For many an older gamer, the move towards further monetisation of what should be a completed product does not sit well. Whether it’s microtransactions that force you to pay just to be able to properly play a mobile game, or DLC that unlocks things that would previously have been secrets obtained through gameplay, there seems to be a never-ending stream of ways for developers and publishers to milk players for every possible dollar.
One of the most contentious issues is on-disc DLC, where content is stored on the game disc itself but the player has to pay to unlock it. Many players resent this practice simply because they believe that if the developer wants to release a finished product, then surely this charged content should be part of the actual game release, rather than an extra that has to be paid for.
It’s hard to argue the point, but that’s just what EA’s Peter Moore has tried to do, claiming that the complaints against on-disc DLC are “nonsense.”
Moore’s counter-complaint stems from the argument that the content is not actually stored on the disc, but is instead usually a small piece of code that activates the DLC when it is downloaded. That makes sense, but also happens to completely ignore the point gamers are making about the fact that this content is available from day one. It’s one thing to charge for DLC that is released long after the title itself, as this is usually a proper expansion of a storyline. Doing so for content that already exists, oftentimes forcing the player to miss parts of the game world’s lore in the process, is something far less forgivable.
Moore then went on to further espouse the virtues of DLC, stating that it allows developers to keep players engaged in a title, which in turn means publishers don’t need to release so many gamers. He cites that EA has gone from publishing 70 games a year when he joined in 2007, down to a paltry 12 this year.
This, in and of itself, is also a major problem for many gamers. Keeping players who love the game engaged with it is all well and good, but what about those who want new experiences, don’t enjoy a game you publish or are simply sick of playing the same title over and over?
It likely makes for sound business, but it also must surely be a contributing factor to the staleness of the industry at this point in time. Practically a year into their lifecycles, neither the Xbox One of PS4 has anything approaching a killer app that isn’t available in other consoles, and it is possible you could point the finger towards DLC for this lack of inventiveness.
In truth, DLC is a double-edged sword, but it is still extremely difficult to justify on-disc DLC as a practice that should be encouraged. Insulting the intelligence of players by claiming that they have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the mechanics of releasing such DLC does nothing to solve the core issue that they have with the entire concept in the first place.
Lee Price is a freelance writer and general miscreant who enjoys video games, movies and making dreary situations better by adding copious amounts of alcohol. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Lee2112 to read his random musings.