Despite their profitability and critical success, first-person shooters often run into a problem when it comes to downloadable content. The issue of “segmenting” arises when access to new content begins to divide the player base between those who bought and those who did not.
As Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 approaches, it would seem that Treyarch is attempting to find a workable solution to this segmentation issue.
Responding to fans on Reddit about this issue, Treyarch Studio Design Director David Vonderhaar commented that the team is looking into methods to keep all players together.
“It’s a particularly evil problem on PC. I can tell you that we know exactly what you are talking about. I’ve personally spoken to Cesar about that. Both of us have ideas to help mitigate it, none of which is done, announced or official. I generally avoid “I’ll have to give a vague answer” style questions, but I am making an exception here.”
Vonderhaar did play down one request from fans, namely the ability to temporarily disable the new content:
“More generally, people often ask for a ‘disable DLC” button.’ The problem with that approach is that it amplifies the problem. We generally aren’t fans of a disable DLC button.”
Ultimately, Vonderhaar acknowledged the difficulty of altering game design in such a manner when publishers want to keep the same business model in place.
“Perhaps ironically, it’s sometimes more efficient to change the game design than it is to change the game’s business model when working on established franchises,” he concluded.
In other words, it seems like the team at Treyarch is researching ways to be inclusive to all players, whether you buy the DLC or not. However, it might be difficult to convince a publisher such as Activision to abandon its current, highly profitable, business model in favor of a more consumer friendly one.