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Charging for Downloadable Content is a Scam

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It’s already here and people are buying into it: Downloadable content, the way to milk gamers of their hard earned cash.

Imagine someone going into a game store, buying a game that’s all shrink wrapped and their excited to play it. They get home, chainsaw the wrap off (including the annoying extra layer on the tops and sides) and pop in the game to their console. It boots up and they begin playing the game. Suddenly, a few hours in they reach an area and a message comes across the screen “you must purchase the download pack to access this area.” Then they think “what the hell? I just paid $60 for this and now I have to shell out more?”

Long gone are the days where someone just buys a game and expect, oh I don’t know, the entire game to be inside the package? Not only are people paying $60 for their game, that $60 doesn’t buy the entire software to begin with.

Dr. Michael Capps, president of Epic Games (makers of the Gears of War franchise) believes that it’s fair, and that the bottom line is what matters:

“I’ve talked to some developers who are saying ‘If you want to fight the final boss you go online and pay USD 20, but if you bought the retail version you got it for free‘. We don’t make any money when someone rents it, and we don’t make any money when someone buys it used – way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it…” – Dr. Michael Capps, President of Epic Games

How about this Dr. Capps: What if I don’t buy your damn game at all and you can shove that last boss up your ass? Instead of getting my $60 you get $0, how’s that for a bottom line?

Would you make any money then? Instead of trying to scam people out of their money why not be honest and give them what they paid for. Who cares if it’s bought from a retail store, traded at a game store and rented? I understand the company needs to make money but charging $20 to fight the last boss? No one in their right mind would pay that to fight a last boss if they rented or bought it used. In the end the bottom line is hurt from the company trying to milk every dollar from its fans.

Instead, why not create some actual content other than maps. How about continuing the story with a new character? Get creative with it. If it’s good enough people will pay for it regardless if they rented the game or bought it used. Not everyone has the money to buy it when the game is brand spanking new and shrink wrapped.

But, the bottom line hasn’t corrupted everyone in the gaming industry. Valve, (creators of the Half-Life franchise) argues the opposite of Epic Games.

"You buy the product, you get the content ... We make more money because more people buy it, not because we try and nickel-and-dime the same customers." - Robin Walker designer at Valve

If nickel and diming is the future of gaming I’ll be very disappointed. I don’t mind paying once in a while for good downloadable content, but paying every few months to experience an hour of playtime for $15? I’d rather go watch a movie. At least there I get popcorn with it.

- GameGavel Writer, Smiling_Cobra

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Sony , Microsoft , PC , Industry , Editorial


  1. GameGavel's Avatar
    Great piece and I can't agree with you more. It is sad to say, but we will probably be seeing more and more of this in modern day gaming as time goes by.
  2. Dhalamar's Avatar
    The only time downloadable content really bothers me is when you're paying for shit that's already on the disc. Beautiful Katamari comes to mind as one that really gets irritating. Bioshock 2 did it again recently. Then we've got the horse armor bullshit.

    Of course, most DLC I don't even bother with because of the games that are involved. Don't really give a shit about Call of Duty, Gears of War, Battlefield Bad Company. I bought the Ghostbusters car for Burnout Paradise, of course the damn car controls much like one would expect the Ecto 1 to control : like a tank. :P And I got some extra tables for that Pinball FX or whatever.

    About the only paid DLC I've ever willingly gone after were the extra levels for The Maw.

    Right now everyone's bitching about the price of the new Modern Warfare 2 map pack ... but 100% of the morons who wasted their money on that game are going to get the fucking DLC for it too.
  3. GameGavel's Avatar
    Hey Dhalamar,

    Tell us how you really feel. LOL
  4. Dhalamar's Avatar
    For 15 bucks you get 5 multiplayer maps ... 2 of which are just remakes from the original Modern Warfare. Yay!!!

    I always hear people bitching and whining about Left 4 Dead 2 being "too soon" and not even bothering to play it despite the massive engine enhancements ... yet they play Modern Warfare 2. The original Modern Warfare came out in 2007. World at War, despite being made by a different development team uses the same engine. That was released in 2008. MW2, again, uses the same engine, had features cut out, other features outright stolen and that came out in 2009. And we've got 2 more CoD games coming out in the next 11 months or so.

    Way to go Activision! Keep shoveling them the fuck out there instead of trying something new. When are we getting our yearly update to Guitar Hero or Band Hero or DJ Hero or Prostitute Hero or whatever the hell they're thinking of next. People will still bend over as far as they can to keep buying this stuff.

    And then we've got EA and Battlefield Bad Company 2 ... basically them trying to one up Modern Warfare with basically the same style of game. Then releasing year after year of sports titles that are largely just roster updates with a new feature or two every now and then.

    Yay modern games!!!
  5. Cvanderhoef's Avatar
    Wow, great piece and I totally agree. When we buy the retail version everything should be in there. DLC should be extra levels not in the retail version, extra characters, etc. BTW new weapons is not DLC. It should be in the retail version!
  6. Dhalamar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cvanderhoef
    Wow, great piece and I totally agree. When we buy the retail version everything should be in there. DLC should be extra levels not in the retail version, extra characters, etc. BTW new weapons is not DLC. It should be in the retail version!
    Most definitely.

    But on that same note, I could see them releasing paid DLC for something like alien ray guns or something in the rehashed bullshit that's called the Call of Duty series just to make the game ... oh I don't know ... an attempt at making something different and interesting.

    THAT'S when DLC for weapons would make sense. When they DRASTICALLY change the game. And not making them where you can walk into any old multiplayer game and use them ... you buy the shit ... you play against people who have also bought it. Making weapons available via DLC basically says "I have money. I'm willing to waste it on bullshit. I have better guns than you." ... DLC like that breaks the flow of the game for me. Motherf*ckers who don't know how to play the game basically buying the golden gun from Goldeneye just so they can actually win because they can't do worth a damn any other way.
  7. GivenTheOkieDoke's Avatar
    Sorry for using a little bad language this topic just gets me heated.

    Yup yup. I have been bitching about DLC for a long time. I under stand games like Tiger Woods or NHL having DLC to make your character to a 99 overall right from the get, because thats optional and doesn't add to the game play. But theses fucking games that have 1/4 of the game not even playable is ridiculous. I bought Assassins Creed 2 and loved the game, come to find out I didn't even play the full version I missed out on 3 chapters. Its not like the chapters were at the end of the game they were in the middle of the damn game and tied the story together.

    Every Thursday they updated the PlayStation Store. The fucking worst is when you pre-order a $60 game and it comes out say Monday. You look on the PlayStation Store the previous Thursday and theres already DLC for a game that hasn't even been released yet. If I had any dignity I should take out my money on that pre-order and buy a game from a company that isn't nickel and dimeing us.

    I don't mind games the Grand Theft Auto 4 having DLC 4 months or more down the line with a whole new story and game play experience. I wouldn't expect that to be in the retail game since it basically a separate game that just uses there engine. Other than that I honestly don't have another example out of all the next gen games that has used DLC fairly. 100s of games and I have only witnessed 1 game not rape our pockets. Awesome.

    I hate DLC, just banish it. But all in all I cant lie that I am among the people to blame. Because If I enjoy a game I will buy its DLC.
    Updated 04-04-10 at 10:15 by GivenTheOkieDoke
  8. Smiling_Cobra's Avatar
    Most of us have bought DLC in some shape or form. When I purchased ME2 the bonuses added along with the game were nice (nothing outstanding) but I think that it should have been handled differently. For instance, I got the Terminus armor, Cerberus network and Zaeed. If I had a choice I would have ditched the armor, Zaeed, and picked Kasumi and another piece of armor or the casual outfits pack. The developers should give us control of what content we want rather than force things that we're not interested in.

    Then the problem lies within the two characters. Kasumi, I think, will be a good addition to the squad but if she ends up being like Zaeed in terms of dialogue (which rumors are pointing at as far as I know) then I'll be kind of disappointed. I'd still use her but I'd love to see her back story and have the dialogue options.

    Long story short: If publishers are going to add DLC, make it worth the money. Kasumi should have been available at the launch of ME2, not a few months in. I've already beat the game four or five times, if I didn't think she was intriguing I wouldn't bother with her. If the game didn't come with Zaeed or the Terminus armor I wouldn't have bought them either.
    Updated 05-04-10 at 02:59 by Smiling_Cobra
  9. GivenTheOkieDoke's Avatar
    Another point is games like RE5 and Fallout 3 coming out with GOTY editions, or Gold editions for $60. Its nice to have all the DLC on the disc. But yet again its another way for the company to make money by re-releasing games. But all in all its nice if you can wait to buy it.

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