Here’s a fan-friendly move that needs to become the new industry standard: Naughty Dog celebrated the two-year anniversary of Uncharted 3 by removing the price tag from its DLC multiplayer maps. Not enough anniversary love for you? They also added a brand new map called Dry Docks and slashed prices on other DLC (costumes, etc.).
For those of us who groan about DLC, this is slick news, not to mention a classy move on Naughty Dog’s part. It got my overworked mind thinking: Why don’t more companies do something similar on the two-year anniversary of a game?
Imagine this life cycle for a game:
a) Release date: A game releases in bare bones form.
b) One-year anniversary: Ultimate edition or Game of the Year edition hits shelves, coaxing those who passed on the game earlier.
c) Two-year anniversary: DLC sheds its price tag, gives early adopters a reason to boot-up the game and spread the word to potential newcomers.
In other words, free things come to those who wait. The only problem with this system is that it could deter early adopters from buying DLC. However, if companies stay tight-lipped until the two-year anniversary, the system could work to benefit both gamers and game companies.
As a bonus, this strategy could benefit games that don’t receive a GOTY Edition. Imagine if Konami announced free DLC for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (I know there’s a LoS multi-pack, but work with me here). Gaming sites and blogs would buzz with the news and make the game relevant again. Fans of the original would pop-in to play the DLC while curious newcomers would pull the trigger. Meanwhile the release of Lords of Shadow 2 is looming, and suddenly there’s rejuvenated interest from old and new fans alike.
Free DLC for the sake of advertising. We can do this.