Putting up a poll asking people if they would pay for a DLC or rather have it for free is silly, in my opinion, because only a minority will pay for something when they could have it for free. So this poll was more about finding out if they would buy cosmetics rather than characters, and to see if they didn’t want extra characters at all.
Interestingly this caused a lot of discussion which spilled into other areas it demonstrated how the tournament player certainly votes differently, especially about frequency of DLC.
Tournament players seem to agree on monthly characters to be added to the roster to keep the game active. However, casual fans just want all the DLC at once, asap.
No stupidity please. If they want to keep the game alive then every month a dlc is best option. Imagine if Kukri Nakururu Alice Verse Love Heart etc all were dlc's and released as on each month in 2017. Game would have been hella alive and hype
— Waqas @ KOFXV Hype 🔥🔥🔥 (@White_Ashx) January 30, 2018
I vote for "Dlc every month"!
— KCE | づね (@Dune_KOF) January 30, 2018
In terms of development cost, it doesn’t seem clear whether Sony charges for a patch or update. [further reading here and here and there] Lots of people are making assumptions, and Sony has only said so far that the consumer cannot be charged. Other people say that the charges are low, and ‘what is $10K to SNK’? Well, SNK’s console division is not exactly the same size as Electronic Arts…
Theoretically, putting an update onto the PSN requires testing certification by Sony, checking the game doesn’t ‘break the console’, updating various entries and databases where the game is present, so if there is a cost to SNK for this, it would cost less to bundle everything into one pack rather than make individual releases.
When we see just one dlc being added to a game, we can assume the company is betting that it will pay for the dev time and PSN fees that it incurs. Everything is a gamble.
DLC to keep the game active
Back to the players, the casual players have a different point of view, even when they see that player activity rises every time a DLC is added. Note, that for casual players, they may well stop playing a game after 3 weeks! DLC has to be supplied as soon as possible before they move to another game!
What would be best to keep players interested in #KOFXIV ?
— Shameful Gunsmith #kof15 (@orochinagicom) January 30, 2018
Notice the peak of players when they get a DLC pack. We all want to play, right? Imagine if we had these peaks once a month. At least we get more players for a weekend! Same thing happens with SFV dlc. pic.twitter.com/7rQOaVY0eq
— Shameful Gunsmith #kof15 (@orochinagicom) February 1, 2018
The reasoning behind this is sound. It affects not only player numbers online but also the game's entire relevance. Giving their current state, they have nothing to lose pulling dlc every other month, unless there's big constraints not related to money we don't know of pic.twitter.com/URgjXz7ieN
— shprdDMNE (@shprdDMNE) February 8, 2018
The original poll wasn’t so clear so we ran it again, but fans only have one choice with twitter votes, so… we end up with 75% saying they will buy DLC … whether they mean this for themselves, for SNK, or to keep the game alive is a different matter. Considering most of my followers are SNK fans, it’s still nice for SNK to read.
Do we need dlc? Do you think it keeps a game active?
— Shameful Gunsmith #kof15 (@orochinagicom) February 13, 2018
In conclusion, the dlc strategy that fans generally don’t argue with is cosmetics, characters should be free.
DLC for profit or support?
However, in terms of profitability, other games show that DLC characters bring in revenue, while annoying the fanbase. The tournament player fanbase doesn’t even like the game, but they pay up to remain part of the scene, while the casuals just buy it to keep up with the hype or to be materialistic. Yup, I have no links for this, this is generalising from stuff read on twitter, reddit, gamefaqs, etc.
I’ve watched the BBTAG saga with great interest, how Arcsys finally changed their policy so that the game will be released with 20 characters for $50 and the deluxe pack / season pass will cost $20, which nets you another 20 characters. If players buy the packs separately later on, it will cost more. The price of a “full game” including 40 characters seems acceptable to the fanbase. The new characters (which will cost more to develop compared to the recycled assets) being announced as DLC, really angered the fans, which has a huge impact because Blake and Yang were really the most profitable too. So the base game has a majority of recycled assets… So how else could they have hyped up the game? “Minefield” was a good way to describe it. The announcement of 20 characters should have been positive, to show continued support for a game, instead, it was seen as a greedy cash grab. Finally, the 3 character packs were announced at 600Y / 4.5€/ 5.25$ each and people are quite pleased. However… How they pack / separate the characters is going to cause another fuss.
Boycott or wait for the sales?
A lot of fans claim boycott and snub etc, incomplete product, no-character no-buy etc, and yet sales prove otherwise. SFV is a perfect example of this. Look at the users complaining compared to the users who bought the product. Users need to listen to each other and vote with their wallets.
The players who wait for the extend or anniversary or game of the year editions reduce the initial playerbase and that impression it has on the players that the game is active, at the same time, will add to the playerbase later down the line.
So far, people are ‘voting’ for “incomplete” packages and to be “milked” by DLC. If a user bought all the DOA dlc, it would amount to over $1000. On the other hand, they won’t, the majority of this DLC is cosmetic and tailored for their favourite character. So… if SNK can emulate this, also similar to what Tekken is doing, everybody’s happy? No, never.
SNK needs to be careful with announcements, how they meet fan expectations and keep in line with the most successful dlc practices. At the same time, the best ones are not the most profitable, and we all want KOFXV to be amazing, right? If the consumer is going to ditch your game after 3 weeks unless you give them something to download; cares more about a fancy costume more than the gameplay, what other choice does SNK have?