You wouldn't think the precise, virtual location of a few bits of additional, purchasable content for a game would be that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. But some gamers are up in arms yet again over the prospect that some downloadable content (DLC) for the recently released Resident Evil 6 is already included as locked, encrypted data on the game disc itself.
The furor started earlier this week, when an enterprising hacker posted evidence to YouTube thatResident Evil 6 discs contained data for DLC including new attacks, multiplayer taunts, and a "No Hope" difficulty level. Capcom was vague about this hidden content at first, telling Eurogamer that some future DLC would use a combination of downloaded and on-disc content for "technical reasons." Then the company announced today that all the content on the disc would be available for free—either through a downloadable title update or by registering at ResidentEvil.com—and that any future DLC was not already on the disc.
This isn't the first time Capcom has drawn ire for having the nerve to lock some on-disc content behind a paywall. The console versions of Street Fighter x Tekken included data for 12 characters that were sold later as a $20 DLC pack. Games like Dragon's Dogma and Resident Evil 5 included locked, purchasable content on the disc itself, too. Capcom isn't even alone in the practice: Epic'sGears of War 3, DICE's Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Bioware's Mass Effect 3 all required players to purchase unlock codes for content that was included on the launch-day retail discs.
This one issue causes a somewhat comical amount of frustration for a small segment of vocal gamers. They fill up comment threads and messages boards with outrage at the injustice of it all. Kotaku commenter TreyTable summed up the level of vitriol nicely when he described his reaction to on-disc DLC: "The best way to fight this trend is to put a company out of business, even Capcom. That's how one can fight this bull$#@!." Another commenter MarkoPolos put it more bluntly: "How about $#@! Capcom?" But the most common complaints about on-disc DLC start to break down when you take a closer look at them.
A quote from a commentator:
More importantly, its a old style view of software development in general. Most devs are working on several projects simultaniously. In a large project like a major game release, a dev may own several areas, and usually they have assigned units of time based on estimates to complete each task. Development cycles are broken down into "sprints" typically of two weeks in length. If a dev is blocked completely, often they will 'trade' time on one aspect that is blocked for time on something unrelated that can be done now(and in return, later give the time allocated to the original project). Its called Agile development and over the past decade its slowly become the standard approach.
Furthermore, by shipping the dev content on the disc, it permits the developer to push the QA of that content out to a later date, especially since QA signoff is often the last part of a project release. So while the dev's are twiddling thier thumbs waiting on QA to punt bugs their way or sign off, they can instead be working on post-release content which will not get into the QA cycle, but they can then spend the next month after release putting through QA. That 'small patch' that 'enables' the content is likely to also contain tweaks and fixes for any problems later identified in the untested content.
In other words, most of this is about efficient use of scheduling and dev resources. We don't do the Waterfall model in development anymore, and that is a good thing, but it can also lead to a misunderstanding of how software is being developed since Agile is not a sequential methodology.
Good article. And for the detractors, note that Kyle did *not* claim that DLC content is always worth the money, or that games that do not deliver the value of the initial purchase price are justified. Only that DLC is not always what it appears and despite the speed at which it comes out post release, or the location of many of the assets that does not mean it in some way took away from the initial game development. If it did, I'd seriously question the dev manager and how they were allocating cycles.
Kyle - It might be helpful to at some point see if Ars could run a series of articles on software development, and the change from Waterfall to Agile development models.
Read the full article here:
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Op-ed: Why on-disc downloadable content isn't the crime it's made out to be
If it can't go through QA, don't put it on the disc and charge for it later. QA that $#@!, then sell it. I just can't agree with the excuse the second quote uses about QA, time, etc. If it's done, put it on the disc and let people get the content with the price they paid for it. If it's not done, meaning it hasn't been QA'd, then don't put it on the disc to save yourself some money from the bandwidth costs. Grow some balls, get some more respect from the gamers, and it'll work out in your favor for sure.
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ANY content on the disc should be available to the customer in some way (unlockable for completing an objective, etc.), not spending even more money.
Thats one aspect of gaming I miss, the unlockables. Now its `DLC`or some limited time promo code
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At the end of the day....it is up to use to determine whether any DLC content (on disc or not) is worth the price being asked for it. If they have content ready before the disc is printed, holding back content to sell it later is almost the same as selling it on the disc right?
Main difference being that it's not apparent....or obvious....right away.
On disk DLC should even be called DLC... Its not even downloaded content for starters...
It should just be called LC or LOC - Locked (Out) Content.
Its a trend I hate and have not bought RE6 and many other games because of the practice.
Capcom is so keen on locking out content and pissing off consumers by charging them again for it, the least they could do is leave it off the damn disk. At least then we really can't complain too much about it. Its the fact its already on the disk we paid for that pisses everyone off. If its on the disk we should be able to gain access to it without having to pay for it. Make it unlockable within the game AND give the choice of paying to unlock it or just leave it off the disk for gods sake.PCs are very much like Air Conditioners.
They both become utterly useless once you start to open up Windows....
It could be the most legal process in the world. If you're pissing off customers with it, don't do it.
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