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Former Paradox CEO defends extended DLC policy as 'fair and balanced'

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Paradox Interactive has kind of an unusual approach to making DLC, in that it can't seem to not make DLC. The 2013 release of Europa Universalis 4, for instance, was followed by 32 expansions, content packs, and other bits released over a span of more than five years; the most recent expansion for Hearts of Iron 4, which came out in mid-2016, was released last month.

I think it's great to see a publisher demonstrate that level of commitment to its games, but not everyone agrees: Some players think that Paradox is fleecing its fans by piling so much DLC onto old games that they feel compelled to buy. Paradox business development VP Shams Jorjani acknowledged at PDXCon last year that "there's room for improvement in how we present our DLC," although he also emphasized the value of "vanilla" Paradox games and said that the complaints are often the result of "people being conditioned by other games" to think that if they don't have all the DLC, they're missing out on some big part of it.

In a series of tweets posted today, former Paradox CEO Frederik Wester, now the executive chairman of the board, defended the company's DLC policy as "a fair and balanced way to release content."

"Our DLC model is based on the idea that you pay for new content after the full game release. This helps to finance the further development of the game, which is of gain for all players," Wester tweeted. "Every time we release a DLC we also release a big update for free, which means that you get continuous upgrades of your game even if you choose not to buy any DLC. This would not be possible to fund otherwise."

"In multiplayer, you always play with the DLCs of the player who has the most DLC installed. This means you have access to all content in MP without having paid for it. It has been a way for us to avoid splitting up the player base."

Wester acknowledged that the model isn't "flawless," and that newcomers to its games might be "intimidated" by the unusually long lists of post-release content. But Paradox runs regular sales on its games and expansions, he said—and ultimately, "like with all business, if you don't think it's worth it, don't buy it. Paradox should not be an exception."

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For his actual grand finale, Wester said that Paradox's DLC model isn't perfect, and that it's always looking for ways to make it better, a process that includes listening to feedback from players. But, he finished, "Are we listening to people who 'BLURG BLARGH GREEDY BASTARDS DLC BAD OOGA BOOGA?' No."

Earlier this week Wester expressed support for the Epic Games Store, saying that the 30 percent revenue cut taken by Steam and other platforms is "outrageous."

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.