Bethesda Softworks has announced the forthcoming release of extra game content for its highly acclaimed RPG title, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which stormed into the top of the all-formats sales chart upon its release.
The developer has already provided a download on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 version of the game, which costs 200 Microsoft Points (equating to approximately GBP 1.50) and allows gamers to purchase and equip armour for their horses.
The company has confirmed that PC gamers can also now purchase the extra content, for a fee of USD 1.99 for the 6.2MB pack. Reaction to the pricing structure for the new content has prompted the developer to defend its position, stating that it has carefully priced the Xbox 360 content in line with existing themes, gamer pictures and other Xbox Live Marketplace content.
"We based the price on the other items you can currently download, like themes and gamer pictures, so a theme on Xbox Live is 150 Marketplace points, the Kameo Christmas Costume was 200 points, and our downloads will be around those prices," a spokesperson told US website Gamespot.com.
"We're one of the first developers doing stuff like this, so we'll have to see what types of downloads people prefer," the spokesperson added. "It's hard to tell right now until we have more stuff out, how many people want item plug-ins, versus quests or locations, and so forth. It certainly may be the case that some plug-ins will appeal to some folks and not others, but we hope we'll be able to provide a good variety so that there's something for everyone...and hopefully more than one something for everyone."
To test the water further, Bethesda has announced two new downloads in development. Wizards Tower will introduce a new property in the game, although it is not known at this stage whether or not an additional quest or challenge will be linked to it. The second download, Orrery, involves a new quest to repair a Dwarven astrological kit, with new abilities relating to lunar cycles as a result of its completion.
Xbox Live Marketplace has proven exceptionally popular for Microsoft, and the company is planning a range of new, regularly updated content for distribution through the service, some of which will be free, whilst others are chargeable at nominal rates.
Whether or not Bethesda and other publishers looking to release digital content for premium games on the console have accurately judged the pricing model for additional content remains to be seen, and it is consumer reaction that will ultimately make that call.