Expansion Packs vs Patches

Patches and expansion packs both add new features and content to the games we know and love.  The difference is that patches happen on a small scale and expansion packs happen on a large scale.  Which is the better model to use when releasing updates?  Let's weigh some pros and cons.

Patches allow developers to deliver new things to their players constantly.  Players are always itching for new features and content so they love having the influx of new stuff that consistent patches bring.  It also gives players a sense that the development team cares about the community and that they haven't abandoned the game.  If new content and features are added to the game regularly it gives the world a feeling of progression, it keeps the world from growing stagnant.  Another thing to keep in mind is that no one is going to argue with receiving free updates, which is exactly what patches do.

Expansion packs help out the developer more than the players.  With an expansion on the horizon the game company can market and build hype for it.  They may be able to draw in brand new players or convince former players to resubscribe.  Not only does it help subscription numbers but it also allows the game company to get $50 per person that picks up the expansion pack.  That's a lot of money they wouldn't otherwise see if they pushed updates through patches instead.

Patches don't generate revenue through box sales the way expansion packs do.  They usually don't generate the same amount of hype either.

A major downside of expansion packs is that players get burned out on the current content in the game before the next expansion is released .  Players feel like the developers are just sitting on a ton of new content (which they are) that they would like to play, even though they are no longer having fun in the game's current state.  This results in players unsubscribing to the game, and no developer wants that.  It is easier to retain a customer than to win one back once they have become jaded.

So, should companies patch their MMOs full of new and exciting things or should they save it up for a good old fashion expansion pack?  Well, probably both.  I suppose it just depends on the game.


Popular posts from this blog

Latest Board Gaming

S2E22 - E3 2017 - “Who doesn’t want to be a dinosaur?!”

Games of the Year 2022: In Conclusion