Buying downloadable content for games is becoming more and more of a common thing. Games are no longer single entities which once bought and played become finished. There seems to be an endless supply of titles released that have extra tracks or extra levels available for download at usually an extra cost.
Some people see the idea of paying for extra additions to a game they already own an issue. A common argument is that the game is paid for so anything for that game should either be originally included in the game or supplied free of charge. Others seem to be perfectly fine with paying for extra content saying that its additional material for a game they enjoy so it makes sense to pay a bit more for a bit more of their loved game. Whatever the feelings on DLC are, it’s here to stay as it produces extra revenue for the developers and it’s not something they are likely to give up on. One discussion I have seen and been part of on more than a few occasions is the timing of DLC releases. Some games have it timed so that when the title sales are lower than early on in its launch cycle, the DLC can be released to rejuvenate the game for buyers. Other titles announce their upcoming DLC so that the game constantly feels fresh and new.
One big argument is the so named ‘Day One Release’ DLC. This argument is usually due to one of two main points. The first is that if the DLC is ready for release by the time of the main games release, it should be included within the main title and be free. The other point lays within a trend that some developers are using. This is where the DLC is actually included on the disk but not available to the owner of that disk until an unlock code has been bought and activated. The reason that this causes controversy is that because the main code is included on the disk, the owner has paid for that disk and therefore supposedly owns everything on that disk. The developers have addressed this complaint by saying that it is included on the disk to help with balancing issues during multiplayer titles or to shorten the download times of the DLC that gamers tend to also complain about.
My personal views in regards to this ‘day one DLC’ one the disk is that the gamer buys the title knowing what the main game is. They pay the money for the game offered. If they want they extra supplemental DLC then they should pay the extra for it. The DLC is extra to the game and add something to the main game be it extra levels or extra characters. Not having the DLC doesn’t lessen the main game but instead adds more to it and if the gamer wants the extra then the decision to buy it is their own.
I’ve had a few experiences with buying DLC over the past few years. In the beginning was someone who didn’t think that DLC was worth paying for as it generally seemed overpriced. That feeling has mellowed since then and I have paid out for different things. Recently I’ve bought DLC for Gran Turismo 5 to add some extras for the gamernights run by this site. Looking at what was available when it was first released i felt that they were charging far too much for what seemed like small amounts of content. Close to £5 for a pack of very similar cars with the exception of one deliberately fast or attractive car was in my opinion. Around £3.50 for a couple of tracks also seemed like a lot but in the back of my mind the seed was growing as the track in question was one that i really like and the temptation to buy it just to race was there. It wasn’t however until the car pack which included the Lamborghini Aventador that pushed me over the edge. I paid the money and in a couple of minutes I was racing round the track in my new fast as hell Lamborghini. For me the quality of the product in that case justified the money and I was happy. This however didn’t last for my next purchase for the same title. After playing about I ended up convincing myself it would be nice to add some high quality paint colours to some of my favorite cars. I ended up looking and then paying for the paint pack. It was only £1.59 so didn’t seem like much at all to get access to some new paint styles to use. After activating it I went into the painting area to see what I could paint my first car in and I was not impressed. For starters there were an awful lot of variants of the colour grey. I could have looked past this as there were a lot of other better colours, bright and vibrant ready to adorn my chosen cars. I then noticed that you only get to use each paint colour once. Once its been used it disappears from your paint choices. Now I know that the usual paints in the original game are one use but I perhaps ignorantly thought that by paying for the paint pack DLC that I could use the newly purchased colours as often as I wanted to. I was wrong. In order to use the same colour twice i would have to buy the same paint pack DLC again at another £1.59. For me this was a major let down, a game I really enjoy that in a previous extra purchase was worthwhile now sells me an extra that fell quite a way from being worthwhile.
In other experiences I have had similar opinions. Some DLC has been worth the money, a good example was the extra car packs for Need For Speed Pro Street. These packs had a good range and a good amount of cars at a price that seemed right for what you got. I have also bought the notorious map packs for the Call Of Duty series. These have similar issues. Some of these packs have some good maps in that I wanted to play on but also included a couple of what in my opinion felt like sub standard maps yet you had to buy the whole pack of 4 or 5 to get the ones you wanted and on top of that the price was a premium. £12 – £15 is a lot for multiplayer only maps. I found myself paying for the first map pack that was released for each title as friends and family were playing the game heavily as well and it made sense to have the same maps as them to play alongside but after the first set I always seemed to stop. The lure of ‘new maps to continue the action’ faded and I decided not to buy more. The exception to this is Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This titles multiplayer faded on me even quicker than the previous iterations and I decided not to buy any of the multiplayer map packs.
I’ve also bought DLC for other titles including Star Wars: Force Unleashed. This was new sections to the main game and added some much wanted extra game play. The Hoth sections were particularly fun and brought fond memories of the film. Burnout Paradise is another great example of good DLC. The main game is great fun and stands alone well. The extra content and extra game modes added by purchasing the DLC just add even more to an already great game. All its downloadable content is well priced for what you are offered and makes the game feel new each time. Marvel Pinball DLC tables are also fantastic, a definite highlight in the DLC stakes. Each table is well worth getting and feel and act different to each other making them a joy to play.
DLC is definitely something to consider with a game. Sometimes it renews a love in a game and sometimes it fees like just some over hyped nonsense. For me I will still consider DLC on a game by game and pack by pack basis. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with it. The bad experiences have been annoying and felt like I had wasted some money but the good experiences have made otherwise completed games feel fresh and new again and at the end of the day that has to be a good thing.
Jedi Junkie (Graham Coe)
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