Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Consumer's Seven Laws of DLC  

With the advent of online connectivity for consoles, developers and publishers alike have been exploring new opportunities for new creative and financial endeavors. While some people may have initially had doubts about the viability of Downloaded Content (DLC), it's become quite clear that this new business/development model has been wildly successful. Without question, all sides agree that DLC is here to stay. However, proper utilization of DLC is still in its infancy, and has much potential for going astray.

Just because something is technologically possible doesn't mean that it's morally right (or even good business) and as people who participate in and support DLC, the three authors of this article are absolutely in favor of seeing it continue as long as profits don't trump ethics.

The following rules of fair play weren’t created by spoiled gamers lashing out or to serve some imaginary sense of entitlement. This outline is about keeping the games industry in touch with real consumers and common-sense expectations in a new world full of unexplored territory -- territory that's extremely ripe for consumer exploitation. Developers and publishers want to succeed and earn a living. Players want to enjoy their creations, yet avoid being taken advantage of. It is our firm belief that these two sides can meet amicably in the middle, and we hope that these seven laws will help spur conscientious thought and discussion on the subject.

--Brad Gallaway, Peter Skerritt, and Michael Tilson

1. All purchased DLC shall stay with the consumer, not the hardware. Additionally, all DLC shall be transferrable to current and successive hardware models of a given platform in the same generation.

When a player spends money on a download, it's unthinkable that they'd have to pay for the same content again if (or when) their hardware is rendered inoperable. For example, players who’ve bought DSiware aren’t able to transfer those purchases to a DSi XL, or even to another DSi should their first unit die out of warranty.

2. Publisher-locked content on a disc that’s not accessible through play (henceforth referred to as Ransomware) shall not be called DLC, and game discs containing Ransomware shall disclose such to the consumer prior to their purchase.

As players saw most recently with BioShock 2, developers have started encoding certain pieces of content on discs, and then locking this content away unless players pay for keys obtained online for an additional fee. Since nothing but a key is being downloaded, such content is not DLC, and advertising it as such is blatantly misleading the consumer.

3. Any DLC requiring additional purchase should not be launched simultaneously with a new game.

If developers have the time and resources to create paid DLC that's released at the same time as the new game, then that effort should have been put towards the game itself. This is especially true in the cases of DLC that adds content which could realistically have been expected to be included with the retail version. Day-one DLC available free with retail purchase or another such offer is acceptable since it does not require additional money from the player.

4. Additional DLC content should be something above and beyond what could reasonably be expected in a full-featured retail game. Story additions, standard features and normal ‘extras’ should not be held back from retail releases for purposes of becoming DLC later.

Prior to the age of online consoles and microtransactions, developers would frequently include all sorts of options and features in order to make their product seem as though it were delivering the best value. These days, it seems that developers are now holding back such additions as a way of generating revenue later. For example, Mass Effect 2 is charging for new costumes and Resident Evil 5 locked away a versus mode, both of which are things that would normally be expected in any current big-budget game.

5. Difficulty of a game shall not be skewed in order to encourage players to purchase DLC.

Although there haven't been any egregious examples of this phenomenon so far, it's not too hard to imagine a situation where enemies are so powerful, or life-ups are so infrequent that players would be tempted to pay for items that make aggressive titles more playable. Additionally, games which provide DLC shortcuts for players to avoid grinding should not have grinding in the first place. For example, Dante’s Inferno offers in-game currency (souls) in exchange for real money as a way of skipping the tedious ‘redeeming’ minigame to earn it, and Tales of Vesperia lets players purchase level-ups outright. Although the idea of shortcuts might seem like a good idea, why should they be desirable in the first place?

6. Owners of DLC should be allowed to create back-up copies of their purchases.

DLC should be treated as an actual commodity, not as a limited-life rental disguised as a “purchase”. If players pay real money for a Dragon Age expansion, and they should be able to sell that expansion (along with their disc) at some point in the future like any other used good. Back-ups are also important since it's possible for paid DLC to unexpectedly become unavailable, and people may lose access to their paid content. For example: players who purchased Robotron 2084 for the 360 may have noticed that it's no longer available through the Marketplace. A similar situation occurred with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, and certain download characters are no longer available. If a player’s hard drive fails or a unit catches the RROD, they aren't able to recover the content that they already own.

7. Titles available only via download should offer players a demo prior to purchase. Titles which do not offer a demo should be eligible for a refund.

While Microsoft has done an excellent job of offering a free demo for every title in their Marketplace, both Sony and Nintendo sell a large number of games without any information about them, nor any opportunity for a player to try before they buy. With physical copies, players could rent first, or at least trade or sell unwanted titles to recoup some of their investment. With demo-free DLC titles, consumers have no way to know exactly what they're buying and have  has no recourse whatsoever should they take a chance on a game which turns out to not be what they expected.

Agree? Disagree? Have another idea? Leave a comment and let us know.

What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

21 comments: to “ The Consumer's Seven Laws of DLC


    I completely agree with all of your points (except one, but I'll get there). The way most downloadable content is handled is bullshit, because it is deliberately created to take advantage of the customer, not enhance their experience. I lost almost 100 bucks worth of downloaded games when my Wii died. Where'd it go? Gone. Flat out GONE. Forever. I had to re-buy stuff if I wanted it because the content was tied to my serial number, not ME.
    I agree that cut content should be included on the disc (or unlocked from the get go, or for free, if it already is) but I'm all about expansion packs with punch. Character expansions and stuff like that, if done properly, is worth my time and money.
    However, while your point about including paid DLC in the game to begin with is definitely a good one, I think the idea of enticing early adopters with additional stuff is great. I loved the included DLC in Dragon Age, especially Shale, which you slapped an image of above. Sure, it COULD have been included on the disc as a regular mission, but it's a nice piece of essentially unnecessary content that acts as a great means of encouraging you to purchase the game new rather than used. I prefer people to support developers, and if you don't want to, you shouldn't get the same perks. Granted, I'm still with you that adding perks to begin with is sketchy.


    1. Agreed.
    2.) I agree, HOWEVER, if ransomware is looked down upon, devs could just keep it held back even if it's ready. This applies to rule #3 as well.
    4.) Exactly. What I hinted at as a danger from rules 2 and 3.
    5.)Agreed. Charging customers to not have to play your game is a sign of a pretty bad game.
    6.) This one is tricky. I understand their reluctance to let people burn copies to a disc as that would encourage mass piracy. I think offering refunds for defunct content is a more reasonable option.

    Honestly, I don't think I've ever bought DLC expansions. Once I beat what's on the disc, I'm usually kind of tired of it and want to move on to a new game. For ex, I loved Fallout 3 and Mass Effect, but wasn't exactly craving more after I'd had my fill. The best examples of DLC I can think of are the GTAIV expansions where it's a full mini-sequel. Like episodic gaming. Too bad I never liked GTAIV and thus never tried these, but the idea had me intrigued.

    I do love a lot of downloadable games though and agree they need demos. I'd love to check out all this bit.trip nonsense, but have been reluctant to plop down some cash (even though they're cheap, I don't know which one I'd start with).


    I agree wholeheartedly with all of these laws, and have an 8th:

    8. DLC will be functional for all accounts on an installed device

    Although this should be a non-issue, certain DLC requires a separate purchase for each tag, handle, or screen name registered on the same console. This behavior, while not outright illegal, is certainly immoral. Name dropping here for a minute, why should I as a gamer have to re-purchase Cerberus Network, at a hefty $15 price tag, simply to use it with a different account on the SAME box?



    I actually put Shale up there as an example of 'free with purchase' DLC, which I think is actually okay. Do you think #3 needs to be re-worded or clarified?


    I find it very hard to disagree with almost anything on the list. All that I would really change a little are numbers 1 and 5. Not change, exactly, but add to them a little.

    1. Allow consumers to register consoles/handhelds to a personal account and enable DLC or games to be downloaded on registered devices.

    5. Disable purchased character enhancements for multiplayer sessions. (not sure if developers do let people do this, but it would be good to safeguard against it)

    Oh also make sure that DLC works before it is released. Other than those points I endorse the list completely.


    These are valid points, but I don't know if I can agree with numbers 2 and 3.

    #2: Media on a disc is just media. While I believe that locking content away is a bit annoying, I can also understand it to some extent. Let's take for example, Final Fantasy XIII. There are multiple themes for my PS3 on the disc, but I can't access them just because I bought the game. I have to earn them by playing the game a lot. To me, time is worth more than a few bucks. Do I feel entitled to the media just because it's on the disc? No. I have to earn it. Would I buy it, knowing it was already on the disc. Quite possibly, because again, time is money.

    #3: DLC is something not originally in the scope of the game. While it would be nice to presume that the content could've made it into the game, the reality is that the code freeze and manufacturing time to make console releases can be well over a month, where you have developers twiddling around waiting for the next Big Thing. In the meantime, companies want to pay their salaries by adding on some DLC for a small fee. I can't see a problem with that.

    The other five points have my whole-hearted endorsement.

  • Hargrada


    I'm not really clear about 5. Are you guys against the selling of "cheat codes" style dlc? I can understand an objection to it from a multiplayer standpoint, but the way it's presented here seems pretty vague to me.

    Most of the other points seem pretty reasonable to me, though I can't see a lot of 6 happening without severe restrictions. I do agree that players should be given an option to get a small refund (or at least credit) if their content is no longer available to them somehow (as someone has already mentioned). Not to sure about the reselling of digital content though. How can dlc become used? There's no wear or tear involved (or am I missing something).


    I don't think any company is going to agree to renaming DLC as ransomware, even if that is what it is... I actually like that implementation better than true DLC. It depends if you have unlimited internet or not; if you have to pay by the gigabyte then DLC can be double expensive - you have to buy it and then pay to download it, whereas a quick key download and having the software on the disc is a lot easier (and faster).

    For instance I waited and bought the game of the year edition of Fallout 3 rather than downloading each episode of DLC separately - I bought the game twice then, but the speed and cost saving to me worked.

    Of course this raises the ugly question: why do firms not just give us the game complete when we buy it. The obvious answer is to make more money. If the publisher already knows what the DLC will be ahead of release then it makes sense to put it on the disc (I don't think anyone can have ever claimed to fill a Blu-ray yet, XBOX 360 not sure about). On the other hand, if the content is being created after release (e.g. Fallout 3 again) then it makes sense that it is download only.

    Should we care if companies know they will release DLC after the initial release date? If they include it on the disc but lock us out of it? Probably, but its the way it goes. Don't like it, don't buy it. In the past "locked content" used to be in games all the time in the 90s, from cheats to secret costumes, needing a code to play it. Often these codes would be released to keep interest in the game going. It's all just as cynical as DLC. What we really should be embracing is the DLC that occurs AFTER release when someone has an idea they wished they could have put in the game, or didn't have time to do properly. That should be the one law of DLC, perhaps: That downloading anything more than an unlock code should not occur unless this new content was created after the game shipped... Or something...


    It's great to see that this piece has sparked some reaction.

    @Mitch: I empathize with your Wii situation; I've had to rebuy a number of Virtual Console games because my Wii's video output finally went south and I eventually replaced it after some time. Conversely, I was able to recover most of my PSN stuff when I got my new PS3 last week. Any downloadable media absolutely should be tied to an account and should be recoverable-- at least for two or three times.

    @Mikel: Indeed, media on a disc is only media... and if it's meant to be unlocked through gameplay or a certain event or achievement, that's fine. Conversely, storing media on a disc that a consumer has already paid full price for with the knowledge that said content can only be unlocked via a purchased unlock code is misleading and one of the biggest problems I have with DLC as it stands today.


    I agree with all except the 4th and the 7th. The 4th on a technical point - I'm fine with content that could've been in the feature game but wasn't because it wasn't originally intended to be. A simple story add on which just adds extra hours to the game is fine - but if it was something that was cut, something that was meant to be in there but wasn't cos of time - well, that's a bit dodgy. So I guess what I'm saying is that the content doesn't have to go above and beyond the content on the disc, it just needs to be honest.

    Re: 7, I don't think that has to be a standard. I just think it's something that Microsoft does and it separates them from the pack. Life is full of stuff you can't trial or expect a refund for after having, and I'm not sure why DLC has to be otherwise. I do think, though, that Sony lose a lot of business that way because Microsoft does employ the trial/demo stance.


    Excellent rules, although I'm with Mr Durarand Pierre, I can see why being able to back up DLC to disc would encourage piracy. Of course if DLC was linked to the person not the account it wouldn't be essential anyway!

    I don't mind DLC that helps players such as level ups or extra money. I figure it gives players with less free time the option to skip ahead slightly while other players can just avoid it. Obviously this shouldn't be allowed for multiplayer games but I don't see any real harm to it for singleplayer games.


    I basically agree with this, especially about the transfer of ownership beyond being landlocked to a console, but the taste of DLC as a whole still is foul in my mouth.

    I say this as someone who has never actually purchased DLC; if I had bought any of the Fallout 3 DLC individually (rather than in the GotY edition), I would have been mighty angry.

    I think of my video games in terms of the money that I spent on them, and I don't like the idea of spending money on something that should already be complete.


    1. All purchased DLC shall stay with the consumer, not the hardware. Additionally, all DLC shall be transferrable to current and successive hardware models of a given platform in the same generation.

    - I agree with this 100%. Knowing how Nintendo treats the Wii and DSi with downloadable games is just screwy, but I think it's more an issue of Nintendo not having a clue what they are doing than anything malicious. Regardless, they need to get a clue. I recently heard someone saying that they "knew that Nintendo would do better with the 3DS." Clearly this industry expert doesn't really pay attention to Nintendo. I think Sony is the closest to do this right, as they let games jump between the PS3 and PSP, game sharing, etc., but even they have problems.

    2. Publisher-locked content on a disc that’s not accessible through play (henceforth referred to as Ransomware) shall not be called DLC, and game discs containing Ransomware shall disclose such to the consumer prior to their purchase.

    - There is no excuse for "Ransomware" ever. It's shady and nothing more need be said on that matter.

    3. Any DLC requiring additional purchase should not be launched simultaneously with a new game.

    - This is more a gray area for me. I think people really underestimate how much can get done in the time between finishing the game for production and the release of the game. I love that BioWare has given this DLC away as free (Shale, Zaeed), but I don't generally find this offensive. I just tend to avoid it. If it's something like Shale that clearly was a major part of DAO, then yeah, make it free. They shouldn't charge for content that's just been cut out. But if Fallout 3's Operation Anchorage had hit day 1, I wouldn't have been upset. I just wouldn't have bought it.

    4. Additional DLC content should be something above and beyond what could reasonably be expected in a full-featured retail game. Story additions, standard features and normal ‘extras’ should not be held back from retail releases for purposes of becoming DLC later.

    - This too doesn't really offend me greatly. I don't usually care about these kinds of extras, but if they are ready on day 1 and cost money, then yeah it's stupid. I think it just hurts the main game, like ME2's lack of outfit variety. It's stupid to charge for that now.

    5. Difficulty of a game shall not be skewed in order to encourage players to purchase DLC.

    - First, even though I wouldn't do it, I have no problems with something like Vesperia selling levels. I would have a problem if the game was so hard or had a tough boss just for the sake of selling something like this. I thought it was a brilliant marketing strategy to the lazy to sell in-game levels, but it shouldn't be because you made your game unfairly difficult.

    6. Owners of DLC should be allowed to create back-up copies of their purchases.

    - There does need to be a way to backup purchases. Ideally, what I'd like is an online account that knows who I am and what I've bought, so if I want to go buy a new 360 I can just log in and download my stuff again. iTunes allows for transfers of downloads, game systems should do the same. Again Nintendo is the biggest problem here because their infrastructure is horrible. I don't think this is intentional, I just don't think they understand.

    7. Titles available only via download should offer players a demo prior to purchase. Titles which do not offer a demo should be eligible for a refund.

    - Do games you buy in a store always have a demo or a way to return them? Sure you can trade those in, but not for full price. Personally, I think that having a demo is needed, but can understand that it's not always something that's going to happen. In that case, I might just miss out on a game. A downloadable game being eligible for a refund because you don't like it would be nice, but is never going to happen without something like a subscription program of some kind.


    These are all great, common sense ideas that I support. Now comes the tough question: How do you get the publishers to play ball? How do you make your DLC idealism into DLC realism?

    You could threaten a boycott of any DLC that doesn't meet these high standards, but the mere existence of these types of DLC implies that at least some of them are doing pretty well out there in the marketplace (i.e. enough gamers are willing to buy them to make it worthwhile), so it might be tough mobilizing righteous fury among a significant part of the market. I also doubt you could get people to boycott DLC on the Wii and DS outright, as a strict following of these rules would necessitate.

    You could use the power of the press to highlight these abuses, as you have and many others have done, but I get the impression that these types of concerns are of limited interest even to people who follow gaming news closely, much less the larger universe of ignorant DLC buyers.

    The sad truth is the state of DLC is guided by what the market will bear, and the market as a whole seems to be bearing all of these abuses without overly much concern. I support these points as ideas, but I'm worried that's all they'll ever be.


    I agree with most of the entries on this list, but it's difficult to take the word "Ransomware" seriously, or square it with the third paragraph of your introduction where you're talking about how you're not "lashing out". I agree that on-disc "DLC" represents a particularly problematic issue, but the phrase "henceforth referred to as Ransomware" sounded to me like Comic Book Guy talking.

    My other issue is with #6. I don't actually have any philosophical problem with DLC being non-transferable, for one thing, although the companies that provide DLC should. Also, the point has been raised that backing up DLC is a window into piracy, and I think that's a key problem with this demand. The other thing is that this is very similar to issue #1, and in fact may not be legitimately separable from it. Taking a cue from Mitchell's comment, we could phrase things more generally as:

    #1 The owner of DLC is a person, not a piece of hardware or an "account". A user who has paid for a piece of DLC should have the right to transfer it freely between any machines capable of running it. Companies that provide DLC have an obligation to enable paying customers to freely download that content again as long as they have hardware capable of running it.


    I'll preface this comment by suggesting that it probably falls somewhere between 'devil's advocate' and personal opinion. It's the old problem of balancing philosophical ideology with pragmatic realism.

    It seems to me consumers ought to own what they purchase. So in general most of your suggestions are sensible and fair. The problem is that we don't always own what we pay money for, and when vendors make those terms clear (we frequently dismiss this as 'fine print' but it's there for all of us to read if we want to), we really don't have a leg to stand on when we agree to those terms at the time of transaction.

    I'm generally the last guy to defend the invisible hand, but when publishers put out a product with all the limits and constrictions we find odious attached, we're free to purchase or not to purchase. Every consumer has this choice, and publishers determine their strategies based on how we respond to these choices.

    So the target for Laws of DLC shouldn't be publishers - who will *always* act to maximize profit, including those who behave in ways we like - but instead gamers and the broader consumer base. If these groups can't be educated, mobilized, activated, etc., it's hard for me to see how we these sensible ideas will be adopted.

    Outrage can be contagious, but as we've seen, it only provokes change when enough people feel personally affected to act. When I talk to my students about restrictive DRM, DLC, privacy issues, and the like, I find it very difficult to get a rise out of them. They simply don't care enough to alter their behaviors. If they see DLC they want, they buy it. That is, unless they can find a torrent and a crack.

    I hope my comments won't be misconstrued as dismissive because that's not my intention. I'm simply coming at the questions you raise from another angle, hoping to broaden the conversation to include other points of view I'm wrestling with myself.


    You really do have a lot of great rules up here, but I take issue with some of the notions being presented in both the article and the comments.

    I don't like that idea that a consumer has a right to their game costing exactly $60. If a developer charges $70 for their game the hardcore gaming community collectively shits their pants and decides they're being exploited (even if the product goes above and beyond what most games give for $60. Ala Oblivion or Dragon Age.)

    Nobody has any problem with a game "not being worth $60" and they're OK with games being priced beneath that number. But that logic is a two-way street. You can't say that Bejewelled should only cost $10 because it's not worth $60 and then claim that nothing could be worth more than $60. It doesn't make sense. (I'm using the royal "you" not insinuating that's something Brad directly said.)

    So developers aren't left with a lot of options. They either have to short-change an amazingly expansive product (like Dragon Age which is worth far more than $60 even without the Shale DLC) or they can try to recoup the funds another way. It's not shady. They've tried the other way, but when they try to charge gamers outright they respond by not buying the product.

    This kind of "ransomware" is actually a good deal for gamers in a lot of ways. Of course there are companies who misuse it, but as a business model there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

    Just because you bought a product, that doesn't entitle you to everything the company worked on during the time-frame of development.

    I don't think there's anything at all wrong with developers and publishers trying to make an extra few bucks off of consumers who really loved the product and want more. As long as the original product is still worth the retail cost to the consumer.

    Though I think we can all agree that there's something very wrong when these companies start removing content from an otherwise complete package, and charging extra for it.


    In light of Michael's comment, I think it's worthwhile to point out that how publishers represent a purchase to the consumer seems to be somewhat different than how they think of it themselves. To the consumer, it appears that the transaction of buying a game involves the purchase of software, and this is how the act is represented to them. The behavior of publishers, however, suggests that they interpret the transaction as something else. Perhaps "rental" is the best compact description, but at any rate the publishers seem to believe they are selling a limited right to run a piece of software, rather than the software itself. Game buyers believe they are buying something like a book, and game sellers believe they are selling something like a movie ticket. The troubled situation with DLC and DRM stems from the lack of clarity in this regard, because as Michael points out, this is primarily being dealt with in the fine print of a EULA nobody reads (and which may not be legally binding), rather than through an open dialogue between publishers and customers.


    There are a lot of great comments here, and I think it underscores the fact that there is a broad range of expectations from consumers about post-sale content.

    Since the preface talks a lot about a middle-ground where everyone's rights are represented, I had an idea. Without refuting (or supporting) any individual item on the original list, I'd like to identify some rights of the content creators and providers, possibly using them as a springboard to bolster the list for everyone.

    I invite comment, correction, and criticism on these ideas as "rights"

    1) DESIGNERS have the responsibility to define the SCOPE of their own projects: Development and allocation of resources is difficult and expensive. A piece of post-release content is allowed to be planned FROM THE BEGINNING, because foresight and smart management is essential in mid- and long-term endeavors. This applies to content downloadable or "otherwise."

    2) BUSINESSES have a right to collect revenue and PROFIT: Developers and publishers are a business, not a charity. There are real costs to creating and supporting intangible goods (believe it or not). Everything they do must be driven by the bottom line, even "free" content. If we can't remove cynicism entirely, at least we must understand this is a fact of life.

    Corollary: satisfaction guarantees aren't "equipped standard" in movies, books, music, etc, or for intangible goods and services. Consider your favorite reviewer's opinion or public response before you purchase.

    3) CREATORS have a right to their creative VISION: Expanded story elements, extra modes, character skins, horse armor, and even "shortcuts" are all part of a finished product. Thought and energy are put into every decision. A product director may decide multiplayer is ancillary to the main experience, or that the Retro Character Model is a cool thing to make available for those who want to pay for it.

    4) PROVIDERS have a right to PROTECT their livelihood: Anti-piracy is a tough subject, but it's not clear that IP holders suddenly decided one day to make things difficult for their customers for no reason. Content providers and IP holders would be negligent if they did not control the distribution of their intangible goods. Licensing agreements and other legal arrangements are options. DRM and technology controls are options. Consumer appeal and reliance on public largesse is yet another strategy. Providers have the right to decide how best to protect the income they deserve for the work they do.

    5) EVERYONE has right to live or die by MARKET FORCES: Ultimately, supply and demand make consumer markets work. It's OK to have positive or negative opinions about a company's choices for its products... but as long as they are pursuing their income through legal channels, it's all up to the consumer base to decide what will and won't be supported. Ultimately if you don't like something available for sale, consumers have the right not to buy it. If you happen to be in the minority in that decision... that's just the reality of it.

    The last thing I want to do is muddy the waters with a "competing" list, but in this discussion I just want to make sure that other viewpoints are explored, and hopefully generate a discussion that makes real-world sense for all of us.

    Anything less would be pointless, eh?

  • Michael T


    Sparky - You do make a good point where publishers (as a whole) want to take full control over a product and that it's a "license" (or rental) to the person rather than his own property. However it's rather clear they know that open honesty is not going to win them any favors. They'd just wait, play "GOTCHA!" with their EULAs all the while making people think they own what they paid for. What do they really have to gain from a direct statement?

    let's take a look at this set of yours:

    1. You're on the money. They can certainly work it that way. It's what got us the very cool Fallout missions. However, in most of my experience it tends to be that something becomes too complex, they scrap it and move on. Shale was this case, and so was the Tomb Raider DLC.

    2. This is a given. Of course they are a company, and yes they'd like to earn and collect money. I've got no problem with that.

    What is a problem is when they take advantage of the consumer's trust. When this happens, a consumer is less likely to do business with them again. Namco Bandai Games has been one of the biggest supporters of hard line DLC and Ransomware ever since the 360 showed up. They've just let go a whole slew of people in a series of layoffs.

    Your corollary is off. We do have commercial game rentals and other ways to balance things out to decide if a game is right for us. But at this point we can't sell or trade our purchases. This isn't a movie ticket, this is something we own and can revisit.

    3. This is all well and good, but is that 8 bit retro model REALLY that tough? A versus mode when you already have a co-op multiplayer mode? This isn't a sizable work effort beyond the scope of the game if you're to charge full retail. It would be another thing if the game was subsidized or a "Free to Play" game model.

    4. DRM, or more importantly, Control is viewed as the ultimate method of ensuring product sales. It hasn't exactly done much favors for the PC market and barely works outside of scaring off potential customers. Even worse, this is done in the name of sacrificing a consumer's fair use rights.

    5. The problem with this statement, and while I agree with it, is that already it's clear that many of the tactics used in these cases are borderline illegal and wouldn't be tolerated under any other existing circumstance. Remember Divx? The DVD that you'd own to rent? Everyone knew how that system was supposed to work and it was clearly a bad deal.
    I suspect once 360 servers go down and players can no longer access their purchases as a whole will it be clear that these items have to have a long term plan.


    A little late to the party here but willing to throw in my two cents. (Also, Brad, was this that thing you had wanted to talk about because of my one column? I'm so spastic sometimes that I'm not sure.)

    Not to step entirely outside the box, but this isn't just a problem in gaming. Assuming nothing has changed terribly much in the world of iTunes, I recall not being able to redownload items that I had purchased on another machine but signed in on a different machine under the same account.

    Even though the damn thing knows that I bought it (purchase history), it won't let me access it. It's hard to change something that's so pervasive in the entertainment industry as a whole.

    That said, by and large, I agree. I have no particular qualms with the list... just a bit of a frown at how to go about implementing them.