Almost anyone who has played most games these days has heard of DLC. DLC is short for downloadable content, and is purchased online to add new features to a video game. Now, if you are like me, you would be weary of the idea of paying more money for games that are already expensive enough to begin with. With this in mind, not all DLC is bad, and it serves two general purposes, extending the player’s interest in a game, and to increase the game’s profits.
I should note that games these days still cost roughly $60 at full retail price without DLC, which has not increased in quite some time. Games are getting more expensive to make, and this price is not increasing due to inflation either. The price may not have changed due to players not wanting to pay more up front for a game. Imagine the day one would have to pay $100 (or more) for a high quality video game without DLC, and you might wonder if it would be worth buying such an expensive plaything. DLC does help offset the increased cost of making a game, assuming that enough players will purchase the extra content.
Today, I will be looking at DLC more closely. I will mention what kind of content is beneficial to the player, what kind of content is clearly a rip-off, and how I think the consumer should approach purchasing DLC. Keep in mind that this is mostly opinion, and that not all readers will agree with me on this, and that is okay, I just felt like opening the conversation on the subject.
- Beneficial DLC
So let us look at what kinds of DLC is beneficial to the player. A quick rule of thumb is that this does depend on the game’s genre, and what the DLC adds to the game. I would say any DLC that extends the player’s time enjoying the game is worthwhile. Here are a few examples:
- New levels/scenarios with tangible rewards: Essentially new playgrounds to enjoy within the game alone can be fun. The extra in-game reward for completing it can give the player new things to try in the game.
- New modes of play: A new way to approach preexisting content is fun too. This can include new multiplayer options for local or online play.
- New playable characters: These are a fun way to try new play-styles within a game as well. Some caution is involved with online games that include this kind of content, which I will explain in the negative DLC section.
Those are some examples of good DLC. Now, let’s look at the bad:
- Negative DLC
Not all DLC is good for the players, though. There are some that are obviously a money grab on the developer’s behalf, or that don’t add much to the game. Some may not be fun to use either. Let’s look at some examples:
- Re-skins of existing content: This kind of content involves buying something that looks different, but plays the same as another, already available part of the game. The simplest example is a paid character that plays the same as a character that already is in the base game, but looks different. An analogy is buying the same car twice, once in red, and another time in blue. This kind of content is particularly bad if expensive.
- A powerful new character or customization in multiplayer games: This sounds beneficial to the player, but those who don’t have this kind of content could lose many games due to not paying for it. Paying extra to win a game is usually bad for games designed to be an E-sport, as the poorer players might or cannot win. This is the possible downside to adding a new character in a game.
- Anything that completes an incomplete game: Some games with DLC are incomplete without the extra content. An example would include a story without a conclusion.
- Anything that matches or exceeds the full price of the game: No one wants to pay double the price or more. In fact, any expense that seems excessive is bad.
- Paid bug fixes: The company messed up, and was supposed to give the player an error free (or mostly error free) game. Free updates are the way to go with this content.
- A “pay wall” that impedes progress: This is most often seen in free games (a whole topic in of itself). If you have to pay more in order to progress, you may have picked up the wrong game!
Definitely look out for this sort of DLC. So what should you do about DLC? Here are my personal tips:
- What to consider when buying DLC
- Try the basic game without buying the DLC. If you don’t enjoy it after already paying for it, you might not want to invest more money in the product.
- Make an estimate of what amount of money the game is worth. If the game is of high quality, you may feel inclined to pay more for extras in the game.
- Research what the DLC is. It is important to know what you could be paying for.
- If you feel the game is not worth the retail price and the price of the DLC, do not buy the DLC! Remember, free markets give the best products if they sell well. Don’t buy anything you don’t think is worth purchasing. If enough customers feel this way, then similarly poor quality products won’t be sold as often.
- If there are multiple DLC purchases that can be made, try not to pay more than you think the game is worth. It is helpful to know the costs, and to see if the content matches it.
- Only buy worthwhile DLC. This goes along well with tip #3. If you want to pay more, buy the content that you suspect you will enjoy.
- Last and certainly not least, consider your budget! If you can’t afford to pay more for a game, then don’t do so right now. This entry could be anywhere on this list, but it should never be forgotten. You may want to buy the extras later, when you can manage to pay for it, especially if you consider the rest of this list.
And those are my thoughts on DLC for video games. But what do you think of DLC? What DLC have you bought and liked? What about any you regret getting? Any you have bought, and haven’t tried? Tell me this and why in the comments below!