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Bethesda Offers Downloadable Content, Responds to Criticism


The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the latest chapter in the Elder Scrolls series, released to wide acclaim from both critics and gamers. But it appears that every silver lining still has a dark cloud to go with it. Bethesda Softworks has begun offering paid-for downloadable content for gamers through Microsoft's Xbox Live service and on their own website, the first such content in a planned series of downloads created for the game.

Gamers interested in shelling out their cash for the content can "pimp their ride" (as in their horse) with a new set of armor for a mere $2.50 (or 200 Microsoft Points) through Xbox Live for 360 owners, while PC gamers will only have to pay $1.99 for the same item. "We want to add new stuff, not different versions of things already in the game," said Pete Hines, VP of Public Relations and Marketing for Bethesda. What this may mean for other content at this time is unclear. "We priced it at a level we think is reasonable," Hines continued. "I would imagine all of our content would be around the same range."

While some gamers have been less than pleased by these prices, it appears that Bethesda has no plans to change their pricing model based on the reaction to one item. When asked about it, Hines responded, "We're not going to make any knee-jerk decisions based on it being available for five hours. We'll see what folks think and put out a few others we have planned and figure out where to go from there," he said. "Some folks seem excited and are already using it, others don't want it. Maybe those folks will really want the Orrery, or the Wizard's Tower. We'll see when they come out and use that info to determine what we put out, how much, etc."

Hines also hinted at why downloadable content for Oblivion will cost anything at all, when compared to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which offered free additional content, and two cheaply-priced expansion packs thereafter. "Different game, different approach to downloadable content and the size and scope of things we want to do, and what it takes to do them," was the answer.

Those interested in future content for Oblivion may be interested in, the website launched by Bethesda for purchasing their additional downloadables. The previously mentioned Orrery and Wizard's Tower are featured there, with a teaser for each:

  • Orrery: Harness the power of the stars. Rebuild the defiled Orrery and unlock the secrets of this Mages Guild Inner Sanctum.
  • Wizard's Tower: In the frozen mountains of Cryodiil stands Frostcrag Spire, a tower of wonders for your magic-oriented character to call home.

The official pricing for the Orrery and Wizard's Tower for PC Oblivion gamers is $1.99. Bethesda has said that both should be available for download and on Xbox Live sometime next week.

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