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If you’ve bought a new game within the last couple of years, odds are you’ve been miffed by the almost instantaneous announcement of DLC that is priced at one sixth of the game you just bought. Due to the way games are made nowadays this is largely the reason for the surge of DLC being released so soon after the release of a game. We’ve all heard the official statements that state x section of x game was developed by a different team and therefore was held back, or certain parts were developed under a separate budget. Both of which are true in some cases but it’s simply the price of the DLC that carries the sting. When you’ve gone out and paid £40/$60 for a game and then content that is already on the disc is announced as DLC, customers have a right to be annoyed. How would you feel if you bought a car and then found out you had to pay for your doors separately?
The rules for DLC have changed dramatically over the last couple of years. Pricing has always been roughly the same, but in the beginning you were actually paying for new content, not something that was simply locked at the release of the game. Now it’s almost expected that a game will release some sort of DLC to try and milk more money out of the people that bought the game at full price. Surely companies should be thinking of ways to reward people for buying their games on launch day, not thinking up ways to rip them off. This will simply eliminate any desire to buy a game at launch, when you can just wait a few months and pick up a used copy and then buy the DLC anyway. By that time, you’re paying what you normally would at launch.
It will be interesting to see how companies approach DLC for the upcoming year. Both Alan Wake and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood included their early DLC free for day one purchases of their game. Surely this is how it should be done across the board. If you’re willing to pay full price for a game, being rewarded with some free stuff later on is a great incentive to support the company. It is important to note here that it’s not always the companies at fault here; it’s simply the way DLC is handled on consoles that is the problem.
Unfortunately, there’s not much the average gamer can do about the way DLC is handled these days. Apart from refusing to buy any, the problem there being that you would lose out on the content that is worth paying for. It’s definitely a plus to see some doing it differently, rewarding day one buyers with some free content will keep your fans happy, but at the same time the industry needs to be careful and really consider the pricing of their content. Gaming has become a very expensive hobby to have, and anyone that has firmly invested into it deserves to be rewarded by the industry they’re supporting, not ripped off by it.