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Former Paradox CEO defends studio's continuous DLC model as 'fair and balanced'

Former Paradox CEO and president Fredrik Wester has defended the company's approach to DLC as "fair and balanced."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 5, 2019

2 Min Read

Former Paradox CEO and current executive chairman Fredrik Wester has defended the company's approach to DLC as "fair and balanced."

The studio's current model sees it deliver a steady stream of premium downloadable content alongside free updates, meaning players old and new will have fresh content to devour in the long-term. 

It's a model that means games like Europa Universalis IV, which launched back in 2013, now have over 20 paid add-ons costing at a wide variety of price points. 

The fact that so much fresh content is being dished out has left some players feeling pressured to keep spending out of fear of being left behind. 

More specifically, some Reddit users claim it's a scattershot approach that leads to games becoming fragmented, with core features and mechanics added further down the line resulting in  the base game feeling incomplete. 

Although the Paradox chief exec hears those concerns, he explained the approach ultimately works because it keeps the company in business while ensuring (most) players remain happy and engaged. 

"Our DLC model is based on the idea that you pay for new content after the full game release. This helps to finance the further development of the game, which is of gain for all players," he wrote on Twitter

"Every time we release a DLC we also release a big update for free, which means that you get continuous upgrades of your game even if you choose not to buy any DLC. This would not be possible to fund otherwise.

"In multiplayer, you always play with the DLCs of the player who has the most DLC installed. This means you have access to all content in MP without having paid for it. It has been a way for us to avoid splitting up the player base."

Addressing the concerns of those who feel priced out or intimidate when they see a game with hundreds of dollars in DLC, Wester said the company runs "deep discounts" on its entire roster of games and expansions. 

He also suggested that anyone who doesn't think the content is worth the outlay should simply vote with their wallet, adding "if you don't think it's worth it, [then] don't buy it."

"The DLC model also allows us to experiment more and be a bit crazy with content, hopefully resulting in more interesting content over time," he continued, explaining how it impacts Paradox from a creative standpoint. 

"And now for the grand finale: I am personally in favor of DLCs that are purely enhancements of graphics (skins, flags etc). Why? They have no gameplay effect (pay to win), doesn't lock out functions and helps fund the game and make it better.

"Is this a perfect model for releasing content? No. Are we constantly working to make it better? Yes. Are we listening to feedback from players? Yes. Are we listening to people who 'BLURG BLARGH GREEDY BASTARDS DLC BAD OOGA BOOGA?' No."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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