Frank N. Magid’s recent survey on gamers’ awareness of downloadable content is just another sign of a half-formed survey that tells only one side of the story. Not a surprise, since most focus tests use narrow techniques to answer specific questions. But the story on IGN and Edge explain it’s asking the wrong people playing the wrong systems. Most of the gamers surveyed were playing PS2 and Wii games. In the vernacular, “well, duh.”
DLC games have been booming since Microsoft introduced the console’s Xbox Live marketplace. Entire studios such as Chair have based their total focus on DLC, resulting in games such as the smart Undertow and the retro Shadow Complex. EA put Battlefield 1943 entirely on DLC, trimming out a single-player campaign and focusing entirely on multiplayer.
Analysts point to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV DLC as examples of how DLC doesn’t work, at least from a pure financial standpoint–Both The Damned and the Lost and The Ballad of Gay Tony didn’t make nearly as much as investors or analysts had hoped they would–but these were Rockstar’s first big attempts at substantial DLC, and while not homers, they certainly got to second base.
I swear, I’m going to conduct my own surveys, each one asking questions like, “Do you think Halo is awesome?” and I’ll make sure to ask only PlayStation 3 users. I’ll ask Nintendo fans “do they love that the Wii is in first place in the console race for the first time since the Super NES?” And then ask Bill Gates, “Have you ever played WOW or LittleBigPLanet?” just for fun. One last question will be aimed at young moms who just bought the Wii to workout; it will be, “How hardcore is Gear of War on a scale of 1 to 17?” Sounds scientific enough for me.