Bizarre Creations’ executive producer Ben Ward believes that, while Burnout Paradise’s policy of extensive DLC updates is daring, it remains financially unproven.
EA-owned Criterion saw the release of Burnout Paradise in January 2008, yet the studio has continued to develop key updates for the game ever since. Only yesterday Criterion released a brand new addition to the game's world map – Big Surf Island – which can be downloaded for around $13/£10 or 1000 MS Points.
Speaking to develop in an interview published today, Ward explained that Blur will be getting DLC updates, but Bizarre is not looking to replicate Criterion’s DLC policy.
“I think it's a very brave thing the Burnout team did,” said Ward, “but I think it's still unproven.”
“I'm not their accountant so I don't know how much money they've made,” he added.
Ward touches on an area which remains largely unexplored by analysts and the game press. The popularity of DLC updates are rarely quantified, as are the revenues they make. Meanwhile, it remains largely unknown how much investment and development resources are used for DLC in comparison to a full project.
“It's a really interesting approach what they've done,” says Ward, “but I think we've got our own ideas and our own areas that we want to push.”
One of those ideas is to create an in-game social network in Blur, of which the developers discuss in more detail here.
Criterion’s ongoing persistence in releasing new DLC does perhaps suggest that the DLC model is profitable. On the other hand, many DLC updates – including Paradise’s – have found their way to retail shelves in some fprm, suggesting that the market size on PSN and Xbox Live is growing yet still perhaps too small.
Rockstar recently announced that the two Xbox 360 exclusive GTAIV updates – The Lost and the Damned as well as the upcoming The Ballad of Gay Tony – will be packaged on a single disc and sent to retail.
Microsoft allegedly paid $50 million for GTAIV’s DLC exclusivity, and has never released figures which would suggest the games are on track to yield a standalone profit. Bethesda also recently announced it is going to package the Fallout 3 DLC on a single disc.