DLC, The Great Exploiter of Gaming Unlockables

DLC, The Great Exploiter of Gaming Unlockables

Once upon a time, in the land of gaming, everything was peaceful. The term fanboy had yet to be coined, casual gaming vs hardcore gaming was but a glint in the eye of  a Nintendo executive, and Crash Bandicoot was still around and hadn’t been shoved into the gaming cupboard that time forgot. It is, not however, these items listed that we should occupy ourselves with – instead, the item we should be focusing on is downloadable or exclusive pre-order Content.

I began this article in a fairy-tale esque style for one reason and one reason alone – to make you picture the past, to imagine an earlier time when gaming hadn’t advanced into the online-dominated beast it has become today. I want you to imagine that, and then go back and imagine a time where there was no DLC, a time when, instead, DLC would be offered actually included within the game itself, as a mysterious, seemingly-forgotten entitly known only as…The Unlockable.

See, DLC annoys me. It is, and always has been, a means for a game to get more money out of you, despite you already having paid an absolute fortune to play it in the first place. With the invention of online content, game companies all jumped on the digital distribution band-wagon with dollar signs flashing in their eyes, knowing that they had a new means of extending their content, all at the same time dreaming of the extra moola fans of their titles will sink into a couple of hours of extra gameplay or a downloadable costume.

What annoys me, however, is how this content is handled, especially when one thinks back to the past and remembers the unlockable content thousands of games used to have built-in to the package itself. The final straw came today, when I stumbled across an article on the internet outlying which pre-order bonus skins you would get with Batman Arkham City, based on where you pre-order it from. Back in the by-gotten era, all of this content – and I mean all of it – would of been bundled with the game, and probably would of been unlockable as you collect the Riddler trophies that litter the landscape of Arkham City. Alas, however, this is the modern era – instead the game developers will package up the skins as pre-order incentives, then within the next few months will begin releasing costume packs, which people will no doubt download even though you’re paying through the nose just to make your character wear a different costume.

It’s a cash grab. I can understand why developers do it, I really can (moolah, in other words), but it really gets on my nerves as a gamer when they insult my intelligence. I blatantly refuse to buy DLC content, simply because it isn’t justifiable the vast majority of the time. Let us not forget the Oblivion Horse Armour Pack – the less said about that debacle, the better.  However, thousands of gamers still buy DLC on a daily basis – they truly believe they’re getting more out of their game, despite paying even more money for the content. You may argue, on the other side of the coin, that game developers need the money, as games have evolved. See though, the gaming industry is massive, and operates with billions of dollars every single year. They’re not strapped for cash, and a massive IP such as Batman Arkham City is going to give them a massive profit all on its own. Top that off with the no-doubt inpending DLC rush, and there’s a goldmine right there.

As I’ve already said, the gaming unlockable is a thing of the past now. It may still be in place for things such as artwork and music, but the fact remains that all the ‘juicy’ content we would want such as new cars, new characters etc instead is stripped from the game and is only achievable through parting ways with some more money. It’s a really sad case of affairs, and you have to feel sometimes that all this downloadable content should of just been packaged with the game in the first place and been achieveable through unlockables.

Sure, sometimes DLC can be justifiable. Packs such as Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare, which is essentialy nearly a stand along entire game, are well worth the money. But costumes? Cars? Horse armour? Really?

So will I pay extra just to download a different outfit for Batman? No, I will not. DLC such as this is a joke – there’s absolutely no reason why this content could not of been bundled together with the game itself in the first place, and I implore all of you to think how ludicrous it is that you may end up paying for an extra costume that doesn’t really change up the gameplay in any way. That’s my rant over now, ladies and gents. I implore you – remember the humble gaming unlockable, and think about how it has been exploited by the thing we know as downloadable content.


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