As the title suggests, this is part one of a series that details some of the flaws in mainstream gaming today. As long as there will be flaws, there will be articles.

Today I discuss Downloadable Content, or DLC for short. Unless you have been living under a rock for this whole console generation, this should ring a bell, whether or not you’ve purchased some. The idea behind DLC is to give customers more game content, such as extra multiplayer maps, more campaigns, different costumes, etc. I’ve personally bought some DLC, I’m not going to lie. What’s wrong with giving players another reason to play your game? Well, in theory, nothing; in practice however, things have gone awry.

DLC seems to have come about from developers not having enough time to implement certain features and content in a game before it’s release date. That’s what we are told at least. The unfortunate part about DLC is that it’s become so commonplace now. Go to any Gamestop, and look at the advertisements for new games. I guarantee you will see maybe one that doesn’t include it. I remember a time where DLC wasn’t necessary to enjoy a game for long periods of time. Now all they seem to do is wave pretty pictures in our face while they slide their hands into our wallets, and we keep letting them do it. Now, there a couple different types of DLC you should keep your eyes out for:

  1. On Disc
  2. Retailer Exclusive
  3. “Season Pass”

On Disc DLC has got to be one of the hottest subjects at the moment, and there is a reason for it. If the name didn’t give it away, On Disc DLC is not actual downloadable content, but is a “key” that is bought that will unlock content that can be found on the disc to begin with, it just isn’t accessible. Why should we have to pay for content that was already on the disc we just purchased?

Better yet, if the content was already finished, why not just implement it into the game? Capcom was a big offender in this regard. For instance, with their release of Street Fighter X Tekken, 12 characters were locked on the console disc until the PS Vita version came out months later. Capcom has stated that they are re-evaluating their DLC policy, but we have to wait to see what they end up doing. Other companies have offended, but you get my point. It’s simply ridiculous.

Retailer Exclusive DLC is also an interesting marketing trick. Depending on where you buy your game, you will receive a different set of DLC whenever it is available, usually for free. I believe it was Batman: Arkham City that had a butt-load of exclusive content, such as: early access to the Robin DLC if you pre-order with Best Buy, or the “Sinestro Corps” costume that you could only get by purchasing the extended edition of The Green Lantern movie, to name a few. There is an upside to this, I guess you could call it. The “exclusive” DLC usually finds itself available to all users after a short period of time, but does that really make it any better?

The last major player in the DLC family is the “Season Pass.” You can purchase one of these passes, and it will give you access to all DLC, present and future, for a certain time period (depending on how much DLC they plan to release). This one is odd, to me at least, because you are being told, upfront, that this much DLC will be released. Two examples of this are Uncharted 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Uncharted 3 offered all of its planned DLC at launch, for a discounted price, of course. Modern Warfare 3 offers its DLC either individually, or with a yearly subscription to Call of Duty Elite.

It’s not the DLC that I hate, really, it’s how everything is marketed and sold. They know all too well they make more money off of this extra content, and sometimes it’s like they aren’t even trying to hide that fact. I didn’t even mention the outrageous prices some publishers offer their content at. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold its DLC packs for $15, 1/4 of the original game’s price. And what did you get? They usually contained only 4 multiplayer maps, two of which were usually remakes of older maps.

It’s really up to you on how you feel about DLC, but if you ask me, we shouldn’t be treated like lambs being led to slaughter. It’s hard for us to appreciate your product if you don’t appreciate it either.

Finally, I want apologize for the amount for times I wrote the term ‘DLC’, and I hope you will forgive me. Leave your comments, concerns, and suggestions for future topics in the comment section below, and as always, thanks for reading, stay tuned, and stay sweet!


About Sweet

Gaming is just in his blood. It's more than just a way to pass time, it's a way of life. Student by day, future Game Designer by night, he has come to admire indie games in every way possible, but nothing beats a good round of Team Fortress 2. His thoughts and insights on gaming can also be found on his blog.