Paid DLC: yay or nay?

#21zinformantPosted 11/7/2013 9:26:54 AM
Ah, downloadable content...it's such a large issue these days that I can't give it a worthwhile discussion without writing a lengthy paper, which I neither have time to write, nor you time to read. To that end, I'll focus on a few points of interest to me.

DLC is a good concept on paper. Conceptually, it is giving software more longevity with time for a fuller experience overall. I do want to note this leaves us wondering what role so-called 'post-game' material has seeing as how that could all be substituted for later DLC, in theory. Anyway, in practice, DLC is not as effective.

Part of the reason DLC is such an issue now isn't so much it in and of itself but its timing. See, DLC could not have been employed once upon a time. The infrastructure wasn't there. You bought a cart, and that's all you could have. Now, we are at a point where digital purchases can be applied to all kinds of software, including carts. Wow. But this comes at a bad time, a time of bloated development budgets and cycles. To that end, the larger developers attempt to recoup their cost by making DLC for their big-budget titles. This is usually the type of DLC folks don't appreciate. But, were it not for the need (think of it as if they're effectively 'forced' to release DLC for some of these titles) for this type of DLC as a result of mismanagement of their funds, DLC may not have as poor a reputation as it has now.

Folks argue about stripped content. The issue here is that it is difficult on our end to tell what is stripped and what is not. If it is day one or on disc, sure. Anything else? We can't tell. What we can tell is that DLC, these days, is accounted for in the development process and planned for some amount in advance. So, even if DLC is not clearly stripped content, it's safe to say that it was always planned--whatever it is--to be separate from the primary release. In many cases, this was once (by necessity) content just included with games. These days, they don't have to be and, thereby, aren't.

I'll cite a few examples of DLC gone wrongly. For starters, anything that later has a 'Game of the Year' release or equivalent has several issues at work, and it goes beyond the fact that Arkham City's GotY box is the ugliest in recent memory.
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps3/981375-batman-arkham-city/images/box-259046

Rock Band
Buying all of the DLC would be silly seeing as how there would be no time to use it all, but prices are justifiable here because it is all licensed material and not something any reasonable person could expect to be with the game. On the other hand,

Idolmaster
Namco Bandai are the worst offenders, arguably, and Idolmaster is their most notable offense. However, I'm torn. It takes work to produce DLC like outfits modeled to every character and to record their songs for every character meaning inflated price tags may be justifiable here, too. I'm inclined to say it's still too high.

Asura's Wrath
Unlike the ones above which had issues of quantity, this one has a rather serious issue of quality; that is, the most important part of the game was stripped, its ending. A significant fraction of the game was removed and sold as DLC. There is no defending this one, no justification for this.
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#22zinformantPosted 11/7/2013 9:29:20 AM(edited)
Skylanders and Disney Infinity
This is not DLC technically seeing as how no downloading is involved, but the concept otherwise applies. Basically, the characters don't all come with the game; most are sold externally since the characters themselves are toys, external memory cards read by a peripheral into the game. Unlike the likes of everything else cited, you get something physical here. But does that justify not being able to play with most of the characters? Take a look at these parts of megax11's collection, who was once (and likely still is) the self-proclaimed #1 Skylanders fan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v602/Megax11/DSCN0636.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v602/Megax11/DSCN0599.jpg
Suffice it to say that Activision is not much better than Namco. I hope publishers including Nintendo never get an interest in Skylanders technology. The results would be ugly. No, I will not pay $19.99 for Eevee*.
*I, in part, jest because Game Freak has no intention of monetizing their roleplaying game.

Speaking of monetizing roleplaying games, a trend I have seen lately is that EXP and in-game currency are sold as DLC. Let that sink in. You use real money to buy game money. The argument for this is it makes the game enjoyable for some folks. I'd counter saying an Easy mode or better multipliers cover that.

There is one specific type of DLC I buy regularly. The Atelier releases recently all include a music super-pack. Basically, they allow you to change different songs in the game with songs from the long-running series soundtracks. As a game music enthusiast, this leaves me to hours of fun. There is more music available there than one can reasonably ever give a fair listen to. And, with each new game, it makes the DLC music pack larger. It's fairly priced, too. And a lot of the older soundtracks can't even be found on Youtube even when searching in Japanese. It's all on disc, but expecting a series-wide sound test mode with the ability to apply them to the game you're playing has no precedence.

Ultimately, the academic question I leave you with is 'What makes a game "complete"?'.

I did want to briefly address one point.
Kyoshiro12345 posted...
what if i want to buy a meal at any retaurant but dont want the lobster, or rice, or anything but the steak? should i pay for everything just because is avaliable at the moment i get sitted?
i want to pay for what i like to eat, not a 3-4 course meal.
i dont mind the DLC. i actually buy all DLC for all my games, what i dont like is the people complaining about price because they feel they deserve everything inside, those are the former game genie/code breaker kids.

There are several issues with this post, and I'd rather not spend the time pointing them all out. Let's talk the beginning. Video games are not sold menu style. Either you get the full meal, or you eat somewhere else and buy their full meal there. Suggesting the industry should be otherwise is dangerous. Taken to its extremes, you want to monetize later levels, equipment, difficulty levels, and other parts of a game that you or others might not 'want' with your 'complete' game. Fortunately, the market would never accept this taken to its extremes.
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#23dolphinmage(Topic Creator)Posted 11/7/2013 4:21:25 PM
zinformant posted...
There is one specific type of DLC I buy regularly. The Atelier releases recently all include a music super-pack.


Music is my weakness too. The only DLC I've bought was the music packs from Dissidia Duodecim (and a few costumes and the extra assist character to finish off the $20 psn card). I really enjoyed the action rpg style of Dissidia, and so having a bunch of extra music was too big a temptation for me.

Ultimately, the academic question I leave you with is 'What makes a game "complete"?'.


You don't pull punches with your weighty questions, do you? Well, traditionally, I'd say a game feels complete when you finish it and are satisfied with what you've played but still wish there was more. If a game overstays its welcome by being bloated with tedious chores or repetitive sections, then it doesn't feel complete so much as mismanaged. If a game ends early, whether from lack of care given to developing the world, characters, and story, or just general lack of things to do, it most definitely does not feel complete.

The problem is that DLC has changed the game. When we knew that a game was in its final form once we picked up the physical copy, it was easier to judge it as a package. When we completed it, we could look back and discover how satisfied we were by that package. It's more difficult now that DLC has been added to the picture. I might finish a game and feel fairly content with the package (satisfied by what is presented but still craving a little more due to how amazing the game was), but when a piece of DLC is offered, now I'm left wondering if the game is incomplete without it. Were there bits left unexplored that need this DLC to help the game feel complete? Will this satisfy my craving for more or will it now make the game feel bloated with unnecessary fluff and cause me to lose interest in something I previously enjoyed?

Maybe it's a psychological thing. When a game does not have anything beyond what is initially offered, we can consider that as complete a package as it is going to get. We can judge it by those terms and determine how satisfied we are with what is presented. Once additional content is released, we can't help but feel that we are missing something by not having that content. Maybe it's not necessary. Maybe it's better left ignored. Regardless, we can no longer judge a game's completeness without taking the DLC into consideration. It changes our perspective on the whole package. Taking the food analogy, it would be like if every combo only included a sandwich, fries, and a drink. We'd consider that a complete meal, whether it fully satisfies us or not. However, if we now have the option to include desserts or fruits and vegetables, does the meal still feel complete? Or do we feel like we are missing something by not including all the options given to us. Eh, it's not a perfect analogy, but hopefully this makes sense.

Taken to its extremes, you want to monetize later levels, equipment, difficulty levels, and other parts of a game that you or others might not 'want' with your 'complete' game. Fortunately, the market would never accept this taken to its extremes.


I don't know. Free to play and microtransactions are basically a step in that direction. It bothers me to think that there are a bunch of games that only give you the barest amount of gameplay and count on you to pay your way through the game. Not only does that kill my immersion, but it is a dangerous trend that begs to be thoroughly abused by money grabbing companies.
#24mabber_IIIPosted 11/7/2013 4:24:25 PM
nay

all dlc should be free
#25BuretsuPosted 11/7/2013 4:38:35 PM
mabber_III posted...
nay

all dlc should be free


Why stop there? All video games should be free.
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RIP: Atlus games ever leaving Japan
#26Strider1850Posted 11/7/2013 5:05:57 PM
I never see DLC implemented in a way that I like. I'd rather just pay a fixed price without the option of paying extra for additional content. Before you know it they sell you only the engine and you must download the gameplay separately. I know developers have a hard time in this volatile gaming market so I'm willing to make some exception if its a developer I like and want to support. So my stance is a bit hipocritical. In general it's a big 'nay' for me though.