Remember when EA announced that they will be releasing new content for Battlefield 2? Remember 5 seconds later when you found out that you were gonna pay $10 for a few new maps? I sure was shocked. Until then developers and publishers supported their games not only by making patches and fixing the bugs (something EA still hasn’t learned) but by providing additional content free of charge. That was their way of saying “thanks for buying the game.”
It was mostly Valve that continued to make free content for the players. Maps, updates, mods etc.
Now it seems that Valve has joined EA, at least to some extent. Let me explain. You have a game and you count on, say, 20 hours of gameplay time and the game retails at $50. If you split up that game into three episodes of five-six hours and charge $20-$25, it’s a much better business than before. Not so hard to understand.
That’s what happened to Half Life 2: Aftermath, in my opinion. It used to be Aftermath. Now Valve has split up the expansion pack into at least two episodes (Episode 1 is out in a month or so) of five hours of gameplay. How long before Valve begins to charge for new Counter-Strike maps, if they continue down this road? It wouldn’t take long for Valve to lose the respect of the community like EA did with the boosterpacks.
It makes perfect business sense; the marketing departments must feel like real geniuses at this point. But with the boosterpacks from EA (and the lack of support) I swore never to buy another game from them. I hope I won’t be adding Valve to that list in a few months.