Sell Me Your DLC
It’s a familiar practice that’s here to stay so there is little reason to continue to voice opposition to DLC. It is the way things are going to be now, like it or not. It does cost a great deal of money to develop a game these days and no matter how much ruckus we make about content that is locked on disc or that we consider to be something that should have been included in the retail release, cash grabs aren’t going away.
Developers have to pay the bills right? People who really love certain games love more content for it right? Time and time again though I see gamers expressing distaste, sometimes for DLC, but more often for the practices surrounding it. We know that DLC is often developed right along with the game so it’s only natural that DLC announcements before retail releases leave a bad taste in gamer’s mouths.
$60 is steep for many people, then you keep adding $10 here and $15 there and so forth… it all becomes a lot to pay for one game. Sure you could buy the game used and then pay for the DLC but there’s a war on used games right now that could go south any time. That is a discussion for another day though.
In any case, whatever we say the game developers get to decide what is “extra” and I don’t think they are going about selling it properly. If publishers are announcing extras before the original retail game has had time to have an impact you are in a sense saying “We didn’t want to focus too much on the main game so we expect you to buy this too.” Obviously I don’t think they mean to convey this message but that seems to be what people are getting. We get a pre-launch DLC announcement, a trailer, a price and are expected to shell out. I’m saying come on and sell it to me.
Gaming has always had serious problems with advertising but with DLC they hardly seem to be trying at all. It is difficult to build pre-game hype alongside content that may or may not warrant extra money. Wouldn’t it make for a better roll-out if they kept a lid on the DLC, released the game, let it have its impact and then start hyping the DLC and attaching something resembling an ad campaign?
When I heard that Bioshock Infinite had been delayed into 2013 I was bummed and suddenly wanted a Bioshock fix. I’ve played them both multiple times but it was only now that I recalled there was a single player add-on for Bioshock 2 and I decided hey what’s ten bucks for some more of this brilliant game? There is a ton of multiplayer content up too, but the multiplayer itself is empty. DLC pretty much stays on the network forever, so selling this stuff shouldn’t necessarily even be attached to brand new games. What’s stopping 2K from reminding people there is more to be had in previous releases up until Infinite comes out? Wouldn’t hosting a multiplayer event for Bioshock 2 or even having a sale on the “Minerva’s Den” DLC be beneficial for sales of DLC and extra hype for Infinite?
It’s about anticipation. This is the generation where we have announcements that there is going to be an announcement. Surely they can find a way to turn the day one DLC doldrums into a countdown clock, big announcement or at the very least something for gamers to be excited about. How hard could it be? Gamers are a very excitable people, we just need a reason to care enough to buy things.