Tiger Woods 14 Returning to Traditional DLC Model for Acquiring Extra Courses

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Posted February 6th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

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Last year in Tiger Woods 13 EA Sports introduced a system where courses available as DLC could be earned without paying for them. In theory through the normal course of play “coins” would be earned that could then be used instead to get them. At the time it sounded as though it would be appealing for consumers. The choice would be to put in the work necessary to be granted enough “coins” to obtain a new course or pay outright and not have to go through all that trouble and the time investment doing so would require. 

Unfortunately though as many suspected would be the case the system was rigged in a manner to encourage the continued buying of courses. “Coins” were not distributed at a reasonable rate therefore sustaining the incentive to buy any that were desired. Add to that how the cost of courses were raised apparently with the thinking in mind that some would pass then – going up $1 for individual courses and $5 for the set of 11 – and the trouble with microtransactions on the PS3 costing consumers even more money and the whole thing was deemed a disaster by reviewers and consumers alike. Even EA has apparently recognized that as they have scrapped the “Course Mastery” system for Tiger Woods 14 according to IGN.

The Tiger Woods series has been plagued by a reliance on DLC that has gradually eaten away at the goodwill of consumers. Seeing events missing in career mode and being constantly pressured to buy DLC has proven unsettling while being expected to re-buy a bunch of extra courses every year has taken its toll.

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  • funo

    So if you buy the historic edition..you are able to play all of the courses that are included out of the box?

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      That has five extra courses. I believe there will be others on top of that still held out as DLC.

      • mcmax3000

        There are 20 courses on the normal disc, 26 on the historic edition disc, three as pre-order bonuses, and 15 as normal DLC.

  • mcmax3000

    I definitely feel like this is a huge step backwards for the series.

    There were definitely improvements that could’ve been made to last year’s system (though I completely disagree on the rate of coin distribution… It was maybe a little slow, but nowhere near as bad as most people made it out to be), but it was much better than the normal “pay us $3-4 per course, and then pay us again next year” model that they were using, and are continuing to use.

    I would’ve much rather that they iterated on last year’s system than completely dropping it.

    Of course, what they really need to work on more than anything is allowing your purchases to carry forward, instead of trying to charge people for the same piece of content every year. We know the technology exists. Harmonix has been doing it since 2007.

    I was actually getting interested in this year’s game with a lot of the community requested features that they’re adding, but this has definitely killed a chunk of that interest.

  • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

    For one reason…they were essentially scamming people out of money on the PS3 because of Sony’s structure where people had to buy coins to then spend on the courses rather than how MS allows for just straight DLC of the courses.

    I don’t think anyone is saying removing options on how to get the courses is a good thing but the way things were set up last year was a disaster. They have to come up with a new idea.

    • Keith.

      I found this quote in the briefs that were recently unsealed in the Madden Monopoly lawsuit — 8 years later, and it looks like EA’s still up to their same old bag of tricks:

      “Shortly after EA signed the exclusive license with the NFL, Wendy Spander, Senior PR Manager, wrote, ‘I am already thinking about our media and next year, with the announcement [of the exclusive license] this week. Since we have no competition to worry about, it is going to be a tougher job to get the media to always say nice things about Madden so thinking strategically – we would benefit by bringing the media out early to Tiburon to convince them that even in March the game is looking great. We need the Jon Robinsons of the world to preach to the gaming community that we are not resting on our laurels and even with no competition, this is the game to get!” Spander, Wendy, 16 December 2004, Madden ‘06, EA00334572.”

      This quote, which proves what I’ve been saying for years, can be found in footnote 241 at the following link:

      https://www.easportslitigation.com/pdf/Paynter%20Declaration%20Ex.%20C%20-%20Part%201.pdf

      • heeve

        Thats what Jon Robinson has always been known for. Him and John Gaudiosi are EA’s go to guys for positive spin. Those guys just love to schmooze with PR and athletes. Shameless.

        • Keith.

          Agreed — it’s just nice to finally have it spelled out in an internal EA document, confirming our long-held suspicions. Personally, I don’t see how it’s any different than the record industry payola scandal that got busted up back in the day. Some day, somebody is going to do something about it.

          • jake

            You say this like its something new or unique. EVERY company tries to manipulate the press for the best possible coverage. That is the job of PR. Like its a coincidence that Take Two goes to IGN for the fluff first review of NBA 2K every year. They all are trying to put their games in the best light in any way.

          • Keith.

            If you don’t believe NBA2k deserves the high review scores it receives each year from IGN (or elsewhere), then I really don’t have anything else to say. Feel free to believe what you want to believe.

  • mcmax3000

    It has nothing to do with flying the media anywhere.

    Go back to reviews, and reactions of last year’s game. There was a ton of backlash to last year’s system. Why? I have no idea… I loved being able to unlock DLC courses for free, but given how many people whined, I’m not surprised they got rid of it.

    • Keith.

      Maybe you missed this in the IGN article:

      “Speaking at an EA-organized event at the Pebble Beach golf resort yesterday, franchise director Mike DeVault told IGN, “We’ve taken that [Course Mastery] system out and are using a more traditional DLC approach.”

      So, after being flown out to (and presumably put up at) the Pebble Beach resort, IGN concluded all on their own that this new “system,” which makes you pay for all DLC and gives you nothing for free, is better than last year’s “system”? And their opinion wasn’t influenced at all by EA, even though I posted proof positive above that they did the exact same thing with that turd of a game, Madden 06? Guess we just gotta disagree there.

      • mcmax3000

        Maybe you missed this in IGN’s review of Tiger Woods 13:

        “The reality is that EA’s new system is a disgusting, well-disguised sham that makes past DLC traps look like charity.”

        or this:

        “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 features an exploitative add-on system which displays complete contempt for its audience.”

        They’re not suddenly changing their tune because they attended some EA function. They hated last year’s system from the get go, so now that it’s gone, they’re saying that’s a good thing.

        Also, you didn’t uncover some giant industry secret. Pretty much every game publisher does everything they can to get the best possible coverage of their games. Those types of events are FAR from an EA only thing.

        • Keith.

          It’s not even the same guy at IGN who panned the game last year, who’s now singing the praises of the new “system.” How much do you want to bet that the guy who reviewed the game last year for IGN isn’t there to do the review this year? I’d also bet that he wasn’t invited to attend the EA event at the Pebble Beach resort this year.

          Frankly, I don’t know what other companies do to influence gaming media reviews…certainly, I’ve never seen an “NBA2k bowl” with a bunch of celebrities shown on TV before, nor do I ever see such events mentioned online. I’ve also never heard of another developer sending game reviewers a $200 check, as EA did in 2009 with their turd Dante’s Inferno game. However, I do know that EA’s marketing expenditures completely dwarf Take Two’s ($215 million vs. $60 million for the last 3 months in 2012, according to the latest financials). If you believe EA and 2k and other developers are all the same when it comes to buying off the gaming media, again, we’ll just have to disagree.

        • Keith.

          And for what it’s worth, I was as surprised (and pleased) as anybody to see IGN slam TW last year, after a decade of being known as EA’s resident spin shop (remember the fluff reviews they gave Madden 06-09, which are generally regarded as the worst of the lousy Tiburon football games)? Like I said, don’t expect the same IGN reviewer to handle the TW14 review duties — they already had someone else handle the snow job from Pebble Beach.

  • Wes

    I would love the series to do three things: number one, make all these courses available for free. I hate how the series will have a course available on year and not available the next (lemme play Bethpage and Scottsdale!!). Number two: take a page from Fight Night and allow you to be able to create a character with as many attribute points as you’d like — so you can use him in exhibitions — and have that guy start from scratch if you take him into career mode. Number three: let you take more than one created player into the President’s / Ryder Cup / Franchise mode! I would love to play as myself and my created character “Bill Nickelson” at the same time… but alas……………

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