The Advantages and Disadvantages of Downloadable Content
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. There are pros and cons to downloadable content. One of the disadvantages being that it costs a considerable amount of money spent to simply access another aspect of a game. It is said that DLC is simply another way for publishers to receive more revenue from the original game, similar to revenue created by merchandise. Advocates for DLC feel that DLC adds more life to a game and extends gameplay. DLC is distributed through the internet and console networks like XBox Live and the Playstation Network.
Why is DLC so popular?
DLC content is now available on every device you can think of and is rapidly becoming a normal aspect to gaming. Personal computers, consoles and handheld devices all allow content to be downloaded to extend and enhance gameplay. DLC really lends itself to music video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. People who enjoy the game are happy to buy the latest songs and to take advantage of new songs that are released weekly at a fairly substantial cost to the gamer. It is estimated that if you were to download all the DLC for Rock Band II, it would cost you in the region of £9,000!
The classic game Final Fantasy has been around for 30 years. DLC has been embraced by the franchise, meaning that downloading the app to your devices enable you to create your hero in Final Fantasy 15. The app can be downloaded to your smartphone so that you can still play while waiting for the bus. DLC is becoming commonplace in the gaming world.
What does DLC mean to publishers?
A whole new model of financial earning has been developed around the concept of DLC. Publishers are realizing that there has been a decline in core game purchases and a huge increase in download purchases. Strategies have been developed to build on this by creating more and more DLC options for games. Expansion packs can continue to be developed for an original game which is much more cost effective than publishing brand new games to keep up with demand.
The shareholders at EA (Electronic Arts) are over the moon with EA’s recent financial statement. A massive increase in revenue has been recorded, made even better by expenses being kept to a minimum. This is all thanks to the generation of record revenue from DLC, subscriptions, mobile games and full game downloads. However, gamers are not too happy with EA’s decision to increase the amount of DLC connected to a game. If you buy a game, you should expect to receive the full version, right?
Why does DLC receive so much bad press?
DLC receives bad press due to the extra cost for players. When Star Wars Battlefront II was released, there was a huge backlash from players who were dismayed by the colossal amount of money it would take to unlock content. If you were to unlock the content by time alone, you would have to play for 4528 hours. The financial cost to unlock all areas of the game would be £2,100. Thankfully, on this occasion EA listened to complaints and a statement was released by Oskar Gabrielson, apologizing to gamers. He also turned off micro transactions related to the game, meaning no in-game purchases would be required. Progression through the game would be earned by playing alone, until a later date when DLC would be available once more.
Disadvantages of DLC
DLC is expensive and it is argued that it is not fair, having to pay to progress in a game that you have already purchased. Pressure from young gamers on their parents to buy DLC is immense. Children are easily led by clever marketing strategies. Gamers are already paying for monthly season passes connected to their console, which doesn’t always unlock content, meaning even more purchases are required.
Advantages of DLC
Some people love DLC as it increases the longevity of a game as you receive extra gameplay. You’re able to buy game pass bundles at a discount, which makes DLC more affordable. Many people argue that purchasing DLC is a choice rather than a necessity, so the choice should be there for people who want it. Large gaming companies often offer freebies connected to DLC. This is to entice people to opt in. Most large gaming companies are sensitive to maintaining a good reputation as being fair to consumers. The gaming community is a tight knit one, and if they feel that they’re being ripped off, it will be communicated quickly, thus thwarting the reputation of the company.
Is DLC here to stay?
If supply and demand for DLC remains the same in the future, it will be here for many years to come. DLC is so lucrative to companies and its shareholders, that it is likely to increase in coming years. The fact that gaming companies have developed a whole business model around DLC means that further developments are likely. Of course, as a gamer you could choose with your wallet and not buy DLC. This would lower the demand for it and large companies would have to develop new ways to generate revenue. However, clever marketing relating to DLC is enticing and peer pressure which goes alongside multiplayer gaming makes purchases of DLC too hard to resist.
Game designers are getting more adept at creating games that don’t need DLC for it to be enjoyed. The fact that parts are locked unless you pay for it or play for an unfeasible amount of time is frustrating and is only there to increase revenue for companies. The large companies are to be blamed for holding back content unless it is paid for. Unfortunately, the demand is for DLC is here to stay for the foreseeable future.