After all this time, and despite being mentioned in almost every other entry, I have never written a piece about DLC. So, DLC, here“s your long awaited entry.
When DLC first came about, you used to mention DLC and gamers would throw a fit. Extra content after a game is already bought that one has to pay for just didn“t sit well with most people. That would be like buying a chess set, only for there to be special pieces to be sold separately. Some of those pieces could severely alter the game, while others may not. The fear many players have is that the game that you have bought may not be the final product, or the final intended product. Will the DLC provide others that pay for it a heavy advantage over those that don“t? This is the question that many gamers deal with, and that developers must learn to tackle. For example, skins and costumes tend to be favorites, because they don“t alter the gameplay, nor do they provide advantages ready to be abused, plus it“s easier on the developers to make.
Now it is a mainstay of the console industry. Over time, DLC has come to be an accepted practice in the industry. This mirrors the MMOs in a sense that a console game can continue to expand, but instead of paying a regular subscription fee (for some MMOs, not all), you pay for the game and then can choose to buy the DLC. This allows for some flexibility as to what is released, but the developers can“t release something that drastically changes the game either. MMOs can get patches that change things, hopefully for the better. It“s possible for console games now, but it may not happen. The big issue with DLC is not so much the fact that there is DLC, but how the DLC is handled.
Some reasons to include DLC is that the section was cut in order to meet time constraints, or the section of the game could not be fleshed out while building the game before release. In this way, new DLC that expands upon the game can work out very well. Fans of Walking Dead love each episode that's released. It is also turning out to be one of the better planned DLC releases out there. Gears of War 3 did this as well. Gears of War 3 came out in September of 2011, and the third DLC, with the single player expansion came out in December of the same year. While the content itself is not anything groundbreaking, the game released its DLC while the life of the game was still high. Sometimes a game will receive DLC much later in its lifespan, thus reminding players to pick up the game again, or get more people to buy the game that did not before. (Ok, maybe I just really like single player DLC that expands upon the story I managed to bust my butt to get through)
On the other side of the coin is when DLC is released too soon; say a week after the game is released. Then there“s the store pre-order DLC, where stores such as Best Buy and Gamestop offer different things in order to get customer“s attention. The worst of this is on disc DLC. On disc DLC is when you have to pay to unlock something that is already on the disc. In other words, the data for the game was already there, ready to be used, you just could not access said data unless you paid to get a code to unlock that data. This is what gave CAPCOM tremendous backlash when Street Fighter X Tekken was released. The better solution would have been to make these characters regular unlockables just through playing the game. Don“t do something like this again.
Gears of War 3 - Raam's Shadow
I personally think it“s better to release within a few months of the games release. There“s no need to shoehorn in extra content 2 weeks after the game is released in order to try and get more money. The multiplayer stuff is rather hit or miss, depending on the game.