When it comes to DLC announcements, game publishers are in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” type of situation. If the company announces DLC too early, then many see it as an admission that some content was held back from the main game. Announce DLC too late, however, and the company runs the risk of gamers losing interest, either because they returned the game or because they simply have moved on.
It is this exact conundrum that Bethesda faced when announcing Fallout 4’s upcoming DLC and Season Pass, knowing full well that criticisms would arise. Still, the company made the decision for a reason, and VP of Marketing Pete Hines believes the choice to announce DLC plans now was a smart one.
According to Hines, Bethesda’s plan for announcing Fallout 4 DLC was a “good one.” In his mind, cluing fans in on the publisher’s long-term goals with the hugely anticipated game helps clear the air, and it also gives some idea as to how the adventure will continue. His verbatim quote can be found below:
While Hines is clearly doing a little bit of damage control in the face of criticism, most would agree that his efforts were unnecessary. Given Bethesda’s track record with DLC releases – from Oblivion to Skyrim – everyone expected that Fallout 4 would have post-release content. In fact, some might say that demand is so high for Fallout 4 that gamers would be disappointed if the game didn’t have DLC.
Even so, Bethesda was smart about coming out and saying the Fallout 4 DLC is further down the road. The closer to release date that a piece of DLC launches, the more gamers seem to perceive it as held-back content.
And from a financial standpoint, announcing DLC and a Season Pass can also assist with sales projections. Not that Fallout 4 is in any danger of underselling, but Season Pass purchases can help gauge whether a game will have the longevity that a company hopes it will. And with Fallout 4, Bethesda is expecting to break more than a few records.
In the end, though, the DLC conundrum still exists, and even the most beloved of game developers are likely to struggle with it. The good news is we have more cases of DLC done right as of late, than we do DLC gone bad.
Do you think Bethesda was wise to announce Fallout 4 DLC plans when they did? Should they have waited until after the main game released?
Fallout 4 releases November 10, 2015 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.