90's ShareWare vs 2010's New Game DLC

As just about any internet regular born in the 80s can attest, the 90’s PC gaming scene was filled with so-called Shareware games. Shareware games usually gave players about 30% of a full game to play. Say, the first episode of Duke Nukem 3D or limiting you to the first two cars in Death Rally for example. The catch was that if the game was awesome enough, people would give out copies to each other to spread the love or even purchase the full version! (Win-Win situation during the times of sneaker network, when premium network speeds were 56k)

Fast forward to present day. Games come 99-100% for those who preorder a game/buy a deluxe special extra edition, 95-98% complete for those who purchase a boxed game and 85-90% complete if you buy a game used. I did have extraordinary luck getting the DLC maps for CoD: Modern Warfare in my used copy. And those maps are pretty common in online matches.

Demos? An excellent way to have a look at the game mechanics but not much else. Some games offer incentives to continue playing into the full version. Some games that come into mind: Icewind Dale had save files compatible with the full version. Everybody’s Golf World Tour offers you an extra character right off the bat if you played the demo. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 allows you to retain your demo rank & unlocks in the full version.

Alright, many of the starting game developers back in the 90’s started out small and now, an increased amount of friction is generated between developers and consumers due to people buying their games pre-owned. Back to sharing games via sneaker network, where people exchange games upon completion? Oh, that won’t work either, because some of the content is locked to a single account/gamertag/id.

Time to form a huge gamer commune? Or should one just sit on the sidelines buying new games one wants and dipping into pre-owned when you’re not 100% sure you’ll like what you’re going to play? (As usual?) Things sure have switched around, huh?

Even if that doesn’t jive with the first-sale doctrine.

I think requiring extra $$ to purchase the whole game (not talking about expansion packs) may bring some money to the coffers, but it enervates the trust of the consumer in the brand. Okay, if DLC is an expansion pack in all but name (Broken Steel), I don’t mind. But the Dragon Age:Origins model was a failure in my eyes: complete editions that weren’t complete? Please.

I prefer single player in my games, so I’m probably not the target market, but tying a game to a single account rubs me the wrong way. It’s not as if you discourage piracy this way.

I dunno man, I see them as pretty seperate and incomprable entities. Mainly for reasons of purpose and dispersment. Let me put it to you like this, I just bought Assassins’ Creed II. The game is divided up into 14 “sequences”. Except that sequences 12 and 13 were released as DLC, not included with the retail version. Can I get a WTF? I bought them but haven’t reached that point in the game yet. I kind of wish I had waited because now I’m curious what the games like without them - I imagine it as holes in the story and game. If that’s the case it’s absolutely disgusting to expect consumers to not only pay $60 for an incomplete game, but to pay extra after the fact for missing chunks of gameplay. AC2 is but one example, many games have things like day-one DLC. Why not just include that in the whole game? I guess it’s to dissuade Used purchases, but it also negatively impacts users not connected to Xbox Live or PSN. Ultimately I think gamers are suffering the most during this generation of consoles. The pissing contest between Sony and Microsoft in terms of numbers of user accounts and money spent on their respective networks coupled with the sneaky, dark alley hustle that is Gamestop has left us without quality products.


edit: Oh, I guess I have to talk about Shareware. See, shareware was the shit. You used to be able to go to like, Office Max and buy a CD that ad 400 shareware titles. Cool little things, remakes of classics or new takes on old ideas and whatnot… definitely a precursor to, say, the Xbox Live Indie games section. Apogee was a big Shareware company, they did games like Raptor and Blake Gold, a doom knock off. Rapter was Galaga with upgrades and funky fucking levels with huge bosses. After the PC games market sky rocketed, Shareware turned into AbandonWare, mostly old shareware games of companies that had long since died off. But eventually a bunch of other stuff landed on there too, like Cliff Bleszinkski’s first game, Jazz Jackrabbit. Ultimately Shareware was but just one iteration of the internet’s biggest ideal: Everything should always be free.

I disagree. I think this generation has amazing products. I do agree that this generation now has unheard of levels of bullshit. The AC2 thing is a great example. Other DLCs are excellent, like Dragon Age’s Golem DLC, ME:2’s Zaeed and GTAIV’s expansions. A lot of companies are experimenting and the result is that sometimes things work and other times they don’t. It is unfortunate that part of the reason we’re stuck with some of the bullshit directly because of Gamestop. You’re right to say that it sucks that you’re only able to get some stuff like Zaeed and Shale if you connect your console to the network and do a little dance.

Yeah, well, part of what I was saying is that because we’re at the beginning of the digital distribution revolution we have to suffer the most now before it gets better. Gamestop makes a killing, and as much as they say people trade games in to buy new ones, I know I wait for games to drop to that $20 range far, far more often than I do buy games new right of the bat. That’s also part of the problem with the Shale DLC, wasn’t that a Pre Order bonus? So even if you buy the game new you still don’t get that unless you buy it quick enough? That’s a clear push for a big opening week number and it really shafts gamers.

I think it’s genius! Why sell something as a whole if you can make more money selling it in fractions!

Shale became D1 DLC, like Zaeed. Anyone who buys it gets it nowadays. EA changed strategy to see if doing this instead of just doing pre-order bonuses would result in more new game sales.

They call it project 10 dollar. Anyone who buys the used game has to pay for the extra content, typically in the range of what it would save them buying it used.

Another example of this nonsense is Dante’s Inferno is supposed to have a multiplayer mode, but it will be released as DLC.

But I have to agree with ya Sin, this generation’s games are pretty awesome. The triple-A titles at least, ya know. I think this generation’s B side games are disappointingly B side. But it’s been a hard decision come every fall when the big games drop.

DLC in general just kinda pisses me off. In some examples, like Borderlands, I don’t have a problem with it.
But like with Dragon Age, when you have Day 1 DLC, that just screams stupid. I say that, since it should’ve just been in the game to begin with.
It’s really kinda crappy especially when some of that content may already be on the disc, but you have to pay more to unlock it. Wha?

As for Shareware, that was the shit. Playing Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake, and Game Empire (some of the compilation stuff Sorcerer was talking about). Those were the days…

D1 DLC isn’t necessarily disc unlockable. I don’t think that kind of thing happens anymore. I see the D1 DLC thing as being a legitimate way to motivate people to buy new.

Fast forward to present day. Games come 99-100% for those who preorder a game/buy a deluxe special extra edition, 95-98% complete for those who purchase a boxed game and 85-90% complete if you buy a game used.
And 50% complete if you bought FFX in Canada -_- No dark aeons, no penance battle, tiny sphere grid. It’s a joke how little of the game Square released here. It’s pretty much a beta.