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Sound Off! Should RB/RB2 Legacy DLC Be Discounted?
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Sound Off! Should RB/RB2 Legacy DLC Be Discounted?

Yesterday we saw the discounting of select DLC packs on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 for this week, but as a few people have pointed out based on the nature of the way the sale is listed on the Xbox 360, this pricing initially appeared to be permanent. As the listing on the official PlayStation blog noted, the discount is only for this week, so a permanent drop in pricing doesn’t appear to be the case, but it does bring up an interesting discussion point.

We’re closing in fast on having 3,000 songs playable in Rock Band 3, which is a ridiculously absurd amount of music. And, when compared with every other game on the market, this is an even more ridiculous amount of DLC. With an occasional exception, every song is available individually, and most are also available in packs, so when we do reach 3,000 songs, there will be an even larger amount of available DLC (counting singles AND packs). I think @HMXHenry mentioned to me once that there are only a handful of “DLC completionists,” so the rest of us have “holes” in our DLC libraries. Here at RockBandAide, we try to encourage the exploration of older DLC for new players and for those who may have originally missed good songs through our Thursday Throwback feature. But that can only go so far.

We must not also ignore the huge “elephant in the room” fact that Rock Band (and Guitar Hero, obviously) isn’t the runaway cultural phenomenon that it used to be. It was huge when the economy was kicking ass and everyone had disposable income for a room full of plastic instruments, but that time has obviously passed. Most of the casual players have put their instruments in the closet or basement and long forgotten about weekly DLC releases. Only the most die-hard fans still wake up on Friday morning excited about the DLC announcement for next week. And shelling out 2 bucks for a song is a tougher sell than it used to be. When you compare the current Rock Band 3 DLC to older RB/RB2 legacy DLC, you get more bang for your buck now, which makes legacy DLC purchases a much less attractive proposition.

I did some quick research into it, and the ability to change pricing on existing DLC doesn’t appear to be a decision that typically rests in the hands of game developers, but rather in the hands of the respective consoles’ online stores. And based on other forms of digital music distribution, such as iTunes, this is the norm. For the most part, digital music pricing remains constant, regardless of the time since the music was originally released.

In a perfect world, DLC pricing would be something that Harmonix could change, but alas, this is not a perfect world. Ultimately it comes down to whether the discount in DLC would drive a larger volume of sales than the current DLC pricing structure, and as noted above, this decision rests in the hands of Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo. But if the price for RB/RB2 DLC songs dropped down to $.99, would you be picking up a large volume of tracks? Do you think it would be a good idea to discount existing Rock Band and Rock Band 2 DLC? Or would you feel “punished” for buying DLC years ago that others would now be able to get on the cheap?

Vote below, and let your voice be heard in the comments!


125 Responses to “Sound Off! Should RB/RB2 Legacy DLC Be Discounted?”

  • Numskull says:

    Most of my fence-sitting is with RBN songs that are only a buck anyway.

    Harmonix-authored DLC at a reduced price would only benefit me indirectly, as in, more of my PSN friends would have DLC that I wish they had.

  • Karadinn says:

    The legacy content is still great and even though I have nearly 1,200 playable songs, I have a few holes I want to fill but have a hard time doing so because so much of the post RB3 content has been stuff I really want. However, I picked up Wolfmother and one of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker six-packs when they were discounted, and there are plenty of other packs or songs where I would likely do the same if given the opportunity, whether I bought the regular DLC that week or not.

    I cannot see too much downside because I think it would spur sales of legacy tracks and might give much needed exposure to a few older packs people may have missed and are not currently buying in high quantities.

  • King Tony says:

    My budget has been tight for a while now and with such a massive volume of new songs coming out, it hasn’t been possible at all for me to go back and get everything I’ve missed. If it was discounted I might go back and focus on those older tracks for a while.

  • samjjones says:

    The only time I’ve felt “burned” on DLC sales was the CCR one. And that’s because it was such a ridiculous sale (400 MS points, instead of 1600).

    I’ve been holding off on the first Marley pack, the Queen enhanced stuff, and London Calling for this reason; I’m hoping they’ll have another “Liveapalooza” this summer and I can get those big packs a little cheaper.

    But otherwise, I’m a “buy the DLC I want right when it comes out” kind of guy.

    • Croq says:

      Yeah, that CCR pack for 400 MSP was insane. I think that’s the only one that I was upset about, and even then, I wasn’t *that* upset. It was worth 1600 MSP to me, so I paid it.

      And I’m in the same, I also “buy the DLC I want right when it comes out”.

  • Whizzer says:

    I would probably buy a fair amount of legacy tracks if properly discounted. I’m slowly approaching 800 playable songs in Rock Band 3 now and I’m picky.

    I wonder how much legacy tracks are bought on average. Considering the Music Store doesn’t sort by date by default, all DLC that people don’t remember from recent announcements may very well sell equally well. If so, discounts may increase revenue. Even very old packs may still sell well, because not everyone was around when they were first released.

    I voted yes for one reason: impulse buying works. Music, movies and games, among other products are much too expensive at launch and remain too expensive for much too long. 1 dollar/euro (insert equivalent for other valuta/currency) per music album would be a great impulse price. That reduces the price for a single song to 10 cents at best.

    For DLC that would mean that the lower the price, the more sales it will result in. Of course, there is a cut-off price. But I’ve always found the current price quite high, regardless of all the work that goes into it.

    • RockBandAide says:

      You bring up a good point. Discounting ALL of the RB1/RB2 DLC at once (if they did eventually decide that they can afford to do so without taking a loss) probably wouldn’t be the best idea, as it would inundate buyers with too many options.

      If they have limited-time themed DLC sales every few weeks or even once a month, I think they would have a better chance of selling batches of DLC packs in bite-size chunks for the average and informed player.

      • Colin says:

        I agree that timed sales make more sense. It calls focused attention to the tracks involved, and the the limited-time aspect would encourage people to take the plunge right away, adding an additional buying incentive. Plus, even if folks missed the sale, the fact it existed might get them to look at those songs again and make a few purchases.

        This sort of thing seems to work very, very well on Steam. I really wish that the consoles’ online stores followed suit more often.

        • Whizzer says:

          Steam is indeed the marketleader in showing impulse prices work wonders. Some games sell 1000% more copies in weeks, at 50% off, so there’s huge profit there. People who miss the sale may still get it shortly after, because they really want the game and don’t want to wait for the next sale.

          Deal of the Week is a nice idea, but it’s not nearly enough. Of course, if what I read is correct, Microsoft pays the price difference during sales, which is probably not the case with Steam sales. Regardless, much more effort can and should be taken to improve sales with impulse purchases.

          As proposed above, monthly DLC sales with a specific genre or theme would likely be a good idea for Rock Band DLC. It raises attention to newcomers and others who may not know about that piece of DLC and may sway longtime hardcore fans too. I don’t visit general gaming sites a whole lot, but I think DLC and game sales are always spread across a whole lot of those communities.

  • Tim the Enchanter says:

    I think the idea of being a RB completionist is crazy. I would think the only people that should have every song are those who have RB Karaoke businesses. Then you can at least write it off as a business expense.

  • RBGHfam says:

    I don’t understand how this poll isn’t 100%, 0%, 0%

    Even if you didn’t plan on buying something you skipped previously, wouldn’t you want it to be less expensive if you ever changed your mind?

    I now the poll holds no bearing on whether that happens or not just confused by its result o_0

    It seems very logical to me

    • samjjones says:

      Since we’re quoting Spock…”the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.”

      Slashing prices is good for you the purchaser, but generally means lower profit margins for the sellers.

      From the macro level, we want HMX and the record companies/artists to make tons of money, so that they keep the platform going forever.

      So when you look at it from that perspective, its not so cut and dry.

    • Croq says:

      Maybe it’s not 100%, 0%, 0% because there are a lot of people like me that have bought what they wanted already. I can’t think of very many at all out of the stuff I don’t have that I’d buy now, even at a discount. The cost of the tracks was never a reason for me to avoid buying a particular song or pack. And if I didn’t like the songs then, I’m probably not going to like them now, even if they are cheaper…

  • RBGHfam says:

    Don’t get me wrong, the price has never been an issue to me either and I have most if not all the DLC I want (still lots of stuff I haven’t heard though, especially RBN).

    I agree on HMX making lots of money. If they don’t, we don’t get anymore music. However, selling legacy DLC that isn’t selling well as opposed to not selling it = a profit.

    There is no incentive for current players to go back and look through the catalog of songs and buy old DLC that they previously passed up imo.

    “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra