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Is the DLC model getting out of hand?

Opinion: Jake Denton asks: paid DLC, welcome extension or annoying rip-off?

At the start of the generation, the idea of DLC was a fantastic one. The ability to extend our favourite games with new levels, weapons and playable characters couldn't have been any more intriguing. Of course, brand new map packs were nothing PC gamers hadn't seen before, but for the console market downloadable content was an exciting new prospect.

DLC was a good idea before it was twisted by greedy publishers for their own ends. These days, it often feels like DLC doesn't offer you new content, so much as content you should already have. After high profile cases of content offered as DLC being found on the game disc, it's hard not to feel cynical towards the current DLC model.

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For example: one month after release, BioShock 2 offered gamers the 'Sinclair Solutions Tester Pack' for 400 Microsoft Points or $4.99 on PSN. When purchased however, the content turned out to be a meagre 108 kb in size. Surely two new playable characters, twenty new time trials, five new masks and two new melee weapons would be bigger in size than that? It rapidly lead to the conclusion that the content was included on the retail disc from the beginning.

In response, 2K Community Manager Elizabeth Tobey wrote on the Bioshock forums: "The way our engine and game structure works is that people need to have the exact same content for people to play together," Well that makes sense, I guess, but she continues: "One of the challenges with post launch content for MP is that it can split the player base, and we want to avoid that whenever possible. For this content, creating the DLC package the way we did allowed for us to not split the player base - so whether you purchase the new content or not, you can still play with your friends."

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