Tag Archives: Project Scorpio

Halo 5’s Free DLC More Profitable Than It’s Paid DLC

Welcome to episode 91 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark podcast. Another delve into the underbelly of the gaming underworld’s news metaverse examining the stories, rumours and games of the last 7 days.

This week an interesting argument put forward by Michael Pachter (Pachter Factor) makes the point that there is a shift in the DLC model and that instead of DLC being slices of paid for additional goodness for the games we love, that in fact free DLC, apart from being most welcome by the gaming community – who doesn’t love free stuff? – can actually prove to be more profitable than paid DLC.

How can that work? is the resounding retort. Well, Mr Pachter goes on to explain this using 343 Industries Halo 5 as an example of where this model has been a success.

Halo 5 took a different approach to the more standard paid DLC model that we are used to these days. What the guys over at 343 Industries did was to make the first 6 months of DLC for the game free. That’s right, free and many people will know this having played one of the bigger hits over on Xbox One. So that’s fantastic, 6 months free DLC for the Halo 5 community, great move guys, much appreciated. Hold on though, is this just an incredible gesture of goodwill from developer / publisher to the gaming masses? I mean, what’s in it for them? Apart from the love and gratitude of the gamers of course – a commodity more precious than any currency. Oh hold on, yes, of course, back to the real world.

So the game is out there and the first 6 months DLC content is free to all players, yet Halo 5 made more money than any previous Halo game and this was due to the in game microtransactions. What happened in this case was, due to the DLC being free for all, Halo 5 kept more players playing the game than it had ever done before and in doing so, kept a bigger pool of customers enjoying the game who were then potential purchasers of in game microtransactions. The results from 343’s experience with this model indicate that more profit can be made by keeping more players involved in the game and so increasing the pool of potential (and real) microtransaction purchases than charging for separate iterations of DLC content.

Mr Pachter cites an approximate model of DLC purchase trends explaining that with each paid DLC drop there is also a drop in player take up, with the first DLC being the most popular at say 80% take up, the second being picked up with maybe 50% of those guys and the third DLC drop having the lowest purchase rate. It was this trend that paved the way for the ‘Season Pass’ that we have today, as the publishers looked for ways to stop that drop in take up of DLC over time by offering the lot at a discounted price.

This model only works for games that include DLC and have potential for communities to grow and thrive on their platforms. The type of games that are sure to be the focus of Microsoft’s recently announced ‘Games as a Service’ strategy, the most obvious being competitive FPS games like the Halo’s and the Titanfall’s, it would be more difficult to apply to other genres so we will probably not be getting single player campaign DLC for free anytime soon.

All said and done though, it’s an interesting idea that has already been used and turned a greater profit than the more traditional approach. Keeping all those players in there obviously reaps rewards while at the same time keeping those servers nice and busy with more players, in turn making the experience for the gamer more enjoyable for a longer period, potentially creating more fans who will be pre-ordering the next game.

Sound good? Or would you prefer the more traditional model? As always let us know what you think.

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Could Ties To Xbox One Prevent Us Seeing Scorpio’s True Power?

Welcome to the podcast, and Episode 87 of our weekly show of gaming goodness. Among the rest of the comings and goings in the world of gaming on this week’s pod, there is of course the small matter of Microsoft’s hardware spec reveal of their long awaited and eagerly anticipated Project Scorpio system.

With no games to speak of, this unveiling has concentrated purely on the specifications of the new system. In an unorthodox move by Team Xbox, the reveal was made via games media outlet Digital Foundry rather than Microsoft themselves. A fantastic scoop for the good guys over at Eurogamer and Digital Foundry and a move that indicates, surely, just how confident Microsoft is in their new shiny technology.

That confidence does not seem to have been misplaced as the reports that Richard Leadbetter and his team over at Digital Foundry are optimistic to say the least and seem to vindicate Xbox’s claims that this new machine will hit that dream of not only 4K resolutions but also giving us that beauty at 60fps.

Digging deeper it looks like the guys at Redmond have also baked in improvements to the 1080p community into the Scorpio with what looks like automatic improvements to many legacy games due to the architecture in this new console.

Obviously, the Xbox guys don’t want to alienate all their loyal Xbox One owners and so there has been much use of the word ‘premium’ (read expensive) around this new console and also there has been much made of assuring Xbox One owners that the Scorpio will not be a break off point that leaves them behind. There is a commitment to existing Xbox owners that there will be no Scorpio exclusives – ‘No One Get’s Left Behind’.

This is reassuring and sounds great, it helps soothe the players who feel that it’s too early for a new console in light of previous generations lasting 7 years or so who may otherwise feel rather short changed at this mid-gen update. But could a commitment to keeping those ties to Xbox One, to ensuring that all games will work on the soon to be legacy machine, be counterproductive? Perhaps not now at launch but in the future and will the Xbox One eventually become an albatross holding the new monster that is Scorpio back, keeping it from its true destiny of Scorpio only exclusives?

Obviously, there’s a concern there and a knee jerk reaction would indicate exactly this scenario lurking in Scorpio’s future. An alternative view though would be that we live in a gaming age where the consoles we have already allow for such amazing games that there would be no reason that a game could not run on one of the current consoles. Take Grand Theft Auto V for instance, an absolute behemoth of a title encompassing a wide breadth of gaming systems across a vast open world and using several different gameplay mechanics and all this on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Since then the game has been refined and improved as it has hit the PC and the next generation of consoles but the game itself is fantastic on the older consoles too. This seems a reasonable argument that any game that comes to the Scorpio will be able to be ported over to the Xbox One, it will just not have those extra bells and whistles in comparison to its new big brother. A move even closer to the world of the PC where, for example you can gain entry to a title using the minimum spec graphics card but you are aware that this will be the same game but a pared back experience in comparison to the Titan X owner.

So, rather than holding Scorpio back, we could see more titles for Xbox One and more innovation on the legacy platform as developers move forward and focus on the Scorpio. In a recent Q&A with Gamasutra, Phil Spencer mentions that it is actually an easier task to tweak a game downward rather than upward – this being the reason that the Scorpio dev-kits have double the memory in them than the consumer Scorpio.  This idea could then not only leave the Scorpio unfettered in future games aimed at it, but also benefit Xbox One players with a gaming experience that may perhaps have not been considered for their system in this new dawn of the Scorpio.

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Has The Sting Been Taken Out Of Scorpio’s Tail?

This week the Sparks drill down into the surprising revelations of Microsoft Scorpio’s hardware specifications according to the leaked whitepaper that Eurogamer brought to light. These poured a degree of cold water onto the flames of expectation that Antony and Darren were fanning in anticipation of what was thought to be communicated as a console that would be godlike in its power, delivering true (let’s assume that means native) 4K graphics without batting an eye, a monster of a box that had the Sparks seeing the line between console and PC getting meaningfully blurred.

But wait! Stop right there oh faithful one, because as Digital Foundry writer Richard Leadbetter delves deeper into the whitepaper specs, it seems that a less awe inspiring piece of tech could be what looms before us and if the information is correct we could be looking at making a decision on buying a very different beast than we may have been lead to believe from the initial announcements. More of a PS4 Pro competitor than the behemoth incarnate that the initial announcements framed for us.

The Whitepaper in question is from E3 2016 and so is an old piece of documetation and could have changed from that time to this so we can perhaps look at this news as possible conjecture. Of course we will know nothing for sure until we get official word from the boys in green.

But were we perhaps naive to expect such a machine to appear within this generation being as it was also communicated that this system (akin to the PS4 Pro), would not leave those not ready to upgrade their Xbox Ones (and S’s) behind, promising parity with those legacy systems. Could we truly see something great from any endeavor that was in this way shackled to the legacy sku’s?

Whether it is Naivety, Desire, Gaming Passion or just plain old believing official communications, let’s all just step back, take a breath and temper our expectations. Let’s stop expecting the second coming of the (Insert your fave console here) and just downplay our hopes a little.

Then, when the time comes for reveal, instead of a collective disappointed eye roll and sigh resounding through gaming communities everywhere, we may just be surprised for once. A little bit pleased and a little bit excited about the next shiny console to look forward to.

You never know, those sighs may be replaced with surprise as our tempered expectations are met with more than we expect from the

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