Haven Editorial: Darn Lucrative Content

From an economic standpoint, downloadable content (DLC) and micro transactions are profitable and easy to sell; though some consider them nothing less than money grubbing add-ons that are all but required to have fun in-game. Perhaps…perhaps not. For me, it depends entirely on the content and price.

Back in the day one could buy new episodes for games such as Duke Nukem on the Commodore Amiga. You could often send money to developers and have them send you updates. So extra content is nothing new.

Some of the most common extras are “power-ups”, which make the player superior and cause the whole experience to become easier. Then there is add-on “gear” and other tools; though in most games this means: Guns (which shoot bullets, which I find very boring). Also let us not forget cosmetic effects such as monocles, spats and tails. Wars have been fought over these.

As physical DVD game media is fizzling from store shelves, many companies have started to withhold content from players, claiming that it’s DLC. This is something I can’t accept, seeing as much of it is already locally installed, and just needs to be unlocked via cash “pay gate”. Season Passes are another can of worms, and offer multiple DLC packs all at once for a somewhat discounted bundle price. I don’t really buy them, seeing as most AAA tiles are expensive enough as it is.

Another thing that won’t leave is the “Pre-order Bonus”; something you’ll never get unless you commit to the game purchase weeks…sometimes months before its retail debut. The industry is selling a promise, and at times they fail to keep it, or the product is just bad. It’s sad that you have to bait consumers with an apparent bright crisp apple, only to have them discover mold on the back side.

It seems that selling content for money (real or virtual) is the norm these days. No matter how I dislike it, I’ll occasionally pony up until my wallet…virtual or otherwise…says differently.

I’ll leave you with a sage truth: It does not hurt the gaming industry to refuse content that should have been there in the first place. There is no Game Warden (yet) to shut down titles that fail to meet sales projections.

-Njål Sand-