‘The Evolution of DLC Content and the controversy behind it’

Young best friends sitting on a sofa in living room and playing video games. Family relaxing time at home concept. Cropped.

DLC. The three letters many gamers are very much afraid of. Why? Well, this is because of Downloadable Content gaining a negative reception due to consumer’s opinions surrounding money and greed.

While it can be argued that these huge gaming corporations are seen as the stereotypical high and all mighty bad guys. We must remember that these are real talented humans who develop these games as a livelihood. Game designers, developers, producers, or anyone involved in the creation of games, all need money to live on. Just like any standard job. Gaming is a business like any other. DLC is added for consumers to spend more money on a product as according to various statistics, game sales drop rapidly after their initial launch. In short, Downloadable Content makes consumers keep investing the game they’ve already bought to get maximum ‘value’, and to entice completely new buyers and hype up that more content is coming to the game, so it’s worth buying. This means more money for developers, who can then go on and create more new games and drive revenue sales.

DLC did not begin to exist as we know it. In the early days of the gaming world, before the internet graced us with its accessibility, DLC was but a myth, maybe a prospect of the future. If games were to have extra content in them, it was through pre-established special editions or behind mysterious cheat codes shared by gaming magazines or word of mouth. This extra content usually ranged from extra characters to play as, new worlds to explore or even fun and whacky modes for us to have a blast in.

However, technology progressed and consoles and gaming alongside it. The very first revolutions in the gaming world was the availability of online play. It brings us quite the perspective when functions which we take for granted in our games and consoles were once a novelty, something which gamers did not think possible for the longest time. Online play brought us a new perspective altogether: if we can play online, can we also buy videogames and download them directly into our console? This function was rudimentary yet it took off nonetheless, especially when it came to bringing games from past generations onto new hardware. Along this revolution, came the first wave of DLC: in this case, not a full game, but a downloadable addition to a full game. From here on out, DLC became a staple in gaming world, for better or for worse.

Even though it started pretty tame, DLC is now a point of discussion amongst the gaming community. While DLC was initially an addition which more devoted fans could buy for quite cheap to enrich their experience with the games they loved, nowadays DLC can cost exorbitant prices and is often used by many companies as a way to release an unfinished game and completing it later on with DLC, often having the “full” experience cost well over the price of a newly released game at any retailer.

Gaming has become a progressively expensive hobby, as game prices rise alongside with new technology and production costs. Consoles and gaming PC’s are also very much expensive, making gamers look at their wallet with weight in their eyes with any new release. Adding DLC to the mix only further cements the full price even further.

For example, the most recent entries in the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Sword and Shield, many of the various creatures were removed from the base game, sparking a wide controversy as all Pokémon were present in each game ever since their respective inception, with Sword and Shield being the exception. This case was further aggravated with the release of paid DLC which included Pokémon not present in the base game, thus having fans outrage over having to pay more to have what they would usually have in the base game in past releases.

It’s not all corporate greed, however, as various DLC have their place and are widely loved by their communities. Some DLC keeps a game in relevancy long after its release or it could bring new life to a once “dead” game. Developers can work hard on these DLC to really make them the best they can be and for them to truly enhance the game. Besides, it is their job to work on these videogames, they are paid to do so. It is only natural that they would want to make the most amount of money out of their game.

Overall, is DLC really that bad? That depends. The value of the content, company ethics and of course, that price tag. It’ all up to you gamers at the end of the day, stay safe!