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Smash Bros Dev: "DLC Scams Have Become an Epidemic"

Masahiro Sakurai criticizes industry for apparently selling games "unfinished."


The games industry's growing trend of selling premium DLC has been described as a widespread "scam" by a key developer of Nintendo games.

Masahiro Sakurai, who has directed all entries in the Super Smash Bros series, wrote in his latest Famitsu column that he believed DLC strategies were essentially a means to charge more for the same game.

"These days, the 'DLC scam' has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product," he wrote, according to a translation by Smash Bros. fan site Source Gaming.

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His argument is not specifically critical of post-release content in its entirety, but the alleged practice of holding back assets and features so that developers can, after release, sell the content as DLC.

Sakurai did not mention any specific developer, or game, as an example of such a practice. Later in his column, he discussed the economic pressures that could be the reason for the now standard practice of supporting games with DLC.

"If you were looking to make a profit, DLC would be the way to go. Development is more costly than ever, yet the price of games has remained the same, so more income would help offset that imbalance," he said.

But despite suggesting that the legacy model of shipping standalone games was no longer profitable, Sakurai claimed that the DLC solution was nevertheless an irritable one.

"I completely understand how aggravated players must feel. After all, a game should be 100 percent done at the time of release, and I would be livid if it were split up and sold in pieces."

The developer's comments come as Nintendo prepares to release premium DLC for Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. Sakurai claims that virtually no DLC was developed prior each game's release.

He wrote: "The DLC we are releasing for Smash is authentic, developed only after we finished working on the main game. Of course, said content will come to you at a premium as compensation for the work put into developing additional content post-production."

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