'Fallout: New Vegas' ups the ante with downloads

Nov 25, 2010
Screengrab issued by Bethesda Softworks shows a scene from the videogame "Fallout 3," a post-apocalyptic gaming adventure. The games company is building on the rock star debut of its successful game "Fallout: New Vegas" with the December release of a new chapter of the epic exclusively for play on Xbox 360 consoles.

Bethesda Softworks is building on the rock star debut of "Fallout: New Vegas" with the December release of a new chapter of the epic videogame exclusively for play on Xbox 360 consoles.

"Dead Money" software that builds on post-apocalyptic adventures in "New Vegas" will be available for download at console-maker Microsoft's online service beginning December 21.

"The release of 'Dead Money' illustrates our commitment to creating entertaining add-on content for players to enjoy in already massive games," said Bethesda vice president of marketing Pete Hines.

studios are increasingly selling "downloadable content" that augments game play in titles bought on packaged compact disks.

"New Vegas" predecessor "Fallout 3" was crowned Game of the Year after its release in 2008 and proved so popular that Bethesda expanded the action title with adventures in an array of downloadable software.

A "Broken Steel" addition to "" even modified the end of the original game to resurrect the hero, who had sacrificed himself for the sake of other survivors in the post nuclear war scenario.

"New Vegas" sold more than five million copies in the three weeks following its release on October 19, taking in "well over 300 million dollars," according to Bethesda.

The videogame was ranked by industry tracker NPD Group as the best-selling title for consoles and for personal computers in October.

"We recognize that there are many high-quality games that come out during this time of year," said Bethesda president Vlatko Andonov.

"We couldn't be more pleased at how well the game has been received.

"New Vegas" is the fourth title in a winning franchise launched in 1997.

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not rated yet Nov 25, 2010
The videogame industry is moving towards downloaded content and micropurchases for two reasons:

1) You can chop up a game into tiny pieces and sell them separately at a higher price.

2) The downloaded content is non-transferable, which means that second hand game sales cease to exist, meaning less value for the customer and more profits for the company.

Because of the atomization, the game you get when you buy the DVD is more akin to the shareware games of the 90's where you had couple hours of gameplay for free and then you were required to purchase the game to play further, except now you pay the full price to play the limited version.

Some companies are arrogant enough to include all the data for these "extensions" in the original game DVD, and simply require a bit of code to be downloaded so you could access the data that you already have.

All in all, instead of the game, all you get is a limited lisence to play the game, but you pay as if you did own it as a product.
not rated yet Nov 25, 2010
Which is another thing that is strange with the game industry, and the movie and music industries, or the whole copyright and intellectual property regime.

Selling lisences-cum-products is basically printing your own money because you never run out of them and making one more costs you virtually nothing.

That's what makes the "information market" so much different from the real physical product market. You are selling something that is unlimited, and the only reason you can sell it is because you've been granted a monopoly to it by law.

As a consequence, the supply and demand mechanism that determines prices in the real world stops working. With an infinite supply, the price should be zero, but the law creates an artifical scarcity that basically makes it possible to sell sand on a beach by banning everyone from picking it up themselves.

not rated yet Nov 25, 2010
Of course, if you sold the real product, the game and its data instead of just the lisence to play it, it would cost a couple million dollars because once you sold one copy, everyone would have it.

Nevertheless, if all was right in the world, that what you should be selling instead of worthless lisences.

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