EA Says You’ll Experience ‘Burnout Paradise’ DLC — Even if You Don’t Buy it

“Burnout Paradise” fans gaming with an Xbox 360 Core or Arcade system have found themselves pulling on the short end of the stick this week when it comes to online multiplayer.

While Multiplayer was researching how online retailers handled informing consumers about the hard drive requirement, Criterion Games issued a response to address gamer chatter. In doing so, we noticed they seemed to reveal a new approach to distributing downloadable content. We were right.

Publisher Electronic Arts confirmed to Multiplayer today that “Burnout Paradise”’s additional content allows gamers who choose to opt out of engaging with new content to still see the new content in-game while playing online. Additionally, EA says the content will be a combination of pay-to-play and free.

On Monday, Criterion Games released a statement that explained technical reasons “Burnout Paradise” required the hard drive online. After explaining issues related to data streaming without the add-on, the studio said this:

“Crucially we also didn’t want to split the playing community between those that have updated data and those that don’t. We saw this as vital in maintaining simplicity to all online users; different players having different content packages wouldn’t be able to play online with each other.”

As we said before, note the bold. It appears Criterion’s post-release strategy relies heavily on diversifying the universe with downloadable content. Our question, then, was how Criterion and EA would manage this expansion when downloadable content has always an optional upgrade for the consumer, not a requirement.

“It’s our intention to extend the life of Burnout with additional DLC in the near future. As mentioned, we don’t want to split the online community between those that have content and those that don’t. Our intention is to offer both free and paid for DLC in a way that enables everyone to ’see’ the content, even if they have not paid for it,” said an EA representative in an e-mailed statement.

EA wouldn’t elaborate on how they intend to execute this approach to downloadable content distribution, but we’re anxious to see it revealed. Their intentions come at the cost of a percentage of Xbox 360’s user base, however. Do you think it was worth it?