Downloadable content (DLC), map packs, expansion packs and extra content pre-order bonuses and what have you are such important parts of gaming these days, that it’s obvious that if a game does well enough on its own, you’re gonna release DLC for it. Minecraft is interesting though in the sense that what they release are updates, not DLC, and yet it adds new stuff to the game. Sure, there’s no new achievements (which is a shame because that list was pretty…stale, I’d say) and yes you have to pay for the skin packs, but the updates in and of themselves have changed the context of the game itself so much that it’s amazing they’re free.
In the updates they have done the following, and I’m aware that I’m probably missing some stuff:
- Experience Points
- New blocks in both the Nether and the regular world/new items in general in both worlds
- New enemies; Endermen, Spider Jockeys etc.
- And coming soon in Title Update #9, The End, featuring the Ender Dragon
And as I said, I’m sure there’s tons more. Now, I know that the majority of this stuff is just what the PC version has already gotten and the Xbox version is merely playing catch-up, but I think it’s cool from a business perspective too. In this day and age filled with micro-transactions and in game purchases, it’s amazing to see a company like Mojang–and Microsoft to an extent I guess–go, “Yeah, let’s just update the game and add all this content for FREE.”
Revolutionary Video Game Marketing
We live in the greediest gaming age there’s ever been because it’s such a mainstream hobby these days, so it’s cool to see a title be so supported with such little monetary gain from it. And I’m sure that’s why they put out the Skin Packs, for sure, because they want to make some sort of profit from it, but it’s just astounding to me that in this day and age of gaming, they would do that for free and have the updates be as meaty as they are. Yeah, they could just put out free updates but have them be the most miniscule, pointless additions on the planet, but no, these are game changing things that can alter the entire way you play and interact with that game and it’s awesome to see that sort of support FOR the sort of price: Free.
And maybe it has something to do with Notch’s stance on piracy, I don’t know, but it’s great and I wish other developers and publishers would take notice. Bioware certainly did the same sort of thing with their free multiplayer additions and the free extended cut to the end of Mass Effect 3 and the result-as far as I’ve seen-has only been overwhelmingly positive.
…on top of everything else, it’s a model that WORKS. You give stuff for free to people, stuff we really want that’s cool, and yet with skin packs or map packs or whatever your game has, you can make money on the side. You keep your customers base happy and your investors happy (granted all goes well and people buy those random items, but that’s a whole other issue entirely). Notch is really doing something very interesting to the gaming industry and I can’t wait to see where both he and Mojang will be in 5 years.