I’m not really sure if I agree with your point about dividing the player base. People have the tendency to want more for less money, that will always be something they need to deal with.
About paying more for the game and have the DLC’s for free VS paying less for the basegame and pay for each DLC seperately;
I think what you didn’t consider is the option of Premium/Season Pass. This basically allows customers have 3 options:
Buy the base game and nothing else
Buy the base game and all DLC’s you like
[*]Buy the base game PLUS all future DLC’s in advance for less money
Obviously, if you’re a very active BF player and know you will want to experience the full game with everything it has to offer, chances are you’ll get premium from the get go (assuming you can afford it, but he, you had 3 years to save up, right?)
Making the game more expensive with free DLC’s will probably make the game a little less interesting for casual gamers. Lot’s of people buy the game, play it for a while and move on…you’ll be shocked by how many people are actually like that. They might not buy the game because maybe they’re not interested in the DLC’s or maybe even don’t play multiplayer. Current estimates are that BF4 sold about 17 million copies (maybe even more, no official numbers available) but according to BF4Stats.com only 700.000 people have been registered playing Multiplayer. Lets say that this is a serious underestimation and lets assume it’s more like 2.000.000 (I think Julian Manolv mentioned this figure once)
Then the ratio of Total Copies sold vs. Copies sold for Multiplayer is about 8:1. So for each 8 copies sold, only 1 copy will be used for multiplayer. That 1 copy might also make use of DLC’s (Since DLC’s in general are only Multiplayer focused).
So if they would raise the price of each copy to include free DLC’s, some singleplayer focussed customers might play Multiplayer because of the free DLC’s, but that won’t be many. At the same time, some people might not pick up a copy because it’s to expensive for a Single Player experience alone. So what they do is make the game accessible to both Single Player as well as Multi player focused costumers. The Multiplayer customers can get more out of the experience by buying the DLC’s and expand the options and don’t get bored.
This is a very valid marketing strategy that makes sense. The whole discussion about splitting player base is completely Multiplayer Focussed, which is basically only a fraction of the potential customers…
Does that make sense?