Sunday, November 18, 2012

The DLC Debate: Part 1

Recently, I asked readers over at the Facebook page if they'd pay $70 dollars for a game that included Day-1 DLC, kind of like Game of the Year Editions. Out of 11 votes, no one answered yes. A lot of people purchase and enjoy downloadable content (DLC), and then some complain about it. The debate around DLC encompasses more than just pricing, however.

For certain games, like Call of Duty or Battlefield, preordering a game means gaining an edge over other players. This means guns or stats that other players will never be able to obtain. In competitive play, this is the difference between being on top and being average. There's quite a bit of outrage over preorder bonuses in general that offer advantages, simply because it makes the game less enjoyable for those who don't or can't preorder, and adds a whole class of "elite" players. But it all comes down to one thing.

"DLC is just another way for game companies to make more cash." Well, you can't argue there. When Borderlands 2 was released, it offered Day-1 DLC, another 10 bucks for Gearbox Software and 2k Games. And then, magically, all other kinds of DLC were "leaked" or announced. Next Tuesday marks the arrival of even more DLC, and since most range from $10 up, that's somewhere near $30 or $40 dollars over a base price of $60, for a whopping $90/$100! And it's pretty unlikely that developers just pulled these out of their ovens. It's quite probable that this DLC has been ready to go since the game came out, which means most of this content could have easily been included at initial release.

So my question, then, is why won't we pay $70 or so dollars for a game plus all current DLC from the day its released? Well, since there's no intrinsic value for games, we can't say $60 is too high or too low--just the minimum amount most gamers are ready to pay. It all comes down to the psychology behind 3 x $10 over a small span of time and $70 dollars right then and there. One looks like it'll burn a hole in your pocket.

Of course, this isn't to say that DLC is bad. It can expand the longevity of a game, refreshing it's replay-ability and making it more current over a span of time. If you release all the DLC within the first two months of a game coming out, what good does that do for replay-ability? And since most of this content is available at the time of release, why NOT bundle it? Even if it costs a bit more? The gaming industry has already been pushing the boundaries of customers--what will they pay,what will they not--with collector's editions and GOTY editions and rereleases and super secret give-us-more-money editions.

What do you think about DLC?


Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on so called "passes" which offer all future dlc for a set price, or offer a discount on all upcoming DLC? I believe they were available for BF3 and Max Payne 3.

Lissy said...

Yeah, I've heard of those. I think it's as much as gyp as any other form of DLC,but if you purchase DLC often, then I guess it would definitely be an option for you. But then I'd wonder why wouldn't everyone? And if that's the case, why not just lower the price of DLC and not be so damn greedy about it?

Yiannis said...

Interesting topic.
There are DLCs and DLCs. The Mona Lisa images say the whole story.
However, I disagree with the "chronologies". There are still companies today who respect their customers, sell complete games and produce DLCs that give added value to the original title. Two quick examples are Cities in Motion and Tropico 4. Both games are totally playable and great fun in their original release. Buy any DLC and enjoy new cities/features/campaigns.

And then there's EA and Simcity 5...

Bottom line, it;s not a matter of release date/year. It's a matter of companies respecting their customers. It's up to us to make each title a success or a failure!

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