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What do players want from DLC? Obsidian survey attempts to find out

What do players want from DLC? Obsidian survey attempts to find out

November 10, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

Fallout: New Vegas and Tyranny developer Obsidian recently conducted a DLC survey to learn more about player preferences when it comes to downloadable content. 

Over 55,000 people from all corners of the globe responded, and the results make for interesting reading, but before we get into the nitty gritty there is one caveat to consider.

Obsidian didn't use a random sample, but rather approached specific groups (like Kickstarter backers and Reddit users) and allowed them to self-select. 

That means findings will be skewed towards those specific populations, which largely consist of RPG fans with a penchant for Obsidian titles. While it doesn't mean they're irrelevant outside of the role-playing bubble, it's still something to bear in mind. 

Now, pushing ahead, the survey found that most players want DLC to focus on expanded single-player campaigns and quests, and would also like more endgame reactivity. 

As the graph below shows, competitive multiplayer was viewed as the least desirable suggestion, although co-operative options proved relatively popular. 

"Overwhelmingly, respondents want more game content -- that is, they want the game itself to be bigger, deeper, longer. They want to be able to come back to it, or continue on with it," explained Obsidian.

"However, there was also a significant number of respondents who were looking for expanded or additional game systems, such as multiplayer (co-operative) or replayable modes such as roguelikes."

When it came to quantity, 53 percent of respondents said they prefer "beefy" content options, defined as "one or two big, deep DLCs released many month after the base game," to smaller morsels. 

29 percent said they'd like a mixed-bag offering featuring both small and large DLC packages, while 13 percent were keen on standalone expansions that play completely separate to the base game. 

Curiously, 4 percent said they didn't want DLC of any kind, even if it was served up for free, while no-one displayed a preference for "bite-sized" content drops focused on game systems. 

"Respondents were very clear here, and their responses track with the bias toward content-based features in the previous question: people want bigger, deeper DLC for their money, not small stuff," continued Obsidian. 

As you'd likely expect, the majority of respondents claimed their DLC purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by the price of content. Peer recommendations and user reviews were also earmarked as influential factors. 

"Word-of-mouth factors such as a friend's recommendation or score from bona fide other gamers were the most important in influencing buying decisions," added the studio.

"Interestingly, most respondents felt that time between base game launch and DLC launch was not a major factor in their decision to purchase -- this could be interpreted in two ways: either respondents don't mind waiting for deep content, or they feel that they won't purchase new DLC no matter what, until it's on sale."

There are more tidbits and takeaways where those came from, so be sure to check out the complete set of findings over on the Obsidian forums.

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