Fernando Melo, director of online development at BioWare Montreal defended day one DLC for BioWare titles as part of his GDC Europe talk this week, explaining that "players want more content, and they want it now -- the problem is that there is no single 'now', so it should be there when they're ready for it."
Given that some players can take months to complete a game, while others can blast through games in a matter of days, this means that providing extra content from the get-go is the only real way to fulfill all players' expectations.
Melo argued that on the occasions when BioWare hasn't provided DLC from day one, those players who complete the game quickly then complained that there was nothing more to play and asked for extra content. If DLC isn't provided for these players, they may well move on to a different game and never come back to play DLC later on.
As proof that day one DLC also works in terms of sales, Melo said that 53 percent of all sales for the first Dragon Age: Origins
DLC pack -- which was released on the same day as the full game -- were made on release day.
Melo also urged developers to remember that post-release downloadable content is now a necessity for video games, and can lead to some great benefits for your development team.
The BioWare executive noted in particular that, "using post-ship content is a great way to train your next set of leaders with very little risk, and the fans will also appreciate it."
He said that as your main game is ready to ship, your team will most likely be working together at the peak of its abilities, and so it makes a lot of sense to use that period to create even more content for the title, rather than taking a break and losing that edge.
There are plenty of benefits to DLC in terms of sales too, of course. "Everything you do post-ship is totally independent on the success of your game," noted Melo, "and DLC tends to sustain sales over time even better than your main game."
DLC holds its initial price better than your main game too, he continued, and releasing extra DLC packs can give sales spikes to both your original game release and spikes for all previous DLC packs too.
Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe and Gamescom. For more coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)