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a Master Ninja
for whom the Bell trolls
(03-24-2007, 12:15 AM)
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MAJOR UPDATE
Epic President Tim Sweeny confirms this topic is TRUE 51 minutes into the 1UP Yours Podcast for 4/6/07.
http://zdmedia.vo.llnwd.net/o1/Podcasts/040607.mp3

Back in November Pat Wilson, developer at Garage Games, announced that their team had just finished making a FREE downloadable update (that featured bug fixes, 11 new multiplayer maps, and new gametypes) and that it was in Microsoft’s hands for certification. Weeks later in his blog, Pat explained to fans why the free content will NEVER be made available. (The site he blogged at, angrydev.com, is no more, but you can still find the info he posted on numerous sites) On the record, Garage Games says "...we are unable to come to an agreement with our publisher for the Marble Blast Ultra update." Seeing as Garage Games is both the publisher AND developer of Marble Blast Ultra, you need to read between the lines. The gist of Pat’s blog says Microsoft won’t allow them to release free content for their game, but he doesn’t go into what their motivation might be, but allow me to.

Reasons allowing publishers to release free content is BAD for Microsoft:
1.) Microsoft gets a cut of all microtransactions, and doesn’t make anything from free content, the Xbox division wants to make profit this gen
2.) It makes publishers who make pay content (something Microsoft wants to encourage) like EA look bad. Why would I want to buy stadiums for Madden or cheats for Tiger Woods when other publishers make kickass content like map packs for free? Consumers would begin to question the value of the Marketplace.

Reasons why releasing free content is GOOD for publishers:
1.) Builds goodwill between the publisher and gamers, example: Epic
2.) Gives online multiplayer longer life without fracturing your user base

Ok, I might be the only person who liked Marble Blast, so I didn’t bring this up when it happened. But now this policy is affecting Gears of War. Multiple sources, including today’s 1UP Yours podcast (1 hour 12 minutes in), support a rumor that Microsoft and Epic are currently fighting over the new Gears of War content. The content is basically finished, they are just fighting over pricing. Epic want to make all the new weapons and maps 100% FREE. Epic doesn’t want to fragment their online community, and frankly we’ve come to expect these gestures of goodwill from Epic. Microsoft, as you might expect, is not letting Epic do this. Mark Rein, as you can imagine, is PISSED about this. Gears fans, lets all pray Epic wins this fight.

I'd like to thank Luke Smith for encouraging me to “think critically” about this issue.

EDIT:
Excellent Game Informer article where they take Microsoft to task on this issue. (post #228)

In their official forums, Developer Team 17 complains about Microsoft not allowing them to release the FREE content for Worms HD they want in order to protect the "value" of other companies' (EA?) pay content. (post #234)

In an interview Bizarre Creations said they wanted Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved to be FREE over Xbox Live, but Microsoft wouldn't let them do this. They ultimately reached a compromise and charged the lowest amount Microsoft will allow, 400 points ($5).

I'd also like to add that the two free maps Epic released were sponsored downloads. This is pure speculation on my part, but I think Microsoft may have seen these free maps as a compromise to satisfy a.) the gamers that would remember Mark Rein's promise of free Gears content, and b.) Epic, which loves to support their games with free content after release. Microsoft and Epic just don't share the same philosophies, but let's all support Epic because they are looking out for themselves AND gamers.
Last edited by a Master Ninja; 04-07-2007 at 05:33 AM. Reason: MAJOR UPDATE
Karma Kramer
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:17 AM)
This is serious bullshit.

Just give us what we want Microsoft.
Green Shinobi
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:18 AM)
These are the times when I wonder if a Microsoft controlled industry is a good thing. Hopefully they'll realize that Epic is too important to piss off, and that this makes them look really bad.
miguel_c_hammer
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:19 AM)
This online thing just gets better and better
pooteeweet
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:19 AM)
Stop buying shit on Live, Mother****ers!!!!
jetjevons
Bish loves my games!
(03-24-2007, 12:20 AM)
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Hasn't there already been some free content updates?
Costanza
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:20 AM)
Wow.
Cerrius
You like me, you really really like me!
(03-24-2007, 12:20 AM)
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I was wondering what was taking so long for new Gears content.

wow, if true
Tieno
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:20 AM)
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Yeah, I think you're on to something. Time and again Epic stated stated they're known for supporting their product and doing it for free. They are very proud of this image they have build and to me Epic seems like a very proud company. On this issue MS and Epic seem to have a confilicting philosophy and agenda.
WickedLaharl
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:21 AM)
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epic must bend to microsofts will for it is the future
a Master Ninja
for whom the Bell trolls
(03-24-2007, 12:21 AM)
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I hope this issue gets exposure similar to my topic about paying for stuff that's on the disc. That ruffled some feathers. I want Microsoft to take notice that gamers care about this stuff and respond accordingly.

And in response to jetjevons, Microsoft probably thought that letting Epic release those two maps for free was a "compromise".
GhaleonEB
knows his net worth
(03-24-2007, 12:22 AM)
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Microsoft has put out free content for Kameo, PD0, PGR3, Gears of War and Crackdown. (I think there was premium DLC for some of them as well.) I didn't think they had a huge issue with it, but apparantly they want to milk Gears.

MBU is one of the best-selling XBLA games, so I don't think it's just the OP who likes it.
squicken
our defensive line is somewhat competent!
(03-24-2007, 12:24 AM)
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Originally Posted by Green Shinobi

These are the times when I wonder if a Microsoft controlled industry is a good thing. Hopefully they'll realize that Epic is too important to piss off, and that this makes them look really bad.

Exactly. However arrogant Sony has been, MS running things would be AWFUL.

Great topic OP. It's total BS what MS is doing with Epic, all b/c they don't want to upset the the Marketplace plans for first party micro-rapement. Hopefully Sony comes in with some better online implementation and quality, free downloads. that's the only way things are going to change.

Edit: I posted this in the other 1up Yours thread, but getting a sponsor for the content is just as good for MS.
neptunes
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:24 AM)
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link?
f_elz
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:25 AM)
Gears will have tons of free content, dunno why people are doubting.
RumFore
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:25 AM)
I kind of guessed this a long time ago. I think many publishers would want some gamer pics and themes to be free to promote there games. DLC for games the same thing but they cant because of MS policy. Also explains why buying a game doesn't at least net you a free gamer pic or theme and its because of profit. Why give it away to millions when you can get a few to buy it. Where ****ed.
SnakeXs
about the same metal capacity as a cucumber
(03-24-2007, 12:26 AM)
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Not to overreact, but if shit like this is true, at all, then nothing is more deserved than a massive "**** you" to the guys in charge of this.

Questionable if, but I'm ready to throw the bird.
Branduil
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:26 AM)
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Wow. Kudos to Epic for standing up to MS, hopefully they win.
atomsk
Party Pooper
(03-24-2007, 12:26 AM)
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i was totally thinking about marble blast today, since they announced that in like... august

i never read about when they canceled it.

that ****ing sucks
Karma Kramer
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:27 AM)

Originally Posted by atomsk

i was totally thinking about marble blast today, since they announced that in like... august

i never read about when they canceled it.

that ****ing sucks

Wait what?

Canceled it?
Tieno
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:27 AM)
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I think I ranted about this blogpost from that Garage Games guy a couple of months ago.
mood
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:27 AM)
Surprised Old Spice doesnt want to sponsor the download.
Oldschoolgamer
The physical form of blasphemy
(03-24-2007, 12:27 AM)
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Originally Posted by SnakeXs

Not to overreact, but if shit like this is true, at all, then nothing is more deserved than a massive "**** you" to the guys in charge of this.

Questionable if, but I'm ready to throw the bird.

Same stance I have.
chinmonster
Let's start a war, start
a nuclear war, at the
BJ Bar, BJ Bar, BJ Bar
(03-24-2007, 12:28 AM)

Originally Posted by f_elz

Gears will have tons of free content, dunno why people are doubting.

Did you read Master Ninja's post, or...?
ElectricBlue187
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:28 AM)
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I'm thinking this 'no free content' applies pretty much to XBLA and nothing else
OldJadedGamer
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:28 AM)
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Wasn't there already two new maps released for Gears... for free?
Tieno
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:29 AM)
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I have a feeling MS and Bungie will have and have had similar 'frustrations' going by on some of Luke's hinting in previous podcasts

And I think the OP means substantial DLC, not just some skins or something.
Last edited by Tieno; 03-24-2007 at 12:32 AM.
PjotrStroganov
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by GhaleonEB

Microsoft has put out free content for Kameo, PD0, PGR3, Gears of War and Crackdown. (I think there was premium DLC for some of them as well.) I didn't think they had a huge issue with it, but apparantly they want to milk Gears.

MBU is one of the best-selling XBLA games, so I don't think it's just the OP who likes it.

I think most people don't consider gamerpics and themes as content for games.
WHOAguitarninja
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:30 AM)
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Obviously I hope epic wins this fight, but if I were microsoft, I would be SERIOUSLY wary of offending the studio behind the biggest new next-gen franchise yet. If they're not happy with their working relationship with MS, then future game quality may suffer as a result. That is something MS absolutely cannot afford in trying to win marketshare from sony. MS still has some work to do before it can claim itself the victor over the PS3, and despite how not so great sony's current standing looks, to say that the 360 is already the clear cut winner is foolish.
v1cious
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:30 AM)

Originally Posted by a Master Ninja

Reasons allowing publishers to release free content is BAD for Microsoft:
1.) Microsoft gets a cut of all microtransactions, and doesn’t make anything from free content, the Xbox division wants to make profit this gen

yeah, cause it's not like people pay for Live or anything.
djkimothy
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:30 AM)
Interesting and scary if true...
Karma Kramer
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:31 AM)
Imo... maps, guns, modes need to be free for an online multiplayer game or they need to be eventually free. Otherwise you split the market and then people get pissed off at their friends for not buying a certain mode or something.
SaggyMonkey
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:31 AM)
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Did Pat indicate there was a minimum price for the map pack that MS wanted to charge? Here's the problem in MS's mind.. For game content, they devote some of their resources to test and certify the product. Something that has some value. (peoples' time) Usually MS just makes a cut off whatever is charged, so obviously a nice big fat cut of zero is also zero. It'd be interesting if he mentioned what that break point was... what if he charged 1$? Was $5 the minimum?

In the case of adding to a full game, MS probably sees a free map pack having mostly advertising value to a brand. If Prey releases free maps, for example, the benefit is perceived to be toward the game brand. Prey makes people happy, more people hear of Prey, etc..etc.. MS doesn't see a "cut" here even in mindshare. MS probably sees they can't really capitlize on that small portion of "happiness/goodwill about Prey" to any tangible degree so they can't justify devoting the manpower toward it. It would seem that "free" here is not free, and MS would actually charge that publisher some level of fee or per unit cost to make up for their lost time.
Lagaff
Gub'mint Researcher
(03-24-2007, 12:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by Green Shinobi

These are the times when I wonder if a Microsoft controlled industry is a good thing. Hopefully they'll realize that Epic is too important to piss off, and that this makes them look really bad.

Microsoft leading videogames , the video games would never been the same
Just look at windows..
Chris_C
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:32 AM)
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There was an article on this in the latest Game Informer I believe.
sangreal
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:32 AM)
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What are these multiple sources? Luke on GAF and Luke on 1up? I wouldn't give a lot of credibility to 1up in this case after Mark Rein shot down their last story on the update (unranked achievements) as "Bullshit"

Originally Posted by OldJadedGamer

Wasn't there already two new maps released for Gears... for free?

..Sponsored though, which lends credence to this rumor
GhaleonEB
knows his net worth
(03-24-2007, 12:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by Tieno

I have a feeling MS and Bungie will have and have had similar 'frustrations'.

The way the Halo 2 maps were handled screamed of comprimise - Bungie did not want to splinter their fanbase and matchmaking systems, MS wanted to capitalize on a huge money making opportunity. Making it premium, and then free at a later date, and announcing that date in advance, was a great approach for everyone.

I wonder if MS tried that approach and Epic balked because of their pledge to keep their content free.

Originally Posted by Karma Kramer

Imo... maps, guns, modes need to be free for an online multiplayer game or they need to be eventually free. Otherwise you split the market and then people get pissed off at their friends for not buying a certain mode or something.

Exactly.
SnakeXs
about the same metal capacity as a cucumber
(03-24-2007, 12:35 AM)
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We need to sick Luke on this, like some sort of local news "Shame, shame, shame" segment.

Luke'ums?
Secks4Food
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:35 AM)
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Couldn't they just get another sponsor to product place the crap out of everything like Future Weapons on the last Gears map pack? Microsoft gets there cut, we get free shit, everyone wins. Of course, they shouldn't do it in game, like f***ing Vegas and their Intel ads, just do it like last time in the download description.
The Innocent X
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:36 AM)

Originally Posted by SnakeXs

We need to sick Luke on this, like some sort of local news "Shame, shame, shame" segment.

Luke'ums?

If 1up had any actual evidence it would be all over the site. Since they don`t, they refer to it in passing in thier podcast so that they don`t get in trouble if its rubbish
BobJustBob
LOL WTF I'm so drunk
(03-24-2007, 12:37 AM)
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So the new MBU content isn't coming, free or otherwise? That sucks. I was excited about that because it's my favorite XBLA game.
Not a Jellyfish
but I am a sheep
(03-24-2007, 12:37 AM)
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They need to get the Gears content out before the Halo 3 beta comes out cause then no one will care about Gears anymore. Its also one friendship that MS can't loose it would be a disaster if a Gears sequel hit the PS3.
Tieno
Member
(03-24-2007, 12:38 AM)
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Originally Posted by GhaleonEB

The way the Halo 2 maps were handled screamed of comprimise - Bungie did not want to splinter their fanbase and matchmaking systems, MS wanted to capitalize on a huge money making opportunity. Making it premium, and then free at a later date, and announcing that date in advance, was a great approach for everyone.

I wonder if MS tried that approach and Epic balked because of their pledge to keep their content free.


Exactly.

And more recently the Halo 3 beta. I did read in some article that Bungie has a relatively independant relationship from MS for being a first party studio.
OldJadedGamer
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:38 AM)
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Originally Posted by sangreal

..Sponsored though, which lends credence to this rumor

Oh yeah, I forgot that those were sponsored and there were tons of plugs for it.
The Innocent X
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:41 AM)
Don`t worry guys, in less than 12 hours Kotaku will rip off this thread and then 1up can post an article saying "Kotaku says". MS will be forced to respond, and eveyone's golden. See you back here this time tomorrow!
Sinatar
Official GAF Bottom Feeder
(03-24-2007, 12:44 AM)
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Didn't Call of Duty 3 have a free map? Also the Outfit's map pack was made to be free a couple of months after release.
chriskzoo
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:45 AM)
Well, start bringing IP to the PS3 - where Sony treats you right!:)
border
Banned
(03-24-2007, 12:45 AM)
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If Microsoft is taking such a hard-line over developer-made free content, just imagine what they think about free user-generated content.

No wonder the Little Big Planet guys were forced to go PS3 exclusive......MS probably wouldn't stand for a game centered around free DLC.
Stat Flow
He gonna cry in the car
(03-24-2007, 12:45 AM)
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GEARS OF WAR MAPS AND WWWWWWWWEEEEEEEAAAAAPPOOONSSS???

**** dat shit, I'm willing to pay for Gears of War DLC right now, especially weapons, just release the damn stuff. You can settle that AFTERWARDS and from there on out make your shit free.

However, it being free and coming out soon would be good too.
Rorschach
Quis custodiet ipsos Batman?
(03-24-2007, 12:47 AM)
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...so when's the Crackdown stuff coming?


I hate how DLC splits the userbase. Most games on XBL can't handle that. Hell, I think the only game that has the numbers to support that is Halo. A few games are now barren because the userbase is split when they used to be fairly popular. Guys who bought the maps want to get their money's worth and people who didn't buy it obviously can't play on them, so you can't get as many games going on either side.

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