The DLC Debacle

Downloadable content (DLC) used to be an exciting proposition.  Aging online multiplayer games would be given a fresh breath of life by some new, often free, downloadable maps and sometimes game modes.  Single player campaigns that were long beaten would be revitalised with expansive new content offerings.  DLC, as a concept, was a good thing.  It offered value for money additional gameplay to titles that had run their course in their vanilla, out of the box form.

DLC doesn’t have to be bad

But that was then.  DLC has since lost its way.  Although “lost its way” doesn’t really do it justice.  Saying DLC has lost its way is akin to saying that the nice kid from down the street that grew up to become a rapist “Lost his way”.  DLC has become evil – So evil in fact, that in some of the worst cases, I’ve started to reconsider my feelings about piracy.

See its been a slippery slope for DLC.  It started with subtle changes.  Map packs stopped being free.   They started getting released with increased frequency.  They pushed up the price.  They left less time between a product launching and downloadable content becoming available.  At first you just thought it was a bit odd – you were surprised to see they’d expanded on a game that hadn’t even been out long.  Why didn’t they just hold off a little and release it as part of the game?  Then the penny begins to drop and you realise its not weird,  its been done by design.

See its not new additional content at all.  Its held back content that they are choosing to release as DLC in order to give them a second bite of the cherry.  Its a cheap and dirty tactic but rather than show any guilt or try to mask their underhanded profiteering, they embrace it.  Day one DLC…..and just when you think it can’t get any worse, you discover that they can’t even be arsed to release it as a separate entity.  Content locked “DLC” on the disc.  Content that could of been on the disc, now is on the disc, but they want you to pay again to access it.  Its at around this point that my dim view of piracy gets a little skewed.

I don’t agree with piracy.  I think that if you want a game, you should pay for it.  However I also feel that when you purchased that game, you paid for the case, the manual and disc with everything that is on it.  That’s now your game disc to do with as you please.  If you want to use it as a fancy beverage coaster, than so be it.  If you want to use it as a mini frisbee, than so be it.  If you decide to inspect the data, locate some locked content and find a way to get at it, THEN SO BE IT.  Its your fucking disc now.  If they didn’t want you to have that content, they shouldn’t have put it on the disc they are selling to you.  If piracy is theft, how can you steal something that you own?

I also think you have the right to sell it, so it grinds my gears that certain publishers think they have the right to use downloadable online passes to discourage second hand sales.  It reduces a games resale value and if you reduce a games resale value, you’ve reduced products overall value.  Take into account all the content that was never put on the disc on the first place so they can sell it to you later as DLC and well, you’re getting into a pretty ludicrous situation.  Especially when you expect people to buy the game new and at full price.  The move to free to play content models highlight this point well.  The actual “game” they give you isn’t worth shit.  Its not much more than a fucking DLC hub –  a portal to content you need to pay for. But hey, it’s free to play.  Its very hard to moan about value for money when something is free.  Its another thing altogether when they are asking, no wait, expecting you to pay full price for games employing free to play ethics.  In the words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, these publishers want to fuck you in the arse without the common courtesy of a reach around.

“What is your major malfunction numb nut?”

Despite this rant though, it’s hardly surprising given the consumer base, populated by what can only be described as well….you tell me.  Given what I’ve just said, you might think that people would have negative feelings towards DLC.  Infact, its quite the opposite.  People are now willing to pay for POTENTIAL DLC.  Virtual fucking DLC.  Pay now for future DLC!  They have become soo accepting of their own stupidity and resigned themselves to the fact that “well I’m gonna buy it anyway” they actually think they are getting a bargain out of the deal.  In short, its kinda hard to be mad at the publishers for their behaviour when you have a market made up of soo many people with their trousers round their ankles, begging for a hard anal fucking.

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6 Comments

  1. GenWarbuff

     /  October 23, 2012

    Hmmm, you have some good points, and some thoughts that I think are…… just anger coming out. I agree about “if it’s on the disc, it should be “free” and unlocked part of the origional game” But, near the end of your blog you talk about paying for “future” DLC, I don’t have a issue with that. It’s not on the disc, it’s not already completed, and, in some cases, does add a lot to the game. You were right, I “was going to buy it anyway”… so If I can get it cheaper buy buying early, why not? I know you have issues with Dice/EA/BF3, but just because you dont have the space for the DLC/updates, is no reason to call people stupid 🙂

    Reply
    • I’ll never be convinced that purchasing something that you’ve yet to even see is an intelligent move. BF/DICE/EA is an interesting one as Bad company is an example of a game that released free maps. It even released the conquest game mode for free. With bad company 2 they stopped giving content away for free, but from what I understand, Vietnam was more of an expansion than a few extra maps. It was an entirely different themed game, with different weapons and vehicles on all new maps. Now we have BF3 that had day one DLC maps, EA pass, rant a server and premium where you can buy before you see. Value will always be in the eye of the beholder and its not accurate to comment as I’ve not played all that content… but at face value, I’m def seeing a pattern of decline there.

      Reply
      • GenWarbuff

         /  October 24, 2012

        Just curious, you have never bought a complete came without ever seeing it? With most DLC you have a really good idea on what it’s going to be like just based on playing the origional game. I also don’t blame studios/publishers for charging for DLC (if it’s not included on the origional disc) becuase they to spend time and $$ creating them.

  2. GenWarbuff

     /  October 24, 2012

    Sorry, “complete game”

    Reply
    • Not that I can remember. I generally get games because I’ve seen then advertised and they aroused interest. I think that with most map pack DLC its a safe bet you won’t hate it, but you can’t gauge if its going to represent value for money or even if you’re still going to be playing the game when it comes out. I also don’t blame studio’s for charging for DLC, its more the shift in DLC ethics that I don’t agree with. “They” are pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable practice in my opinion.

      Reply
  3. Totally agree with this rant.
    DLC is a complete joke now. And content locked on the disc pisses me off beyond belief!

    Reply

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