Problems in gaming #1: DLCs

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Published on: 16/10/2016

Ryuixion here. I’m a new writer for Gamingrev. I hope you enjoy the article. It will be part of a series of articles by me that examines the current problems in gaming.

Downloadable content, or more commonly known as DLCs are additional content created for a released video game. They usually come after the game…but there are also DLCs that come on the released day of the game (Day One DLCs).

Back in the PS2/Xbox generation, DLCs already existed although these are mostly free and the content are usually add ons like costume or maps rather than content integral to the game. DLCs back then were seen as something to thank the gamers for continuing to play and support their game.

Unfortunately, the rise of online gaming and distribution shattered this “respect” and greed took over. Developers and publishers now see gamers nowadays as idiots who will basically suck anything they give to them even though these things are supposed to be and should be free (Anyone remember the $1.59 blood/gore option in Total War Shogun 2?).

Is my language harsh? Do you want to rage in the comments for me calling you an idiot? Because its true, developers and publishers wouldn’t have become this greedy had it not been for idiots like you and me (I have brought DLCs as well!) kept on buying DLCs. Not all DLCs are bad though.

An example of a good DLC is an expansion packs that is stand alone, meaning it does not require the original game. Expansion packs basically sets the threshold for DLCs. If it can run without the original game or has expands the game’s story, then it deserves its price (which should be in proportion to the size of its content) but if it relies on the game, then it should be free since its supplementary to the game. Examples are extra costumes, weapons, skins and maps. Command and Conquer series would be an example of such but I would to use a more modern example, Read Dead Redemption. Red Dead Redemption is a PS3/Xbox 360 Game released in 2010. While the game itself has bad DLCs, its paid standalone expansion pack, Undead Nightmare is a good example of what a DLC should look like. A pack that has its own story, characters and setting that could be played without the original game.

Of course, not all expansion packs needs to run without the original game. If it adds an after story or a story about one of the characters like in Tales of Zestiria’s Alisha’s Story and The Witcher’s 3 Hearts of Stone, then it may be worth the price. Not all expansion packs are good or worthy of their price, but at least there is decent amount of content in them.

Like I said before, starting in the PS3/Xbox 360, developers and publishers have become greedy and see gamers nowadays as idiots who will basically suck anything they give to them even though these things are supposed to be and should be free (Yup, I actually said it twice). After all, DLCs are actually being developed alongside the game rather than as part of the game. In fact, major publishers are now implementing a DLC structure in their games whether releasing Day One DLCs or pre order bonuses. This is a serious problem for gaming.

Let’s take a look at On Disc DLCs. Let’s be honest if something is already part of the game file, these shouldn’t even be considered DLCs but as unlockable contents, only with paying cash instead of completing the game. An example would be Street Fighter X Tekken where characters are locked out on the disc itself, meaning they are part of the game were being sold as DLC. This isn’t DLC, this is blatant rip off. On Disc DLCs changed the gaming for the worst. In fact, the mere existence of it is harmful, it destroys trust in developers. How can anyone be sure that a game’s DLC is actually DLC, not a part of a game. With increasing number of AAA games announcing season passes (Why are they called that? Shouldn’t they be called DLC pass or is it because developers don’t want to lock themselves out to a contract [Oops, this is a new season so you have to pay for another season pass or your season ticket doesn’t cover “newer DLCs]) before the release of the game, how can anyone tell whether parts of the game were removed before being released to be sold off as paid DLCs in the future.

Look at Battlefield 1’s DLCs, if EA is very specific about future DLCs being 16 multiplayer maps, 20 new weapons, France and the Russian Empire campaigns in an upcoming expansion pack, new vehicles and more (Look at the website), I wonder how much of that were taken from the finished game. This is one effect of DLCs, no gamer can truly trust a developer or publisher anymore.

I believe something that is completed or being worked on before the release of a game is part of it and should be with it since it is intended to be part of it. Isn’t that the point of a DLC? Since if something that is intended to be part of a game but the developers weren’t able to finish it on time, they would be able to make it available to the people who brought the game.

What is the point of DLCs? Nowadays, it’s for developers to suck more money out of a gamer. You want proof, open your PS Store, Steam or Xbox Store and look at some games. Did you see those costumes, skins, those items, maybe even soundtracks and modes? How much are they? For example, Samurai Warriors 4-II and Dynasty Warriors 8 have $100 worth of DLCs (The DLCs are actually worth more than the game!). Why are we paying for costumes or skins now when we were not paying for them back in the days of PS1 or PS2? DLCs doesn’t benefit gamers in any way right now, I would even go so far as to say introduction of DLCs in mainstream gaming ruined gaming and only benefits the developers or publishers. Why are we playing for cosmetic stuff like costumes and weapons that has always been part of a game?

The argument that DLCs enhance a game’s longevity doesn’t hold up. If a game is actually good, not just a reskin or ripoff of another game and it is actually unique, people will come back and play it over and over again whether it has DLC or not. If it isn’t, gamers will move on and forget about it no matter how much DLC that game produces after it is released. Rather than focusing on creating DLCs, developers and publishers creating good games that is worth playing over and over again.

I would to finish to article by stating that DLCs themselves are not bad. In theory, they are great ways to deliver more content in a game either to thank those who brought the game or to enhance the story of a game. Unfortunately, greed infected DLCs and DLCs are now used as another way to suck more money out of a game. As much as I want to say DLCs are good for gaming, looking at how DLCs are being used right now, I would be lying if I say that. Developers and publishers should treat gamers with more respect rather than treating them like cash cows.

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