Economics of Hitman games in the modern day

Knew it. Paid DLC expansions of Hitman after the WoA Trilogy.

I said so even before Hitman 3 was released.

IOI have built up a large dedicated player base after completion of the WoA Trilogy. They do not need to attract new fans with free content and free bonus DLC anymore.

Forest Swartout Large, Executive Producer made it clear that there was still a substantial team working on Hitman after completion of the WoA Trilogy.

This didn’t jive with with IOI marketing, which didn’t really discussion details of the future plans for Hitman after the WoA Trilogy.

IOI are capitalizing on the last eight years in putting together their WoA Trilogy (2013-2021).

This idea of paid bonus DLC expansion packs was ALWAYS the plan for Hitman.

Welcome to the “Netflix of Assassination”, the Paradox Interactive approach in the pay-to-play new content.

Paradox Interactive are the king of the Grand Strategy genre. They come out with excellent, polished strategy games with a huge following, who are willing to pay periodically for DLC expansions of their games.

IOI are the king of the stealth puzzle genre. Paid DLC will keep IOI afloat while they spend the next few years incubating with their new IPs, like Project 007. And then Project 007 will be the same. Highly polished – with a lot of content, and then there will be paid DLC expansions.

The video game industry has a problem that video games have become too costly and take too long to make a profit. IOI’s approach with paid DLC expansions is the right approach to recover costs, and fund their future ventures.


I’d be fine with it if they are making actual expansions(aka bonus levels), not what amounts to simple deluxe escalations.


This a well-spread lie across the game industry. Hitman 3 Sales In First Week Have Already Covered Development Costs

A very big lie.

What isn’t a big lie is that IOI has struggled financially like many video game companies, despite their 20 years as a solid video game company in the video game industry.

IOI were a hair-breath from going bankrupt and closing shop in 2017. IOI could have easily lost the Hitman IP from Square Enix. Square Enix cut them lose in 2017 because Hitman Absolution and Hitman2016 were very big disappointments in sales for the input costs to produce.

Square Enix made a good financial decision to get rid of IOI based on their sales record.

No, IOI have put in the effort and the years of hardship as a small to medium sized company in fighting to develop their own IP, and are absolutely deserving of all the success in raking in money with their paid DLC expansions now.

It is all about supply and demand. IOI has earned their following by being faithful to their fanbase.
There is enough demand now from consumers to pay for the paid DLC expansions.

If it is a scam and the paid DLC expansions are not worth the money, then the demand and price will drop.

IOI will publish well polished and well-executed DLC expansions, and the faithful will continue to buy the next episode of the “Netflix of Assassination”.


that’s exaclty why Im not buying this DLC for god damn 30$ I have supported them enough in those 5 years to buy 30$ 7 escalation pack full of reskins.



that’s exaclty why Im not buying this DLC for god damn 30$ I have supported them enough in those 5 years to buy 30$ 7 escalation pack full of reskins.

If you talk to anyone in the Grand Strategy genre, the faithful complain about Paradox Interactive’s policy in releasing regular paid DLC content. But the core fans buy the paid DLC content anyways.

The core game is heavily discounted. It is like a barbie doll.

Barbie is cheap but you pay for all the accessories for barbie, and maybe you buy the ken doll too.

Just commerce. Now if the paid DLC product is not worth the money, then demand will drop. But I don’t think this will be the issue here. IOI will put out worthy products for those interested in buying it.

Some will be disgruntled and not pay for it, but many who are disgruntled will buy the paid DLC anyways, even after complaining about it.


Ken deserved a spin off and you know it just as much as the rest of us.

Ken isn’t really a dude though. He doesn’t have the male accessory, you know, “the package” if you know what I mean without being censored on hitmanforum.

I totally agree. The games industry have been pushing and pushing ways to create margins - the latest tactic is to cut up content and sell them at inflated prices. Whether it’s cosmetics such as bundles in CoD or Ghost Recon, to direct content. It’s all about making less to sell for more. This is IO’s take on that piece of the money margin pie tactic.

CoD sells its bundles at 1.7x the amount of a full DLC drop. You buy 3 skins and that’s the equivalent of the yearly season pass to everything in a CoD game or the game itself. And because games trick people purposely by cutting things up into smaller pieces, call it buzzwords like “Premium”, “Legendary” or " Deluxe" hide it behind their own economy and currencies, and on the surface, looks like a smaller price but when you sit back and add it up you can see the key thing - value. This is why we evaluate the overall value of that content. Ask someone - 3 skins or a full complete AAA game.

IO are doing the typical subscription margin business tactic. Get people to pay in lump some so they can weight up how much content needs to be made down the line so they get their margins. Using content which let’s be honest is a freebie and have been free but instead can coin some money out of it. But what about the content versus price?

  • 1 escalation in an existing location.
  • 3 reskinned items.

For £4.99 or £4.29 if you get the pack. So by the end, it’ll be 7 escalations and 21 reskins? Compared to a mini campaign or various brand new locations as @BernardoOne pointed out.

So now we’re at the question again. 2 full locations or 7 escalations and reskins?

priced at $29.99 / £29.99 / €29.99 or regional equivalent

More bullshit. $29.99 is like £22 quid, not like for like. So you’re ripping off the UK while you’re at it.

7-part premium expansion

What’s exactly expanding? A few environmental texture changes?

EDIT: I thought of the answer - IO’s wallet.


2 Full Locations with Mastery Tracks any day.


They don’t even have to be full locations they could just be bonus missions and I would be happy.


HITMAN 2016 remains my personal favorite content cycle simply because of PZ and SBM.

Escalations won’t have longevity to them unless you really like replaying them.


Yeah I’d happily pay 5$ for each bonus mission at the level of a Landslide / House Built on Sand


Well I would hope they ere closer to SBM over PZ I still find PZ threadbare with mechanics that hamper my enjoyment of them. I mean I would take S6 over escalations.


Of course, but there was more effort put into PZ then what we saw with SA in HITMAN 2. PZ is the lesser of two evils.

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The lesser of two evils is still an evil at the end of the day SA and PZ were both repurposed ETs with some stuff added (or taken away in The Vector’s case). The only difference was, as you said, there was more effort (Time? Money?) into PZ.

Agreed. Patient Zero is a perfect example and I was sceptical to that when it was announced. IO turned existing environments into new fresh stories and did enough tweaking to actually make a difference. And IMO definitely worth the money. The spreading of the virus is an awesome feature (I guess IO has a real Fortune Teller lol) Same goes for the Icon.

Bingo. The games industry latest money trend.


Prediction: Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy will be discounted up to 80% within a year. Cost of Hitman 2016, Hitman 2 and Hitman III will be cheaper than new paid DLC.

When IOI sat down to discuss the “Netflix of Assassination” after Hitman Absolution in 2012, they conceived of an episodic release of the WoA Trilogy, where players would pay a regular fee for new episodes, like one buys a serial release of episodes of Netflix content.

IOI were way ahead of their time. The public was not ready in 2016 for an always online requirement for a single player game or were gamers ready for an episodic release of Hitman.

Five years later… Episodes are now Expansions. Same thing, wrapped up in different lexicon.

The difference being is that IOI has earned the trust of its fan base, and earned the profits from their efforts.

“Episodes” sounds exploitative and a ripoff, where you are paying for bits of content in piecemeal for what should be a complete product.

The complete product is now the WoA Trilogy. “Expansions” is the appropriate term because IOI are expanding on their existing, complete platform with optional paid content.


There will be monthly release of new free content every month as there has been since the start of the release of the WoA Trilogy in 2016.

But no – going forward – all the best new content for Hitman will be behind a paywall.

IOI are a business. They profit off of demand. IOI create demand by supplying quality content.

And if there are enough “sheep” who will pay for the paid DLC, they will put more of their team to continue putting out paid “expansions” for as long as “sheep” are willing to pay for it.

Depending on future sales of the paid DLC, IOI might even introduce new locations as paid DLC content as part of their “Expansions”.

IOI stated that the “World of Assassination Trilogy” is complete – as conceived nine years ago with 20 locations. Complete didn’t mean “no more Hitman”. It meant that there was completed platform of Hitman – and all bonus content will be added as “Expansions” onto this completed platform.


You’re kind of right but you talk like a marketer.


True. It does come down to making money, and IOI are a business like any business.

In the video game industry, companies have to find a model to make this very expensive business, a profitable one.

It does sound a bit cold and calculating to discuss IOI as a business finding a method to extract cash out of the pockets of gamers, many who have little disposable income.


Probably all working at IOI are gamers themselves.
Most are in the industry because they love video games, and some would do it for free if they could.

Long hours staring and debugging complicated stuff, billions of lines of code on a computer screen…

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