The DLC Dilemma of the Near Future


DLC, or Downloadable Content, has become a major factor in games within the past couple of years. Three to four years ago, DLC was hard to come by for most games, with many only receiving up to three pieces of content per lifespan. Take Halo 3 for example, which only had three content releases, or even The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which only had two major addons.
Before a major increase in DLC releases the first part of the Xbox 360’s existence was nearly barren concerning downloadable content. However, with the periodic updates of Fallout 3, and other games such as Mass Effect 2, the quantity of DLC per game is on the rise, downloadable content has grown from a way to extend the life of some games, to a near necessity for all games. It seems, in today’s Online Marketplace, downloadable content has grown (to an extent) in quality and more so in price. Before, when games did not always receive, or even need DLC, they now seemingly require it whether it is agreeably worth the price or not.
With rising prices of DLC, such as the infamous Modern Warfare 2 Map Pack fiasco, has content become too overpriced and too abundant? Personally, I only see this problem worsening as Activision prepares to release its second Map Pack for MW2 at the same $15 price, and the possibility of other video game DLC prices following. Objectively, content prices have remained steady, overall, and with the exception of one or two outrageous content squabbles have not changed since the beginning of DLC releases on consoles. Unfortunately, the downloadable marketplace is seemingly approaching yet another issue considering prices and quality.

With the release of certain video games, downloadable content is beginning to take form of “on disc” content, in which the content is already on the game disc and simply needs to be activated. This would not raise to much concern were it not for some of the disc based DLC being priced. This seems to cause much frustration between gamers as to how these on disc contents should be handled. some would argue that the content is still extra content which was not planned for the original game, or for some other reason and still deserves a price. Others, such as myself, believe that the content was already on the disc and thus should be free, or at the very least, reduced in average pricing. This bugs me personally, do to the possibility of more games sporting more and more on disc content, thus possibly affecting the prices of games themselves. Why? To the credit of the developers of these content “hidden” video games, this could be perceived as:
“We’ve spent an extended period of time creating and preping the game for the mass market, as well as additional content located on the disc, thus we are forced to charge more for the game in order to cover costs.”
In other words, because the DLC could technically take up time in a game’s development, it could then be argued that the content would deserve a place in the overall price and unknowingly be more expensive than other, similar, content. And that is my point to this small bickering over disc based DLC. Certain DLC, such as the Modern Warfare 2 map Packs will already have paid for half the game itself, and to think if these packs’ prices were included within the game’s cost itself, the content itself could potentially be even more expensive.
As I rap up this small rant over DLC and its’ future potential pricing issues, I leave you with some food for thought. Let’s go ahead and throw out the idea of the possibly overpriced MW2 DLC being on disc. Instead, look at the “on disc” risk this way: lets say you could get the Oblivion Horse Armor for $2 on the marketplace (PSN, XBL), but it was instead available on the disc day 1. And let’s also say that Bethesda decided to add an overall $3 in the game price, because the Horse Armor “technically” started development during Oblivion’s creation. While you could have saved only a dollar in the end had the DLC not been on the disc, remember, other companies could catch on, and it could all add up in the end.

Enjoy.

By the way, to check out this rant and others, as well as reviews, visit the Aftershock Forum!

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