So Skyrim DLC is finally coming PS3. All three at the same time in February, this is DLC that debuted on the Xbox June 26th 2012. That will be roughly 7 months later, keep in mind this is DLC that was exclusive to Xbox for a month. Now in February for 1 week only, PS3 owners will get 50% off the DLC to make up for the long wait, but is this enough? Or alternatively is it too much? Does Bethesda owe their fans anything?
Bethesda are not the first to make a game that has run poorly on the PS3, but they now have a history. Fallout 3 was the first, its DLC was absolutely riddled with bugs which made an absolutely fantastic game, at times, unplayable. Then a long comes Skyrim, the hotly anticipated next game in the Elder Scrolls series. The game saw some technical issues that greatly effected anybody that planned on putting serious time into the game and given the nature of the game that would be most people. Personally I did not buy the game until they released an update to fix the technical issues and to their merit I had no major problems during my extensive journey through Skyrim. All in all Skyrim is a fantastic game, in fact it is one of the best games of this generation and I would recommend it to absolutely anybody. The fact here is that Skyrim was known to have technical issues on the PS3 when it was released, and it was released any way. Bethesda released a product that was knowingly faulty, charged people full price without informing anybody and then hoped to fix it with a software up date down the line. Unsurprisingly this caused uproar, the fact that the game was faulty was bad enough but keeping quiet and releasing it anyway is the wrong way to treat your customers.
Skyrim had PS3 owners annoyed, and then the DLC was announced. Fair enough that Xbox get the DLC first, Microsoft no doubt paying huge amounts to secure the exclusive window for a very popular game, and then word went quiet on the PS3. When were they getting their share of DLC? As it turned out Bethesda were not satisfied with the performance and therefore would not be releasing it until it would work for everyone. So here we have a company that released a game that basically would not work for most people without saying a word but now they cannot release the DLC until it is perfect for everyone. Talk about polar opposites.
After more waiting we were then told that Bethesda were struggling and PS3 might never ever see the DLC but they were trying their hardest all the same. Dribs and drabs of information have passed through but eventually we made it to now, where Bethesda have announced that all the DLC is on its way in February. Great. Or is it?
The one big question that came to mind as soon as I heard the news is: Will it work? If you give me 50% off in a short window I am more likely to buy it, and quickly. If it’s still not right then I’ve purchased it and I have no right to a refund. If its 50% permanently then I have time to find out if it works or not. Or I could just be being too cynical. Bethesda could just be trying to balance good will and their business, they still have to make money lets not forget and working away all this time on the DLC cannot have been cheap.With all these problems in mind then and then rocky relationship PS3 and Bethesda have had, is 50% good enough? let’s be honest 50% is a good deal, as long as the content works, it should make it up for some people but at the same time this is not about what Bethesda were going to charge for the DLC, it is a lot deeper than that. At the end of the day Bethesda has pissed off its consumer base, We had to go through all this with Fallout 3 and then again with Skyrim, each one its own protracted saga. We shouldn’t have to. If Bethesda says its making a game we expect to buy it and for it to work. If you don’t come clean then people hate you more. Would it have been better to say before release ‘The PS3 versions is experiencing technical problems for players who’s save file exceeds 6mb but we are already hard at work on a software update. as not to upset our fans we want to release the PS3 version at the same time as the Xbox 360 version of the game. The game will still be playable for most and we are sorry for the inconvenience but we are hard at work on the solution.’ Would this have hurt sales? Maybe, maybe not? Would the fans have gotten angry at them. No. Instead they were left to feel cheated and uncared about.
The DLC has basically added fuel to an already enormous flame, Bethesda needed to be quick and decisive with its handling of the DLC. It had handled the release of the game awfully but they had a chance to redeem themselves. They didn’t. They kept quiet again and then eventually told us we might not get it. Bethesda are lucky that Skyrim is such a fantastic game, if this had been a game with lower scores they might have been looking at a catastrophic disaster. This does not give them the right to keep their customer’s in the dark. The whole experience has given Bethesda a lazy, uncaring and negative image. Do Bethesda owe their fans anything? absolutely, Skyrim cannot be taken as the game in the box, it is all about the service the fans get when they buy the game and afterwards. Bethesda post-purchase behaviour to their fans has been nothing short of poor, there has been a severe lack of communication and there has been almost a gap between the two. There was no understanding of how their customers felt, it was almost an us and them scenario. When things go wrong with your product it is your responsibility to put things right, nobody elses. Something Bethesda never did.
There are mumblings that the DLC should be free, this was never going to happen, Bethesda is a business, they’ve spent months correcting this DLC at a cost to them and they need to make a profit. so 50% is a good balance. Should it be longer than a week? Yes, a week seems too little, it doesn’t seem genuine, if they wanted to make a statement they should offer it for 7 months at that price or permanently. 1 Week doesn’t make me feel any better in all honesty and that brings me back to the ultimate question, is 50% enough? For the DLC, for now, Yes. But it is about the long-term now, can Bethesda make it up to the PS3 user base in the long-term. I don’t mean with discounts and free content but by being open, by being honest and by being closer to the community because at the end of the day by hurting the millions of players on the PS3 they are only hurting their own business.