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Selling Unfinished Games: Is This The Future of the Industry? |

It’s no question that at $60 a copy video games can be a bit expensive for most. It appears that some in the gaming industry is aware of  this fact and want to alleviate that problem the only way they know how- by selling you half a game at half the price.

Namco Bandai’s CEO Shukuo Ishikawa recently stated that:  “Selling a game only once for $70-$80 [typical Japanese prices] is no good at all. If you sell it for $25, or even give it away free, then you can sell episodes and items online. They’ll soon be dropping $10 or $20 on these, and you can also do monthly charges.”

This strategy is also being considered by Codemasters whose CEO Rod Cousens claims that selling unfinished games will help defeat piracy. 

“The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games – and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience. That would create an offering that is affordable at retail – but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games. If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won’t be able to complete the experience.”

Selling half a game and then offering the rest as DLC has one downside. Not everyone in the world has access to high speed Internet. I think such a move could hurt video game sales instead of help because of that fact.


  • I would like to maybe bring up a second, lesser point: By making “half” of game come through DLC will begin soaking up large amounts of hard drive Space; especially for the poor souls who are still stuck on a 20gb HD.
    This is less of an issue with the current system since we can uninstall/reinstall most of the data at will with a disc, whilst this new one could have you download large amounts of data, sometimes repeatedly depending on your circumstances.

  • no, i will not accept any games no matter how good they are like this. either you make it complete or don’t do it at all. DLCs that add on some parts of the games is alright but like a new game that is in half is really lame. or like a new game on an old game is retarded.

  • I can almost see their point, but… isn’t that like Ford saying they’re going to cut car crime by selling vehicles without wheels so they can’t be stolen, then selling you wheels which only last a couple of weeks before you have to buy more?

  • Maybe it will be like shareware. If they give away the first chapter, level, stage or whatever it will give players a chance to see if they like the game before dropping $60. Also, it will save developers the trouble of making a demo.
    Maybe it won’t be such a bad thing. Of course it probably works better with digital distribution than discs.

  • First of all, I find that gamers in general are pretty damn cheap lol. They/we are always complaining about something. 60$ a game is pretty sweet imo. Wii game prices are so low, I was shocked… Growing up, often I would spend 80+ on a game. Especially RPGs.

    I think that selling half games is a horrible idea. I sold my copy of Dragon Age: Origins when I found out they were selling quite a bit of content as DLCs (items and then an expansion pack iirc). As a gamer, I really hate to feel like I’m missing out on something. Wether it be an expansion pack or items or missions/quests… I want to have access to everything. I feel like I’m being used if I have to start shelling out cash for items or to be able to do quests.

    And this is coming from someone who will browse the PS store and buy all kinds of crap… But at least it’s finished crap.

  • I’m sure this would also lead to more “We’ll fix it after release”

  • Jay

    @Sinlock: Devs and publishers are already doing that on a pretty large scale lol. Of course, a few months back, I kind of hinted at this on my DLC editorial, and got a bit of negative feedback because of how I felt, but the more and more time passes, the more and more it seems like I was right all along.

    It seems that nowadays, a lot of publishers will allow games to be released with some faulty code, having a “we’ll fix it later” attitude. Has anyone else noticed the number of games released that have patches to download on day one? It’s almost as if they’re inadequately using their QA teams and release games, even those with some serious bugs. The developers and publishers alike seem to take advantage of the patching/update system in a way they shouldn’t have/be able to. Some older games seem to be more playable than a lot of the newer games that come out that, undoubtedly, need a patch. Sure, you could blame development costs, time restraints, etc, but even those go to show that getting the game out there and making money is more important than the game itself.

    I ended it with this:

    In retrospect, it seems as if DLC is ruining the gaming industry, as it’s showing how money hungry game publishers/developers are. Sure, it’s always the goal to make money, but they’re doing it at the expense of the gamers. If they really want to do fans a service, they should release most content free of charge like they used to on the PC. They should make older, classic games that you can no longer find available for download, they should release games that work the first time. We shouldn’t have to deal with a lot of this, yet, most of us do, and we still buy up all this DLC, and as long as that happens, nothing will change. That’s how I see it.

    and in relation to this article, I mentioned this:

    The negatives…of DLC can be seen pretty much anywhere you look. Remember Oblivion’s infamous Horse Armor? How much was it when it released, 400 MS points? Keep in mind, this was way at the beginning of this generation, and we should have known then that this would be a recurring issue as time went on. There are so many items in games today that should, otherwise, be free. LittleBigPlanet is full of stickers and costumes that don’t add anything to the gameplay, yet, they charge comparatively astronomical prices for those packs. In reality, the only ones that should cost anything would be the Pirates of the Caribbean and Metal Gear Solid level packs (and maybe object packs).

  • Jonaskin

    I’m all for DLC if it’s brand new things like the Fallout mission packs, or cosmetic things like the LBP costumes, but not if you have to pay to either play the game properly or finish it, and even worse if it’s just a DLC code to unlock content that was already on the disk.

    That being said the only DLC I’ve purchased was the Fallout 3 Broken Steel addon. I’d prefer to spend my money on a brand new game in most cases.

  • Vortex3D

    The problem with selling the game with “half” completed at $60 is the single player story campaign. After spent $60, how many gamers would like to see “To be continued” after only a few short hours of gameplay? What another episode to continue the story, another $10 DLC. After that another episode will cost another $10 DLC.

    Another problem is if the game isn’t selling well enough and the game publishers decided to stop making more episode DLC to continue the incomplete story, then the gamers ended up with truly incomplete $60 game. Kind of like watching TV series that get canceled after a few episodes. Difference is you still have to pay $60 for the game with the “pilot” episode.

    PS3 large Blu-ray disc capacity will become unused because DLCs are stored on the hard drive unless the game publishers choose to release multiple DLC epiodes on the disc edition later but that often doesn’t happen with many games.

    Another method is disable “half” of the game contents on the disc as some games already have disabled small amount of contents on the disc. Half way though the game, it showed “please pay for the rest of the contents if you want to complete playing it”. Just like shareware. Difference is shareware or chapter 1 demo is free while this method still sells the first half of the contents for $60.

    As long gamers are willing to keep spending whatever it costs to keep playing the game with more contents, more games will go this way, ship it “half” complete with full of bugs.

    Eventually, we just have to accept $60 only buys you a small part of the game. Real cost to a complete game can be easily over $100 while marketing keeps calling the game is only “$60” on the shelf.

  • When I first found out about DLC, I was completely against it. There was no way I was going to pay for more content online, now when it should have been in the game in the first place.
    Now I’m completely different. When something cool comes out for my favorite games, I’m all over it. Like Dragon Age, I absolutely love the DLC that they have released and I have bought every single release so far and I love it. The thing is with Dragon Age is that it doesn’t feel like they just released an incomplete game, it seems like they are actually continueing to support the game and creating new content. If I fealt for one second that they sold me an incomplete game then I probably wouldn’t have bought any of the DLC but they didn’t.
    Now my biggest fear is that because of the success that alot of games have had with DLC, more and more publishers will begin to abuse its use and they will.
    I really enjoy buying DLC for my favorite games, I’m actually upset that FFXIII isn’t releasing anything lol, but I think that selling half games is rediculous. Imagine going out and buying a BD movie and only half of it is on the disc and you have to download the rest of it when you got home. No one would go for such nonsense, and I don’t think we should ever support such nonsense when buying our games either.
    He also mentioned doing monthly charges. I can see doing it for an MMO but not for any other games. Most of us wouldn’t be able to afford it. I couldn’t imagine paying for more than one or two games on a monthly basis, I know I couldn’t do it. Do they really expect us to pay for multiple games this way!? Its not going to happen.