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Downloadable Content: Yay or Nay?


XZero
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I was watching the new Gametrailers Bonus Round, and I was wondering what everyone here thinks about DLC.

Personally, I hate it. Downloadable content feels like an excuse to ship an incomplete game and charge full price, then to release the remaining content and nickle and dime everyone to death. I also disagree with the concept of episodic gaming. I don't want to pay $5/week to play a game; give me the whole thing at once.

The flipside of downloadable content is downloadable software, which I am a huge supporter of. Games that wouldn't sell well in stores can do extraordinarily well as downloadable titles (Mega Man 9, for instance). But there's a problem with downloadable games. As the technology increases, downloadable games can and will rival that which can be bought in stores. That said, I'm afraid the price of downloadable games will end up being $60 despite the fact that there is no physical cost associated with production (e.g. there is no game disc to manufacture and no artwork/instruction booklet to print).

That's my take on DLC. Anyone else have an opinion?

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Well I like DLC, to a certain degree. Some add-ons are great, some Arcade games are great and some free stuff (BurnOut Paradise for example) is great too. BUT there needs to be some serious quality checking done. Usually, the price for DLC is set, but the content varies. I think the price has to be tweaked by whats in the DLC. Also, publishers shouldn't make a half-baked game (like XZero said) just so they can sell "unlocks" for the rest of the game.

So quality check is the key. I don't think downloadable games will ever be bigger than regular games. Many people want to buy something material for much money. I'd much rather have a case in my hands than a line on my console that says I bought something. On the other hand, downloadeble games are better in term of their lifetime (discs can scratch, get lost, etc)

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Downloadable content existed, mostly for free, long before corporations reinvented it with a new catchphrase. Once online functionality for consoles became advanced enough, downloading stuff for your games became possible, and since the console owners can control any content that goes through their services with an iron fist, they will squeeze out every penny possible out of you. We can clearly see this with how Valve and Epic are constantly releasing extra free stuff for their PC games, while with the console equivalents you either have to pay for it or get nothing at all.

This is also getting to the point now where developers like Bethesda instead choose to release several lackluster DLC packs instead of a full-fledged expansion pack.

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I'm fine with add-on DLC. Of course some of it is completed or underway before the game is out, but that's fine with me. It costs the developers money to make more content. It's not like salaried designers and artists finish up three months early and are getting paid to twiddle their thumbs until management comes around and says, "hey if you guys have nothing to do, we have some add-on DLC you could be working on."

As far as I know, development teams expand and contract at different points in development, hiring and releasing extra help when it is needed. Those idle people on the team will either be let go or put to work in some other team in the company. It COSTS money to make any amount of content, and they've budgeted what they can do for the disc release, and what they can do to make a few extra bucks on DLC.

EVEN if it is on the disc and is just an unlock, that doesn't bother me. Add-on content is always non-essential, extra content. They spent extra resources making more stuff for the game, then it's ok for them to try to get a little bit more money for it if they want. When it was created is irrelevant. I actually would prefer it be on the disc pretty often because my freakin' 20gb xbox360 HD is FULL. I've been buying PS3 versions of games lately if I know I'm going to be getting DLC since my 80gb hd has a lot more space.

Whether the game on the disc is worth what you pay for it, and whether the DLC is worth the money, is always up to the consumer of course. There have been, and will be mistakes made by the game companies on what is a good value, and the market will tell them so. I don't think the concept of DLC is inherrently wrong or evil, but it can be used poorly.

What does bug me is when publishers whine about used game sales. Wah wah. I think it's everybody's right to buy and sell used physical items. PLUS, if a game has had two owners, that's two potential buyers of their add-on DLC which is NOT transferrable in any way.

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Yay in the case of DLC for games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero where it's something that is just an added experience and was made after the release of the game.

Nay for things where they could have put it on the game, they just didn't because they knew they would make an extra 10 bucks or whatever, charging you.

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The problem with DLC is that companies believe they can ship a disc with bits and pieces of the game locked out, requiring just a simple DLC key to unlock it.

How is that downloadable content? It's already on the disc. It's ready to go. YOU just locked it and required that we pay more than once just to activate it.

DLC done right is the GTA4 DLC.

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It's as easy as this: DLC is good. New content is good.

It's when companies start intentionally gimping their games only to nickel and dime consumers for "new DLC" that I get pissed.

Like look at the new(ish) Burnout. I'm fine buying DLC from Criterion because they released a solid game, and they released A LOT of free downloadable content... only in the last few months have they started charging for new things, and I'm totally cool with that because their initial product was rock solid, and they really supported the hell out of the game from the get go.

Now if they release games that are missing things that are usually supposed to be there that aren't, that's when it bothers me. Game modes especially! I know a few companies are going that route lately. I'm cool when extra costumes or guns, or whatever little bonuses they want to add in, but there should be a good chunk of those little bonuses in the game already before you start adding them in as buyable content.

It's like back in the day in older generations, we got a ton of free, extra stuff in the form of cheat codes and unlockable goodies, but now it's like DLC that you have to buy are replacing that old model. A lot of interesting bonuses that would have been mere extra content in the older generation are showing up as premium DLC, and that bugs me. Make me pay for interesting things that weren't necessarily possible when the game was made, not things that the game devs decided to leave out just to sell later.

Games should be robust and filled with things at release. I have no problem buying DLC from companies that do that. Or like most of the Valve games. They've released SOOO much free content. If they charged for something new I wouldn't mind paying because they supported their games so well already.

So yeah, there's my overly long answer.

YEA

As long as the game was supported well at release.

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DLC is hit or miss for me.

I hate DLC that is already on the disk that you have to pay to unlock it. That's a scam. I also hate "costume" DLC. A few years ago, extra costumes were usually a challenge to unlock, not something that you just go online and pay for. Costumes used to add replayability. For example, having to pay to unlock one alternate costume for Street Fighter IV is crap. It would have been so much more fun to have challenges to unlock them. I've noticed that extras in games are largely being replaced by achievements and trophies. Games used to have challenges to unlock extras, now it's all about achievements, which I could care less about. MGS4 had no trophies, yet it was extremely rewarding. You could unlock new weapons by doing well, instead of a little notice that "You have earned the Fox trophy".

Anyway, I'm kind of getting off topic here. I like DLC that really adds new content. I like the quest mods from Bethesda, but I'm bummed that this kind of stuff used to be free. I also like map packs for shooters, or things like the time trial pack from Mirror's Edge. However, I'm still bummed that this stuff used to be free. I'm also bummed that expansion packs are beginning to be a thing of the past. At least Valve continues to release free maps and content for its games.

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Meteo feels like paying $60 for a 10 hour experience, or less? I can't understand why...anyway:

DLC as arcade games are great. They're (usually) short, cheap, and often replayable.

DLC as brand new content that only serves to enhance the game is equally great.

DLC as unlock keys is lazy, and downright crooked as a business practice.

Extras that should already be in the game (secret levels, weapons, costumes, hard modes, etc.) that are only reserved as DLC is equally lazy and crooked. So yeah, DLC is hit and miss for me as well.

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I'm not a fan of the small "pay to use" DLC that adds little things to already released games. It's too easy to simply hold off on content that would have been included in a given console game in years past, so you can charge for that content shortly after the game's released. I don't find it to be any better on the PC side, as I fail to see a legitimate reason for the charging of content that used to be given freely in patches only a few years ago.

An expansion pack is one thing, but charging for new team jerseys, or weapons, or a new plane and such strikes me as a ridiculously cheesy concept. And when you're paying $60+ for a game that has DLC to buy just days or a couple weeks after it's release, it just reeks of a nickle and diming scheme. And that my friends, is bullshit to me.

Edit: Clarification.

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NAY

Downloadable content and online distribution in general is the worst thing to happen to video games since the death of functional netcode circa 1999. It's ignorantly elitist at best, and at worst it's downright caste discrimination. What I'm talking about doesn't affect those of you fortunate enough to live in the first world, but for those of us in the rest of the world, our opportunities are being cut out along with the middle man. Every game that goes to online only distribution is a game we will never play. A game we can't play.

Say no to downloadable content and digital distribution!

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Didn't read the whole thread this time, sorry if I repeat things.

My take: If it's on the disc, it should be ours w/o an additional charge. If the game hints that it exists without it (I'm looking at you, Oblivion Mages Guild Orrery), then it should have shipped with the original game. If it's small and stupid (Horse Armor) then include it as part of a standard (free) patch eventually.

Knights of the Nine satisfied me -- it was long enough to warrant some additional payment, and it integrated itself into Oblivion better than the others.

XBLA games are amazing -- keep them coming.

TL;DR version: Expansions / meaningful content yes, stuff on the disc (or stuff that should have been on the disc) and small useless crap no. XBLA games are their own animal, but <3 them also.

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I really love the idea of DLC but so far my experience with it on the PS3 has been mediocre. Now I'm going to bitch about it:

Soul Calibur IV: Oodles and oodles of DLC that is ALREADY ON THE DISC! They locked out the content (costumes and YODA) from users and required us to pay an additional fee to use it. Uh, no.

Fallout 3: 360 users get the DLC. PS3 users don't get the DLC. Considering how much time I put in to that game, I would have really liked being able to play the additional stuff...

Wipeout HD: A downloadable game that came with the promise of more playable tracks in the form of DLC. Now I haven't checked in the last 2 weeks but it seems like half a year has gone by and still no DLC :(

And yes, I would like some cheese with my wine.

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Soul Calibur IV: Oodles and oodles of DLC that is ALREADY ON THE DISC! They locked out the content (costumes and YODA) from users and required us to pay an additional fee to use it. Uh, no.

The reason this occurs is simple. Let's say the company WANTS costumes as DLC. That's reasonable in and of itself, right? Sure. Now consider, in online play, how does the console render costumes that aren't on the disc or the system? Let's say you're playing someone who DID buy them, but you didn't. Do you not see their costume? If so, what's the point of the costume? If you do see them, then you HAVE to have the content. Hence, it has to be on the disc, even if it's an unlockable.

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