DLC IS RUINING GAMING
Allow me to share an experience I just had:
I wanted to get the new DOOM
The graphics were worth such a swoon
But Passes are pricey
The results can be dicey
And the DLC comes out too soon
I made this crappy limerick up just to prove a point. DOOM is, by most accounts, an AMAZING reboot/sequel. I love the graphics, the controls are tight, and… I’ll leave the rest for my full review later this week.
The point, however, is that when I bought the game, I felt like I was cheating myself for not buying the season pass. I mean, the game won’t be complete without all the DLC, and it’ll be cheaper to put down 40 bucks now rather than 60 down the road, right? It takes time to release a game, and they have to make a profit in order to keep producing new and exciting content for the game, right?
However, that may make sense for a one-man creator like Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone (where you may need a little bit extra money to keep the production lights on), but for a publisher as big as Bethesda? Or 343i? Or Bungie?
Sorry, but they don’t need the extra money. DOOM was the second best-selling game of the release week with the competitor being Uncharted 4, an instant best-seller due to Sony. To top it off, DOOM (if you look at the development history and Beta ratings) was a surprise hit! So why do they need me to pay 100 dollars to get the game and 3 map packs? It already sold 63% better than Doom 3’s opening week. Say the cost of the game was… 50 million. If they sold 1 million copies in the first year, they’d already have a profit. And I get it, that seems a little lofty, and surely it would take more than 50 million to make DOOM, but think about how long it would take to really make a profit if games were 50 bucks? 1 million copies in a year and you’d be at-profit (minus the ridiculous marketing costs). So that renders the ‘we need to support the developers so they make a profit’ point moot. Let’s sidebar for a moment, though, and talk about Season Passes themselves.
You buy a season pass to get a discount on all the DLC a game has to offer (except for Borderlands 2, where they almost gave us two season passes). My problem is that while yes, you get a discount on the DLC, it’s basically asking you to give the devs money to maybe get good stuff. Look at Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Because sales weren’t so hot, and the game was essentially a flop, people ended up paying 30 bucks for two characters and one add-on. The last one got cancelled. So let’s call Season Passes what they really are: Season Lottery Tickets.
Let’s move on to something I just mentioned in my Borderlands 2 ‘anal-tearing’: content that should have been part of the game in the first place.
Now, I love Far Cry: Blood Dragon. It’s quirky and fun, and it’s cheap. It also uses very few of the same assets, implements a new story and gives the game Far Cry 3 a complete rework. Sure, you’re basically playing an expansion, but that’s what it is: more Far Cry 3 with a different coat of paint for 20 bucks.
On the other hand, Fallout 4’s Workshop DLC and Automatron DLC were already in the game files on release. There were quite a few models for Far Harbor as well. So, if this stuff was already on the disc/in the download, why are you charging us more money to access it? It would be like buying a house and being told, “Hey, you can’t go into the basement unless you pay an extra fee.”
If the files are already on the disc, or they’re able to be completed without too much extra cost (here’s looking at you, Wasteland Workshop), then it shouldn’t have been DLC in the first place. Now, let’s move on to the final point: if they try to put in all the DLC at launch, then the game would have to be delayed.
Simple Answer: Fine, delay the game an extra month or two. Complex Answer: I don’t mind waiting for something if it needs more time to be developed. Far Harbor is pretty expansive, so if it took another six months, so be it. But even so, we live in an age where we can magically send files over the internet to people. So why not just give us the data for free?
All in all, I’m not saying DLC is bad, just that we’ve implemented them to an insane degree. COD: Ghosts had over a hundred dollars of DLC; Battlefield 4 was 120 bucks if you wanted all the expansions; Halo 5, a 60 dollar game, has microtransactions out the ass. If you want to make us pay for DLC, that’s fine, but make the base game cheaper to accommodate. I’ve played DOOM for almost ten hours. That’s almost 6 bucks per hour of play. I bought a month of World of Warcraft and played it for at least 20 hours this month. That’s about 1 dollar an hour.
Do the math, gamers. Don’t allow us to go down this road too much longer.
For more insightful analysis on ‘the future of gaming’ from a crazed lunatic, check out the rest of Fixing Gaming on The Reviewers’ Legacy