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August 26, 2009

The future of gaming?

Posted: 01:00 PM ET

Gamers will pay as they go for downloaded video games in the very near future, according to the president of a game-development company.

"Borderlands" is scheduled to be released October 20.

Christoph Hartmann, the president of 2K, tells CNN he expects people will pay for different levels of gaming content as developers find new ways to get their product to gamers. Hartmann believes downloadable content, or DLC, is just the first step, and that future gamers will be willing to pay fees to access new levels of a game.

“Some people just want the basic game and are willing to pay a certain amount for it,” he says. “If you have great content, people will come.”

While sales of video game consoles have slumped in recent months, Hartmann believes that lowering the prices of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will help bring back consumers.

But from a developers’ perspective, there is more freedom on the PC side of gaming, he says.

Hartmann points to “Borderlands,” a new online game from 2K Games and Gearbox Software due out on October 20, as an example of new content that takes risks.

“Borderlands” is set on the harsh, frontier planet of Pandora and sends players out in search of a mysterious Alien Vault. Hartmann describes it as a fusion between a first-person shooter game and a role-playing game. Gamers can join and leave the co-op game at will or choose to play in the single-player mode.

With “Borderlands,” 2K Games hopes to challenge the conventions of modern shooter games.

“With a million different games out there, we had to be different,” Hartmann says. “We feel very confident we’ve developed a different experience.”

Gameplay isn’t the only thing different about “Borderlands.” Hartmann says 2K Games took a chance on a radical new style that mashes together traditional computer-animation techniques with hand-drawn textures. The result is an eye-catching spin on a game that was more than three years in the making.

The company also plans sequels to two popular games in its catalog – “Mafia II” and “Bioshock 2.” Hartmann is vague about gameplay details but says 2K Games employed a formula to help develop the sequels.

“One-third known material, one-third improved and one-third new,” he tells CNN. “That’s where the ‘Matrix’ series went wrong - by trying too much new stuff.”

- Larry Frum

Filed under: video games


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Voice of Reason   August 26th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

Now Available: The BFG that you can use to blow away lesser-funded players, ONLY $59.99!!!

I hope this is a business model that dies a horribly painful quick death.


Anonymous   August 26th, 2009 1:36 pm ET

"a radical new style that mashes together traditional computer-animation techniques with hand-drawn textures"?

New? Haven't these people ever heard of Team Fortress 2? Granted, the TF2 ones are hand-painted, not hand-drawn, but still.


Yohann   August 26th, 2009 2:23 pm ET

Oh, HECK NO!!! "Pay as you go" video games??? What a crock! I'm an avid gamer, and I buy lots of games to play. I despise paying to play on network servers, so I will never buy those games. But paying so that I can go to the next level???

That is a perfect example of someone 'on high' making a stupid decision and trying to force the market where THEY want it to go. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

How would they like it if they had to pay extra for every mile they have to drive? Games already have to fork over loads of money for outrageously over-priced hardware. And now we have to pay to reach the next level??? I'm NEVER buying or even downloaded for free any games that carry that business model!!! EVER!!


Dan   August 26th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

Team Fortress 2 is much more cartoony where as this can be described as a mix of realistic and comic book style graphics.

Nothing about this game has been done before on this level.


Anonymous   August 26th, 2009 6:27 pm ET

I'm not sure I've read a more jumbled and discombobulated article.

Did you google Borderlands and pick the topic sentence from the first 10 hits and throw together an article?

One moment your talking DLC, the next console hardware prices – yet there's additional freedom for PC devs. Then it's on to gameplay and graphics – which does not relate back to "paying as they go".

Yeesh.


HorribleIdea   August 26th, 2009 7:01 pm ET

I agree with Yohann I will never buy a game that requires you to keep paying to progress. That is for suckers, sadly there are plenty of those people.


Fenring   August 26th, 2009 7:33 pm ET

@Yohann The hardware isn't overpriced, except in the Wii's case, in which Nintendo makes money off the console, the other members of the big three (MS and Sony) lose money on each console sold. And you don't have to pay over time. The online is free, what Hartmann is talking of is DLC, which most games include.


William Hubbard   August 26th, 2009 8:46 pm ET

I dont think the look of the game is what is really revolutionary.....its mainly its take on gameplay. You have 4 people working together in a first person shooter. On top of this, you have elements of diablo where you can get an assortment of different weapons. These weapons have been noted to be around the range of 375,000. It also has elements from diablo in the leveling system. The concept of the game is basically a number of games molded into one.


Monster   August 26th, 2009 10:30 pm ET

2k , games is one of the worst game companies out there, and they are the ones who made Amped 2 one of the best snowboarding games, and when 2k brought out Amped 3, it was the worst snowboarding game ever made.. ..

I don't think gamers would pay per lvl for a game, because that would be like a $2000 game , if game developers kept making levels... So I say 2k is just trying to get rich.. They made terrible games anyways...


Chris   August 27th, 2009 7:37 am ET

Remind me never to buy 2k games with that kind of business model.


Dave   August 27th, 2009 10:12 am ET

This is already happening people. Take a look at Fallout 3. Original game was $50. They've released 5 pieces of DLC at $10 each. The original game had about 20 hours gameplay. Each DLC added about 2 hours. So all in all, some people payed $100. All the DLCs together don't add up to the original game, and the DLCs took only a fraction of the devopment time and resources of the original game. Why would people pay for this stuff? Because it has big new guns and pretty new armor. For Xbox people, it adds some gamer points. Think of all those 'free' onling RPGs. They are free, unless you want the different facial features, or special clothes, or rare armor, then people pay $5 for a sword.
I think it's a very evil system to use, but it's obviously VERY profitable business system. For a company not to take advantage of our instant gratification needs, our greed, and our competative nature would be bad business.


CKofAZ   August 27th, 2009 10:51 am ET

The future is coming within the next few months, Its called ONLIVE and this service will replace the need for you to ever buy a console or upgrade your PC again. Its a part of cloud computing and the pay as you go model (like it or not) will the norm from here on out.


GBX Forum member.   August 27th, 2009 12:24 pm ET

First of all you can't blame 2K for amped's failure, they're a publisher it's the developer who is to blame if a game fails. And on a side not Borderlands has somewhere between 2 million and 17 million guns not 375, 000 and the map size is estimated to be 17, 000 miles.


SoonerHawk   August 27th, 2009 12:25 pm ET

I paid extra for maps and levels in many console games already. (examples: Fable 2, Fallout 3, CoD MW, Halo 3, Oblivion, Cod WaW, and Mass Effect) Sometimes it feels like it is worth it and sometimes it doesn't. It is not really a new thing to this Gen of consoles, and with the tech leaning to digital downloads of the entire game in the next gen hardware it is only going to expand.


Eric   August 27th, 2009 1:18 pm ET

New and inventive? I think not, Flagship Studios made a game called Hell Gate London. Same style as this "new game" HGL went great and they had awsome extra content which you had to be a subscriber to get which was only 15$ a month your standard pay to play fee. But it was optional to be a subscriber to use this content, and the main game its self was good enought that you didnt need the extra content so the game went belly up after a year because of people not subscribing for the extra content. I dont see this game being any different.


Renroc   August 27th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

2k Games, glad I know about them. And will stay way the hell away from anything 2k ever markets with that business model.

If it says:

2k Games = Bait and Switch

The content to pay to play is like paying for an update everytime you want to do something new. Sure its a cafeteria model. But I can deal without the bait and switch for pay to play.


SDVjoe   August 27th, 2009 3:31 pm ET

First of all I love how all the Borderlands forum mebers are comenting on a CNN news blog.

And DLC that you pay for as you go adds SO much to the game. So what if its $20 or $5 here and there it expands the game and it gives you a better experience.

Borderlands WILL be excellent and I would pay $100 dollars for a game like this


Guy   August 27th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

Who said the final price of pay as you go levels would end up being more than any other full game?


Kurt in Ca   August 27th, 2009 7:52 pm ET

You would have to be retarded to want to play that game. It is the epitamy of 'pay to win' crap. It's no longer a game if the only way to beat it is by breaking out your credit card.

Don't reward criminal minded punks like 2k. Avoid their garbage.


Shane McGuire   August 28th, 2009 5:53 am ET

This is going to be the same type of situation that Micrsoft found themselves in when they tried to Market HALO 2 for the PC. They pushed the Vista Operating System for the game.

FLOP!

Now they are hard at work trying to make up for lost ground with the incoming Windows 7.

As for this game's marketing ploy, I have a feeling that this game, regardless of its "Stellar New Design" is going to remain on the shelves.

This is one major reason that I never purchased WOW. I am not interested in an annual or monthly fee in order to maintain my character.

My case and point?

This is why I only play the Battlefield games in Single Player Mode.

As for the consoles, I still only have my XBOX. I have not changed out to the XBOX 360, and probably will not in the near future. Why should I?

For the money I spend on the new console, I upgrade my PC for the same price, and it makes a better machine. Plus I can surf the net, do my homework, balance the bank books, pay bills and go back to playing my games.

Hmm, sounds like a PC is a better all around deal than any console.

Just a thought.


Vincent   August 28th, 2009 11:23 am ET

Onlive will be the future of gaming??
are you kidding me?!?!
onlive is prob one of the worst ideas ever to hit the market if you think people will buy onlive which is non-hd btw then you are just as dellusional as 2k's ceo
as for the fallout content i disagree #1 the game was not 20 hours long try about 80-100 pal
second of all DLC is not like paying to get to the next level DLC is pretty much a Digital Expansion pack and last i checked expansion packs have been around for over 10 years.


jayh   August 28th, 2009 11:31 am ET

Do your market research first – THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA!🙂


Matt   August 28th, 2009 7:00 pm ET

...Let me get this straight...

Console prices are dropping, so they think we are going to be more willing to pay higher prices for the games? The day I pay 1/3 of the price of what it costs to buy a console to buy a game is the day I stop buying vidja games.

I will revert to playing old NES games and become a shut-in lunatic like the people that decide its a good idea to charge $15 for "special content" that should have been included in the original freakin game!


zach537   August 29th, 2009 4:35 am ET

I hope this dies before it even gets started and i hope that the guy who started this goes broke. I love games, but i would never pay someone to go to the next level. well, i guess i will not by anymore games, i have a computer rooms of all kinds of games that i can just replay, and it wont cost me a thing.


nomad-alpha   August 29th, 2009 9:44 pm ET

i agree with vincent..
DLC's have been around for a long time just in CD form.. (ever played mechwarrior?)
they just caught on to the whole "skip the store" or "download to drive" just like some of the games on sale today..


Axxis   August 30th, 2009 11:24 am ET

Sadly, this (pay-as-we-fix-this-rushed-buggy-game) business model has already gotten a firm foothold in the game world. Why pay a competent quality control department when there is an army of drooling "i been playin since beta!" testers that will not only do it for free, but actually pay to find more bugs after the game is released?

Downloadable content is just the carrot that keeps them hanging on.

Suckers...


John   August 30th, 2009 3:02 pm ET

I'd pay as I went if it meant that I would be paying a fraction of the cost up front to try out a few levels of the game to see whether I enjoyed it, as opposed to paying full retail price for a game that I only play a quarter of the way through before realizing it's a steaming pile of dung.

And you avoid paying full price for crap you can't return. It always makes me angry to buy something that's horrible that I can't return: "NO, I am NOT a satisfied customer, so where's my refund?"


jetman   September 1st, 2009 10:00 pm ET

any theses people of battlefield series games this is already done. by the battlefield vietnam rocks come join tko clan kill thoses dam vc and nva,


Mr.12inch   September 8th, 2009 1:05 pm ET

wow these game designers are so stupid people will not pay to go to the next level on a game!!!!!!!!! crazy is what they are


Screw poor people......WTF?!?!?   September 8th, 2009 3:18 pm ET

Poor poeple don't need to have the same gaming experience is rish people. I agree with the Voice Of Reason 100%, this style of pay to play needs to die now!

"Voice of Reason August 26th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

Now Available: The BFG that you can use to blow away lesser-funded players, ONLY $59.99!!!

I hope this is a business model that dies a horribly painful quick death."


Devanite   September 9th, 2009 3:07 pm ET

While I am a WOW player and I can understand maintenance costs (they arent too bad as it is) to keep their servers going (lets face it its a online world that has to support over ten million players everyday)

In WoW there is an achievement system which lets you get a nice little check in the box every time you kill a boss, and there are checks in the box for doing them harder ways too.

I have close to 6000 achievemnt points and if I had to pay for all of those, I would delete my characters.... or starve to death cause I don't know if playing is more important then eating. (<sarcasm)


Kerdic   September 9th, 2009 3:28 pm ET

Wow, why are you guys having such a hard time understanding what "different levels of gaming content" means.

Does this mean they will charge you money to reach the next level of character development in an RPG, or to advance to the next stage in a linear game?

NO!

It is more like this. Player A does not have an internet connection and will never play online multiplayer. So they buy the core single player campaign for $30. Player B has internet and only wants to play online Multiplayer so they buy the multiplayer only game for $20. Player C does not have internet but has many friends that they play split screan with so they get the core single player campaign for $30 and the additial $10 co-op campaign functionality to play with their friends.

Then of course we have the current DLC content to add on top of this. Extra multiplayer maps, extended campaign, new weapons, armor, etc.. all with their own prices.

To me this is dumb for the developer because if they keep it how it is now Player A, B, and C will each have to pay $60 dollars for the entire game and may never use some of it's functionality. The game broken into segments helps the consumer. No developer is dumb enough to continuous charge for a core game experience, they will only charge for an additional experience. Think logically how one would split the current games into segments, then put a pricetag on each functionality... this is what is being talked about here.


Steve   September 9th, 2009 6:05 pm ET

Here's another way to look at it... Pretty much all games right now end up with at least a trilogy. In essence you are paying $60 x 3. Once for each "level/chapter" of the game (i.e. Halo and Fable). In addition to that there is the paid for DLC for each of the three (extra maps and what-not). So the pay-as-you-go plan is already out there (and I agree it sucks). But, since everything is moving to be completely downloadable it will actually make the cost cheaper for the customers because then it cuts out the manufacturing costs of the discs, cases, paper manuals, shipping and retail mark-up. Next time you look to download something on say Xbox Live notice that it is cheaper than buying it at say Best Buy.

How many times have you watched a movie at the theater and walked out saying I can't wait to see the next one? Same with games, when you play something good, you want more of it. And most people are willing to pay for the second and third doses.


Jason   September 9th, 2009 8:24 pm ET

Wow... the luddites in this thread scare and amuse.

"I still only have my XBOX. I have not changed out to the XBOX 360,"
Congratz, you're 8 years behind the power curve. IS that XBox still plugged into a 17 inch black and white tube screen?

"I don’t think gamers would pay per lvl for a game, because that would be like a $2000 game , if game developers kept making levels"
Dont' let facts get in the way of your hyperbole now. Here's a hint, you pay for the first 5-10 levels... if you really like the game keep paying for more. If not, dont. You can spend as much or little as you want, depending on how much you like the game.

"I despise paying to play on network servers, so I will never buy those games."
How horrible it must be for you... a game where you can't just iddqd and win. Have you ever thought of the up-side to having your game info stored on a server? If your computer crashes, you don't lose anything. If you get a new computer, you don't have to worry about copying anything over. If you go to a friends house, and they have the game, you can just play your stuff there. Terribly convenient if you ask me.

Oh and Dave, Fallout 3 had EASILY 40 hours of gameplay in the original game (and this is ME, someone who still remembers the doom god mode codes off-hand) and that's just the core storyline through level 20. I haven't broken down and purchased the DLC yet though, so I can't speak to that.


Sauce   November 8th, 2009 7:07 am ET

Look at Left for Dead.....there came the DLC, and a year later L4D 2. IMO both games could have been combined into 1 massive DLC. Boycott her we come.


james braselton   December 7th, 2009 1:49 pm ET

HI THERE WITH CAP AND TRADE EMISSIONS BEING ONLINE LIVE MEANS YOUR GOING TOO GET A FINE JUST FOR BEING ONLINE WORST IDEAR AT THE WORST TIMMING


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