Coffee Talk #456: Would You Buy Games Modularly?

Are you ready to think about buying games in a modular way? A few publishers are exploring the option in the quest to find a new game-publishing model that will work better in the upcoming years. As an example, let’s use the fictitious (but potentially awesome) game Marvel vs. San Rio…

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What do you think of when you hear the word modular? For me, the cheap and popular modular furniture from Ikea immediately springs to mind. Are you ready to think about buying games in a modular way? A few publishers are exploring the option in the quest to find a new game-publishing model that will work better in the upcoming years.

As an example, let’s use the fictitious (but potentially awesome) game Marvel vs. San Rio. The full game costs $60. The game is also available modularly, with the single-player and multiplayer components costing $35 each. This could be a potentially interesting way to buy and sell games. People that want to enjoy all the variations of Wolverine vs. Hello Kitty would snatch up the whole thing. Those that only care about the story mode would save $25 by paying for single-player only, while multiplayer fiends could just buy that mode. Naturally, the publisher would include all kinds of demos and incentives to nudge players to buy the mode they don’t already have.

A couple of publishers have mentioned this idea to me and my friend Paul mentioned that a publisher mentioned it to him last week (that’s triple mentioning in case you’re counting). Do you think this model would work? Is it something you’re interested in? Will videogame publishers borrow from the ingenious world of Swedish modular furniture and sell their wares modularly?

Author: RPadTV


  • Lunias

    Oddly enough, it sounds interesting. It would lower the cost in a way that is still profitable for the publishers, for one. And people who want a game that has good multiplayer but a boring singleplayer campaign can skip the story entirely… I kinda like it.

  • BigBlak

    I'm effing down for that! I'm still big on single player and could care less about most multiplayer games. I'm sold.

    • araczynski

      ditto, could care less about MP in any game i play. no reason to pay for it if i'm never going to play it.

  • lceman

    Didn't Smartguy mention something like this about Call of Duty? A lot of people who play CoD multi-player could care less about the 5-hour campaign and vice-versa.

    I think one of the problems with this, ultimately, is that we will have a lot less multi-player games. If you think about it, a lot of people play the game then go online to check out the multi-player. If they like it, they keep playing for a while. If you had to pay extra for Dead Rising 2's, Duke Nukem's, or Bioshock 2's multi-player, hardly anyone would buy it, thus making you pretty much waste your money on the module since not enough people will populate those games. You will spend countless hours in a game lobby waiting for people to play the multi-player of games that are not known for it.

    The only games that modular gaming can work for are those titles that are already super popular in both single player and multi-player modes such as Halo, Call of Duty, or Madden.

    I think Valve has the right idea between Half-Life and Counter Strike. Counter Strike could have been Half-Life's multi-player, but instead they decided to make two separate games out of them. I think this strategy would work better than saying: Buy Syndicate single-player campaign and Syndicate multi-player and save $5!


    • Smartguy

      Thanks for remembering.

  • Smartguy

    I love this idea. This really becomes a great idea for yearly releases…in fact yearly releases for multiplayer would be able to be upgraded via network since the client doesn't undergo major changes.

    It becomes a bad idea when say Activision or EA choose to add multiplayer unlocks that affect gameplay as single player unlocks. Unlocking the Juggernaut perk for beating CoD for instance or a pro version of a perk for certain single player achievements. Where the big upset could come into play would be Game Title A requires the user to purchase a $10 unlock for coop (double whammy if on 360) even if the client will be ran local.

    Ultimately I feel that this will lead to a freemium model for nearly all competitive multiplayer clients. Valve and Riot aren't losing money.

  • N8R

    I've taken my time to respond so that I could think about it more.

    My response: I don't know.

    In some cases, I would prefer it, and in others, I wouldn't. As an overall… It's still in the air.

  • lceman

    For all of you Mass Effect 3 fans that live in the San Francisco area; the game that was launched into space earlier today has not been found yet. N8, Mr. Padilla; I hope you guys are scavenging for it as I type this.

    Nightshade; you might want to make a quick trip to Vegas tomorrow as a copy of Mass Effect 3 will be descending to Earth in that area on the 24th. You may want to rent an ATV.

    Good luck!!


  • Thundercracker

    I would be okay with just buying either a sp or mp portion of a game, if the games were distributed digitally. I wouldnt want to deal with disks.