May 1, 2009 // 8:06 pm
- Bethesda seems to be taking an interesting tack when it comes to software updates for Fallout 3.
Ever since the 1.4 patch, including the new 1.5 patch
(which adds Broken Steel achievements and fix a few bugs), the releases have been for the PC and Xbox 360 only.
Of course those updates, besides bug fixes, are updating Achievements for expansions that are also not available on the PlayStation 3.
This could all point back to the surcharge on downloads
that Sony began implementing on PSN downloads back in October, 2008, around the time Fallout 3 was released.
Since then Sony has charged developers $0.16/GB for content downloaded through PSN. Even content that's free, like the Fallout patches, would be subject to the charge for the first 60 days that the content is out. Paid content would be subject to the fee as long as there's a charge associated with it.
This could also be why we haven't seen the major Fallout 3 expansions on the PS3 either. Operation: Anchorage released on January 27, 2009 for 800 Microsoft Points, The Pitt ended up having a broken release in March for the same point value and the 3rd content pack, Broken Steel, will be out in May.
So far none of these expansions are even announced for the PS3 and the reason could be simple mathematics. On the Xbox Marketplace it shows the file sizes
for both Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt.
Combined they make up 861 MB. Given Sony's $0.16/GB fee for downloads that means any user who downloaded both of them would cost Bethesda $0.14 (assuming a pro-rated schedule).
So, hey, you say to yourself, fourteen cents isn't that big of a deal. Until you realize that there are potentially more than a million downloaders. That $0.14 rapidly balloons to $194,600 if all 1.39 million PS3 players
download both updates.
Even if we're to be conservative and say that only 500,000 people download both packages, that still represents an extra $70,000 to be carried by Bethesda.
In the face of this there is simply no incentive for developers to release their products for download on the PS3: better to wait and do a "Game of the Year" package or something similar and avoid losing profits and dev costs to what is effectively a "download tax" that is not attached on competing platforms - in the meantime forcing game owners to pay for another full game that includes the extra content.