I don’t know how many of you consider yourself gamers, but if you do, then the term DLC might
trigger annoy you just as much as it annoys me.
For those non-gamers, DLC or ‘Downloadable Content’ is summarized pretty well in the following picture:
However, DLC is not a new concept. It stretches back as far as the early 2000’s, where dedicated gaming consoles were fairly new. DLC was made possible here by the introduction of internet connectivity.
With the internet, game developers could now update their game online and add, fix or remove content as they pleased. Here’s where the first signs of DLC could be seen in the form of story-extensions, new maps, new characters, cosmetic changes and so on.
In this early era of gaming, DLC was great. It was cheap (or completely free), it was new, it was good quality
and it was really cheap.
Later, the wider integration of internet connectivity onto all gaming devices meant rapid changes for the gaming industry. Games were higher quality, they took longer to create and there was stiffer competition. As the industry continued to grow, prices only naturally went up.
But gamers were still happy to pay for DLC. They still got to play a full game, and had the option of paying a little extra for some more content.
But then it got serious!
Some game developers realised that it was totally unfair for them to have to release a FULL game and then have to work on DLC as well. So why not just make a game, split it into small segments, and release it gradually as paid DLC? Its less work and more profitable in the long run.
So that’s the approach that a number of large, successful game developers started taking. Developers make 1 game, split it a number of times, and release keep on releasing it with more paid extras.
Marketing changed as well. From, “what you see is what you get” to “what you see is still mostly 6 months and 3 $20 installments away”. Games were no longer released with the promise of quality and excitement, but instead with the promise of DLC to come soon.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the entire industry is doomed and every developer is guilty of this, but the rise of “DLC/Coming-Soon Marketing” has caused some serious backlash among gamers worldwide.
So what are your thoughts on DLC Marketing? Have you ever purchased DLC for a game and regretted it?