Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why DLC is Good For Gamers

In recent years, we've found ourselves piled under an ever growing pile of DLC (downloadable content) that begs for you to spend money beyond the initial $60 investment.  There are many mixed feelings on this front, but I would argue that most are upset having to spend anywhere between $20-$50 for a "season pass" or $1-$20 for vanity options...I particularly love the vanity options, FYI, because I enjoy seeing people with paid emotes in Destiny and saying, "Hey, I noticed you once had $7!"

Despite this being aggravating and an obvious grab for more of your money, I would argue that this is good for both gamers and the gaming industry at large.  Chiefly, this has kept the cost of software down for consumers in general.  Yeah, I know the math may not seem to add up, but consider the alternative, which is having to purchase a game at $100$-$120 at launch.  Currently, the DLC structure helps keep everyone happy.  

If, for example, you're up for playing the basic package that comes with Call of Duty (which includes maps, story, and zombie modes,) you'll pay the initial $60 and be done with it.  That's an appealing option to me, because normally after 2 months I'm done playing Call of Duty and am on to the next big thing.  On the other hand, if you know you're going to be investing in the game for a while, like some of my friends, then you have no issue ponying up the extra $50 to gain access to the entire experience.  I did this with Destiny right off the bat because I knew I was going to obsess over it, and, 1.5 years later, I've finally put it down.  

I think this is a very appealing option because I'm given a choice.  Based on my time working at a certain big box game store, I've heard people complain when the only option available is an expensive version of a game (this didn't happen too often, but sometimes we would run out of copies of the "standard" version of a game and had to sell the "premium" copies instead, which usually were $20 more.)  I like that I had a choice, in particular, with The Division: I wasn't confident that I would enjoy it starting off, so why would I want to invest more than I'm used to paying?  

My one, and only, complaint is the idea of paid game progression.  This is most rampant in mobile games...Clash of Clans, a favorite of mine, being a terrible offender.  I do enjoy playing it for free, but the game seemingly punishes players like myself that aren't OK with spending anywhere between $1-$100 to speed things up.  Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag also lets you pay to completely level up your character and the ship you sail.  

I'm also against indirectly paying for it as well.  For example, look back to the last 3 Call of Duty releases.  There was a "free" double XP code either inside of Doritos bags or in soda you're rewarded if you buy in to the product they're selling.  At that point, why not just have the "Double XP" weekends only, and have them sponsored by (insert company here)?

My point being, if you're wanting me to pay for it, why not give me a price upfront?  I'd gladly pay $5 to have a decent copy of Clash of Clans, or Plants vs Zombies 2.

Ultimately, giving me the option to choose how much game content I want is the best way to go because it gives a company a chance to let me see their product and for them to say, "OK, now that you've done everything that you can, here's some more things we've been working on for $XX."  Which, by the way, is something else I enjoy about DLC; most of it is being worked on post launch date, so there's a chance for the developers to make some really interesting content after the game's release.  Fallout 4 is about to drop a package that lets you custom build robots, and that's going to be nifty (I plan on making a Futurama will be posted as soon as it happens!)

There are those that aren't for DLC, but, given that there are far worse option, I'm content with having a choice.  Yeah, I'll sometimes spend more that way than, say, spending $100 upfront.  For most casual gamers, though, I'd say that it's going to be a more cost effective way to enjoy multiple titles and get the most bang for your buck, as well as avoid massive buyers remorse when a dud of a game drops (imagine paying $100 upfront for Duke Nukem: Forever *shudders*.)  So, I say, quit your belly aching and be thankful that you are given a choice!

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