[DD] Financial Models

As I write this, Dungeon Defenders costs $14.99 on Steam and has $39.84 worth of DLC. This soundly trumps last year’s post on Civ V, and it is something I did not see coming for this game. Only a few dollars of that is purely cosmetic; it includes new classes, missions, holiday events, and conventional expansions. At the end of last year, you could get the whole game with all expansions for $6.20 on sale. If this works for them, Trendy Entertainment has found a highly profitable variation on the cash shop model.

Of course, this comes nowhere close to Railworks 3: Train Simulator 2012. As I write this, it costs $34.99 and has $1,869.03 (not a typo) worth of DLC. It seems to be priced to be competitive with buying actual miniature train sets.

: Zubon

Update: as commenter Galaji mentions, the Dungeon Defenders holiday event DLCs are free if you get them at the time. I was rather surprised by the Presidents Day event.

9 thoughts on “[DD] Financial Models”

  1. I think it needs mentioning that about half (if not more) of the DLC (the holiday events) is given away for FREE if you own the game and update it (like steam does automatically) when the event is new.

    This encourages players to pick up the game early and to check back in frequently.

    1. That actually bothers me more than the idea of having a bunch of what are basically microexpansions on sale.

      The fact that I’ve “missed out” financially by not being an early adopter just feels punitive to me, and makes me less likely to buy-in later in the life of the product.

      Whereas the idea that I can sort of buy bits and pieces of the game a’la cart (“eh, I don’t want that class anyway”) seems like a pretty good model I could get behind.

      The problem is, of course, (and hypothetically, I don’t know DD well enough to use real numbers) when you can buy 4 classes and 10 levels in the vanilla game for $15, but the next $15 of DLC only gets you 2 classes and 5 levels. Consumers will see such an offering as illogical, I would think.

  2. Comparing DLC for something like Railworks (a train simulator) with Civ V or similar is like comparing apples with oranges. A valid comparison would be another simulator such as Flight Simulator X. Also your example only shows DLC available through Steam so the real figure would be much higher :p

    Not including all the freeware products available for it of course :)

    1. You would have to check the Steam stats page for the top 100 games to see if they do ;) Not the most reliable of sources though as a lot of people, especialy when “modding” play it offline.

    2. I’m sure they do, else why would the developers keep putting stuff out? I can certainly imagine a certain kind of hobbyist with lots of disposable income going in for it. Seems the sort of niche, low volume/high profit product that a smart company can easily make lucrative with good planning.

      Speaking of which,”It seems to be priced to be competitive with buying actual miniature train sets…” gets right to the heart of it. Obviously it’s not going to replace physical sets entirely, but again, a certain sort of hobbyist will probably be happy to scratch their itch while keeping the convenience and unique advantages of digital technology. Same for Magic: The Gathering and its addition of digital cards, I’d think.

      Given the choice between spending a couple hundred bucks to buy and paint a physical Warhammer 40K army, or spending the same to get a virtual army I could take online from the convenience of my own home, I (personally) would be orders of magnitude more likely to choose the latter.

      I guess convenience and flexibility trumps having the physical thing for me. Am I that unusual?

      1. Or all those boring looking programs are actually a covert way to set up communications between cells of an espionage network. You know, like how selling a mana potion in the marketplace for several million gold is a way to move currency between accounts.

  3. This isn’t new. I’ve been playing Mass Effect, and looked at the DLC for Mass Effect 2. You can get ME2 for $10 on sale, but the DLC is $31 if you get the packed-in DLC (didn’t buy the game used, otherwise it’s another $15) and ignore the cosmetic and equipment packs (which are cheaper). As far as I can tell, the ME2 DLC doesn’t go on sale, either.

    It’s an interesting situation, though. If I had bought ME2 for $60, buying $30 of DLC might seem more reasonable (50% more cost for a good amount of content.) But, buying the game for $10 makes that equation off: is $30 of DLC going to improve the game threefold? Probably not. But, EA probably gets really nice profit margins from the DLC and hopes you’ll buy it to make up for lost profit from sales.

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