Obsidian Entertainment's DLC Survey Results

The results of Obsidian Entertainment's DLC-related survey are in and you can check them out, all arranged into neat bars and graphs, on Obsidian's forums. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the results is the number of respondents: in roughly two weeks the survey was up, over 55,000 people have participated in it, greatly exceeding the estimate and giving Obsidian quite a bit of data to sift through.

And if you're not a huge fan of looking at graphs, the results are accompanied by some interesting comments from Obsidian. For example:

Question 2: Acquisition Method

This question got a lot of feedback from the community, and I'll will revise it if we ask a similar question in the future. The feedback largely centered on a few issues:
  • A large number of respondents commented that, while they would not commonly refund/return the base game in order to acquire the Game of the Year (GotY) Edition, they would refrain from purchasing a game at all once DLC of any kind is announced until a GotY or other complete edition is released.
  • Many people felt that the question insufficiently described why or how the DLC was attractive and therefore made it difficult for them to assess the value of a season pass or DLC.
  • Everyone loves sales, so that answer choice could have been folded into the others as a value-add.

Questions 6 & 7: Price Calibration

These two questions were designed to work in tandem. I was looking to anchor respondents at a $45-dollar base price for a game, and then see if raising that base price in a subsequent, identical question, caused them to re-value an associated season pass. Given the structure of the questions and the expected effect of the anchoring, the 7.8% difference in average expected price can be considered not statistically significant. Basically, the base price of a game, alone, was not enough to make gamers think differently about the value of the season pass (and, by extension, other associated content).

We got a lot of feedback to these questions that price alone was not sufficient for them to evaluate the value of a season pass, and, of course, that's true. To give some insight into what I was trying to accomplish with these two questions: I was interested in whether putting a change in base price in front of a consumer's face would cause a cognitive bias that might affect his price tolerance for ancillary purchases. In other words, does price alone have a direct relationship to perception of value or further willingness to engage with a product?

Looking back on this, was this question the best way to evaluate this heuristic? Probably not. I've had some suggestions for improvements that I intend to incorporate into future question series, and I'm going back to my behavioral economics texts to deepen my own understand -- but I still think the results are interesting, nevertheless.

One other note: while our respondents put the desired price of season passes at around $17, in reality, RPG gamers pay about $25 for them (when purchased as a separate product, not as part of a Deluxe Edition or GotY) on average, according to industry sales data.