Just about four months ago THQ revealed plans to try a new pricing model that would begin with the next iteration of the MX off-road racing series. The idea is to release new games at a lower entry point ($30 or $40) and then push downloadable content to expand the experience. The base game may not be fully featured therefore leaving it to individual consumers to choose what is important to them if more is desired.
MX vs ATV: Alive is slated to release on May 10th for $39.99. The breakdown of what will be provided in the retail package and what will be offered as downloadable content is yet to be revealed but will be critical in assessing value. Additional tracks would seem like an obvious one for DLC but don’t be surprised if even online play requires additional payment.
THQ believes that a lower price will make the game more appealing. In turn more consumers purchasing the game means there will be more who are subjected to the availability of downloadable content. The question is whether the relatively small percentage of those who do purchase DLC will make up for or exceed the revenue lost by dropping the price of the game.
Whether this pricing model would be applied to licensed titles such as UFC or WWE remains unlikely even if successful. Companies have a strong desire to protect their brand image and releasing at a reduced price is commonly seen as damaging the value of the brand as a whole. Still the potential for this model to be adopted with less popular or fringe sports titles certainly makes the returns worth monitoring.