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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Jun 22, 2012

When Did Gaming Become A Coin Grab?

I’ve been looking through some articles lately and checking up on the news and some of the things I’m seeing are bringing up a discussion I’ve wanted to talk about for a while now. With new games releasing and sporting tons of DLC just months after they’re launch, special characters being released as DLC, and more games than ever launching with less and less original content, I wanted to ask: since when did gaming become less of a source of enjoyment and more of a hole in the wallet?

I understand that companies out here need to make money. The more that the economy takes a hit, the higher costs go up. But what gets me is when companies release a game, knowing that it’s not complete, just to throw in some DLC a week or month later that will technically “add” to what the game originally had. For instance, extra missions can release in a DLC pack that aren’t anything off to the side, but add on to the original game’s main campaign. See what I’m saying?

There was a huge debate over day-one DLC for games, and I don’t think it’s finally settled down. While I don’t mind day-one DLC so much, there are boundaries. Is it DLC that comes packaged with the game? Does it add anything extra to the game, or add on to the game’s main plot and storyline? Will I have to pay more for it, being day-one? All these factor into how the community accepts – or rejects – a game at launch.

More and more it seems like companies release games that aren’t complete, and make gamers pay more to get the content to make the game play as it should have when it released. It makes me wonder if developers are doing this on purpose, or if they’re legitimately trying to offer more to the game. When it comes to DLC there’s good content and bad content. I touched on it a bit, but let’s take a closer look.

Examples of good pieces of DLC:

  • Skyrim’s Dawnguard
  • Gears of War 3’s RAMM’s Shadow
  • Borderlands’ Mad Moxxi’s Underdome

Each of these pieces of DLC add fresh, new content to a game that is generally all-encompassing once you purchase it. Each piece of content offers new features, and a brand new story to experience. A way to look at these pieces is that they’re optional. Players don’t need them to finish out storylines in their existing games.

Now let’s look at some bad pieces of DLC:

  • Dragon Age’s Warden’s Keep
  • Oblivion’s ‘Horse Armor’
  • Marvel vs Capcom 3’s Jill and Shuma Gorath

These are examples of DLC that doesn’t sit right for one reason or another. With the Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Dragon Age DLC, they were both pieces that felt like they were ripped from the actual game. Some players even add that the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect felt the same way. These pieces of content all make you feel like they should have been included as part of the main game. Extra characters for a fighting game? Come on, why weren’t they added to the game’s roster in the first place? On top of this, the Jill and Shuma Gorath characters have been the only two available for download since Marvel vs Capcom 3 released. Was Capcom’s plan to intentionally siphon more money from players from the get-go?

Take a look at this picture I stumbled on via Reddit:

See where I’m headed with this?

I’m not saying all DLC is bad. I’m also not saying that all game companies who introduce DLC are bad. I’m just asking the question, when did developers stop caring about the players and more about their pockets? I’ll take a developer that releases one game every three years that ensures it’s a full game that has everything players ask for over a company that releases one game each year with tons of DLC in between releases. It makes us feel like we’re being duped into paying out much more for pieces of a game that should have been included in the first place.

Games already cost enough as it is. Players and fans commit to supporting a franchise year after year, and it’s getting to the point where some of us are walking away due to penny-pinching mechanics. If you’re planning to release a game with DLC, take a lesson from the developers who do it right. Make the content worth paying for. Don’t skimp on us just to make more change. When will these companies understand?

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