Posted on December 01 2014 by Fernando Trejos
One of the most controversial topics in today’s gaming community has got to be Downloadable Content. This idea, which started off as a way for developers to continue to work on a game after its release and create bonus content to sell to the fans at a low price, has evolved into what many consider a scheme to exploit as much money from the consumer as possible. Various games released these days try to sell as much DLC as possible for very high prices, with DLC launching on the day of the game’s release that could have easily been included with the game itself, and in-game mechanics that are constantly advertised and are vital to the experience that can only be reached by paying an extra price.
It’s simple to understand why this angers many gamers today, and why the concept of DLC has become so controversial. While there are many different kinds of DLC, which vary in moral upstanding, content, and quality, it’s very natural to say that, generally, gamers want to spend their money on a complete game, and not have to constantly spend more to play it. If developers holds back content explicitly for the purpose of charging consumers more for it later, it’s a simple matter that people will feel exploited. It’s been a constant debate as to whether DLC is morally right, and whether it is, as many say, “ruining the gaming industry”.
Again, there are many different types of DLC, and it wouldn’t be very kind to generalize, as a lot of companies genuinely use it in generous ways. Games like the Elder Scrolls saga usually release DLC in the forms of expansion packs that can be used to extend the experience and add tons of new quests and worlds to the original game. These expansions are included with the game after they are released, and are available for purchase at low prices. Two or three of them are released for each game, and they’re all full of content and receive excellent reviews, but are still completely optional and unrelated to the main game, so it’s totally reasonable for people to not want to buy them.
Other companies like EA release much more DLC, as they have with The Sims 3. This game has 11 different expansion packs priced at $20 each, containing things like outfits, in-game events, changes in graphics, and some kind of change to the gameplay (The Sims 3: Seasons, for example, adds a more complex calendar system, and lets your Sim celebrate holidays and other seasonal events). Nobody is expected to buy all of them, as that would cost hundreds of dollars in addition to the cost of the actual game, but they’re there for any fan who’s willing to pay $20 for them. The sheer amount of things you can buy for this game is insane: I have a friend who (illegally) owns every DLC pack ever released for the game, and they take up 84 gigabytes of his computer, roughly the equivalent of 20 full extended-edition seasons of the 90’s sitcom Seinfeld. People often criticize EA for doing this, as none of the packs take a lot of development time or creativity or add too much to the gameplay, and they bring in so much money for the company with little benefit to the consumer.
However, the choices that other companies have made isn’t the number one concern at the moment, and this isn’t a full-on editorial considering the merits of DLC as a whole. Nintendo has started to journey into the world of DLC in recent years, releasing things like the new Mario Kart 8 DLC, which many people have commended for its responsible take on downloadable content. This was fully developed after the release of the actual game, and bring 16 new tracks and a few new characters to whoever’s interested. It’s been very highly rated and sells for very cheap, and Nintendo has said that they don’t plan on making any more content for the game, which I think is a very healthy take on this whole issue; Nintendo, as usual, is being the good guy.
Koei Tecmo, the creators of Hyrule Warriors, has released tons of DLC for the game in different formats; other than the four main packs, half of which have released earlier this year, and half of which will come out very early in 2015, they’ve also recently announced the addition of various costume packs to the game, which add a couple of costume that were originally exclusive to certain retailers. When you add up the cost of everything that can be purchased for the game that Nintendo has announced so far, it costs a total of $31, and that’s assuming you actually purchase all of it, which very few people will actually do. Generally, these packs are pretty cheap considering the rest of the gaming market, and again, they’re totally optional. Whether you want them is totally up to you.
Many people have criticized Koei Tecmo for releasing so much DLC for a single game, and said that they were getting greedy, but as I see it, there really isn’t that much to complain about. The DLC is entirely optional, and again, is relatively cheap. One of the main evils that surrounds DLC is the fact that it’s often developed alongside the actual game, but hidden from the initial release in order to make more money off of it later, but as far as we can tell, this isn’t the case here: Hyrule Warriors is a complete game the way it is, and this DLC has been developed in the few months after its release.
There are endless debates we can have on the merits of DLC as a whole, but in general, I do believe that Nintendo and Koei Tecmo are handling it the right way, and are not at all fitting the pattern of “evil DLC” that the gaming world has become so familiar with.
However, what do you think? Are you actually planning on buying all the DLC announced for the game so far, or are you tired of seeing all of it? Is the game good enough to merit so much content? Is Koei Tecmo actually getting greedy? Let us know in the comments!