Let’s Not Lose Track Here: DLC Is A Good Thing

By John Walker on July 23rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

It's the phrase that's sweeping the nations.

As gamers, we do have a habit of accompanying our thrown bathwater with the baby, the taps, the bath itself, various bottles of shampoo, and all the shower fittings. And in the angered fuss about all manner of issues regarding our being “milked” by game releases, the phrase “DLC” seems to have become a dirty one. And that’s just plain silly. With rumours circulating that Ubisoft are planning a season pass for Assassin’s Creed III DLC, and even a new dedicated dev team to produce it, some are tending toward the negative. No, this is a good thing.

Day one DLC is extremely problematic. The debate still rages, with customers feeling like they’re being sold an incomplete game, expecting to fork out another fiver to add in the rest of the content available on the day the game comes out. Developers and publishers often argue that this is content created after the main game was completed, an opportunity to keep the team in employment, and to expand the game further. And to make matters more confusing, there’s merit to both sides.

Game development ends artificially early these days, thanks to an enforced console step called certification. Generally known as “cert”, this is a month-long process in which the completed game is sent to the console overlords to ensure it’s approved for their plastic box. It’s a peculiarity, and the legitimacy of it is another debate (but bear in mind a huge part of it is ensuring the game is in a suitable condition for you to enjoy). But it does mean that developers are forced into a month-long thumb-twiddle, as they wait for their finished game to be approved for release. Oftentimes this period can be used for polishing the PC version of a game, because of course there’s no evil dictator controlling what’s released on a PC. Or perhaps working on bug fixes for the console version so there can be a day 0 update. But another way to fill this gap can be getting your team to start working on new content for the game, stuff that might even be ready for release by the time the game is out.

But then the skeptical would ask, “Really, a month? You conceived of, scripted, built, animated, recorded and polished a new level in a month, did you?” And then perhaps suggest that the DLC had been in the works during the build time of the main game. And then the developer would say, “Yes, sure, but we couldn’t have gotten it finished in time, and needed that month to finish it.” And then something throws a punch, and it all gets ugly.

From the consumer’s side, it’s hard not to sympathise with the argument. While a great deal of day one DLC might actually just be perfunctory poop, it’s still hard to shake the sense that you’re playing an incomplete version of the game if you don’t buy it too. And you have to wonder, if the game is available now, and this DLC is available now, why can’t it be included in the purchase of the game? Whatever dark arts may go on behind the scenes for developers and publishers, frankly the gamer doesn’t care. If you’re rushing home from the shops with your copy of Stabby Man IV, and the first thing you discover is that there’s a new level available with a special new toecap for your character’s boot, you are abundantly aware that your game has a hole in it, and it’s going to cost you £3.49 to fill it. Every reason, every damned good justification for its being created, becomes one hundred per cent irrelevant to that player, because he just forked out £35 for a game with a hole in it.

But that’s day one DLC. That’s where a healthy discussion lies, and no matter how innocent its existence may be (and let’s be realistic – it’s obviously sometimes a cynical exercise in fleecing people for more money), it’s problematic. But from day two, we need to remember that DLC can be brill.

In the very olden days, before our PCs were glued onto an internet, patches and updates and achievements and downloadable content were the dreams of mad wizards. You’d have to know of something as arcane as bulletin boards if you wanted to get even close to be able to alter a purchased game, but you know that there was hope on the horizon. There was the glory of the Expansion Pack.

These, normally released three to six months after the initial release of the game, would contain a raft of new levels, missions, characters, nations, quests, tracks or spells, that when installed alongside the main game caused the original to blossom into a new experience. Perhaps another 50 hours of adventures would be added to your heroic quest, or a dozen new planes and airports would be available to fly/fly into. Your battlefield may now include France, and all the accompanying pâtisseries, or there may be a whole new reason to protect the lives of suicidal pixels. These tended to be substantial additions, and were generally pretty expensive too. Where the main game would have cost £35, you’d likely be paying £15 to £20 for the new content, and have big expectations of it.

Obviously such expansions still exist – think Total War games. And of course there are also the gloriously named EXPANDALONES!, always to be shouted. But now, and for flipping ages, there is DLC.

I’m not unrealistic, obviously. I’m aware that there’s a great deal of crap being touted as DLC, the slightest content adding bugger all for a few quid. But that doesn’t represent it all, and when it’s worthwhile, it’s something special. Because it’s more game of a game you like. And that’s what we’ve got to remember.

If you find that you enjoy Assassin’s Creed III, and by all reports you likely will, then what better thing than to know that soon there will be more of it to play? While there’s obviously an issue with the game, that the daft number of alternate versions, each containing a lucky dip of extra levels and novelty in-game content, and thus the concern that these elements might later be released as pay-for DLC, that doesn’t mean it’s in any way a bad thing that the company plans to continue producing content for the game. If the rumours are true, and right now the evidence is a little spurious, Ubisoft will be forming a new team dedicated just to creating DLC for AssCreed III. And that’s even better news. It means there’s a greater likelihood of focused, dedicated content, not distracting the core team. It means that when you buy Assassin’s Creed III, you know you’ve – dare I say “investing”? – in a game that will keep extending itself after you’ve finished.

There’s a whole other aspect to this. If you were to think back to the path DLC has taken, you might remember a phase when it tended to be free. It was extra content given to gamers, who’d given their chunk of cash for the original game. Paying for it, then, can still seem galling to some. But, er, capitalism. And crucially, when you’re free from the day one issues, you can’t sensibly complain that you’re missing out if you don’t want to pay.

But I think there’s a strong argument for publishers and developers to feign altruism and give some DLC away for free. It certainly engenders a very positive relationship with gamers, and you need look no further than Valve to see that at one far extreme. That you only ever paid once for Team Fortress 2 (hats aside), and the utterly transformed version you see now has all been free additions. While I’m certain some will bristle, wishing for an older, purer TF2, there is no question that the extraordinary after-sales (and for once that’s a literal phrase) additions have created incredibly good relations with their customers, built a vast community, and made people far more likely to take notice the next time Valve tries to sell them something.

I don’t want to wander too far down the path of “games as a service” notion, because frankly it gives me the willies. I like to pretend I exist in a world which offers “games as a game”, because I like playing games, but it’s silly to ignore the incredible (and incredibly profitable) potential of giving things to customers for free. But I also can see no really sensible argument for not charging for DLC too. If I’ve especially loved a game, and after two months I’ve played it as much as I’m ever likely to, offering me the chance to play some brand new content for it for a few quid is going to be something I’ll gratefully receive.

One final note on all this. I think there definitely is potential for post-release DLC to cause harm, but it’s really only to the reputation of your game. (And understand that I’m talking only about DLC, and not blurring lines into the creepy world of micro-payments and other such insidious wallet-emptiers.) Saints Row: The Third, for instance, is one of the best games released in years. Its spectacle, combined with a fantastically solid game, and genuinely great script and performances, makes it something that embraces its status as a game more than any other AAA release I can think of. But that starts to become slightly tarnished when you look at the DLC that’s appeared since. Credit to THQ/Volition for having created quite so much of it, and for so long, but sadly none of it significantly enhances the game. Ignoring the frippery of the £1 aesthetic packs, additions like Genkibowl VII at £5 end up leaving you with a final memory that’s not at the peak. Genkibowl was an interesting one, because it was fine. Far, far too brief, but all competent and reasonable fun. But not the mad high that the game ended on. That’s a tough one – that’s saying, your DLC has to be better than your game. I realise that’s problematic, and probably unlikely. But it’s worth bearing in mind when people are producing it – if it doesn’t compare to the original, well, it’s going to suffer.

We mustn’t let “DLC” become a bad initialism in our hearts. It’s more game for games we want more game for. That’s the catchy phrase I want everyone to remember. Perhaps by another initialism, “MGFGWWMGF”. It’s something we should be encouraging, within reason. I think, no matter how good the intent, that day one DLC is never going to win popularity, and even if a developer is genuinely keeping people in employment by creating it, they should just have the sense to wait a fortnight before releasing it. But let’s not go mad. DLC is great.

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188 Comments »

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  1. Promethean says:

    Single player DLC sure, what the hell, flesh the story out for those that want it. What annoys me is multiple MP DLC map packs that fragment the community. No I don’t want to spend another £30 on ensuring I have all the maps just to play with the 1 or 2 guys on my friends list that also have them, or else be stuck in an endless match making state struggling to find others with the same combination of content as myself. But hey, that’s just me.

    • StAUG says:

      This. The DLC for the Modern Warfare series is nothing short of insulting. “Hey, it’s the 2 years old maps from MW2, now available as DLC for MW3!”. Do I want to pay again for something I already own? No.

      • Tomatoboxer says:

        But Call of Duty needs to charge for maps or the series wouldn’t make any money!

      • belgand says:

        It’s also upsetting because in the past not only was it generally free, but it was community-driven. The best maps were often created by fans and then would get distributed and eventually take on a life of their own as they became popular or not. Eventually leading to a number of people getting jobs building maps.

        Now maps are the exclusive domain of the company that made the game stingily parceling them out in tiny packages of two or four each for a rather high price. Hell, while modding is still sort of alive on the PC the FPS modding community has been strongly hurt by the recent dominance of consoles. Hopefully it looks like Day Z, among others, will help right things a bit more, but as long as consoles are the target platform it’s going to be hard to reverse the trend.

        • raberstaber says:

          It’s really only valve that are releasing free DLC now, and almost all of it is made by the community

        • Nebael says:

          Made an account just to say this :o

          What are you talking about? People are actually coming over to the PC and modding is more alive then ever, you must not play a wide variety of games!

          Example for Xbox-PC Transition/Pricing: Most of my personal friends have switched over to the PC due to better game stability/graphics and the EXTREMELY lower prices. To pull a game out of this article as a good example for pricing i will pick Saints Row 3. It went on sale on steam right as it came out for 45$ and then during the Steam Summer Sales it went down to a few mere bucks if you bought the THQ pack which was only 60$ and included games such as Dawn Of War 2, Company of Heroes, and Stalker: Chernobyl (Which all have extensive modding communities scattered around the internet).

          Example for Mods: http://www.ModDB.com The PC is actually doing very well right now.

          Something i don’t care to edit into the paragraph -> Consoles usually have crap backwards compatibility as-well. Example: You can play a game from 1995 on the PC but on the console alot of games are unplayable on new console versions (Xbox- Fusion Frenzy/Vodoo Vince (Xbox) are not playable on the xbox 360)

    • Unaco says:

      Indeed. The whole DLC situation with BF3 and Back to Karkhand when it released put me off. I didn’t want to pre-order/pre-purchase, because I wanted to read some reviews… then I didn’t want to buy, after it had released, knowing I’d have to add another £10 to get the game that all my friends had. That seemed especially egregious, because these were old BF maps (like the COD maps mentioned above) and the whole pack was announced so early on.

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        Joshua says:

        There’s a subtle difference between the MW maps and the BF maps, though. The MW maps are, after all, straight up ports, with the few additions made to accomadate the new game modes. The B2K battlefield maps use the same blueprints, but are rebuilt from scratch to accomadate the entirely new engine and all the destruction.

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        PoulWrist says:

        Except, they’re among the best maps in the game, offering up more of the cool features the game offered early on. The better balance between urban/destruction and open/not so much destruction of the maps in the game. BF3’s expansions, and that is what they are, because what else than maps, guns, vehicles and skins would you put in an expansion for a multiplayer game? They’re not mappacks, because they are not just maps.

        Premium is getting hate, but why? It’s a good deal and you can just skip out if you’re too skimp to want all the expansions or if you feel that you should somehow get a refund because you’d already bought B2k… No, just a whole lot of crying bastards.

        And BF3 has received a lot of post-launch support through patches, bonus skins and features. Quite an examplary title for post-launch support in a game using a closed model as this. EA and DICE are receiving far too much hate for the work they put in here. If you don’t like it, well, shut up and don’t buy it, but I far prefer paying for actual, strong content than the F2P model where you have some sort of neutered experience that ends up costing you more than a full game if you want the full experience.

        • Unaco says:

          They’re the best maps in the game? And they charge a fee for them? That’s even worse!

          I haven’t mentioned Premium. Haven’t looked at it. Because I didn’t buy BF3, because in large part due to the Back to Karkand stuff, and it being £10 extra if I bought on release day or after.

          I’m hardly crying. The OP brought up MP map packs, and how they fragment MP communities. I brought up BF3 which seemed, to me, an especially egregious example, being Day 1 DLC (or announced well, well before release) and being an MP map pack. I played the BF3 beta, I knew loads of people that had pre-ordered or buying on release. I was tempted… but the B2Karkand pack was a definite point against the game.

          • WinTurkey says:

            The Battlefield 3 pre-order wasn’t an issue, you got the B2K DLC for free if you bought the Limited Edition. The LE cost as much as the SE, and for about 3 weeks after release it was impossible to find a non-LE copy of BF3 in retail stores.

            You had plenty of time to read reviews and watch gameplay footage of the game to make up your mind

          • Unaco says:

            Wasn’t an issue to you, perhaps. Was an issue to me. I started looking to buy the game about 2 days after release, once I’d read a couple reviews and had heard from a bunch of friends that they were having a blast. All the stores I visited, and all the stories I read, told me that I wouldn’t get the Back 2 Karkand pack unless I paid more than what the Standard Edition/base game cost (£10 more I think it was) and bought the Limited Edition.

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            PoulWrist says:

            How does such a comment even make sense? There’s plenty of times when the sequel to something turned out better, but they still charged for it… expansions to a game that was great with even greater things should then be free? I don’t get it.

            You had to go out of your way to get anything but the limited edition. Which I somehow managed to do and then sat around being bothered that I had to bother spending time buying Back to Karkand. Which I don’t see how you can even start to call day 1 DLC. They announced way back that there were going to be 4 expansions to BF3.

            How you can hate on the fact that they announce way ahead of time that they’ll support the game with large pieces of additonal content up to 1,5 year after release is beyond me..

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            Lordcrazy says:

            To be quite honest, it was not 10 pounds more, at least in the US it didn’t cost any more than the actual game. The limited edition was $60 and so was the standard edition believe it or not. Plus, why do you hate BF3 just because of the day one DLC? Sure they probably could have put it in the original game, but compared to Activision and the COD series (Doesn’t everyone like some good cod for dinner?) which offers only 4 maps for $15. Paying $5 dollars less for 3 maps(Is that right?), added vehicles (Everyone loves the forklift), new weapons, and such sin’t such a bad deal. I share the hatred of day one DLC, but it is no reason to not buy a game that you like, only a reason to not buy the DLC. If you have any problems with it, go scream at EA.

          • Unaco says:

            Criticism of something != Hatred of that thing. I haven’t said I hated BF3, that it’s the worst thing ever, or anything like that.

            The Back2Karkand DLC, being announced long, long before the game was released, and being charged for after the game was released (i.e. if you didn’t preorder/prepurchase) put me off buying the game. If Back2Karkand had been a ‘DLC for Free, for everyone, no matter when you buy the game’ that would have been different… it would have just been part of the game, and wouldn’t have counted against the purchase for me. As it was, waiting for release and to read some reviews, I felt as if I would be getting less of a game, or paying extra, for the same content.

            I don’t hate the game, I haven’t expressed anything like that. If that’s what you read, perhaps you need to step back and take stock.

        • neonordnance says:

          What he said. B2K and Premium have silenced whatever doubts I had about the model by simply being brilliant.

          BF3 is so far head of the competition it’s not even funny. Just wait two years and watch everyone copy DICE.

          • D3xter says:

            They’re already copying Call of Duty/Activision, so that is hardly possible.

            I can only hope that EA isn’t around (at least in it’s current form) 2-5 years down the line to ruin even more great gaming franchises (like Battlefield).

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            PoulWrist says:

            No, D3xter, they’re not :) But you go on being an ignorant little haterboi, we don’t care. You’re the one missing out.

          • CrookedLittleVein says:

            “haterboi”

            Stop. This. Now.

    • John Mirra says:

      This is why Max Payne 3 multiplayer is already dead.

    • simoroth says:

      There’s an easy way to get around the fragmentation, and that’s to allow people who don’t have the DLC to play with people who do have it.

      Arma is a good example. Being able to play with the British vehicles made me go get the BAF pack.

      Frozen Synapse red also comes to mind. ;)

      • povu says:

        Magicka as well.

      • grundus says:

        Absolutely, but that is such a fragile… Thing. Bohemia, until Day Z, had a lot to lose seeing as Arma II was so obscure and if the company was seen as a shitty bastard (Dwarden isn’t doing a lot to help, he’s often rude and antagonistic on the Steam forum, which is hilarious) then they’d be fucked. EA and Activision, on the other hand, are doing just fine because the majority of their playerbases don’t even know that people discuss these things, so they’ll do just fine. Not to mention the fact that if you can access the meat of the DLC without paying, why would you pay? I bought BAF and PMC for Operation Arrowhead as a thank you in recognition of what BIS were doing by letting us have those ‘lite’ DLCs, but in reality all I got was a campaign I probably won’t play and higher res textures. If EA offered me that deal, I’d be like ‘pfft, no way!’ and keep playing the stuff for free.

  2. Zanchito says:

    I remember when we had free content updates along with patches. Also, expansions added significant content at a fair price. Significant content that had not been withheld from the main release.

    DLC is not good nor bad. It all depends on the numbers and the circumstances. But more often than not, it IS milking the consumer with an inferior update, unfair price or both. Not always, but very often.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      Last patch with free content my poor memory can remember is UT3’s Titan Pack.

      • Flowing says:

        ..presuming no one would count the patches of MOBAs, such as HoN or LoL as content adding patches.. eh?

        ..or MMORPGs adding content, such as WoW….. sort of. With new Raids and etc added with patches.

        ..I can actually think of a lot of indie games (which you could argue were not “released”) that add content with fixes, aka patches..

        • Vorphalack says:

          > ”..or MMORPGs adding content, such as WoW….. sort of. With new Raids and etc added with patches.”

          It’s not free if it’s paid for by your subscription.

      • Didero says:

        Does Team Fortress 2 count? That still gets patched, and a lot of patches contain new items.

        • Baines says:

          Team Fortress 2 is a free-to-play. It makes its money through other methods, and tries to keep a degree of balance in what requires money to get versus what is just made easier to get through money.

      • BarneyL says:

        The Witcher 2 had a sizeable free addition not that long ago (as did the first Witcher before that).

      • theleif says:

        Hmm, let’s see.
        Just looking at games i currently have installed on steam:
        Binding of Isaac: new levels and items
        Company of Heroes: a boatload of new maps since release
        Crusader Kings 2: the patches has added more new content than the latest expansion Sword of Islam.
        Defcon: new game modes
        Frozen Synapse: new game ending, new modes
        Left 4 Dead 2: tons of free additions
        Men of War: new armies, units and maps
        Payday: The Heist: new map, probably more stuff
        Sol Survivor: new maps
        Space Chem: new game mode
        Supreme Commander 2: lots of stuff
        Sword of the Stars 2: “soon” to be a completed game
        Wargame: European Escalation: New maps, units, co-op mode
        Dawn Of War 2: tons of maps

        And that’s only games I have installed on Steam.
        Nuff said?

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          FriendlyFire says:

          Add Portal 2 to that list, with some excellent (and voiced!) free coop DLC and later on the nice new puzzle designer.

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        LegendaryTeeth says:

        All of the X3 games (X3, X3:TC, X3:AP) have had a substantial free 2.0 release where they add a bunch of features and missions for free well after launch.

      • grundus says:

        Burnout Paradise added quite a bit of stuff in free patches; four motorbikes plus challenges tailored for them, multiplayer challenges, a time of day cycle… A more recent example, Sniper Elite V2 has been receiving multiplayer maps for free since release. Ok, sure, the multiplayer is pretty much dead but it’s still something.

      • GameCat says:

        *ekhm* Witcher *ekhm* and his ~8 GB FREE DLC. *ekhm*

      • rb2610 says:

        While not masses of content, Skyrim added extra features in patches, Mounted Combat and some fancy camera stuff for melee & archery. The former of which the community has been clamouring for since Oblivion.

    • emorium says:

      i agree with you. we need more expansion packs that completely change a game (like Warcraft 3 TFT, Yuri’s Revenge or Diablo 2 LoD). DLC is so boring. it changes absolutely no game mechanics. generally you just get 2 new weapons and a 3 hour quest.

      i do like getting a GoTY edition 2 years after release that has everything rolled into one install however.

      • rockman29 says:

        Now that is what I want to hear.

        Screw DLC. I want the return of expansion packs. TFT was some of the greatest additions to an already epic game. Yuri’s revenge completely revamped RA2’s gameplay.

        Expansion packs for the win. Actual content worth the money for the win.

        DLC? Ftl, every time.

      • belgand says:

        This. Complete editions FTW.

        Between Steam sales and game prices dropping like a rock a few months after release it makes sense to look at a game and the previous practices of the developer/publisher and consider whether to just avoid buying it until a year or so later when you can get the Complete or GOTY version at a much lower price. Even if, as is sadly common now, it isn’t actually all on the disc it’s still a nice way to play the full, complete game from the beginning rather than try to awkwardly work in content to a game you’ve already finished.

    • byteCrunch says:

      I have to agree, DLC more often then not is simply to milk people who liked the core game, it really isn’t about adding to the experience.

      I do not have an issue with DLC, I have an issue with it being used as an excuse use to monetize even the most tiny piece of “additional” content (assuming it wasn’t just cut out of the core game for later sale), but I am sure I speak for a lot of people that they would prefer it to be more along the lines of what expansions once offered. Considering there is a lot of DLC that comes in at the £15 price point roughly where expansions would sit, and yet offer an absolutely pathetic amount of new content for the price.

      Then you have other issues like paid for map-packs which only serve to fracture the online community of a game.

      Though I fear any of the issues people keep bringing up about DLC will never be addressed.

  3. Avenger says:

    The very fact that an article saying “DLC is a good thing” written by The John Walker terrifies me.
    What terrifies me more is the title image being what appears to be giant neon letters arranged in a way resembling mumbled screams of a possibly gagged RPS writer, forced to write articles under torture and oppression from agents of a corporate entity.

    You bastards!
    So which one are you? We would like to see proof of life before we buy any of your DRM ridden, day-one DLC spewing, money-hog games

  4. Iain_1986 says:

    Its not just a certification period though. DLC only exists because of the additional profit that is projected to be made from it.

    So the idea that content is being “removed” for DLC is just wrong, games companies (especially with the big publishers) have to budget, literally, everything. Debateably, they do this too much, but they sure as hell make sure all costs and profit is accounted for.

    If the DLC was not DLC, it would not exist at all unless some other area had a reduced budget, or the potential profit took a hit. Its not as simple as “Make it DLC or put it in the main game”, its “Make it DLC or remove the budget from something else”.

    People need to remove this idea that part of the game is cut out with a new price tag on it. The budget would have been worked out months in advance, meaning this content was only ever planned for based on its future price tag.

    Now, the debate over what the said content should include is a different one, and it is definitely arguable that the content should only include completely standalone, “unimportant” content to the main story.

    • Melliflue says:

      I don’t think this avoids the psychological problem of day one DLC making the consumer think he/she has an incomplete game. They could make the game a bit more expensive and include that content or wait to release that content but day one DLC will always leave a bad taste.

    • D3xter says:

      No they don’t, because that is exactly what it is and it is getting increasingly ridiculous, the more people accept such practices.

      Developers start either releasing games before they are ready or cutting out entire chapters from your game like in “Assassin’s Creed 2″ with Battle of Forli/Bonfire of Vanities.

      They start adding features to your game that should have been there all along and had been shown off during development like “free roam” and mini missions in MAFIA II.

      They start clearly cutting out entire parts of the story of a game to offer them as “Exclusive Content” to retailers or making you pay for it afterwards like in “L.A. Noire” (5 Missions/Cases were behind a Pay-Wall).

      They outright lock out content already complete from the disk to make you pay for “unlocking” it like in Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken or even more recently Risen 2

      Some publishers like Capcom are even actually selling you an ending to your game like in “Asura’s Wrath”.

      It’s getting so bad, that they were all announcing “DLC” and “Exclusive DLC” at the E3 this year with games THAT WERE SET TO COME OUT IN MONTHS.
      Microsoft managed to “secure Exclusive DLC” with the South Park RPG, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6 and Black Ops 2: http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Xbox-360-Getting-Exclusive-Early-DLC-Resident-Evil-6-Tomb-Raider-Black-Ops-2-South-Park-RPG-43197.html
      While SONY “secured” itself Exclusive Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 DLC: http://playstationlifestyle.net/2012/06/04/ps3-exclusive-assassins-creed-3-dlc-announced/

      All this “budget” and “certification” bullshit is just that, an excuse for fleecing your customers, especially when said DLC then even ends up on the finished Retail disc with CD Keys to unlock but only in “certain versions”.
      CDProjekt, Valve and a few other similar developers still show today how it should be, you offer additional content over time and more people buy your game and like you in return (it also stays longer in the Press).

      Games in general have varying degrees of development times, team sizes , scopes, budgets etc. but that’s *their choice*, the exact budget or team size of a game ultimately shouldn’t matter to the consumer (and it didn’t before they brought it up as a reason to justify DLC). For instance, it usually also doesn’t matter or have any impact on the price if a game like Duke Nukem Forever is in development for 15 years, or Diablo III for 8 years, Dragon Age: Origins or Alan Wake for 5, Newest Call of Duty and Mass Effect for 2 or Dragon Age 2 for 1 year. The publisher could at any one point give any of these games either more or less time and budget depending on if they deem it right or feasible and it shouldn’t translate to different terms to the consumer as that is a publishing/developer decision. If they really needed character or area X and Y in a game they could just give them another month till it is done and release it then. It wouldn’t be unprecedented and the first time ever a game had a delay.

      Publishers also spend a lot of money on R&D or months of development time on games/game ideas that won’t make it in the end, soon they’ll come out and try to guilt trip people by saying “Look, it didn’t pan out this time, but can you please pay us, so we make back our costs?” or what?

      Remember when people used to say that they “hate” that the new consoles have the ability to Patch “like on the PC”, because developers don’t have to complete and properly test their game before they release it like for instance Nintendo and SEGA etc. did back in the day and they could release them buggy and fix them later?

      Well guess what, DLC gives them the opportunity to not even FINISH the game before they release it, not only that but also the opportunity to cut it up in pieces and offer the rest at additional price.

      You’re not doing yourself any favors by trying to justify and rationalize their ability to gouge you any further…

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Well said, brother. Well said.

      • Baines says:

        Capcom cut an advertised feature from the Xbox360 version of Street Fighter vs Tekken because they didn’t have the time/resources to complete it before release. Yet they had the time to complete all the DLC characters.

        The DLC characters that weren’t scheduled for release until months later.

        The DLC characters that would be free on the Sony Vita version of the game.

        The DLC that include two non-Sony characters (Pac-Man and Megaman) that Capcom said will not be sold or unlocked on the Xbox 360 version (because, unlike Sony, Microsoft wasn’t willing to give Capcom money for exclusives).

      • Shuck says:

        “the exact budget or team size of a game ultimately shouldn’t matter to the consumer ”
        No, but they obviously matter to the developer/publisher. The reality is that development costs have exploded over the years while the audience has grown relatively little and retail game prices haven’t even kept up with inflation. The end result is that simple game sales long ago didn’t allow for sustainable AAA game development. They just don’t. DLC essentially subsidizes the development of the game itself. This unfortunately encourages consumer-hostile practices in some cases, but DLC has become the revenue model of choice because people actually buy it.

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          I don’t feel like wading into this whole sludgefest, but when I saw “The reality is that development costs have exploded over the years while the audience has grown relatively little” I almost spit out my drink. The video game industry growth has outpaced the US economy’s growth as a percentile more than five times over. Don’t tell me that there are no new consumers here.

          source: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/08/video-game-industry-growth-runs-circles-around-us-economy/

          • Barnaby says:

            Thank you for saying this Hamburger. I had a similar reaction. I actually said “wuuuuuuuuuuuut!?” out loud.

            Also, I agree completely with what Dexter said.

            And to answer the the title of the article, no it fucking isn’t… and never was. A game that I am moderately interested in, I will avoid like the plague if it has DLC… that is until it’s 5-20 dollars for the whole thing on Steam.

          • Shuck says:

            And the key word in my statement was “relatively.” Game development costs have grown by orders of magnitude beyond the increase in audience size. Moreover, much of the growth in the audience has been in new game markets; the average sales for a AAA game haven’t necessarily increased by that much (and in recent years, it has actually declined).

  5. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Dragon Age Awakening was better than dragon age & dragon age 2. The problem is that most dlc isn’t just worse than the original game it’s positively unenjoyable, given almost all games are already dragged out with masses of filler conent, more filler doesn’t really appeal.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I ragequit Awakening barely 10 minutes in when I realised it ignored all my imported character’s choices.

    • elevown says:

      Awakening completly ignores everything you just did in dragon age- I wouldnt touch it with a 10ft pole while wearing a hazmat suit!

      You obviously didnt get what 99% of the rest of the players did out of dragon age if you thought that shit was better!

    • CrookedLittleVein says:

      @TSK

      HOW DARE YOU HAVE FUN! NO MORE GAMES FOR YOU UNTIL YOU HAVE LEARNT HOW TO HAVE FUN IN THE CORRECT WAY!

      ALL HAIL FUN!

    • dE says:

      Funny you’d mention Dragon Age. In terms of DLC, I still hold the Camp Quest NPC as my prime example of how not to do DLC.

    • E_FD says:

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who felt that way about Awakening. (Well, I don’t know about DA2 since I never played it, but Awakening was certainly superior to Origins.) The plot, while still awfully cliched, was at least less groan-inducingly portentous about it, and the extra abilities made combat funner.

  6. Milky1985 says:

    We would accept the idea of DLC more if it wasn’t for DAy1 DLC basically rippping us off, then theres the day 1 dlc that is retailler exclusive so there is no way to get a full at release day without buying it 3 times. (assassins creed , multiple).

    Then there is the console exculsive dlc that is on the disc but they won’t activate it (streeet fighter x tekken, pacman is on the 360 disc)

    DLC shoudln’t bea dirty word, but the publishers through there abuse of us as conusmers with dlc have made it into this dirty word, nwo they will ahve to do a lot of work to change a lot of minds. Basically its their own damn fault.

    Also your talking about console certification, thats another thing i don’t get or trust simply due to the ammount of buggy games there are out there (some wtih gamebreaknig stuff that happens to a lot of people), another thing they need to convince us has a point :/

  7. unacomn says:

    You know who loves DLC? Cats! They love it so much, the owners complained to a games company to stop making DLC their cats can buy.
    Personally, I think it depends on the DLC. If it’s something like Magicka: Vietnam, then yes, it’s good. If it’s something like selling the ending of a full priced game in a package that adds nothing else but essential story, no new gameplay, no improvements, nothing that makes me feel even remotely that I wasn’t ripped off, then I hope whoever thought that up chokes on their own spit.

    • John Walker says:

      You’re aware that the Mass Effect 3 ending DLC was free, of course.

      • YogSo says:

        I might be wrong, but I think he was referring to that Fallout 3 DLC that added the ending to the original game.

      • Wut The Melon says:

        He has a strong point though. Extra content for extra money is, when it’s done somewhat proportionally, fine with me, but when I pay for Mass Effect 2 I expect the full story. DLC such as Arrival (part of the story) should be part of the game, either of ME2 or of ME3, I don’t care. I paid for the games, I want the full experience. DLC like Overlord or Kasumi is fine with me.

  8. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Bethesda is one of the very few companies doing DLC right, as proper mini-expansions that they’ve put some effort into. I like expansions. They give me an excuse to revisit a game I’ve already played and liked with the offer of lots of new stuff to experience.

    But I have no patience for developers who churn out lots of cheap bits and pieces – I’ll buy all of it in a GOTY pack, or none at all. I have a hundred other full games waiting to be played, why would I buy another few levels of Magicka?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I might ordinarily have agreed with you, but Skyrim’s first dlc looks like poo.

    • John Walker says:

      Horse armour.

    • Jupiah says:

      They do know how to make great DLC, and I still contend that Shivering Isles was the best DLC that’s ever been released for any game, ever. And Knights of the Nine was pretty great too.

      Unfortunately they also released 8 small, crappy DLC for Oblivion also, including the biggest joke of a DLC ever created for any game, ever, Horse Armor.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I’d argue that BRINK’s DLC packs are pretty shallow. And, as already mentioned, Horse Armor. And Spell Books.

  9. The Hammer says:

    “the phrase “DLC” seems to have become a dirty one.”

    Wasn’t it always? I remember the day Horse Armour was announced, and the furore that ignited. I think that was the first real case of mainsteam paid-for DLC content, as developers and publishers were still investigating ways of hawking extra content on the new (now old) consoles.

    When hasn’t DLC been met with scepticism?

    Not to say I find it particularly bad practice: I loved the DLC for Mass Effect 2, and thought it was well worth the money, and I don’t think Skyrim is a lesser game because of its planned DLC schedule.

    • Melliflue says:

      I thought the problem with the Horse Armour DLC was how much they were charging for so little new content.

      I found Mass Effect 2 to be an example of DLC done badly. I don’t like how for the story of Mass Effect 3 to make sense I need to have played a piece of DLC for Mass Effect 2. It makes it essential content, which is a problem because of how it took away any control away for one very big decision.

      • Vorphalack says:

        It wasn’t just the price tag. While the horse armour pack was being announced the game was still riddled with fairly serious bugs, and when it was released it added a few bugs of its own. There are still performance problems to this day on some systems that can be traced back to horse armour.

      • The Hammer says:

        Oh, I forgot the sub-par last bit of DLC. After reading less-than-complimentary reviews on how scripted it was, I gave it a wide, wide berth. And then yes, it turned it had a big role to play in ME3. Gah.

        I actually meant the Kasumi and Shadow Broker packs, which were both glorious in their own ways.

    • wererogue says:

      Yesterday’s Horse Armour is today’s Hats.

  10. Flukie says:

    Yeah the term DLC is a good thing, but it can be abused by developers and mostly is abused.

    Content should be worth the price you pay for it aswell as actually being something that wasn’t originally part of the scope of the original game.

    Free DLC builds trust with developers and makes me feel at least as though their product is worth more and so will their future products. Take Riot with League of Legends for example, that game is completely free yet makes tonnes of money.

  11. Melliflue says:

    Maybe I’m being stupid but the line,

    “But I also can see no really sensible argument for charging for DLC too.”

    seems out of place with the rest of that paragraph. The next sentence is a sensible argument for charging for DLC.

  12. Deano2099 says:

    There was a cashing-in period for day-one DLC. When some companies did it, it seemed to work, and then other companies went “hey, is there anything we could take out of our game to sell as an extra and make some more cash?”

    It was a valid argument.

    I find it comical that people still make this argument now, a good five years on from the DLC explosion. No publisher is only thinking about DLC when the game is nearly done. It’s part of the project plan, it’s part of the budget, the projected revenue from the DLC (day-one or otherwise) is factored into the expected revenue for the game, and from that the game’s budget is created. And then the game gets made.

    No DLC? No day-one DLC? That’s fine, but that means less expected revenue, which means a smaller budget for the game. Which means something has to get cut. Maybe it’s the content that was going to be in the DLC. Or maybe it’s not hiring such professional voice actors. Or maybe they’ll scrimp on bug testing. It could be anything, and it’ll probably be less obvious that you’re not getting the ‘full game’ as intended, but things will be missing.

    All games are a compromise of artistic vision and budgetary realities, DLC just changes that equation a little bit.

  13. Premium User Badge

    abhishek says:

    I don’t have much of an opinion on DLC other than that I’ll buy it (and the game too) if I deem it worthy. Otherwise I’ll just ignore it and move on. While there are some clear cut examples of bullshit DLC, I don’t think it’s worth getting worked up about when you as the customer have complete power to skip it and the game if you feel that it’s a bad thing.

    Have to say though, it’s nice to read an RPS article that is actually positive about the state of gaming and doesn’t lament and berate the usual suspects.

  14. N'Al says:

    Borderlands
    GTA IV
    Fallout 3

    How DLC should be done. Otherwise GTFO.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Also New Vegas – which was even better.

      • N'Al says:

        Having not yet played those I didn’t feel able to comment. From what I’ve heard, though, they are excellent (for the most part), yes.

    • Barnaby says:

      I felt the story and feel of both GTA IV’s (I’d even call them expansions, as opposed to DLC) DLC were even better than the feel of the main game. I didn’t really understand why Niko did anything besides money, and never seemed very enthusiastic about it either. Hell I even liked Brucie’s antics more than I liked Niko. Compare it with Carl “CJ” Johnson who was the baddest mother fucker to ever exist in a video game (after working out of course). Unfortunate that Rockstar has said that they plan to scale back future DLC because the expansions apparently weren’t received as well as they hoped, at least in terms of cost to develop:profit.

  15. ain says:

    So it all comes down to consoles being the source of the problem?

  16. pkt-zer0 says:

    Well, I dunno. DLC is a good thing, but rarely is it used for good. It’s similar to F2P in that regard.
    I’m wondering, how could you get publishers to use these tools in a non-evil manner?

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Stop rewarding that behaviour with money.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hypocee says:

        Stop millions of drooling sheepfrom rewarding that behaviour with money.

        FTFY, but nothing so far seems to work; thus, punishment and frustration. Bethesda Dude said at a recent GDC that Horse Armour continues to sell snappily to this day. Is it six or seven million so far that have paid $60 for the opportunity to then buy an Unrelenting Cloak of Win Game?

  17. Premium User Badge

    Oozo says:

    As somebody who is in a position where having money is less of an issue than having time, I sometimes really think that DLC could improve a lot of games for me:

    Get rid of all the padding and the 60hours+ ideal and try to tinker a satisfying, tight experience that ends after, say, 4, 5 or even 10 hours – with a price that reflects that. Deliever additional content that is not shoehorned in (I still remember Dragon Age’s “I will only speak with you about this mission if you pay me, sugadaddy”-dialogue options) for those who enjoyed the game enough to crave for more. I do realize that this wouldn’t work for all genres and types of games – it’s easier done, probably, when you have a narrative-focus -, but sometimes I really think that the serial model that Telltale is using could be valuable for other genres as well.

    (I’m thinking right now of “The Secret World” which is so light on the actual MMO-side of things that I can’t help wondering if it wouldn’t have been worlds better as some sort of new coop-RPG that actually was modelled in that vein – more like a TV-series, if you want, with explicit plans to broaden the world regularly via DLC or even subs… I, for one, would have prefered that infinitely.)

    • PopeJamal says:

      I absolutely agree. Take a huge game like Fallout: New Vegas. Break the game up into the primary story arcs. Have the “speed run” or “no nonsense, straight to the finish line” arc last about 8-10 hours. You can sell that for $20. Then, charge $5-$10 for each additional “region” or story arc. Or, have a “bundle discount” where you get the whole thing for $50 or whatever.

      I think the biggest problem is that these companies want to take a complete game, cut 10% of the content, sell the original game FOR THE SAME PRICE, and then charge us $15 for the pieces they cut off.

      Bastards.

      Properly separating and pricing the content would make everyone happy, in my opinion.

  18. wisnoskij says:

    I disagree DLC in general is just a stupid money grab and is not exactly an expansion.
    An expansion is a full game built in the original games engine. Often requiring the original game to play (but pretty much guaranteeing a whole new full single campaign with new NPCs, PCs, and levels).

    DLC is a new digital hat for $5.00, it is, at its best, only a slight expansion to the game and more alike to what you would expect from a free update then an old school expansion.

    And they are so much more expensive. There are multiple games out there with like 20 DLCs that turn the entire collectors edition into 10 times the original cost of the game. The problem is that all together they might constitute 1 or 2 expansions, not ten.

  19. Dinger says:

    Expansions, DLC, that’s all fine. The folks at the developers and publishers just need some basic business sense. No, not the business sense that says “Now figure out how to maximize revenue by ‘un-bundling’ the game”. That’s moronic and it only succeeds in alienating your customers. SInce we’re talking about entertainment, an alienated customer is one who is not amused, and your product just failed.

    Dragon Age Origins is still the Gold Standard for how not to do DLC. NPCs come up to you and beg you to buy DLC. At one point, the player is told “This is your friend. To let him die, select ‘walk away’. To revive him, purchase the DLC”. Where is the value in the game I just bought? The only thing worse is advertising DLC that doesn’t exist and will never exist (Burnout Paradise PC, I’m looking at you).

    Anyway, old-skool business sense. You sell DLC by convincing the customer that the product already purchased has incredible value, and it is that value that drives the customer to seek out more. You don’t sell DLC by convincing the customer that the purchased title is incomplete, and can only be completed with a significant outlay. Because getting nickle-and-dimed is not fun, and those of us who have been around the block a few times know that it’ll never be satisfying.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      The article mentiones “Expandalones”, something also i have a fairly big problem with.
      The way it used to work is you would buy the original game at say £30/$50, then a few months later an expansion would come out for £15/$25, essentially half the price, giving the player a whole new campaign/storyline etc, usually following on from where the original game left off and extending the experience.

      With the way things work now additional content is either DLC selling tiny bits of content for £10, OR in the instances where companies do a proper expansion its sold as “standalone”, sold as standalone so they can justify charging for a full price game, with digital downloads now theres really no neccesity for an expansion to require the files on the original disc as used to happen.
      The problem however is that again its just screwing money out of their most loyal fans, they now have to pay full price times 2 to get the extra content for the game despite the studio having 1/3 to 1/2 of the development time and cost due to all the engine, textures, sounds etc already being in place.

      The issue is that companies do and will get away with stupid costs of DLC etc because the people reading this website are no longer your average gamer unfortunately, gaming is so populous now that the vocal minority of people that are going to post on an article about DLC practices could all abstain from ever buying DLC again and it wouldnt even dent their profits.

      While myself and im sure lots of others now generally wait for the Steam sale to roll around to pick up games cheaper (side note, in the past i never had a problem dropping £30 on a game, i am now reluctant to do this due to the business practices used by most games companies, they will get less of my money until I feel that i am getting a full and complete game for my money and wont be dicked around with them offering X, Y and Z for an extra £10 each) the average gamer will either see an advert on TV or the display of the latest and greatest game in the shop and impulse buy it, then when he’s sat at home bored weeks later, “ooh i can get some new stuff for this game for a tenner, lets see what this is about”. So unfortunately i fear this DLC practice will continue unless we can somehow get across to the people who own an XBox and 4 games that they are being ripped off.

  20. Shiri says:

    Something seems wrong with this because DLC is almost entirely either A) terrible or B) basically an expansion pack with a new name (see: Dungeons of Dredmor.) Allowing approval of the latter to obfsucate hatred of the former is really a bad idea, although from a development perspective DLC is popular enough among non-clued-in gamers to make the specific choice of name attractive regardless of the actual substance.

    • Zanchito says:

      I agree. Most of the discussions stem from calling mini expansions and new coloured hats both DLC. Personally, I’de prefer to call mini expansions (added mechanics or story content) just that, and optional items / maps / skins DLC.

  21. Zeewolf says:

    I like expansions. Proper expansions that lasts for a while (effectively being a quick sequel), or that adds enough new content to the base game that I can start playing again and have it feel fresh.

    I don’t like DLC. DLC is too short or too small. If it’s a story based game, then when I’ve completed it I’ve completed it. I am not about to go back in time and have my Shepard do some hour-long mission which wasn’t part of his original adventure, because his original adventure is done. It’s in the past. The story’s been written, I’ve moved on. But I still get the same feeling that I had with Day 1 DLC: There’s something incomplete about the way I experienced the game.

    For me, though, moving on is important. I want new experiences, new games, and I don’t want the games I’ve put behind me constantly trying to drag me back because there’s potentially more money to be made from me.

    • NathanH says:

      I have this problem with DLC in story-based games too. They’re not the sort of games I just start up and play an hour of. They need to be played in big chunks.

    • affront says:

      This.
      Even when entirely disregarding often stupid “day 1 DLC” trading one full-sized expansion for a handful of DLCs disgusts me.
      An expansion used to be a coherent experience that lasted for at least half as long as the original did, whereas most DLC usually lasts for at most 3 hours – and even if you play 5 DLCs back to back they make for a fragmented experience at best, if they even have any significant story content in the first place.

      Also, regarding “Obviously such expansions still exist” in the article: Yes, but they’ve gotten much more rare. Back in the day most successful games eventually had an expansion or even two. Now? They’re the exception rather than the rule.
      Maybe my nostalgia is deluding me, though.

    • Skhalt says:

      Exactly how I feel. Having more games to play than free time available (not speaking of the Iron Kingdoms RPG rulebooks I could never get around to even open), when I’m done with a game I just uninstall it and get on to play the next.
      The only way for me to eventually play DLCs is when I can get my hand on a “GOTY” or “complete” or “ultimate power overwhelming” edition of some sort and go with a second playthrough to have a complete experience. No point in grabbing my old character and pretending “Oh hey I forgot the first time, but he actually had this little adventure along with the others before saving the world”.

  22. kupocake says:

    Does DLC have a developer-training application too? Like putting rookies onto DLC content projects to get them prepared for the rigors of full-size project management? Because that seems like a logical thing to.do and a net gain for the industry…

  23. D3xter says:

    No it’s not, EXPANSIONS are good, DLC is definitely not so. Microsoft coined “DLC” back in 2002 with their Xbawks, the first title to have it was “Mech Assault” (by Microsoft Game Studios) and they were the only ones to charge for it, everyone else was offering it for free, they then proceeded to make it a requirement to pay for it on their Xbox 360 and FORCED every developer to put a price on DLC or any additional big content Patches because they wanted to “create an environment of value” and smelled lots of money:
    http://www.shacknews.com/article/60365/microsoft-forces-valve-to-price
    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147804
    Chief amongst some that spoke out against it were Valve (who had problems doing free Updates), EPIC (who wasn’t allowed to release free content as they did on PC), Team17, Bizarre Creations and more.

    Microsoft didn’t WANT things to be free, how would the big publishers or themselves look when there’s games offering free content while they charge 5-10 $/€? They are the reason why “long term support” got replaced by “BUY OUR DLC, BEST DAY ONE!” and there’s no reason to support that.
    On top of that it almost entirely killed actual “Expansions”, which were standard practice at some point, why pay to develop a lot of good content if people buy bite-sized small “packs” for the same price or more if added up?

    It’s a disease initiated by Microsoft that just swapped over to the PC in time and it was a “dirty one” to begin with.

    • D3xter says:

      http://www.shacknews.com/article/60365/microsoft-forces-valve-to-price

      The decision to charge for the Xbox 360 version of the upcoming “Crash Course” Left 4 Dead DLC was ultimately made by Microsoft, according to Valve’s Chet Faliszek.

      “We own our platform, Steam. Microsoft owns their platform. They wanted to make sure there’s an economy of value there,” said Faliszek to Eurogamer.

      The first content release for Left 4 Dead, which included a new Survival mode and extra Versus maps, was free on both platforms. Crash Course, set to include a new campaign for the game, will be free on PC and cost 560 Microsoft Points ($7) on the 360.

      “[Microsoft] helped us get the first one out for free,” explained Faliszek. “We had the one DLC out for free. And I think… they have to look and say, wow, we’re kind of being unfair to everybody else if these guys can do that.”

      Added Faliszek: “It’s not like we’re looking at this as, ‘Oh my god, we need some money, we’re going to charge,’ obviously, or we’d do it on the PC. So it’s just kind of the way the system works right now.”

      Valve will also have to put a price on its upcoming Xbox 360 Team Fortress 2 DLC pack.

      On the consoles, they want us to charge money for [DLC], because that’s in their model, and our model is very much more to grow the community by giving out free updates,” said Valve president Gabe Newell last year. “That’s harder for us.”

      http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147804

      “But is there something that Microsoft isn’t telling us? Could there be significant free content available in the Market place that the company is withholding?

      Game Informer spoke with multiple contacts within the industry about the process that publishers and developers have to go through to get their content on Xbox Live Marketplace. We also found out that there is free content that companies want to offer, but Microsoft’s mandating that consumers pay for it.

      When a publisher has goods it wants to put up for sale, those prices must first be
      submitted to Microsoft. As part of an agreement with the company, publishers have signed a document that hands over final say to Microsoft regarding Market place pricing. From here, Microsoft takes a look at the market and prices items to maintain a balance among items of similiar value.

      Game Informer talked to Aron Greenburg, Xbox Live/Xbox 360 group product manager who denied that Microsoft has final say over Market place pricing. “It’s ultimitaly up to the publisher,” he told us.

      However, according to our sources, it’s not up to publishers, and free content is being with held from consumers under the speculated motive of Microsoft wanting to make gamers accustomed to paying money for goods above and beyond wallpapers. Said one industry insider we talked to, “they want you in the store and they want you buying stuff that is at full price. “We’ve even been told that the rules of the game may vary depending on how much clout your company has with Microsoft.

      Greenberg denied knowledge of any motive to restrict free content, but admitted that the company does indeed adjust download prices. “there may be some situation or unusual case where there’s content that’s significant in nature and it would make other content look out of line, but I’m not aware of any case where we’ve told them that they couldn’t offer it for free.”
      __________________________________________________________________

      Incidentally, the devs of Team 17 said as much on their official forums, though that thread has already been deleted:

      Originally Posted by Spadge Team 17 Staff:
      We are planning a lot of free content, but ultimately those controls are down to Microsoft because they have a lot of other companies serving downloadable content who wish to protect their ‘value’ (would be less so, if for example, all our stuff was free).

      First pack of DLC will come soon.

    • Emeraude says:

      Microsoft has been poisoning the well water from the moment they entered the market. Which is why as a company they will probably never get any support from me…

      Too bad they’re getting so much support anyway.

  24. JackDandy says:

    More and more companies are turning DLC into something it shouldn’t be.

    Therefore, gamers have every right to label it as bad.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      THQ and Paradox being prime examples of companies that are totally abusing the DLC principle. Charging for songs and skins and expecting it to support you financially in the long-term is just stupid.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Agreed with THQ, their DLC practices are rediculous, as well as Dawn of War 2 having 2 expansions that were set at £20 and £30 on release respectively, making the original + both expansions a whopping £90, then there is an absolutely stupid amount of DLC content, ranging from skin packs to weapons to even a completely new (also way overpowered) class for the multiplayer portion of the game, the DLC’s come in at way over £50 as well. Its almost as if they’ve said “instead of getting lots of people to buy this, lets extort money from our most passionate players” in a way that 1 person paying £150 is worth 3 people paying £50. Terrible practice though, complete abuse of DLC and the reason it gets a bad name.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Yup. You know what really bothered me about the Retribution fiasco? Instead of updating DLC for Dawn of War II, THQ decided to disavow it completely and concentrate on a brand new release that instantly precluded anyone that owned the original (DoW II) from playing with everyone else (Retribution). I can no longer find a multiplayer DoW II game because no one fucking plays it anymore. They’re all too busy buying skin packs for Retribution or Last Standalone.

          THQ’s current DLC scheme is rightfully going to be the death of them. Well, in addition to the other poor business decisions they’ve been making over the last two years.

  25. dmastri says:

    DLC is a stepping stone to games as a service. It’s not the future we can or should want. I hear what you are saying John, DLC can’t all be evil, but actually it can and is. BF3 is quickly on its way to bridging the DLC/games as service gap. I especially like how the servers give preferential player slotting to “premium” members.

    Mark my words. One of the BF4 launch options will be a monthly sub. They’ll release the game with 3 guns and 2 maps and a vehicle and nickel and dime you for the rest. EA knows not restraint. All heavy handed corporate nonsense… bottom lines…revenue streams… maximizing the money they milk out of each of us.

    It sounds bleak, but I’m thankful we’ve got things like Kickstarter and Valve challenging the conventional publishing model.

  26. Alexander Norris says:

    But, er, capitalism.

    I have to say, I didn’t figure RPS for a seething den of anti-capitalist malcontents, eager to blame the abhorrent practice that is DLC on the abhorrent necessity of companies to seek profits at all costs lest developers be kicked out on the streets and little five-year-old Tammy be forced to starve. That said, I’m not surprised John authored this, the scallywag.

    (“But capitalism” is a pretty bad argument in favour of ethically shitty business practices, John. :P)

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Am I misremembering this or was the primary concern of capitalist society not the customer first and the profit second? I think we’ve been moving away from that for decades – the almighty £/$ being the single compulsory justification for any and all action.

      • ShrikeMalakim says:

        The problem is that that’s the intent of capitalist society, but no Western nation has had a capitalist society in decades. Corporatist society only cares for the customer so far as the customer keeps paying money, all in the name of “shareholder value”. Abuse of the customer for profit is encouraged right up to the point where the customer stops paying money.

        Amusingly, even the man who pioneered the concept of “shareholder value” as paramount later said: “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy.”

  27. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Nice article. I always thought that the view many people have on DLC is very one-sided. Sure, there is much bad DLC, like new skins for characters, or a new weapon, or other inconsequential stuff, which is simply very overpriced.

    But there is also good DLC, which actually adds something to the game – like an expansion, just a bit smaller. For example, I really enjoyed some of the ME2 Missions, that could be bought as DLC. I also do not believe that there was ever a time in which extra material like that was ever free (at least not for a subscription based or free to play game).

    So DLC has to be evaluated individually.

  28. veelckoo says:

    Now how long does it take to “CERTIFICATE” DLC?
    If game certification is one month long and DLC certification MUST take some time as well – how is that they can put Day1 DLCs?

  29. Tony M says:

    My problem with DLC is that it has resulted in fewer expansions. I’d much prefer 1 expansion pack over 3 large and 3 small DLCs. An expansion pack has room to breathe and room to craft a coherent whole. Too often DLC feels like the designer was constrained trying to think of something that would fit in a DLC sized bite.

  30. Flakfizer says:

    DLC for a game just means i’ll wait for the inevitable cut-price GOTY version to be released with all DLC included.

    Maybe i’m a completionist or just plain weird but it’s what i did for Dragon Age, Oblivion, Fallout, New Vegas, Borderlands etc.

    I dislike the thought of buying an incomplete version. Waiting isn’t a problem as i have a huge backlog of fine, unfinished games to work through.

    • Misnomer says:

      I generally liked this article and the new perspective, but I think you hit the nail on the head here on why there is even more to this subject.

      I do exactly what you do when it comes down to single player games. There is really no good reason not to unless you are so invloved in them you want to have them on Day 1. When you get more content for less money, it usually seems like the better idea.

      Multiplayer games are a different world because (as others above have noted), being on the same server as a fried without the DLC can be a bit of an issue. If it isn’t done that way, the game becomes an advertising fest for itself or must monetize through morally questionable schemes like TF2 Crates and F2P weapon “rentals.”

      I like John talking about this as a not universally bad practice (charging for extra content). I look forward to more analysis with examples of good DLC and bad DLC as well as the SP/MP divide.

    • PopeJamal says:

      And the funny thing about GOTY editions is that you often get the DLC for free. They’ve bundled it all together for you AND they’ve lowered the price.

  31. Abndn says:

    The mere existence of DLC diminishes my enjoyment of a game immensely if I don’t have them. Just knowing that unavailable content exists for the game I am playing makes me feel like i’m not getting the whole thing.

    I have not yet played Civ 5 for instance, because I am not going to play it unless I have all the leaders. I am not going to pay outrageous prices to get the complete package, so I am not going to buy or play Civ 5. If we ignore the steam sale happening at the moment and pretend I bought the game and its dlc packs as they came, it would have cost me no less than 98€ for the game, its expansion pack and the *ELEVEN* dlc packs.

    Entitled? Well, no. I am not asking them to change their business model for me. They can make all the dlc packs they like, it just means that they won’t get my money.

    On a related note, I was going to buy The Secret World the other day. I went to their buy page and saw that I could buy extra character slots and various master packs to gain convenience and a small edge right off the bat. I closed the tab and never returned.

    • Skhalt says:

      I hear you: subscription fee + cash shop? Seriously?
      A cash shop makes sense in GW/GW2, it has no subscription but still has server costs, and you dont ever actually need anything from the shop.

      Then again, Funcom never quite understood the new business models. Their handling of Conan going F2P is laughable – “play the most boring class of each category, if you want some interesting gameplay show us the money!”. They could have made truckloads of money with just a good collection of vanity items, they just managed to scare away customers with what feels like strong-arm tactics.

  32. BEEFLASER says:

    The reason that DLC has become an inherently bad word is:

    1. Most of it is poor, and
    2. They remember the days before devs and publishers could lean on DLC as a crutch.

    “It means that when you buy Assassin’s Creed III, you know you’ve – dare I say “investing”? – in a game that will keep extending itself after you’ve finished.”

    Didn’t it used to be that if you paid a premium price for a game you expect some amount of replayability or “post-credits” content in the package you paid for? Games are disposable now. Once you’ve seen the credits, that’s it, you’re done, and a big part of that condition is DLC. Instead of hanging onto a game because you’ve still got compelling reasons to revisit it, you’re expected to hold onto it so at some point in the future, you can give a little bit more money for a little bit more game.

    It seems like if DLC weren’t a thing, more games would still be built as investments themselves, full to the gills with content that would keep you interested in a game long after you’ve seen the credit sequence, and extra content would come in the form of substantial and memorable expansions.

    “I’m not unrealistic, obviously. I’m aware that there’s a great deal of crap being touted as DLC, the slightest content adding bugger all for a few quid. But that doesn’t represent it all, and when it’s worthwhile, it’s something special. Because it’s more game of a game you like. And that’s what we’ve got to remember.”

    I agree with this statement completely, but any one example you can find of a game that does DLC right, you can find three of games that do it all wrong. DLC isn’t inherently bad, but it’s mostly being used in a bad way, and until that changes the the acronym ought have negative connotations.

    • PopeJamal says:

      Along similar lines, another motivation for DLC is the resale market. The publishers want you to keep that game until your trade-in value at Gamestop or the like has plummeted.

      They absolutely HATE IT when Gamestop sells a new copy for $50, and a used one for $45. Granted, this mostly affects the console folks, but the ripples in their pond affect us as well.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah PopeJamal is right, if the game has on-disk DLC content that is linked to an Xbox Live account etc people picking up preowned games do not have all the content so it drastically devalues the preowned market, a market that the games publishers dont see a dime from.

  33. Arnastia says:

    Games have to certified on consoles, sure, but unless they really don’t care, DLC most likely also has to be certified. They have to make sure what it alters doesn’t break the game, doesn’t brick the console, doesn’t allow foreign code to be run.

    And to do these things they can’t just look at the DLC; they also have to look at the DLC/game combination. But if the game is still being certified, then how can they be sure its a bug from the DLC and not the game, or vice-versa? So, maybe day-one DLC is certified while they are printing copies of the game and shipping them to distributors.

    But if this is so, then you probably can just include a copy of the DLC on disc and only allow activation and use after the customers bought it online, while saving them the bandwidth of downloading the DLC. This possibly is why someone at Capcom thought it would be a good idea to answer to complaints of paid on-disc day-one DLC with statements that they wanted to make their customers’ life easier. Meanwhile, day-one DLC that was not shipped with the game would just have been so to avoid angering the gaming community.

    Of course, some games are sold by some retailers with pre-order bonus day-one DLC, or access codes to day-one DLC. Did these pass certification yet? If not, does that mean I may come home on day-one and find that I can’t access all the content I paid for in my game?

    And I’ve written too much already. Bottom-line, that they develop DLC during the certification period is a dickish reason IMO to have it be paid on day-one, as they probably could have just included it on the copies shipped, even if it had to be activated online. Day-one DLC are usually almost micro transactions, and that’s a mean spirited one to pull on any customer, because they should have spent the time looking for and fixing bugs.

  34. Jason Moyer says:

    Saints Row 3’s DLC would seem a lot less crappy if they’d advertise anywhere on their Steam page that you can buy almost all of it in a handful of bundles. I bought 3 pieces of SR3 DLC during the summer sale for about $8 and it gave me all but a couple of addons.

  35. Darko Drako says:

    I wont be buying Assassins Creed III anyway, it seems to be aiming for crude brit-bashing. Jonny-foreigner might enjoy playing it, but don’t expect strong sales in Britannia!

    • Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      Not a Brit here, but from what I hear from the ones I know, they don’t seem averse to a good bout of Brit bashing.

      • Shiri says:

        I’m perfectly happy, as an Englishman, for Britain (especially historical Britain, but also modern) to be “bashed” both in fiction and in real life, but I heard enough bitching about it when this issue came up that I’d probably need a survey to find out which viewpoint was more prevalent…

  36. Emeraude says:

    The very existence of DLC means that the design of the game has been compromised. A well produced game should be a game from which nothing more can be excised, and in which the addition of anything would imbalance the final product.

    I personally think DLCs are bad because of the way they change the perception of game development, and by and large hurt the whole culture of game-making.
    Instead of being perceived as some holonic gestalt from which nothing could be removed without damaging the global experience, games are becoming an amalgamation of somewhat related bits and pieces which can each be separated and sold on its own – ultimately hurting the quality of products.
    There are *very* few cases of DLCs, I would argue, that could be produced without hurting a game. They seldom – rarely – are the ones we get.

    I’d grant that a well designed expansion (i.e a rehash sequel by any other name) can be acceptable as long as it is competently compartmentalized from the game. I have no love for it though.

  37. cliffski says:

    As a developer who sells DLC, let me give a non-bullshit non-Press-Release answer from the devs POV.

    DLC sells.

    When gamers stop buying DLC, it will stop getting made. Complaining about the existence of DLC is like me complaining about the existence of McDonalds. McDoanlds exist because millions of people give McDs their money.

    You may not wish to buy specific DLC, and that’s fine, don’t buy it. I don’t like olives, so I don’t order them as a side dish in restaurants. It doesn’t bother me to know I’m only getting a ‘partial-meal’ in that case.

    • woodsey says:

      That’s a pretty obviously flawed comparison. I hate DLC as a concept, because most of the time it appears to leave a hole in the game I’ve just paid full price for. I still want the physical content.

      If you don’t like olives and there were never olives in the first place, then their absence doesn’t mean anything. If someone’s gone through your food and dug them out, then ransomed them to you, you should still be pissed, even if you don’t like olives. Because someone’s just ‘created’ ‘extra’ content in the laziest, most obnoxious way possible.

    • Emeraude says:

      It would bother people to have to pay extra for those olives if they do like olives, and said olives were supposed to be part of the original recipe. Which is what DLC is being perceived to be by most.

      Personally my complaint is not monetary though.

    • Abndn says:

      It’s really very simple. You’re okay with incomplete meals, but I am not okay with incomplete gaming experiences, and I won’t pay for them. Not for the DLC, not for the incomplete main game, and especially not for the complete experience which can cost up to 100€+ in some cases.

      And yes, I am sure DLC sells. You’re just meeting a demand, right? Do you know who else are just meeting demands? Drug dealers, traffickers and hired killers. I guess what they’re doing is just fine. After all, they’ll stop dealing, trafficking and assassinating once demand drops.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Also continuing with the meal analogy, if the side dishes available were previously said olives, some tripe, raw eggs or stale bread, and without buying any of these side dishes i’d feel i left the restaurant hungry and the dining experience had been incomplete, you’d complain and wouldnt go back again for the main dish.

      Again the issue isn’t the existance of DLC, its the quality and way they are being released, selling shit for a few quid rather than making decent content to sell. There are companies whose games i refuse to buy for anything more than a fiver in a steam sale due to their money grabbing DLC practices, maybe if developers returned to making decent after-market content rather than skins and horse armor they would make more money in the long run due to not pissing people off.

  38. SirKicksalot says:

    A rumour is floating around saying that Microsoft will rename paid DLC to APC, Additional Paid Content, for its next console.

  39. noodlecake says:

    I don’t mind day one DLC. I’ve never played a game that felt incomplete if I didn’t buy it. If they couldn’t charge for it I’m sure they wouldn’t have made that content at all. I think that there’s a good chance that they have invested money in the man hours that make the extra content, regardless of when it is coming out, day one or otherwise.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Consider yourself lucky. I’m obsessive-compulsive, and DLC packs appeal to the worst part of my psyche. If I buy a game that’s riddled with DLC content, I have a hell of a time ignoring said content in favor of just playing the damn game.

      I’ve learned to avoid games that appeal to completionists; that’s why you’ll never see me playing Magicka or Saints Row The Third (I was, however, mightily tempted by the fact that Steam was recently selling Saints Row The Third Complete Collection for $13).

  40. Bobtree says:

    I’m considering buying Starhawk (PS3) partly because all the DLC maps will be free.

  41. GameCat says:

    Of course DLC’s are good. Free ones. *points on The Witcher and Hard Reset*
    Or big ones. *points on GTA IV*

  42. Randomer says:

    One of the developers of Defender’s Quest put an article on his blog quite recently about the arguments for/against, as well as alternatives to, DLC. You can find it here. He has actually written several interesting articles on game economics; it’s all worth a read.

    • Emeraude says:

      Thanks for the link. Nothing new but a pretty good summing up to pass around in case that particular discussion arises again.

  43. KillahMate says:

    No. NO. I am a single player gamer. I want my games to END. I don’t finish books only to have to come back to them six months later, four pages having been arbitrarily inserted in the middle. There is such a thing as a coherent experience, and I want – nay, expect – it from my games. Story games with DLC mean at best a wait for the Gotye edition. Or likely no purchase.

  44. Alexrd says:

    I don’t mind DLC, as long as there is a complete version of the game with everything included later on (which is the one I buy). If not, DLC sucks.

  45. CrookedLittleVein says:

    In my very humble, nay, INCREDIBLY humble opinion, Juice X: Humour Evolution was a particularly egregious example of bad dlc. I am not paying for a mission that was supposed to take place midway through the game when I have already completed said game. Until it all goes on sale on Steam for pennies of course.

    Unless your game is FO:NV of course. And only because Chris Avellone winked at me once. The handsome devil.

  46. Beelzebud says:

    DLC like they did for New Vegas is fine. DLC for an online shooter, that only fragments the community by charging for maps is lame. Paid DLC for shooters is why we’re seeing less companies release mod tools.

  47. Chris D says:

    Good and Bad DLC via the medium of food analogies.

    Good DLC is like extra pizza toppings. The basic pizza comes with cheese and tomato and is perfectly tasty in it’s own right but you can add more to the experience by paying a reasonable price to add extra ingredients to taste.

    Bad DLC is like this:

    Rat and ketchup – 7p
    Rat – 4p
    “Why does Ketchup cost almost as much as the rat?” said Angua
    “Have you tried rat without ketchup?” said Carrot.
    – Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

    • tossrStu says:

      My understanding of DLC budgeting is this:

      Pizzas are actually relatively cheap at the moment — I could pre-order a AAA pizza for £25 – £30, which (taking inflation into account) is probably the same or even less than I used to pay for pizzas on the Amiga. But today’s pizzas cost way, way more to make than they used to; they have more ingredients, more chefs involved, etc. so they’re actually making a lot less profit on each pizza sold than they used to. But it’s hard for them to bump the prices of their pizzas up to a sustainable level, as the reaction from customers would be pretty negative (and only the restaurants with the largest number of die-hard diners imaginable, like Activision Hut, could get away with it) so instead they offer extra toppings as a way of increasing the pizza price by stealth. It may seem like a shitty deal to the consumer — after all, surely a few jalapeno peppers tossed on top shouldn’t cost £3.49? — but at a time when some companies have to sell millions of pizzas just to break even, you can see why they would be tempted to do this and hope that enough people feel that their first person sloppy giuseppe is incomplete without the minced beef DLC to bump their profits up to something a bit more sustainable.

      • D3xter says:

        Food and Digital Goods comparisons aren’t exactly very good since actual goods have a thing called scarcity and an initial material value, you also won’t see a “pizza” sold for 1€ on Steamy-Pizzas if it costs at least 10€ to make, no matter how long you wait…

        Now elaborating on your analogy, maybe they should go about making their pizzas differently instead of trying to gouge their buyers even more? Maybe they should cut down on the ingredients, the “star chefs” that demand being paid extra and go back to how Pizzas were made at Luigi’s Pizza, and there are a lot of new pizza chefs that are doing very basic pizzas like Mine-a-Pizza while being very creative with the ingredients and making lots and lots of money.
        Maybe if they can’t sustain selling AAA jumbo pizzas filled with toppings without trying to increasingly gouge their customer-base anymore despite SO MANY MORE people enjoying pizzas nowadays, they could try doing something else that might make them money and the problem is actually with THEM?

        • Baines says:

          And the problem with bringing rising costs and inflation into the mix is that developers have chosen to make more and more expensive games.

          The price of game development may be more like sports star salaries. Teams want the best players, but there are more teams than available superstars. Scarcity and hope drives salaries up beyond what players may actually be worth, particularly the guys who aren’t superstar material but happen to stand out for some reason (or just happen to have a coach or owner who for some reason thinks they are special.) Some teams get lucky, and land players who are worth their cost, or at least aren’t a hindrance. Others are stuck overpaying for guys who go on to underperform for their pay level, get injured, suspended, or whatever. And the next year, the players use the previous year’s overpriced contracts to argue that they should be paid more.

          That’s what game developers/publishers are stuck in. Only so many titles will be “superstars,” but publishers pump money into everything on hope, and in the process drive the cost to play up for everyone that wants to try to compete at their level.

          So DLC has become an additional money source for a system that has been shaky for a while (as each generation developers talk about the massive increases to development cost, while they reach for the stars).

  48. Brun says:

    So the overwhelming argument appears to be that DLC is bad because it means that you’re getting an incomplete game. Ignoring the obvious logical questions this poses (if DLC didn’t exist, how would you know the game is “incomplete”?), I think that the non-PR, non-bullshit answer to why DLC is so popular is two-fold:

    1) It sells.
    2) “Full price” just doesn’t cover the cost of game development anymore.

    It’s #2 that’s the heart of the issue. I’ve commented on it a lot – game budgets are just too high for $60 to cover everything. If DLC became unacceptable, they’d find some other means of monetization.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Do you have any evidence to back that up, or are you guessing? I’m having a hard time believing any major publisher would be willing to release the core game at a loss and bet the farm on DLC sales. Especially hard to believe when we have companies like CDP Red producing high quality titles with no paid DLC support, and raking in a healthy profit:

      http://www.heavyeggs.com/article/view/the-witcher-2-approaches-1m-sales

      And that was after only 1 year of sales with no X-box version. Core games, sold complete, are still profitable.

      • Brun says:

        Everyone holds up CDPR as these great saints of AAA development, but to companies like EA or Activision, 1 million copies sold makes CDPR a very minor player. Big publishers have had no interest in games that only sell 1 million copies ever since games like Call of Duty and Mass Effect started selling multiple millions.

        As for the budgets, there have been multiple articles (on this website and others) that explain how game development costs have skyrocketed since 2005. That rise in cost coincides nicely with the explosion of secondary monetization and incentivization such as DLCs. So it’s a bit of conjecture, and I doubt that any big publisher “bets the farm” on DLCs, but my point was that publishers are under real pressure to get more buck for their buck (so to speak) because of those ever-increasing costs.

  49. Emeraude says:

    if DLC didn’t exist, how would you know the game is “incomplete”?

    a) Adding something that spoils the experience is just as bad as subtracting something that lessens it.

    b) We might not know it in the absence of DLC – if the game isn’t doing something it’s supposed to be we often shrug it off on poor design skill or a hectic development – but conjunction of a DLC and such a trait will invariably lead to the conclusion that the DLC was instrumental in the end result – whether it’s warranted or not.

    • Brun says:

      Adding something that spoils the experience is just as bad as subtracting something that lessens it.

      You wouldn’t know (or suspect) that anything was subtracted if DLC didn’t exist. Your assumption that something WAS removed is based entirely on your distrust for the publishers/developers and the perception of DLC as a selfish money-grab. In reality, if some Supreme Gaming Authority suddenly ruled that DLC was illegal, all of that stuff that was “subtracted” to make DLC would simply not be made in the first place, leaving you with the base game – exactly what you have now.

      We might not know it in the absence of DLC – if the game isn’t doing something it’s supposed to be we often shrug it off on poor design skill or a hectic development – but conjunction of a DLC and such a trait will invariably lead to the conclusion that the DLC was instrumental in the end result – whether it’s warranted or not.

      None of these “conclusions” are based on anything beyond subjective assumptions and suspicions. Which is the problem I have with this entire argument.

      • Emeraude says:

        You wouldn’t know (or suspect) that anything was subtracted if DLC didn’t exist.

        Actually we sometimes happen to, while file-digging, find proof of it. And we often suspect that something was removed from games that don’t have DLCs (and again can be proved right by data-mining).

        See my point up-thread. I have no trouble being left with the base game. My main problem is that I believe DLCs lessens the quality of said main game – I don’t really care about quantity.
        In a way DLS act like patching. Patching can be good because it allows to repair bugs from games after release. It has also allowed for companies to willingly release a known buggy/unpolished product thinking they can get away with it by patching later – something I experienced first-hand.

        None of these “conclusions” are based on anything beyond subjective assumptions and suspicions.

        Which is exactly what I was saying. I just don’t think antagonizing your main audience to be a good long term strategy. I may be wrong on that of course.

        • Brun says:

          Actually we sometimes happen to find, while file-digging, find proof of it. And we often suspect that something was removed from games that don’t have DLCs (and again can be proved right by data-mining).

          I mean if DLC as a concept never existed. As in, no game was released with DLC, ever. There would be nothing to find by data mining, because games would not be designed with DLC in mind. Those games would have the same amount of content as “base games” do today (or perhaps even less). The experience would not be “lessened” by anything.

          My point is that this is a perception issue. People perceive their game as having less value because DLC exists for it. But in reality, it would likely be exactly the same if DLC had never existed.

          • Emeraude says:

            It is, for the most part. We have found bits of missing parts from games *before* DLCs existed. As I said, we used to accuse poor design or hectic development, depending on how we saw things – or how charitable we were.
            The very existence of DLCs makes it so they’ll be accused – on that we agree. But going back to my patching example, their very existence makes it so we can only assume the whole culture of game making (if only in scheduling and designing) is changing because of it.
            Some of us find that change harmful.

            People perceive their game as having less value because DLC exists for it.

            Personally, the way I see it, a well designed game shouldn’t even support the existence of DLCs. Again: A well produced game should be a game from which nothing more can be excised, and in which the addition of anything would imbalance the final product.

          • HadToLogin says:

            You’re wrong that we didn’t learned about subtracted things from data-mining.

            Mini-proof: Fallout 2, with it’s “press 3 (or was it 4?) on Den’s map to access 3rd region”. And a few more cut content.
            Big-proof: Knights of the Old Republic 2. And in this case there was quite a big cry about lost content, wasn’t it?

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Well if a game is an unfinished buggy mess and there is DLC released day one or in the first month its obvious the developers are more concerned with releasing DLC ASAP rather than actually finishing the game before release.

  50. Brun says:

    Wrong place.