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Keeping players playing without adding DLC

Avalanche studios head Christofer Sundberg urges developers not to get too hung up on adding DLC or multiplayer to their single-player games, as there are much better ways to increase player engagement.
"DLC is not needed to keep players engaged if the game is well executed."
- Avalanche studios head Christofer Sundberg urges developers not to get too hung up on producing downloadable content in an interview with Eurogamer. The Just Cause 2 developer explains that while most developers produce downloadable content to prolong user engagement, the real trick to long-term success is to make a game that players don't want to put down in the first place. "We create a game allowing players to properly explore and have fun and not focusing so much on the actual end goal of the game," he says. Avalanche experimented with its own DLC for Just Cause 2, but Sundberg found that the content just didn't make much of an impact in the long run. And while plenty of other single-player games have added multiplayer to better hold players' attention, he's not sure that's the answer either. "The big thing now is to force multiplayer into games that are really single-player games just to combat second hand sales and that makes absolutely no sense as it just consumes budget and does not add any value except on the back of the box." But adding so-called "value" to a product is a vague pursuit, to say the least. With so many factors at play, is there a magic formula for making a game stick? Perhaps there's something developers can do to make their DLC or multiplayer efforts more worthwhile?

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