Epic Games keeps utilizing an interesting strategy in a bid to confront the growing sale of used videogames, which the Cary company sees as an increasing threat to its bottom line.

It’s called DLC, or downloadable content.

Buyers of its new release “Gears of War 3” were provided with an update on Thursday. Other updates include new maps, tweaks to deal with bugs, and much more. On Dec. 13, a much more DLC will be available called ‘RAAM’s Shadow.”

Epic and Microsoft the publisher are certainly hyping its release.

“Excited for the upcoming RAAM’s Shadow campaign DLC? Hell, of course you are—a riveting new story, a dynamite cast of new and returning characters, and ten new achievements to bolster your Gamerscore,” they pledged in an announcement on Wednesday.

“Just for the Gears community, we’ve got a little taste of the challenges to come in RAAM’s Shadow, with your first look at those ten achievements just begging to be earned. Don’t forget: RAAM’s Shadow debuts on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on December 13th for just 1,200 Microsoft Points—or, for Season Pass holders, the sweet, sweet price of free.”

Gears is reportedly on its way to topping 7 million in sales and likely will become the biggest seller of the three-title franchise. But players trading in games once they are done with the initial batch of content keep bargain hunters from buying new copies.

Unfortunately, not all DLCs work.

“We are happy to report that the technical issue that prevented last night’s release of Horde Command Pack is now resolved,” Epic said after a glitch earlier this week.

“We have deployed the appropriate files worldwide now and it will be available for purchase to new users within the next two hours, as well as available for download for anyone that purchased Season Pass within the next hour.

“If you did purchase Season Pass, simply log into the game and you should be prompted that there is new content available for you to download. If you are currently logged into the game, you will need to back all the way out to the “Start” screen and then go back to the Main Menu to get the latest updates from the servers.

“Sorry again for the delay, we hope everyone enjoys getting into all of the awesome new Horde content.”

As part of the Horde hype, Epic also unveiled a new video trailer.

“Keeping the Disc in the Tray”

Epic is far from alone in this DLC tactic. However, Rod Fergusson, who heads up production at Epic, was quite candid in an interview with Computers and Videogames about the strategy of Epic’s DLC – and its requirements.

The goal is “keeping the disc in the tray,” Fergusson said. Epic offers a “season pass” to keep luring players back even if they had completed all campaigns.

Yet DLC is more than a gimmick or an afterthought. It’s also part of the planning for a game’s rollout.

“There are people who think that the first day of DLC development is the day after you launched. That’s not the way it works,” Fergusson said. “It’s not about, ‘Oh, we had this map left over’… it’s keeping the disc in the tray.

Cliff Blesinski, who heads up creative efforts at Epic, chimed in: “’You don’t just lift up a rock and say, ‘oh [bleep], there’s new levels!'”
Game Rant noted that the Nov. 17 update included tweaks to Gears 3 multiplayer. Epic also added a “spectator mode.” Competitive leagues can better judge matches, the site noted.

Raleigh Game On Is Back Nov. 21

Triangle area game developers will be gathering at The Hive on Monday, Nov. 21 for another “Raleigh Game On” event.

The fun starts at 7 p.m.

Get more information and register here.

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