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"Price is not the issue" with DLC, says Bethesda exec

Bethesda Softworks executive Peter Hines has warned that downloadable content must be perceived as being good value to the consumer - a lesson his company learned with hit title Oblivion.

Bethesda Softworks executive Peter Hines has warned that downloadable content must be perceived as being good value to the consumer - a lesson his company learned with hit title Oblivion.

Speaking in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Hines said, "We were the first ones to do downloadable content like that - some people had done similar things, but no one had really done additions where you add new stuff to your existing game. So we knew we were going to take some flak whatever."

The first item of DLC released for Oblivion was a pack which allowed players to put armour on their character's horse. At 200 Microsoft Points (GBP 1.70), some gamers complained that the pack was overpriced.

"We could have put that out for 25 cents and people would have still been up in arms," Hines said.

"We found that the price isn't really the issue. People just want to feel like they're getting a good deal. I'll pay $3 for downloadable content, but it better be cool - and horse armour just isn't cool. So if we had to do it over again, I'd say either we should wait until later for the horse armour or do it for less."

Bethesda has since released additional DLC packs which are "better conceived and at a better price point", according to Hines. However, the horse armour pack "sold hundreds of thousands of copies and still sells every day. It's not like people don't want it, because it still sells".

An Oblivion expansion pack, Elder Scrolls IV: The Shivering Isles, is due out next week, while a PS3 version of the original game will be out in April. Click here to read the full interview.

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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