It’s the DLC, darnit

I’ve been thinking about The Sims 3 and Bioshock 2, and Dragon Age and other titles which I just haven’t picked up (and it doesn’t look like I am likely to). I know why that is. It’s the DLC/addons.

Back in the day, you used to get a game. There might or might not be an expansion pack for it. Usually not, but sometimes there was. Nevertheless, aside from your obvious sequel-planning hooks your game felt pretty complete. Even The Sims 1 felt like it was a whole game, despite the numerous add-ons.

More recently, things have changed, though.

Now I’m just not getting that feeling anymore. I feel like I’m getting half or perhaps three quarters of the game that was designed, plus a little zero-day DLC (which seems to be at least half bug-fixes), and that I’m being charged extra for the rest of the game.

It doesn’t help that games that are focused on those after-sale addons generally have a higher sticker-price than their non-DLC cousins before the nickel-and-diming starts.

Thankfully, there’s still plenty of complete, awesome games to enjoy, but if things go the way they are, there won’t be so much from the big publishers that I feel good about playing anymore – and it’s the feeling-good that is supposed to be the point, isn’t it?

I’m increasingly feeling like I’m being asked to pay more for less, and if I want the rest of the basic game, I need to pay about twice as much. Then expansions may or may not actually show up after that (usually not now, with what you’d have gotten in an expansion broken out into DLC pieces that cost more, combined).

All in all, it’s really bolstering my sales-resistance.

4 thoughts on “It’s the DLC, darnit”

  1. I completely agree. DLC’s are ruining gaming for me. Mafia II is a perfect example. The trailer that was shown to everyone before hand was simply amazing. Then the devs removed ALOT of content and put it in DLC’s without telling us before the game was released. People bought the game because of what the trailer advertised, which wasn’t what the end product was. I refuse to buy the DLC for that game. TS3 I know to expect DLC’s but they are true addons, not something that should have been part of the game from the start.

  2. If a game launches with DLC already planned and in the works, even with a slated date if not zero day with the basic games launch, is that game then incomplete? Would the absence of that DLC mean the game was complete, if even none of that DLC content was folded into the basic game?

    For the most part, we’re never going to know the answer to those what-ifs. The only way to get satisfaction is to judge whether or not the basic game is worth the 50 or 60 dollars we spend or not. The existence of DLC shouldn’t necessarily mean that basic game is incomplete, even if the developers could have packed the DLC into the basic game when it launched.

    That’s the way I look at it anyway, so when I think about Dragon Age, it was most certainly worth the cost. If the DLC it launched with was folded into the original game, it would’ve been that much more worth the cost, the existence of that DLC though didn’t mean the core game was ‘incomplete’ to me in the way of it not being worth buying.

    Conversely though, for a game that releases not really worth the cost with DLC that could’ve been folded into the basic game, then it pains to get that DLC to fill in the gaps. I believe I got that feeling with Borderlands; I felt like I was filling in gaps buying content for it. Dragon Age though..not really.

    I think BioWare and Bethesda have found a good stride with DLC.

  3. @TC

    Mafia II is a good example of when DLC is filling an incomplete game rather than adding to a completed game. Tack on the ills of platform exclusives and all that posturing. The PS3 version got exclusive DLC at launch, and the other DLC released last month has more missions than the original game probably. It’s a prime example of DLC done completely wrong.

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