Downloadable Content, love it or hate it, this aspect of gaming is a reality and its use over the past few years has only increased. I remember a time when you bought a game; if the game was successful you’d get a sequel to that game. Occasionally on the PC you’d have an add-on or expansion pack: perhaps giving the game some new levels, new features, characters and such. Today we get all three.
Amongst friends I get mixed feelings over DLC, let me start out by saying that I’m not against DLC per say, as long as it’s given to the consumer fairly. By this I mean that you don’t have to repurchase the game (ala The Force Unleashed and its Hoth controversy) in order to obtain exclusive DLC only to have it sold to the original game owners some time later. I’m against high pricing for DLC, especially when this content brings little in the way of anything new to the gamer. I’m tired of a game selling me costumes for the same price other games offer me new levels and stories to explore; it makes no sense to me. God forbid I purchase Modern Warfare 2; it’s DLC consisting of a few multiplayer maps for a quarter of the price of the game.
Free DLC is always nice, Valve’s Team Fortress 2 has had numerous DLC known as Class Updates, each containing new maps (mostly community based), new game modes, new weapons and new achievements. Free DLC is a way of saying thank you for buying this game in my eyes and it’s always nice to find some new content on a much loved game. Left 4 Dead was released at the end of 2008 and two years on we’ve another free campaign ‘The Sacrifice’ to enjoy for free.
Being a PC gamer I have the fortune of receiving some DLC for free, whereas those on the 360 would have to either pay or just not receive. Additionally there’s DLC exclusive to consoles as with Resident Evil 5’s campaigns ‘Lost in Nightmares’ and ‘Desperate Escape’. This is something I think needs to be addressed across gaming platforms so that gamers can experience the same content whatever they play on.
DLC doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. More and more games are using it, I’m wondering how many civilizations will be released for Civilization 5 and how much they’ll end up costing us overall. I can’t help wondering if some of this sort content would have been released in game at release if DLC didn’t exist. I still remember unlocking the Landmaster tank and the ability to fight on foot by unlocking certain medals on N64’s Lylat Wars. There was no charge for these features, they were earned. Admittedly at the time these games didn’t go online and so creating revenue from these additions wasn’t really an option.
So how do you feel about DLC, Love it or hate it? Part two coming soon, its price: One million Republic Credits…or free…yes let’s go with free.