DLCs Keep Comin’

Almost, every game that comes out these days has a DLC tacked on to it. They have been convenient with supporting a game post-launch with the ease of simple downloading and self-installing. Usually with PC games expansions were discs sold separately from the original game months after its release. To keep the player-base active and to entice new people to purchase the expansions would contain features that would expand the campaign, new maps, weapons, clothes and several other features. It wouldn’t be a full sequel, instead it was ‘a-little-bit more’, to quote the comedian Phil Hartman “…adding peppers to the gumbo”.

Some DLCs seemed to get out of hand though. Evolve was under heavy scrutiny the day it launched. It had a large amount of DLC that were skins; Monster skins were $3 for each and $7 for a bundle of three skins while gun skins were $2 each and a total of $60.89 all available the day the game launched. But those are just cosmetics right? Yes, a lot of games have cosmetics that you can buy and now they’re adding in-game currency for the player to grind and unlock them without opening their wallet. Ubisoft’s For Honor’s total of microtransactions is $732 or 2 years worth of grinding to unlock. Again, for cosmetics never intended to players to unlock them all. Especially in the case of For Honor, a title that focuses on character development and depth for each unique fighting-style. The average person will play 1-3 characters mostly to master and then moving on. The game director Damien Kieken explained

“…We forecasted that most players would play one to three characters–and that’s what we see today in our game. Most players focus on one character, one hero, and others go up to two or three heroes. All of the design is based around that. The cosmetic items … for us, are endgame content.”

Timing is everything for DLC. If it releases too early people will raise their eyebrows and wonder, “why couldn’t this be included in the base game?” Day One DLCs such as Evolve and Mass Effect 3 are inconvenient and dirty cash grabs. To go back to the original statement: Timing. Crusader Kings, Farming Simulator, The Sims and so on have several DLCs for purchase that go beyond cosmetics but towards expansions, that’s because people have enough time to experience and enjoy the game even knowing the franchise will come out with post-launch content soon as something to keep them playing. Assassin’s Creed 2 had 2 extra expansions that were omitted due to time constraints during development and came out months after the base games release. Why purchase a game at launch and later that day buy some additional content for your experience? Withholding DLCs whether they are on the game or downloadable to make a buck falls under dubious or outright greedy practices.

Is a DLC still a DLC if the content is on the physical disk or downloaded game that was purchased? What if you buy a game however everything in the game is locked? Street Fighter X Tekken had that complaint when gamers found out that 12 characters were already installed on the discs that came out merely behind a wall that would unlock once purchased. Capcom classified the practice still as DLC even if the content is locked behind a disc for later release.

DLCs have been around for a long time actually. To help keep a fan base interested and returning or needing support for development expansion packs of games were released post-launch, usually to a high praise. PCs saw expansions much more than consoles but the means of downloading made the process so much easier and well-regarded. People don’t mind shelling out for post-launch support for a game as long as they get their monies worth. DICE’s Battlefront came out to a very bare-bones base game, that many people felt wasn’t worth the $60 tag, the gameplay lacked depth and geared more for casual gamers.

There are only half the amount of maps and modes present in Star Wars: Battlefront than what was featured in Pandemic’s decade old title, and there are no longer any classes, no more multi-passenger vehicles and far fewer weapons to use. The game is a huge step backward as far as content is concerned. – CinemaBlend

EA corrected the depth issue with the scheduled DLCs. The game had a mix of free and purchasable DLCs.

The cost of making video games keeps increasing, especially since the last decade. Sales for video games haven’t changed though, therefore, DLCs allows the publishers to gain revenue quickly. Hence, deluxe, gold and collector editions of games that can be pre-ordered with exclusive content before release. DLCs aren’t just a means of income (although that’s the primary goal) but a way to keep fan interested into the product  and create more buzz. CD Project Red is known for releasing free DLCs and same goes for ReSpawn Entertainment’s TitanFall series to name a couple. As long as the content matches the price, the games come out at a reasonable time frame and nothing is locked away, then all parties: developer/publisher/consumer should be happy.


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