Dennis Laumen We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals

Burnout Paradise: The gift that keeps giving

Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise is proof that EA isn't the evil, roster-updating behemoth it was considered a couple of years a go. For the last couple of years they really seem to be trying to innovate and create original IP. This fall alone they are releasing highly anticipated titles including Mirror's Edge and Dead Space. Burnout Paradise, released in January of this year, is the best proof so far though.One of the innovations of the current-gen consoles is the internet connectivity. Connectivity was possible in the previous generation of consoles but it came to it's full potential during this generation. This enabled the distribution of downloadable games and more importantly in the context of this blog post, downloadable content (DLC).Aside from the excellent game released on the disc, Criterion (developers of Burnout Paradise) kept iterating on the game and released a couple of massive title updates. It all started with the Bogart update which featured a lot of bug fixes and other patches which streamlined the experience a lot.The next update (nicknamed Cagney) adds (besides the bug fixing and streamlining which was also featured in Bogart) truly new content to the game, namely three new online modes, seventy online challenges, two new vehicles and a couple of new paint jobs for some of the vehicles.

A couple of weeks ago Criterion released the Davis update. It's probably the biggest update so far and features two huge, new features: motorcycles, a day/night cycle and weather effects. The best thing about these updates is that they are all released for free.Why would EA do this? It's probably an experiment on EA's part (a successful one hope) but I think the following reasons are behind it:

  • Prevent people from trading in the game. Trade-ins do not fill EA's pocket and no trade-ins available for people interested in the game only leads to long tail sales (which do fill EA's pocket).
  • Enthusing people for non-free Burnout Paradise DLC. What will happen when EA releases DLC for a small fee? Will more people buy it because of the great experience they had with the other updates?
  • Enthusing people for the Burnout franchise. Will keeping people engaged in the game cause pre-order hype for the next game and lead to more sales?

As stated above I hope this experiment leads to more free content for games. Free is good.