Why DLC Is Here To Stay

Why DLC Is Here To Stay
Why DLC Is Here To Stay

Downloadable content (DLC) is additional content produced for video games, usually in the form of expansion packs which provides access to special aesthetics, such as character changes and storyline extensions . DLC is an additional cost to gamers following the purchase of the game title. It is a way of publishers receiving more venue from the original game. It is distributed through the internet and console networks like XBox Live and Playstation Network.

DLC is not a new concept the Atari 2600 allowed players to download games using a telephone line. DLC content is now available on personal computers, consoles and handheld devices. Music video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have all taken advantage of downloadable content. New songs to purchase as DLC have been released on a weekly basis at cost to gamers. In fact if you were to purchase all the DLC for Rock Band II it would cost you more than $9,000. Classic games such as Final Fantasy have been around for 30 years, the franchise has embraced DLC and it is possible to  get Final Fantasy 15 A New Empire as a download with additional content. DLC is something which is becoming common place in gaming.

DLC has created a whole new model of financial earning for companies. Entire financial strategies are being built on the idea that core game purchases are declining and extra purchases by players are increasing.

EA’s (electronic arts) recent financial statement has shown a massive increase in revenue and they have managed to keep expenses down. This is due to the fact that EA have generated record revenue from digital sources like subscriptions, mobile games, full game downloads and of course downloadable content. The shareholders in EA are understandably “over the moon”!   

DLC has many critics due to the extra cost for players. The recent release of Star Wars Battlefront II received a huge amount of backlash from players  who were unhappy about the amount of time and and money it would take to unlock content. On an online gaming forum one poster stated that it would take 4528 hours or $2,100 to unlock everything in the game. To give EA their due they actually listened to complaints. A statement was made by Oskar Gabrielson apologising to fans. He also confirmed that all microtransactions will be removed from the game, meaning that all in game purchases will be turned off the game. Gabrielson said  “We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay.” He also confirmed that crystals would be able to be purchased in-game at a future date.

The main disadvantages of DLC is the cost. It is argued that it isn’t fair that you have to pay to progress in the game, where as to make the same progress you would have to play for an unreasonable amount of time to unlock the same content. Season passes are very expensive too and even these don’t always unlock all the content, so require further purchases.

There are advantages to downloadable content too. DLC increases the longevity of the game as extra content gives extra gameplay. You are also able to purchase game pass bundles which makes savings on in game purchases. Consumers of course have the option to buy DLC and it is not essential to actually playing the game. Most large companies such as EA offer freebies to their players to increase interest. Consumers are savvy as to deciding which companies take advantage of them and it will soon be communicated to the gaming world if they are ripping off people. This is to the companies disadvantage and will harm their reputation as being a trusted purveyor.

As DLC is so lucrative to companies, with huge financial benefit to its shareholders it is likely to be here to stay. The business model is likely to feature on more and more games in the future. If you feel strongly against the model of gaming, you always have the option of not buying. Game designers are getting better at making the games good to play without having to purchase the additional DLC. If gamers continue to buy the extra content, publishers will continue to sell it. It seems that companies think about their financial gain rather than consumers complaints.