March 17, 2016
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Back before the Internet was popular and the video game industry was young, there was just the player and the game. All of that has changed now thanks to downloadable content (DLC) and constant access to the Internet. DLC seems like a fantastic idea in concept, but just like anything else, it has its downsides. Many large companies take advantage of DLC, and they use it as a crutch and a scapegoat just to make a little more money.
DLC on consoles started in around 2000 with the Sega Dreamcast console but really became popular with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The improved Internet and virtual stores made it so that players could download games while also making it possible for developers to make additional content for their games .
This would start the trend of companies releasing DLC for the purpose of making as much money as possible and caring less about the consumer’s satisfaction. One of the most infamous cases comes from Bethesda’s “Oblivion” when they added horse armor as DLC. This wouldn’t be as big of a joke if it was free, but Bethesda decided to charge $2 for this “expansion.” Ironically, Bethesda are a prime example of a company that uses DLC correctly today.
There have also been multiple accounts where DLC has been on the disc of the game but it was inaccessible to players until it was unlocked by the company and made available to purchase. The company Capcom is guilty of this, as they have done this with some of their games including “Street Fighter X Tekken” and “Resident Evil Six.” This was also the case with the popular game “Mass Effect 3,” where there was locked DLC that was only available on the day it came out.
Ever since DLC became popular, it seems like it has allowed developers to get lazy and care only about making a profit and meeting deadlines rather than focusing on quality. The majority of games in massive franchises almost always have day one patches because the game was not ready for release. Releasing games in this unfinished state is a horrible business practice that makes consumers lose trust in companies and hesitant to buy the latest games.
I also think that developers tend to charge way too much for underwhelming content. Franchises like “Call of Duty” release map packs that could cost $30 for two maps. The game “Destiny” was originally $60 like most other games; however, after the DLC was released, all of it costed another $60 for what was essentially the second half of the game. As a result, “Destiny” turned into a $120 game when all the DLC could’ve been included if the game was delayed.
To some companies, using downloadable content in this way seems like a good way to make money now, but every time companies do something like this, they further isolate the consumer, often causing them to not want to buy a new game . If these terrible practices continue, it may lead to a market crash because people will feel be uncomfortable and hesitant to support companies. A similar event occurred around 1984, where the video game market crashed due to the poor quality games flooding the market. If developers continue to use these practices, history may be doomed to repeat itself once again.