Written by Erik Kubik Wednesday, 10 November 2010 05:00
For gamers, downloadable content usually means more content for their favorite games. For the publishers, DLC means more money in their pockets. But what about when the publisher gets greedy and starts taking advantage of the gamer just for a few extra costumes or weapons? Welcome to a gamers’ worst nightmare: DLC gone wrong!
Here is the perfect example of bad DLC. This type of DLC can irritate the most steadfast gamer, it is known as “on-the-disc-dlc.” Gamers are most likely to see this within a few days, or a week of a new game's release. The publisher announces they have DLC ready for their AAA title and they want $5 or more for it. Someway, somehow gamers discover this DLC was left out of the final cut of the game, but it was included on the disc for whatever reason. The most logical reason is so the publisher can make some fast money after the initial sales. Two games I can think of that are guilty of this crime against their fans with this on-the-disc garbage DLC would be Resident Evil 5 and Bioshock 2; both games included ready-to-go overpriced DLC on their game discs. This DLC should have been free.
Here is a second example of failing to use DLC properly. The game developer releases poorly-put-together-but-not-on-the-disc DLC a few weeks after the game is out in an effort to beef up the game’s content. As much as I love Uncharted 2, this game is at fault. What did gamers receive? A few extra maps and skins for $9.99 a piece? Come on Naughty Dog give your fans some love, this stuff should have been free or bundled cheaply. Battlefield Bad Company 2 is another good example. EA cranked out “new” DLC that turned out to be remakes of other game modes.
What about overpriced DLC? Gamers everywhere despise this. Most of us are on a budget and in this economy we can’t afford everything. Overpricing DLC goes to show the companies don't care about their fans and are there only to make money. Call of Duty World at War and Modern Warfare 2 are prime examples. Don’t get me wrong, they are great games, but Activision was asking $10 to $15 apiece for each DLC pack--which only included 4 to 5 new maps apiece. Isn’t that a bit much? Activision has already sold millions of copies of the game and now they want even more money. Why not show some gratitude and keep the prices between $5 to $10; ensuring gamers’ wallets don’t dry up or risk that they move onto something else.
There is still hope in the gaming world. Here is an example of DLC done right. Take a look at Alan Wake for Xbox 360. The first DLC was free if you bought the game new and it was very cheap if you bought the game used. This DLC was also released in a timely manner for a reasonable price. In the end, whether gamers bought the game new or used, everyone won.
Rockband is another game doing DLC right. The game keeps fans pumped up with the weekly releases of new songs. This is the kind of content that works to a game’s advantage, ensuring its longevity. Fallout 3 is another good example. Bethesda cranked out 5 DLC packs over 2 years giving gamers at least another 30 to 40 hours of game play for a very reasonable price.
Companies, if you are going to release DLC, think for a minute about your target audience. Do you want to keep your loyal fans? Or would you prefer to push them away by making greedy, poorly thought-out decisions?