Downloadable content: some like and some hate it. The question remains, why all the controversy? DLC is nothing new and let’s face facts, because it isn’t going away any time soon. While there is a good number of people who don’t care one way or another if a particular game has DLC, there are many people who hate it with a passion and refuse to buy any DLC ever. I also know many people who buy every single piece of DLC for a game they love, regardless of the content. So let’s take a look on both sides of the fence.

 

Before we dive into DLC, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Before DLC existed developers would add content to their games with expansion packs. You remember expansion packs, don’t you? While they were mostly a PC thing, expansion packs did appear on consoles as well, though usually as a standalone game because of system limitations. Expansion packs gave developers a way to add content to their games after they had launched. This was during a period were having the internet was more of a luxury than the necessity that it is today, so developers couldn’t always release content and patches via download. This also gave developers a way to expand the scope of their game without having to make a full sequel. A good example that I personally put many hours into is Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. This great RTS (real-time-strategy) game had lots of content in it. Then they released Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion. This added new races, maps, units, and technologies to the game adding hours of content. Many RTS games received expansions, and many still do, since it is not worth it to just add a few minor pieces of content to a RTS game. While expansion packs paved the way for add-on content, it is impossible to deny how rapid DLC has grown in both amount and popularity to replace them.

 

DLC can be great in so many ways and it is there for the benefit of the gamer. Great games usually have loads on content to keep you entertained for hours, but what if you complete all they have to offer? This is where DLC shines. You can pick content a-la-carte style that you would like to add to your game and download it straight to your PC or console. In some cases where the DLC adds a large amount of content, it might even get a retail disc release, e.g. Rockstar’s excellent Red Dead Redemption add-on Undead Nightmare. Unlike retail stores, Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, etc. are online 24/7, right at your fingertips for your purchasing convenience. If you want a piece of DLC at 3:00AM then there is no need to wait, simply make the purchase and download it. DLC has also helped pave the way for full game digital downloads. Not only can you get add-on content from the comfort of your couch, but many full games are available too.

The DLC system is far from perfect though. Some developers and publishers just want to nickel-and-dime consumers for every penny that they can. This can lead to sub-par content, and sometimes developers will even cut content from the retail game to release later as DLC. This generally outrages many gamers, and it is easy to see why. There is one DLC situation that makes every gamer mad though, and that is disc locked content. This means you have to pay money to unlock content that is already included in the game, not a separate download. I have yet to find a rational explanation to this, other than that publishers and developers want more of your money. I am trying to be as unbiased as I can in this article, but as an avid gamer, it is almost impossible when a company only cares about your money.

 

Another common complaint is when there is DLC available on the same day that the game is released. People argue that if it is ready on day one, then it should be included in the game. While is easy to complain about this, people often forget that games take time to certify, and then they have to be duplicated onto discs for distribution. In this time span, developers can work on more content for the game. DLC takes less time to certify than a retail game, and it is much easier to distribute (via Xbox Live or otherwise). Another way to look at this practice is to compare it to a similar shopping situation. You can buy a new cell phone and the sales person will ask if you would like to purchase a case, headphones, or other accessories to enhance your phone from day one, and no one gets upset over that.

 

The gaming industry is rapidly-growing, that is impossible to deny. With the advent of the digital age, getting content is faster than ever. Gamers are a passionate group of people and we will fight for what we believe. No video game developer gets into the business without being a passionate gamer themselves, so here is my message to them: What the industry has to remember is that we gamers are people too. We don’t mind spending our money on a video game or DLC as long as we are being treated fairly. So treat us with respect, and you will get it in return. Do not be concerned with the money you can take from us, but instead focus on the experiences that you can share with us. That is why you started making games in the first place, isn’t it?

 

We here at OnlySP would love to hear your thoughts on DLC. Do you like DLC? Do you ever purchase DLC? Does a game having DLC affect your purchase? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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4 Comments

  1. I like to think of myself as neutral when it comes to DLC, if a game releases DLC i don&#039t like, i won&#039t buy it. But at the same time when Saints Row 3, was released i gobbled up every piece of DLC, regardless of Quality. The thing that really gets my goat, would have to be Online passes. While DLC is optional, the online aspect of some games is the only worthwhile aspect of them, I believe too much attention is on DLC and not online passes and other things like it. DLC is optional, it extends gameplay, Online passes are most of the time not optional and are needed.

    1. That is a good point. I didn&#039t mention online passes here, as they technically aren&#039t DLC, but that is another controversial subject among gamers. I rarely buy used games, unless they are old or hard to find, and since online passes are included in new games that require them, I&#039m not really bothered by them.

  2. I like to think of myself as neutral when it comes to DLC, if a game releases DLC i don't like, i won't buy it. But at the same time when Saints Row 3, was released i gobbled up every piece of DLC, regardless of Quality. The thing that really gets my goat, would have to be Online passes. While DLC is optional, the online aspect of some games is the only worthwhile aspect of them, I believe too much attention is on DLC and not online passes and other things like it. DLC is optional, it extends gameplay, Online passes are most of the time not optional and are needed.

    1. That is a good point. I didn't mention online passes here, as they technically aren't DLC, but that is another controversial subject among gamers. I rarely buy used games, unless they are old or hard to find, and since online passes are included in new games that require them, I'm not really bothered by them.

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