Why are people against DLC's ?

#1 Edited by CosmicD (39 posts) -

So I was sitting here the past week, trying to find arguments on what has become a repeating controversy the last years, namely DLC's in general. And how do we deal with those ? How does the perception around DLC deform as more people are taking a stance against them ?

That's a question which troubles me more and more these days, just because so many people are saying the same thing about day one dlc's or season passes or pre order bonus. It should all be free and should all be included for free, but why ? How does such a mainstream consensus between gamers come to existence ?

The more companies do for their games, make them more elastic, make them more long lasting, bring new stories, new maps, new content, new weapons new hats, the more people seem to hate it. But I notice a double standard that works against this idea as well. Companies like ubisoft and EA are called evil for doing microtransactions and dlc's; But on the other side there are working huge markets of cosmetic items (hats) being traded for lots of money just because they are labled oranged and are called "rare". How does that make any sense to have one part of the community holler against dlc's but the cosmetic market from valve does good business ?

So I'm a bit confused. Are we adopting a modern game market and are we taking pieces of art coming from software or third party developers seriously ? Or are we not ?

There's this perception that when a company is developing content alongside the main game (and that development continues after the game has been released), it's "supposed to be for free and included in the game". But where does this perception come from ? Why do gamers find it so hard to accept that pieces of art, and extra content should cost money ?

It's always preceived to be too much. $20 for bioshock infinite, too much, $20 for a watch dogs season pass with lots of new content which is equal to a mission expansion is considered "too much". $5 for a payday 2, way too much for a weapon pack.

But it's all stand alone and you don't need to buy it to play the game. If you're a fan you'll be more than willing to spend more money on it.. or are we ? What makes that we don't have problems paying for options for our cars, workbench or bathroom or extra alarm instalation for the house, but we don't accept it in games ?

I've written my bias about it elsewhere (like on youtube and on the watch dogs forum for those who're interested) but I left it out here just because I'm asking this question in a neutral sense.

It just seems to be a consensus of mass player attitude who seemingly don't want to pay for anything but the main game. And it's very hard to ask them to look in the mirror and ask themself if they would want to work for free.

It seems very hard for those people to objectify extra content as a valid piece of extra art, even if they got so much during a pre order, it stil lseems they need everything that comes after the release "for free".

It seems very hard to ask for players to look at a game as a work of art which companies want to be compensated for because they need to feed their employees as well. How come that it's suddenly this thought that is omited because it's "entertainment software" ?

I sure know about all the DRM problems there have been, and some game companies didn't actually deliver on the promise of a game, but I see that lots of people find it all too easy to expand these cases to all games and think all companies are bad because they bring dlc which is more succesful than others.

So it's a whole lot of questions I have but it all comes down to a fundamental question. Do we have respect for this industry as a gamer ?

#2 Edited by bezza2011 (2577 posts) -

I think my main concern and why I don't agree is, companies are asking for $60 a game and yet not delivering on it's full content, asking us for more money so for your so called extra guns and extra hats or whatever they demand more money for them, which equals into a $70 or $80 game.

In one way I don't mind i won't buy what i don't want, but to have a DLC waiting and ready for a day one release?? I mean surely that means they kept this out of the main game to pocket more money from it, a DLC story on the other hand is a different story and is worth the going rate but a few guns and clothing, is beyond me.

Micro Transactions is another thing, take Forza5 they charged $60 for the game, then said we have a car pass of so many cars and a few tracks for $40, with one car allowed for release on day one, I mean the game itself was a cut back to any normal standard racer anyway so then to make it that the only way to get these other cars was to pay an extra $40 is pure money grabbing at the top of it's game, not only that, some cars and stuff inside the game are only accessible by paying for them, or impossible graft which makes alot of people think well it will take me all year to just get that car when i could just pay x amount of money to buy it, this for me is out of order and it paves away for a half finished game so they can stick on extra's for your hard earned cash on top of what you paid for a game.

The worst cases are when you turn the game on, and on day one there are certain things already locked inside the game which can only be accessed by paying a micro-transaction, this to me is not on and shouldn't be in games, I don't buy a movie for $15/$20 and not except content which has already been made on disc and i have to buy it.

#3 Posted by CosmicD (39 posts) -

Point one: the idea of "a full game". what is this meaning ? If we go deeper on this, why do many ppl define it in such a way that a full game cannot be the main game without all the side and expansion missions being made ? even if they are made alongside or slightly later as a means to extend the life of the game ?

The critical thinking here seems to be "as long as it's installed alongside the game, we should also be able to play it for free ?

But that is incompatible with the idea of a seasons pass because we know for a fact that a seasons pass is like a time limited subscription to a game which will provide unfinished dlc later on. So the main problem is that it's sometimes delivered way too soon and that is preceived as stealing right ?

But history says players always have the chance of NOT buying it, but therefor the story isn't uncomplete, there's just nothing extra. It seems like that nuance is very brittle and open for much debate. Is the glass half empty or half full , But history also says players have the chance to buy "everything" at a reduced price after a year and you have a "game of the year" edition. But this is something sepparate from the release.

I guess if we're talking about content which is partially installed already but unaccessivble until you buy extra is a notion i have an easier time with because I have conciously experienced the glorious days of "shareware", where you also had software that you could install and use, but you could only use it's full potential when you payed for it. This is nothing disturbing because after all, if you're installing a game you install a license to experience it, and because it's such a volatile thing like software people have the idea that if it's "artificially divided" into different formulas and prices just to have extra money.

There is software in the music industry which I can install and see different kinds of instances for a sepparate license that I can't access because I don't have a license for it on my dongle. Each of these sepparate licenses are a different product but I can only access it and it will only read the data when I have the license for it. But they sometimes install these "libraries" or "instruments" already on disk for convenience because it's such a big thing to download, they provide it on disk.

So I assume with gamers, they seem to have a problem with this notion that everything has a license and is a creative asset and because it's on the disk it should be accessible, but this is just how software companies that do serious business have been doing business the past decade already, it's now just coming into the game industry and is somehow not well received. Again I've got an idea why that is but I would like to call out somebody else on why they think that is.

#4 Edited by jun_aka_pekto (16427 posts) -

I'm not against all DLC. Take MS Flight Simulator X. It's only $30 nowadays. Yet the DLCs and other addons cost more than the game itself, sometimes over 2x the cost. There are people willing to pay too. I have a few hundred dollars worth of addons for FSX myself.


#5 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (13771 posts) -

Well Consider this.... A full set of DLC for one game averages between $20 to $30 thats about half a full game... Yet the DLC itself has no near as much content or quality of the original game..... So yeah, even $4 worth of the stuff is a scam. And thats why DLC can burn in hell.

#6 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (13771 posts) -

And Why stop there..... How do we value retail games ? Why is every new game $60 regardless of... well any factor from graphics to story.

#7 Edited by maynardburger (187 posts) -

Mainly because a lot of people don't understand much about game development and have somewhat ignorant ideas of how DLC works from a development planning standpoint.

In terms of the quantity of content in DLC vs the main game and the price differential, I could equally argue that a game like The Last of Us should only cost $20 because it only has like 1/5th the content of GTAV.

Its just not how it works. Its a subjective value judgement. If you don't think its worth it, whatever, but some of us feel it is. Whatever way you look at it, you cant say its a scam. They are not ripping me off when I'm quite happy about some quality post-release content that I paid for.

The only real issue I have with DLC is that there is a lot of phoned-in, quite mediocre DLC being put out. This is the kind of stuff that I wouldn't call a 'scam', but its definitely obvious that there wasn't a huge amount of creative effort into making it really good and is just there to make a quick buck.

#8 Edited by SrgtSaggy101 (1865 posts) -

I never ever buy dlc, never will. I play the main game till i'm bored then i move on. There's already plenty of games to play/coming, no games will nickel an dime me. The vast majority of dlc should already be in the game, dlc is just a cash grab.

#9 Posted by elkoldo (1164 posts) -

Beg your pardon dude, I'm feeling a bit lazy so I'll read your OP later, nevertheless, as for your title question, I think this is the reason : 'cause you PAY and don't receive shit.

#10 Edited by CosmicD (39 posts) -

Well that is not entirely true. The games that cost $50 are all games from studios that are supposed to have high end means of producing a believable story. Big sound design abilities, motioncap studios, Studios that produce their own tools and asset designers that work with them.

Valve for example have their own sound designers, music producers , animators, video creators etc, story writers etc.

There are smaller studios that outsource this stuff, and sometimes just hire outside animators, contractors, freelance story writers etc. There are these studios that come from the indie scene and don't use such big high tech stuff to make their games but have talent to create animations with third party programs, and then there's the formula of "games constantly in evolution" like payday 2 where you pay a less amount of money for the base game but it's constantly being reinvented to make it better. So people experience part of the production process that would otherwise be hidden until the studio thinks there's enough iteration;

There's so many flavors of formulas nowadays, and the big budget games just cost $60 and all that is added "optionally" costs money as well.

#11 Posted by maynardburger (187 posts) -

@SrgtSaggy101 said:

The vast majority of dlc should already be in the game

Exactly what I was talking about. Many people believe this, no matter how wrong it is.

#12 Edited by CosmicD (39 posts) -

@maynardburger: Yeah, if you extend that to cars. "every option should be inside a car". And in a house it's a same if you would compare this to the disposition against dlc's. "every house should come with a swimming pool, a waterslide, an alarm, automatic gate and automatic lighting" but cost the same price. Sorry that's not true, and why should it be true for games ?

But again I'm afraid I'm putting my own bias here. I want to leave room for a constructive reason and a moral, economical and ethical standpoint as to why dlc's in game should be always free and included from the start. Can anyone accept this challenge ? :p

#13 Edited by Archangel3371 (15752 posts) -

Yeah I definitely agree with you. I have no problem with any type of dlc whether it be day one or on disc dlc. Just because they release some dlc the day the game comes out doesn't bother me. Same with on disc dlc as it's just a delivery method for dlc. If people simply keep complaining about day one and on disc dlc then developers will just remove the content from the disc and keep it withheld for a couple of months which seems silly to me. I want access to extra content when I'm ready for it in the most convienent manner. While I don't think that everything out there is worth it I do feel that for the most part there is a lot of good stuff that is so I don't condemn dlc for simply being dlc.

#14 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16793 posts) -

Because more often than not they are lazy cash grabs that don't expand the main game in any meaningful way.

#15 Posted by CosmicD (39 posts) -

@turtlethetaffer: You are assuming they are lazy. Can you make story dlc for a game. Should be simple right, and also if you're an office clerk you DO want to get payed for simply opening and closing word and spending time typing an invoice right ?

If you keep that in mind it ain't so "easy".

#16 Edited by turtlethetaffer (16793 posts) -

@CosmicD: Did I say anywhere that it was easy? No. I didn't. I never said it was easy to make games, and I never said I could make games.

But my point still stands. I'm not saying every bit of DLC is bad (I thought the DLC for both Borderlands games actually exceeded the main game in some ways) but a lot of it is useless fluff.... And here, I'm not even talking about the campaign expansions. how many games offer DLC for new costumes? Or some kind of trivial item that really means nothing? A lot of them. The truly sad thing is that people buy into it more often than not.

there is a way to DLC right, and I've seen it before. But a lot of the times, the DLC just doesn't come off as worth it.

Plus, what about the on disc BS? With that, you are literally paying for a line of code to be removed to access something that is already on the disc you paid for. And to me, that's a crock of shit.

#17 Edited by CosmicD (39 posts) -

I don't understand how people can't handle the notion of stuff that is on YOUR disk but not your property until you buy it.

There are things like that in your very lives. The electricity counter (at least in our country and with our power suppliers), you are not allowed to open them. They are in your own garage or basement but there's a seal on it that you can't open them, not even by paying more :)

Something to think about right.

#18 Edited by SrgtSaggy101 (1865 posts) -

@maynardburger said:

@SrgtSaggy101 said:

The vast majority of dlc should already be in the game

Exactly what I was talking about. Many people believe this, no matter how wrong it is.

It isn't wrong, not to me sure their is some worthy dlc but the vast majority is just a cash grab. I've seen very little worthy dlc, compared to all the trash/cashgrabs/unlockable stuff already in the games. Even if i find it worthy which is rare i still wont buy it. Expantion packs were worthy, this dlc shit is just a rip off. They were just seeing how much they could milk you for, soon thanks to all the dlc buyers most games may start getting micro transactions eventually.

#19 Posted by 187umKILLAH (1347 posts) -

The only time I've got dlc is if it's in a GOTY Edition on disc, the game should be enough on it's own without having to warrant paying for more overpriced digital add ons. Personally I'd rather they just focus on making another game or sequel rather than adding a few bits and pieces.

#20 Posted by CosmicD (39 posts) -

@SrgtSaggy101: See that is the weird part. Everyone does this. This is spoken from the preposition that you actually HAVE to buy it but it's optional. It's like a hand that tells you to want this but you're in conflict because you don't want to pay money for it. But if it's not worth something why want it in the first place, now that's the real question I believe.

I bought all dlc's of payday 2, just to have a rich arsenal and see what I can find to mod, but I didn't buy dlc of mass effect 3, although the game was good and there were some very memorable moments that I fondly think back of, somehow I don't like dlc's with story which is patched "inbetween", because you know that the game will end like it ends anyway.

So ofcourse there's lots of reasons why you do or don't want to have it. But I wouldn't really demand it for free either.

#21 Posted by Doom_HellKnight (12203 posts) -

Because people always assume that they just pulled content off the disc and saved it for later.

You know, stupid people who don't understand how game development works.

#22 Posted by maynardburger (187 posts) -

@SrgtSaggy101 said:

@maynardburger said:

@SrgtSaggy101 said:

The vast majority of dlc should already be in the game

Exactly what I was talking about. Many people believe this, no matter how wrong it is.

It isn't wrong, not to me sure their is some worthy dlc but the vast majority is just a cash grab. I've seen very little worthy dlc, compared to all the trash/cashgrabs/unlockable stuff already in the games. Even if i find it worthy which is rare i still wont buy it. Expantion packs were worthy, this dlc shit is just a rip off. They were just seeing how much they could milk you for, soon thanks to all the dlc buyers most games may start getting micro transactions eventually.

What's 'worthy' is a subjective thing. I think there's far better DLC nowadays than when DLC first arrived, for instance. Quality is generally going up, even if there are still mediocre DLC packs being released.

But anyways, we were talking about whether this stuff 'should' have been in the game or not already. And that's just not how it works.

#23 Posted by CosmicD (39 posts) -

I gave a comparison with "real hardware which is yours but isn't really". But you don't even have to make that comparison. If you buy a CD, the medium is yours but the "work of art" that it produces, in this case music, isn't. It's yours to listen to but an artist licenses it to you.

I believe that people don't have to make this easy determination of "if it's on my hdd it's mine and I determine if it should be free". The data will be physically located on milions of user's computers, but the data is on your pc, and the experience it produces when you execute that data is the developer's property. So they have the right to lock or unlock extra experiences.

It's true that some of the watch dogs' pre order bonus is the same as the FIRST PART of the seasons dlc, but if you don't want this you can just pass out, not buy the seasons pass and buy everything you really want individually. Or cancel your pre order and buy the gold ps4 version which include the most important pre order missions and the seasons pass. So it's very flexible.

This is my bias but You can't really discuss on a general level what value dlc is. It's like saying that every green colored car is bad, and only red is good. So the issue I have in this debate is that some taste and bias is used as a factual determination. DLC = bad = fact, and everyone needs to bark at dlc because I bark at it.

So I'm still looking for a purely ethical and economical reason why dlc's are wrong. If it was so wrong they wouldn't be so popular.

#24 Posted by dethtrain (421 posts) -

I'm already pretty picky with what games I spend my money on now. It's tough to gauge a regular game's worth. Now to do that with the vast amount of DLC that's out for each title? Way too much info to process and determine if it's worth it or not. I bought day 1 DLC with Mass Effect 3 for $10. That was the first time I ever paid for DLC and it stretched the price of the game to $70. Definitely not worth it IMO (it was 1/6th the game price and didn't add ANYWHERE near the amount of content)

As far as I see it, DLC is just a cash grab and none of it is worth the price of admission. I'll never buy DLC again (when it's relevant) and if I find games dump tons of DLC (like Saints Row) i'll wait for an "everything" pack that costs $10.

#25 Edited by girlshavefuntoo (120 posts) -

I'm not against the idea of DLC, but the problem is that most are really bad and not worth the cost. There's a gem here and there, but so many publishers like EA exploit their customers making it hard to like.

#26 Edited by syztem (7705 posts) -

At the risk of sounding redundant, good DLC is good. If it expands the game in a way that is cohesive with the original's quality, then there's nothing to complain about.

It has to a) contribute something meaningful to the original title (i.e.: be justified in its existence), and b) not look/feel like it was made by the office interns or a class at the local community college.

Of course bets are off when it's exploitative. The whole "we could have given this to you for free but didn't" schtick only has a defense with copyright lawyers.

#27 Edited by Jacanuk (4770 posts) -


Im not against DLC, im against taking content that is intended for the main game and passing it off as DLC.

Rockstars GTA IV DLC and the last Bioshock Infinite is what DLC is all about, full extra content that adds additional hours to the game.

#28 Edited by BranKetra (48785 posts) -

One of the main reasons why many gamers have been and remain against downloadable content sold for additional revenue is single player modes. They became shorter and easier than before on average last generation. Things that were part of the original cost of purchase like modes besides single player, additional characters, and unlockable costumes have been copied onto a disc sold at full price, but locked for profit made DLC seem worse for consumers. Capcom is infamous for that.

#29 Edited by DDYaya (9 posts) -

DLC's are quite expensive and can sometimes cost more than the game itself at it's current value.

Back then there were expansions, but they gave us great stuff for our money. Now, you give like 20 or 30 bucks and for an ex. you receive like a few maps and a game mode.

Now I'm not saying all DLC's aren't worth it, but you get the point that a lot of them are.

#30 Edited by CosmicD (39 posts) -

On an intellectual level I could live the most with the answer that there's shorter stories and that games have become more expensive, and then it seems like if they just split up development between the main game and then making side stories that would the same game potentially more expansive. But also there I believe you can place a nuance, and the first one is again that every dlc is optional and let's assume there's no godly entity forcing you to buy anything. Than that's still not a problem.

Also, Game development in general (at least for these aaa titles) take lots of time to make but at the same time sales have to be made as well. I believe that companies have to choose the best position in the the "problem" spectrum that those 2 isues deliver.

If every game has to last more than 40 hours, then inevitably developers would also have to spend more time in a development cycle. We would only see a CoD game every 2 or 3 years and about every new IP would take even longer to make. Watch dogs has been in the making for 5 years now as a new ip, thats because the groundwork had to be made, then the story and because it's a first iteration everything has to be invented. I guess it will probably go faster the second time around but that will depend on the success (if they would even make a sequel at least)

So I guess from an economical standpoint it's better to have games with shorter stories, which have this potential of growing: which is nice. If they didn't do it this way, wouldn't there be too much draught ? It would help that many companies are delivering content right now but especially for single player games that arent' systemic and self sustaining with lots of replay value (like dota 2, which just generates money because of that fact), Story tellers need need an income as well, and not only once every 5 years. Ubisoft releases many games but that's also how they keep alive you know.

And I often refference to toys that you can buy optional sets for. And I for one find it more engaging to play with lego where you have lots of expansions for, than with that one toy that is just one toy. And I use that as analogy for games, i'd rather have that game that maybe doesn't have an extended main game.

Can't we really blame widespread piracy for this behavior also ? Companies need a way to sustain themself. There was widespread consensus that games should be played illegally. That has slightly became less spoken about but some are very vocal about the fact that they will play a game illegally if they don't like the control scheme, if they don't like the graphics, and the perception lives that game companies are bad if they do too much dlc's and is also used as excujsed to play everything for free.

You would think that if this runs rampant, no wonder that companies harden themself against it and the paying customer actually has to live with the consequences because a large base don't want to pay and have all kinds of excuses.

But kickstarter is actually a great thing, because as company (especially a startup) you can make sure your game is funded and not even add drm because everything is payed in advanced.

#31 Posted by wiouds (5262 posts) -

I think DLC are the best comprise between what the gamers are willing to pay and what publisher need. You pay a flat rate and then you can pick and choose the options that you want. This is how cars are sold.

The ideal that DLC should have been in the game is built on bias ideals with little fact behind it. I find it hard to believe that the entire team is just working on coding for the game near the end. In other words there must be stages and there nothing wrong with keeping the working at a earlier staging working. Second, if you want DLC in your game then you must work on the DLC while the game is being developed. Wedging something to the system is dangerous and can easily make the game unplayable or cause more glitches. Programs can have some odds and unexpected things happen you try to altered the code.

#32 Edited by Salt101010 (147 posts) -

If I feel that the game is fantastic and they didn't take any effort out of the making of the original game to create the DLC then I'm all for it. If there are compromises left and right then not so much.