Monday, October 24, 2011

DLC : Greed or Fair Business Model?

I got a text from an old friend Saturday, that said he had purchased Castlevania Harmony of Despair and that we should play it together sometime. After playing it a bit I realized that we couldn't use all the same characters together as I had some DLC he didn't have and vice versa.  This got me to thinking about the whole DLC conundrum going on nowadays. I always understood that  Downloadable Content was something that was released after a game had been out awhile to supplement the already there game features, fix problems in the release, and increase the fun offered by the base product. Now however, it seems like alot of the time you hear about companies  (like Capcom in MVC3) putting in content on a disc and then essentially making you pay for "DLC" to unlock the content.  Many have cried fowl on the issue saying that you're just making us pay for what's already there, but is it? One could argue that they are just streamlining it so you could get the content faster......but I just don't see it that way. The DLC I like to see is DLC that is made by developers post development and created to address problems/unfinished threads from the original game. Despite part of Skarlet being on the disc I really enjoyed the MK9 DLC. The characters were completely optional to the main game, but they found a way so that those who didn't care to purchase them could still play with those who did.

But back to the discussion at hand. Is it fair to put stuff on the disc and make people pay for unlock? To be honest game companies have every right to do so, but it just seems bad as far as how you are treating your customers. All the game companies make and sell games to turn a profit I understand this, but what happened to treating the customer right? Don't even get me started on these online "passes" as a way to make people who bought a game used pay for the online. Is it legitimate business? Absolutely. Is it somewhat rotten? Kinda so I think, but it is true that used game sales cost the game companies more than piracy. I only hope that at some point they won't start charging stores to sell used copies of their games and thus revving  up those prices for the standard consumer. Games are already expensive and us gamers have picked an expensive hobby (with consoles, games, peripherals replacement controllers after anger fits etc).

Anyway I hope companies continue to make add on content for their games, but I also hope they keep the customer in mind, and do the right thing.  Being that cool company that tosses a free DLC every now and then can cost you initially but I think the return from loyal fans willing to pay for content down the road  will more than pay for itself.

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