it’s to my mind part of the core games and should not have been charged extra for, especially as much as they did given the relative size of the DLC to the original game (and I’d feel the same way about Ashley/Kaidan content too). Given that I can’t unpurchase ME2 I have refused to purchase DragonAge2 simply because I’ve lost the faith in and goodwill towards Bioware that I once had.

                • pneuma08 says:

                  But, that’s just a trick of the mind. It could easily have been cut and no one would have cared. It is only because they chose to make it later rather than not at all that it’s suddenly a betrayal.

          • Jordi says:

            The disappointment is in a way justified, because the company did something that (may have) affected them badly.

            Customers who don’t buy the DLC can still be worse off if without DLC the DLC content would have been in the game (for free) or if development of the DLC directed resources away from the development of the (rest of) the game.

            Edit: I also agree with what Nick-B said

  6. Slothmaster says:

    (a little off topic but I don’t know where else to ask this) I saw some of those spoiled brats that are posting 0/10 reviews on metacritic are citing the fact that the PC version is a poor console port. While the poor part is anything but true, I did notice that my steam PC version says “Do not turn off your console…” when saving. I then checked in the developer commentary and they said they had to dumb it down to make it run on consoles, but that saving message makes it look a little different in my eyes. Any opinions on this ?

    • poiumty says:

      The developer commentary doesn’t outline all the corners they cut, obviously. It’s made for you to think it was a monumental task no mere mortal could fathom repeating.

    • Shamus says:

      Source was, and is, a PC-native engine. I was developed for the PC long before any source game was even considered for a console. There is nothing “port” like about it.

      I listened to the developer commentary, and the only part I remember addressing the PC / console stuff was a bit where they talked about animating the blobs of liquids. They had it working fine on the PC, but had to work extra-hard to get it to work right on the console. If they had cut that corner and make the blobs look worse on the console, you STILL couldn’t call it a bad port. The worst you could have said was that console players got an inferior experience.

      • Hitch says:

        Yes, but they wrote the save game dialog as, “Do not turn off your console….” That makes the PC version look like a sloppy port. The PC players wish they’d used, “Do not turn off your computer…” so they could act all smug and superior to the console players. Platform fanboyism goes a lot further than logic.

        • Nyaz says:

          To be honest, I never even noticed that, because the dialog pops by so fast. On my computer it just says “Would you like to save – blip – Game saved”

        • Raygereio says:

          Erm; I don’t actually own Portal 2, but it’s my understanding that the game runs like all source engine games (meaning: like a well oiled machine) and the controls are standard PC with no consolitis involved.

          So one word Valve didn’t bother to change for different versions of the game suddenly makes a PC game look like a sloppy port? Damn, I have no love whatsoever for Portal, nor for pretty much all Valve games and even I think that’s just utterly stupid.

        • Nick-B says:

          Well, any game designed for two systems will be designed for one primarily, then the final version will be ported over and work done to make it work on the other system. A game designed for PC would NEVER include the phrase “console”. The fact that that may be the only sign of consolitis remaining is a great testament to valve’s QA team for the PC version. Yet it tells us that it WAS designed for consoles first.

          I’ve done QA, and there are two very different ways companies go. First, they want QA to make sure the game doesn’t break. when you click an option, the page it relates to should open most of the time. Secondly, you can make sure that all the options on a page make sense, that pages flow nicely, and fit in context. Not a lot of companies appreciate the second part, as it takes a lot of effort to pretty something up.

          It’s rare that a game, designed for console, to do well on a PC. In fact, Portal 2 and a FEW of the COD games are the only ones I can attest were designed right. The rest of the games? shortcuts. horrible shortcuts.

          • Shamus says:

            “Yet it tells us that it WAS designed for consoles first.”

            Not at all. You can listen to the dev commentary to find out otherwise.

            I’m sure they have a single codebase for the whole project, with #ifdefs controlling what elements go in. Easy enough for something like that to end up on the wrong side of a filter. It could also be a something in the localization files, which are getting damn complicated by now: Number of language regions x number of platforms. That’s a lot of files. The QA testers could have that message appear right in their face and never bat an eye, because it’s something everyone is used to seeing. (That, and the saving interval on the PC is friggin’ SHORT. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

            • Kanodin says:

              I’ve a thought, is it possible that message is that way not due to an error but to keep things entirely consistent with the pc-ps3 co-op?

            • Factoid says:

              They do use a single code-base for their source games. I remember reading an article back in the day when Gabe was very anti-PS3 where he talked about the huge time investment getting Orange Box to cross-compile for PS3. They spent a matter of days getting the 360 version going, but months for PS3.

              So presumably they re-used the same technology to allow them to compile all three builds simultaneously.

  7. Sagretti says:

    I saw the first major rumblings of this new host of idiots when they began the attacks on Minecraft for “not putting out new content fast enough.” I was hoping it was just an isolated incident of lunacy, but it seems it’s the new movement. Instead of getting thoughtful opposition to new trends like DLC, we’re getting gibbering masses who want more, no matter what, for free, right now. Making more money is now some kind of great sin, even when it’s relatively innocuous.

    So far, the kind of DLC Blizzard and Valve have produced haven’t bothered me, and I play WOW, Team Fortress 2, and Portal 2 now. For example, I’ve never bought a weapon in TF2, and I’ve never felt at a disadvantage. Anyways, we seem to be at a point with DLC where there are two sides on the issue that are permanently divided: those who find the practice acceptable in at least some cases, and those who think it’s the end of quality gaming.

    • Zerotime says:

      I first noticed it when the Wii came out and Nintendo said that even though their console was so much cheaper than the PS3 and 360, they were managing to sell it at a profit. Apparently this is some sort of unforgivable sin in the console world, where you’re supposed to lose money on hardware right up to the point where you discontinue it.

      • Sumanai says:

        It’s a different situation, since part of the console’s manufacturing costs are included in every game through licensing costs. So what Nintendo could be interpreted as saying was “you’re paying the full price of the console, but are still forced to pay it again through games” which isn’t exactly sweet music to the ears.

    • Yeah, I was wondering what the DLC from Blizzard was that people were supposed to find unbalancing with game advantages? Little R’nok, since you can cook on him?

      • Sagretti says:

        The mount (soon to be mounts) are the only ones I’ve seen any kind of decent argument against, since they automatically give an all-purpose mount to all your characters. However, you still have to buy training for different speeds and types of travel at the approriate levels, so all it really does is save a few hundred gold in the long run. With the level of inflation in the game right now, that’s a relatively trivial amount of in-game currency at this point.

        Most other arguments fall under the universal anti-DLC rants: The content should be free, or developing for the DLC content is taking away from more important things, or that the company doesn’t need any more money.

        • Klay F. says:

          In all fairness, the World of Warcraft forums exhibit a level of idiocy that makes 4chan look civilized.

          If the user comments are anything to go by, the game itself and every class is completely unplayable since the day the game was released back in 2004.

          • Trix says:

            The WoW forums are not a good place to look for indication of the playerbase. People complain about everything all the time, but that doesn’t stop it from being the best and most balanced MMO I’ve played.

            Not to say the game is perfect, but then no game ever is (except maybe Portal 2 :P).

  8. WickedArtist says:

    I can see where both sides in this argument are coming from. Of course, the zero critics are handling it in a predictably idiotic way that actually diminishes from the point they are trying to make, but the point is still there.

    It is true that the DLC is purely cosmetic. It does not interfere or detract from the experience, whether in its existence or in its absence. However, this argument, while true, does not contradict the following argument: that this business model sends across a message which some people may not like, and even feel offended by.

    I can’t really argue with what is essentially a subjective viewpoint, which this is. Did the DLC bother me at all while playing the game? Not at all. I never felt its existence, and the argument that the game could have been made better if resources were not spent on the DLC is a purely hypothetical one. But the message is still there, in Portal 2 as well as in TF2. I don’t like it, but I can ignore it, because it makes itself so easy to ignore.

    This is a thing which exists, and considering all the other crap we have to put up with in this gaming hobby of ours, I’m surprised that this is what drove some people over the edge.

    But if you’re going to voice an opinion, which everyone should be entitled to, at least do it in an intelligent and civil manner. If “shooting yourself in the foot” wasn’t a metaphor, most Internet users would be in wheelchairs by now.

    • Raygereio says:

      “that this business model sends across a message which some people may not like, and even feel offended by”

      I’m confused: what is this message? That Valve likes to make money?
      Can anyone honestly hold that against Valve when said company still made a game that, without all the DLC, still feels like a complete game without sounding like a petulant child going: “Wah, I want free stuff”?

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        This is (and I’m risking derailing the comment thread into politics unfathomably deep), the kind of divide of opinion that is NEVER going to be bridged, in the same that some people can NEVER see that paying taxes for the social good might be of benefit to them, much less that it might benefit them more than the cost of the taxes. It is inconceivable that anyone might voluntarily pay more than the absolute rock bottom possible for a game, just as it’s inconceivable to others that someone might voluntarily pay more than the absolute minimal taxes for minimal service, and equally inconceivable that someone might enjoy sucking cocks. That’s how you get people making “cocksucker” into something offensive and/or insulting. That’s how “raise tax revenue” becomes political suicide. And That’s the same unwillingness to wrap a brain into another way of thinking that’s getting people so upset here.

        • Raygereio says:

          Or a much simpler argument would be that Valve is not a charitable institution. It is a company that has to secure income in order to pay its employees.
          Anyone that can’t see that “no income for Valve” is equal to “no more Valve and subsequently no more Valve games” is an idiot whose worldview is so far detached from reality it’s inhabiting Tamriel.

          Simple, see? No reason to involve argument surrounding taxes. ;) Or views on homoseksuality for that matter; I honestly have no clue how you managed to draw that into this.

          • Kavonde says:

            The refuting argument I’ve seen here is that Valve is already massively profitable, making more per employee than even Google or Microsoft, and that therefore it’s bad and wrong for them to bilk people for little ornamental hats that their robots can wear.

            My question is, without knowing the individual salaries of Valve employees: didn’t one of capitalism’s patron saints (Henry Ford) believe that paying your employees a good wage will increase their morale, their effectiveness, and draw a larger and more talented pool of potential hires? I realize that’s an idea that many big businesses in this country have gotten away from in favor of giving the higher-ups massive bonuses, but if Valve is using the added income to pay their employees well rather than blowing it on “a new pool” for Gabe, then what right do any of us have to complain?

      • WickedArtist says:

        I am actually in agreement here.

        I don’t know what the message is, but it’s obviously there. People are getting upset over this. I’d like to believe, hopeless optimistic that I am, that even those who react like idiots still have a valid reason at the core of it all, even if it’s one I disagree with.

        I respect Valve’s decision here, and that they do it in a way that doesn’t inconvenience me. I’d like to understand what it is that bothers some people about this, and if it’s not just a matter of principle.

      • Tizzy says:

        Raygereio: I think the whole DLC thing that Valve came up with is awesome: I’m not about to spend any money on this nonsense, so if other suckers are willing to do this and in this way bring my own costs down, great!

        If you have cash to spare on vanity items, good for you, I don’t even consider you a sucker; a virtual item is no worse than a real one, say spinning rims on your car.

        The suckers are the ones who can’t afford it but whose wounded pride will force them into buying those anyway. I can see why the suckers would feel offended at being openly taken for suckers. I can’t really feel sorry for them, though. The question is: how much will those people put in Valve’s coffers?

  9. Thanakil says:

    I’ve been unlocking some of that “DLC” by playing the game (through achievements), or by owning other games on Steam (like a flag for Audiosurf).
    And Valve gave me all of their games, including a second copy of Portal 2 that I could gift to get my own co-op partner, for participating in their ARG before the release of Portal 2.
    And I participated in their ARG because they started selling a bunch of Indie games at 1/4 of their usual price.

    Truly Valve is a diabolical entity looking to steal all of my money. They’re just not very good at it.

    • SKD says:

      Actually they are pretty good at it if they have enticed you to make a purchase which you would not have otherwise.

      The problem is most people tend to be satisfied with their Valve purchases so the horns and pitchfork seem a little out of place :P

  10. Dennis says:

    What bothers me is that the DLC doesn’t fit in the Portal universe. Portal has a beautiful art style, and then Valve tosses in garish viking helmets, etc. I didn’t mind it in TF2, but now people are running around in hot pink tophats, and it really destroys the vibe in the game. Also, someone who paid $10 for an in game hat will never take it off. Both games need a “no hats” option.

  11. Do these Metacritic Saboteurs complain with the same level of vehemence when…

    1) The retail store forces them to walk through “temptation aisle” on their way to the check out?

    2) The fast food employee asks them if they, “Want fries with that”?

    3) The movie theater forces them to watch dozens of commercials before the movie begins?

    I find ALL of the examples above (especially #3) to be far more offensive than Valve’s hat store. To be honest, I was too busy enjoying the game to even NOTICE the hat store, until my husband pointed it out to me.

    Leslee

    • Factoid says:

      all valid points. I worked at a movie theater when I was in high school. I was AWESOME at upselling. “Would you like to upgrade to a large soda/popcorn? They come with free refills.”

      I was also really good at guessing what kind of candy people would like. Our candy display was not placed very well, so sometimes people didn’t even notice it. You could almost say i was providing a service.

      The commercials I don’t see as being a big deal, though. They’re worse now than back then, but most theaters don’t play them that loudly, and the trailers still start at the advertised time. I believe it’s still a general rule from the MPAA that there be no more than 15 minutes of trailers. Commercials are just there to fill the screen before the trailers start.

  12. Nick Bell says:

    Don’t like DLC? I get that. Like DLC but not if its launched on Day 1? That makes no sense to me.

    Day 1 DLC is the BEST DLC. In an ideal world, every piece of DLC that is going to be made will all be available that first day, with set sizes and prices. You know, the day you buy the game, what DLC there is and what will ever be. Then you, as a consumer, can decide if the developer is “attempting to cheat the customer.”

    Waiting a month to release things done on launch day doesn’t change anything. Waiting a month to develop the DLC, then launch it, still doesn’t change anything. Six months? Again, no change. It is still extra content that you have to pay for. Arguing the DLC is released TOO early is just silly. Better to be informed as early as possible, before anyone buys the game if possible, what the exact DLC situation is going to be. Informed decisions are the best decisions.

    • Bubble181 says:

      Well, to be fair, at a certain point, the difference between “patch anf balance changes” and “DLC” becomes very vague. For example, there were still new items being released with the last patch of Diablo II (In 201 or 2009, I’m not entirely sure…Either way, 8 years after the original release). Those items are just part of a patch. You could also claim they’re free DLC. :-P

  13. Friend of Dragons says:

    Honestly, hearing about the portal 2 DLC did irritate me a little; mostly because I can remember the days when fun extra skins and stuff would come with the game, and maybe be the end result of a little easter-egg/treasure hunting though the gameworld… it depresses me a little that someone took a look at that and thought, “You know, I bet we could sell that stuff for money instead.”

    I understand that we get the full game and that it is extra and unnecessary; but games used to include a little that was extra and unnecessary as a reward for the players who enjoyed the game enough to dig a little deeper, instead of just the players with more disposable income.

    Note: as I have not played portal 2 (yet), if it is possible to unlock the DLC without paying for it, then nevermind.

    • Yeah, I think this is the biggest issue – it’s selling something we used to get for free, at premium prices. In TF2’s case for about the same price as a real hat, possibly more in some cases.

      It’s possible to unlock a beanie and a small flag, the rest of the DLC must be paid for, or shaded from TF2/a potato sack game.

    • Swimon says:

      Well to be fair when that was common practice making these alternate costumes and whatnot cost a fraction of what it does today (or so I would imagine at least) so I don’t know if that’s still sustainable.

    • Tizzy says:

      If it helps keep the cost of the game down, why not? I see what you mean by depressing, but I think it’s a fair trade.

    • Kyte says:

      Valve didn’t take out the treasure hunting. There’s a dev node in one of the hidden nests that follows the ARG style. There’s a good few little easter eggs scattered about the game world, giving extra depth to the story or are simply amusing. Tiny miss-if-you-blink details. They’re all there. So maybe, the didn’t want you reward you with a tangible (as tangible as in-game items can get), but you’re still enriched when finding them. Perhaps more than from getting the hat.

  14. Hitch says:

    It’s becoming an every more frequent event to read about some group artificially manipulating Metacritic scores. Either angry groups of players flooding the system with low or zero scores to drive the average down, or accusations of corporate shills artificially inflating scores. How long before this comes to a head and Metacritic is forced to devise some filtering method to prevent it, or everyone finally realizes that it’s a useless number and ignores Metacritic?

  15. […] full post &#959n Record Games – Google Blog Search April 24th, 2011 Uncategorized 0 Comments […]

  16. James says:

    The DLC in Portal, is basically, no exactly the same as the one in Team Fortress 2, TF2 has some hats and weapons (most if not all of which can be found in the game normally) is CONSTANTLY updated and Balanced, recently raised lots of money for Japan.

    It was no surprise to me that this is in Portal 2. its Vanity items, the SINGLE best use for DLC. New Vegas has OP weapons for people who pre-ordered, Epically the Caravan Pack, that dam shotgun and armor are close if not actually the best in the game. DA2 has a sword that not the best in the game levels with you, and some good armor that’s not as good as some I found in ACT 1 (Armor of the Fallen if your interested) DA:O had the Blood Dragon armor that was well balanced with its requirements (38/36 Strength I think) and some other pointless crap like an XP Ring (Really Bioware who isn’t going to be high level at the end seriously).

    But if and I hope to god not when, Activision or EA or whoever starts making DLC Op Weapons for Multi-player games like CoD or Battlefield, things might get bad, DLC atm is bearable and ignorable, Really Activision for just £7.99 I can get 4 bonus maps, wow I don’t care. Really I can buy some nice hats for TF2 that I cant see its a FPS I think ill pass and just where the Top Hat (dam you TB) I found. Oblivions DLC, (PC and Xbox get the other crap that’s not Expansions) is fine its a single player game and its mostly fun crap, like a Wizards Tower, or a Pirate base love that Pirate base, or Horse Armor, why did I buy Horse Armor. Fallouts again is Expansions with Crazy Op things. watching Josh use the Stealth Suit + Shishkabob + Pyromaniac and kill everyone in-front of everyone else was hilarious. but overall the game can be done and easily so without it, you don’t have to play any of the DLC to get the full experience its just enhancement.

    I think there is one company that truly gets content right, CCP. CCP make Eve-Online a subscription based MMO in space, but for your £8-9 a mounth (you can play for free just requires you to earn 375million ISK( in-game money) a mounth) you get the game in what ever its current release is (Incursion ATM) EVERY Patch, EVERY Expansion, 2 Test Servers (known as Singularity and Duplicity) seriously there is a alot of content and they keep adding to it there’s a Mahoosive one coming code named Incara I wont go in to it there’s a lot of info.

    this is the same as my post on The Escapist. and i stand by it and all its possible biased Inaccuracies

  17. Alex says:

    Does this comment engine support an “ignore” button? If that feature would cost extra, I would gladly donate the money for it.

    From what I can see, the upset about the Portal 2 DLC boils down to paternalism. The bombers are afraid that they and their friends have self-control issues and a tendency to waste money, so they find any inducement to spend extra money, no matter how mild, very threatening. Though the entitlement mentality is definitely there too, especially in the “this kind of thing USED to be free back when people hadn’t figured out reliable ways to make a video game sustainably profitable” comments. Some people just think all the world should be a nursery school.

    As for finishing the game in under 8 hours, there are well-known glitching and cheating methods for the first Portal that can probably be applied relatively easily to the second game as well.

    All that said, this Experienced Points does seem to be quite a bit more emotional than the usual fare. That’s not a bad thing (contra some of the commenters on the article), just unusual.

    …And as long as I’ve still got some editing time left, Happy Easter, everyone! :-3 Hope you get to spend some time with your families.

  18. Nyaz says:

    I didn’t actually find the hat store in Portal 2 until I was all the way through the single player and halfway through the co-op, and my only thoughts about it were “Oh well, it’s a hat store. That’s kinda cute, like in TF2. Well, I’m not particularly interested, let’s keep playing this supremely unique, awesome game so I can ‘accidentally’ drop my partner in goo again. Tee-hee.”

    The fact that people even care about this hat store-macguffin makes me want to pick up these foolish, nagging little twelve year-olds and shout in their faces – “What is wrong with you? Did you PLAY this game? Are you dead inside?”

    And then I will fling those fools into Hades where they belong. Idiots.

  19. Garci says:

    Shamus, I’ve been reading this blog daily (or at least checking it daily) since I stumbled upon the rants on the Bioshock DRM. I had never commented until today, but I have to say, this article was enough to have me comment. It’s brilliant. It’s really sheer brilliance, two pages summing up a debate which has been plaguing gaming for some time now and which should be quoted and linked to in every forum discussion pertaining the subject. Amazing read.

  20. SKD says:

    I’m one of those people who doesn’t get miffed about day one DLC that doesn’t really change the game. What I hate is the preorder rewards that differ from one venue to the next with no way to get it all other than to purchase multiple copies of the game. I am sure there are enough people who would pay a couple bucks extra to “have it all”. Take New Vegas for example, 4 different preorder bonuses = $200+ to have it all. Or even worse there are games which get released in a discriminatory way like Dragon Age II which didn’t even hit the Steam store until it was too late to get the full preorder bonus set.

    In essence I am not against DLC but I firmly believe that there should be no content which is not available to every consumer whether through gameplay or DLC packs.

    Edit:
    On further reflection and reading, alot of people keep referring to “stuff we used to get for free”. Funny thing is most of the “free” stuff was user generated. Vast majority of skins? Users. More maps than you can shake a stick at? Users.

    Then there were the Expansion Packs. Like SC Brood Wars, D2 Lord of Destruction, and please god don’t make me go diging through my disc archives…… These were paid for usually costing $10-$20. Not full new game cost but not trivial either.

    But the vast majority of “free” content was free because it was made and released by the user community.

    • Raygereio says:

      I used to have the same feeling, until I realised that none of those exclusive preorder items really matter.
      Often they’re just some silly item you’re either never going to use – or maybe just for the first bit of the game until you’ve found better stuff – and thus will not miss unless your really OCD about having every single thing possible.

      Well, that and in the cases when the preorder boni actually give something meaninfull – such as an extra level – then you can often unlock those easily anyway. For instance 10 seconds with google allowed me to unlock the exclusive DavVince DLC in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and supplied with all 4 different preorder packs for New Vegas.

      As for Dragon Age 2 not being availabe on steam until after the cut of date for the Signature Edition. Yeah, that’s just EA with their current “We hate steam” mood. Not sure whats up with that; I think they’re tying to get more people to use their crappy EA store and download manager thingy.

      • James says:

        EA Download Manager is a pale comparison to Steam, i used it once, no twice, to get the updates for Sims 3, and once to get my free PC copy of ME2, i have it on Xbox, but ill take another copy for free, for you know when i cant get to my Xbox or summit. i haven’t used steam for long, i haven’t played PC games much until recently, im very much a console nerd (don’t want to use word tard makes me sound like a halo fanboy) but i’ve never had issues with steam, my download speed sucks but thats not steams fault, they have great sales, all the biggest games i want or would want, plus some golden oldies (Fallout 1 YAY!!)

        • SKD says:

          By your own description I would not call you a console-“tard”. Consoletards are the people who run around saying that consoles or a specific console is the only way to game. You seem to have preferred consoles but are willing to admit that PCs are a valid gaming platform as well.

  21. HeadHunter says:

    I love it when people say how something is so awful, they should get it for free. If it’s that bad, then just don’t buy it! Why would anyone want something awful for free? If it “shouldn’t be in the game”, why would you want it in the game, even if it’s free?

    (Not saying that the DLC is bad, just addressing the Escapist comment).

    People like that should be glad it’s optional, then – not like some of the awful Harmonix “bonus songs” in the Rock Band games. I wished I could have opted out of some of those.

    The “it’s bad so it should be free” argument sounds remarkably similar to the justification some people use for piracy.

    • I say “worthless” as in “I value it at $0.00 and would not pay for it at any price higher than that”. And I haven’t.

    • Bubble181 says:

      Yes, I’ve noticed the similarity in the arguments as well.
      Both the “all content should be free!” hippies and the “I want everything for free and everything you do I should get” entitlement idiots. Also the”you’re making me spend more money! whahh!” spineless guys.

  22. Von Krieger says:

    City of Heroes players run into very much the same thing every time a new Issue (Free Mini-Expansion) is released.

    The focus of the recently released Issue 20 is a pair of Multi-group raids/trails designed for 8-16 and 12-24 people of maximum level and provides as a reward new powers.

    People are screaming and having fits on the forums because they’re being ‘forced to team,’ or ‘hate the grind,’ or just generally complaining because we haven’t gotten any free costume sets in awhile, or any new power sets.

    Honestly it’s a sense of bitchy entitlement. Because the dev team took the time to do something that appeals to people other than them they have to piss and moan and clog up every slightly related thread with the same old rubbish and self-victimization and doom crying.

    Because the developers DARED to give something to another subset of people they’ll complain until they’re blue in the face and have their fingertips turned into hamburger from their enraged, furious pounding on the keyboard.

    Of course they forget that people have been wanting an advancement system for their Level 50 characters for SEVEN FRICKIN’ YEARS and have only now just received it.

    These people think that everything the developers of a game do has to be for them, and that every moment of time spent on anything that is not their pet part of the game is a waste, a slap to the face, and a personal insult to them.

    These people need to grow up and realize that a game company is not going to pander to them. There is a broad market out there and features are going to be added to the game that are not their cup of tea.

    Any game is going to have a diverse group of fans with a diverse set of likes, dislikes, wants, and desires.

    You are never going to get anywhere by focusing your attention entirely on one subsection of your fanbase to the exclusion of all others.

    And anyone that thinks otherwise needs to get back on their medication and stop living in a fantasy world where they’re the center of the universe.

    • krellen says:

      The issue in CoH is largely the developer promise that all future issues will include more of the Incarnate stuff. If you don’t like the Incarnate stuff, you’re basically being told you’re going to take a back seat for the rest of the life of the game.

      • GreyDuck says:

        Sure, we had a nigh-endless TF2 thread earlier, how about a CoH one here? (I kid, I kid! Don’t hurt me!)

        There’s “all future issues will have more Incarnate stuff” and there’s “all future issues will ONLY be more Incarnate stuff.” Guess which one I think is more likely?

        Or did I hallucinate the two new level 20-40 TFs that came out with the latest issue…?

      • Jarenth says:

        And is this fear justified, in your opinion? Is the Incarnate stuff bad in any way?

        • krellen says:

          Aside from nonsensical lore, broken (as in, the developers have admitted it’s not working how they intended) reward mechanics, and a decided dearth of content in which to acquire and use the Incarnate stuff, no.

          • Jarenth says:

            Good to hear. Because I’ve been resisting the siren song of CoH-again for a lot longer now that I suspect is strictly healthy, and the coming (in the far future) merge between the European and American regions is making a strong case for me to go check out the Incarnate things some time.

            It’d be a shame if it sucked, really.

            • Von Krieger says:

              The lore is no more or less nonsensical than anything else present in the rest of CoH. There’s good writing and bad writing both present, and honestly I feel that the storyline surrounding the Incarnate system is pretty middle of the road. It’s not outstanding, but it’s not offensive by any means.

              People are having fits about the whole “Well of the Furies” thing, and that it’s the source of your character’s Incarnate power.

              People give their character different backgrounds and origins and such, but in CoH canon lore, the Well of the Furies is pretty much the ‘source’ of all superhuman power on Earth. no matter what your origin.

              So people are kind of pissy that their character that they RP as a normal guy with a gun suddenly has the ability to throw fireballs, throw out massive heals, debuff enemies, and summon spectral versions of Incarnate enemies.

              Of course their character not fitting into the CoH lore is not the writer’s fault. And if you put in a teensy tinsy modicum of effort into it, you can hand-wave the Well of the Furies thing away and explain your new powers.

              You know, just like you waved away the whole Well of the Furies thing in the origin anyway. :P

              Not sure what’s going on with the reward mechanics. For the most part it seems like they just mis-weighted the drops table.

              But it’s not much of a problem, (I got Tier 3 (out of 4) slotting in all four of my powers with a week’s effort) and there are patches in the works to make things go more smoothly and easier.

              True, there are only the two trials that you can partake in to get the Incarnate System drops, but I think they’re pretty fun and the amount of time required is often less than 20 minutes for one trial.

              Considering all the additional systems that came along with Issue 20, I think we’ve got the hard part out of the way as far as the Incarnate System goes.

              We got the two Trials and we got the two Task Forces this issue, which is pretty nice.

              I’m perfectly fine with the devs spending a few issues concentrating on a particular storyline. I don’t think they’ve ever done something like this before, with escalating events over several releases with an overarching plotline.

              As for a lack of content to use the powers in, I’m kind of dumbfounded on that.

              Since, you know, that the Incarnate powers can be used in EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF LEVEL 50 CONTENT THERE IS TO OFFER.

              You have the same amount of content to run your Incarnate-d out character through that you had to run a level 50 character through. Plus the two trials.

              Acquire it? Yeah. You only have the two trials.

              But then again you also have only two ways to acquire Hami-O’s also.

              And while they won’t be giving you more ways to earn pieces of the World’s Most Dangerous Jell-O Mold, every bit of Incarnate system-related story arcs (which they’ve said or coming) or trials or task forces will give more with each issue that is released.

              And honestly I’m glad they did it this way.

              Two trials means that people will be focusing on them and that it’s a piece of cake to get a league set up to run them.

              Imagine if you had 10 trials and 8 story arcs to run through to get your 4 slots. You’d be dividing the playerbase up amidst all those options, making it more difficult and time consuming to fill up a team for such things.

            • krellen says:

              Well, I’m no longer a subscriber to CoH, for what that’s worth.

    • pinchy says:

      This is one area where I actually give credit to Blizzard with WOW. When they do a big patch they tend to do a new raid and a 5 man or some solo stuff so most people at least get something to keep them happy. There’s still endless whining and complaining anyway but still…

  23. GiantRaven says:

    Shamus, I am sick to death of this product placement in your articles. I really REALLY need a coke now…

  24. GTRichey says:

    What’s unbelievable is that people complain about this and ignore the majority of the industry releasing unfinished games and filling in the content later with DLC. With Valve you get a finished, extremely polished game. In the case of Portal 2 they chose to include some optional material that has no effect on the game at a nominal cost. Valve has shown that they prefer to give away any significant updates as seen with TF2 and L4D/L4D2 (L4D2 did have significant changes despite what many complained about). Is this really where many are at? It’s unacceptable for a company to offer cosmetic tidbits like this?

    If Valve releases maps for Portal 2 and then charges $10-$15 for them on top of the store then the complainers might have some grounds for their complaints.

    EDIT: Basically if this is the worst Valve does, we should consider ourselves lucky that at least one developer isn’t holding really game-changing content for ransom

    • Kavonde says:

      If Valve releases maps for Portal 2 and then charges $10-$15 for them on top of the store then the complainers might have some grounds for their complaints.

      Which they won’t, because they’re Valve. See: TF2 and the Left 4 Dead games.

      (Well, except on the 360, because Microsoft tends to be a bit dickish about free DLC.)

  25. Some Jackass says:

    I really dont mind DLC. I soak up the free ones and buy the ones that genuinely spark my interest. That being said, I absolutely agree with the last point you made, about how DLC shouldnt be untegral to the whole experience…theyre doing that in Mass Effect. Shepard will be standing trial on earth when the chaos starts…but if you didnt buy the DLC mission for ME2, then youll be missing out on why Shepard is there in the 1st place.

  26. these people are real. Crazy. Incoherent. But real.

    And this surprises you somehow? *grin* You just described like half the population of the world (if not more) *laughs*

  27. kreek says:

    i have to say, i dont really think the hat store really qualifies as DLC

    by definition DLC is Downloadable CONTENT
    a hat is not content, its fasion
    cosmetic

    a car works exactly as well with silver colored paint, as it does with blue colored paint

    does that mean that the blue car somehow has more car because its blue and not silver? no, its simply cosmetic

    one might argue that a blue car could potentially be more pleasing to the eye, but then the whole analogy breaks down, because most of the hats look stupid on the robots, and thus, they arent more pleasing XD

    that said, i will probally not be useing the hat store to make purchases

  28. TA says:

    This strikes me as kind of misleading. People weren’t exclusively pissed about the microtransaction store – which is what the hat store is, it’s not DLC – they were pissed because Valve had sold them a $40 pack of indie games with the claim that by playing them, Portal 2 would release early. And after days of frantic playing by tens of thousands of people, and an outright poisonous atmosphere on Steam – getting nasty messages if some people saw you playing a game that wasn’t part of the Potato Sack – it unlocked all of two hours sooner than the scheduled time.

    Manipulating your diehard fans into buying extraneous crap is one thing, but manipulating them into pressuring other people into buying extraneous crap is something else entirely. Something a lot shitter than an admittedly shitty hat store.

    • TA says:

      That, and it being $50 for a seven-hour game that, for me, crashed fourteen times in the time it took to finish it. Including in the middle of the damn ending song.

    • Deadpool says:

      Y’know, on hindsight, I guess they SHOULD have seen the whole “everyone else on steam is giving random people shit for NOT playing potato sack games” coming, but I doubt they did. I also highly doubt that was their intention… But I can see how that’d piss someone off.

      Btw, I have a solution that most people won’t like: Buy the console version. No potato sack, no DLC, no crashing, no problems…

    • GiantRaven says:

      It’s hardly Valve’s fault for that. I don’t get why people would get all up in arms over that, it’s not like the were forced to buy the indie nor were they promised a significantly early release.

    • Zukhramm says:

      The game was as far as I know the game was released not two but ten hours early. If somone expected more than that they need to learn not to expect so much. Yes, getting the game five days early would be nice but did anyone actually believe that would happen?

      And if someone sends nasty messages to you, why are they on your Steam Friends? If someone does that to me, they’re gone, I mean no one’s in control of who can contact you but you yourself.

      The ARG was some of the most fun I’ve had in a while. Hunting for secrets in a new map that was just released is a lot of fun. Most of the time finding easter eggs in games, someone else has already done it, being there as it’s discovered is a lot more exciting. I got a good deal on a bunch of games, a lot of fun and Portal 2 hours before the release,

      But, the game was released ten hours early, and people complain it wasn’t early enough. I don’t get it.

    • Kavonde says:

      Valve didn’t “promise” an early release. They promised they’d release the game early when the ARG was successfully completed. It wasn’t.

      And yet, they were still nice enough to release a few hours early, which was great for me due to having to open at work the next day.

      • Zukhramm says:

        What exactly in the ARG wasn’t completed?

        • Kavonde says:

          The last time I’d checked GLADoS’ site (admittedly several hours before the release), several of the games’ challenges hadn’t been completed yet, and I hadn’t heard from anyone that it’d been finished. I was under the impression that they’d just decided to be nice and launch early anyway. Apologies if I’m wrong.

          • bit says:

            I’m pretty sure that the ARG thing wasn’t that they would release it early when ALL the games were completed, but each game that was completed pushed the release date a little bit earlier.

  29. Yar Kramer says:

    The only thing I’m annoyed by is that you’re required to use Steam Wallet, so you have to pay multiples of $5, instead of just, y’know, buying it for the given price, because I want to buy the “facepalm” gestures in commiseration of all this.

    Ah well, it’s not like this is going to be the last thing I’ll ever buy on Steam, I can apply the remaining $1.02 it the next time I buy something else. Regardless, I’m not going to scream incoherently and give it a 0 on Metacritic.

    • Sagretti says:

      Yeah, I really disliked the Steam Wallet, too, when I tried out the Mann store (bought a crate key to get the free hat included/see how it worked). Then I realized the left over credit could be applied to any future Steam purchase, including games, and I didn’t mind as much. At least it doesn’t have to be applied to just DLC.

    • Ranneko says:

      You can, at least I have both times I have made purchases through the Mann store.

      You just need to attempt to buy them without enough funds and one of the options is to add just enough to cover your purchase. I couldn’t be bothered to find another way to add to that wallet.

  30. Irridium says:

    What confuses me is how people suddenly seem to care about Metacritic scores.

    I mean, hasn’t the entire community basically turned their noses up at Metacritic, and called it “pointless” or whatever?

    Why now all of a sudden is it so damn important?

    • Deadpool says:

      The conversation isn’t about how important metacritic is or isn’t. The conversation is about the stupidity or validity of the people who are just SOOOOO angry at this game for charging money for cosmetic changes that they felt the need to go to metacritic and grade it 0/10…

      Metacritic is the vehicle that brought about the discussion, not the discussion itself.

      • Irridium says:

        I guess.

        Its just weird seeing it basically ignored for a long time, then all of a sudden seeing it in the spotlight. Or I guess it would be the aura of the spotlight, but still.

  31. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Meh,I was introduced to these kind of idiots way back when fallout 3 came out and someone gave it 1/10 for graphics because “it was old oblivion graphics and is ugly now”.Now I dont think much of that game,but really 1/10 for its graphics?Yeah it was too brown and lifeless,but to give it 1/10?I was really baffled then.Now,I simply shrug off comments like that.

  32. X2-Eliah says:

    This makes me wonder a tad, why is Metacritic even bothering with user scores?

  33. Nick-B says:

    Anyone remember the first game that HAD DLC?

    Secondly, was the game industry doing so badly giving out (or not giving out) free stuff before they could charge for it?

    • Nuramor says:

      Wasn’t that Oblivion? That horse armor pack was purely cosmetic too.

    • GTRichey says:

      The game industry began charging for DLC type stuff because the cost of development has skyrocketed over the last couple decades. Games cost more now but haven’t risen by a factor anywhere near that of development costs. DLC is a way for developers/publishers to put in a little effort to create some extra content (usually there’s very little work to be put into new textures, mechanics, etc.) to sell at high profit. It’s unfortunate but simply where things are at.

      • krellen says:

        They wouldn’t cost so much if they’d cut down on things like high-cost voice actors (when some of the best ones don’t demand multi-million dollar salaries and can voice multiple characters) and photo-realistic graphics.

  34. Deadpool says:

    Y’know, one of the biggest arguments I see that makes no sense is that “we should have gotten this for free” argument because “we own the game.”

    Listen, they sold you THE GAME. The single player campaign, the co op campaign. That’s what you paid for, that’s what you were promised, that is what you bought.

    They then went the extra mile, put extra work in (yes, making skins IS work) and then offered to sell it to you for more money.

    Now maybe you think the cost doesn’t match the product given, and in that regard I’d agree. But that’s HOW SALES WORK. Every time you buy something you are weighing the cost for the reward. A salesman job is to skew your decision towards the buying part (and, if he’s any good, higher cost for lower reward) and your job as the consumer is to skew the decision towards not destroying your wallet. But in the end it’s just a sales pitch.

    They put work into extra, they’re charging extra for it. Don’t want it, don’t buy it. What’s with all the hatred for a company that makes games selling accessories for games.

    I don’t bitch about pizza places wanting extra money for toppings just because I hate pepperoni… Do you? Do you also go online and carpet bomb Zagat or whatever the public equivalent of it is about how horrible the place is for doing so?

  35. HeroOfHyla says:

    I view it like a fast food restaurant that starts charging for napkins and stuff. Yes, the napkins aren’t required for eating your burger, but they used to be free, so people are naturally going to be annoyed when they’re not anymore.

    For a more entertainment-related example: old Need for Speed games had cheat codes for unlocking cars early. New ones let you pay with Microsoft Points to unlock them early.

    • bit says:

      Except that napkins actually may or may not affect the quality of your eats, depending on how sloppy an eater you are. It’s more like the straws with those pretty red stripes being switched for plain white straws, and having to pay to get the old straws back permanently.

  36. Sydney says:

    I don’t understand day one DLC. If you’ve already made the content, either put it right in or take it right out. DLC should only be used for content you make after releasing the game already.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Why?When you are buying a car,there are numerous optional packages that are already built for it,but not installed at the moment,like radio,central lock,paint job,…And paint is especially good example here,because should everyone pay all the paints available,just because some buyers may pay for one of the paints?

      • Sydney says:

        The difference is, each additional part costs the manufacturer additional money. But this is software. If the content is already made, it costs developers zero dollars to include it on every disk. And in the pre-DLC days, it would either be added in or left out. But now we’re paying for it.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Err,no.Just because its software doesnt mean its free.People still need to make it,so it does cost the developer additional money to make additional content.Also,those additional things,like paint,you arent charged just for the raw materials,but for the man-hours spent installing that material.The only difference is that you dont pay for the raw materials when dealing with the software,just the man-hours.

        • Bubble181 says:

          You’ve never ever before noticed they sell Collector’s Editions, Gold Editions, Final Editions, etc of games and movies, too?

        • Trix says:

          The point is, they could have just skipped making the software and spent time on other things. Software, free/included/dlc/whatever, costs money to make no matter what is done with it.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Keep in mind that games usually are not released right when they are done but some time before the set release date. Should the developers be stopped from working during that space of time where things can no longer be added to the game just so they do not end up with DLC on day one? Or should they work, but then just sit on the content and wait for a couple of weeks to pass just becuasde sxelling it from day one is somehow wrong?

      • Sydney says:

        My point is, that additional content used to be free. Or if it wasn’t good enough to be included in a patch, it would be excluded.

        Now we’re paying for it.

        It’s the same as buying ringtones. In twenty years when companies get together and start selling silent phones that won’t ring unless you pay extra, I’ll laugh and remind my friends that I warned them.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          There are musicians who give their music for free,yet people are still paying for numerous songs.Are all those bands guilty for charging for their work?There are free operating systems and programs,but many are charging for their work,is that wrong of them?You have zounds of 2d platformers floating on the web for free,but braid was sold for money,is jonathan blow a bad man because he sold his work?My brother gave me a painting he did a while back,and it hangs in my room,for free,so is micheleangelo a bad man for getting paid for doing the sistine chapel ceiling?

          • HeroOfHyla says:

            The point is that it’s the *same* company that has changed its practice. They’re charging you the same price for their games (more actually, considering Left4Dead2 was only $30 on launch), but providing what seems like less content because they realize people are willing to pay for it. Imagine, if you will, that Left4Dead 2 started charging for the special weekly game modes like “last man on earth” rather than providing them for free. It would annoy people who were used to the old business model.

  37. Adalore says:

    There seems to be a strange perception of what DLC is.

    While somehow micro transactions for TF2 and Portal 2 are considered the same as the Mass effect 2 “Shadow broker” DLC and etc.

    I think we need more terms for this stuff, lumping it all together may be adding to the confusion on what content… which is payed for… which is downloaded… is.

    It’s easy to say TF2, buying a hat, is a micro transaction.
    And buying entire new…NOT NEEDED FOR THE PRIMARY STORY ARC…Chapters to a story are more worthy in the DLC term.

    • Kanodin says:

      Back in my day we called those expansion packs.

      • Daimbert says:

        I know. Expansion packs are the first thing that comes to my mind, too.

        That being said, expansion packs tend to give out more than hats (unless you’re playing the Sims [grin]).

        The best expansion I think I’ve ever seen was the one for Persona 3. Persona 3 went through the story and was totally complete. That was “The Journey”. Then, later, they put out a much shorter (something like 10 – 20 hours versus 40) expansion that included “The Answer”. This was priced a lot cheaper than the original game was, but it included “The Journey”. But not just “The Journey”; they expanded it with some extra throw-away scenes (you walk home and see S-link characters in the first few days of the game, and you can talk to the S-links you maxed out in the last days of the game to get a real closure on the links) as well as a new S-link for one of the characters. Also some special outfits and items.

        To get “The Answer”, I would have bought the original game again for that price. After all, then I’d have a spare disk. But with the additions, it was certainly worth the money.

        I prefer my expansion and DLC to be like that.

      • pinchy says:

        I really wish more games would go back to this model- buying an extra 20 hours of content in an expansion pack (that came in a box and which you could get in a shop no less) is something that always appealed. Buying about 4 hours and a few pretty costumes for the same price as the old expansion packs doesn’t. Even just the fact that it would require multiple sittings to complete made it feel so much more worthwhile than a tiny extra level now, another in a few months, etc… which just broke up the story far too much and for me sucks out most the enjoyment.

  38. Chris B Chikin says:

    An analogy I like to draw with what Valve’s doing it using Nerf guns.

    Any of you who own one of these amazingly fun devices will know how it works. You buy your gun and it comes with a clip and a few darts and maybe some accessories. Certainly, you’ve easily got enough to go and have fun annoying your friends with. But if you want you are perfectly able to go and buy more darts, clips, and other accessories which are by no means essential to you being able to mess around with your plastic firearm but can make the experience more enjoyable.

    Valve’s doing the same. What you get when you buy Portal 2 is plenty to be getting on with and you have all you need to enjoy the game. But, if you do want to get a bit more fun out of it the the option’s there for you to buy some non-essentials.

    Let’s face it, if Valve had just released the game as-is with no DLC (that’s no options for skins, silly hats, or whatever everyone’s whining about (I’ve not played the game)) then no-one would be complaining. So why is it then that people are annoyed that the option to buy stuff is there?

  39. Phoenix says:

    It’s only 3 hours game comprising coop, it’s repetitive, old engine, annoying, stupid, boring, costly and with bad taste dlc the first day. 0/10! …ok I was joking! :) It just costs a bit too much. But one could wait until it gets down.

    • Deadpool says:

      3 hours? THREE HOURS? I doubt anyone could go through that game in 3 hours without using some REALLY sneaky glitches and even then, doubt anyone figured it out yet…

      Hell, the co op is shorter than the single player, AND my friend had already done the first 2 parts (although he let me figure it out mostly on my own) and we STILL took over 4 hours…

  40. bit says:

    Figured I’d chip in a quick opinion.

    Some (most) of the more logical debates against the DLC are that it’s not ethical, as in, it seems ridiculous to charge so much extra money for such a small thing that was already in the game, etc. You know the spiel. And you know what? I will say that, objectively, this is a fair point, and such things do need to be drawn attention to if we want our industry “fixed,” so to speak.

    But, this is NO reason to lambaste the game, or Valve, as a whole, especially considering the amount of genuine good this game has done; from it’s very honest and witty marketing which engaged it’s customers in a satisfactory way and fully supported a swathe of indie developers, to simply the amount of love and care put into the whole package in a quickly graying industry. (Often literally.) Buy and cherish the game for those reasons, and DON’T buy from the store or use those silly hats for your existing reasons. Shoot Valve an email, post your concerns on the interwebs. If you don’t like it, you have the right to protest it; but you do not have the right (well, I suppose you do, but still) to lump everything good in with the bad just because there is bad to speak of.

    Or something. I kinda just retread what the article said, didn’t I? Oh well.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Some (most) of the more logical debates against the DLC are that it’s not ethical, as in, it seems ridiculous to charge so much extra money for such a small thing that was already in the game, etc. You know the spiel. And you know what? I will say that, objectively, this is a fair point, and such things do need to be drawn attention to if we want our industry “fixed,” so to speak.”

      Its a fair point only if you decide that aesthetics and art should not be payed for.So that painter that did your portrait you hung in the lobby,yeah he shouldve done it for free.That architect that sculpt your beautiful staircase,yeah he too shouldve done it for free.Same goes for painter who repainted your car,writer who wrote a book in your library,as well as the carpenter that made the bookshelf for it,…All of those guys shouldve done their work for free,and you should pay them just for the raw materials used.

      However,if you decide to put value on those things,its quite ethical for anyone to charge how much they want for their hard work that has no value other than aesthetics.You dont have to pay for it,sure,but you also have no right to call it unethical.

      • Kavonde says:

        Wow. Excellent post, man. I’m over here slow-clapping.

        Granted, a cute little top hat for your robot may not have taken the same amount of skill and dedication to create as an intricately-designed marble stairway, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and art is worth what someone will pay for it.

      • bit says:

        If you insist, I’ll rephrase; it’s a debatable point. I actually am on your side of the fence, but I can understand the opposing side as well. Money/value is an odd sort of issue to debate. The intent of my post was more against those “Money grubbing to line Gabe’s swimming pool” comments, which is an unfair representation of Valve as a whole, and even of their intent on this particular event.

  41. Rampant Pedantry says:

    This is always a difficult discussion to deliberate. The crux of the matter is that ‘content’ is a largely subjective experience. Personally, I dislike categorizing content by time because time spent is pretty variable in any game competently enough engineered to allow the player their own pace-setting, and in some types of games a completely irrelevant concept either because the game’s length is arbitrarily fixed or functionally infinite.

    I also dislike it because it implies that length-of-game is equivalent to quality-of-game. Portal 1’s quality did not suffer for it being a short game any more than Minecraft’s is vastly improved solely because it has an infinite duration of play. Minecraft would be /harmed/ by a reduced duration, and I would posit the reverse to be true of the original Portal. Duration and pacing are relevant, but they are not the sole metric of quality by a long shot, and they do not cause quality to scale upwards as a linear function.

    That said, I began my first play-through of Portal 2 shortly after it launched and ran for about seven and a half hours from game begin to return-to-menu. This includes two deaths due to sleep deprived idiocy, and one or two moments of sleep deprived ‘Wait, what do I do?’ slightly exacerbated by a back-seat driver and a stubborn refusal not to take a nap when I really ought to have.

    That is because, irrespective of the minimum amount of time to drive Chell through the game end-to-end, the content available in the game is amazingly fun, startlingly detailed, and of significant enough depth to warrant a second playthrough just to pick up the little details I’d missed the first time.

    So yes, you can probably shave quite a bit off that time, but I think you’d be missing the point. The point, the art, the music, the banter, the plot, the SCIENCE, the foreshadowing, honestly…it’s like going to the theater and complaining that the movie was over when you ran out of popcorn and had to leave to get another bag.

    Now, anyone with an opinion would be in their rights to disagree. Maybe you don’t like listening to Wheatley’s banter, or got so sick of GLaDOS in Portal 1 that you switched off dialog entirely. That’s fine, you’re allowed to have no soul, I understand completely.

    But it’s still /content/, whether you enjoyed it or not. Work was done to create it. Whether you were paying attention to it or not, it was there with you the whole time, being beautifully detailed and perhaps tragically ignored. Perhaps those among us who felt the game lacked sufficient content to validate it’s price-tag could stand to take another run through and a closer look at what they bought. Perhaps they will see things that inspire them to consider doing so in the future.

    Or perhaps they will argue that developers shouldn’t waste time on details players won’t see, having vastly underestimated the power of the common gamer to notice when something is missing and complain about that too.

    La.

  42. Lisa says:

    This is probably the best place I’ll find to ask this.

    Does anyone believe that Portal 2, on the XBox 360, will be/is worth $108? That’s the price for it here in Australia. I loved Portal, but it wasn’t worth that kind of dollars.

    From what I’ve heard, Portal 2 is much larger, but is it (say) $60 larger than Portal?

    Come on, somebody let me justify forking out those dollars!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wow…Man,australia has it pretty bad.

      Well if you consider portal 1 to be worth twice the,say kayne and lynch 2,then yes you should fork over the money.If you consider it to be a great game,but not worth quite as much,you should wait for the price to drop.

    • K says:

      Uh, to be honest, I don’t know if I could rationalize that kind of money. It’s a really great game, but 100$ is a really steep price. Wouldn’t it be possible to have it gifted on Steam, and you pay the American who buys it for you? That way, you could easily save 50%.

      • Jonn says:

        Steam isn’t gouging, retail stores – recall this is for Xbox 360 – are the issue.

        But on a similar note, you can usually import console games, as long as the title in question isn’t region locked. No idea if that would happen but I REALLY doubt Valve would pull that kind of stunt.

        I recall Shamus commenting that you could buy the game in USA, package it with a brick, and still get it here cheaper than local ripoff pricing. And that was with our dollar at around 90c against American dollars. Now we passed parity, and Aussie dollar is more valuable, yet they STILL charge $100+ for no damn reason.

        If the entitled brats (to put it mildly) routinely had to pay more than twice what the rest of the world (not always the case for Europe admittedly) got it for, that might be sufficiently justified to be interesting to watch.
        But whining that Valve are smart marketers who want to make money while greatly respecting their customers is what makes the headlines.

        • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

          It’s an E rated game and it had it’s release, so it shouldn’t be region locked.

        • Xbox 360 games are usually region-locked (not always, but I’m not sure about Portal 2 specifically). However, Australia and Europe are considered a single region for some reason so if you import it from over here it will work. In the UK it costs £40 ($61 AUS), so even with the cost of importing it you should get a saner price.

          • Jonn says:

            …Australia and Europe are considered a single region for some reason…

            Last I checked Australasia did not include Europe. But then, I don’t know how Microsoft set up their regions.

            Also, @Scott (Duneyrr)
            Region lock has zero to do with age rating of a game; think of DVD region coding. Trying to play a DVD (or game) with a differing region code on a region locked player will not work, simple as that.

            If you buy a DVD player with no region lock, that won’t matter, but consoles are locked without warranty-breaking changes being made to them.

        • pinchy says:

          http://www.ausgamers.com/features/read/3047097

          Whether Steam is the one at fault or not they are still the ones who are going along with the idiocy of overcharging people in this part of the world (without even being able to use the half-arsed argument of shipping costs or other supply chain related issues). As shown at the link above Australian prices on Steam are much higher than the equivlanets in the US/EU.

          Unfortunately the local brick and mortar stores are no better off seeing the publishers sometimes charge them more at wholesale rates than the full retail price in other parts of the world. This at least is something that I can sympathise with as they are between a rock and a hard place having next to no bargaining power- not so much with Steam.

          • Jonn says:

            When you query Steam support, publishers set the prices and they cannot affect it. When you query the publishers, Steam dictates pricing and they go along with it.

            No third party is privy to the information needed to say any more than, somewhere, something is not working in favor of the consumer.

            Meanwhile, with Borderlands and Mafia 2 (there’s more but those are the ones I remember offhand) they were released with fair pricing, Steam was selling them happily, then the publisher yanked them, stuck the Australia tax on, then resubmitted.

            Personally, I have 0 doubt it’s the publisher and not Steam. Couldn’t prove that though.

            And as far as retail, they’ve always gouged as much as the market would allow, and when sales dropped, the larger chains publicly bitch about second hand sales and piracy. But never consider lowering their prices, despite record sales when they ‘reduce’ their prices to merely in-line with international pricing.

            And then small off-shoot companies will appear, buy overseas in bulk and resell, then announce they suddenly have to shut down for undisclosed reasons (can you read that other than: lawyers involved?)

            It’s near impossible to resolve, as there is no way for government bodies to intervene – setting stupid prices isn’t a breach of fair trade policies – and even if, beyond all reason, we could get every gamer to stop buying until prices drop, the big chains will whinge and cry about how it isn’t their fault, blame the pirates, etc

            Incidentally, still waiting for a reply after asking Steam for their explanation as to why some games are available in the US but not here, as we have a free-trade agreement.

    • GTRichey says:

      Get it on Steam for 49 US (which after a minor foreign currency charge is about the same in AUD) if you can at all. Yeah I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ telling you you’re doing it on the wrong system, but for the price difference if you’ve got a PC capable of playing it then get it on PC.

      • pinchy says:

        If only this was possible- haven’t checked in a while but they used to just lock you into the AUS pricing on Steam if you are from this part of the world. There were ways around it so that Steam thought you were from the US and hence would give you their pricing but they weren’t the sort of thing that the average layperson would just know how to do.

        • Jonn says:

          Irrelevant to Valve games as they aren’t gouging on Steam. As far as accessing the US store, simplest way is to make a friend in the states and have them gift the game.
          Not a good solution, granted, just functional.

    • Ranneko says:

      Unhelpful answer is of course, that it is $50US on Steam so if you have a PC that can run it then that is the fastest and one of the cheapest ways of getting it right now.

      The whole retail game system is problematic here because of the stupid pricing but then if you are stuck with the 360, I would recommend checking the compatibility charts on playasia and buy it from overseas.

  43. Sean Riley says:

    The only thing which bugs me is that I think the hats DO have an inherent value: I can buy one, and trade it to a friend to bring a smile to their face.

    Except that the trading is not up yet. Which for me would be the whole point.

    I just want to buy a beret for my fiancée. Is that so wrong?

  44. Jarenth says:

    So, having read through the (currently) 200+ comment storm that this topic engendered (and that’s only on this particular, and amazingly civil, website), I can say with certainty that Valve might be the first company that’s actually succeeded in putting a meaningful Moral Choice System in their game.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      “Should we blow up the base or give it over to the Illusive Man, Shepard?”
      1) [No Hat] It’s unethical, so screw him
      2) I’ll come back later.
      3) [Hat] Yeah, give it over, I’ve got me trilby, don’t need anything else.

      • Bubble181 says:

        As long as it isn’t

        “Should we blow up the base or give it over to the Illusive Man, Shepard?”
        1) [No Hat] It’s unethical, so screw him
        2) I’ll come back later.
        3) [Free Hat] Yeah, give it over, I’ve got me trilby, don’t need anything else.
        4) [$10 Hat] Let’s examine the information in the base ourselves and use it to fully upgrade all weapons at t he start of the next game.

        ;-)

        • Jarenth says:

          5) [$60 Hat] Is that a stash of gold, weapons, ship components, the phone numbers of all your current and past team members, and Asari porn? How convenient.

  45. Kavonde says:

    Something else I haven’t seen brought up here, but which I pointed out in the Facebook comments on The Escapist:

    The hats and skins and animations aren’t really DLC so much as they are donation rewards. You know how if, say, you send $50 to the election campaign of a politician you like, they might send you a button, a hat, a shirt, a bumper sticker, or some combination thereof? It’s more like that. The buttons and hats and shirts and bumper stickers don’t do anything (besides get you dirty looks or bricks thrown through your windshield if you live in a part of the country that generally disagrees with your views), but you can decorate yourself or your car with them and feel a little satisfaction that A) you got something you think is cool, and B) you gave money to a cause you believe in.

    Portal 2’s DLC is no different. You’re not buying a virtual top hat for P-Body to wear. You’re donating $12.50 to Valve, and in return, you’re getting a virtual top hat. Yeah, objectively, there’s no difference between the two actions, but the only person who needs to justify your expenditure is you. (And maybe your significant other, if money’s tight and you really shouldn’t be spending $12.50 on non-essential goods.)

    I haven’t bought any of the DLC, but I haven’t ruled it out. If I have a few bucks to spare, I might throw them at Valve so they can maybe hire more people to crank out some free co-op DLC, and in return I’ll get a funny dance for ATLAS. Or maybe I’ll send them to my pick for president, in exchange for a button and a hopefully-less-screwed-up tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll help Shamus buy a cheeseburger, in exchange for a blog and community I enjoy reading and posting on. But I won’t feel ripped off by any of those options, because it’s my money, and I consider all of those choices worth the expenditure.

    (I mean, some more than others, natch.)

  46. Cybron says:

    The incoherence and internal inconsistency of their arguments would be amusing, were it not so prevalent. Instead, it’s terrifying.

  47. rayen says:

    i dunno if it’s been said before but i’ll say it now. There are a couple of people in the escapist comments are arguing against you not because thye think the DLC protesters are right or wrong but because yiou are a)supporting a big company instead of the little man (as usual) and b) because you are arguing it in an over aggressive manner.

    just sayin. Really off topic now that i think about it…

    • Kavonde says:

      The irony being that Valve is probably the most successful non-big company in the business.

      • bit says:

        Hell, there’s probably more than the 260-ish (?) people employed at Valve railing against the game. People who, unlike Valve, are not stimulating the economy in the slightest.

        • ehlijen says:

          Given how many stories I’ve heard of portal 2 release day equalling sick day usage, I’m not sure valve is stimulating the economy that much :P

          Not that that’d be their fault of course…

          And in any case, mostly just kidding.

    • krellen says:

      As usual? Valve is pretty much the only company Shamus does not bash at every opportunity (and even though it’s been a while, try asking him about Episode 3 and see how long that lasts.) He loves to rail against Electronic Arts, Activision, Blizzard, Bethesda, Obsidian, and any other developer he can get words to.

      Shamus is one of the most pro-little person bloggers around. Just about the only thing he doesn’t advocate is that everyone should get games for free, and that’s just because he actually wants people to make games (which they will not if they cannot eat.)

    • X2-Eliah says:

      No, sorry, that is pure bullcrap.
      The mere fact that a dev studio is big or small does NOTHING to indicate how it should be treated.

      If a big company does good games, then why should one criticise it just because it is big? If a small indie company produces trash, then why should they be praised? No, the current trend of “If it’s indie, it must be praised no matter what” is pure stupidity, and I can’t wait for people to stop enacting this double standard, to stop ‘sticking up for the little guy’ and start ‘sticking up for the guy that makes good games’.

      • Trix says:

        I think the problem is more when a big company produces a sub-par game when they easily had the resources to do it right. As opposed to some indie developers who don’t have much of a budget yet produce something amazing.

        But you are right, the size of the company should not affect how their games are viewed as much as it does.

  48. Kdansky says:

    I want to reiterate: The hats in the Portal 2 store are not proper DLC. Yes, you can download them, and yes, you have to buy them. But they are not content.

    Day 1 DLC? Stupid.

    A tip jar which gives you hats? Decent idea.

    And I despise the RPS crowd now, because so many people have shown how stupid they really are. Sad to see such a great site get hurt so badly by the many, many stupid people on our world. Nothing hurts me so much like seeing such incredibly stupidity. Your column spoke so very true. Thank you for writing it.

    And note that even the replies to the column miss the point completely. I’ll offer up the most tragic thing I learned in my life up to now: 80% (give or take) of humanity is about as intelligent as monkeys. They fling poo at things that make them afraid, they have no grasp of basic logic, and they have zero self-reflection. It’s so sad, but so true. And I am losing hope that anything can be done about that, because most of them deliberately chose to not learn or improve themselves. Ignorance is probably bliss.

    • Phoenix says:

      I was thinking about 75% but maybe you’re right. :D Also “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits” (cit. Einstein) We’re pretty surrounded. :)

    • I have no problem at all with Valve selling hats, but I don’t see the distinction that people are making that this particular brand of content that is downloadable doesn’t count as downloadable content.

      The first major DLC controversy that I remember was the Horse Armour pack for Oblivion which was pretty much exactly the same thing – pay a bit of money and you get some cosmetic details for your horse – apparently that counted as DLC. Despite Shamus’ hyperbole about it being “the first game in years to actually handle DLC properly” the idea of selling purely cosmetic optional extras is fairly commonplace, and yet I don’t see people claiming that the costume packs in Street Fighter IV are actually being given away free if you use Capcom’s tip jar and as such don’t count as DLC.

      • Velkrin says:

        IIRC the horse armor was one of the first DLCs that you had to pay for. I think that was what really caused the outrage, whereas previously that sort of thing had been free. It’s been awhile though so I could be wrong.

        • Jeff says:

          I remember it being that way as well. Making something minor and then charging us for it? No wai!

          I was fine with buying the portal shortcuts and so on, but horse armor that didn’t even increase horsie HP? Hax!

  49. (LK) says:

    I would like it if the accessories had an element of random chance like they do in TF2.

    The way it works in TF2 is just fine. If you kind of want something, but don’t much care, you can eventually get it as a random drop and be pleasantly surprised. If you really want something, and it’s worth it to you, you can grab it in the store.

  50. Bentusi16 says:

    Hooooly crap that’s a lot of comments.

    Yeah, where the heck were these people when TF2 released the Mann Co. Store?

    • SomeUnregPunk says:

      where were they when any game released DLC?
      … you didn’t see them on the Gearbox forums lambasting the company
      … nor for Bioware on their ME and DO games.
      … or even Relic and their day 1 DLC content for the their recent DLC additional game mode for Dawn of War 2. This company did DLC of DLC… that is quite screwy.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        Hah. Right. ME and DA games didn’t have dlc bashers… What planet are you from, deary?

        • Bubble181 says:

          To view what planet someone is from, please refer to their Codex entry.

          The Codex is a substantial, yet not critically game-altering, DLC providing more insight in characters and motivations, and is available now for only €25. Buy now?

          [Paragon] Yes, and please add an extra €5 for a charity.
          [Paragon] Yes, and please add €20 for the developers of the game
          [Hat] Yes please.
          Yes.
          Not right now, maybe later.
          [Renegade] No, thank you.
          [Strong reïnforcement option available as DLC for only €5] No, and don’t remind me again.

  51. SimeSublime says:

    I did a quick skim of the comments, so I hope this isn’t a repost…but you didn’t actually link the article the post was about anywhere in the post. The only link is to a forum with with link to the article in question.

  52. Clint Olson says:

    So, I thought I’d weigh in here. I just finished playing through Portal 2 (both single-player and co-op), spent a total of 17 hours according to Steam, and absolutely loved it. Worth every penny. Not only that, but the hat store is so incredibly unobtrusive that after all that playtime I still don’t know where it is. This isn’t even product placement — this is including the ability to donate extra to Valve if you feel like it and want to go looking for the option. I don’t understand why people care about this, as the existence of the store doesn’t impact the game in any way, manner, shape or form that I can tell.

    Clint

    • Axle says:

      It seems like people are offended by the idea of a day 1 DLC, even if it’s not really one.

      For me it’s not much different from all those “Enhanced edition”s, where you pay more and get some nice, extra stuff.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        So they are equating things that arent the same just because they share a name,without familiarizing themselves with it.Ea releases a game that has no ending,unless you buy a special $30 more expensive edition,valve releases a game that has only extra skins if you buy a special $30 more expensive edition,and both are guilty of the same crime?

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        I wonder if the same people are offended by the minibar in the hotel room…

        • SKD says:

          I’m not offended by Day 1 DLC but the prices for the contents of those minibars is absolutely obscene.

          • Mari says:

            And yet I’m occasionally willing to pay hotel minibar prices because I’d rather pay through the nose than put some clothes on and hunt down a liquor store or convenience store. And if two people a year are as lazy as I am, the hotel has paid for the stupid fridge and its contents. Without the rest of you being one bit put out. Hooray for freedom of choice!

  53. JPH says:

    Though I agree with Shamus’s article, there’s one complaint I have for the Portal 2 items.

    Valve said that if you had all the games in the Potato Sack Pack, you would get a special hat in Team Fortress 2 and a special skin in Portal 2. I got the hat, but instead of a skin I got a Killing Floor flag. Which for others costs $0.99. And that wasn’t just an accident; it turns out Valve changed their minds and are giving all the potato sack purchasers flags instead of skins.

    It’s a very minor and petty complaint, I’ll admit that. But still. They promised me something and didn’t deliver.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      At least your complaint is a valid one,unlike the rest Ive seen so far.

      • JPH says:

        What really bothers me is that Valve didn’t send me any sort of notification via Steam or e-mail or anything that told me about this change of plans. They just gave me a flag and assumed that either I forgot about the whole skin promise, or I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a skin and a flag.

  54. Ramsus says:

    -insert ranty thing that expresses opinion an opposing party will mostly ignore and use only as a soapbox to express their opinion an opposing party will mostly ignore and use only as a soapbox to express…-

    Ok. Sorry. Everyone else was getting in some quality ranting about things we can rant about here without anyone actually getting into a serious enough tiff that Shamus will come down upon them like a minor deity without a lot to do with a serious hangover and I just sorta wanted to feel like part of the group. I’ll just go sit in the corner in shame now for having nothing worth really ranting about aside from how people are ranting which really isn’t an uncommon occurrence nor is it really a decently rantable subject.

    To be fair my other comments in this blog post were probably at least fairly amusing to someone (assuming anyone ever reads them) so I had to have a really lame joke one like this. It’s required. By law. (Murphy’s perhaps?)

  55. Airsoftslayer93 says:

    Anyone here who has ever bought a car new will surely see some paralels here, you go to the dealership, say you want that type of car, and you can have it, just like portal 2. if you want that car in metalic paint, or with chrome wheels then you can as well, for extra. These extras do not effect the handleing of the car, or the power of the car, or how many people can sit in the car, simply how it looks. do you write angry letters to mercedes or ford demanding that they should give you metallic paint for free because its right there, on the car next to the one you want. no, because its business. you can buy the base product and then pay for the extras. so what if they are out day one, personally i thought it was a great game, finished the co-op and am looking forward to the inevitable co-op dlc. that doesnt mean im going out to buy all the hats and colour schemes, nor do i feel entitled to them, theyre simply extras added to a great game that i can buy if i want, on a lesser game i might feel ripped of, if i was disatisfied with the original product, but with portal 2… i enjoyed it so much that it just doesnt bother me.

  56. Grag says:

    I just wanted to say that I have extensive carnal knowledge of the mothers of everyone with whom I disagree on this issue.

    I won’t say what I actually think because I try to steer clear of personal attacks. I appreciate the civility of the threads here at sy, and don’t want to upset that at all.

  57. Amarsir says:

    Here’s what I’d try if I was a big publisher: Make the regular game, complete and unimpeded. Then create a small DLC library on the side (with no in-game sales pitch, of course), where various items are sold for points. Then include a few points for registering and make a big point of saying on the box that it includes “choice of free bonus gift” (with option to purchase more).

    Since perspective is so important, DLC should always be presented in the light of “bonus”. By giving some DLC for free, the value of the box purchase is being acknowledged. By including that choice, each customer is able to get that thing they wish was included and decide that the piece they didn’t take really isn’t so important to them. And of course, by using my method I’m rewarding the awkward registration process and training the players to download my content.

    • Jonn says:

      However you dress it, some people will still find some way to complain about anything they personally don’t approve of.

      Having several ‘bonus’ thingies available, but only getting one of them? ‘They’ve clearly finished work on all the others, so they should be freely available too’ etc etc ad nauseum.

      If the work is finished, there are always people who claim it needs to be free because there is no cost to copy it. Of course if it isn’t finished, then they can’t really ‘sell’ it, so it cannot be made for profit.

      All because, obviously, making money is unethical. Except when the whiner is making money, that’s fine.

    • Irridium says:

      But you didn’t give it all for free, which means its a complete rip-off and the game is inherently worse and you are Kotick re-incarnated.

      Thats not how I feel, but thats what the backlash would be.

  58. Deoxy says:

    First, the obligatory “I’m sad this community has gotten too big for me” note (with little sad face, even :-( ).

    Interesting point, but I wanted to point out 2 things:

    1) sometimes, it’s in response to over-the-top hype, not just that so many people like it. Harry Potter, for instance – I’m sure the books are good and all, but only God himself could live up to the hype.

    2) Avatar is, IMO, a little more complicated – the shiny pretties are indeed VERY shiny and pretty (impressively so), and the story is… well, just as bad as the shiny pretties are good. The movie, as a pretty way to blow some time, is nice, but as a story, it SUCKS. So, when people “like” it, it bothers me because I want STORY, and I generally define “good movie” as including good story, but CLEARLY, a great many people don’t. It’s not that they are wrong, it’s just a different standard and different requirements for the term “good”. I acknowledge that. It’s still pretty crazy to see YOU put Avatar in the “good movie” category, though…

    • Grag says:

      He said in the post that avatar was an example of a financially successful movie, and waterworld was not. He left aside other subjective standards for “good” for that example.

  59. Bai Shen says:

    For those of you arguing about the ethics of the economies of DLC, what about SMS messaging? It costs the carries very little, yet they charge quite a bit for it because people will pay for it.

    Is that okay? Personally, I don’t think so. I know a business needs to make money, but there’s a difference between making money and screwing your customers.

    • Grag says:

      Most cell carriers don’t charge through the nose for SMS. Generally it’s something thrown in to other price plans.

      You only really get hosed on it if you don’t have a contract, or are on paygo, and that’s a price you pay for that.

      Cellular customers aren’t forced to text, or pick one cell carrier. There are options.

      Charging what the customer is willing to pay is not screwing over the customer, whether it is a luxury like funny hats, or a luxury like texting.

  60. acronix says:

    The usual complain I`ve read around (and excuse me if I`m just kicking the ball on something someone has already mentioned (did any of you mention how many this comments are here?)) is that the time spent on the hats/skins could have been used to improve the game.

    What I wonder if this is really true. I haven`t checked the store to see what the skins/hats actually are, but they don`t sound complicated enough to warantee (is that a word?) that not making them would have improved the game in any shape or form. Besides, the puzzles and plot design is most probably NOT tied to the modellers work.

    • Jonn says:

      Personal experience tells me in several other fields, companies are sorted (divided) according to functionality in some way. I would be very surprised if that is not the case here as well.

      The biggest effort involved in adding this specific content, if planned from the start, is artistic. There are other factors, for example quality control issues, but adding a few more items to a big budget game is a trivial increase in cost / work hours. It IS an increase, certainly, but not enough to complain about.

      Contrast that to adding or improving non-cosmetic factors, and consider: if an author was told to add a small section into their completed work about some simple thing, ex. insert mention of ‘cola-based beverage’ at some point, that change is simple. Telling them “Ok, we have a new sponsor, so go and add mention of them into the story at least 19 times. These additions must be obvious enough to satisfy the sponsor, but you may not change the work in any major way.” is not so simple.

      A major change needs to work well with what was already there. This is not something you can throw more people-hours at until it works, you need a clear design goal, trained staff, clear direction and so on.

      Tacking a new level onto the end is simple for story in this case, but balancing? Play testing? Valve has said enough about their game design philosophy to make clear their designs are iterative. That is in opposition to slap-dash inclusion of new features, meaning any new content had several stages to go through – think planning, design, implementation, testing, confirmation. Something along those lines, anyway.

      A few cosmetic items don’t add much work, while major content will take dozens of hours of work, across multiple departments.

    • DanMan says:

      This was mentioned above, but yes, there are a rediculous number of comments above.

      I haven’t read all of the responses to this argument, but here’s my $.02:

      People complain that the game is pretty short. That’s understandable. However, it’s very polished. If it takes Valve say 100 hours to make a new level, and say 1 hour for every hat or skin, it would mean they would need to make 100 hats or skins before they have spent the amount of time to add a new level. If they make 20 hats and skins, then how much more could they put into the game?

      Also, Valve already has skins in this game (otherwise you would be walking around as a green skeleton) and has the concept of hats in their other games. It can not take very much time, once the hat is added to the model to re-skin it.

      It’s also something that developers could do in their free time. Science has proved that people need a break from a repetetive task in order to perform at a high level. I am a software developer. Even when I have a tight deadline, I will take time to work on some side projects for my company simply because it’s something different. It makes my day easier to get through.

      I know I’m making some assumptions here. Developers doing stuff in their free time is pure speculation. The point is, how much more can the team do in the time it takes to make skins and hats?

      • Jarenth says:

        Small side-point: P-Body seems based on a regular turret model, and Atlas on a GLADoS extra-core model. Since both of these have reskins available in the singleplayer game (like the Animal King turret), you could make the case that making extra skins adds zero development time, just art time. Like, I guess, what you are doing right now.

  61. Gantidae says:

    I have my issues with Valve’s practice of in-game stores. Which I won’t bother getting into here.

    Regardless of that there is absolutely no reason to review bomb a game or anything along those lines.

    If you truly have an issue with a company and their business practices or their games there are ways to handle things that don’t involve acting like a child.

  62. RCN says:

    Too… much… comments…

    Sorry, can’t plow through it right now, but… wasn’t Shamus one of the Heralds of “This Is Wrong” when Bethesda launched the Horse Armor?

    I liked him better when he had his vitriolic venom on Steam and its DRM (my connection is iffy, so the Steam DRM affects me quite a bit), but still.

    I will buy Portal 2 when it drops price… and I don’t care about the DLC. Personally, I have no problem with DLCs, they’re a nice way for developers to keep giving content and still get paid. But sometimes they are soooo tacked on.

    Still, I like my games to have some replayability. Or at least last me more than one day. Is that too much to ask? Otherwise I’ll pay 15 bucks max for your 8 hour game, developer. Give me something meatier and we’ll talk about full price.

  63. PhoenixUltima says:

    I really don’t get why there’s so much bile directed at Portal 2 DLC, specifically. It’s all cosmetic stuff. No special privilege is given for owning them, no penalty is recieved for not buying them. If you care so much about the appearance of your little robot avatar that you’re willing to drop actual money on a virtual hat or gesture, Valve has your back. If you don’t care, you don’t have to buy it, the game plays the same regardless.

    The only reason I can see for getting pissed is if you want the cosmetic stuff, but don’t like the idea of paying real money for it. In that case: boo fucking hoo. You payed for a working high-quality game and you got it, Valve doesn’t owe you anything past that.

  64. Bentusi16 says:

    Alright, time for a little wording here.

    First off, I am utterly confused by some of the comments. Some people seem to be saying that the mere fact that the store is there is ethically wrong. Other people seem to be saying that the $50 price tag on the game was that high because of the store? Like, the price of the game was increased because the store was in there?

    So sorry about that. I’m just, wow. I don’t know how to absorb that.

    To address that ‘it’s ethically wrong’, what the heck? It’s their game, and they can do what the heck they want with it. If you don’t want to deal with it, then don’t. They aren’t holding your face to the fire and telling you to buy it. If you stop enjoying the game because of it, then boycott their games. Unless your arguing that people don’t have the right to do what they will with their own property (intellectual or otherwise). If they really screw up, people won’t buy their game to the point where they’ll make a profit, and the company will take a hit. They’ll lose money, people will probably be laid off.

    Now, since we’re using it as an example since it’s pretty close to being the same, I purchased TF2 on its release date, as part of the orange box. It, portal, episode 2. Box is on my shelf. Now it’s infront of me. Unfortunately, it lacks a price tag. The orange box on steam cost 19.99. I believe when I purchased it it cost $50.

    For those who don’t recall, this is what came in it.
    Team Fortress 2
    Half-Life 2: Episode 2 –
    Half Life 2: Episode 1 –
    Half-Life 2
    Portal

    That averages out to about 10 dollars a game there.

    Now, when the Mann Co. Store came out, I didn’t really care. Why? because valve didn’t say “Your going to have to pay more money to play the game now that we’ve added this feature.”. Thus far I have, according to steam, played 517 hours worth of TF2.

    517 hours for ten bucks. And you know how much I’ve spent since they added the mann co. store? zero. Zero bucks. Much as I will pay zero bucks for the portal 2 store. Because it doesn’t interest me.

    See to me this boils down to freedom to do what you want. These companies have every right to put things like in these games. They have the right to piss all over their customers if they want. They also have the right to take the hit from doing these things, or reaping the benefit. I have the right not to purchase anything from the store, or to stop playing the game, or to keep playing the game. You have the right to think this is some corporate bullhonky, and I have the right to say I disagree. Which I do.

    We can disagree with it all we want, but in the end, they own the property and can do what they want as long as they aren’t violating the laws of their state/nation. Calling it ethically wrong just seems…wrong to me.

    Oh yes, I think one of the issues here is that people seem to consider portal 2 ‘unfinished”? To me, it seemed like one heck of a full game, funny, brilliant, FUN (the most important thing), and you know, finished. It felt finished. Maybe it’s because I bought all the Stalker games and know what it’s like to play a beta, or because I’m an avid Dwarf Fortress player who crouches in seemingly unending beta. But I know I’ve played some games that didn’t feel finished, and portal 2 is NOT one of them. By my estimation then, anything extra they sell me isn’t “finishing the game”. It’s extra stuff. Now, if they were trying to sell me something that fixed the game, like say, a bug fix or something..then we’d be having fisticuffs.

    • Jonn says:

      Just to add to the confusion, with the claim of day 0/1 DLC:
      This stuff needs to be in the base game for others to see without buying it. So, if you want to download it, then you want to have people who didn’t pay unable to see it.

      Individuals solely using rational thought can make a value judgement, say “it neither helps nor harms me” and move on. Either you are happy to use the store, and get some cosmetic items that do not grant any advantage, or you don’t use it.

      People with preconceptions of what the game is supposed to be to them are ranting and complaining over a misinterpretation.
      Whether they read it wrong or it was marketed unfairly, it still boils down to “I didn’t get what I want so now I have to complain until I do”

      It really is a sad state of affairs when adding some content that you have 100% choice over is a bad thing. To have people feel personally insulted that Valve dared to add something they don’t want, as though that means no one else is allowed to accept it, much less to like it.

      When all is said and done, you have a lot of over-inflated ego and opinion bloating internet forums, and that’s it. Valve have no reason to stop using sensible business practices, and releasing Portal 2 at full retail price is a smart business move that not all people are happy about. Despite years of history saying it WILL drop in price.

      All we (the people who haven’t had our lives irredeemably ruined by this “DLC”) can do is be patient, wait for the hot air to dissipate, and go have fun. Perhaps with a recently released title, one that a lot of people absolutely love.

      Just a thought.

1 2

One Trackback

  1. […] full post &#959n Record Games – Google Blog Search April 24th, 2011 Uncategorized 0 Comments […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>