There is a storm brewing in the gaming world. It is not about price or quality of games being produced but about the downloadable content (DLC) that is being added on to games after release. There are, as always, (at least) two sides to this, as some see the DLC content as expansion upon the existing games while others consider it a very cynical move from developers to exploit gamers’ wallets.
Expansion packs are nothing new, they have been around for a while and in many cases add more to the game, from new levels to new characters. These expansion packs are generally aimed at the die hard fans who want to completely empty every single avenue of game play available to them. From this perspective gamers can continue to play new challenges in their favourite games, developers can continue to produce new content for games and the people at the top can watch their business keep ticking over for a longer period of time. So perhaps it’s a win/win/win?
There is no rage like a gamer’s rage. And one thing that gets gamers’ goats is DLC. From this side of the argument DLC is seen as a sleazy scheme that forces gamers, who have already shelled out upward of £40 for a game, to open their wallets once again to get additions that some view should have been in the game to begin with. This thought that companies are releasing unfinished games only to add in the final touches at a later date and at a charge is what is getting peoples backs up. But the final straw that broke the gamers back? Is this kind of behaviour. In Soul Calibur 4 you had the option of downloading a new character from Star Wars that you could play as depending on which console you were using, Yoda for the 360 and Darth Vader for the PS3. It was then found that there was data for Darth Vader on the 360 disc, and by paying around $6 you weren’t actually downloading anything, simply opening up a fenced off part of the disc. This was also seen in BioShock 2 when “downloading” new multi-player levels and weapons people were given a download screen but the only thing that was being downloaded was a key that opened up information that was already on the disc.
The video below is pretty long but it looks at both the good and the bad of DLC, if you have the time you should check it out.
DLC can certainly be very beneficial for a game: it can add new depth and lifespan and players would be willing to pay for well-thought-out DLC. They will not stand for DLC that should by rights already be part of the game. Surely if the data is on the disc it is part of your original purchase and shouldn’t be exploited for profit further down the line.
Have you found any examples of excellent or terrible DLC? What do you think of the DLC debate that is going on? Please let us know in the comments.
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